Cinderella, Giselle, Snow White, Great-Grandma

When I was a little girl, I always thought that it would be the coolest thing to be able to call birds and have them land on my finger like the princesses in Disney. The farthest I ever really got with that was training chipmunks to climb on top of my head to eat peanuts. I should be grateful for what I've had, but really, I still want birds to come and land on my finger. I'll admit it.

Yesterday, my mom sent me this picture of my great grandma. Apparently she could sing to birds and have them come land on her finger. So apparently it's not only in cartoons and it's not only princesses. At point point, she tamed a whole family of fly catchers in her backyard, and she'd go out with a container of milk, call the little birdies over, and they'd drink from her container.

Don't think that the fly swatter in this picture is menacing. She was just being clever: Fly catchers in both hands.

You can see from this picture also that she's not young. So apparently I have my whole life to work on this goal. You'd better believe this is making it to my list of things to do before I die.

Call Gordon Jump!

I am really afraid that my oven is broken.

(I'm not speaking metaphorically about my womb, either, and those anonymous people who like to suggest that I'm pregnant in the comments section should know that seriously, I'm not pregnant. My lotion really does smell musty, okay, and it smelled musty before I ever met Murray.)

(Speaking of pregnancy rumors, back when I posted about my first design that has been mass printed, I showed the proof to someone at work who then shouted out, "Cicada had her first baby!!" And I think that just about every person's head popped out of their office or cubicle. Seriously. Not pregnant.)

Today I am at home sick, and because I'm not one who prepares for illness, I don't have a stock of comfort food in my home. So I decided to make muffins, which is strange, because I never, ever make muffins. But I was just craving muffins. (Please refrain from comment about pregnancy cravings.) So I decided to make gingerbread muffins, because does anything sound better?

The problem was that when I set the oven to 375, it clicked a few times, and then all the numbers rapidly rose to 375. I could guarantee you that the oven doesn't get that hot that fast. This happened recently before, and I was able to fix it by setting it to 350, waiting for it to get to 350, and then resetting the temperature to what I really wanted. So I tried that this time. It didn't work. I tried about five different times and finally it worked the last time I tried it.

What does one even do when one's oven is broken? I mean, first of all, I think that Gordon Jump is actually dead. So that doesn't help me at all. Second of all, does the Maytag repairman cost as much as a plumber, because in that case, I'm willing to rip apart the wiring myself and fix it myself.

Anniversary Date

I always thought it was cool that Murray and I married exactly six months to the day that we first met: May 3rd and November 3rd.

Today, Murray and I decided to buy tickets to The Swell Season, coming to The Depot on May 2nd. We both enjoyed the movie, Once, and then we were thrilled to see the humble couple get up at the Oscars and give the sweetest acceptance speeches ever. (Thanks for bringing Markéta Irglová back on stage to give her speech after she was cut off!). I'm so glad that their song won Best Original Song because I seriously haven't gotten sick of listening to the Once soundtrack yet. I'm so excited to see them at The Depot because it's such a small, intimate venue.

So I told Murray that it was great that we were going to see this concert on May 2nd, also because it's a day before May 3rd, the day we met, and it's only fitting that we celebrate by doing something bigger than our average fare.

And then I went to program it into my iPhone calendar, to be puzzled---really, really puzzled. May 2nd is a Friday this year. May 3rd is on a Saturday. Murray and I met on a Wednesday (I purposely scheduled our first date for a weekday because then if it goes well, you don't have to wait a whole week to get together again). But even with a leap year, there's no possible way that May 3rd could be on a Wednesday one year and on a Saturday the next.

Sure enough I looked it up, and we met IRL (please note my self-deprecating tone in using that term) on May 2nd.

The good news: We're going out on a big date this year to celebrate the anniversary of when we first met.

The bad news: We didn't get married six months to the day we met. I feel like my whole world view is caving in on me.

Weren't the men supposed to be the ones who are bad with anniversaries?

Anybody have a breath mint?

Everything smells like onions. Well, specifically, my wedding ring smells like onions right now, so I'm going to go wash it very soon.

My brother Richie is in town, which means that we get to eat good food. Four out of five of the kids in my family are cooks, and though we're all good, I'd venture to say that Richie is the best. El Senor is a close second, though. So Richie decided on a menu for last night's meal.

Roast Moroccan pork loin
Sweet and spicy pork loin
Caramelized-onion Gorgonzola mashed potatoes (my suggestion)
Green beans (with pine nuts and onions)
Sautéed mushrooms (with onions)
Corn (with nothing)

We realized after cutting and cooking the 17th onion that every single dish we were serving, except the corn, had onions in it. Good thing we all like onions!

Dinner was a success, but that's not surprising. Everyone is a fan of Richie's tender loin.

What's this?

So I wanted to direct your attention to some of the recent efforts of some close friends of ours.

[wink, wink, nudge, nudge]



I give a hoot about Valentine's Day.

A couple years ago, I read the post-Valentine's Day blogs from all the couples out there and determined one thing. I would never go out to eat on Valentine's Day. It just seemed like so much hassle and stress, just because you're supposed to spend an evening together.

Instead, Murray and I decided to spend the evening in. It still involved a little hassle and a smidgen of stress. I did a prime rib roast that wasn't everything I'd dreamed it would be, gorgonzola mashed potatoes that I could eat by the shovelful, oven roasted veggies (leftover from the night before---gasp!), and a salad. In the course of preparing for the evening, I slit my middle finger open, burned my arm, and broke some blood vessels in my hand. Oh, the things we do for love! I can definitely say that it was all worth it, because in the end, Murray and I enjoyed a romantic candlelit dinner (did I mention that I forgot to turn on the music that I'd prepared?).

Murray, for his part, well exceeded my expectations. He showered me with gifts, not all of which I will list because it will make every man in the world feel inadequate and every woman in the world feel under appreciated. But I will highlight two cool gifts so that you get an inkling of how much cooler Murray is than any other man in existence.

Cool cicada earrings from this etsy store. I've been eying these for a long, long time. So perfect.

A picture of a pygmy owl with a damask background. Murray is great at collecting things that represent what I love. Here, he's taken a pygmy owl that I saw at a museum and fell in love with, and he's incorporated my love of pattern by adding a green damask background instead of foliage. Murray is so cool. And I am so spoiled.

This and That

The big news is that Murray and I purchased plane tickets yesterday for a whirlwind tour of our continent's extremes. In June, we'll be going up to Timmins so that Murray can see where I grew up, and then we'll head straight to Texas for Murray's brother Steve's wedding.

In Timmins, I'll take Murray on a culinary tour of the best the city has to offer. We'll eat poutine from Chez Nous, Poutine Land, lasagna from Toffanello's, pizza from Don's Pizzeria (the King of Pizza), and pickerel at the Fish Bowl.

In Texas, Murray will take me on a culinary tour of food found only in Texas, as he experienced on his mission. I know that some sort of peach drink will be involved, and possibly southern barbecue.

The great news is that we got all the tickets for $750 total. Not shabby, if I do say so myself. Are you planning a trip soon? Take advantage of Southwest's nationwide sale going on right now, but be quick. It's the third day of the sale, and Murray and I already bought the last $99 fare from Salt Lake to Buffalo yesterday. They're selling fast!

Now I'd like to direct your attention here briefly to household beauty products. Have you ever bought a product you loved, only to buy it again and find it has a different odor? I'm experiencing that problem right now. For over a year, I had the itchiest legs on earth, due to eczema. I even went to a doctor for help, but when she prescribed a one-ounce bottle of cream, I realized that she didn't understand that the itchiness covered my entire legs and was beyond tolerable. Then I discovered Aveeno's wonderful moisturizing lotion. It smells like menthol, but not too bad, and it was very nice and soothing when I put it on. In fact, in about a week of putting it on morning and night, my itchy legs were pretty much cured. The itchiness only comes back when I'm not good about moisturizing now.

So I went through a whole bottle. And this week, I bought a new bottle. Of the exact same stuff. But now, instead of the menthol scent, it smells like must and mold. It's gross. I kept smelling it on myself all morning. I'll be the first to admit that menthol isn't the most sexy smell out there, but it sure beats what I smell like right now. I'm ashamed to be out in public. Why do I buy the same product and get a different smell?

The same applies to Design Line hair products. I bought some volumizing stuff from my mall hairdresser and it smelled great---just a subtle smell. The next time I bought some, it smelled like musty mold. What is with the musty mold scent that is popular these days? It's okay, though. My volumizing root boost, also from Design Line, that I use with the other product, smells like Pinesol, so at least no one smells the mold.

I'm afraid that people will think I'm decaying, when really it's just my beauty products.

Bring it, Utah.

It's official. Today I bought the last pair of rugged winter boots in the state of Utah. Due to alarming amounts of snow this winter, all reasonably-priced winter boots sold before the month of February, though snow continued to fall. And fall. And fall.

During the past few months, I have become painfully, coldly, and wetly aware that all but one pair of my shoes are sabbath appropriate. And if you can wear almost everything you own to church, then you probably aren't properly outfitted for the winter. So today, I found this great pair of Columbia boots (waterproof and good to -32 F) for $50 and I couldn't have spent my money more happily.

Now I need a winter coat. Although I have a vast collection of winter coats, all of them are also sabbath appropriate. Apparently I like to go to church a lot. Or something.

I asked my mom to go through the storage closet in her house in Maryland and bring me out any extra stuff that remains from our Canadian days (when snow pants were required just to get out to the car and knee-high Sorel boots were the height of fashion) but she forgot.

The truth is, it's February, and I feel like I've almost wasted this winter. As much as I want the weather to turn good again, I would also like to take advantage of all the snow before it goes away. My only snowman this year (and for the past eight years at least) was built on a table outside the shops at the Riverwoods. Incidentally, I was wearing sabbath-appropriate clothing---even down to the skirt and silk shirt. I live really close to Hobble Creek canyon and they do fun things there like sledding and snowshoeing and I should really see some of that action.

So here's a new new year's goal: Get out and play in the snow before it's gone.


Find a good pair of winter boots for Murray so that I'm not stuck playing alone.

Wrong again!

"The most important wings on an airplane are on the pilot."
---T. Allen McArtor

Here's another quote I hate. I hate it because if you think it through, it's wrong!

If I'm on a plane, and the flight attendant comes on the PA and says, "We have a problem. The pilot has suffered a sudden heart attack," there's still hope that someone else on the plane has some flying experience, or ground control can talk a brave person through landing the plane, or both, as in Airplane!

If I'm on a plane, and the flight attendant comes on the PA and says, "We have a problem. The plane's wings have fallen off," I think we're pretty much screwed.

Weekend Highlights

Here is a picture of the red-headed beauty that is my new niece.

In other, less important but still exciting news, Murray and I made serious progress on our office yesterday. We still have a few nit picky things that we'd like to do (mount a magnet board, mount a bulletin board, organize the closet and the shelves), but aesthetically, right now it looks pretty much like it should look.

Yesterday we put up pegboard behind Murray's drawing desk. We have it there so that we can hang up works in progress on the walls. I think that the room should be filled with art---why waste cool, unfinished pieces by storing them in the closet? (Note: The grotesque woman in the bikini is not Murray's work; it's from his friend Peter, and I found it in the closet and liked it, so I added it to the wall.) (Note also: We found Murray's "BEST CARTOONIST" plaque from his junior high [91-92] and we added that to the display wall as well.)

On the other side of the room is our computer station. Right now we have both the computers there, but we'll move the small iMac elsewhere once there's room cleared for it in the guest room. We used Ikea shelves around the desk (thanks to the help of my brothers and Dad) and mounted "frame" doors on the tall shelves. Inside the frames are cards from Smack of Jellyfish that illustrate collective nouns from A-Z. Thanks to El Senor for the great birthday gift!

I think that both pictures displayed like that make the office look enormous, but the room is only really about 10x12'. You can see from the picture below that the drawing desk is really only 3 or 4 feet behind the computer desk.

This is a corner of serenity in our bedroom. I've been needing a jewelry box since moving in with Murray because my jewelry just collects in small piles around the room. Murray got me a cool jewelry box from Urban Outfitters, but we realized that it will only fit small necklaces and earrings. I needed something else for my chunky necklaces. Which is why it was great to find this DIY project from Blueprint, via Design Sponge. I just happened to have an empty frame that I've held onto for years because I knew I'd use it someday. So I put together this frame for my chunky necklaces. Next time I go to Ikea, I'll pick out a couple more so that they're not all crammed into the same box.

Other than that, our major weekend developments are that we cleaned our toilets of all the hard water buildup, so they sparkle and are presentable, and we spent an evening with Jenny and Ed, which was the first time that we've hung out with non-family couple friends. I can't wait till we get to have them over to our non-kid-proof house, where their children will incur gouges from our pointy furniture.

Happy Day!

Today, two important events for mankind have occurred.

1) The BBC has reported that a new mammal has been discovered. Currently, it's called Rhynochocyon udzungwensis, which means "long pointy-nose red fur black rump from Tanzania."

2) A new mammal has been discovered in a hospital here in Salt Lake. She's called Everett, I have no idea how much she weighs, but she has red hair. She is also known as redhairicus cicadasniecicus. Pictures coming.