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Since I never seem to get around to sending out Christmas cards or letters, I decided to blog a bit to keep my fans updated. :-)

Friday, October 31, 2008


Halloween is ALMOST over (23 minutes left in MY time zone). I spent the evening at BYU watching the old Lon Chaney "Phantom of the Opera" silent movie with a WONDERFUL theater organist providing the soundtrack. The new BYU gamelan ensemble also performed, which was cool since I had just listened to the Thinking Aloud program about the gamelan during my recent road trip.

When I got home, I found this link in an email, and I just had to share.

If you haven't heard my story about why I'm going to H-E-Double-hockey-sticks, you are missing half of the joke, but, it's still a funny e-card.

(If you want to hear the story, I might think about emailing it you separately, upon request.)

Family fun

Since my last post I made a very quick trip to see my family and attend my niece's baptism. All told, I was gone just under 37 hours, so that works out to about half of the time on the road and half of the time at my destination. Short, but sweet. I visited my nephews, both of whom have grown quite a bit taller since I last saw them! The elder, RH, comes up to my shoulder now. He's only 9 years old! I guess I shouldn't be too surprised -- I've had cub scouts that are that tall. I was sorry I couldn't spend more time with the boys, but promised I would stay for a week at Christmas and bring several games with me. (I'm extremely lucky because ALL of my nieces and nephews like to play games)

A funny thing happened during the baptism. Apparently, just before the service started, my brother, Yevi, talked his daughter through the expected procedure. It went something like this: There will be a short prayer, then you will plug your nose with one hand and hold onto me with the other hand and just sit down in the water.

However, after the prayer, my niece let go of her dad's arm and started to turn away, and her dad quickly whispered that they weren't done yet. My niece got a little flustered, remembered most of what she was supposed to do, and promptly sat down in the water... essentially baptizing herself! My brother snorted (VERY un-baptism like behavior), and pushed her head down to make sure all of her hair went under, ensuring complete immersion. He then looked up at the witnesses, who nodded approval, and it was a done deed. We had a good laugh about it later. My brother said it as definitely a "first" for him to have a child baptize herself.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday night entertainment

Tonight I went to BYU with friends see Mozart's Don Giovanni. I thought it was quite well done. It started 30 minutes earlier than most BYU productions, so I was worried we'd be there until 10:30, but, it wrapped up at 9:57. I love that they did NOT put microphones on the singers. The last musical I went to at BYU (Oklahoma) was not very enjoyable for me because everyone had microphones and it was way too loud for me during the singing. (Though in fairness, I suspect my ears are a bit too sensitive -- I almost always wear earplugs when I go to movies)

The woman sitting behind me tonight was quite fidgety -- constantly rubbing her stockings-clad leg that was right behind my head. The sound of the friction against the fabric drove me to distraction and I REALLY wanted to turn around and ask her to please sit still. Instead of embarrassing myself and my companions, I resorted to leaning forward to put some distance between my right ear and those stockings. Somewhere during the first act she then started playing with beads of some kind, and I nearly exploded with indignation. This time, I did turn around to "shhhh" her. That was the last of the beads, but not the end of the scritch scritch scritch on the stockings, so I spent long moments of the second act hunched forward.

This is the first time I've seen this particular opera, and I understand it was shortened some. I like operas with a bit (or a lot) of humor, and this one fit the bill. I personally thought it was funny that we had an "Opera death" in the first 10 minutes of the show -- you know the kind I mean -- one of those deaths were it takes 'em awhile to die, and yet they manage to sing while going through their death throes. I found I had more patience for it when it happens early. When it happens near the end of the show, I am usually thinking something along the lines of "Less singing, more dying"!

I think I have a ways to go before I become a true Opera aficionado...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Happy 8th Birthday to my niece, JBH! I look forward to being home for your baptism!

Great performances

For those of you in my area, the Utah Baroque Ensemble will be performing in the Cathedral of the Madeleine (331 E. South Temple, SLC) on Saturday at 8PM. Almost all of the program is music from our tour to Italy in June. We rehearsed there last night, and I was quite pleased with how it sounded. It is nice to feel VERY prepared for a change! Usually there are one or two pieces still giving me trouble, but I've made my peace with the tour music and as long as my attention doesn't wander, life is good.

I like singing in the Cathedral because much of our repertoire was written for that kind of space. I especially love the ringing sound after the end of a piece that seems to hang on for several seconds.

So, if you've nothing better to do on Saturday night (25th), come to the Cathedral!

Oh, and just as a "heads up", the cathedral likes to collect donations from concert-goers, and I think the suggested amount for this one is $10.00

Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Happy 12th birthday to my niece, KHH! I look forward to hearing your solo at the baptism on Sunday!

Ten! Ten Apples Up On Top!

Ok, not ten. Try a few hundred! That's approximately how many apples my friend BS and I processed into applesauce this weekend.

One of my favorite BYU students, W, comes up to do her laundry on weekends and while here, does yard work and other kindnesses. She had picked several buckets of apples a week ago, and probably did not pick quite half of what was on the tree (it was a bumper crop this year). Considering that I did not get around to spraying this year, I was quite pleasantly surprised by the quality of the apples. Oh, and I scored a box of golden delicious applies from a neighbor, and some fabulous red delicious apples from BS's parents (my adoptive parents). (I pretty much lived on red delicious apples all last week)

So, last Saturday I loaded up my car with apples, jars, rings, and lids and headed 20 miles south to spend a pleasant afternoon and evening chatting with BS, while we quartered, cooked, and strained apples into a yummy sauce. Once again, I was surprised by how many apples it takes to get a canner-load of applesauce. But as my neighbor JB put it, "I figure a half-cup serving size must contain all the goodness of at least two apples"(not a direct quote, but that was the gist of it). Here is the secret to making canning fun -- make it a social event! Not only do you get more done, but you get to visit, boss around your friend's children (I am QUITE gifted in that activity), eat waffles and peaches for dinner, laugh, and before you know it, the job is DONE!

I think my favorite 5-year old twin boys (K&C) must have eaten 3-4 raw apples apiece by the end of the day. Every little while they would sidle up to the kitchen counter and request more apple. I was informed that I was NOT cutting them right -- and that I should cut them like mom does (I was giving them eighths instead of quarters -- oh the horrors!) I think older brother G would have been right up there with them had he been around, but he got to be outside enjoying the wonderful weather with his friends. (The snow and cold of the previous weekend gave way to warmer weather by this weekend)

Both BS and I were bushed by the time we finished our bushels. (And, yes, she said it was OK if I referred to her as "BS". I did ask.) When we were cleaning up, we struck a deal. I did the dishes and she loaded my car. DONE and DONE.

Here's something new we discovered about each other on Saturday -- we both like to put warm applesauce on top of vanilla ice cream! Her husband thinks it is weird, but he doesn't like anything with warm fruit. I think it is like apple pie and ice cream without all the fuss.

In closing, a big THANK YOU to the neighbor who came and took away the rest of the apples. BLESS YOU! I hate it when they go to waste, and I am ready to be done with canning for 2008. It's time to move into holiday candy-making mode! For the record, I did make a batch of marshmallows this weekend AND dipped them in chocolate. The are for my SIL who was the winner of the "name my blog" contest. I look forward to delivering them personally on Sunday when I travel home for my youngest niece's baptism.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

FALL we hardly knew ye!

Yep, for those of you who read my blog but don't live in my neck of the woods, it is S*N*O*W*I*N*G here this morning. This is the view from my front door about 5 minutes ago. (Eat your heart out Yevi!) Luckily, I know it won't last, and proper Fall weather will return soon!

Happy Birthday to my favorite 4-year old, Eloise! And, Happy Birthday to the "Ettes"! It's finally your birthday on the calendar and not just on the clock!

LATER (12:18PM) It has stopped snowing, but did snow enough to cover all the grass! This is one of my favorite kinds of snow--it makes houses and lawns and mountains look lovely, but it doesn't yet stick to the sidewalk or driveway.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


My apple supply runneth over -- time to make applesauce! I had quite a busy day today, so I decided to try them in the crockpot. I filled up the crockpot with washed, cored & sliced apples (left the peels on), added the juice of a big lemon, and the rind (I used a vegetable peeler to peel of strips of the rind, and that worked quite well for getting just that top layer of zest and none of the nasty white pithy stuff.) I threw in a half-cup of water, and turned the crockpot on "high" for an hour, then turned it down to "low" or 6 hours or so. By then, the apples were nice and mushy.

I put it all through my food mill (similar to this one) which left me with a large bowl of applesauce and a sludge-y layer of skins in my food mill (very little elbow grease required).

I took some to a friend's house tonight as a contribution for dinner, and everyone seemed to like it. I think I had a bit too much lemon, because I could definitely taste it, but no one else seemed to mind. I did not add any sugar, but you could certainly add it to taste after separating the pulp from the skins. YUM!

Meltaways cookie recipe

The friend that shared this recipe provided the name "Utah State Meltaways", so I'm sticking with that.

Utah State Meltaways

2 lbs Butter (yes, 4 cups or 8 sticks)
1 1/3 cups Powdered Sugar
3 cups Cornstarch
4 cups Flour
12 ounces Cream Cheese
4 cups Powdered Sugar
4 Tbsp. Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix all together and roll into 1-inch balls (Keep these on the smallish side. Wrap a damp towel around the bottom of a glass and use this to flatten the cookies. (Do not chill dough). Bake 10 minutes. Frost when cool.

This is a cookie that is great by itself, but also could be quite versatile with a bit of playing. While I liked the cream cheese frosting, I kept imagining how they would taste with a frosting or glaze for orange rolls. Or, they would probably be quite good with one side dipped in chocolate. They would probably be good with crushed peppermint pressed into the tops before baking.

These cookies do not spread (or if they do, it is not very far), so you can put quite a few on one cookie sheet. I let mine cool on the sheet for a few minutes before I tried to move them.

They are quite fragile, so be careful handling them. I was glad I stayed up to frost them before going to bed, because the frosting needed awhile to set up or dry so that I could stack them. I would have been in trouble if I had waiting until morning to apply the frosting. I left them out on the counter all night, uncovered, and that did not seem to dry them out.

I made a half-recipe and got about at least 5 dozen, but probably not 6.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Official end of (my) summer

I know, I know -- according to the calendar, Autumn began last month. Nevertheless, it begins tonight for me, because I no longer have tomatoes growing in the back yard. We are expecting weather this weekend that will be detrimental to tomatoes, so my neighbor and I picked everything tonight, a Christmas-y haul of red and green balls of goodness. And when they are gone, it's back to the grocery store less-than-satisfactory tomatoes. Sigh. Happily, I did can some tomatoes this year, so at least I can look forward to infusing summer into soups and stews this winter. That will make those afternoons in a hot, humid kitchen all worthwhile!

I'm trying a new cookie recipe tonight -- Meltaways. The dough is made from butter, powdered sugar, cornstarch, flour, and a touch of salt. No eggs, no vanilla. However, they will be topped with a cream cheese frosting. It's a recipe I got a long time ago from a friend in Smithfield, Utah. If they are decent, some will be my offering at the radio station tomorrow and some will go to work to celebrate a co-worker's birthday. If they are not presentable, I will have to get up really early to make something else. The scent invading my little computer room is quite lovely, so I'm guessing we have a winner!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Baking and fund raising

This week is Classical 89's Fall fund raiser -- if you are a fan of KBYU-FM, now would be a great time to let them know by participating in this pledge drive. For my fan club, I thought I would mention that I will be "on the air" to help with the drive on Friday 12 noon- 2PM (Mountain). If you are not in this area and wish to listen in, go to www.classical89.org and click "Tune in now".

What does baking have to do with fund raising? I think this is the real reason they ask me to come and help with the pledge drive -- I usually arrive bearing treats! Today it was Ranger Cookies, a recipe I got many years ago from a college roommate, Karen (Sutton) Adams. I haven't made them in forever, and now I'm wondering why! They are light and crispy, yet soft and chewy. I know that doesn't sound possible, but I think the secret ingredient of Rice Krispies makes the difference. Here's the recipe if you would like to try them out and judge for yourself:

Ranger Cookies
1 cup Butter or Margarine
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 cups Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup Quick Oats
1 cup Rice Krispies
1 cup Coconut

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter and sugars, add eggs and vanilla. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, then add to the butter mixture. Stir in oats, cereal, and coconut. Bake for 10 minutes. Also good with mini chocolate chips. (I added 1 cup of them)

If you think you'd like me to post recipes now and then, please let me know!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Red letter day

Or, perhaps this is better expressed as "Red jacket day"! Today is the first day I've worn a jacket to work. Fall is really here. We had lots of rain over the weekend, and when the clouds lifted, beautiful snow-capped peaks appeared. Too bad I can't stay home today and make candy, or bake, or wrap presents for upcoming birthdays and Christmas. (79 days until Christmas!)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Birth order

Dear siblings,
I've decided to relinquish my position as eldest child to the one who just turned 40. Clearly, he MUST be older than I am. Hmm...I probably should check in with the brother in-between to see if HE wants to be the eldest. He will be 42 soon, and that is definitely older than I want to be right now. So, I would appreciate it if one of you would step up to the plate and trade places with me. Or, maybe I should get in line behind Beth. She turned 36 this year. I like the sound of that!

Love from your younger sister!