My Life as a Dog

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


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

  • 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

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.