Wednesday, May 28, 2008 by Amy

So, a couple of days ago, I accidentally scratched my eye and am now unable to wear my contacts for a few days. Which means that I have to wear my glasses. Which were only barely cool when I got them in 1998. Which has led to my husband giving me a new nickname.

Harry Potter.

Thanks for being sensitive to my deeply repressed insecurities that go back to my second-grade pink-plastic-coke-bottle-grandma glasses (I know that you swear that I chose them, Mom, but really?) We'll see who's laughing when I get really messed up and start carrying a wand anytime we go out in public.

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Life Questions

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 by Amy

Spending your weekend in Afton, Wyoming can get you thinking. You start asking yourself questions like, is that really a five year-old driving that ATV? And since when have men worn button-up sleeveless shirts? Tucked in?

Here are some of the better questions that came out of this weekend.

1) So this is what it's like to have grandparents? Grandparents were the point of this whole little trip, namely Jon's grandparents. I've never had the fortune of having grandparents who cared or knew much about my life (To be fair, it's not really their fault. Being dead and/or emotionally stunted by your childhood as an orphan are not entirely things under one's control). But I have to say, I now get what all the fuss is about. My inherited grandparents are kind of awesome. We came to stay with them for the weekend and they did such grandparent-ly things as insist on filling up our gas tank, teach me how to play Chinese Checkers, give me an amazing old red Schwinn bike and keep us fed with a constant stream of homemade cake and cookies. Sound like a ten year-old boy's dream? That's probably about right.

2) Do I want to be a farmer? The scenery was beautiful and there was nothing to do except enjoy it all weekend. Hence, for about ten minutes, I thought, "Maybe I just want to live on a farm, in the country." I got a pretty good fantasy going in my mind until I tried to imagine Jon milking a cow and me doing anything involving poo or bugs. Then I realized that what I really want is to read books all day and not have to go to work. Turns out, my dream life is not defined as "farmer" but more as "lazy."

3) Can you really pickle zucchini? The answer is, yes.

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Lucky Me

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 by Amy

I've been a combination of lazy/busy the last few days and haven't gotten a chance to tell you how lucky I am. As of Sunday, I have officially been married to my favorite person ever for two years. To celebrate, he took me to Ruth's Chris on Saturday. My favorite part? The most delicious steak I have EVER had. I'm more into fish than I am into steak but I have to say, wow. My other favorite part? Valet parking our little Mazda and then realizing that they didn't even park it in their normal parking lot as to save room for oh, say, this Ferrari. Funny.

Love you, Jon.

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I Gots Me a Big Mac

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 by Amy

We just got a brand new iMac and I kind of love it. Apple is one of the few (okay, many) things out there that just brings out the total nerd side of me. I love how they balance power and style with pragmatic simplicity. We also did a mini-remodel of our sunroom to make it into an office (translated: put down Flor carpet tiles and moved around some furniture-- if you're wondering about the "remodel" label, you should see what I classify as "cooking"), so I'll post a couple pictures of that soon. But for now, in celebration, I share this seriously awesome music video by The Bird and The Bee, constructed entirely using Mac OSX. It's pretty fun.

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Working for the Weekend

Monday, May 12, 2008 by Amy

Some weekends, I laze around and consider just feeding myself worthy work for a two-day period of time. As awesome as that sometimes is, there are other weekends that we actually do stuff. This was one of them. Here are a few highlights.

1) My Mom's Birthday. My mom is amazing. And she's now a sprightly 49. We had fun celebrating at Bambara on Friday night (Cool little hint... if you make a reservation and tell them it's someone's birthday, they apparently print you special menus with a birthday message. Way classier than singing waiters.) We then went and saw Iron Man (spoiler alert: the suit's most supernatural power is keeping Robert Downey Jr. sober). I totally loved the movie but I have to say that my favorite part of the night was hanging out afterwards and watching my mom giggle like a little girl at Jon Stewart's anti-McCain jokes on the Daily Show. Way to stay young, mom. Love you.

2) Lydia's Baptism. This was an interesting event for me because it did not feel like my little sister was getting baptized. It felt like my little sister/child was getting baptized. Because of how the adoption process worked with both Josh and Lydia, I got a lot of opportunities to perform mom-like duties when Lydia was a baby and my parents were in Russia for Josh. I also got to endure lots of nasty looks when I took her to the Bountiful Albertsons and everyone thought I was her teenage mother. And now she's eight and I honestly can't believe it. The whole experience has helped me realize how moms can do anything for their kids. It's amazing how much you can love another person.

3) Brian's Coming-Out Party. No, my brother is not gay. He's the only thing that Utahns may get more worked up about: a budding Democrat. And this weekend, I got to see him speak at the Utah Democratic Convention because he was running to be a national delegate. As a national delegate, he would get to go to the Democratic National Convention in Denver this August and cast Utah's vote for his boy toy Obama. He did an amazing job and he won (against some stiff competition-- one of the guys he was running against looked just like Forrest Whittaker, I am not even kidding). I'm really proud of him. He looked so snazzy with his suit and delegate tags. Good job, buddy.

4) Mother's Day. Yes, my family really knows how to pack it in. My mom always gets to enjoy Mother's Day and her birthday within a few days of each other. I keep hoping that Jon will do like our ward does and get me a present on the whole "I'll be a mother someday" premise, but he doesn't fall for it. My favorite moments of the day both came courtesy of Josh. First, as my mom was opening her presents, he chimes in, "Ooh, mom, hopefully you'll get something cool... like cash." Then, when it came time for the primary kids' obligatory "Mom Medley," he went all American Idol on us, got right up on the podium (with the other, say, fifty kids to either side of him) and sang right into the microphone. After enjoying a two-song de facto solo, he then threw in a goofy skipping dance move to accompany the "Tra La La La La La La" chorus of "When We're Helping We're Happy." In his final shout out, he pointed straight at my mom, gave a thumbs up and winked. The primary leaders had nothing for that. I was dying.

So, as far as weekends go, it doesn't get much better than this one. Had the Jazz lost, though, it would be a totally different story.

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Today's Love/Hate

Tuesday, May 6, 2008 by Amy

Something I love:
this house.

This is a house that any self-respecting Ivory Homes owner in Utah would hate you for building next to them. I love it so much, though. I love the angles, the light, the sense of calm personality that comes through in every design decision. My dream is to someday build a modern home that manages to walk the line of minimalism without completely giving the finger to any sense of homieness (and not homieness in the 'Jenny from the block' way, more in the 'carpet is not inferior to concrete in every single possible scenario' way). I think this place comes pretty close to that balance. You can check it out at, a really cool design/construction firm in Austin. I don't love all of their designs as much as I love this one but I think what they're doing is really great. I know that there are individuals who are doing things like this in Utah, but it will be interesting to see if a major design/green-oriented builder will ever emerge here.

I want this house so bad. But I also just want straight up central air sometimes. So, here's to taking things one step at a time.

Something that I hate:
wasting time on

I mean, honestly, I don't even know why I even go there anymore. Bad habit, maybe. But when the two top news stories today (based on site traffic) are "Britney Back in Court" and "Sex in the City Death Rumor Addressed," I have to wonder. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for celebrity news (I have been known to buy People magazine on a whim at the checkstand more than once). But the headlines on just seem to get more and more sensational and, in some cases, just plain ridiculous (the ones highlighted above are pretty freaking awesome). I'm fine with that, it just doesn't seem like the most legit news source anymore.

Anyone have a good, no-nonsense but interesting place to get the news online? I like but always love new suggestions.

P.S.- I just found a pretty funny site: I think the name says it all.

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Great Expectations

Monday, May 5, 2008 by Amy

This weekend had its share of expectations, both high and low. Expectations play a funny role in life. Is it better to expect everything and be inevitably disappointed at times? Or is it better to never expect anything and have occasional moments of surprised happiness? If you were to base your life philosophy on a movie and a concert (which is only natural), you'd probably come out with one of the world's great symbols tattooed on your arm: the yin-yang.

Which is what I did this weekend. Not the tattoo part. Just the "basing my expectations and happiness in life on a movie and concert" part.

THE YIN: Baby Mama

Everyone knows that I have a fake girl crush on Tina Fey. According to my husband, it's because she validates my life-long hope that a girl who loves to eat, write and quote Star Wars actually has a future as a semi-normal and successful human being. I also just think she is seriously funny. All that being said, however, I was seriously concerned about this latest movie venture. First, I found out that Tina Fey didn't even write it (dashed were my hopes for Maternity Mean Girls). Then, all the commercials made it look not only entirely predictable but also entirely not funny.

But I am a girl with loyalty.

We saw it on Saturday as we celebrated Jon's birthday with some of our favorite friends (You all now think I'm the manipulative wife who ropes her husband into seeing the movie she wants to see on his own birthday. But that's where you're wrong. He wanted to see it too. And it wasn't even his real birthday.) And the verdict: I laughed my head off. Yes, it was totally predictable. But it was also funny in surprising ways. And I left with thoughts of cheating on Tina Fey with Amy Poehler.

The zen lesson? Low expectations sometimes lead to higher pay-offs (somewhere out there, Michael Scott just said, "That's what she said.")

THE YANG: The Swell Season show

This show was the polar opposite in terms of expectations. We bought our tickets over three months ago. I not only love their album but also adore the movie that brought the two main players in this act (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova) to Utah in the first place. And there's a magical combination of love, sacrifice and success in their story that everyone loves to believe is possible.

When we got to The Depot on Friday night, I started worrying if maybe my expectations were a little too high. There was a huge line of people waiting to get in and it made me a little annoyed (I really hate crowds). Plus, the lame snobby part of myself looked at the people around me and said (in my head), "You're only here because you saw these guys on the Oscars."

When the show finally started, I realized how stupid I was being. It really was an amazing show. Backed by members of The Frames (Glen Hansard's former band who is also definitely worth a listen), all of the songs that made me love the Swell Season took on an even greater life. And that's when I discovered why all of these people came out to this show: when someone does something that they really love and they put themselves completely out there for it, it speaks to people. Glen Hansard isn't the most technically accomplished guitarist out there. He only plays one guitar for the whole show and it's the same beat-up one he played in the movie. It's not about an impressive stage set-up or mixing or anything like that. It's just beautiful songs by people who love what they do. And it's a reminder to me to forget all of the unimportant things that you think hold you back from doing what you love and just try it. Because sometimes creating something beautiful and meaningful even in the face of imperfection is the most impressive thing.

It was a pretty perfect show, though.

The zen lesson? Sometimes, high expectations are good. It makes you remember that amazing things are possible when even those are exceeded.

So, there you go. I left this weekend with my expectations satisfied. And I'll try to avoid referencing the yin-yang ever again.

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It's called Friday Fun Lunch

Friday, May 2, 2008 by Amy

Want to get me (or any other of my fellow basement coworkers) really enthused? Just utter the words: Friday Fun Lunch. But I've recently been hearing the question: what makes a lunch qualify as a "Friday Fun Lunch"? Is it magic? Is it genius? Turns out, I've got answers.

1) It has to be in a suitable location. Red Iguana is always preferable. Koko Kitchen or Cafe Rio will do in a pinch. But Rumbi's is straight up not classy enough (not enough velvet back-lit wall hangings, as pictured above).

2) Any topic for discussion is total fair game. Just today we discussed the difference between snuff and chewing tobacco, the mid-90s phenomenon known as "pantsing," and whether it is at all advisable to admit that you think Joan Cusack is hot (that last one wasn't me, I promise).

3) It has to take more than an hour. On principle.

Do you think your office could benefit from a little Friday Fun Lunch? Go for it. Just remember these important guidelines.

* Friday Fun Lunch is a registered trademark. Every time you use it, you owe me (or maybe Kristin) a dollar.

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