Monday, October 31, 2016


Hooray for Halloween! Definitely makes my top three favorite holidays. My family takes Halloween pretty seriously, so I've always enjoyed putting a lot of effort into my costume. This year I went as 1980's Leia, which turned out to be really fun. My team at work did a heroes and villains theme.

Here is most of the team (a few people work earlier shifts, so we didn't get everyone):

We had the Powerpuff Girls and Mojo Jojo!

I also had another Leia to compete with for Han's affections (we called him Prince Leia).

My work lets people bring their kids to trick or treat at the end of the day, and this year my brother and his wife brought my nieces, which was a lot of fun. We stopped off to see our other brother, the Honorable Sheriff of Nottingham.

After work, my parents and I went trick or treating with my nieces. It was pretty fun until my feet started to hurt toward the end. I had worn my boots most of the work day, and then changed into my jellies for the rest of the day. This worked pretty well, until the jellies starting rubbing against my feet :( I put band-aids on, but eventually they started slipping off. So that was rough. But I got to wear my brother's awesome Nintendo jacket! I thought it was a nice touch.

All in all, a great Halloween. And when I got home, I had a treat waiting from my Visiting Teacher! Great way to end the night.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Jim Halperting Gone Fairly Well

It all started last Tuesday. I kept missing calls on my work phone and getting voicemails of a mysterious beeping quality. I quickly realized that someone was sending faxes to my phone. I asked my team if anyone had accidentally faxed to my phone, but no one admitted to it. This continued throughout the day, until the culprit finally admitted their misdeeds (this co-worker shall rename nameless in order to protect the identity of the not-so innocent). I swore revenge...

That evening, after some brainstorming, I had the answer: Jello. I decided to draw inspiration from The Office and put something of my team member's in Jello. Since we don't really use staplers, I went for the nameplate. I read a tutorial on the art of office supply Jello imprisonment and made my plans.

The instructions called for 16 (that's right, 16) boxes of Jello in order to create the higher density needed to hold the name plate in place (handy note if you ever do this: it works out to roughly half the water you would normally use. You basically just don't add the cold water (unless you're in a hurry; then go ahead and do the math)). The tutorial also described how to create a hammock of floss and duct tape in order to keep the object in place while the Jello was setting. I went to the store the next day after work to procure the necessary tools (I needed duct tape for my Halloween costume anyway - more on that next month). My original plan was to mix lime and lemon to get that yellow-green color seen on the show, but the only lemon in stock was sugar free, and I was concerned that the lack of sugar would compromise the integrity of the gelatin.

I arrived home with more Jello than I had ever seen together outside of the store.

I had planned to make the Jello in a large bowl to achieve the look in the show, but I quickly realized that the nameplate I had borrowed from my co-worker would not fit into any of my bowls. It was much longer than I had imagined it being. It also wouldn't fit into any of my pots. I ended up using a large pitcher. I decided that the hammock would be pointless, partially because it would be difficult to create it long enough to droop into the pitcher and catch the narrow side of the nameplate, and partially because the nameplate leaned nicely against the side of the pitcher and that seemed good enough for me.

I filled up the pitcher with water, continuing to follow directions, and then set that water to start boiling. As the water reached boiling, it suddenly occurred to me that my pitcher might not be designed to withstand boiling water. I had a vision of the pitcher melting and destroying my whole plan. If this failed, I was going to have to either go buy something, or show up at my parents' house to borrow a giant metal bowl. Luckily, the pitcher fared well (Tupperware is legit, guys).

I then began the exciting task of emptying 16 envelopes of Jello into the pitcher. Having limited counter space, (especially since I hadn't thought to tidy up beforehand to create more space), I had to place the boxes in various places around the kitchen. After I emptied an envelope, I placed the envelope in the garbage, but threw the box over my shoulder with the intention of recycling later. I soon had a rather impressive collection of tiny boxes on my floor. I wish I had taken a picture of it.

One thing I quickly discovered was that I hadn't taken the volume of the actual Jello powder into my water measuring. The more Jello I poured into the pitcher, the higher the water level got, until it was threatening to pour out the spout. Eventually, I had to remove a few cups of water to avoid an overflow (Captain America, pictured below, facilitated the evacuation). I hoped that enough of the powder had made it to the bottom so I wasn't wasting too much.

After the adding and stirring of the Jello powder, I was ready to place the nameplate in the pitcher. My next concern, though, was that the still hot water could cause damage to the nameplate, which was mostly plastic. I had this terrible vision of the plate warping, and then of me being pulled into the department head's office so he could demote me due to damaging company property. I decided to wait until the water had cooled down a bit to put it in. I put the plate in just before I went to bed, at which point I discovered that the plate would not, in fact, nicely sit on the bottom and lean against the side. Instead, it was determined to float! And I swear it hadn't floated before (see earlier picture). So I guess the Jello made the difference. Dang science.

I went to bed, concerned that this whole thing was going to bomb and be a general failure. I ended up waking up at 3:30 and, unable to get back to sleep, got up to see if I could push the nameplate down into semi-solid Jello. Of course, the Jello had already set up. In fact, it was so solid that I couldn't push the plate down (I mean, I didn't push that hard, but still). So at least I knew that the Jello wouldn't completely spread out into a pull when it would be released the next day.

I went into work a few minutes early the next day, hoping to deposit the Jello before my co-worker arrived at work. I had worn my Crocs, sensing the possibility of ending up with Jello on my shoes.  Unfortunately, they arrived early that day! I was forced to walk quickly past their desk with the pitcher at my side, hoping not to be detected. I tucked the pitcher under my desk and starting to think of a way to get this person away from their desk long enough to return the borrowed nameplate (which I'm fairly certain they hadn't noticed was gone).

Assistance came in the form of one of our department trainers, who lured the co-worker away to get feedback on a recent training. Once out of sight, I leapt into action with the assistance of others on my team. I had thought out the procedure ahead of time. I had brought a platter with me for the Jello to sit on, but I also grabbed a plate from the breakroom so we could remove the Jello somewhat vertically and then let it sit sideways on the platter.

This technique worked fairly well. It was a three person operation, one on plate, one on platter, one on pitcher. I had loosened the top edges of the Jello before I left work that morning in order to coax it out more easily. I slowly, but firmly, began to shake the Jello out of the pitcher and onto the plate. It was all going quite nicely until we got to the end. It turned out that there was more Jello than there was platter, and so a large amount of Jello fell off the platter, down the side of the desk, and onto the floor. Swinging between panic and hysterical laughter, we quickly picked the errant Jello up off the floor and into the pitcher (FYI, picking up Jello is not an easy task). We wiped down the specks of Jello from the desk. As predicted, I did have Jello all over my shoes (thank you, Crocs!).

We took a moment to admire the Jello. It really didn't look so bad, apart from splitting a bit (well, a lot) in the middle. It probably would have been perfect in a bowl. It looked a lot like the removed contents of a can of cranberry jelly, down to the slight lines from the top rim of the pitcher. The biggest problem, however, was that the nameplate was barely distinguishable from the Jello. Not only was the double dense lime a dark green color, but I had emptied the pitcher on the wrong side, so only the black back of the plate was visible.

We returned to our desks and awaited the co-worker's return. At first, they were confused since it looked like there was just a pile of Jello on the desk. Soon, however, they realized the nameplate was in the Jello and had a good laugh. News spread throughout the office, and people stopped by to see the Jello. Others walked by with curious looks on their faces. One odd gentleman randomly grabbed a handful and ate it. He later returned and said "I've been wanting to do this all day", at which point he pulled out a pocket knife, sliced the Jello, then folded up his knife and walked away. So that was weird.

All in all, it was a success. It had been a long time since I'd pulled off such a good prank, so it was a lot of fun. And, bonus, my sister called me later to ask for tips on how much Jello to use for a mold of her own. So that was fun. It was a lot of work, but totally worth it.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 11, 2016


Every year on September 11th, I tell myself that I'm going to write down my memories of that day in 2001. And every year so far, I've forgotten, or gotten busy, and I've never made that record. I remember teachers telling us that in years to come, this experience will be like members of an older generation remembering where they were when President Kennedy was assassinated. I wanted to get down everything I remembered, so today I am finally doing it.

On September 11, 2001, I was a junior at Logan High School. I remember walking into my first period math class that day and seeing that the television was on. I thought that we were watching a movie, and couldn't figure out why we would do that in math class. Soon enough, someone told me it was real; that an airplane really had hit the World Trade Center, a building I had barely even heard of. We thought it had to be some kind of horrible accident, but what kind of accident would involve more than one plane?

The rest of the day was mostly a blur of staring at television sets. I'm fairly certain I watched the towers collapse live, but I honestly don't remember for sure. Everything was replayed so many times, it all ran together a bit. Televisions were on in all classrooms, with no attempts at lessons. We were all transfixed. We couldn't look away. The belief that I had grown up under that the United States couldn't be touched was crumbling before my eyes. This was unlike anything I had ever witnessed before, or since.

I had two breaks from the television during school that day. The first was when I went to seminary. My seminary teacher insisted that it would do us no good to stare at the news and gave his previously prepared lesson, though I'm sure he adjusted it for the needs of that day. I don't remember anything about the lesson, but I remember being soothed. It was a moment of respite in that terrifying day.

The second break was for the Homecoming assembly. Yes, that week was our Homecoming week. I don't remember if we had the full assembly. I do remember going down to the auditorium. I don't remember much else.

The last thing I remember is going home after school and turning yet another television set on. I was the only one home, and I stood in our living room, eyes glued to the television. I couldn't even sit down. I remember watching as the neighboring tower collapsed after hours of burning. I remember looking around at my house and thinking how strange it was that everything was so normal here, but on the other side of the country, the world was changing.

The following days were a constant stream of media stories and folklore. There was one persisting story that there was a group of [fill in the blank] that had a huge meeting scheduled in the trade center that was cancelled at the last minute. One of the versions of the stories was about a large group of missionaries. My cousin was serving his mission in New York at the time (he was in Queens, but 15 year old me had no idea where that was in conjunction with Manhattan and pictured him walking around right by the towers).  I remember being so scared that he could have been hurt, and was relieved to hear that he was safe.

When the cleanup started, we heard that there were survivors caught in the rubble of the collapse. We heard about the constant rescue effort, about the lists of missing persons and the families that were desperate to find their loved ones. It was haunting.

On a brighter note, I remember the way our whole country came together, first to mourn, and then to show an appreciation for family and God, and a massive increase of patriotism.

I visited New York City in 2005. The cleanup was long completed, but there wasn't much there. Just two massive holes where two grand buildings once stood. We leaned up against the chain link fence and stared as the memories flooded back. It was a solemn place.

Those are my memories. I wish I had done this back in high school so that I could remember more details, but the feelings are all still there, and I guess that's what counts.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Salt Lake Comic Con!

I interrupt this lengthy break in blogging with the tale of a Comic-Con adventure! Nikki and I have been talking about going to Comic-Con since before her mission (back before there even was one in Salt Lake) and this year, we went! Of course, the only reason we made it was because I got free tickets from a guy at work who couldn't go...but that's neither here nor there.

Since we didn't know how early we'd be going or how late we'd be staying, I went down to Nikki's in Provo the night before and planned to stay with her Thursday night as well (this managed to clinch me a 5 day weekend, though I swear I didn't plan it that way).

We decided that we didn't want to deal with the madness that the Mark Hamill panel undoubtedly would cause and skipped ahead to the first panels (in hindsight, maybe we should have dealt with it, but I'm still not that upset about missing him. I know; worst Star Wars fan ever). We decided to go early and hit Temple Square, which was fun. I would like to point out, however, that wearing a TARDIS dress on Temple Square felt a bit odd, like I was terribly under-dressed, though I'm sure no one cared.

After Temple Square (and lunch at the Nauvoo Cafe), we wandered a bit through City Creek, taking in the Tiffany window displays (I always love those) and headed over to the Salt Palace. Of course, I had to stop and take pictures in the TARDIS that was sitting in front (for you non-Whovians, the TARDIS is from Doctor Who. The Doctor uses it to travel through time and space).

We went inside....and stood in line. And stood and stood and stood. Luckily, it wasn't too awfully boring. There was a very nice girl in line in front of us that we had some lively conversation with, and of course it was fun to look at everyone's costumes. Finally, we were released into the vendor hall. The vendor hall was amazing. Booths as far as the eye could see. Literally. We were actually quite confused as to where we were.

We had made it in a few minutes after two, and the first panel we wanted to go to started at 2 (I think we must have missed something because there were one o'clock panels, but there's no way we would have gotten to those; we were still in line at that time). We made it to the panel fifteen minutes late and squeezed into the back row. The panel was on writing humor and was a pretty good time.

After that, we weren't really sure what to do with ourselves. We figured out where we needed to be for our photo op later, and then just wandered around the booths. We decided that there were lots of booths that would be quite handy if you were into creating a well-done cosplay, but other than that it was a lot of merchandise that you could find in stores or online if you so desired. We did find a little something to give to my friend at work as a thank you for the tickets. We also ran into Han Solo, frozen in carbonite. There wasn't anything we could do to save him, so we posed for a picture.

Having little to entertain us with the booths, we went to a second panel on creating characters for your novel. It was really interesting and gave both me and Nikki a lot to consider for current and future stories.

After the panel, it was time for our celebrity photo op! When I found out I was going to be at Comic-Con on Thursday, I started looking through the celebrity photo ops available and decided it would be fun to get a picture with Arthur Darvill, of Doctor Who fame (he is also currently starring in Legends of Tomorrow). We returned to the photo op area and got in a very long line. We waited for a while, but the line moved fairly quickly. Those guys have it down to a science. You get your voucher scanned, put your bag on a table so it doesn't have to be in the picture, check your hair in the kindly provided mirror, and then spend approximately ten seconds with your celebrity of choice. It was totally crazy!

It all went so fast that I mostly have memory fragments. I remember looking up and seeing Arthur smiling between pictures. We walked over to him and he put his arms on our shoulders, so we put our arms around him (I should note at this point that Nikki had never heard of Arthur Darvill, but graciously agreed to be in the picture with me so I didn't feel so awkward). Then we had about one second to smile before the picture was taken. I honestly don't remember looking him in the face when we got to him, which I feel a bit silly about, but I did say "Hi" before and then "Thank you" afterwards, rubbing his back a a thank you.

And that was it! We were directed out of the booth, picked up our bags, and then walked around the corner to where our pictures were being printed out. We received one 8x10 picture, which is mainly why I felt the awkwardness that led me to have Nikki be in the picture with me. What was I going to do with such a large picture of me and, essentially, a stranger? This way, the picture was more of a memory of our time together and not me  being a ridiculous fangirl.

We got the picture, and I tried to decipher the look on Arthur's face. I was trying to decide if maybe he was doing a brooding face when Nikki mentioned that he looked like he was tired and ready to be done with pictures (we were one of the very last groups). I'm hoping this isn't true, because otherwise my exciting celebrity experience only generated proof that the celebrity was in fact just bored. We decided that he really was brooding. Clearly, he was trying to decided which of us was better looking so he would know who to ask out after this was all over ;) But see for yourself and form your own opinions:

After we picked up the picture, we were both so exhausted that we headed out and returned to Provo, where we ate dinner at Zupas. Mmmm....

So there it is: our Comic-Con experience! Overall, it was a bit underwhelming. I've decided that either we did it wrong, or I'm just too old for such things. I'd still be willing to try it again, though. I think once you know what to expect, you can plan a little better...maybe.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Harriet Smith-ing Gone Awry, Or The Time I Almost Caught My Porch On Fire

Do you ever hold on to totally random, seemingly useless items just for the sentimentality? And do you ever suddenly realize that you really don't need those random, totally useless items? And then do you think that it might be nice to display your realized lack of sentimentality to yourself by burning those useless items?

This story happened back in November, but I had decided not to blog about it, for various reasons. Then, last week, I decided that I might as well. This is one of the funniest moments in my recent history, and it deserves additional laughter, although I'm not sure how funny it will be if you weren't there.

So, as previously mentioned, last November I decided to burn a couple of things. The items were both natural fiber-based, so there didn't seem any harm in setting them aflame. I had an old candle jar (with a little wax still in the bottom) that would set the scene nicely. Concerned about smoke in my home, I took the operation out onto my porch.

I placed the items in the candle jar, lit them with a match, and sat back to watch the burning. Unfortunately, it took longer than expected, and the boredom (and cold) soon drove me back inside. I checked on my little bonfire semi-frequently, about every ten minutes. It seemed to be taking forever.

After about an hour of burning, I stepped outside and was greeted by a candle jar engulfed by flame! Alarmed, I suddenly recalled that I had recently poured some bacon grease into the jar, and that the grease had probably melted and contributed to the inferno before me.

Determined to keep a cool head and act swiftly, I ran inside and filled up a cup with water, pouring it into the jar when I returned to the porch. The cold water on the hot glass caused the jar to break, and wax went spilling out onto the porch. I filled up and emptied the cup a couple more times before the blaze was entirely quenched, at which point I realized the ridiculous of the scenario and started laughing hysterically. This is what I was left with:

Shortly afterwards, I went out and scraped the remaining wax off the porch, but there still remained a slightly charred, slightly waxy mark on the concrete, the lasting memory of this experiment...gone up in flames.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Iiiiiiitttt'ssss Candle Time!

Hello, all you lovely people!

Today, I went with my parents down to Hill Air Force Base, where we met my sister with her boyfriend (and his kids and dad) to go through the museum together. As luck would have it, our long-awaited candle order arrived this very morning! As Heather and I had discussed vlogging together, this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Please forgive the somewhat choppy editing; this is my very first attempt at the craft.

Thanks for reading! And watching!

Friday, February 19, 2016

As I Lay Dying...or while I'm just sick.

I've been sick this week, and since I know you all need more insight into the hurtling cars on my train of thought, I present to you...


Day One

~I never should have knocked on particle board. Always knock on actual wood!
~My stomach cannot handle much more of this girl's talk about cancer and surgeries that leave holes in people's heads.
~I feel like I'm always having to buy more Nyquil. I don't finish the bottle, but by the time I'm sick again, it's expired. I would get married just to have someone to use up the rest of the Nyquil.

Day Two

~Eat something more than a rice cake before taking a 12 hour Sudafed, lest you start tripping out at work.
~My tongue feels funny.
~Cheap toilet paper is no friend to a tender nose.
~The "Champagne of Dairy"?! What have I gotten myself into? Maceys, where is my normal brand of Peru-style drinkable yogurt?

~Star Wars is the cure for the common cold, right?
~Dear Lemon-Lime Gatorade,
Thank you for your gentle flavor and lack of red dye. I wouldn't want to tempt a migraine when I'm already miserable.
A Delicate Flower
~A New Hope didn't work. Maybe The Empire Strikes Back will have better luck...
~Here's hoping I don't get sick enough to start mumbling things about the Dagobah system.

Day Three

~"Is that my voice? Is that my voice?"
~I'm feeling better today, so clearly Star Wars had an effect. Better watch Return of the Jedi to make sure.

Day Four

~I wonder what life is like for people who aren't trying to pop their ears every thirty seconds.

And on day five, I had mostly recovered. And so ends the regaling of my odd thoughts while ill.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Checking back in...

Hello, 2016!

Okay, I'll admit it: the Wizarding Wednesday thing sort of failed. It was fun while it lasted, though! It just wasn't very fun trying to stick to a schedule like that (okay, that sounds lame. Whatev).

Some of you may know that I take the Jeopardy online contestant test every year. It's probably been six or seven years since I started. I know I probably won't get on, but it's fun to take it and see how I do (side note: Jeopardy doesn't actually tell you how you do; you have to have someone take pictures and then Google the answers afterward).

My average score has been in the high twenties (out of 50). I think the minimum needed for an in-person audition is about 35, but that's not what this story is about. Last year, I got 19 out of 50. I know this will sound ridiculous, but I was heartbroken. It felt like my intelligence had slipped. I was two years into my current position, and while I still mostly enjoyed where I was, I knew that I was slipping. I knew that my brain was turning to mush from the stress of my job. I was tired of constantly putting out fires and never making any headway. It was no longer a good fit for me. (Please note that I said not a good fit; I have nothing against the position itself. I still have friends on that team and know that they love where they are.)

Shortly after this, I got a promotion! I moved from client relations to leadership, and I love it even more than I thought I would. I love working face to face with people. I love knowing that I'm making a difference. Most of all, I love knowing that my actions directly impact my team for permanent solutions. Despite being in a management role, this last year has been much less stressful.

A couple of weeks ago, I took the Jeopardy test and got 29 out of 50, one of my best scores yet. It felt really good to be back in good mental condition. This past year, I haven't felt like my brain was mush. I haven't felt the need to come home and switch my brain off. I feel excited about the work I'm doing and eager to go in every day. And it's lovely.

I have a feeling that 2016 will be a good year. Of course, that all depends on me and what I do with the year ahead of me. I'm hoping to have more motivation to share the year with you, dear readers, but no promises (Wizarding Wednesday, RIP...unless I feel like reviving it here and there). It does feel good to write, though.

Thanks for reading.