Monday, May 24, 2010

The first day of school

Starting a new job is always a scary thing. I always feel like somehow I will be so inept that they will wonder whatever possessed them to offer me a job in the first place, and then promptly let me go. I haven't had a "first day" in about 15 years. It's scary. It's nerve-wracking. It will keep a person up all night, much like the night before the first day of school. I had carefully planned out what to wear. I guess somehow that I figured if I looked good, it would hide all my insecurities and ineptitude. I don't know if I looked good, but I did feel mostly confident, and only a little shaky, as I walked up to the buidling this morning. Luckily, there were 4 of us in training/orientation today, all in different departments. It all went smoothly, everyone was very kind and welcomed us warmly. I signed all the documents, got my picture taken for my ID badge (wow! I've never had an ID badge before!), recieved orientation and a tour of the facility, and then sent off to our various departments. My trainer was so nice and patient. She even invited me to have lunch with her. My supervisor stopped by a few times to make sure I was doing ok and not too overwhelmed. I smiled politely and said everything was fine, but was still overwhelmed. He asked if I had any questions, to which I replied no, because honestly, I don't know enough yet to know what I don't know. I have my own little cubicle, second on the left on the middle row. It's pretty naked and sterile compared to everyone else's which are decorated with family pictures, vacation pictures, and BYU stuff. The day went by pretty fast and I was on my way home. What a delight to walk in at 5:15 to the smell of dinner cooking (that would be Lane's doing) and a clean house. I was able to just sit down and enjoy dinner and family home evening without doing a single thing myself. Then I changed into my jammies and settled in for the evening. It was a much better first day than I was expecting. No one called me names, or threw rotten food at me. No one yet has discovered my ineptitude, so here's to hoping I can keep my own little can of crazy bottled up long enough to learn the job. Because, believe me, that can of crazy will burst open sooner or later. And if I can win them over before that happens, they will call me "quirky" instead of crazy.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

2 of my favorite things

Clearly one of my favorite things in the world is cupcakes. No secret there. Another non-secret is my affection for Dr. Pepper. What could possibly be better than the marriage of those two favorite things? Seriously - it's a Dr. Pepper cupcake. I promise. The cake is made from scratch and has (again, not kidding) 2 1/4 cups of Dr. Pepper. I was really surprised that these turned out so well. I was quite skeptical when I read the recipe. But all that soda served a great purpose in making the cupcakes super moist. They definitely taste more chocolate than DP, but there's a hint of it there. Really yummy, and a definite keeper.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Aunt Della

Every family has that Aunt who is the "go-to" aunt. The Aunt who always knows what's up. The Aunt who always asks what's going on in your life and actually listens to the answer - AND remembers to follow up the next time she sees you. The Aunt who, when there is a question about this-or-that in the famiy history, always knows the answers. You know who I'm talking about. You have one in your family, too.

Mine is called Aunt Della, and she died today. The news came as quite a shock to me, although her health has been poor for some time. And you know - if not for obvious things like the oxygen tank she sometimes had - you would never know there was anything wrong with her. She was not a complainer. She always looked as good as she could. She was always dressed nicely, and her hair was always done. At least that was the case when I saw her. Anyway, her health has been a trial for some time, and now it is a comfort to know that she is at peace. As I thought about her today, I couldn't help but think about what a glorious reunion it must have been when she was again with her parents. But my heart aches for her husband and her eight children, who were not quite prepared for this loss. My heart also aches for my dad who lost his little sister today, and also for all the people who have known and loved her, and for her grandchildren who are too small to remember how wonderful their grandma was. It's a sad, sad day for the Walker Clan. But again, what a scene it must be in the hereafter as Aunt Della is reuinted with all those who have gone on before. What comfort the Gospel brings.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fully Outfitted

Since I tend to buy myself the same clothes over and over . . . and they are pretty much the same BORING clothes, I took my niece Kassie shopping. I've told her before that I need her to dress me. They were having an extra 30% off sale at Kohls, so we went over and she dressed me. She forces me to get outside myself and buy things that are not so blah, and I must say she did a good job. There was only one thing that she had picked out that I didn't like, even when I tried it on. So now I am fully outfitted to go to a new job where my typical jeans and tshirts simply will not do. I will even have to toss out a few old things from my closet to make room for the new - another good thing. I have way too many clothes that I don't wear. And every time I clean out my closet I hang on to certain things because I'm just sure that I WILL wear it . . . someday . . . some time. Really? Some of that stuff I've had for years and years. And it doesn't even fit. But I've convinced myself that I will fit into it again. Never mind the fact that if I am able to fit into it again, I probably won't want to wear it because it will be sadly out of date. Remember what I said about getting attached to inanimate objects?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I don't like change. I like things consistent, predictable. As Lane puts it, I can be spontaneous - as long as it is carefully planned out ahead of time. I like to know what is coming. When I drive to a store, for instance, I always park in the same place. Not necessarily the same spot, but the same place (row 9 at Walmart, facing west) because then I know there is no danger of me wandering the parking lot looking for my misplaced car. Knowing this about myself, I am now suffering some degree of trauma as I leave the job I have had for 14 years for a brand new job where I know nothing and no one (eek! or where to park!). It is hard to believe that so many years have passed at PG Printers. When I went to work there, Taylor wasn't quite a year old and she played (or cried) in her little playpen while I worked. All my kids were raised in the back corner of the print shop - watching movies or whatever show happened to be on KBYU. Jack became a master of paper design and construction while there. But now that all 3 are in school full-time, it is time for me to also go back to work full-time. The good thing about Lane working grave yard is that he will be home when they come home from school, here when they are sick. I don't think I would even consider getting a full-time job yet if not for that security. So off I will go on Monday morning; from a job where I am comfortable and where I know what to expect to a job where I really know nothing. This job will be quite a departure from my well-entrenched world of typesetting and design, QuarkXpress, PhotoShop and InDesign. Well, it's time. I am comfortable with my decision - just a little nervous about the unknown.

I will be working at XactWare on 8th North in Orem not far from the former Osmond studios. It's a 12 minute drive (yep -timed it right away!) and a beautiful, fancy building, not at all what I am used to (you know what I mean, those of you who have visited the shop). My title is Content Research Analyst. Keep your fingers crossed for me as I embark on a new adventure bright and early Monday morning - and hope I remember where I left the car.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Think Pink

Another baking day for Lari. Is there a better way to spend a Saturday? No, I don't think so. Between bakings I had to run here, there, and everywhere, but still got it all done. Except the laundry. But I could have done that if I had tried at all. I pretty much ignored it hoping it would go away on it's own. It didn't.

So the first thing I started was the bread, of course, since it takes the longest. I went with a french artisan bread today. I still can't shape it very well. Thankfully the shape doesn't affect the taste. It turned out good and disappeared quickly.

In my cooking school book I got at the Taste of Home cooking school I attended, there was a recipe for pink velvet cupcakes. I have been aching to try it ever since. On a whim, I decided to make the pink velvets into minis. I am now prepared to toss out my other other from-scratch white cake recipe - this one is perfect! I didn't put enough color in it, so it is still pretty white. I forgot to get heavy cream at the store for the ganache frosting, so I went with a white chocolate mousse frosting instead. If the frosting looks lumpy, that's because it is. I left chunks of white chocolate in it, which it turns out I didn't care for. I'll melt all the chocolate next time.

But these were by far the best of the day. Another recipe from my cupcake class - Pink Lemonade with pink lemonade cream frosting. So good! Almost as good as the key lime. I sprinkled them with clear sugar crystals, which made them pretty and sparkly, but I think next time I'll add fresh lemon zest to the tops like with the key lime. These were so yummy! What is with the cupcake lady that she would even think of such things? I was hoping to make a Dr. Pepper cupcake today. I saw a recipe on Facebook (cuz of course I'm a fan of Dr. Pepper), and I thought I had gotten everything from the store, but I forgot to get unsweetened chocolate. So that will have to wait until the next round.
I saw the most beautiful Ford Mustang at the hardware store today. I can't stop thinking about it. In my Happy Place I drive a Mustang convertible. Not a new one, as pretty as they are. I want an old one. 60's old. I forget what the good years were, between '65 and '68 or something. The car in the parking lot was exactly what I would want - the right year and everything. It was a pretty bronz-y brown color, not what I would choose, but it was still pretty. The owner of the car came out of the store while we were admiring his car, and we complimented him on it, which I'm sure he gets all the time with a car like that. Maybe someday . . .

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Piano Recital

Tonight was our annual piano recital. Taylor played "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic

Addie played "Old MacDonald" in her very first recital

Jack played the main theme from "Star Wars"
Everyone did a great job. We got to the recital hall a little early so we browsed around and got some new music books. It's always fun to have something new to play. Addie was funny. The piano teacher interrupted the order of pianists just before Addie because someone had come in late. Mrs. Peay stood and asked Addie (who was already on her way to the piano) to wait for the other girl to play, but Addie was already in the zone and just pushed the Mrs. Peay aside on her way to the piano. She didn't hear anything about the other little girl. Addie played her little song and came back to sit with us wondering why we were all laughing so hard. Even when we tried to explain it to her, she didn't get it because she had missed the whole thing. She just knew that it was her turn to play and she was ready to do it. Just like everything with her - Don't get in her way! She's gonna do what she's gonna do, like it or not. See why I'm afraid for her teen years?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup

Oh baby. This is so rich and delightful. You gotta have a milk chaser, though. It's a chocolate cupcake with a WHOLE ENTIRE peanut butter cup in the middle. The recipe suggested either peanut butter frosting or chocolate buttercream. I let Taylor choose, and she said chocolate. I didn't have any peanut butter chips on hand, per the recipe's suggestion, but I did have a mix of semi-sweet and peanut butter, which worked great. YUM. Some of Taylor's friends were here this evening and they ate quite a few of them. Mmmm . . . I heart cupcakes.
I got all my stuff (I hope) copied over to my external drive and the old computer is shut down for the last time. I must admit, I had an irresistible urge to give the old monitor and gentle pat for serving well. The poor dumb computer, as it shut down, went through it's automatic updates. I guess she doesn't understand that it really isn't necessary. Because I don't trust that I got off everything I need, I'll just set it off in a corner for a week or two while I discover what I'm still missing. If I don't need it in the next couple of weeks, I guess I don't need it. But it is a little sad, as her power lights blink off for the lat time. She has served me very well.
I can get strangely attached to inanimate objects. I remember when Lane and I traded in our 1987 Ford Bronco II for a newer truck. That was the first automobile we had bought as a married couple, in fact, the first major purchase we had made as a married couple, and it made my heart twinge just a little as we left it at the car lot and drove away. It's my mom's fault. She gets really attached to cars. There was Big Red, our old red and white suburban that drove our family to family reunions near and far, and luckily my parents had the good sense to get rid of it just before I got my drivers license so I never had to drive the beast, but it nearly killed my mother to give it up. She loved that car. Big Red was replaced by the Silver Bullet, a silver Chev Celebrity which was the car I got to drive. By then everyone was pretty much gone from home except me, and my parents only needed one car. Being last priority, I hardly ever got to drive anywhere. They would even drive me to my job at Subway in Orem and then come and pick me up. (It makes one wonder why I don't like to drive now). I remember once I got to take the car to my summer home ec class, and I was the one volunteered to go to Harts and get drinks. I'm not sure why it was that I went alone to fetch at least 5-6 drinks. It must have made sense at the time. But, sure enough, when I pulled back into the HS parking lot and got the car stopped, I spilled all the drinks trying to get them out of the car. My day at summer home ec that day was spent learning how to clean soda out of velour upholstery. Not one of my best moments.
And now I bid a fond farewell to my 2004 desktop computer, with her loud whirring CD-ROM and even louder fan, her slow speeds and her frequent freezes. And off we go on a new journey with a newer computer that will take up much less space on my desk. For most people that would be a good thing, but for me, who has never at any time in my life been able to keep a neat clean desk, it's just more room for me to pile my crap. Here we go.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Root Beer? Really?

So I had to go out and buy the cupcake recipe book from the cupcake class I recently attended. It has such crazy cupcakes in it; I can't wait to try them. For my first attempts, I went with Root Beer Float and Key Lime. The Root Beer float wasn't as popular as the Key Lime. I never tried it out myself - kinda freaked out by it, I'll be honest. The cake is nothing but a cake mix and root beer. Yeah, I know, crazy. I foolishly got Shasta root beer cuz I figured I didn't need "good" root beer since it was being mixed in. I think it would have been better if I had gotten good root beer, and I will try it again with A&W. There is root beer extract in the frosting.

The Key Lime is SO GOOD!! There is key lime juice in the batter and the filling, and then the frosting (whipped cream) is sprinkled with fresh lime zest. I could just sit and sniff it all day, it smells so yummy and fresh. The lady who wrote the recipe book says this is the most popular of all her cupcakes, and I can see/taste why.

Now that I am a Woman of a Certain Age, I had to go for my first mamogram today. It wasn't as bad as I had anticipated, and was over in less than 10 minutes. Sure, I can think of lots of better ways to spend 10 minutes, but I can also think of a lot of worse ways to spend 10 minutes. It really isn't fair that men don't have to go through any of the miserable and humiliating things we women have to go through. I like to think that somehow in the eternities they will get their due.
I think my computer is really just about dead. Is 25 minutes a long time to launch internet explorer? I think it is. Sometimes it seems to just get stuck, but not hung, and my only option is to turn the whole thing off, I can't exit properly. Then the re-boot takes so long that the whole process is just frustrating, and I start to say bad words and throw things again. So I'm in the process of making sure the laptop has all the right programs and data, and I'll just shut down the old desktop and cover it lovingly with a sheet and attach a toe tag. Naturally, when I put my printer driver CD in to install it on the laptop, it came up with a message saying that the printer won't work with Vista. (Insert bad words and throwing things here). Luckily, and yet surprisingly, I had the good sense to go to the HP website and found that I could still get the drivers, and the printer is working just fine. It's a miracle!
Sunday I got released from the primary presidency and called again to Cub Scouts. I haven't been told yet which den, but it doesn't really matter. Between my experience serving in Cubs and my experience as a Cub Mom, I am familiar with all 3 dens and am just happy to serve. Cub Scouts is really a fun calling, despite what other people say. It's good to be back.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's not my fault

And the good news is that I'm not crazy after all, nor is my computer as bad off as last night. I really can blame it on the internet. I got a facebook message today that one of my favorite sites, and the one I was trying to access last night when the computer kept hanging, had some troubles. FANTASTIC! It is always so comforting to know that I'm not the one to blame. Some people had their computers get infected by trying to access the site. Luckily, my Norton kept that from happening! So I'm up and running today at my usual slow speed. But I've gotten used to the slowness now. How sad is that?

Taylor had her final choir concert tonight. The choirs were great, as always. Several students spoke and dedicated the final number, You Raise Me Up, to someone inspirational in their lives. Taylor spoke (this was news to me) and said nice words about how Addie inspires her. Guess who left Addie at home? Yeah. Great mom I am. In my defense, I had to quickly drop in at a wedding reception on my way to the concert and didn't really want to deal with her and Jack. If Taylor had just told me what was going on, I certainly would have changed the plan. But she didn't tell. That's not helpful.

The wedding reception I went to was for my lifelong friend Nichole's son. Holy crap! How is it that she has a son old enough to get married? It's crazy. We just ran in and out, and really only visited with Nichole since her son doesn't really know me. But it looked like a beautiful reception and Nichole looked beautiful. What a proud day for her and her husband Brian. Congratulations to them.

It turns out that having a 14-year-old around the house is trouble enough, but having a smitten 14 year old is a minefield. We have made it our goal to do everything we can to ruin her life (or so she seems to think). I expect it will get worse before it gets better. And she's the GOOD kid. Addie is already a drama queen. I shudder to think what she will be like as a teenager!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Weak Link

So I almost kicked in my computer tonight. It was running PAINFULLY slow, even for the low standards I have with this computer which is 6 years old. It kept hanging, and I would re-boot, and then it would hang. So I got mad, and felt it necessary to throw something. I wisely opted not to throw the CPU (although it might have helped both me and the computer), so I threw a toy on the floor instead. After the 4th re-boot, I decided that maybe the life of that computer has come to an end, and decided to use my laptop instead.

Well, what do you know? The laptop, which certainly does not have any memory problems, is also running very slowly. That leads me, a self-descibed techno-idiot, to believe that the weak link is not necessarily my aged computer. In fact, in all the time I have taken so far to type this blog entry, my email still hasn't come up. Me thinks there is something wrong with my connection somewhere. Maybe the problem is my modem? I don't know, I just don't like it when things don't work the way I think they should. It drives me crazy and forces me to have to throw things and say bad words.