Thursday, June 30, 2011

This is Not What You Think it Is...

Once upon a time there was a girl who lived in a small hut in the shadow of an empty castle. This was no average girl, although her red hair and freckles would lead you to believe it, she had a secret that she kept very close to her heart. Now, because we’re friends I’ll tell you her secret… she is a princess, but not the princess of this castle. She had come from a land quite far away that she had no desire to rule over. It didn’t matter though because she never would have ruled. She was the younger sister of an older brother and the daughter of a wise king. Her brother would have ruled, and in his wisdom the king would have married her off to a stuffy old duke to form an alliance of peace for the future of the kingdom. But she didn’t want that. She didn’t want any of it, so one day, in the still of the night she packed her most precious belongings and snuck out of the kingdom. When the royal household awoke the next morning there was much weeping and searching with not a clue as to where their precious princess had gotten too, and the kingdom mourned their loss… but this is not a story about them.

In the darkness she slipped on to the back of a wagon that was plodding slowly away from the castle and watched as her home disappeared into the distance. Once it was out of sight she rejoiced because for now, it looked like she was free. With a smile on her lips she rode along on the wagon until the merchant noticed her and threatened a flogging for strays that hung where they didn’t belong. She had never been threatened before, she was a princess after all, but instead of being indignant she hopped off the wagon and jogged into the near by woods to avoid the large man with the very threatening whip. Thus started her real adventure. Now, you see, because she was a princess she was grossly unprepared for life outside the castle walls and there were many days when she had nothing to eat and bruises and scrapes that would have never happened in that protected environment.

Her silken slippers didn’t protect from the rocks under foot, and her hair of satin tangled and knotted in the foliage. Though troubles abounded she persevered and one day, after what seemed like ages of walking she saw a shadow appear ahead of her on the debris strewn path she had been traveling. The sun dappled path was not dark, but the figure of a large steed appeared in shadow and mist to her weary eyes, and always just out of reach. It seemed that no matter how she ran to catch up she could never get any closer. She started to wonder if perhaps it was a demon sent to punish her for running away, and other times, when the sun would glint off the shadow like a blazing star, she thought that it may be her salvation from this silly and dangerous path she had chosen. It didn’t really matter, what did she have to loose anyway. It had been days since she’d seen another human being, she could be hopelessly lost and no one would even find her bones if she were to die here. Darkness started to fall, and the mysterious figure became harder and harder to see, eventually, in exhaustion and frustration the princess flopped to the ground and cried herself to sleep.

The next morning when she awoke she found herself on the edge of a great wood, and before her stood the most magnificent castle she had ever seen. It’s towers and turrets gleamed white marble in the sun, and the red tiled roofs looked sturdy and welcoming. Finally, she had found somewhere else. Somewhere she had never been. She had traveled far and wide visiting castles of royalty, but never in her life had she seen this one. With a giggle she rose to her feet and, very un-princess like, ran towards the huge iron gates that stood closed within the tall stone wall.

“Hello!” she called out as she ran, but no one emerged from the guard house. “Hello!” she shouted louder as she reached out to wrap her dirty hands around the thick bars of the gate. But again no one answered. Strange, she thought, with a castle like this that no one is around to let me in.

Peering through the bars, the castle grounds were beautifully landscaped, the lawns trimmed, the gardens in bloom, and even a large red and white striped tent stood in the ready for a picnic, but there was no one to be seen. After standing for a while, admiring the grounds she noticed something else… there were no birds singing within the walls. There were no bees or butterflies admiring the gorgeous blooms. No palace cat or dog chasing the non-existent gophers. There was no life with in these walls, and she found herself feeling very alone, and very scared.

Just then, she heard a noise that pulled her gazed to the far corner of the castle wall where the shadowed stallion stood in the full sunlight, yet still shrouded in mist. It seemed, even though she couldn’t see it, that they locked eyes for a moment before it disappeared around the corner, and the princess ran to catch up.

“You, there, stop right this instant!” she demanded in her most princess like voice even though she coughed and wheezed as she ran, because princesses, after all, are never to run, or shout. “Come back here!”

Rounding the corner she stopped in her tracks. Before her stood the most majestic stallion she had ever seen. His flanks glowed a shimmering black. Its mane flowed in waves down his neck, and his thick tail nearly touched the ground. And to her surprise, a single silver horn gleamed from the center of his forehead, so intricately carved with spirals that it looked like a master’s carving, but infinitely better.

“You are a unicorn!” she gasped, placing her fingers to her lips in surprise. “oh, great beast, forgive me for chasing you.” Falling into her most courtly curtsy her tattered skirts spread out around her. “I’m you humble servant.”

“Get up girl. I am not your master.” The voice was not loud, but carried an authority about it that had the princess jumping to her feet to obey. “Why would a silly princess like you be wandering so far into the  woods?”

“Who says I am a princess?” She asked a bit indignantly. Because, after all, she was running away so she wouldn’t have to be the princess any longer.

“No one has to tell me you’re a princess, foolish child. I can see the glow about you as though there were a crown lay upon your brow.”

“I do not want to be a princess anymore.” She said to the unicorn, crossing her arms over her breast.

“So you say. Perhaps you will change your mind.”

“I wont.” She replied.

“Then why have you come to this castle?”

“You led me here, sir. Another castle was not my destination.” She paused, looking up at the high wall beside her, thinking of the beautiful castle hidden within, and a question occurred to her. “Why is there no one living in this castle?”

The unicorn let out an amused whinny tossing back it’s head. His horn catching the light and sending shattered pieces of sunlight across the ground.

“There once was an entire kingdom here. Thriving farms as far as the eye can see. It was ruled by a prince who was vain and selfish and cared not a lick for the lives of others. One day a lovely young lass came to the castle petitioning for the princes' hand in marriage. A beautiful girl though she wore not a crown or fine silks. Upon seeing her the prince fell in love, but when she had not a title he had her removed from the palace and his sight so he would no longer be tempted by her beauty. For he was a prince and as such deserved someone more beautiful who was royalty. Her petition for marriage was simply to save her family from being wrongfully killed, and asked no more of the prince than his hand in marriage, but he could not accept her as she was. She stayed at the gates of the castle for days, begging to return to the palace, but the prince would have none of it. In the night the girl died, curled up on the ground, and in the morning a brilliant white unicorn lay dead at the palace gates.”

“Let me guess,” said the princess, “All in the palace were cursed and you are that prince. Who was supposed to learn a lesson.”

Again the unicorn laughed. “Goodness no.” He said. “You are right about the curse though. The unicorn that died for this prince was my sister. She had fallen in love with the human man, not knowing of his less than attractive traits. She gave up her life as a unicorn through the magic of the nymph Khatri. She only needed the prince to accept her as she was and she could live with him forever… but if he didn’t then, well, then Khatri would destroy the unicorns.”

“Oh no.” the princess whispered and took a step closer to the unicorn. “But he didn’t marry her so how are you still here?”

“The nymph cannot see me. I was already cursed with a coat of black. While the others frolicked in their shimmering white. I would never be like them, my magicks are different. I am not a unicorn the way the others were. When Khatri destroyed them she looked only for the white rays of sunlight, and didn’t check the shadows. When all the unicorns had gone, I returned here and cursed this kingdom. This is my doing.

“You poor thing.” The princess, who had a gentle heart, ached for the last unicorn, and closed the gap between them. Placing her small white hand on his muzzle she stroked his jaw to comfort the creature, though he didn’t seem to need it.

“I am not poor. Only lonely.”

“What can I do to help you to not be so lonely?”

“I wish you to take this castle as your own. And have me for a husband.”

“Oh, No. No, no, no.” The princess replied. “I shall not take the castle. I do not want to be a princess. I just want to be me. No servants, no silly dresses. Just me. As I am now.”

“And you would not have me either?”

“Dear Unicorn, I would have you. But I will not take greatness.”

The unicorn snorted and pulled his head from her grasp. “Then you cannot have me.” He said, and cantered towards the encroaching forest.

“Are you sure you are not the vain prince?” She called after him, but he just disappeared into the trees.

Finding herself alone again the princess let a single tear roll down her cheek. “What am I to do now?”

From the trees shattered light spread across the ground again, blinding her for a moment. When the light had gone the princess found herself standing at the door of a tiny cottage that seemed to have grown from the ground. It sat nestled against the wall of the castle. Her gift from the black unicorn that had saved her from wandering aimlessly in the forest. Her heart swelled with gratitude as she entered her new home. Everything inside was just as she had wished it could be, and she lived quite happily ever after.

Now, you’d think that was the end of the story, but it’s not. The princess did live quite happily there in her little hut in the shadow of the empty castle, but eventually she did grow lonely. One day she went outside into the bright sunshine and stood, staring into the dark of the forest, remembering how the unicorn had told her that the nymph had forgotten to look into the shadows.

“Unicorn!” She called out, because since she no longer considered herself a princess it was perfectly acceptable to shout. But there was no response to her call. Day after day she did the same thing, and day after day there was no response.

She didn’t want to give up hope of seeing the unicorn again, but as time passed she found herself missing him. She had no idea how to lure him back. All the tales she had heard about unicorns said that they only appear to someone once, and if you didn’t take the offer when it was given you’d never see it again. She had seen him, and refused his offer, and now, she was afraid that she would never see it again.

She walked aimlessly and eventually found herself standing at the gates to the empty palace. It had been so long since she had rounded this corner she had nearly forgotten that there was a castle behind the wall. It was still beautiful behind the gates, and she found herself wanting to go inside and touch the silks and china… but only for a moment. She didn’t miss that stuff. Reaching through the bars she pulled the lock and the gates swung open quietly, letting her into the still wonderland beyond.

Quietly, like an uninvited guest she strolled through the gardens, and lounged in the silken pavilion. Closing her eyes she wondered what it would be like living in this magnificent palace, instead of her perfect little hut.

“Admit that you miss this, princess.”

Startled, the princess let out a squeal as she fell off her chair. And there, before her face were four silver hooves, attached to long shimmering black legs. Above her stood the unicorn. Her unicorn. She couldn’t hide her excitement at seeing him again and jumped to her feet throwing her arms around his neck.

“It is not the frivolities I miss.” She cried into his silken hide, “It is you. I will be anything for you if only you say you shall not leave me again. I have felt your loneliness, and I can bear it no longer. Take me with you. Either here into the castle, or into the dark of the woods. I care not. I care only that I am no longer without you.”

“And I only care for a princess.” The unicorn replied.

“Then that is what I am. I am a princess. The first daughter of a king. The next after my brother. I am who you say I am. I will not deny it to you.”

”Then it is as it should be.” The unicorn replied.

In an instant the court yard came to life. A bird sang in a tree. A bee buzzed through the flowers, a chorus of water cascaded into the fountain. Life returned to the air.

Looking around her, the princess clasped her hands beneath her chin. “It’s alive!” she cried out joyously.

“Princess,” the unicorn said, returning her attention to him. “It is now your choice. Would you stay here and rule a kingdom of us, or would you throw off your mortal bounds and join me in the woods.”

“Oh, I hadn’t thought…I want…”

“Hush now, princess. Close your eyes and make your wish, I care not what it is.”

Closing her eyes the princess smiled brighter than the sun as the unicorn touched his horn to her heart. The two were swept up in a magical glimmering light fulfilling the wish of the princess…

The End


written by liz evans 6.28.2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Movies: The Good and the Bad

Where the Wild Things Are (2009) - This was our blockbuster movie rental for the week. I was excited to see this movie since I love the book so much. I was disappointed. It was too slow and not enough dialogue or action, and I think that if you didn't know the story or weren't paying enough attention it would have been very hard to follow. It's just a very quiet movie about Max having to learn for himself that you can't be happy all the time and that you love everyone different and that you need to grow up eventually. When thinking of this movie as a whole I guess I could say that I enjoyed it for what it was, but during those 101 minutes it seemed like it would never end and that was kind of painful. I wouldn't suggest this as a movie for kids. I wouldn't even suggest this as a movie for adults. I say that if you want to see it, watch it. If it wasn't on your too see list then don't go out of your way for it. I did tear up a little at the end, but I do that for the book too.


The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) - If you couldn't guess, John got the complete James Bond Movie collection for Christmas 2010. We've just recently started watching them together, although I'm sure he has watched some without me before. This one stars Roger Moore as James Bond (One of my favorites) and Christopher Lee is the bad guy. Bond is tracking down the assassin Scramanga who apparently is out to get him. There are women in bikinis, gun fights, midgets, explosions. Everything a Bond film should be.


Goldfinger (1964) - Ah, Sean Connery as James Bond. Does it get any better than this... (yes, actually: Pierce Brosnan.) Naked ladies painted in gold, crazy villains, nuclear bombs... the quintessential things for a movie of this sort. "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to Die." There was no lack of Bond humor and quips and jabs at the enemy that made for a good chuckle, but when it got right down to getting the Job done James Bond pulled it off like always, saving the day, getting the girl, and all without wrinkling his suit. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

My Newest Nephew

Cooper Lee Razee
6 lbs. 13 oz.
12:11 pm

The Great Nightgown Debacle

First of all, let me say that I had no idea that buying a new nightgown could be so difficult… and made even more so by trying to buy one with husband in tow.

Recently I decided that I wanted a night gown. I have lots of pajamas tops, bottoms, t-shirts, flannels… but not a nightgown. Having someone else in the house has reminded me that some of my sleeping attire is inappropriate for company so I thought having a nice light summery nightgown wouldn’t be a bad idea.

I did my usual looking around on-line (I don’t shop for clothes in stores anymore.) I checked Old Navy, Gap, JMS, Wal-Mart, Target… you know, the general locations but never found anything quite what I wanted. I figured I’d just go without and sleep in my hot pajamas that I already had.

Yesterday while out running errands we happened to park next to Macy’s at the mall, and instead of walking to the general entrance doors in the hot hot sun we chose to cut through the store. I do always like walking through the china section. Inevitably, that meant that when we left the mall we’d walk through the store again on our way out. After getting what we needed we passed back through the department store on the way out but took “the long way” around. I looked at crockery, mattresses, ties, kid clothes… and eventually we passed the ladies lingerie sections and I remembered: “Oh, yeah, I wanted a nightgown.”  

In my younger days when I worked at ZCMI, before it was Meyer & Frank, before it was Macy’s, I remember them having nice nightgowns that I had always admired, but was too cheap and loved my holy plaid pajama bottoms too much to ever buy. I thought it would be a good idea to see what they had. With John in tow I dragged him through the bras to the sleepwear section and pretty quickly I spotted a nice gown that I *thought* would be perfect. It was cute, blue with little flowers and some lace and buttons at the neckline… but from behind me I hear “That’s an old lady nightgown.” I guess I should say that what I was looking for was just a nice knee length gown, with short/cap sleeves, made of cotton or another light/summer appropriate material. Apparently, this style = grandma. John picked out the long flowy ones, the short slinky ones, the silky ones, the expensive sleeveless ones… all cute but not what I was going for. Then I figured it out. I started showing him the really grandma ones. You know the ones: textured print, light flannel, zippered house coats, ugly ones, floral ones. Eventually working my way back to that first style that I picked out. Eventually he just threw his hands in the air and told me to get whatever I wanted because he didn’t care. (Really? If he didn’t care would he have made the grandma comment in the first place.)

I finally settled on a cure pink one, just the style I wanted with a little lace and some cute buttons. It wasn’t the first one I picked out, but it’s one I like. I just never knew that my choosing a sensible nightgown was going to cause John to have an apoplexy. But now I know that I’m just getting old because I like modest nightgowns… I guess it goes well with my gray hair.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Life: What's next?

I have felt like blogging for the last few days but just haven’t had the chance to sit down at a computer. A lot has happened this last week.

Where to start… hmmm…

First of all, last Monday morning (6/13) I went to work as usual and we had our regular staff meeting at 8:30 am… Then, the Manager of the Credentialing Verifications Center got on the call and informed us all that we’ll be “co-sourcing” with a company called Ingenix. Most of their work is done in India. This leads to the fact that they’ll be consolidating the CVC sites and some jobs will become redundant and no longer needed… Well, guess what? The Salt Lake CVC is the one being consolidated, it will be dissolved, and all 33 of the employees (including me,) will be laid off within the next year. Yep, as soon as you’re job function is taken over by the new company you’re out. Starting in September 2011 they’ll start moving all the work to Ingenix, and updating the systems, and by September 2012 they want to be fully integrated and running with their new co-source. Whatever.

So what does this mean for me. After a ‘pulse-check” meeting last Wednesday we learned that we’re pretty much guaranteed our jobs until the end of 2011 since we were all budgeted in already, but starting 1st Quarter 2012 jobs will start to go. The health plans that were managed by the Salk Lake site will be moved to Bismarck or Harrisburg, the file volume will also start going that direction too. The processers will most likely be the first to go, followed by the plan leads, the supervisors, and finally the manager. Yep, I’m being laid off.

I understand that people in India need jobs too, but what about us Americans? Where is the great plan to help our economy when good jobs are being sent over seas? Where is the sensibility in this plan?

I understand it’s all about the money from the large business perspective. But what about the little people like me who need a job to support my family? I guess I’m better off then others that I work with: single moms, huge debts, barely making it… but If I lose my job we loose the biggest part of our income. I can’t let that happen so I’m going to have to find a job before I’m put out in the cold. I hate job hunting. If anyone has any information about open jobs let me know. I’d appreciate any help I can get.

Now the question is what do I do? What do I want to do with my life? Do I want to look for a new job now? Or do I stick it out for a severance package, or maybe an opportunity to work from home that they say “might” become a possibility? Do I want to work in Credentialing anymore? Do I even want to stay in the medical field? Do I want to try something new? Do I want to try a brainless job somewhere? If so what is there?

I don’t want to work in retail. I don’t want to work in foods. I don’t even want to look for a new job. I like the one I have. This really is so unfair. I really love this job and the thought of it just being pulled out from under me is so frustrating. When I got this job at Coventry I decided that this was going to be it for a long while. I had thought and planned on this being *the* job that I’d stay at until I was able to really get on with my life with kids and a home and John with a degree and a good job.

How our plans do seem to go awry.

I agree with Depeche Mode, I do think that God has a sick sense of humor, and when I die I expect to find him laughing.

Work since then has been rather depressing, but the management, (even though they’re all pissed off too,) keep trying to remind us that until the end of the year it’s just “business as normal…” but it sure doesn’t feel like it. We’re all depressed, disappointed, pissed off and there is very little motivation. Can you blame us?




That same Monday night around 10:00 pm, I got a call from my oldest sister saying that her oldest son (step-son) had been kicked out of his mother’s house and needed some where to stay for a few days. Of course I said yes, because not only do I love my sister, but I kinda love all her kids too, but then I realized that our extra bed was covered in two feet of junk and there was only a tiny little pathway to the bed anyway. So I got out of bed and did what I think is the fastest cleaning of that room ever. I moved boxes, piled quilts, hung up coats, trashed junk and magically I found the bed, and most of the floor within a half hour. I was pretty impressed. After several texts I hid a key and went to bed. Bryon showed up in the dark of the night and has been there ever since.

It’s funny, John and I are up and out of the house by 6:00 am, and Bryon works late hours and then is out with his friends/girlfriend until all hours of the morning and we’re in bed by 10:00 pm, so we have actually only seen him a few times since he’s been there.

It works out well, he can come and go as he pleases, and we just carry on as usual.

I did help him find a more permanent place to stay. My mission companion, and friend Holly has been seeking a roommate for quite a while now that isn’t crazy, a thief, or unfit for human companionship, so I introduced her to Bryon. They’ve come to an agreement and he’ll be moving in with her July 1st. That means that he’ll be lurking at my house for the next week and a half, but that’s okay, it’s nice having him around. Most of the time us here in the area don’t know where to find Bryon, but if he’s in my other bedroom than at least I know he’s alive. So, I found my Holly a roommate, and my Bryon a place to stay. Two outside problems solved.


The roof leaks. You wouldn’t think it would since it was replaced in 2007, but it does. We think the issue is around the vents that were installed in the roof during the shingling project. John needs to get up on the roof and see if he can seal it up a bit more to stop the leakage, otherwise the landlords will find themselves having to replace a large section of the roof because the wet wood will have rotted out. Nice. I just wish it would stop raining.


John has had the flu this last week. He missed a few days of work and spent the weekend in bed. What fun that is. Apparently his mom and his sister both had it last week too. I am hoping I have missed this fun round of sickness.


Speaking of John’s sister, Rachel, she hasn’t had her baby yet. We thought that maybe he was coming last Tuesday (6/14), but it turns out it was just Braxton hicks contractions and the flu combined to put her in the hospital for several hours with no baby as a going away prize. We’re still waiting for Cooper to make his appearance. He’ll either come sometime in the next few days, or it’s my understanding that she is being induced on Friday 6/24… one way or the other he’ll be here by the end of the week. I’m excited to see my newest little nephew.


I spent some time with Jessica and Toby this past weekend. Jessica helped me figure out the connecting stitch to this blanket I have been crocheting. I’m finished with it now. I’ll get a picture of it up so everyone can see it. I’m pleased with how it turned out, although my edges aren’t so straight, and I only made 6 strips instead of seven… but that’s okay. Sometimes a smaller blanket is better than a bigger blanket when it comes to babies. I have to give quite a bit of credit to Jessica on this one since with out her suggestions and help I probably would have given it up a while ago and it probably would have gone into the void of “liz’s unfinished projects.” Thanks Jessica.


I don’t think there is anything pressing taking up our evenings this week. This coming weekend is going to be pretty busy. John works Friday night (and maybe a baby.) Saturday we have a baptism in Saratoga Springs and then a 1st birthday party back in Kaysville. I don’t think there is anything on Sunday, and then Monday is a dentist appointment. We’ll be doing a lot of running around.

Eating with Liz 2011

We haven't really eaten a lot at home the last little while, but what we have eaten hasn't been that impressive. Here is one that we didn't hate:
Chicken & Spinach Casserole
2 cups Roasted Chicken cut up
16 oz Cooked Spinach
1/2 cup Alfredo Sauce
1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
4 oz can sliced Mushrooms
8 oz tube of Crescent Rolls
Cook spinach according to package directions (or wilt fresh spinach in microwave or in a pan on the stove top.) Mix cooked spinach with Alfredo Sauce/
Spray a 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray. Create layers: chicken, mushrooms, spinach mix, and cheese. Repeat. Everything should layer twice. 
Cover top with Crescent Rolls for a crust. Bake according to Crescent Roll directions, or until golden brown and everything is heated through. About 20 minutes.

Movies: Spies and some crap.

Green Lantern (2011) – It was okay. I can’t say it was any better than that. It could have been sooo much better. It was boring and not interesting and some of the animation is so bad. I feel sorry for the poor movie. I can’t believe that they paid $200M to make it and it still sucked that badly. Basically it was an introduction to the world of the Green Lanterns. First of all, I wouldn’t be seeing it if I didn’t already know who the Corps were. Secondly, it took the entire movie to get to any real action, but by the time they got there I didn’t care anymore. I'd say the acting was bad, but even good actors can only do so well with crappy dialogue. I did like Hal Jordan. That’s about the one nice thing I can say about it. We really, really wanted it to be so good. but sadly it just wasn't. Sad. Just sad. It gets two frowny faces. -- :( :(


Casino Royale (1966) – We came across this movie on TV and stopped to watch. I’ll admit, I dozed part of the way through it, but I was tired. John however watched the entire thing. At first I thought that it was a serious Bond film, because who would make a spoof of James Bond without changing the names….. Well, I was mistaken. Peter Sellers, Orson Wells, Woody Allen, David Niven – It had some pretty big names in it. I really enjoyed the parts I saw, and John enjoyed it enough to watch the entire thing… even with commercials. Truthfully, I’d rather watch this one than the 2006 version.


The World Is Not Enough (1999) – This is the first Bond movie I ever saw in the theater with John. I enjoy this one. Really, I enjoy all the Bond movies, but as I whole I choose the Pierce Brosnan era over any others. In this one he not only gets one love interest but two, however one turns out to be something he didn’t expect. I love Dame Judi Dench as M. This is also the last movie that Desmond Llewelyn appear as Q. I HATE Denise Richards. She can’t act. She’s not pretty. In my opinion she brings this whole movie down just by being there. Other than that, it’s one to watch.


The Living Daylights (1987) – Timothy Dalton, is not my favorite Bond. This one takes place in the Soviet Union, and several other countries while Bond tries to find a defected Soviet General who double crossed everyone and is working to start a world war. Bond, with the General’s girlfriend (of course) has to hunt him down and stop him from selling opium for money and the purchase of high-tech weapons that he wants so he can start a war. Not the best Bond movie out there, but one I hadn’t seen before. I did enjoy the fact that one of the bad guys in this movie sows up as Felix in the future Pierce Brosnan films. Amusingly enough, this SHOULD have been Pierce Brosnan’s first Bond film, but he couldn’t gout out of his Remington Steele contract. So the script was tailored to him, but Timothy Dalton was brought in to play the roll.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Movies: Things to watch

Inception (2010) - This movie was not as great as I had been led to believe. It was soooo long and took forever to get to the point. It was a little like Oceans 11 but less interesting. Guy puts together a team to break into someone's subconscious to plant an idea. the basic plot line: build team, rob bank, get reward. Like I said, it just took forever to get to the point of the movie with too much filler. I probably would have enjoyed it if it was an hour shorter.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) - High Low, everywhere we go, on chitty chitty we depend.... I love this movie. I always have. It's a little slow to start like most old movies are, but the story is so fun. Man and woman fall in love, children using their imagination, and a magical car that saves the day. What better story do you need than that.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Movies: Things we shouldn't be watching

Watchmen (2009) - We finally bought this movie after nearly two years, and I just have to say that it is as bloody and violent as I remember it being. There were parts that were much cooler in the IMAX version that weren't as impressive on my little TV, but as a whole this is a great movie to watch if you don't mind sex, violence, language and a lot of blood... and a giant blue naked man. We bought the Uncut Edition that had the story of the Black Freighter spliced into the original film and that added some extra interest as the Black Freighter kind of parallels the storyline. It was about 4 hours long though, so don't watch it if you're sensitive or don't have the time to dedicate to it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's life, Jim, but not as we know it.

It's about time for a real post about the life of Liz. I've posted about movies and food and musicals and concerts, but nothing really about me... well, I guess in the long run those posts ARE about me, but there are other things going on in our lives that might need to be recorded for future posterity.. ha ha. Whatever. Lets see what I can come up with.

I finished the blanket I had been making for Rachel's baby. He is due July first, and his name will be Cooper. this blanket took way longer to make then it needed too. I made the afghan mostly of yarn that formerly belonged to John's Grandma Evans. Mother Evans has a stash of it in her basement. Green, White, Brown and Variegated. I did have to buy the orange yarn because I needed just one more color that wasn't in the stash.


It took me about 3 months to finish. The pattern wasn't terribly difficult, just tedious... but I think that's true about most crochet projects. Tedium just comes with the hobby I suppose. And though it wasn't difficult it was extremely frustrating. It's two rounds of 24 lines each alternating colors. This may have been a little more than I was ready for as my second crochet project ever, but the book listed it as "Easy" so I thought I could handle it...
Well, it started out okay. Then suddenly I noticed that the "seam" where the colors changed was getting really crooked. Next, I was weaving in tails when I snipped a string in the pattern and had to unravel half of my completed work (setting me back about a month) ... Oaky, now that I have to basically start again I tried straightening the seam. That was good... but then I noticed that I had cut some of the tails too short and I worry that it will unravel with use. Then there was this problem and that problem an before I knew it I hated this blanket. the center rings appear to be too tight so they bulge strangely, but after talking to a friend who crochets a lot it appears that this is a common issue with this type of pattern. But in the end it turned out okay and I handed it off to Rachel and it's not my problem any more. I did tell her though that if it fell apart then I would make Cooper a new one. I may make Cooper a new one anyway.  
Now I am working on a new blanket for Arianne and Scott's baby. He's due in August.. This blanket has been much easier and much less frustrating.... well a little less frustrating then the last one. It's made up of several strips of different colors (I'm making it in St. Lewis Cardinals colors for Scott) that are attached together by a zig-zag stitch that I still need to figure out. I have it mostly done and could probably have it all done if it weren't for one strip of red that was driving me crazy. I had to unravel it about nine times because I kept missing a stitch somewhere in the pattern and I didn't realize it until the end of line 5 where it should have matched up, but it didn't I was anywhere between 2 to 4 stitches off... finally on one round where I ended up only one stitch off I said to heck with it and just added the extra stitch and kept going. I guess that will be the end strip that doesn't need to match up with anything. But like my mom says "A blind man would be happy to see it." and she's probably right. Except that I'm not giving it to a blind man. Thanks to advice from my sister Jessica I have now invested in some Stitch Markers that have helped a lot and hopefully I'll have this one done sooner than later. I do like the pattern though and think I'll try it again. I'll post more about it when I'm finished.
I have also decided that my brain only functions on one creative level at a time. I feel like since I have picked up crocheting I haven't really written anything. It's like I'm so focused on finishing the project I'm working on that all of my creative fuel is used up so I sit down in front of an open Word document and I have nothing to write down. That's sad. I hope that maybe I'm just suffering from a case of writers block and not the fact that I no longer have the words to feed my imagination. I guess it's time for me to sit down and pound out a story about Unicorns to prove to myself that I can still do it.....
Someday I'll continue with my choose your own adventure story. However I think the poll up in the corner of my blog is kind of funny showing that the majority chooses "Kill Yourself" - I'm sure that if anyone is new to the blog they may be taken aback and confused by the question... maybe they even think I'm a bit suicidal. Who knows. It's just funny to me now.
We've spent some time with friends the past few weeks:
Of course there are game nights with John & Angie, and Megan. They're totally awesome and have introduced us to a lot of new board games, and card games we've never heard of before that we now love. We had dinner with Becky & Jacob, and their kids, a few weeks ago. It was fun to see them. We don't see them often enough. We introduced them to a fun new card game called Pirate Fluxx. We all had a fabulous time. Bryce & Jennie, and Owen are in Utah for the summer, and they also came down from Logan to have dinner with the Shapiro's. It's always fun seeing them. We miss them when they're so far away.
Everyone's kids are getting so big. It's starting to make me feel old while I watch them grow up.
Before going to dinner at the Shapiro's house John and I had some time to kill in Salt Lake because we didn't want to drive all the way home just to turn around and drive all the way back to their house... So we stopped at the Church History Museum to see the new exhibit called "Seek his Face" the paintings were nice to look at. There were some really strange ones and some really nice ones but they were all the artist's interpretations of Christ. I love going to see the displays at the museum. It's not a large place, but it's always interesting. 
Then there was the U2 Concert, and Les Miserables and it seemed like nothing else really happened in between. I guess there was Memorial Day. We spent the weekend with family, and also dog-sitting Frodo and Lilo for Norm & Becca while they went to Las Vegas. And then there was my dad's 76th birthday. John and I stopped at a British store (or two) and bought him some candy, and also some Pasties for dinner that night.
I think that's about it for now. I can't think of anything else at the moment.

Eating with Liz 2011 - Almond Chicken

We haven't really eaten at our own house for the last two weeks so I haven't made too many new foods to eat. We have either eaten out, or been invited to someone else's house for food. (Which is sooo nice.) Anyway, here is one recipe that has been tried with in the last two weeks that we did like.

Almond Rice Chicken


½ c green onion, chopped fine

20 oz boneless chicken tenders

2 T olive oil

1 T parsley

1 c long-grain rice

¼ t salt

14 oz can chicken broth

2 oz pkg slivered almonds, lightly toasted


Sauté onion in 1 T oil. Stir in, parsley, rice, salt and broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 min. Meanwhile, heat 1 T oil in another skillet. Sauté chicken for 3 min on each side, until done. Combine all together w/ almonds.


Cheesy Broccoli

½ bag fresh broccoli florets

¼ c shredded cheddar

Steam broccoli; drain. Add cheese and re-cover to melt.

We had this with a green salad, instead of broccoli. Also, I cooked my rice separately from the chicken mixture. Regular rice never seems to work for me in these types of recipes, it always turns out too under-done and crunchy. Yuck. I cooked the rice with the chicken broth in our rice cooker (that always manages to burn things to the bottom) and then tossed it into the chicken stuff at the end. It worked out well, and it all tasted just fine. Even though John is not an almond fan, he has admitted that he'll eat them when they're in something like this.

Final thoughts on this dish: It was pretty good. I suppose we could eat this again. I think it needed "something" else in the flavor department. Maybe more pepper.

Les Miserables 5.31.2011

Last Tuesday we had the opportunity to go see Les Miserables in Salt Lake City with our season tickets we have to Capitol Theatre. I love this musical. This may in fact be my favorite musical. I think I have only seen it live three times now, but I have heard it, or seen it on PBS a bout a million other times. I know all the music and have sung along to it a thousand times… any yes, each time I get a little teary eyed (all through the second act) when I hear the music.

Before the show John and I went to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Let me just say… I wasn’t impressed. Sure the menu is like 40 pages long, and the portion size is on the side of  ridiculous. It was so over priced. I really don’t think I should have to pay $15 for a salad. Granted, the tostada salad I had was pretty good (and fed me for two days,) but it wasn’t THAT good. Oh, and it was totally full of Cilantro. I hate Cilantro, I just don’t see why everything has to be covered in it recently. Yuck. John had the Sheppard’s Pie and that really wasn’t that great. The cheesecake was good though. We tried the Apple Strudel Cheesecake. It was pretty good. Not as great as I expected it to be. Will I ever eat there again? I doubt it unless someone insists that we go with them… besides, that’s way out of our way to go there.

On to the show:

I love the Capitol Theatre. I love going to the theatre. There is just something so fancy about it that even though I’m in my nice clothes I feel underdressed and find myself looking down my nose at those that show up in their shorts and work grubbies. I think that going to the theatre should be a special occasion that demands a little bit of formality.

We of course arrived early, as good manners dictate and while we waited for the doors to open my cute husband bought me a souvenir shirt that has “24601” across the front (it’s awesome.) and a magnet for our fridge. Usually I don’t think we need to buy the over priced souvenirs in the lobby, but this time he convinced me that I needed something.

And then I really just have to complain about the people that have their season tickets behind us. Wow they are annoying. First of all, it seems like they know everyone that walks by and then they talk about their holidays in Spain and their weekends in Kittybunkport, and their yacht and blah blah blah… Okay, not really, but they might as well be. That’s about the same idea. Basically they’re rich obnoxious people that we just want to turn around and smack. We like to mock them in our spare time. They were especially annoying that night. What with the loud candy wrappers and talking. I did turn around and give the father (of all people to be so disrespectful of others) a nasty look that stopped his candy wrappers for the rest of the show.

Okay, now I’ll tell you about the production…

This performance was… mediocre. The voices of the performers were weak and not very memorable. The only person in the production was the adult Eponine. She was a very lovely African-American woman with such a beautiful voice and she just belted out the tunes the way they were meant to be sung. Too bad she had such a short amount of stage time. I wanted more from Little Gavroche, and Cosette but I was disappointed there too. I will say that this Marius was a million times better then that Jonas brother that played him in the recent “Dream a Dream” Production on PBS. (That production, by the way, it totally worth watching.)   

One neat thing about this production was that this touring season they have redone all the sets to more closely resemble the original drawings by Victor Hugo that were made for the book. Everything is grittier, and darker. I loved how the projections on the rear curtain would move to give the illusion of marching through the streets or slumming through the sewers. That impressed me.

There were some sound problems with the microphone’s and the heads of the people in front of me were annoying, yet over all, I suppose the production was just fine, but I have seen better.

Movies: Two This Week

Wild Target (2010) - This movie was totally funny. I loved every minute of it. It made us laugh. We are fans of Bill Nighy, and he was superb in this. also, it was nice to see Rupert Grint in something other than Harry Potter. I would definitely say this is a movie to watch for us older people. Not kid friendly, but we don't have kids so that's not something we worry about too often.


X-Men: First Class (2011) - I loved this movie. John had some qualms about it, but in the end he'll admit that he liked it too. It was fun seeing the X-Men from the younger angle. I liked James McAvoy as Professor X he was good. There was some action and the plot was laid out pretty good. There was one little part that I really liked, but was disappointed with at the same time. If you see the movie you can probably guess what that was. But over all we really liked it and enjoyed watching it.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Star Tours

The new Star Tours opened in Disneyland this weekend. I can't wait to go ride it. Until I do though there is this awesome video to keep me smiling until I get there. :)