12.28.2010

Fulfilling Your Stereotype.

I fulfill many of the stereotypes that one might suppose I would.  I like a lot of the things on Stuff White People Like.  I am a liberal who likes NPR and the New York Times.  I'm a woman who likes to waste money on nail polish.  I don't hold this against myself. 

But every once in awhile, someone fulfills that kneejerk image you've built of them SO WELL, that it must be shared, and expressed with glee to the masses.  My dear friends, this is one of those times.

Today on my way back to work from lunch, I pull up at a long stoplight next to a truck.  A big, dirty truck.  It has wheels the size of my cubicle, and a choice bumper sticker.  Fortunately, it was a long enough red light that I had time to get a picture. 


oh, and a close up of the bumper sticker.



Now, we all know what guy we think drives this truck.  In our fantasy it's a guy with spiked hair and an Ed Hardy t-shirt and gold rings on at least 3 fingers.  He hates his beautiful cluless wife, and he's the one who becomes beligerently drunk at your office Christmas Eve party by the time you're slicing the pumpkin pie.

I don't know (and from this angle I actually can't conceive) that he saw me take this picture, but when the light turned green, he sped off, and then tried to pass me rather aggressively.  I decided not to let him cut me off and squeeze his giant truck into the tiny space between me and the car in front of me, and speedily encouraged him to get behind.  Next, he slams on his breaks, swerves his monstrosity in behind me, and I see a flash of white in my rearview mirror. 

what I saw was the sheen of his bedazzled hand pointing and um, rudely gesturing at my vehicle.  with all its might.  Why all his might you ask?  Well, because he was SO SHORT behind his GIANT STEERING WHEEL that it seemed to require his entire stature to get his hand high enough that I might see it in the mammoth windshield of his truck.  He was so short he was actually peering at me through his steering wheel, with only the spikes of his bleach gelled hair appearing above the curve of the grip on his wheel. 

I mildly tap my breaks, bringing my car from 40 in a 40mph speed limit zone, to maybe a 37.  Because I have to see if he's really who I think he is. This is enough to make this (undoubtedly 'roid induced) road rager flash his lights, blast his horn, and approach my bumper within mere inches.  As soon as the lane next to me empties, he tears out again, leaving a giant puff of black smoke and deafening motor revs in his wake, before finally turning into Hogle Zoo. 

Sometimes I wish my husband were as badass as him. 

 

GIVEAWAY WINNER!

Big thanks to Random.org for choosing Dan the first time.  Proof that this is random, since I clearly do not want that picture burned.  But I omnipotently decided that it would be ridiculous if Dan won, so congratulations to......

MULEMAMMA!  You will receive all your hard earned prizes in due time, and I truly appreciate all of you who participated in our first annual Lorraineinspain giveaway!  This won't be the last, methinks.

12.22.2010

Tidings of Comfort, Victory, and GIVEAWAYS!!!!!


1.  My Cranberry pie finally won!  After a tragic finish at an ugly sweater party, and being overshadowed by the chocolate pecan pie at Thanksgiving, my Nantucket Cranberry Pie (which I took to the next level with a chocolate cream cheese icing)  got first place at the office holiday party Top Chef competition. I am happy.

2.  I also coincidentally won a caption contest on my favorite horse blog, and for my witty mockery was awarded a gift certificate for horse tack!  As I currently don't have a horse of my own, I'm giving it to Camp K.  I hope my mother and her 3 horses, 2 mules and 2 donkeys forgive me.  But I'm still claiming victory on that one, and relishing in being mentioned on my favorite blog in the same post as my international heroes.

3. GIVEAWAY!!!!  I was inspired by a number of blogs giving away x-boxes, TVs, designer handbags, and gift cards to the moon, but I decided that you don't actually need to be rich to share the love.  Therefore, I am announcing the very first Lorraine in Spain BirthdayChristmasNewYear giveaway!!!!  And entering is EASY! All you have to do is leave a semi amusing or extremely funny comment on this blog post, and then I will choose a winner using a randomizer found on these here internets.

So, what are you going to win????

 a) one stoneware ceramic creation glazed and fired, created by yours truly.
b) one splendid thing I find on Etsy.
c) one silly ghost written letter from the President of my University thanking you for any fake donation of your choice (as long as it is in good taste. make good choices) on University letterhead.
d) a picture of Dan doing something ridiculous. 

I KNOW YOU WANT TO WIN THIS. If you've never commented before, don't be afraid! We're all friends here, and I will not hold your secret stalking against you.  So go for it kiddies, and merry holidays! Please comment before Christmas to be eligible!

12.20.2010

TT3: Fleet Foxes Sun it Rises








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This entire album is the very soundtrack of my trip to Eastern Europe.  It reminds me of many moments from that trip, but MOST vividly, it reminds me of Kiev.  I still dream about Kiev and the monastaries and communist apartment buildings and dazzling trolleys and subways.  And I hear these songs and I am immediately there.

I especially recommend Ragged Wood and White Winter Hymnal, but the whole album is another time and place so sweet, so bright, and so unearthly that it makes me want to spit fire at the monotony of a desk job and whisk myself and my dearest love away to the cold and steamy air of the good people of Ukraine and live out our days in a freezing 10th floor cement apartment building teaching english and never looking back.





12.16.2010

TT2: Me and Charlie Talkin' by Miranda Lambert









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I love me a good Jaw Harp.  I was looking for a more spectacular anthem during the plane ride to the World Equestrian Games, and though this song seems to have no connection, there's something about Miranda Lambert's twang and the nostalgia of childhood that was all too perfect for a horse kid's dream-fulfilling-trip to the Bluegrass State.   Enjoy.




12.15.2010

An Unexpected Snow.

Okay, Maybe it wasn't unexpected for everyone else, but I don't listen to weather reports. 



I prefer either the doom and gloom of NPR, or the happy tidings of Solos Exitos on 106.1, which is currently playing a smattering of Spanish Christmas music.


But the good news is that it was a delightful surprise when this morning the campus looked like this.  The students are mostly gone, the few peaceful sounds are muffled by the layer of the Lord's sound insulator.

And then five campus shuttles go by, pound my car with black slush, the parking meter nazi is watching me to be sure I put enough change in my meter to keep his preying bloodthirsty claws off my wiper blide, and I almost get hit by a University sidewalk truck.

Don't be fooled by it's peaceful columns.  On campus, chaos is eminent. Or at least a parking ticket. 

I escaped that one today. 


I hope you've enjoyed these ramblings of a working woman.  Merry Snow Day.

12.10.2010

Bizarre Breaking News

1. That lunatic accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart was found guilty, not insane. So apparently he's NOT a lunatic, he's just a despicable human being.

2. I kissed a boy and I liked it. (to mock dan for the fact that he owns cherry chapstick and is the only person on planet earth who did not associate that ownership with Katie Perry's pop sensation.)

3. My crazy sport of 3 Day Eventing is currently considering the possibility of requiring a buckled and approved safety helmet at all times. That would mean the end of the dismal derby hat on Day 1, and safety at all times for all riders. For a sport known for it's danger, it's a delightfully conscious effort. We should have an official answer by next week.

4. Not exactly breaking news, but I did spend my lunch hour at Camp K to help with the "Horses for Heroes" program, in which we invite war veterans to come up and ride, which helps with mobility, PTSD, and, duh, makes you feel good. One of the vets with a long white beard and the bluest of blue eyes had a hard time getting on, but once he was in the saddle, only wanted to gallop! His old pal happily obliged and dociley tore around the arena to the Vet's delight. It was hard not to appreciate how fun it was for him. I rode bareback, which was a stark reminder of how much I've lost in my old seat, but the 4 year old mare I was on was nothing short of a total hoot. Easily the best lunch hour of my whole entire life.

5. I had to make 2 dishes last night for 2 food contests today. My artichokes with vegan dip lost today. BUT, there is still hope for my Nantucket Cranberry Pie tonight. Cross your fingers, mateys!

6.  I just accidentally posted this on my work blog instead of this blog.  That was embarrassing.  Blogger says no one was viewing the page in that past hour, so here's hoping that no one knows I complained about losing the office vegan cook-off.  yeesh.

12.08.2010

Dog Days Love the Way Your House Built Me in Recovery Because I Need You Now, you Fame Monster.

I promise to get another Traveling Tunes up soon.  In the meantime, here is a playlist that I compiled of various Grammy nominated artists this year who in my opinion don't suck (a la, Justin Bieber is not in this playlist, even if he probably WILL win the best new artist of the year. shudder.)

While I find the Grammys to be political and contrived, and giving awards for something as subjective as music to be laughable, I do like being exposed to good tunes I might otherwise miss (especially in more obscure genres) and to see ground breaking artists being rewarded for trying new things (coughmirandalambertcough). 

Enjoy.  Disclaimer: Playlist doesn't give me edited version options, and some songs have "adult language."  Make good choicez, yo.



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12.07.2010

Kosher is Komplicated.

When I was living in Arlington, VA, I had a catholic roommate.  Said Catholic Roommate was a real Catholic, or perhaps a Less Common Catholic, as she actually went to mass every week,  was a good woman in myriad ways, and would've made the loveliest nun if she hadn't been engaged to (and now married to) a good Catholic italian hunk.  But I digress.  Catholic Roommate took part in Lent of course, and because I have a condition known as "worshipus infectious envious,"  I joined her in Lent, and took on the great task of not eating out for 40 days.  It was hard, I broke down once for a McFlurry on a particularly terrible day of work, but otherwise remained devout and saved a great deal of money in the process.

So when Hanukkah came around this year, I reflected on my Jewish Ancestors, pulled out my simple little menorah, and thought to myself, "I ought to do more than light a few candles.  Maybe I should try to be Kosher!" and so began my experiment.

I made two enormous assumptions: 1) that I can do anything for 8 days and 2) being kosher means like no pork and no shellfish, right?

ugh.

The part that is actually the hardest is the rule that says that you should not eat meat and dairy (or their derivatives) in the same meal, and should wait 1-6 hours between partaking of the two.  this rules out the most elementary of things, like cheeseburgers, sandwiches, creamy chicken soups, sausage and pancakes (unless you make your pancakes with water- no wonder Jews like potato pancakes), or if you're like me, love a tall glass of milk with pretty much any meal.

Even food that seems safe, like cereal, is only REALLY safe if it has the right symbol.  Unless you're Jewish, have Jewish friends, played a devout Jewish person in some sort of theatrical telling, or have an obsessive compulsion about reading everything on a nutritional label before shoveling something down your piehole, you probably never noticed that there are kosher symbols all over your packaged food.  They will look like one of these things, generally: 



and that is just confusing as a pig in a car wash.  (which I'm guessing would also be some form of non-kosher, seeing as how they don't much care for pigs.)

And don't even get me started on eating out. 

Essentially, I've more or less become a vegan for Hanukkah, which is cool too.  A lot of beans, salad, rice, fresh vegatables.  And I will admit that 6 days in, a lot of these rules get aggravating, and seem to have no logical application, and other rules are really sort of neat, and dare I say even remind me of the word of wisdom?

For example, the meat/dairy rule effectively cuts your ability to make a lot of meat dishes, which aids one to eat meat sparingly.  When I HAVE eaten meat this week, it was planned, thoughtful, and deeply appreciated.
Kashrut also requires you to only eat domesticated animals, which doesn't necessarily come up a lot, but I really like the sentiment of letting wild beasts and birds just be. 

And one of the most interesting:  it is strictly forbidden to eat insects.  And while that only seems to be a bother if you have a hankering like John the Baptist for a good locust and honey lunch in the breakroom, it actually affects all sorts of Kosherness.  It means you can only drink certain juices, have to wash all your fruits and vegetables to the nine (you'd be surprised at how often insects linger in your cabbage unnoticed) and perhaps most daunting of all for 98.2% of all women who end their day with a coin sized dove bar or equivalent: virtually no chocolate.  there are a ton of bugs in your chocolate, it's true, and while undectable to us, it's not undetectable to a rabbi.  So chocolate must be specially prepared and blessed by a Rabbi (this also applies to some meat, wine, and a variety of other goods)  and I tell you what, I haven't found it yet in Salt Lake Valley.

Paradoxically, this also means that I can't eat the chocolate treats from my Advent calendar. grrrrr.

But honestly, it's been an entertaining ride, And I have immense respect for the 1 in 6 Jews who live their whole lives by this law.  They are good and merciful people, who might even be so good as to forgive me for completely spacing all kosher sense last Saturday and ordering a bowl of clam chowder at Soup Kitchen. 

12.01.2010

Why My Mom is Pretty Much the Greatest Person on the Planet.

Somewhere in the innumberable horse blogs that I check every day, I stumbled upon a link to the logistics company for the World Equestrian Games (that little diddy of an adventure I went to in Kentucky back in October, you may remember me pretty much self destructing with dangerous mixtures of devastation and glee over a 4 day period.) 

Anyway, this company is selling off "used WEG" items, including rubber stall mats used by the horses that competed at the World Equestrian Games.  As one delightful equestrian blogger put it: "That is, if you want to own a piece of history by buying something that a French reining horse crapped on."



And the answer is of course, yes, yes as a matter of fact I DO! 

What makes this awesome is that since I don't have a horse, or a stall for that matter, I always pawn horse items off on my mother to buy for HER horses.  It's a happy relationship.

My mother's reply:  yeah, cool, find out how much for shipping to 92084 for 10' x 10'

And that's why my mother is ACTUALLY my best friend.

11.24.2010

Foolish? This isn't Foolish!!

that's a Dumb and Dumber quote.  Ask me sometime about quoting that movie end to end. My brother-in-law Jared and I could do a little show for you. Mostly at weddings or holiday parties. 

But I am actually foolish.  In my excitement to be an adult/wife/new-in-law, I enthusiastically volunteered to make a couple pies for the Thanksgiving Feast that will be had with Dan's family in Kanab.  From the onset this whole thing smacked of "See? I cook! I'm totally domestic and whatever? Look! I can WHISK!"  and it was about that point when Dan took the potato masher out of my hand and asked me if I'd ever done this before.  (For the record, the potato masher breaks up the butter just fine, thankyouverymuch.)

I had to make the Pecan Pie twice before I trusted myself to make the real thing. The first time, I used "the easy recipe" which pretty much said -stir these 5 ingredients together and go nuts.  It was nuts alright. watery, milky chocolate bits and some nuts.  The second time, I used the much harder recipe it came out PERFECT in the pre-bought crust.  But of course, I didn't want a STORE BOUGHT CRUST for thanksgiving! I needed to MAKE A CRUST!  REAL WOMEN MAKE CRUSTS!  GODLESS CAREER WOMEN WITH NO CHIDREN BUY CRUSTS!!!! (pant pant pant) and three hours and 4 panic attacks later, I think that I have a decent pie. 

The second pie was a piece of cake (har har), just a simple recipe stolen from The Pioneer Woman for a Cranberry Pie, to which I added a few sliced blackberries (the fruit, not the phone) to give it a little extra sweetness. I feel good about that one.

But my poor housemate can attest to the AWESOME attitude that I had while doing it.  Because I am bored and bitter at my job for making me work today, I will try and make you up a little illustration. 







Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.

11.22.2010

Walking in a Winter Wonderland....Indoors?

Forgive this slightly self indulgent wife post that could probably be a page right out of seriously so blessed. I promise not to do this more than a couple times a year.  Unless I'm having an especially good wife month, and then it could be more.  Or if I'm having an especially poor wife year someday, you might luck out and just get ramblings about corn dogs and my thoughts on global warming. LUCKY YOU!!!!!

My twisted wife weekend began with my first attempt at a chocolate pecan pie. It's a first attempt because I am hoping to take said pie to the Jackson Family Thanksgiving in Kanab, and I will not take a first attempt pie to such a grand occassion.  I have standards to set. 

Thank heavens it was a first attempt. Despite following the recipe exactly, it was terribly eggy and watery.  The evaporated milk didn't set up, and my whisking apparently left much to be desired.  And, I couldn't taste the chocolate at all. Terrible recipe, and even worse whisking.  I hope to have that sorted out before this Thursday :S

I took a break from domesticity Saturday morning and audited a horse training clinic with my friend/employer Rebecca (who owns Gwen) which was a wonderful opportunity to brush up some of my old Dressage skills, meet and see some of the big players in the Utah dressage scene right now, and garner some new techniques, as well as talk horses with my new horse friend (you don't know how valuable these are in a shrinking horse world!)  It was very motivating for some of my future ambitions- some top secret plans that are still in the works!  More on that later in the month, I think. 

I returned in the afternoon, and le Husband and I decided to start a puzzle someone gave us as a wedding gift.  Thinking this was a good alternative to a game in which Dan and I compete against each other, I soon come to hear the tale of how the Jackson siblings used to time each other doing 100 piece puzzles, and I soon realized there are very few activities that come in a box that aren't considered competitive in this clan.  The good news is, I think I am winning at the puzzle.

Sunday we woke up post blizzard/harry potter trauma (yes, I find the entire HP franchise to be basically traumatizing; "let's introduce you to some characters that you will learn to love and then write 6 more books that tortures, manipulates, drives apart, and breaks down all those nice people while you helplessly read/watch on.  have fun!!!" but I still read/watch anyway.)  to discover that the power was out.  We called the power company, whose automated message informed us that there were 19,000 people without power in the salt lake valley, and we settled in for a long frigid day.  Actually, it was lovely.  turning off TVs, records, and distractions for a day led to le Husband and I having many the nice chat about our lives, our dreams, our best stories.  It was nice to have a day essentially devoted to how happy we are together, how much we get along, and how good we've got it.  We've each weathered storms before now, and there's undoubtedly storms ahead. But in the midst of a frigid power outage and a foot of snow, I felt like I'd found my oasis, drinking up the good times that I will rely on in the hard times.

The power came back, and we returned to the regularly scheduled lazy Sunday of HGTV and football highlights, microwaving leftovers and brewing tea,  but a little better for the quiet snowy morning. 

Happy Monday.

11.18.2010

Humans are Splendid.

It's photos and stories like this that make the art of sport great:

Wong Wan-yiu of Hong Kong was competing in the last 40 laps of an epic indoor cycling finals at the Asian Games, and came down in a horrific pile up.  She was run over by other bikes, and in the end was determined to have broken a rib and dislocated her shoulder, not to mention road rash that would be enough to put me to bed for a month.



And this woman gets up, gets on a replacement bike, and rides 37 more laps to win the Silver Medal. 



As it appeared on CNNgo:

Wong was determined to finish the race as this was her last chance to gain enough points to qualify for the London Olympics. She said to Apple Daily that "you have to be willing to sacrifice in order to achieve anything; it's all give and take."




Read more: Wong Wan-yiu wins silver at Asian Games
CNNGo.com to see the whole article

11.17.2010

Love and Basketball.

I'm missing Pioneer Woman on Throwdown with Bobby Flay on the Food Network tonight to go to a Jazz game.

Either we need to get Tivo, or we need to sell the Jazz to some wretched city without a team.  Or to Los Angeles, who apparently doesn't mind having more than one team. 

Actually, if I'm going to sit and watch a basketball game, I'm glad that I get to do it in person where there are lots of distractions and people watching and unhealthy snacks at my disposal.

I've had a real hankering for a churro for YEARS. It's time to give in.

And it's fun to go with Husband, because he doesn't care about ANY of those things, he cares about the bizniss down on the floor between those lanky mutant giant people tossing a ball around, and I can always know when to watch the jumbo screen for the replay right after he "OHHHH!!!!!"s. 

Also, I LOVE booing referees.  I don't care what the call is or what team suffered, I will always take an opportunity to boo a ref.  It's as cathartic to me as those businesses they have in Japan where you can go in and break stuff in a room for a fee.  I take it all out on that poor ref.  Every time my boss asks me to redo something because she's bored, every time my receptionist treats me like I'm her toddler child, every time some idiot cuts me off on Foothill Drive, I just think- save it for the refs, Opal. 

That being said, if anyone has Tivo, save Throwdown with Bobby Flay for me? 

11.16.2010

Largest Sporting Event in the World??

I bet that you had no idea that such an event was going on at this exact moment, did you? 

The 16th Asian Games (their theme is year roughly translates to "thrilling games, harmonious asia" haha) are going on right now, and they claim to be the largest sporting event in the world based on the number of athletes that are actually competing, which apparently outshines the number of athletes in the Olympics by a great sum.  Interestingly, the exact numbers are hard to get.

This year the event is being held in Guangzhou, China, not too far from Hong Kong.  It's apparently the first time that China has hosted the event, because of the extreme restrictions they've had in the past about incoming persons (and horses) from a variety of countries.  As we speak, a number of very unhappy equestrians from India are sitting pleading at a border insisting that the western diseases that their horses "tested positive" for are fake results.  There is no way that these horses from India have diseases only found in in Latin America, so we'll see if India finds a way in, or if China gets to keep them out sans any sort of reprecussions.

If they are lucky enough to get through customs and borders, athletes and coaches will spend hours a day disinfecting their hands, shoes and face at various stations throughout the various complexes, getting frisked as they enter and exit every building, but otherwise having a right good time.

Here's a few of my favorite photos from the events that I thought were pretty spectacular. 
















 the site of the opening ceremonies and cauldron lighting. SWEET!

























Fireworks Display at end of the ceremonies.

















The Lotus Aquatic Complex


















The interior of the Lotus.  that's the most beautiful indoor waterscape I've ever seen.  I thought the Beijing complex was pretty cool, but this would be an amazing sight.



















Team horses at the brand new equestrian complex.  sign me up!



That's your fun international tidbit of the day (with a smattering of horses, just the way I like it!)

11.15.2010

The Paradoxical Housewife Wish List

1. I don't think that I've ever had a real pining for an item like this one, which I most certainly seem incapable of getting even if I were rich. 
I suppose if I were ACTUALLY rich, I could fly to London and go to a store and get these, but otherwise, I'm out of luck.  They're so sophisticated, sleek, but totally turn of the century.  I would wear these in July. That kind of love.

2. Gilberto Gil's Album, Nega.  Exiled from Brazil and living in London in the 70's, this album is known for the loneliness of it- he clearly sounds homesick, covering the rapturous "can't find my way home" and then an almost eerily obligatory cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Did he genuinely like the Beatles?  Or was he deferring to London's power when he chose it?  Either way, wish I had this album on a vinyl, could curl up in my giant red chair in the study with a warm beverage and disappear in his voice.

This unusual but awesome cover also reminds me of the delightsome Neon Trees take on Justin Beiber's "Baby"

3. To Kiss Dan at the top of this:




















4. Went to IKEA on Saturday, and I saw this piece and immediately felt the instinctual urge to design an entire kitchen around this single piece of furniture:






















I think that the version that we saw of this was slightly darker, but truly, it comes down to the fact that I am a sucker for billions of drawers, textured glass, and giant slabs of thick wood.  This is sort of my architectural nirvana, to the point that I would send my previous list of career ambitions down the Nile in order to be a housewife and make cherry pie and pickle random vegetables in the kitchen inspired by this.  So maybe it's a good thing we're renting a galley kitchen right now.  Keeps me employed.

5. To have someone truly stylish come into my house while I am sleeping, and throw away the half of my wardrobe that needs to die, and help me choose my permament, basic, classic collection.  I love a good fad, but I am tired of my single life habits of picking up things I wear once a month, matched with items I wear all the time.  I want to SIMPLIFY my life. help?

6. A Lustron.  It's a house they made in the 50's that's made entirely of metal. Metal exterior, metal walls, medal ceilings, metal built in cupboards.  It's my current kitchen, but a whole house.  They never made these in Utah, to my profound disappointment, but I wonder if moving a metal house is easier than moving a brick one?

















7. A market that sells corn flour.  is that so much to ask???

8. The ability to manipulate my own physics and read a book while knitting. If anyone knows a trick other than ordering the nearest person that it's time to turn the page, let me know.