Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hollie and her iPad: an ill-fated love story...

Some people fall in love easily. They flit from one person to the next plunging deeply, fervidly into passionate, reckless love affairs; offering themselves heart and soul to whomever has recently caught their attention. They pursue romantic attachments with feckless abandon full of hope--albeit naive hope--that this person is the ever-elusive, exalted, often dietized object of intense interest or perhaps more appropriately: obsession. They discard all rationale in pursuit of this ideal and then shatter with despair as the attachment fizzles and finds itself filed away into the dust-laden recesses of the person's heart until someone else arrives to garner that interest once again. While it's not a ubiquitous problem, we each know someone who suffers from this strange addiction to love.

I experience this with electronics. I love new toys and some of you may recall a prior post in which I referred to my phone as my boyfriend.(His name is David; an explanation for another day...) Well, we're still together, though there have been some rough patches in our relationship...

And then there's IchaPod, my iPod. He's pretty hot and sports an impressive 160 GB of storage, because let's face it: size does matter. ;o)

But, alas, my relationship with my iPad was not to be. As many of you know I suffer from a condition for which there is no known cure: I read FAR too much. And that's where the sexy iPad and I conflicted and were forced to part ways. Due to its LCD screen, you can only read comfortably for about an hour at a time.

Enter the latest in my harem of technological suitors: The Kindle, or Ken-Doll as I've christened him. (Ken was hot, even if he was a tiny bit gay. And he always knew when to keep his mouth shut. What's not to love? ;o))

We hit it off immediately. It's e-ink technology allows for endless hours of reading entertainment. We have a wonderful relationship and are madly in love....

I'm a lucky girl ;o)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Burger Tour 2010!

I have over the last week consumed more beef than I probably did in the entire two months prior. Aside from the visit to In and Out, we also made a pilgrimage to the new Smashburger. While I had been to both, I had never been to the ones that recently opened near my house. I will say this: I had forgotten how good a Smashburger was. It was almost a religious experience and, while I'm a lover of good food, I'm not obsessed with it. I opt for the mantra: "Eat to live, don't live to eat." But Smashburger could very well change that. It reminds me of why I ended a six and half year stint as a vegetarian; because life was meant to be enjoyed, not endured. ;o)

This burger alone probably should have accounted for my total calorie intake for three-four days and it definitely does not make you feel light on your feet, but it's a darn good burger with a better-than-average dining atmosphere. How good can the atmosphere at a burger joint be? Well none of the furniture was composed of the obligatory hard plastic McDonalds and the like have nor is any of it bolted to the floor. Imagine that. And, while the color schemes at such classy establishments as Burger King and Wendy's run toward the vibrant primary colors or tacky, 80's pastels, the hues employed at Smashburger are more urban with sultry shades of crimson and jet black being prevalent. (Yes I just described the color scheme as sultry.)

It's sort of like burgers for the chic.

So move over sushi--slaughtered, processed cow has never been so hot! ;o)

The above shot was taken by my personal assistant/photographer. "Mom," she called. "Rub your stomach and say, 'mmmmmm.'" So I did. Not the most flattering picture, but fun nonetheless... :o)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Couch Potatoes

The other day my nephew came to visit. I heard his arrival, but noticed the lack of rambunctious laughter and hearty guffaws that generally accompany his entrance. As any parent will attest, silent kids are scary kids. As much as we yearn for peace, it terrifies us. When you become so completely accustomed to the melee; the never-ending din of child rearing; quietude is something to be feared. It seldom, if ever, indicates a wholesome, preapproved activity is being embarked upon.

I don't want to say thoughts 'raced,' through my head. Let's say they, 'jogged,' or possibly 'sauntered.' Possible scenarios included an image of my nephew falling down the stairs that descend into the family room. I saw his tiny body, arms outstretched, grasping for anything with which to steady himself and my daughter vaulting across the room to his rescue; pinning his toddler body to her chest and rolling across the floor in some Matrix-inspired, suspended-animation move she saves him. (My imagination's impressive!)

Then there was the thought of my ever-inquisitive, terminally-curious nephew seeing something inedible and discovering it's size/shape are perfect to fit within his mouth. His face, turning every shade of purple from lavender to plum, exhibiting an expression of unadulterated horror. My daughter (ever the heroine of my insane, mental hypotheticals) charges to his rescue, attempting to mimic the life-saving Heimlich maneuver.

I knew better, but I'm a writer. A vivid imagination is a requirement! Or maybe it's just indicative of being a huge dork....;o)

At any rate...Upon entering the room, I spied them cuddled together on a family-room chair. No broken bones or charred remains of furniture were to be seen. No asphyxiation seemed eminent. They were fine. Imagine that. And when I beheld them nestled together I had to capture the sweetness of the moment on camera. There the two of them sat snuggled close, utterly spellbound by what they were watching on the television. After snapping the picture, I turned to the TV to see what had them so completely enthralled...


That's right--Oprah. My daughter and nephew have become mesmerized by day-time television. I never thought this day would come. Okay, so I knew it would come, but I just thought I had something close to a decade to prepare. I assumed it would correspond with later-life events like applying to colleges and having a first job, etc. I never imagined that as early as the fourth grade, Ms. Winfrey would already have indoctrinated yet another generation of loyal followers. That she'd have her diamond-studded hooks firmly embedded in the likes of my daughter. And how old is my nephew? Not even two. I gotta hand it to the woman; that's some effective media! That the two of them would opt for Oprah over Disney Channel or Nickelodeon says a lot about her incredible mass appeal!

To be fair, my daughter has met Oprah. She was even kissed by her following Ali's appearance on her show. So, I think that adds to Oprah's mystique in my daughter's eyes. And with Oprah's keen observation in proclaiming that my daughter was, "so cute," I have to say I find myself partial to Ms. Winfrey as well ;o)

Also worth mention, is the fact that Oprah's guests that afternoon were some of the funniest people on God's green earth! Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan (LOVE him) and Betty White. I'm sure that was appreciated by the younger set!

So, in short, the kids were hale and hearty and free from certain disaster and, as of April 6, 2010, The Queen of Talk had acquired two new followers. She couldn't have done better! ;o)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Movin' on Up!

I have a strong dislike for moving. I love what it represents: a fresh start--a do-over of sorts. But, like most people I suspect, I hate the physically laborious task of the actual moving. Because I have done it so frequently myself and have come to loathe it so, I have developed a structured, systematic approach utilized in all my own personal moves in an effort to mitigate the horrid strain of moving. I have attempted to apply these proven techniques when helping others-but to little avail. I feel like Super Nanny trying to offer people tough love and having them fight me tooth and nail. I just think moving is no time to get clingy with your stuff. It's time to purge, if not for yourselves than for the people helping you... ;o) But, I've learned that everyone is specific about how they like their things handled. There's an obvious and beautifully- human attachment we have to our possessions and what they have come to represent to us. Everyone has distinct ideas of how best to tackle the seemingly-insurmountable task of packing all their earthly belongings and moving them to a completely new locale. I just have this horrible frustration with things that are inefficient and because there's such a strong emotional pull involving moving, I struggle with it. It is for this reason that I seldom-if ever-volunteer to help people move. I know that makes me a bad person; but there it is.

Sometimes I'll even be in a conversation with someone who is patently and unabashedly hinting that they'd like help with their move and I, with a generally astute ability to pick up on subtle social cues, feign complete obtuseness. I play dumb. Do you know why I'd rather have someone think I'm slow than give in and offer to help them move? Because I learned a long time ago: if you offer to help people move, they will take you up on it. For some reason no one picks up on that social cue, the one that--to me-- seems to scream, " I don't seriously mean this, so please under no circumstances take me up on this pseudo-offer. I'm only being polite and filling the awkward void in the conversation that compels me to offer my services with every possible hope that you will never take me up on it, or that I will have time to change my phone number before you can."

How can someone not sense all that? ;o)

Despite all this prejudice I harbor about assisting in moves, I had the opportunity to help someone pack yesterday for a life-changing move. I actually refer to this 'opportunity,' with none of my charming, capacious sarcasm for which I'm so universally loved. (I tell myself people love it.) Maybe it's because I love her dearly and she has done SOOOOOO much for me. Maybe it's because she never so much as hinted that she'd like my help (I will concede that the rebel in me is far more likely to do something with little to no resentment when I feel I have a choice.)

So here I am in all my packing glory wielding not one; but two tape guns (I told you I was good!)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

In and Outta Here

There it stood like a beacon to the locals, drawing family after family of ill-mannered, poorly-behaved children in soccer togs and ballet gear led fearlessly by frazzled and--if we're being completely honest--somewhat clueless parents into the fray at the newly-arrived In and Out Burger.

Why do I refer to the parents as clueless? Because I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt. That's right I'd rather assume that they don't realize their children are being noisy, messy and disrespectful rather than believe the converse--that they know but just don't care. (I think it goes without saying that there are many outstanding parents out there, but the crazy ones always stand out.) Sorry to jump on my band wagon. Had to vent. Carry on.

In and Out in Draper has been open for a while. Maybe two months? Hitherto, the line in the drive through has been outrageously long; extending around the building, past the neighboring businesses and far into the reaches of a contiguous residential neighborhood. This has pretty consistently been the case since it opened, though I will admit it's diminished significantly over time. I truly believed that, until recently, if the hankering for In and Out were to strike, I would have had more immediate gratification had I driven to one of the out-of-state branches such as Vegas. Okay that might be a bit more of my trade-marked hyperbole, but I'm illustrating a point. ;o)

At any rate, we finally ventured forth into the melee of the local restaurant not more than ten minutes from our house. I braced myself for the inevitable squall of families with mismanaged children, obnoxious adolescents with something to prove and, more of the aforementioned blissfully ignorant. But...actually it wasn't all that bad. Don't get me wrong, we did have to contend with one woman who had parked her infant--car seat and all--in the center of a walkway from which she refused to extricate him. And then there was the mad rush for each un-bussed table as soon as it opened (I have a rather competitive bent so this wasn't too serious a problem.) And, of course, there were the obligatory insecure teenagers who desperately wanted to impress their friends by making loud, squawking noises periodically, but, we were so awash in fatty, fast-food bliss, we hardly noticed.

Maybe my strategic wait had paid off. Maybe the stars had aligned perfectly providing us that idyllic fast-food dining experience. Or maybe, I had just been a TINY bit cynical and should have given it a chance earlier. Yeah. I know. It's probably the cosmic alignment thing. That's the most likely. ;o)

Anyway, it had been nearly seven years since I'd had an In and Out burger and it didn't disappoint. I won't say it's the best burger out there, because it's not. It's good and it's a fun novelty but there are better fast-food burgers out there. (I like Five Guys, though they are lacking a drive through and have totally insufficient dining space.) I will say this- anyone who carries Coke in lieu of Pepsi is doing something right!

But what I think In and Out represents is the same thing Ikea represents; that in some way Salt Lake and its environs are finally on the map. I mean we certainly don't hold a candle to the real big cities, but there are finally some definite options. Gone are the days of having just Burger King and McDonald's. We now have In and Out and that symbolizes some choice, some options, and most importantly some status. First the Olympics and now In and Out. Look out world-- Utah has arrived! ;o) --insert sarcasm--

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter--A Second-Rate Holiday

Every year, with great vigor, I approach each and every holiday. I spend what often times amounts to weeks and months preparing religiously for whatever upcoming holiday lies in the far-off future beckoning me. I know a year before what my daughter and I are going to be for Halloween (witch and vampire reign supreme as they are two of my favorite things ever!) Each Christmas I have everything--including stocking contents--determined weeks in advance. I listen to Christmas music year round. I purchase Christmas decor on December 26th in anticipation of the next year's Christmas.

Why, then, can I not resist doing all my Easter shopping the day before? Literally. It seems to be a perennial task of mine to dash from one store to the next just to find a pair of Cadbury Creme Eggs which become progressively more difficult to find as Easter approaches. (This year it took five stores and I finally was able to snatch up the final two left at the Draper Walgreen's, heaving a hearty sigh of relief.) Is it some undiagnosed, little-understood medical phenomenon that prohibits me from gaining any sort of perspective involving this spring-time holiday? Is it just laziness? (Hey, I hate that L-word, but I'm trying to be refreshingly honest, and truly introspective.) Is it a loathing of this particular holiday?

Why is it that my brain is so indifferent towards this holiday?

Maybe it's the time of year. I like spring--don't get me wrong--but I'm DEFINITELY more of an autumn person with winter (really just the beginning portion) in second place.

Maybe it's because it seems sort of lackluster. There are no Easter carols to sing. No piece of shedding, evergreen vegetation to hold a place of homage in the living room bearing symbolic decorations lovingly applied by the children of the household. And don't get me started on that second-rate mascot! I mean I don't see the Easter Bunny sporting a team of eight flying reindeer and possessing the super-human ability to descend impossibly narrow, perilous chimney flues. Which really, if you think about it, Santa not only accomplishes with unparalleled prowess, but manages to do so with nary a hint of lung cancer, COPD, or emphysema. He's as healthy as any sugar-addicted, obese, elderly, over-worked person could be!

I suppose Easter does have its merits: you get to apply long-dormant artistic abilities to the underrated art form of egg dyeing; constantly endeavoring to outdo last year's results. It's one of the few holidays that actually REQUIRES that you purchase a brand-new outfit and I am nothing if not an avid proponent of 'investing' in fashion. Plus there's always the excuse to gather with loved ones for a magnificent, traditional feast which, in our home, is replete with all the blessings of a holiday banquet not the least of which is an abundance of carb-laden comfort food lovingly created (or bought as the case sometimes is) by the talented women in my family.

So I guess Easter's not half bad after all. I love to see the look of excited wonderment on my daughter's face and watch as the kids run pell-mell for the annual egg hunt. This year my nephew even trampled me because I made the rookie mistake of not allowing all the children out the door ahead of me. This will become increasingly hazardous in the years to come as he grows in stature. Lesson learned. :o)