Tuesday, September 15, 2015

My Personal Evolution of Celebrity Crushes

Today I had a song stuck in my head, and it took me a while to figure out where the song came from. After singing it for a few hours, it dawned on me that it came from the dance scene in Good Burger.

And don't worry. It's not like I watched that movie 1,000 times as an early teen. And it's not like some of my best dance moves come from that very scene.


In truth, I had a big crush on Kel Mitchell.

For reals.

Before today, it had been years since Good Burger or Kel Mitchell had crossed my mind. Probably since 2006 when I heard that he had died (it was a hoax).

That got me thinking about my history of celebrity crushes.

My first celebrity crush was Michael J. Fox (as Marty McFly).

I was probably four or five years old when I developed a love for Marty. I watched Back to the Future as often as I watched Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. 

(I think my crush on Marty and my crush on Robin Hood existed simultaneously).

While I was crushing on Michael J. Fox, I told my mom I was going to name my son Marty someday. She told me that was a stupid name.

A few years later, I watched the movie Ladybugs (please tell me someone else out there watched Ladybugs). That's when I fell in love with Jonathan Brandis.

My crush on Jonathan Brandis was short-lived, and I lost track of his career after Ladybugs. In my research for this post, I was sad to learn that he hanged himself in 2003. 

When I was about ten years old, I developed my biggest and most elaborate crush of all on Jonathan Taylor Thomas.

I hung posters and wrote letters. I memorized everything about him. I replayed the dance scene from Man of the House over and over (and memorized every line). I stopped watching The Lion King whenever it got to the scene where Simba grew up and got his man voice... because what was the point? I used to make sure my hair was always done any time I left the house because I truly believed that I was going to run into Jonathan Taylor Thomas at the grocery store or McDonald's someday (even though I knew where he lived, and it was nowhere near Salt Lake City, Utah).

My love for JTT was serious business. I was loyal for about three years.

After JTT, I had the hots for a guy named Ryan Gosling on a show called Breaker High.

That's right, folks. I loved Ryan Gosling before he was a meme.

I am so ahead of the times!

Then in high school, I went through what I refer to as my "Keanu phase."

(My friends will remember. I was nothing short of annoying about it).

I don't recall how it started. I just know that it was not a result of watching Bill & Ted. I would consider my Keanu crush second only to JTT. Keanu was the only other actor I ever had a poster of.

Though my obsession for Keanu has dwindled, I have a special place in my heart for him and the losses he has suffered.

Toward the end of high school, I started taking more notice of Hugh Jackman.

Very handsome. Very charming.

Plus he's Wolverine.

(Except I like to pretend The Wolverine never happened).

Second to Hugh is Richard Armitage.

It helps that he looks like he could be Hugh Jackman's brother.

Admit it, he is the best looking of the dwarves.

Those of you who have been long-time readers may recall my days of Matthew Fox, but then half-way through Lost, my devotion took an unpredictable turn to Team Sawyer.

Those were some very conflicting years.

So tell me, have we shared any of the same crushes over the years? Please tell me someone understands the Keanu thing.

Currently {September 2015 Edition}

Reading: nothing aside from school stuff. I haven't read any books for leisure in a really long time. The closest I get to reading "for fun" is listening to Diary of a Wimpy Kid when I'm in the car with my kids. It's crazy to think that I used to read an average of three books a week. Now I'm aiming for the goal of reading one book sometime in the next three months. I can't claim that its due to lack of time - I can always fit in some reading in the bathroom, in waiting rooms, and in the car while waiting for kids. The problem is that I'm just not enjoying reading right now. I've tried to read, but I'm just not interested. My mind is elsewhere, and I have a really hard time focusing right now. Plus, since I have to read so much for school, I like to use my spare time for other things.

Watching: The Gilmore Girls and White Collar.

Procrastinating: getting back into an exercise routine. I've never loved exercising, but right now, I despise it more than normal. A good friend of mine ran her first marathon over the weekend, and while she was running, I thought, "Rachael is running a marathon right this second, and I am sitting on my couch in my bathrobe eating Cheetos," and I didn't feel an ounce of guilt. I was like, "Mmmmm.... Cheetos!" and then I thought about how my Old Testament teacher at LDSBC said that Cheetos are manna with orange coating, and then I thought, "Well, look at me! I'm having God's food for breakfast!" and at that point, I was far too distracted by the manna to feel bad about not being able to run a marathon.

Craving: a vacation. Normally I reserve this spot for food, but I just ate lunch, so I'm focused on adventures now.

Dreading: weekly group meetings for once of my classes this semester. Blech!

Wearing: skinny jeans that are way too small for me (squeeeeeeeze!) and gladiator sandals that are soaked because I got caught in the rain.

Needing: to stop eating hot dogs. I am seriously addicted to hot dogs. I like the all beef hot dogs from Costco - grilled, of course - with jDawgs sauce, sauerkraut, banana pepperss, and a pickle.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I have eaten at least 50 this summer. 


Must... quit... hot dogs!

Suffering from: tormented hair. I had a great hair day today - this first in a really long time, but then I got caught in a rainstorm (see "wearing" above), and things got nasty real quick.

Thankful for:  everything! Oh my goodness! I am so blessed. I have a home, I have manna and hot dogs to eat, I have clothes to wear (even though they are too tight), and I have the capability to go to a dentist and have my periodontal disease treated, even though it sucks to have periodontal disease.

Enjoying: having a baby in the house. Babies are so fantastic! Eva is such a joy. I could just eat her!

Proud of myself for: getting all of my homework done a week early. Too bad it's not an ongoing habit.

Frustrated by: this really embarrassing squealing noise that my van makes.

Looking forward to: our upcoming family vacation. Yes, we had a family vacation not too long ago, but I can't get enough of them, so we're going on another one.

Wishing: that I could buy a van with leather seats and a back up camera. I came *this close* to getting one a few weeks ago, but the one I wanted sold. Then we ended up needing a few thousand dollars worth of dental work done (see "thankful for" above) and racking up an ER bill within three days. Not good timing for buying new vans. Ain't that just how it goes?

Splurging on:  dental work. Periodontal treatment, a crown, and a root canal. Plus one more root canal in queue. Nicky goes to the dentist today, so we'll see what kind of stuff he needs done (at some point he needs four teeth pulled, braces, and a crown). 

Hoping to: find out that Scotty doesn't actually need that root canal.

Loving: having Daisy in kindergarten. She is rocking it!

Worried about: balancing school and family. I still have this underlying desire to drop out of school.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Life-Changing Nachos

Two semesters ago, I took a class on stress. A week of our studies focused on mindfulness as a stress-reduction technique.

I think the fundamentals of mindfulness are very beneficial. The basic idea is that you are aware of the present - of what is going on around you right now instead of worrying about the past, the future, or other things. 

In A Mindful-Based Stress Reduction Workbook by Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein, we're encouraged to practice mindfulness by eating a raisin. A raisin is something you usually pop into your mouth and consume without much thought (if you're even willing to eat raisins at all). To eat a raisin mindfully, you look at it, admire the texture, think about how it used to be a grape, and place it on your tongue. Then you pay close attention to what it does in your mouth. What does it feel like? How does it taste? How does it break apart as you chew?

I admit, it sounds silly.

It is silly.

But I also admit, I've never really given a raisin much credit or thought.

The point is, we let a lot pass us by. It might be a raisin or it might be the growing years of our children. Think about driving in a car. How often do we arrive at our destinations without remembering the trip there? We are always moving forward, and we don't realize what is around us because we're distracted or stressed or anticipating a future event.

Although I'm not perfectly practicing mindfulness in my daily life, I'm trying to get better at it. Inspired by the raisin exercise I never did (raisins... blech!), I've been trying to be mindful with my eating. I'm a total glutton. I can put down three donuts with no questions asked (yes, I've read the book). I might not be willing to do the raisin thing, but I'll happily practice mindfulness with a single donut, especially if it keeps me from eating three!

Yesterday, I ate a plate of nachos consisting of a layer of chips topped with baked beans and BBQ beef. Then there was a delicate coating of melted cheddar cheese, a sprinkling of corn and tomatoes, and a drizzle of sour cream.

I decided to focus and be with my nachos.


Mindful with nachos.

I thought about the tortilla chips and the BBQ beef - both were leftovers from a weekend camp out at my in-laws' house. It's a tradition that once every summer, the entire family camps in their backyard. My mother-in-law is infamous for always making too much food. She never wants anyone to go without! A meal made by my mother-in-law is a meal that feeds us for days. It's because she loves us and wants to make sure we're taken care of.

Then I thought about the baked beans. They were leftover from my brother-in-law's wedding luncheon in July (since we were leaving on vacation the day after the wedding, I threw them in the freezer). I had those beans on my nachos because someone got married. Someone made a commitment to another person. Someone took a life-altering step.

Then I thought about the corn. It was grown by my husband's grandpa who operated a produce company for over 40 years. Though the company is no longer operating, Scotty's grandpa still farms some of his land for tax purposes. Each summer, Scotty and I spend hours preparing corn to freeze. We cut the kernels off the cob with our own hands. Each summer, we think it's going to be the last. The corn represents a life's work. Seeds planted, stalks watered, and cobs harvested. It is so much more than just corn.

Then I thought about the tomatoes and how someone planted the seeds so I could transplant starts into my own garden. I thought about the water, the soil, and the sun that helped me keep those tomatoes alive. I tended them from infancy in my own yard so they could someday top my pile of nachos.

Until yesterday, I'd never really thought about how many lives are involved in something as simple as a plate of nachos. My nachos were made possible through the love, the dedication, and the hard work of many people. No wonder we pray and thank God for our food and the hands that prepared it.

I was mindful, and my mind was blown! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Rice Jinx

Several years ago, on my blog, I mentioned that I thought rice cookers were dumb. When Scotty and I got married, we were given two rice cookers. I used them a couple of times, but when we moved, they didn't make the cut. After that, I just always made rice in a pot. It took a lot of practice to get it right since rice can be touchy (if you've never dealt with touchy rice, you are missing out on life), but eventually I mastered rice making. Then one of my friend's bought a rice cooker (an expensive one, mind you), and she was a little bit annoying about it. Every time I went to her house for the period of three months, she had that stupid rice cooker going, and she would talk incessantly about the fact that she was cooking rice. Never has anyone been so enthusiastic about her own rice cooking!

That's what made me decide that I was anti-rice-cooker. Why spend money and use cupboard space on an appliance that does something a pot can do? (Fast forward to the present: this friend of mine no longer owns pots because she has appliances that do what pots can do. Just FYI).

Anyway, during that time of never-ending rice boasting, I mentioned it on my blog.

And I jinxed myself!

As soon as I published a measly little anti-rice-cooker sentiment, I lost my ability to cook rice. Each batch came out undercooked and dry or wet and sticky. This went on for a few months, and finally, after many failed attempts and hours of rice research, I just stopped cooking rice. But I started to miss rice, so by the dark of night, I went to Walmart and bought a $10 rice cooker (because it had to be a cheap one in opposition to my friend's expensive one. Got pride?)

That rice cooker served me well for about three years, and interestingly, it died the same week my cat did. Cat and rice cooker all at once.

So I made a secret attempt to buy another rice cooker, but then I remembered that my mom gave me an electric pressure cooker a while ago, and it can cook rice.

Now, talk about an appliance that does what a pot can do. The pressure cooker is a mix and match of various appliances and cooking ware. I should be anti-electric-pressure-cooker based on my anti-rice-cookerness. But what can I say? My friend doesn't have an electric pressure cooker to talk incessantly about, so I think we know what the real issue here is: I'm a jerk.

But back to the electric pressure cooker... It took a few tries, but I have learned to make rice in it, and since it's bigger than my $10 rice cooker, it can make a lot more rice (a bonus since our family just keeps getting bigger and eating more).


Last night I tried out the "delay start" feature. On Thursdays, Nicky has taekwondo from 5:30-6:15. Since I am an idiot (in addition to being a jerk), I take him to a studio that is half an hour away, so we are gone from about 5:00-6:45 on Thursdays - right through dinner time. This makes it very tempting to stop somewhere for dinner (first choice: The Pie). In order to not be tempted, it is wise for me to have a dinner option ready. I need something we can eat right when we walk in the door, or we need to eat before we leave. So last night I delayed the rice for an hour, and then had it cook for 20 minutes.


Delay start time. I am a fan. I will be delaying rice once more for Sunday's dinner.

I found something a pot can't do!