little sarah Big World

Month: July, 2011

I went to an epic librarian party…

…and all I have to show for it is this picture:

It’s a balloon, if you couldn’t tell. In a bar. I maybe was a little bit too sauced at this point for documentation, BUT I did realize my giant rums and coke dream at long last. Several times over.

And before all this was a baby shower for Sister Natalie, with pie.

Blueberry pie, specifically, with the crust and filling recipes taken straight from The Joy of Cooking. BUT with one awesome improvement–Kevin found in Cooks Illustrated a trick where you grate a Granny Smith apple into the pie to thicken it up, instead of using cornstarch. Amazing! Check that out here.

Also this was tag-team baking, where I made the crust in the AM before heading off to work, and then Kevin made the filling and baked it all up in the PM, after returning from work. Aren’t we just the coolest kids on the block?

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A Tale of Two Bakers

So this is what the apartment looks like, now that Kevin’s moved in:

We love to bake. And drink wine. Actually, our favorite Friday night date consists of baking while drinking wine. True story.

Another true story is how Kevin’s passion for bread-making contradicts my obsession with a crumb-free kitchen. Seriously, it’s a constant battle. But the bread is delicious, and look at how pleased Kevin is:

 

He was also quite pleased with his guest blog, and weren’t we all? Wasn’t that something? And guess what else?! Coming soon are more guest blogs, possibly from as far away as…South Korea! No joke!

Stay tuned, friends.

Jordan River Parkway

A guest blog! By Kevin Barrett, who is my boyfriend. Starting now:

I ended up on the trail yesterday after riding away from TRAX in a huff.  The first and second trains left the station with no room for me to board.  I knew the parkway was close, and even though it wasn’t the quickest way to get to Taylorsville, biking through a potentially hazardous goathead minefield was more appealing to me than waiting for a third train.

The river was as full as I’d ever seen it.  Signs warned of high water ahead.  Sandbags lined the path near apartment complexes.  Several times during my ride I had to dismount and carry my bike off the road, which was too flooded to bike through.  Paths that normally lead down to the water’s edge were underwater, their handrails poking above the water.

It was a nice ride. The plants were especially verdant, and the ducks paddled in their pea-green pond.

They swam away disappointed when it became obvious I wouldn’t feed them.

The scenery became more and more familiar as I got closer to Taylorsville.

The dog park below is new, but the view is the same as it was when this was just a field of yellow weeds and dry dirt. It changes quickly to suburbs not far from here.

It’s a nicer, much slower alternative to UTA.

(Thank you, Kevin)

Went for a run in the mid-day sun

…and came home looking like this. Such is my dedication. Listening to “A Chorus Line” helped, also. So did the City Creek scenery.

 

 

Ogden, Utah is My Hometown

O Pioneers!

July is King in Utah. July means camping and swimming and barbecues (all that mountain folk stuff I talked about), and it also means fireworks and parades and parties. Twice.

See, we have the 4th of July, just like all good Americans, but we also have Days of ’47, or Pioneer Days. July 24th, to be specific, is Pioneer Day, and there are parades and fireworks and festivals all over the state. Oh, except when it falls on a Sunday! Like it did this year! This is Utah, friends, and that’s Heavenly Father’s day, so we celebrated on Monday. Which meant two days off of work as part of the official state Holiday, so I’m not complaining.

Here’s how we celebrated:

Home-baked Banana Cake

Pioneer Day Parade in Ogden

Lunch w/ Melissa @ Rooster's

Melissa asked if they have anything like this in Spain. “I’ll bet the parades there are way better,” she said. But the parades there are like this:

Kevin is leaving for Spain in late September. Watching him get ready for this big adventure, I see him going through much of the same stuff that I went through. You really do start to appreciate where you’re from more, to realize how unique it is. The Americana. That pioneering spirit. You can’t find that just anywhere.

A Day At the Beach

I have an abiding distrust for people from temperate climates. Los Angeles, San Diego, Hawaii…warm and sunny year-round does something to a person’s character. I’m suspicious of people who don’t experience winter. They don’t know about suffering.

Of course, we are all shaped by our environments. Mountain people, desert people, island people. Where you’re from affects what you do for fun, where you go on vacation, how you spend your free time. For many people, the beach means the ocean, salt water, waves, surfing, and I think it says something about my friends and I that for us the beach means this:

Pineview Reservoir, or “The Dam,” as we called it growing up. A lot of people, especially Salt Lakers, prefer Causey, which is all fine and well, but there’s not much of a beach there. Plus it isn’t filled with childhood memories–sneaking off with Marina to eat the forbidden, bright orange Mac-n-Cheese cheese packet; cousin Addie almost drowning after toddling after me into the water; trying to stay afloat on blow-up rafts with my friends and giggling our little heads off.

And how about how COLD the water always is. That would affect a person’s character, certainly. It’s mountain run-off, after all.

And we are mountain people. People who know winter. People who are outdoors-y without even trying, because it’s there, right in our backyards. So we hike, we canoe, we river raft. We camp, we caravan. We swim in water cold enough to chill your beer in, surrounded by the Wasatch, admiring the light through the cottonwood trees.

 

 

 

What about the place where you grew up makes you the person you are today?

Je ne suis pas parfaite

I am not perfect. For all of the preaching/self-improvement/learned optimism that goes on here, I am, at the end of the day, completely human. I do things like defile my pristine new chrysanthemum-patterned quilt by eating nachos, for dinner, in bed.

And those small pleasures in life that I’m always on about? They’re not always so simple. Take for example my fancy coffee beverage of choice: an iced, decaf, soy mocha. That’s kind of too many words to describe a coffee, right?

This one came from Café on 1st, which is right around the corner from my house, and I have to be careful to only go there on my days off, because I really, really like it there and could say goodbye to a lot of money that way. It reminds me of Grounds for Coffee in Ogden, basically the first coffee shop I ever even knew about.

Also there’s that candle, which was a $10 splurge at Target. Kevin, Sister Natalie and I spent 5 minutes debating whether to buy a big one and a little one, or two big ones, or two little ones…because we’ll want one for the bathroom, of course, but the main house gets that weird smell from the smokers downstairs a lot…and the kitchen gets a weird smell sometimes, too…until we remembered that we live in a studio and can just walk five steps to move the candle from the main room to the bathroom or kitchen, as needed.

So, yes, that is my life: standing in the aisle at Target debating the merits of a $10 candle with my loved ones. Average stuff. Boring, tedious. First World problems, some may say…

But that’s OKAY. Self-acceptance! Love! Optimism! Happiness!

*       *       *

Happy weekend, friends. Happy Pioneer Day.

Construction Zone

Also, about the site layout: I’m working on it. I know it looks super plain right now (Where did the Little People picture go? you may have wondered…), but I have to learn all sorts of internet-savvy shenanigans in order to make it not look plain, and that will take some time.

Small Pleasures, Small Pains

Wow, Life has been a bit overwhelming since I came back from France. Okay, a lot overwhelming. Yet somehow I continue to find a way to deal, and to celebrate the small things in life. Like the fabric lining my new shoes (from PayLess)…

…new, expensive bedding (from Target, so I guess the “expensive” part is relative)…

…a smaller bag inside my Longchamp bag, which really IS expensive, or at least would have been, if it hadn’t been a gift from Laura, who also gave me the idea for the bag-within-a-bag, which creates pleasing organizational ease.

And while I’m freaking about whether or not to go to Spain in September (my heart says “get me out of here,” but my wallet says “probably not”), the day-to-day nonsense is not so bad. Like stabbing myself in the leg today with my bike gears, while lowering it from the UTA bus.

I mean, it hurt, but all I could do was think about how cool it looked, and what are the odds, anyways?

I may be sick of Salt Lake, and it’s “hipper-than-thou” mentality, I may be in the throngs of another friend deficit, and I may still be in desperate need of a giant rum and coke (make that a Jack and Coke), but Life goes on. Life goes on, and I enjoy what I have, for the moment, and I read some books. Wash the walls. Bake some muffins. Apply for new jobs…

…blog at work while sitting next to Lindsey, who is also blogging at work. Amazing. Shout out to A Pilgrim’s Progress!