Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day, I love you so...

I love Memorial Day, because it's a day when our nation focuses inward. We are encouraged to remember and honor our dead - both personal and collective. To me, that is a beautiful thing.

I'm grateful for ancestors whose life choices have shaped mine. I'm grateful for friends who are the support system that keeps me going. I'm grateful for both the home and the town I grew up in. I'm grateful for an awareness that we are all connected. I'm grateful for this country that we live in, this country that I love.

I was looking through the selection of Coming Home pictures this morning on my friend Ree's website, and I was brought to tears. (Listen, Ree and I are friends. Really. We met once at a book signing, and she told me that she loved my hair. That bonded us for life.) If you have some time - and some kleenex- click here and take a look. Looking through this group of photos this morning really struck me as I realized, once again, that we are all connected. I don't know the people who sent in their photos, but I felt a bit of their joy, as well as their sorrow, as I looked through the submissions. I love those life-affirming moments of knowing that our lives touch each other's, that what we say and what we do - that how we live - can have a more far-reaching effect than most of us will ever know.

I'm so grateful for my life. I'm grateful for my country, for the men and women who serve and protect it. I'm grateful for my family - for my parents, and for their parents before them - for the things that they taught me.

Basically (in case you missed it), today, I'm just plain grateful. And a little sappy. (I'm sorry, but it happens.)

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Chocolate Prayer

Oh Chocolate,
Which art in our presence, Delicious be thy flavor.
My dessert has come, My willpower done,
In the kitchen as in the dining room.
Give us this day our daily chocolate,
and forgive us our abuses, as we forgive those who abuse their chocolate.
Lead us not into temptation, for we can find it ourselves,
But deliver us from calories.
For thine is the truffle, the pudding and the fudge,
Forever and ever,
Messed Be.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious.

I made this today.

It was as delicious as it looks. (Of course it was, because the chicken itself was pretty darn good, what with that honey mustard marinade. Pile bacon and cheese on top of that and you have a sure-fire winner.)

I've been helping my friend Jo this week with her childrens, and when I realized yesterday that she had about 17 lbs of frozen chicken breasts and dijon mustard in her house, I was super excited. Guinea Pigs. (Insert evil laugh here.)

The good news? The chicken was well received. Both the 11 and 9 yr olds were going for seconds before the adults had time to finish our first servings. Success!

And I'm telling you... easy peasy to make. It's a little time consuming, what with the cooking of the chicken and the bacon separately, but I did the bacon at breakfast time and then refrigerated it until I needed it for dinner, and that worked out well.

Seriously. If there's any part of your soul that hungers for bacon and/or cheese - make this. You won't be sorry. (And if you do make it, and you are sorry, and you live around the block from me.... for Pete's sake, call me and I'll come and get the leftovers from you. That's what kind of friend I am.)

I'm such a social butterfly

Always have been, always will be.

So what if all of my friends (other than the big brown bear) are imaginary?

How awesome is this picture? My mom sent it to me a couple weeks ago with the title "Laurie Evans, ever the entertainer". Ha! This was taken in June 1977. Which makes me (gasp) three and a half-ish here. How much do you love the groovy tv tray and the bunny ears in the background? Viva la 70's, man!

I'm suddenly feeling the need for a party or something. Does anyone want to come over? I can feed you popcorn and/or cold cereal. (Look, both of those options are better than the bowl full o' air shown in the picture above.)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I heart Russell Crowe. I do.

I know, I know. But, really. I love him. I can't help myself. I think it's a combination of his gravelly voice and his barrel chest. (Also, Beautiful Mind and Cinderella Man are two of my fav movies of all time. Add Proof of Life in there and all I can say is, it's a little unholy, how much I enjoy him.)

Of course, I had to go and see the new Robin Hood movie. (Because who loves the idea of a man who would steal from the rich to give to the poor? Uh, me.) Of course, it was a little gruesome for my blood. Since I'm a weak-stomached thing who has a hard time with a bloody nose, I went into the theater expecting to be a little traumatized by the arrows and the swords and stuff. I was not disappointed in that regard. And just when I thought I had a grip on myself and all the trauma was over... Oh, no. Arrow through the neck on screen. AAAACK! I screamed like a girl and threw my arms over my face. (Yeah, I needed more coverage than just hands/fingers would have allowed there.) ... Here's hoping the Petersons will be seen in public with me again. (I did get laughed at for that complete over reaction. Imagine.)

The storyline was a little different than other Robin Hoods, but I liked it. That they cast the egg-eating assassin from Lost as Little John made me LOL. (Literally. He is HUGE, so the "Little John" thing was a crack up to me.) I think my favorite thing about this movie is how strong Marian is. I like what a hard worker she is, that she is such a woman of principle. (See? I didn't only like it because Russell Crowe was in it.) I did, of course, miss my cousin Shelly fiercely while I was watching the movie. (Cate Blanchett always reminds me of Shell.) I even got a little jealous of her during a kiss scene, until I remembered that it wasn't really Cousin Shelly kissing my BF in the movie. (I know, just go ahead and add that confession to the list of things none of you ever really wanted to know about me and how my brain works.)

All in all, I give it a good 3 out of 4 stars. (I'd do 3 and 1/4 if I could. 3 1/2 seems a bit much, but it's a solid 3 1/4.) I know that seems like I'm saying it wasn't good, giving a 3, but maybe 2 out of 100 movies that I see get a solid 4 stars. So, really... 3 and change is a pretty high compliment.

If you're into movies where people fight with swords and stuff, I think you should definitely go see this one. (And if you need someone to come with you to tell you when that arrow through the neck part's gonna happen, so you can properly cover your eyes so you don't accidentally witness the carnage, you just let me know. I'll be happy to come with and help you out with that. I know, I'm such a giver.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Here's a little insight into my soul....

I'm a sap. I mean, I'm a ridiculously emotional girl. I've been known to cry in coffee commercials, and also because I can't get my shoes to tie right the first time around. (Have any of you ever noticed you'll never see me wearing shoes with shoelaces? There's a reason for that.) I tell you, I know I'm a sap. I know I get weepy in more movies that almost anyone else I know.

And yet... I double dog dare you to watch Father of the Bride and not get emotional. I'm sorry, but you have a heart of stone if this movie doesn't choke you up at least once (and I won't judge you if you get teary 13 or 14 times). I'm telling you, it slays me.

I love the story, the soundtrack, the ridiculous hi-jinks (George dropping the checkbook - and then himself - into his daughter's future in-laws' pool? Ha!). I love the relationship between the mom and dad, between the dad and daughter, between the brother and sister. Basically, I love this movie all the way around.

And as much as it makes me tear up and cry... Boy howdy, does it make me laugh, too!

"Mr. Bahnks, I do that for a loving, you know." HA!

I also love the caterer talking to the wedding planner:

"No vowel." Who knew that vowel meant veal? I mean... who knew?!

What's SLAYING me is that they cut the "Chipper Chicken" discussion. Oh, the tragedy!

Seriously. One of the simultaneously heartwarming and at the same time funniest movies. EVER.

I just wish I had a piece of keck that I could eat while I re-watched it right now. But alas...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Screw the Earth

WalMart is going the way of the environmentally friendly. They're no longer packaging their half & half and heavy whipping cream in plastic bottles. They've gone back to the 70's, it seems. I remember these pseudo-cardboard cartons from my youth. I hate them. I hate that they don't have a cap that'll just pop/screw off. I hate that I have to open them the old fashioned way (I always seem to rip the cardboardy stuff). I hate that these old school cartons never tightly close again.


I hate to have to pay more for my fatty milk products, but I'm gonna have to see if Safeway still carries cream in a plastic bottle. I don't care if the plastic bottle is non-biodegradable and I am the sole contributor to a land-fill full of plastic cream bottles, I WANT MY CREAM IN A RE-CLOSABLE BOTTLE, dangit!

End of rant. (And aren't you glad?)

I think I'll go and pick up a 32 oz Coke at Circle K now. (Did I tell you that they went back to styrofoam? I'm their biggest fan right now. I heart styrofoam cups, because they keep my drink colder longer.)

And now that I've made that additional statement about my love of styrofoam, I think I'm really done. Thank you for listening.

End of rant. (Officially and truly, this time.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

You've Got Mail. Sorta.

I ate caviar for the first time last weekend. (It's okay, it was not a garnish. It was meant to be eaten by me.) I was thinking about that today and laughing to myself about the scene from You've Got Mail when Joe scoops all the caviar off the dish ("That caviar is a garnish!"). I went to my friend YouTube to see if I could find that scene and post it here, for any of you who you may not have seen the movie literally hundreds of times and therefore have it on instant recall. Unfortunately, I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for... but check this out:

Apparently, there's someone out there remaking trailers for chick flicks into thrillers. The Dirty Dancing was fabulous! I'd post it here, but the embedding was disabled. (Grrrr.) If you want a good hard belly laugh, you should check it out. It's hilar.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Aaaahhhhhh.... Az Grand Resort, I love you so!

As you may recall, the company I works for does a HUGE anniversary party every year. They put us all (and a guest and/or family) up for the weekend. We have a big family/pool party on Friday night, and a fancy gala event-ish dinner on Saturday night.

It's pretty freaking awesome, I'm not gonna lie.

And what made it even more fun this year is that my brother, Kirk, has been working for the same company for about 6 months now. What that meant to me was that his wife and kids were at the same resort, just a few doors down from my room. I got to hang out with Kirk & Mar (always a good time), and I got to play with the kids, too. AND I got paid to go to work, when in reality, I was sleeping in a cushy bed and/or lounging at a fabulous pool all weekend.

You know, I always love my life. But some weekends really take it over the top, man.

This is Russell (that's with little L's, folks, not capital L's, as I learned this weekend) and myself at the pool party on Friday. I'm happy to say this is not his normal face. He's in a "make a mad face at the camera" phase. I'm sorry to say that I accidentally deleted the one of both of us growling at the camera. It was a thing of beauty. He giggled about it all night long, asked to see it about a dozen times, and the last time I showed it to him, I accidentally hit the wrong button and now it's lost and gone forever. Too bad for you.

Baby Hazel isn't such a little baby anymore. (How cute is she? I love her!) She didn't want anything to do with me (or my camera, obviously). It's okay, I softened her up over time. (Offered her some cookie/dessert stuff.) It's unfortunate that I don't have a pic of her smiling/laughing, but... on the other hand, this is funnier than that would have been. :-)

Kirk is going through a photo phase, too. Unlike his brother, who likes to growl at the camera, Kirk likes to curl up in a ball and hide his face. I took this picture by sneaking up on him. I showed it to him, so he could see how silly he looked (I was hoping that would help him to realize he should just smile like a normal person and let me take a pic - no dice). He's adorable, even if he doesn't know how to act like a normal person in front of a camera right now.

And this, in case you don't recognize me with all of my hair piled on my head, is me. Pardon the harsh flash glare, but I was so happy with my messy side bun that I am feeling the need to show it to the world. I tell you what, ever since I saw 500 Days of Summer, I've been fantasizing about doing the messy side bun thing. Last night, as I was pondering what in the world I should do with my hair that was a wild & crazy beast (it had air dried while I took a nap in my fabulous hotel bed with the many pillows), it came to me. The Messy Side Bun. Between my hair and my 2 inch heels, I was a force to be reckoned with last night. Too bad Batman wasn't there. I'm pretty sure he would have fallen smack in love with me. But alas...

And that, in a nut shell, was my weekend. I didn't do a whale of a lot. Well, besides going to a party on Friday night AND a party on Saturday night. Mostly, I just slept. Oh, and I ordered room service. And watched a lot of tv (I'm suddenly missing my cable... I thought I'd worked through that, and then the darn hotel got me hooked on the clicker again).

I do love my life. It's pretty fab.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Jane rocks the 3 piece suit

Here is a true story from my real life.

I went and saw Ironman 2 with some of my favorite people a few days ago and though the whole movie, I had this niggling feeling that something was wrong. It was hard for me to put my finger on it, but after some time (read: after multiple scenes with Hammer in them), it came to me.

Dudes, the 3 piece suit is only a genius wardrobe call when it's Mr. Patrick Jane sporting the look. On anyone else, it is... well... foppish.

The End.

For more true stories from my real life, stay tuned. You never know what my wacky brain's gonna come up with next.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

#1 Mom

I have a habit of saving old voice mails in my cell phone. Today, as a special Mother's Day treat, I'm going to give you an instant replay of one of my favorites.

To preface, in case you've never called me and don't know what my voicemail recording sounds like, it goes something like this: "Hi, this is Laurie. I can't come to the phone right now, but if you'll leave me a message with your name and number, I'll call you back as soon as I can. Thank you!". ... I think it's important to say thank you, so it's part of my VM routine - both at work and at home. I know, I'm a dork. )

Anyway, with that being said, let me transcribe my favorite message:

Hi. This is Mom. I thought you knew my number, it's #1. #1 Mom. That's right, #1. And don't you ever forget it.

End of message.

I do love my mom.

I love her because she carries a camera with her everywhere she goes (so when she sees a sign that says "Wow, Mom" in a store, she can stop for an impromptu photo shoot).

I love her because she has no qualms eating cake for breakfast.

I love her because she loves to throw movie quotes back and forth with me (Dan in Real Life and You've Got Mail are our faves).

I love her because she taught me that "dust" and "iron" are four letter words that have no place in my life.

I love her because she is compassionate, and kind, to her very core.

I love her because she has unconditional love and acceptance for everyone in her life (and in mine - I've never introduced someone to my mom whom she didn't immediately bond with).

I love her because she raised me, a horribly willful child, without raising her voice at me. (Yeah, I don't know how she did that.)

I love her because will eat cake batter out of a cup with a spoon.

I love her concern for safety at all moments. (Don't even think of putting a picture frame or a mirror down on a couch or bed in her presence. The fear of someone sitting on and subsequently breaking the glass will send her into an existential meltdown. We all mock her for this. Of course, we're also all very careful not to put glass plates, frames or mirrors on the couch or bed. The legacy continues.)

I love her because she was smart enough to let me eat vegetables off the floor when I was a kid (it was the only way I'd eat them), and I love her because she helped me cut up no less than 4 skirts/shirts to make "The Unprom Dress" when I was in high school.

I love her because she is good, and because she is funny - and because those are the two chief characteristics she encouraged all 6 of us kids to develop. (I'm pretty sure I'm rounding the corner on funny. Good? Well, I don't know that I'll ever get there, but hope springs eternal.)

I love my mom because she is a peacemaker.

I love her because she taught me that fruit ripens faster in a brown paper bag than it does anywhere else.

I love her because she is currently looking at new flooring and she's looking for something that won't show dirt, so she won't have to sweep/mop anymore.

I love her because she has more love in her heart than any one person I've ever known.

I love her because she looks for the good in all people, and in all situations.

I love her because she's my #1 Mom, and I don't want to know who I'd be without her.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you!