My Life as a Dog

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reunited

Dan, Brad, Brian, Jim, Jen, Jen, Jen & Rich


On the December 29th I got together with some great friends from high school. Thanks to Facebook and a few reunion sites, I've recently regained contact with several of them. Jen Hawkins Pixton came to town from Alameda, CA for the holidays to visit her family here. She suggested that we get together and have dinner or something. I was all over that. I hadn't seen any of "the Jens" for a decade or so. Thus, I scheduled an event on Facebook and invited some old friends. I was glad that almost everyone showed up that was invited. We had a private room at Brick Oven Pizza in Provo where we had some good food, found out what everyone is up to now, and reminisced about the good ol' days.

Here's who made it: Jen (Hawkins) & Jim Pixton (and 4 kids), Jen (Powers) & James Johnson, Jen (Johnson) & Cass Goodman, Brad Dayton, Rich Anderson (and son, Bracken), Dan Reneer, and me!

The Jens

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Cranberry Salsa


For our family Christmas get-together last Sunday I brought a the previous mentioned veggie tray but I also I wanted to share this amazing cranberry salsa that my friend, Molly, brought to a friends dinner a few weeks ago. Fortunately another friend, Marc, had got the recipe and posted it on his blog. So you can tell that this salsa was a hit!

When I brought it to the family event, I thought "Oh this is a lot. What will I do with all the leftovers?" I shouldn't have been concerned with that. It was all gone before the evening was over. So if you were there and want the recipe or you just want to try something new, here it is:

Cranberry Salsa with Cream Cheese
  • 1 bag cranberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 green onion
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 of a bunch of cilantro
  • 1 med. jalapeño - seeds and veins removed
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 blocks of cream cheese at room temperature
Remove soft and rotten cranberries from batch and wash. Chop cranberries, onion, cilantro and jalapeño to medium fine in food processor. Mix in sweetener, cumin salt and juice of the lemon. Cover and let macerate in fridge for 2 - 4 hours to let flavor build and the cranberries to soften. It will sweeten as it stands in the fridge.

Serve at room temperature poured over the top of the blocks of cream cheese with whole grain crackers.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I'm an Adult Now and Adults Have Costco Memberships


Last Saturday I was out running errands. I needed to pick up a veggie tray from Costco for our family Christmas get-together. The only problem was that I didn't have a membership at Costco. On my previous visits (where I actually bought something), I have always had a family member with me and they all have memberships there. Me, being the cheap guy that I am, have never wanted to plunk down $50 so that I can buy two gallons of milk at a time and only to find out that I can't drink milk that fast all by myself. So I debated as to whether I should call my sister, nephew, or my parents so that I could pick up the veggie tray. I began to think to myself, "Really, Brian? You need someone to come with you so that you can make a purchase?!" I then said to myself, "Brian, you are an adult now, and adults have Costco memberships!"

I arrived at Costco and when I told the lady at the front desk that I wanted a membership, she asked if I previously had a membership. I told her, "No." She looked at me in shock and asked again, "Never?!" The answer was still, "No." She look at me a little skeptically. I then confessed to buying items only when I came with family and I asked that she not consider that information as part of my membership application. After all I didn't want to get rejected.

I did not get rejected and I am now a full fledged Costco Member!

(Special thanks go out to Bri for inspiring my blog entry title.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cheesy Artichoke Dip


A few weeks ago a friend from my ward had a bunch of us over for dinner. I didn't want to show up empty-handed so I asked what I could bring. She left the door open for whatever I wanted to bring. I got to thinking and remembered a great hot dip that my sister had brought to a few family gatherings. So I called her up for the recipe. Thanks, Tam! And now I'm going to post it here. Not only for you but also so that I will know where to find it when I need it next. ;)

Cheesy Artichoke Dip

Ingredients
  • 1 12oz can of Quartered Artichoke Hearts (not marinated)
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 cups Mozzarella & Parmesan Shredded Cheese (I used the Italian mix)
  • 1 small can of Chopped Green Chilies

Directions
Preheat oven at 350 degree. Smash each artichoke heart. Mix the mayonnaise, cheese, and artichokes together. Spray an 8x8 inch pan with non-stick spray. put mixture in the pan. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Service with crackers. Yum!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Lights: Look How They Shine for You


Thursday night several friends and I piled into my car and drove to Salt Lake City to visit Temple Square. After getting a little nourishment at Olive Garden we walked a few blocks to see the sights. Downtown was all a buzz with The Nutcracker, a Jazz game, the Kurt Bestor Christmas concert, and surely other festivities.

Temple square was pretty and the weather was pretty nice. Even though snow would have made it pretty, it was also nice to not have to deal with that. We wandered around Temple Square and the Main Street Plaza seeing the nativities from around the world, the luminaries, and all the lights. And after lots of photos we headed over to the cafe in the Joseph Smith building for some hot chocolate and to warm up. After downing the big hot chocolate, the walk to the car was anything but cold. It was a great evening. Thanks for the idea Linds!


English Beat


On Tuesday the 9th I joined my friend, Brad, and we headed up to Salt Lake City to see the English Beat. Brad had created an event on Facebook and invited a bunch of "old" high school friends and quite a few were on board. It was looking like it was going to be a fun evening with lots of friendly faces. We headed up to SLC around 5:30pm and doors didn't open at the show until 7:00pm. Plus there was a warm-up band of two. That was fortunate for us because after passing the point of the mountain, we got a flat tire while in the HOV lane. Brad was driving and pulled over into the middle median. After trying to change the tire ourselves and finding that we had two spare tires but no lug wrench that would work on his wheels, we gave up and called 911. They sent a UHP car which took forever. When it did get, the officer wasn't much help. He told us we were in a good spot, which neither Brad or I agreed with. Fortunately for us Brad's brother Dennis saved the day. He lives at Traverse Mountain and was quickly there to help us out. He called his AAA service to come out and fix it right away. Thank you, Dennis! So after an hour we got back on the road.

There were a few cancellations from friends and it was sounding like it might just be Brad and me. We went ahead anyway. Right after we walked in to buy tickets, Dave Wakling, the only original guy from the English Best, walked in too. So we weren't late. During the evening we found out that several of our friends had made it. Even though the music was great as always, we spent most of the evening chatting it up. Good times!


Monday, December 01, 2008

Evening (the Movie)


Last Saturday, I finally got around to watching a movie that I had Tivoed several months ago. It's kind of a "chick flick." But if you know me, you know that I like those "chick flicks." (As long as it's not Twilight.) The movie is Evening. The screen play was written by Michael Cunningham who also wrote novel, The Hours. I liked The Hours movie quite a bit. Later read the book and liked it even more. It's not my typical bounty hunter/private detective novel but I really enjoyed the writing style. I found it hard to put down.

In addition to liking Michael Cunningham's works, the movie has a cast of A-list actors: Meryl Streep, Claire Danes, Toni Colette, Vanessa Redgrave, Glenn Close, and more. The story actually quite sad, but again, sometimes, I like sad movies. The plot follows two friends and how they followed two very different paths in life. One did what was expected of her and some might say she had a very boring life. The other followed her every whim and had what many would consider a very turbulent life. Towards the end of the movie, Lila the more conservative of the friends, says this about life in general, "We are mysterious creatures, aren't we? And at the end so much of it turns out not to matter." I love a good quote and this one struck me. We spend so much time and effort concerning ourselves with many frivolous topics that in the end really carry no weight in our eternities or even in this life. We worry and fret about things really shouldn't consume us as they do.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Beautiful Nieces / Great Photographer


I have some beautiful nieces. Here are two examples. Not only that but they are incredibly photogenic. This year they have had a few photo shoots with a talented photographer from Meredith Photography. They've both been featured on the Meredith Photography blog: Sisters and Time to Graduate. So whether you need some models or a photographer, you've come to the right place.




Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!


It's that time of the year where we share good times with good friends and family and a key part of that is the good food. Each year I get an assignment or volunteer to make something for our Thanksgiving dinner. This year I had been flipping through a Sunset magazine and saw what looked like a new twist on the traditional pumpkin pie. I've made plenty of pumpkin pies in the past so I wanted to do something a little different. I feel this way each year. Last year a made a cranberry cream pie just to try something different. But this years twist was just making a crumble that tops the pie.

Here's what I did:

For the pie crust, I just buy the pre-made frozen kind. I might be adventurous but that that adventurous yet.

For the pumpkin pie filling I just follow the recipe on the pumpkin can. Nothing tricky there.

But here's where the twist comes in. Before I put the pies in the oven, I sprinkled Walnut Streusel (with pecans instead of walnuts) over the top. Here's how you make the streusel:

Walnut (or Pecan) Streusel

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup butter (now that I think about it I might have doubled the butter, oops!)

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg


Directions:

Combine all ingredients. Mix until crumbly. Should make about 2 cups. Sprinkle evenly the streusel on top of the pumpkin pie mixture and bake like regular.

Okay, mind you, I haven't tasted my new Pumpkin Streusel Pie yet. But I am pretty sure that it will be delicious!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Words to Live By


Today I was blog stalking the wife of my brother's friend, rabidrunner. Today she quoted someone that spoke in her church meetings on the previous Sunday. Here is what the speaker said:
We define ourselves by our actions in dark times.

Very simple but yet very profound. I decided to incorporate it into my desktop wallpaper. And then felt the need to share it on my blog. I'm sure I (and probably you) have heard similar statements to this one, but for some reason this time I was quite inspired by it. I find the statment very true. It makes me then think how I am defining myself. So with this reminder on my computer screen I am hopeful to be reminded that my actions show my true character. Maybe this quote can help you too. Or maybe you've already got that mastered. If so, good job!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

FHE - Rock Band


This week we had family home evening at my house because the guy who was supposed to host it had a hot date. (At our age, that's a legit excuse.) So I had to come up with something quick. Rock Band always seems to be a crowd pleaser and Nick was generous enough to let me borrow his system and the game. (Thanks Nick!) Rock Band at FHE was a hit. We had 14 people as opposed to the normal 6 to 8. We had a few new people visiting FHE for the first time. It's always great to meet new people. The more the merrier, right? And of course there were drinks and snacks. Can't forget those. Here's some of the action photos.



Tuesday, November 04, 2008

St. George Singles Weekend


Last weekend I got to spend several days with a few other single friends in St. George. My friend, Lindsay, planned the whole thing. She's amazing. It was a little out of character for me to go but I decided that I should go and that it would really be fun. I was right. I had a great time. Fortunately Lindsay had access to a vacation home in which we stayed. It's a 3 bedroom house with several couches and air mattresses. There were 7 of us that stayed at the house: 4 girls and 3 guys. Plus another friend stayed near by and came over a break breakfast out and a hike. We did a little eating out. Okay, that was a lie. We did a lot of eating out: Famous Dave's, Bear Paw, and Ruby River. There was some hot-tubbing, lots or movies, some card playing, and lots of Arrested Development. We all went away anxious for the next trip. Good times!







Friday, October 31, 2008

Wii Boxing (Or Is It Swimming?)


My sister and my niece came down to my place last weekend and were looking to try out the Wii. My niece had just finished a swimming meet in American Fork (thus the swim cap.) They had a great time. Of course they have a great time doing pretty much anything. I did have to video them when it came to their boxing match. I think it shows why my niece is such a great swimmer. Look at that breast stroke. :)

video

Friday, October 24, 2008

New Shoes

If you know anything about me, you know that I love a bargain. Thus my daily (or more frequent) monitoring of various deal sites. Today one of my favorite sites, Slickdeals.net, listed Men's RSVP shoes for a whopping $10 plus shipping and handling on 6pm.com. I'd never even heard of RSVP so I wasn't too excited until saw the shoes. They look kind of trendy which is fine for $10 a piece. Of course that means that I have to get at least two pairs! These are the styles I choose. There were a few others that I liked better but apparently I was a little too slow because by the time I made it to the sale site some of the more popular styles were only left in 12 or 13 and I wear a 9 1/2. What do you think? Thumbs up?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Boys Stink!

I was recently at a gathering of several single adults. (Some of you reading this may have even been there.) It was a fun time and there was lots of laughs. I definitely had a good time. Afterwards though I got to thinking about something that was said somewhat in jest while there. Before I mention what was said, I just want to let you know that I'm not offended by the statement and actually generally agree with it. It might be I was not offended because I don't feel that I represent the stereotype presented.

Anyway back to the story. It was a mixed crowd with several guys and several girls. One of the girls mentioned that boys stink. Not figuratively. Literally. I don't disagree with her assessment and in fact sometimes I do stink. I dare say some boys always stink. And when I do stink I'll be the first to admit it. But for the most part I don't stink. Anyway, I was just thinking, what if I would have said that girls stink? Or better yet, if I girls were stupid, vain, or conceited? Would that have been okay? I doubt that it would have been as well received as "boys stink." All the guys there just kind of laugh and say "yeah, whatever."

It seems though in our society today that it is more acceptable all the time to belittle men in the same way that if directed towards women most would call sexist.

It reminded me of my last trip to Hawaii. On the island of Maui, we found a little shop called David and Goliath. It had lots of funny stuff and a lot that was maybe not so funny and some stuff that was just gross. But I bring this up because they had one particular line of t-shirts, magnets, cards, posters, etc that emphasized that boys are inferior to girls. Are these products meant to boost girl's self-esteem? If so I'm afraid that they are going about it the wrong way.

I am curious to see what you have to say. So tell me if you think this harmless and there is nothing to worry about, or if this is something that should not be accepted.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Paradise Bakery & Cafe


This past week some the guys from work and I checked out the new Paradise Bakery & Cafe in American Fork. It came as a recommendation from one guy's wife. I had never heard of it so I had no expectations.

The place was packed. Everyone loves to try out the new place. Walking in the atmosphere was nice and there were tons of employees. They were either working in the food lines, handing out samples, or cleaning up. I ordered the Turkey Cranberry Sandwich. (Oven roasted turkey with cranberry sauce, mayo, lettuce and tomato served on our Paradise Molasses bread.)



It came with a chocolaty cookie and I added nice big soda. The sandwiches were pre-made. It was kind of nice because you got to see the actually sandwich before you made a decision but on the other hand if you ordered a less popular selection (Jason) then your bread was a little dried out. On the way to pay I got ushered to a separate line from my coworkers. I was just getting rung up when their computers hung. It took them a few moments to figure out what was going on. But soon I had paid and rejoined my coworkers only to find out that they got their meals free because the computer had hung. Apparently I should have staid in the other line. Oh well. I was only out around $10 for lunch. All said, I'm sure we'll be going back again. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Why Am I Such a Baby?


This morning I attended a viewing with my parents for the mother of a family who lived right behind our family for thirty some odd years during my growing up years. I attended the viewing mostly because I was friends with their daughter who is the same age as I am. I had not seen her since our 10 year high school reunion 12 years ago and she currently is living in Dubai. So the chances of seeing her any time soon would be slim.

I didn't really have a strong emotional response before the viewing. I liked the deceased lady. She was very nice and what I thought to be a good mother. But mostly I felt sad for her children who were left here without their mother and her husband left without his wife.

Soon after arriving early in the viewing my parents made their way over to the grieving husband. When he talked to us his eyes filled with tears as he told us what an amazing woman his wife was. I, being the emotional guy that I am, could not help myself. I was doing my best to hold back the tears. It wasn't easy. I could feel my eyes filling to capacity. At any moment the damn was going to break.

It wasn't until later that I got to talk to my childhood friend, his daughter, that I saw her emotion and it pushed me over the edge. The water gates opened. Here it was a time when I should be strong and a support for her but I couldn't even hold it together myself. Sad. Talking to her was even a chore because I was so choked up. It took me a several moments just to gain some composure.

Why does this always happen to me?!

In this case, the best I can figure is that I pictured myself in their shoes and thought of how I would feel on this occasion. I can only imagine the wreck I will be when that day comes.

It's not like I'm a guy who has a problem with crying. (Obviously, I do it all too freely!) I even love a good movie that can make me cry. But that is different somehow.

Empathy, it's a good quality to have, I know. But a little control would come in handy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Well, That Was My Question!


Several years ago, my sister, Tammy, her husband, Fred, and their young daughter, Jess, were on a family vacation driving in the car. Tammy and Fred had been talking and mentioned Brian (me) and that he was single (still is.) Jess was quite surprised by this news and exclaimed, "What? He isn't married?!" A little shocked at Jess' question, Tammy told her that I was not married and asked, "Who did you think he was married to?" Jess replied, "Well, that was my question!"

Oh, the innocence of youth. I'm sure she just figured that all adults were married to someone. Sorry to burst that bubble!

The funny part is that Jess knew me very well. I had baby sat her several times at her house and she had slept over at my house a few times. We had gone on family camp outs and vacations, and to my knowledge my wife never showed up.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

General Conference: Priesthood Session


We have a tradition in our family when it comes to conference time. The priesthood holders that can, get together and attend the session in our old stake center. Following which we go to dinner at Bajio in Riverwoods. It's a nice tradition. This year those in attendance were my father, brother, 3 nephews, and a nephew's friend. We missed having Josh with us. He used to be a regular until he moved to Washington.

There was a little special treat for us during conference. President Monson told a story about Theron Borup. Everyone in our group kind of did a head whip to look at my dad. It's not that often that you hear the name Borup and generally when we do it is someone that is related to us. Dad confirmed that Theron is his cousin and that he worked in personnel for many years at the church office building. I had never heard the story before but Dad had.

Oh and about the bow tie... I had to try and compete with all the attention that Nick was going to get with his magician-looking mustache. Yeah, I failed miserably.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Just a Warning: Be Nice to Your Family

Click this newspaper clipping to read this real-life obituary. Just a warning that you should be nice to your family or this could be you. :)

Click to Read

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Stucco - Before, During, & After

So I think I mentioned earlier that the some of the stucco on the front of my townhouse had some water damage issues. This summer the home owners association for the development that I live in issued an assessment to cover the stucco and roofing repairs. Here I've documented my photos of the damage, during the repair, and the finished product. Ram Builders is the company that did the work and to date I'm pleased with the results.


Before



During












After