Friday, February 26, 2010

The sad, sad story of my life...

Did I tell you that my free cable is ... well, no longer free? (My apartment complex has been absorbing the cost of cable for the last 4 years, but they decided to stop paying for it in 2010 - as of yesterday.) Which means that I no longer have cable.

No more Tuesday marathons of Law & Order SVU on USA. No more trashy Lifetime movies. No more Hawkeye at 10:00 PM.

It's a tragedy.

And the worst part is, now that my cable's been turned off... I'm gonna have to go out and buy some bunny ears so I can watch TV again. And those are for the TV that's new enough that I can get antenna reception on it. (The TV in my bedroom's new enough that bunny ears'll make it work. The TV in my living room, however, is circa 1997 and is now dead to the world, save the DVD/VHS player that's attached to it. Good thing I have these 300 movies I can watch on it, eh?)

Last night was the most miserable, lonely night of my life. I had to force myself to fall asleep sans the background music and sounds of M*A*S*H. It was awful, I tell you. Just awful. I miss Mr. Benjamin Franklin Pierce. Fiercely.

When they told me I'd be losing my free cable, I toyed with the idea of paying for it... for a while. But in reality, I watch most of my shows on hulu anyway, and I didn't really want to pay for TV ... so I didn't think it was such a big deal to just let it lapse. I'd forgotten that I need something other than the sound of silence to fall asleep to. This weekend I need to either pick myself up some bunny ears, or a dvd player for my bedroom tv (so I can fall asleep to You've Got Mail and/or Ocean's 11 - because everyone knows those are the two best movies to go to sleep to).

Just one question - can anyone tell me where I can buy bunny ears? (Walmart? Radio Shack?) I have no clue!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Oh, sweet mystery of life, at last I've found thee...

Red Velvet Cheesecake.

I'm in love.

We all know how I feel about the red velvet cake, yes? Also, how I feel about cheesecake, right? So you can imagine how this little beauty from The Cheesecake Factory makes me feel.

Heaven help me, I think I may be in love. (And I'm not kidding this time. This is real.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm doing my part to help the Olympians, man.

"If you've had a Coke in the last 82 years..." Uhm, yeah. I definitely have.

I heart Coke. I also heart the awards ceremony part of the Olympics. It's a little known fact, the only part of the Olympics I really care to watch is the awards ceremony. I don't even care who wins, I just love to see people get the gold. (I know, there are a bunch of you who're calling me un-American now. It's not that I don't want the US to win - I love us - but when someone else wins, it's still a gold for their country, and they're full of happiness and love of their own country. It's a beautiful thing.)

Anyway, I love the awards ceremonies. I also heart Coke. Which = I heart this commercial. A lot.

And now... I want a Coke. Good thing McD's is selling them for $1. (And I hear that people who eat at McDonald's are eating like Olympians. Yeah, right...)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Aaaahhhh.... George. I love him!

As you may recall, I just posted from Holiday Inn for Abraham Lincoln's birthday. ... This is how much I love this movie, they celebrate both Lincoln and Washington's birthday. (Oh, to go back in time to 1942. The good ol' days, back before they combined the two men into Presidents Day, when there were two - count them, two - paid/federal holidays in the month of February.) The only bummer is, YouTube doesn't have the Washington's Birthday song up. (It's tragic, truly, because that scene makes me LOL every time.)

In lieu of having yet another Holiday Inn post, I'm just gonna have to tell you (again) to watch the movie. Also, you'll have to deal with me and my sappy patriotic heart telling you, once again, how grateful I am for this country that we live in.

I like to think that anyone who knows me knows that I love this country, my homeland, in a fierce way. Any of you who've been to my home know that I have the Arthur Friberg painting pictured above placed prominently in my living room. I remember the first time I saw that painting (Diana Flake had borrowed it from Allen Ballard's mom - you may remember either or both of those names from this old post - for a visual aid in an oral report she gave when we were in the 8th grade). I so teared up the first time I saw it (I'm pretty sure Di mocked me for that), because I am a sap and beautiful things always make me cry (and I'm pretty sure she mocked me for that, too... but it's okay, because I know only a true friend would mock me for caring so much about stuff that sometimes I can't help but spill over). I can't even explain what the knowledge that George Washington was a good, honest and God fearing man does to my heart and soul. Oh, my word. I love him.

Good gravy, I love my country. I'm grateful for the good men and women who have sacrificed their possessions, their time, and sometimes their lives for the good of our nation, and for the freedoms of future generations. I'm so grateful for our first president, for the man who was known as "the president most likely to be found praying" (it's true - I found that online today and it made me smile).

And now that I'm worn out from all this fervent talk of patriotism, and I'm cried out because I just can't even think about how grateful I am for my freedom and for this country without getting all sappy and tearing up, I need some sustenance. In honor of George, I think I'll go and make a cake. Yup, for breakfast. I think I'll frost it and then use my red, white and blue sugar sprinkles so I can feel especially patriotic today. I think Mr. Washington would like a breakfast party being thrown in his honor, don't you? (Even if he wouldn't, I know I would. And it's my house. Pretty much, any time cake's on the horizon, life's looking good here in Casa Evans.)

Happy Birthday, George. I love you, man!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Every once in a while, a girl needs a night out.

And tonight, my friends, was my night.

I love to hang out with my friend, Ashley. It's pretty much a party for us, whenever we get together. We love to eat, we love to chat, and we love to watch movies. So tonight was pretty much the most perfect Saturday night I've had in a long time.

We met at Red Robin for dinner. We shared a Cobb Salad, because we're friends and that's what friends do. (Also, because their salads are huge and we both wanted fries, too.)

So, we split a Cobb Salad that looked very much like this.

It was delish. I could have gone for a little more blue cheese in mine... but then, anyone who knows me knows that I could go for a little more blue cheese on just about everything.

Speaking of Cobb Salad, I know this is totally random... but I found this lovely link to a story about how the Cobb salad may or may not have been created by one Mr. Robert Cobb for Sid Grauman, of Grauman's Chinese Theater. (I recognized the name of Grauman's theater, because I am a good daughter and I pay attention to my mother when she tells me stories about the first time she saw Mary Poppins. - Just a little shout out to Mom, Mary & Bert there. Oh, and Mr. Grauman and his theater, too.)
Anyway, the salad was FAB.

And so were the fries. All three baskets of them. (Listen. They didn't put very many fries in the basket and we were sharing. It's not like I ate three baskets of fries all by myself. I mean, I could have... but I didn't.)

Honestly, who doesn't love Red Robin's steak fries?

Does anyone else have a favorite dipping sauce? I adore these fries dunked in poppy seed dressing. I mean, I adore them. If you haven't tried them with the poppy seed dressing, I advise you to do that the very next time you're there. In fact, why don't you just go ahead and invite me to come with.... in case you don't like the poppy seed dressing. I could finish it up for you if you're not such a big fan.

I'm just saying... it's a thought.

After having a fabulous dinner (which was mostly healthy - did you not see the picture of the salad up there?), we headed across the street to see Valentine's Day.

I'm not going to lie to you, people. I LOVED THIS MOVIE. It made me laugh. It made me cry. (It also made me wince in discomfort a couple times, but it was mostly a very, very good time.) I'm telling you - the cast was so much fun, the writing was pretty great, the side stories all merging into one big story of love was very... well, Love, Actually, actually. I'm a fan. Of this movie, and the Ashton Kutcher character. (I'm just saying - if that man asked me to marry him, I'd be all for saying yes. I heart Mr. Bouquet.) Also, pretty much my dream come true would be to own/operate a flower shop that was also a bakery. Think about it, people. Who isn't happy when they're buying a muffin? Who isn't happy when they're buying flowers? ... It'd be the perfect place to work! No cranky customers - SCORE! I'm in love with that business model. Oh, and - again, Mr. Bouquet. (I'm still swooning.)

All in all... this was so the best Saturday night date I've had in a good long time - even if I did have to buy my own movie ticket. (It blows the foot fetish guy clear out of the water, I tell you.)

Anyway... I'm totally up for seeing this movie again, should anyone want to go and not have someone to go with. .... Anyone in for a Monday night movie? $5.50 tickets with free popcorn - and my loud laugh ringing through the theater - it's a heck of a deal. Let me know if any of you locals want in. :-)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Behold, I have been delivered...

Or, rather, my 5 lb bag of Cinnamon Bears has been delivered.

Either way, now I shall be saved.

Or, rather, now I will survive - and numerous other people's lives will be saved, because I'll be able to twist and pull little Cinnamon heads off, instead of actual people heads.

Life is good.

Or, at least, life is better.

*By the time I reach the end of this 5 lb bag of gummy candy, life may feel a little worse... but that'll just be the sugar rush. I'm sure I'll get over it. And then I'll get back online and I'll order more (because now that I know how easy it is to order candy online, you know I'm gonna be doing that a lot more often).

I've been searching every candy aisle I've come across - both supermarket and convenience store aisle, I might add - looking for cinnamon bears for months now (not even an exaggeration, my friends), and I've come up with nothing. It's been a bitter, lonely, sad, unfulfilled few months, people. And then, this past Tuesday in a fit of frustration when I couldn't find the candy I wanted at the danged store, I went online to see what I could find. And, glory be! I found what I was looking for. Granted, I wasn't exactly looking for a 5 lb bag... but that's what I could get with free shipping on (the candy, coupled with the 500 Days of Summer dvd, brought me to a total of $25.32, which just barely put me over the $25 minimum... yay!).

Five pounds of sweet/hot cinnamon-sugary goodness, folks.

Let the weekend begin!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We are family...

As you may recall, from a previous post last week, I went home last Saturday for my sister's play. IT WAS SO FREAKING FUN! (Both the play and the weekend were fun, for the record.)

My brother Spencer and his family went home for the weekend, too, which is always a good time. We got to hang out a little Saturday afternoon before the play, then we headed over to Kate's school to have dinner and see a show.

Here's a fun shot of Spencer, Brea and Katie. I like how their heights are all equally stepped down.

And here's a fun one of Kate and me. For once in my life, I look taller than her. (Usually, she's the one wearing heels and I'm in flats. Thanks to her new BF, Kate is giving up the heels on a regular basis. Also, I just picked up a pair of sandals that come with a 2 inch heel, so we're having a little role reversal here. ... And it feels so good.)

And here we are with Conman. The kid loves to be kissed, I tell you. (Okay, maybe he doesn't actually love it so much. But he still lets us kiss him. ... Take a look at those chubby little cheeks - they beg to be kissed.)

My brother Brett had an expected business trip on Saturday, so he wasn't able to make the play. Half an hour before it all started, we realized we had an extra meal/play ticket... so I called my friend Mel. As luck would have it, she was in town and hadn't had much planned other than a trip to the WalMart... so I was able to talk her into coming to the play with us. It was SO FUN to see her, and to have an hour or so to talk and catch up during dinner before the play started.

Sunday morning, we got up bright and early and made a double batch of sugar cookies. Why? Because it was Valentine's Day. And also because we love to eat cookies (and/or pie and ice cream) for breakfast when we're at Granny & Grandad's house.

And here's a broader shot of the table, with more than just my arm in the corner of the pic. ... For those of you who haven't ever had a sleepover with me, I apologize for just thrusting upon you the image of me with my hair piled on top of my head and my makeup having been wiped off through the night. (Yeah, I wipe my makeup off instead of washing it off like a grown woman would. Over ten years ago, my cousin Julie told me I'd never get married because I didn't wash my face at night. Hmph. It turns out she may have been right. ... And sharing pics of me that were taken early in the AM isn't gonna help matters, most likely, but oh well, what's done is done.)

Seth and I frosted cookies for a good hour or so. (7 dozen sugar cookies = a lot of frosting/sprinkles) I'm pretty sure we all about ate our weight in cookies. It was a good day. :-)

And how much fun would a familial post be, if I didn't include a pic of my SUPER CUTE niece? (Don't mind my claw-like hands there, holding her up.) How adorable is this child? I so love her!

It was such a fun time at home with the fam, followed by more fun times here at my house for President Laurie Day. I brought S & C home with me Sunday afternoon for a sleepover. Unbelievably, I forgot to get my camera out and document our super fun day on Monday. (Which is unfortunate, because the muffins we made for breakfast were something to behold. As was the mess when my blender exploded and I ended up with smoothie all over the counter.) We ate a lot of fun/yummy food, watched a load of movies (Napoleon, Series of Unfortunate Events, Snow White and... drum roll, please... The Princess and the Frog - seriously, the best movie I've seen in a good, long time), made some pretty fun crafts and, of course, ate ice cream sandwiches for snacks between meals.

Gosh, that was such a fun weekend. Gosh, I love my family!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I love...

Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens.

Oh, wait. Those are a few of my favorite things, and this is a list of things that I love. Hmmph. It appears that I got off on the wrong foot. Let me start over.

I love...
Banana popsicles.
Rainy days.
Fudge (with walnuts or without).
The smell of bread baking.
Singing at the top of my lungs.
My nephews.
The beach.
A good book.
Richard Castle.
The sound of glass shattering.
Sappy movies.
My cousins.
The smell at Disneyland.
Buttery popcorn.
DQ blizzards.
My brothers.
Gone With The Wind.
Peach pie.
The smell of freshly mowed (mown?) grass.
Happy endings.
Brass instruments (I heart the big band era),
My sister.
Double-stuffed Oreos.
Crunchy Cheetos.
McDonald's Coke mix.
The feel of the wind in my hair.
My nieces.
Freshly painted nails (both fingers and toes).
Chocolate cake.
The feeling of knowing I'm in the right place at the right time.
TMM (Thoroughly Modern Millie and The Music Man, both).
My recliner.
My friends' kids.
The smell of a new book.
The smell of an old book.
My parents.
Happy memories.
Fall leaves.
Spring flowers.
Laughing until I cry.
The Original Pancake House (or whatever its real name is).
Julie's cinnamon rolls.
Short flights.
My people, be they family or friends, recent or long-time.
A good talk.
A good cry.
The scriptures.
Classic VW Bugs (I so want one).
Personalized ringtones.
The Sound of Music.
Good hair days.
The Gospel (and friends from church).
The great country of ours.
Making lists.
You've Got Mail (the movie - I do also, however, love mail).
The BBQ sauce at Trapper's.
The smell of honeysuckle.
Really good guacamole.
Lilac bushes, (esp the big bushy tree-like kind).
Dove dark chocolate.
My grandparents.
My aunts and uncles.
My family, both genetic and not-so-genetic.
Long showers.
Heavy quilts.
Deep fried sandwiches (Monte Cristo, I love you so).
Quiet, peaceful moments.
Good stories, told well - both written and verbal.
My friends.
My life.

I was thinking, and it turns out... I have a lot of love in my life. Love for simple things, like quiet days and peaceful feelings. Love for easy, attainable, easy-to-get-my-hands-on stuff, like banana popsicles and chocolate cake. But what I love most, who I love most, are my people - my friends and my family (basically, you - whoever you are, reading this). Good gravy, for a single woman with no apparent prospects on the horizon, I sure have a lot of love in my life. And for that, I thank you all.

Happy Valentine's Day. I love you!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

This should be fun...

I'm headed up the mountain today, as are my brother, Spencer, and his family - to see this Katie's play, Beaux Stratagem. I don't really know what it's about... all I know is, my little sis is in it. There's sword fighting, some apparent cross-dressing (she plays the female lead, but her character needs to pretend to be a dude for at least a small portion of the play ... something ala Yentl, I'm gonna guess). There's some kissing (after she's a girl again, no worries) and some laugh-out-loud humor, or so I've been told. I'm super excited!

But... I won't lie. Now that I've seen this promotional poster, I don't know if my mom's allowed to see a play where men are peeking over the edge/side to most likely watch a woman in varied stages of undress. (I can only assume this is how they figure out their man friend is actually a lady friend, and that it's all in good fun. I mean, we are taking Seth and Con to this, and Kate wouldn't allow her sweet, innocent, pure and childlike (because they're children) nephews come if there was anything untoward in the play.)

And... after having just talked myself down on that front... I'm back to being super excited.

Also, I found out (as I was searching for a fun pic that I could put up here) that The Beaux Stratagem was the BBC Play of the Week in England in April, 1978. So, that says something, right?

It'll be a fun weekend. Dinner theater with the fam tonight, and sugar cookies for breakfast tomorrow, followed by all day movie and junk-food-fest for President Laurie Day on Monday. ... That's pretty much what I have planned this weekend. Wahoo!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Upon a Feburary morn, a tiny baby boy was born ... Abraham

I woke up with this song in my head. I heart memories of watching Holiday Inn and singing along with this song (and many others). Interestingly enough, when I went to YouTube to grab this little beaut, there was all kinds of commentary on whether this was a racist song/clip. Huh... Never in my life had I considered this song racist. The blond girl in black face is a little ridiculous, I'll give you that. (But if you know the story, you know Bing was just trying to "hide" her from a rival who he was afraid would sweep her off her feet and away from him.)

And if you don't know this movie. Well, you should. It's so one of my all time faves. Call me. Stop by. Borrow the dvd and invite me over to watch it with you. I'll bring popcorn and/or cookies. It'll be the best day of your life.

In the meanwhile, there are not words for how grateful I am for Abraham Lincoln and all he did for our country. Happy Birthday, Abe. I love you!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Because it's Cousin Julie's birthday

Behold, the recipe for the Chocolate Raspberry Bundt Cake I came up with a couple weeks ago.

(Before I go on, I must apologize for the poor quality of the photo above. The lighting was bad, as was the angle. I know this cake looks a little like meatloaf. But I promise it's just a bad pic. The cake itself was super delish - and not meatloaf-ish on any level.)

Okay, so here's the recipe for the cake:

1 Devils Food cake mix
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1 pkg frozen raspberries, thawed and mashed, with just enough sugar to take the bite off

Mix the cake mix, eggs, sour cream, oil and the bag of raspberries (less 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the sugared raspberries - those you'll put on top of the cake at the end). I just dumped it all in, then whipped the tar out of it with my Kitchen Aid because I a) like the sound of a mixer and b) was greasing my pan in another area in the kitchen and couldn't be troubled to walk over and stop the mixer prematurely. (Also, I've found that whipping cake batter makes for more fluffy batter, which makes me think it'll be a fluffier cake. I know, I'm so scientific.) This is a bundt cake (obviously, with the sour cream and with that many eggs), so make sure you grease/flour the heck outta the pan so it doesn't stick. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or so. ("Or so", I know. I'm as bad as my mom, telling people to "stir pie filling until you think your arm's gonna fall off". But really, at about 45 minutes, check it with a toothpick. If you need more time, go in 5 minute intervals. But I think you'll be good at 45 min, I really do.)

After the cake has cooled, make a chocolate ganache and pour over the top of the cake while warm - followed by the reserved raspberries.

Chocolate Ganache has two basic ingredients:


Two of my favorite things, right? I used 2 squares of semi sweet baker's chocolate and about 1/3 cup cream. I melted it together in a double boiler and then poured/swirled it over the cake while warm. The berries were kind of cool, so they stuck to/in the chocolate at the top of the cake - which turned out to be a pretty fabulous thing, all things taken into consideration.

This isn't a really sweet cake. Adding some milk chocolate chips to the batter, or using light chocolate instead of dark for the ganache (oh, or more sugar into the berries) would fix that, if that's something that needs to be "fixed" in the world you live in. As for me and my house, we like things on the tart side. Try it, let me know what you think. :-)

Monday, February 8, 2010

This makes me want to break out in song/dance...

I'm not even kidding.

It doesn't matter how many times I've seen this little beauty, every time someone forwards it to me, I watch it again. (And now I'm posting it here, like it doesn't make enough forwarded email rounds on its own.)

This makes me so happy that I want to sing and dance. (It also makes me want to go to Belgium and hang out in a train station, just to see if I can catch a repeat/live performance.) I'm such a sap about this movie (and this song, in particular) that it makes me tear up when the first couple starts dancing. ... Ahhhh, the tears of joy brought on my Do Re Mi, those are hard to beat, man.

I hope you folks like this even 1/10th as much as I do.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hanging out with the kiddos, just for a couple minutes.

Sunday morning I had the grand privilege of skipping church (which is always a treat, I'm not going to lie) so I could drive to the other city of the valley and pick up some stuff that needed a ride from Spencer's house to my parents. Since I was on a tight schedule (the ice auger needed to be in the East Valley so it could make its ride with my friends who were headed back up the mountain at 1:00), I didn't get to spend a whole lot of time with Spencer's kids. We (Seth, Con and I) were incredibly bummed that we only had an hour together before I had to leave (and they had to get ready for church - I didn't commiserate with them too much on that front, it's better for kids not to know how much I hate getting ready for church myself). In order to lessen the pain of separation, we got out a calendar and marked a day for an Aunt/Nephew Play Day. The day chosen was the day formerly known as Presidents Day. It is now known, in our family, as President Laurie Day. Connor took it upon himself to call the judge and let him know there is a new administration (can you tell the kid's dad is a lawyer? "I'm gonna call the judge" - ha!).

Anyhoo... I do love these kids. They make the goofiest faces (and noises - Con's snort makes me laugh so hard that I almost pee my pants, I'm not even kidding). Here are a few little prizes from Sunday morning.

Ahhhh... Seth. The only kid I could convince to be in a picture with me. Bless him.

And here he is again. Truly, the kid is the most adorable giant I've ever known. He's 9 and a half and last time we measured, was 5'3". Ack! ... He did tell me on Sunday that no matter how big he got, I was always allowed to grab him and hug him. (I'd been worried that once he was bigger than me, I'd be cut off the impromptu hugs, so that was quite a load off.)

Connor is also pretty darn cute. He's at the "I must make cross eyes at the camera" stage, combined with the "I love Aunt Laurie, but refuse to be in a picture with her, because I'll have to smile like a normal kid" stage, but I do still love him. He makes me laugh so hard.

I got creamed by Seth two times in a roll at Tether ball. I mean, creamed. (The string kept almost wrapping around my neck, and twice the ball hit me in the face.) In his defense, the kid wasn't trying to kill me. I'm just that bad at athletics. (And yeah, I just called Tether ball "athletics" - that's how bad I am.)

My brother made my sister-in-law this Tether ball for Christmas. Brea told me that when Spence had asked what she wanted, this was her answer. Isn't Brea great? If she and my friend Whitney weren't already friends, their mutual love of Tether ball would have made me have to have a lunch date with them so they could meet each other. ... Actually, a lunch date with both of them would still be fun. I'll have to get on that and see if one can't be arranged. (If I say the words "Cafe Rio" to Brea, I'll bet she'd drive right over.)

Anyway, Seth kicked my can at Tether ball, which was to be expected. (This is why the boys always want me to play with them, so they can beat a grown up. It's okay. As long as I don't die from getting hit in the face with the ball too many times, it's all good.)

And, at long last, here's a pic of Baby Hillary. She hasn't quite gotten the hang of looking at the camera when I'm taking her picture, but she's so cute that I'll forgive her. She is freaking adorable. I love that she looks half like Con and half like Seth. I can hardly wait for her hair to grow long enough for piggy-tails, except for the fact that when she's big enough to piggy-tails, she'll be a big girl and not a baby anymore. Seriously, how cute is this baby?!

And those are all the pictures I have from Sunday. It was a crazy day, what with all the road closures and the driving from here to Kingdom Come (the unofficial name for the city Spence and Brea live in ... it's not actually that far, but when a 45 minute drive got turned into a 110 minute drive, I had to rename it, if only for a day or two).

I so love my nieces and nephews!