Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Faire Fowl

I recently finished reading The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. It was thoroughly entertaining! I haven't read the Grimm tale, so I don't know the differences between it and her retelling. I loved the plot and the lightness of the book. Her writing contained a lot of imagery--which I adore. It contained, drama, romance, love, mystery, treachery, and adventure.

Hale creates an enchanting world where anything can happen and fits in well. Someone who can talk to animals or nature? That seems plausible in this fantasy world. It puts me in mind of the silver spoon taken away--that's when character shines through.

This is a book I could recommend without qualms or reservations. The violence is not too bloody nor too violent. The love is not too steamy or over the top. The language is not something in need of censure. Parts of the storyline were a little predictable, but were easily forgiven.

Givin' Up the Goods

One of my friends at work asked me what I was giving up this year for Lent. Over the years I will make changes in my life and joke that those changes are something I've given up for Lent.

I hadn't really thought about giving something up for Lent for actual Lent before, but a 40 day period of repentence and renewal cannot be a bad thing. So, now I'm pondering. There are so many bad habits to drop and so many good ones to adopt. Where to start? What would/are you giving up for Lent?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Kissing Spreads Germs

Thanks for sending this, Lyndsey!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sensation of Something Burning Somewhere--Smells Like Whale

Nathan, Adam and I were talking about this song tonight. Don't ask how we got on this topic, but couldn't remember the lyrics. Good ol' Youtube came through again! Artist: Burning Sensations

More Twilight

I borrowed this cartoon from my friend Sheena's blog and wanted to share the laugh. Since her blog is private, I won't link back to her. Thanks, Sheena.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Crazy Bad

In some ways it's like the TV show MAX X (Maximum Exposure), with people attempting stunts on skateboards and ending up with limbs contorted in unnatural positions. In other ways it's funny, silly or ironic, like the bench with a sign asking for people to help keep the city clean or the sign that tells you you are saving $49 when the original cost is listed as $19.99.

Here is a dance fail where the dance wipes out her entire bedrooom in her fall. Didn't like that light afterall, eh?

Thanks for the laughs, Linda!

Friday, February 20, 2009

October Memories

While retagging a few posts, I thought I ought to include a missing entry.

In October, I debated about posting Uncle Ken's passing. Now I wish I would have. Chronology. Memory. He is an important link in our family chain.

Uncle Ken (on my dad's side of the family) passed away in October. I clarify, because my mom has a brother Ken who is married to a Karen and my dad has a sister Karon who is married to a Ken. Not the same Kare/ons and not the same Kens.

He had been sick before he passed away. That release was likely a blessing for him, but leaves a hole in the lives of those left behind.

I still remember hearing about how his great-granddaughter missed her grandpa and how she was so sad he wouldn't be able to watch the Price is Right with her anymore.

Ken Beckstrom was also an uncle to Jared Beckstrom who passed away unexpectedly in January from pneumonia. Ken and LeGrande Beckstrom married my aunts: Karon and Colleen, respectively.

More information is available online.

Sudden Sadness

Early yesterday morning, Rod Davenport passed away unexpectedly in his sleep. Here he is with his daughter at her wedding. Uncle Rod is married to my dad's youngest sister.
We went to Southern Utah for his graveside service and burial. Aunt Venetta is holding up well and so strong. There were about 100 or so of us that were able to attend.
His obituary can be found here.

Almost Famous

In January, I posted about Jamilla's dance workshop. She uploaded a video of us on youtube. Not sure how I feel about that; trying to look at it as a good reminder of what she taught us and how.

Keep in mind that Jamilla is an American Tribal style belly dancer so most of the moves and cues she taught us were foreign to our fusion gypsy style. Also, the music in the background is not traditional Middle Eastern fare.
We covered a lot of area in those few short hours....

Now, thanks to Jamilla, I too want to shadow dance in the mountains as the sun rises and again as it sets. And camel walk with the funky bend.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Not as Scandalous as Imagined

For a while now, people have been recommending the book Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. As a book club read, it's finally on "the list".

I'm not exactly sure what I had expected, but have enojoyed reading this fictitious memoir of a hermaphrodite that begins "I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974."

There are times I've forgotten the story is fictitious. Dare I admit that more than once checking the author's name on the cover to be sure it really isn't Calliope Helen Stephanides or even Cal Stephanides?

The breadth and scope of characters and their family tree with all the grafts rather than branches is an interesting creation. This Pulitzer Prize winning novel is an interesting study on nature vs. nurture and all the shades between. Quite an imagination!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Freedom, Security, and a New Way to War

Recently, I've become enamored with one of our Founding Fathers. Here are a few of his quotes:

The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effect of prudence, or the want of it. By playing at Chess then, we may learn: 1st, Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action ... 2nd, Circumspection, which surveys the whole Chess-board, or scene of action: — the relation of the several Pieces, and their situations; ... 3rd, Caution, not to make our moves too hastily...

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.

-Benjamin Franklin

Perhaps for the next presidential election (rather than slinging mud or spending hideous amounts of money), the candidates could sit down to play a little chess so we, the American People, would know about their foresight, circumspection, and caution.
Or maybe Bin Laden would care to sit down to a game of chess to end the war on terrorism...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Thai Beef Salad

I wonder if this is anything like the Waterfall Beef Salad Melinda orders when we all go for Thai. If it is, sha-zam! Know where to buy lemongrass?

2 green onions, chopped
1 lemon grass, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup lime juice
1/3 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 pounds (1 inch thick) steak fillet
1 head leaf lettuce - rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes
In a large bowl, stir together the green onions, lemon grass, cilantro, mint leaves, lime juice, fish sauce, chili sauce and sugar until well combined and the sugar is dissolved. Adjust the flavor, if desired, by adding more sugar and/or fish sauce. Set aside.

Cook the steak over high heat on a preheated grill for approximately 4-6 minutes on each side, until it is cooked medium. Do not overcook the meat! Remove from heat and slice into thin strips. Add the meat and its juices to the sauce and refrigerate, tightly covered, for at least 3 hours.

Tear the lettuce into bite size pieces and place in a salad bowl. Arrange the cucumber on top of the lettuce, and then pour the meat and sauce over. Top with the cherry tomatoes and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Economy Buster

The Grocery Guru is hosting a free event

DATE: Wednesday, February 18, 2009
TIME: 7:00 P.M.

Media One of Utah
4770 So.5600 W.
West Valley City, UT 84118


Please call Marie Bowcut (801) 237-6831 in advance to confirm reservations for you and any additional guests you wish to bring.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Name Quest

My sister-in-law's sister is expecting her third baby. She and her husband have opted not to know the gender of this little one because they have a girl and a boy already. They want to try one the "old-fashioned" way. Maybe the surprise will be twins and they will have one of each...

The trick is, they are trying to keep a naming pattern that I had already thought was pretty tricky, but only tonight realized a new dimension of its complexity.

Their daughter is Ruth, and their son is Garreth. They would like to continue the "th" ending of the next baby's name. Tonight, my brother and sister-in-law also pointed out that their first child's name is one syllable, their second child's name is two syllables, and they would like their third child's name to have three syllables. (Maybe that is how Mahonri Moriancumer got such a long name....) That seemed nearly impossible to me at first, but was surprised at how many names do end in "th".
Join in the baby naming festivities, keeping the guidelines in mind. A girl or a boy name ending in "th", preferrably 3 syllables long.
Here are some I thought of or was able to find. Many are courtesy of a baby name finding website.

3-syllable names: Meredith, Goliath, Asenath, Acenith, Sherideth, Yamileth, Geneseth, Hyacinth, Lilibeth, Amaranth, and Maribeth.

Under 3-syllable names: Faith, Truth, Leith (yeah--a twist on Leif), Seth, Beth, Barth, Ardith, Edith, Garth, Hearth, Mirth, Heath, Wrath, Alith, Tabith, Corinth, Health, Bath, Worth, Firth, Griffith, Japeth, Jareth, Lilith, Judith, Blythe, Gweneth, Jacinth, Janeth, Keith, Kenneth, Laith, North, South, Wadsworth, Wentworth, and Wordsworth.
More than 3-syllable names: Elizabeth.

Right now, I believe that they are calling the baby Penelope/Mortimer--or is it Penelopeth/Mortimerth?
What other names can you add to the list?

Stolen Pictures

Renee took pictures this past week of Bekah and Nathan's kids. She's quite the budding photographer. Nathan posted part of the pictures on Facebook--and I couldn't resist stealing a few to post here.
RD and AM are so adorable! Here is the proof...
Doesn't AM look so happy here?


I don't know if I want to know what RD is thinking about--probably some sort of mischief!

Such a silly boy

So sweet!
RD is 3 years old, and AM is 7 months old.

Look, Ma, I Can Cook

I don't cook much any more. Leftovers get really tiring and it's not much fun cooking for one.

Mom's birthday was this past weekend and I offered to make Sunday dinner so she wouldn't have to cook for all of us. Since my ward starts at 12:30, it had to be something really quick that could come together from about 4-5 or a crockpot meal. I opted for the later.

About 10 am, I loaded my large crockpot with 2 lbs of baby carrots, brown rice for about 13 people, 2 cans of cricken broth, plus some chicken boullion for added flavor, about 20-25 chicken tenders, and a can of cream of mushroom and a can of cream of chicken soup.

For seasoning, I had hoped to use a dry onion soup mix on top. No luck. None in the cupboard. Instead I opted for celery seed, rosemary, dehydrated onion, parsley, and pepper. I'm trying to remember because I thought it turned out pretty well and might want to recreate it later.

After church, I was a little worried there wasn't enough liquid in with the rice, so I added about a cup to a cup and a half of water, stirred down into the rice. It cooked on high for about 5 and a half to 6 hours. The carrots were tender crisp. The rice was a bit chewy, but it was brown rice. The chicken was all cooked and easily fell apart when dished.

We had salad and broccoli. (I burnt part of the broccoli, but part of it was salvagable and didn't taste burnt.) Renee and Adam brought roasted carrots and peppers and fresh fruit. Nathan and Bekah brought a chocolate-strawberry birthday cake. Mom and Dad pitched in the peach serbet. We had a fine meal!

The picture above is the closest I could find to what the chicken and rice looked like. I was a little nervous I had forgotten how to cook, but I think we all survived.

Happy birthday, Mom!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What Do You Think?

You might want to see this twice. Be sure to watch all the way through . . . it's really fascinating!

Click on the link below (I couldn't get the video to load), make sure your sound is on, and then watch all the way through as the message reverses without changing the words!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Lunch, Anyone?

Saturday afternoon found part of the workshop crew famished! We headed over to Guru's near Ottavio's on Center Street in Provo.

We feasted on sweet potato fries and rice or pasta dishes or soup and salad. Menu items were reasonably priced and delish!

Thanks for ordering the brownie sundae Basima (oh, and for sharing with us all!).

When can we go back again?

Stage Presence Workshop

Odessa took a workshop from Jamilla and decided that Desert Gypsy Dance Company could really benefit from her. She organized a workshop. This past Saturday, Jamilla of Desert Veils, came up from Moab to teach us about stage presence. She was amazing!

Jamilla asked what we felt our weaknesses were and what we wanted to gain from the workshop. Our list: everything! The short list: posture, arms, spacial relationship, eye contact, and smiling.

Jamilla taught us that "if we breath together, we dance together". She took us through some breathing exercises to help open us to our surroundings at to each other.

She taught us the dancer's prayer, new ways to stretch our feet and ankles and hips and glutes and lower backs, the tribal pow-wow step, the importance of putting your angel wings in your pockets, and how to keep spacial relationships during transitions. Her glute crunch is supposed to really build buns of steel. I need to practice them more! She also said that we will have more stamina and strength if we rest our heads for about 10 seconds on each hand first thing in the morning.

She explained the proper placement of arms as a staircase with shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers at the top of the flight. She said that we need to be sure to alow the energy of the dance to flow from our fingers. Pinkies up, classic "c" hands--never balled fists. Dance is a matter of expression, creativity, and sharing. Don't let your arms hang in purgatory--with your elbows down low.

I really enjoyed the vowel workout. Jamilla divided the dancers into 5 groups of 5 and assigned each group a vowel. We each took turns dancing and had to say our vowel as we danced. I was in "i". She asked us to dance sad and happy and as if Johnny Depp had just entered the room and we wanted him to know that we were dancing just for him.

Next, she had each group dance across the room with their vowel. We were supposed to practice making eye contact with our audience (the other dancers along the wall), smiling, and using facial expressions. I thought it was very effective.

Our homework assignment is to practice dancing in front of a mirror with a-e-i-o-u to help us work on facial expression and eye contact. Another homework assignment is to dance with our shadow so we can see our lines. Shadow dancing blocks out the details and condences the dance into simple shadow and line.

In a section where we traveled across the dance floor in spaced pairs, she told be I had beautify arms! Way cool. At the end of the workshop, we each took a turn dancing across the room's diagonal (gasp! - solo).

The environment was very relaxing and open. Jamilla was a nearly 60 year old hippie. She looked so effortless in her movements and definitely expressed her love for the dance. I loved the piece we danced to and am now on a quest for it.

She taught us how to strengthen our wrists with wrist rolls on a barre or solid surface. No floppy or irresponsible wrist rolling here! She taught us to reach back into our ballet days for balance and form. My feet still feel wonderful and light from the stretches we did.

And the Winner Is...


Recently I blogged about the book The 5 Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me by Richard Paul Evans and promised a copy of the book to to a randomly selected someone who commented on the blog post.

Congratulations Alyssa - please email me or let me know how best to mail or deliver the book to you.