Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Team Peeta!!!! . . . I mean Gale!!!! . . . er . . . ummmm . . . Team Haymitch?

Have you read The Hunger Games? You should. First, because it's awesome. Second, because if you haven't/don't I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.

You know what the crazy thing is? I probably never have read them if the first one hadn't been a book club pick. It just wasn't one that caught my eye. But after about two chapters, I was completely hooked. Read the first one in three sittings. Found out there were three, and the third one isn't out until August. GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So I check out the library website and see that there's about 15 holds on the second one, so I figure that perfect - I'll get it around about May, and then it'll be a relatively short wait for the third one. But then -

The book comes in. Last week. Two months early. On the one hand, kinda awesome, 'cause I'm dying to read it. On the other hand . . . well, I read Catching Fire in two sittings. Finished it at almost 1:00 in the morning, and immediately kicked Luke off the computer to find out the exact date for Mockingjay. August 24 - GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You might have noticed that August 24 is currently 146 days away. To same I'm dying is putting it somewhat mildly.

I haven't been this excited for a new book since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Well, adn books 4-6. I got into Harry Potter after Azkaban was out. I pre-ordered 5&6, and went to a midnight party for 7 . . . that was pretty fun. And it's a really good thing they always came out on weekends . . . and an especially good thing I was off the day 7 came out, because I read straight through the night, stopping multilpe times as characters died to cry. :-( Seriously, I think I cried about half my weight off that night/morning. There better not be a bunch of deaths this time around!!

And this is why I hate reading a series before it's done. The next few months? Are going to be torture. Especially since I haven't decided between pre-ordering or midnight-partying. Good thing I've got time. (note: Amazon's got it for 8 bucks . . . just so's ya know if you're debating too!) What's going to happen? I mean, there's always the bits that are pretty easy to guess - the fate of the rebellion (I feel like I'm talking about Star Wars, lol), that one district that shall not be named will be a pretty big deal, people are gonna die, all that good stuff. But what happened to Cinna? Who else is involved? Are certain people ok? Prim? Peeta? Madge? GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Be prepared for frequent updates on how long it is until August 24. And not just from the new countdown. (You did notice that, right?)

P. ost S. cript
And this kids, is why you don't touch two power lines at once. But if you can get a branch up there, it is kinda awesome. Also, I highly recommend going full screen on this one.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Just one, actually. Saturday Luke and I spent the day being all touristy in Salt Lake. It was sooooooo awesome to get a change of scene for a little while, and we'd been eagerly planning the little trip for a couple of months now. And by eagerly planning I really mean excitedly anticipating, because we both fall decidedly more to the "have a general idea of a basic plan of what we might do and then see what happens from there" end of the spectrum as opposed to the "have an itinerary that's itemized down to five minute intervals or smaller" end. Also - even though I've been telling him otherwise for a year, Luke would not be convinced that there is nothing to do in downtown Salt Lake other than Temple Square and shop. And I can't really say I blame him . . . I mean, downtown Brisbane? Downtown Seattle? Plenty to do and see. Salt Lake though . . . just not so much.

So we popped into the Layton Hills Mall on the way to get my ring inspected, which was our excuse for the whole trip, and we got to SL by about ten. And it was really great because Luke's been to Temple Square twice, but the first time it was dark and all the buildings were closed, and the second time . . . well, it wasn't a day exactly conducive to being touristy, you know? :-) So we hit a tour of the Conference Center, which was pretty cool because it turns out we didn't really see much of it when my family wandered around by ourselves seven or eight years ago. And I'd never been to the roof either, which was pretty cool even though there weren't any plants blooming yet. And how's this for crazy - looking across the street, we only spotted five couples taking wedding photos! Of course, I suppose it's a little bit early yet for there to be dozens.

Then we walked around TS for a bit and then we had to walk to the Trax station because Luke was all excited to ride Trax, even though it was only for two stops. He geeks out like a little kid atthe weirdest things, which is highly amusing. :-) Anyway, we rode to Gateway super psyched for lunch because . . . *drum roll* . . . THERE'S A JASON'S DELI A GATEWAY!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!! So awesome. I've been dying to eat there again ever since we ate there clear back in September. Yum!!!! Totally had the blackbery cheesecake this time around. And remember, unlimited free ice cream! :-) After lunch we hit Barnes and Noble, where I finally got to use the gift card I got for Christmas. Yay! Can't wait to get started on my awesome new book.

This would be the point in the trip that Luke decides he wants to see the "real" downtown Salt Lake, because he still doesn't believe me when I tell him that this is it. So we walk - and remember, except for a brief ride on trax, we've walked everywhere today - from Gateway to TS, and then we start walking south. Waaaaaaaaay south. All the way to 4th South, to be precise. Now, I will admit that City Hall is a very nice looking building, and even more impressive to walk around than to drive past, but at this point my legs were getting pretty tired. (I will also admit that I am a bit out of shape, but if you ask me that's pretty irrelavent to where this story is going. So there.) So we walk from 4th and 1st East over to Main, where we (thankfully!!) catch Trax one more time back up to TS. Where we get a tour from a couple of really cute sister missionaries. And we walk all over the place a little more, but we stop and sit a few times so I'm hanging in there, and we got to go inside the Assembly Hall, which was pretty cool since I'd never been inside before - woot!

So finally we're pretty much done with everything, and it's about 5:00, and we decide to start heading back home. And on the way Luke suggests popping over to the Lion House to maybe snag a dozen rolls or maybe cinnamon rolls and munch on a couple on the drive. (side note: we found out a month after the fact that they give you free cookies if you go in there on your wedding day. We were taking pictures right outside and didn't go in!!!!!! GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) This would be the point in time where we discover that you can buy a dozen Lion House rolls at Deseret Book, you can't just grab a dozen Lion House rolls at the Lion House itself. Grrrr. So we got a roll and a dessert apiece. And for those who care - LH rolls = live up to their reputation, especially when topped with honey butter, banana cream pie = aMAZing!, and chocolate cake = yummy, but the frosting is just a bit much. And of course, if you know anything about my sweet tooth you know just how much that's saying. :-)

Then we drive home, and it feels sooooooooooooooooo good to sit down, and I really appreciate the fact that Luke's driving so I can just curl up, and relax my legs a bit.

Then we get home. And get out of the car. And I about collapse. Because my feet are killing me.

I think I have, like, sensitive feet or something. Even when I was younger my feet would hurt after walking a lot. I remember hiking at girls' camp and at the end of the day my legs would be tired, but the next day it would just hurt to walk. To stand even. It got really bad my first few weeks at Disney - after about a month I was spending my days in my apartment hardly moving at all because y feet just ached constantly . . . not fun. And a really crappy way to spend your days off when you can get into Disney World for free too!!!! So I eventually started getting those insole things for my work shoes, even though it made me feel really old. And they helped a lot, even though I'd have to buy new ones every three or four months because they'd wear down. Argh. Blargh. Grr. It's been so nice not to have my feet hurt the last year and a half that I'd forgotten how nice it was.

The good news is, I have exactly one pair of flat dress shoes. Otherwise I might not have made it to church Sunday. The really good news is it's all spring-y outside so I could wear my awesome pair of flat dress shoes - my super awesome tye-dyed wedding shoes, yay!! Oh, how I adore those shoes. :-) I really need more outfits I can wear them with. The better news is my feet don't hurt anymore, which is awesome.

Feet not in pain = happy Lacey.

Getting a complete change of scene for a day = super happy Lacey!

We took a few dozen pictures, I'll have to post them on facebook soon. The bad news: now I'm craving a real vacation. :-/

P. ost S. cript
The Muppet adoration continues.

Friday, March 19, 2010

You Say Improvements, I Say Gypped

Introducing the completely unrelated picture feature to Lacey's Totally Awesome Blog!

I actually tend to find demotivational posters more motivational than motivational posters. Like this one - I certainly don't want robots doing my job. Firstly, (and obviously) if the robots are doing it, then I'm not getting paid - NOT. COOL. Secondly, if the robots are teaching our children . . . well, we're probably just a few steps away from the robots taking over the world. And I, for one, feel I would have a better chance during the Zombie Apocalypse.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyway. So a couple of weeks ago . . . almost a month, actually . . . I was reading with one of the fourth graders (the same one who asked if I was alive during the Civil War, for those that care). She was reading the first book of the Babysitter's Club. Which was kind of awesome because I remember waaaaaaay back when, when those were the coolest books on the planet. And also on the lengthy banned-at-Lacey's-house-books list, although the Babysitter's Little Sister books were okay. So instead of knowing the whole series by heart I only read about a dozen or so. And loved them, just like every tween in America back in the day. Anyway, we get to the part where they're having their first ever club meeting and it talks about the phone reciever, at which point I'm asked what a phone reciever is. I get about as far as "it's the part of the phone that . . . oh . . . wait . . . crap." Then I spent about five minutes spluttering around trying to explain what a reciever is before remembering that there was an actual, genuine, corded land-line phone sitting on the desk at the front of the room. So I explain that all phones used to be like that. Which of course is dubbed as "weird" by today's fourth graders.

So ever since then I've been compiling a sort of mental list of all the awesome stuff I did in school that just doesn't seem to exist anymore - so sad!

~ Purple photocopies. I've been trying to remember what that machine was called for three weeks now, and it's bugging the crap out of me - help!!! But I'm sure you know what I mean - remember how the copies would all come out varied, and if you were lucky you got one that looked as crisp and clean as if it was printed off a laser printer, but heaven help you if you ended up with one form the part of the batch that got smeared into unreadability! Teachers should totally still print out worksheets in purple. Just because homework is so much more awesome when it's purple. :-)

~ The only use for computers is playing games! Dude - I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVED computer time in elementary school. I mean, sure they were educational games and stuff, but they were sooooooo epically fantabulous. The muncher creature that ate the numbers when you solved the problem? Best super hero ever. I remember some science-based games where you had to figure out why fish were dying in a lake - the acid levels were rising. Or something like that. One of my favorites was this one where you were Lewis and Clark and you controlled their expedition and what they found and who they talked to ad if they made it to the coast and back. So cool! And let's be honest, is there anything that qualifies as more of an epic win than old school Oregon Trail? I think not. Give me green oxen and wagon "walking" on the left of the screen over fancy hunting graphics any day!

~ On that note, how about knowing more about computers than your teacher did. I don't know about everyone else, but I certainly did. That might have something do to with the fact that I seriously don't remember a time when my family didn't own a computer. Which, I know, is on the less common side for my generation. And then in the advanced program I was in during elementary we worked a lot with computers, mostly making slide shows and such. Yep, I was a Power Point whiz before Power Point was cool. Before it even existed, actually. We used Macs, and I have absolutely no recollection of what the program was called . . . but I knew how to use it! It was such a big deal to get a computer in our classroom in sixth grade, but I was pretty much the only one who ever used it.

~ Actually playing at recess. I mean, I'm all for safety and all that good stuff, but sometimes it's surprising that kids aren't encased in bubble wrap before they go outside. Guess what folks? Cuts heal! So do broken bones! (disclaimer: spoken by someone who's never broken a bone.)

~ Homework = if you don't finish it in class, finish it at home. Good grief, homework club lasts for an hour after school gets out, and at least half the time that's not enough time to finish! So, so not right on so many levels. You want to know why kids are fat? Because by the time they finish their mountains of homework it's to dark to go outside and play so of course they play video games instead!! Seriously, what Phd holding moron came to the conclusion that giving kids four times as much homework as they had when they were a kid would be good for them?

~ FILMSTRIPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Filmstrip days were the best! So novel, so exciting, so . . . technologically advanced! :-) And those rare times when you watched a movie on one of those super old school projectors where you watched the wheels spinning? Holy cow, that was the teacher bringing out the big guns!And remember how it was such a privilege to be the one who got to flip the picture when the tape beeped if the teacher felt like taking a nap . . . I mean, grading some papers . . . instead of flipping the filmstrip? That, my friends, was quite the coveted position of power. Except for when the geniuses at the filmstrip company messed up and forgot a beep so you got off by a picture. Or when you weren't paying attention so you accidentally flipped it back to the last picture instead of the next one. Or was that just me? :-)

~ Edible lunches. Okay, I haven't seen what they serve at Ellis, but I found this a few days ago, and I'm officially scared. Granted, school cafeterias are not expected to serve five star cuisine, but really? I don't think vending machines at school as much of a problem as these lunches are. Now I have to admit that the school lunches I ate/saw in Utah were not particularly impressive, but I still have fond memories of lunches in IF. Everything was made fresh at the junior high and sent to the elementary schools - which was really convenient for my school, since it was just across the street. Everything was pretty tasty (except that nasty turkey fricasse or whatever it was - eeww!) and to this day I sometimes daydream about the molasses cookies when I'm craving sweets. Seriously, if I could find that recipe somewhere I would die perfectly happy. And the choices in junior high!!! I usually went through the hoagie line, but there was always fruit included. This would also be where I learned to put potato chips on my sandwich to make it crunchy - YUM! And sometimes I went to the salad bar and loaded down my plate with a mountain of kiwi (KIWI!!!!!!! In a school cafeteria!!!!!!) and pineapple and a small-ish chef salad that I built myself. *sigh* I hope they still do that up there. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what school lunch should be. So sad that education seems to always be the first budget to get cut. (And that is as close as I'm getting to touching that one with a ten-foot pole.)

~ Textbooks. Not really sure about this one, but the second graders have those desks that are comprised of a couple of open shelves that you just shove stuff into - and can I just say, those ones are sooo much more effective at eating important things like pencils . . . and reports . . . ) - and from what I've seen there are no textbooks in any of those kids' desks. No math books, science books, reading books . . . so weird. This one I have no explanation for. Can someone fill me in?

Moral of the story: I miss school. Being a student, I mean. If it was in any way feasible, affordable, and profitable I would totally be a professional student. Honestly, it's really the only thing I'm good at.

P. ost S. cript
So I totally should have saved the Goofy Movie video for today. Oh well. Instead, here's some cuteness overload. (warning: put down the jelly beans, or you just might go into a diabetic coma.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

So Much Cooler Online

I may have mentioned once or twice before that I have, like, no life. I go to work, I come home, I read, I curse myself for being shy, . . . yeah that's pretty much it. On the plus side, once in a while I come upon some pretty cool websites. You're welcome. :-)

1 ~ Have you tried pandora yet?! Okay, so I've known about this one for a while, but I finally gave it a try last week. Holy awesome, I am HOOKED!! I mean, where else am I ever going to find a Broadway-Celtic-classical-country-Hawaiian-pop-rock(varying degrees of hard and soft)-soundtracks-Weird Al-whatever world music I can find radio station? So. Amazing. I am in love! The one and only thing I don't like is that it's not completely random - the station control-y thing-y gets on a genre kick and plays a few songs from one genre, then it switches up and plays a handful from another, then switches up again. I would much prefer a more random feel. Oh well.

2 ~ There is no announcement-type reason for it, but I'm a huge junkie for baby name websites. I can spend ages going through meanings and derivatives and related names and popularity charts. Absolutely love it. And it will always make me giggle to think that the name my mother made up hit its highest popularity peak in 1984. :-)

3 ~ Ohmyheck, I just might figure out how this cooking thing works after all!! Luke found this one last week, and we are both sooooooo excited!!!!!! So. Freaking. Cool. Basically what you do is you tell the site what you have in the kitchen and it does a massive search of practically every recipe site out there and tells you what you can make without going shopping. I about died when I finished adding ingredients and saw how many things we could make! Totally going to be using this one a TON. Yay!!!! (and btw - this = delicious!!!!!!)

4 ~ Word Nerd Alert!! This one's kind of along the lines of the baby name stuff. But so very, very awesome. And so very, very fun. This one should be required entertainment for all school-age kids. Just watch the vocabularies expand! :-)

5 ~ Soooo going to trip people out with this one. 'Nuff said.

6 ~ Must. Do. This. Preferably soon. Curse you student loan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *shakes fist at sky*

P. ost S. cript
So I've posted a couple of videos like this one before . . . but I absolutely adore human tetris. It's reason enough to move to Japan if you ask me!! :-)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stories of Oops

(varying degrees of "oops")

1. So the root beer cake = well . . . I'm calling it a success. Noticeable (albeit a little subtle) root beer flavor (yay!!!!!!!!), but we're both thinking we prefer the taste in cookies (and in drinks - go figure, lol) than in cake. The cake came out pretty heavy, which I'm guessing is just because it's a scratch cake, and kind of dry. I'm guessing this is because when I came to the part of the recipe that said "one or two eggs" I gave the computer screen a bank/puzzled look for a moment or two, then took a shot in the dark and used one. Oops . . . ? We'll see what happens next time I make a cake. Nevertheless, I consider this endeavor a success seeing as it is my first cake from scratch. Definitely something I'll be trying again. At least once.

2. I am so incredibly psyched for all the commercial trappings of Easter. Jelly beans, malted robin eggs, peeps, Cadbury creme eggs (already had two of those this year . . . ), and EASTER EGGS!!!!!! Growing up this was the one time a year we had deviled eggs, so now it feels like sacrilege to eat them any other time. YUM!!! Anyway, Luke and I were talking about Easter eggs and how Luke missed out on all the best years for Easter commercialism since his family was Jewish until he was . . . ten . . . ish . . . ? Something like that. Aaaaaaaanyway, I suddenly remembered this time we were dying eggs, probably about 15 years ago. (We were still in IF, and it was in the height of the Amway days, so I think Aunt Loretta & Co. were there too. Aunt Loretta - does this one ring a bell?) We were using this sweet tye-dye kit that year where you put a couple of drops of two different dye colors in a plastic bag and put the egg in and just kind of smear the dye onto the egg. So mom reads enough of the directions on the box to get us all that much info, and the first combination we decided to try out was purple and yellow. Which resulted in a horrible red-brown color that looked almost like dried blood and utterly terrible. Oops. So we don't do anymore with that bag, but it kind of sucked because the kit only came with so many little baggies so that was one less cool looking combination we could do because it didn't occur to anyone that we could use, you know, sandwich bags or something. And when we're all done I'm reading the box and I notice something written at, I'm guessing, the exact point where my mom stopped reading. "All colors blend together beautifully (except purple and yellow)." I kid you not. Oops!

On the other hand, I remember that year and that egg. How many other years of egg dying have I forgotten, you know?

3. I made a little girl cry yesterday. Oops. In my defense, she brought it on herself. Shaylee is one of the second graders I have a bit of trouble with. Never wants to do anything, always insisting she can't do it or needs help when I know perfectly well she can do it because she's done it before . . . I'm sure you all know the type. But yesterday the class had a sub, and they were all milking the fact that said sub was a sweet old grandpa-type for all it was worth, and Shaylee started out by not quite flat out refusing to come with me when I pulled her out. Ultimately we get out in the hall and she flops herself down at the desk and refuses to get to work. But after two months the Shaylee-drama has really started to get old so after a couple of attempts at getting her going I tell her she has a choice - work with me now, or I keep her in at recess and we do it then. She still doesn't say a word, so I do the classic count-to-three thing, and she chooses "now" at about two and a half . . . but still won't look at the flashcard I'm holding. So I tell her I'm counting to three again and then she's staying in for recess for sure, and she says the word right as I say three. And then promptly has a pretty major meltdown - even for her - because I had started putting the cards away because I wasn't expecting her to actually do it. Anyway, I let her do it then instead of recess because she did start - should there be an oops here too? Should I have sent her in? The good news is she was much better behaved today. I think I scared her straight! :-)

4. So for the past couple of months our doorknob has been getting harder and harder to unlock. Practically impossible. Seriously, we're talking getting to the point that you have to turn the key and knob in a weird secret-handshake-esque combination of twists and turns whilst standing on one foot, crossing your eyes, and singing the Albanian national anthem in Swahili and then if you're lucky the doorknob gods will smile down on you and let you in. This was not really a big deal even a week ago because with Luke on graveyards more often than not one of us was on the inside where getting access to the other side is just a simple matter of turning the handle. You know, the way it should be. But Convergys has outsourced the graveyard shift to Costa Rica (yeah, explain that one!) So now Luke is in training because they're changing things and he leaves before I come home. And Tuesday I come home with my arms full of groceries and I end up having to put them all down because the doorknob gods are choosing not to smile down upon me this day and finally my key snaps off in the lock. Oops. So I go downstairs hoping and praying that Tommy the Handyman is home because A) groceries sitting outside the door, B) it's significantly colder than when I left for work, but I only have a light sweater on, and C) I kinda gotta pee and if I can't get in it will immediately become kinda urgently gotta because that's just how these things work. The good news: Tommy was home. The bad news: Credit card, pliers, and a couple other methods don't work. So Tommy says there are two options - he can call the manager to get permission to call a locksmith, then call a locksmith and hope they're not busy. Or he can try kicking the door in. We do that "look at each other and laugh awkwardly" thing, and I tell him if he wants to try it I'm okay with it, and he kicks the door in. Oops. ;-) It was a lot more anticlimactic than I expected. However there is a very small, very slight indentation in the door that you can totally see if you know what to look for. And it worked, which is really all that matters. And we got a new, much improved door knob and dead bolt yesterday, so everything ended wonderfully happily. Also: turns out both knob and bolt were rusted almost completely. Which explains a lot. Soooooooo glad we have a new one!!! :-)

P. ost S. cript
Okay, I admit I'm a bit of a junkie for A Goofy Movie. And I still kinda really adore the songs. So even though this is only my third favorite song from the movie, this one still lands in my top ten favorite youtube finds of all time. Possibly top five. (Huge shout-out, props, thanks, etc. to Kayla for posting it on facebook!) BTW, ten points if you can spot the awesome Homestar shirt! :-)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Little Help Here?

So raspberry cookies were rather an epic flop. Which is really disappointing since I used almost half a bottle in an attempt to compensate for the cooking off of flavor. But while the dough tasted aMAZing and the whole apartment smelled absolutely divine for a few days the cookies . . . totally bland. Tasted vaguely sugar cookie-ish. Smelled good though. And you could kind of taste the raspberry if you took a big sniff right before you took a bite - I'm sure we looked really weird whilst munching on them. So disappointing, especially because I was looking forward to trying this version with those chopped orange gummies. Seriously, how awesome does that sound?! Sad day!

I'm really confused. I mean, I know all about how the extracts bake off a bit . . . I've always at least doubled the vanilla in a recipe. But why are they baking off so thoroughly? I mean, what's the point of putting it in when there won't be the slightest taste of it in the finished product? Am I doing something wrong?

Luke thinks it's because it's imitation flavoring, which does make sense, but I've never seen pure versions of most of the flavorings in the baking aisle. Grrrrrr!!!!! Anyway, my next cookie experiment will be mint - pure mint - with Heath bits. YUM!!! My mouth waters just thinking about it.

(Also, I have a root beer cake in the oven right now . . . can't wait to see how that turns out!)

One other baking question while I'm appealing to the experts: every time I use this cookie recipe the cookies come out all flat and spread out like I forgot the flour or something. They taste normal, but they look like I completely messed up somewhere along the line. At first I thought it was because I was doubling the recipe (always do . . . otherwise not many cookies actually get baked!) and something got lost in the doubling and I needed to more than double the flour or something. So with the ras-flop cookies I did a single recipe and measured everything meticulously. And . . . nothing different. Could there be something wrong with the recipe? Luke thinks it's the oven, which admitedly is not really high quality, but everything else comes out fine - meatloaf, cakes, casseroles, pizza - even other kinds of cookies. So, so confused. Help!

And for those not related to me, a shameless plug - I have an awesome aunt. (Actually, I have multiple awesome aunts.) And she is an awesome cook. (Can't speak for the others, but I would assume so.) And she has an awesome cooking blog. Check it out! Bunches of yummy sounding recipes . . . I've only tried a few thus far, but they were great - and if I can follow them without screwing up, you know they're pretty fool-proof. Good times. You're welcome. ;-)

P. ost S. cript
Oh yes you can! I much prefer using a straw. :-)