Wednesday, July 30, 2008

An Annie you may or may not know...

I saw this on Erika's blog and thought it looked interesting...maybe time for a little self-introspection, eh?

I am... a confident, independent woman who didn't think she'd come this far so well!
I know... grammar. Bring it.
I want... to travel all over the world.
I once... lied to my mother about stealing chocolate chips and eating them.
I wish... there were more hours in the day. Scratch that--more hours in the night. If more hours are being dished out, I would want to use them to sleep.
I hate... reading or hearing bad news.
I miss... summer when it's gone.
I hear... the advice of friends and family, and I try to implement it.
I crave... attention. I tell stories over and over (just ask my oldest friends!) to be in the spotlight.
I search... for evidence of cause and effect in everything.
I wonder... if Weezer will be making a stop in Salt Lake City on their tour.
I regret... being desperate enough to let people treat me poorly when I know now that I didn't deserve it.
I care... about the environment. But probably not as much as I really should.
I always... have funny reactions to people...and it shows on my face. It's quite enlightening to look in the mirror when I talk!
I am not... good at staying clean when I eat.
I believe... that I know where I can turn for answers.
I dance... in the car, tapping my steering wheel, not caring what other drivers think!
I sing... the praises of my amazing family. (Sure, sometimes it's stressful, but I love 'em!)
I don't always... do the responsible thing. Contrary to popular belief!
I win... all the time. Ben says I'm always right. (Too bad he's wrong...)
I listen... when someone's had a bad day.
I can usually be found... organizing something or making a list.
I am happy about... having a clean house.
I tag.... Lacy, Brittany, and Scott

Friday, July 25, 2008

If you leave, they will come...

I revisited a life lesson last night at the 24th of July fireworks. Well, calling it a life lesson would be stretching it...

A couple of my friends and I decided to check out the fireworks display in Spanish Fork. We got there a few minutes before 10:00 (when we thought they were supposed to start) and staked out a place on a random sidewalk/edge of someone's lawn. Thank goodness Scott doesn't bring in his Wal-Mart purchases from his trunk because he had a couple big towels we laid down that made for some great makeshift blankets. In the distance, we could see the field where from which the fireworks were supposed to be set off, so we sat and waited.

And waited. By 10:30, we were about ready to give up. Every once in awhile, something big would shoot up--Scott called them contraband, rogue, etc.--so we'd start to settle back in and get ready for the entire show. After awhile, though, we grew restless and decided to head home. I mean, we've all seen fireworks, so we wouldn't have been heartbroken to miss them. Plus, we all had to get to work this morning, and our beds were calling. "Watch," Melinda says cynically, "once we get in the car to leave, they'll start."

We piled in the car and started back toward home. After driving a couple blocks, Melinda looks out the back window, and sure enough, the show had started! We pulled over and got out, leaned on the trunk and enjoyed from there. At least our adventure wasn't for naught!

So back to the 'life lesson': I guess sometimes you have to be willing to give something up (the fireworks) for the better good (sleep), especially when you don't see a promising end in sight. And sometimes, once you've actually taken action (leaving), you get what you were waiting for in the first place. Profound, I know...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fingers o' fire!

Last night I went to the John Mayer concert in Salt Lake City. First things first: he is AMAZING live. Seriously, watching him play the guitar just made my eyes widen and my jaw drop. The man's got talent, I don't care if you like his music or not. His fingers flew over those frets! No wonder he had to change guitars between every song...they probably got too hot! Ok, not really...

I guess I really began liking John Mayer the summer after high school. I didn't have any of his albums, but I appreciated the radio play he got, and I could sing along to his first tunes. When his second album was released a couple years after that, I splurged (hey, for a poor college student, it was a splurge!) and bought it. Loved it. Still do love it! I was also diving into the world of music videos (having moved into a place with cable), and "Bigger Than My Body" was so enthralling that every time it came on, I just had to stare at John. He is seriously hot in that video! (http://youtube.com/watch?v=ud_DW73ybFA)

But last night was not my first John Mayer concert experience. Last summer, I went with a group of friends and we traveled to Las Vegas to see John Mayer with Ben Folds. A stunning concert, truly. I love Ben Folds, however, his profanity grated me to the breaking point. Seriously, I'm not that sensitive when it comes to swearing, but his frequent use of the f-word really started making me uncomfortable. But I digress...this post is about John Mayer! Ok, so in Las Vegas, he played wonderfully and all, but the audience just didn't get into it. I think most everyone was drunk out of their minds, including John himself. I don't feel like I was jilted in the experience, but we were really far away from the stage and it was hard to get into it.

When the opportunity to get tickets for this year's SLC show arose, I jumped on it. My friend Lynne (who's a way more die hard fan than even me!) and I got online and tried to use our "fan club" status to our advantage in buying tickets. Our persistence paid off because we came away with 8th row seats. That's right, friends....EIGHTH ROW!!! And don't ask how much they cost...because it was worth it.

We got to USANA last night and about died from the heat. After melting in our seats for an hour and listening to some opening performances (Colbie Caillat isn't too bad, but not my favorite), the sun finally went down, I had gotten some ice cream, and we were set to listen to John Mayer. We were so close to the stage! I whipped out my camera and snapped some shots (see below). After the initial excitement wore off, I did start to get a little tired, but that's what you get when you work early (I know, I know!). And my tired-idity did not dampen my spirits entirely! At each new song, I was giddy and excited...and how could I not be? Lynne was jumping and dancing and was seriously a ball of enthusiasm. For good reason! This show compared to Vegas...well, there wasn't really a comparison. The crowd was much more energetic and John was quite lucid and excited about playing.

He played a good two-hour set, and I was pleased as punch. Ben even got into it and sang along with the songs he knew and didn't look at me strangely when I would gasp with pleasedness whenever a song I especially liked was begun. For the encore, I guess there was an online poll where people could vote for the song they wanted...Lynne voted for a George Harrison tune and was crossing her fingers he would play it. When John announced that that's what they'd be doing, she screamed and jumped. Oh fan-dom, how we love thee. :)



Here's a clip from my favorite song from his Continuum album...
video

Thursday, July 17, 2008

And people say memorizing license plates is stalkerish...

This morning I was running late, and I'll tell you why. At 3:30am, my doorbell rang. I am not a heavy sleeper, so in my delirious state I stumbled to my living room...where I somewhat came to my senses and decided against actually answering to 3:30 callers. I turned on my little surveillance intercom phone thing and no one was there. Huh...well, long story short, I was starting to get creeped out by this whole situation, so I was unable to get back to sleep for the better part of an hour. And I have to wake up at 5:30. No good.

When I finally did roll out of bed, I was sluggish and not really caring. Yeah, I took my time this morning in the shower and ironing and whatnot. Usually the other people don't get to work until 7:30 or so, so I thought I was pretty safe if I came in around 7 (I'm usually here between 6:30 and 6:45). That way, I can just stay a little later this afternoon and no one's worse for the wear.

I'm driving up University Avenue to my office, and I'm stopped at a stop light kind of by my boss' house (he lives lots closer than I do). I look over as my light is turning green and see that he is coming from the cross street. I wouldn't have known it was him unless I had memorized his license plate from the many occasions I've had to take the truck into the shop. (Yes, this really does come in handy! I know many of you think I'm a psycho, but seriously...) In my head I'm thinking, "Awh crap...I've got to beat him there so he doesn't know I've been a slacker this morning!" Luckily the light he was stuck at was a long one, so I had a couple minutes head start.

I got to the office, ran up the stairs and tried to double time all of my usual morning chores. He came in a couple minutes later...and had no idea I had just barely beat him there. :) I'm not saying that I'm trying to pull one over on my boss...and he's really understanding of extenuating circumstances (does a mystery ring of the doorbell at 3:30 count as such?), but it looks much better for me if the office is open and things are running when my boss gets here...even if it's only been for a minute.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hairy situation...

I sometimes wish I were a man. Nope, I don't want to have license to belch loudly or spend hours watching sports...I just want easier hair. Seriously, if guys knew what a girl has to go through to get her hair to look good, they would have more sympathy for us and appreciation for our beautifully-coiffed heads.

My hair becomes increasingly more time consuming as a ratio to its length...makes sense. In high school, I had hair to the middle of my back or longer, and it took me a good twenty minutes to blow dry that mane (I also had some hot bangs...wow). Now, with much shorter hair, I can blow dry in seven minutes. Straightening or whatever else is not included in these times. Just take blow drying time and double it to include time to make it actually DO what I want it to do. That's a good fifteen minutes a day spent on my hair.

Kind of seems like a waste? Trust me...my hair left to its own devices is not a pretty sight. If I get out of the shower and let my hair air dry, it's an unruly mess of wave and poof. I'm ok with investing a little bit of time to look somewhat presentable.

So here comes my dilemma...I have bangs that are growing out. They're in that in between stage where you can't get them to look good as bangs and you can't smooth them back into the rest of the hair yet. I'm about ready to give in to cutting them. So do I give them the chop and stick with bangs or do I suffer through a few more bad hair months and grow them out?

I've decided to let my hair hair get a little longer than it currently is, which is just past shoulder-length...the most difficult length for my hair. It can't decide which way it will flip--under or out--so it does both and ends up looking miserable. Please let me complain about my hair some more. :)

I like my hair long and I like it short...I just can't have it both ways at once. When it's long, I can do it up and pretty. When it's short, it looks really cute in headbands and it's a lot quicker to do. Temporary extensions? That's going to be the only way to keep me happy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Let them eat cake!

Last week, as many of you know, was creme-filled...er, I mean fun-filled! Rachel and I made a cake for our friends' wedding, which took place on Saturday.

Beginning Wednesday, I baked cake. Four cakes, really. Which doesn't sound like a lot, but think of the one cake you eat on your birthday that takes forever to get rid of...now multiply that by four. It was...a lot. I decided to go for a denser spice cake on the bottom so it would hold the weight of the top layer better. On the top layer, I did a layer of chocolate cake and a layer of white cake with strawberry jam filling. I will fess up here: I had some cake mixes in my cupboard that I had planned on using, and I remembered incorrectly when I purchased the additional ones needed. I thought I'd do spice on the bottom and chocolate on the top...and I had one of each of these in my cupboard. So I thought. Nope, turns out the chocolate one was actually a white one. Hence, the mixed layers. Eh, who cares, right?

Thursday night was dedicated to creating the frosting and the fondant. Laura, my sister, had emailed me a marshmallow fondant recipe that she thought looked like fun. Hmmm...I figured it would be a lot cheaper than buying fondant (seriously, almost $10/lb.), so I got to play in melted marshmallows and powdered sugar. After I got past the initial disgust at my hands being sticky and gooey, it actually was kind of fun! And if you've ever tasted real fondant and know how disgusting it is, you should try this marshmallow stuff. It's actually quite delicious.

Also on Thursday night, I had to clear out enough space in my freezer so I could store the cake layers and have them be easier to work with. Ben was kind enough to offer his freezer for this purpose, so I took two grocery sacks full of frozen food over and filled it up. This left the entire bottom shelf in my freezer free for layers.

Friday, Rachel came down and began work on stacking the layers. Man, we make a good team because when I was getting burned out with the stuff I could do really well (making the components), she stepped in and took over with the stuff she did well (the decoration). Neither of us had worked with fondant before, so new adventure for us! Ben came over after we all went to that movie together, and he even helped...took some of these pictures, too.

Saturday morning was finishing touches. I attached the ribbon, and Rachel did the designs in the chocolate frosting. Isn't she freakin' amazing?! I think so...

I took it to go set up at the reception, which took place in Kamas. For those of you unfamiliar with Kamas' location, it's up past Heber City, but before you hit Park City. Kind of out of the way...and down many a winding road. I was alone in the car, trying to keep the top layer from sliding off the board I had it on, trying to keep my car cool so the cake doesn't melt everywhere. A fiasco, indeed. I made it up there mostly unscathed (both the cake and myself!) and got it put together pretty quickly. Turned out great for an amateur cake, methinks.

All in all, it was sort of an exhausting task, but it was fun at times. I learned new things and got to see a pretty awesome finished product.

3 people...5 tickets?

Ladies and gents, a simple disclaimer here: I am fairly sure that none of you with children would ever consider such an act to be acceptable (see story below)...and if you find yourself shrugging your shoulders and saying, "Hey, I'd do that...what's wrong with it?" we may not be able to be friends anymore. And so I shall unravel an abhorrent tale (note the sarcastic melodrama...).

Friday night, my sister Rachel, Ben and I went with some of Ben's friends to see Hellboy II. Yes, I know what you're thinking..."Annie went to see what?" Trust me...I'm still shaking my head. But actually, it wasn't too bad!

Anyhow...we got there a little over half an hour before the show started--it was opening night--so we could get seats in a decent place and all together; there were six of us. There were less than two dozen people ahead of us in line, so it looked promising.

They started letting us into the theater, and we went in to find six seats in the row with the bar in front of it. Ben really likes that row so that he can have a footrest and not feel bad. And it's not a bad view, either, I've come to find. Most of the middle seats in the theater were taken, so we decided this was it. We saw six seats and thought we had hit the jackpot.

We asked the woman who was sitting in the middle of the row if any of those seats were saved. She said the one next to her kid was taken. Hmm...leaves us with a dilemma...only five seats for us now. Well, we could have the other guy who was meeting us sit somewhere else, but no fun for him. We asked her if she'd mind scooting down one seat so our group could be together. In a really bitter voice she said, "I'd rather not." Oh! Well... alright. And you know, she did get there before us, so we weren't going to make a fuss or anything. Normally I hate asking people to move, but it wasn't like we were going to be changing her view of the movie or anything. One seat was all we needed! I did not appreciate her tone.

We sat down next to her anyway and decided the friend who was meeting us could find one seat without a problem...but we weren't pleased with that solution. He got there and we figured he could sit on the other side of this woman in the middle...but let me explain. It was a lone woman with two children, one on each side. These kids were probably in the age range of 5-7, I'd be willing to guess. Each of these children was sprawled across two seats. My thought was that she was saving them for people who would be there a little later.

So...the previews began and still no one to come use those seats. Ok, some people miss previews... Then the movie began and still no one. Hmmm...this was looking shady. Please don't tell me this lady was just letting her children sprawl in 'extra' (that word is used very liberally here!) seats. Yes, people, that is EXACTLY what ended up happening!! Her kids each used two seats during the entire film.

Here are my rants:
1) Why is this woman bringing her two children to Hellboy II? Um, isn't it kind of rated PG-13 and not really appropriate for them? Ok, if I can get past this fact--who am I to judge what people do with their children? (yes, I know that's what I'm doing in this entire post...)--wouldn't it have been cheaper for her to come to the movie alone and get a babysitter?
2) You can't move down one seat? I mean, I could understand if we had asked her to move down the entire row, but seriously?! Common courtesy? Maybe we asked too much... I know I've moved down a seat or two for strangers.
3) Did she pay for the FIVE seats she used? Now I can almost guarantee you she didn't, but her sense of entitlement was quite inflated. I really wanted to say something to her afterwards, but we all know that Annie is a chicken and hates confrontation. Plus, what purpose would it have served? I stuck with the whispering really loudly and annoyed-ly, in hopes that she'd hear how angry I was. And I vowed to blog about it and tell the world how wronged I felt.

Ok, so really we survived and it wasn't a life or death situation...but come on. If I have to sit through the 30-second reminder (sounds short, but we all know it gets really boring after the first five seconds!) to silence your cell phone at the beginning of every movie, I think there should be a reminder that you only paid for one seat. I guess some people have a difficult time remembering that.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Where have all the good pens gone?!

At work, I often find myself in need of a pen. Why, you might ask. Well, hi, I'm Annie Snow and I'm an office manager. In addition to all the post-its and staples I use, pens are a necessity in my day-to-day life. I have a holder on my desk devoted to them.

Not all pens are created equal. I'm quite devoted to the Uni-ball Vision pens with the blue/black ink. They last a long time and flow quite smoothly without any gaps in the writing. Yes, in case you're asking, I am a little OCD about my pens. Who wants to be taking a phone message or editing a document with a pen that goes kaput every few seconds? No one? Yeah, I didn't think so.

In an effort to save a little money, my company has scaled back on the quality of pens we purchase. My boss wanted a secret stash of the good pens, though. Hmmm...the secret must have leaked because they're always gone in the blink of an eye.

The conundrum lies here: whenever I need a pen, I go rifling through my desk organizer that contains a myriad of pencils and highlighters and whatnot...and more times than not, the pen I want is not there. The thing is, I can always go find a new pen. But usually it's my GOOD PEN that has been swiped by someone. Whether it's unintentional or downright sneaky, I don't care...I just want to be able to sign my name and have it read 'Annabelle Snow' and not some sort of jumble of lines and dots that don't make sense--and I have stellar handwriting! I want to be able to take a phone number down and not have to look at the indent that the pen made (where there is no ink to be found) in order to figure out which number I should dial.

Please. If you see my missing pen, return it to its rightful owner. And if you ever find yourself in need of a pen that writes well, but there's not a one in sight...then you and I can commiserate.

New addition

On Monday, I received word that my sister Laura was going to be induced. She was due with he third child on July 16, but circumstances made it such that Monday was the day! And so, our family welcomed our 4th nephew/grandson, Trey Heath Whitton, born July 7th at 7 lb. 15 oz. and 20 1/2 in. (As a fun aside here, my grandma on my dad's side also celebrates a birthday on July 7th...and if I'm remembering correctly, she turned 77 on 7/7 this Monday. Kinda cool!)

We aren't used to being so close to Laura when she has her babies. Her last two sons, Jameson and Avery, were born while the Whitton family lived on the East coast. We got to see them when they were 6 months old or so. So it was really fun to actually go to the hospital and see the baby before he was even a day old.

Don't get me wrong: babies still scare me. Sure, they're cute, but when they start crying and pooping and all the other joyous things that come with the whole package...that's when I turn tail and hand the kid back to the adoring parents. On the 4th of July, I was holding my niece, Isabelle (she's about 4 months old), and my mom said, "Awh...Annie just loves little babies." Um, Mom...I do? I mean, yes, I do. I retorted with, "Yeah, if I'm related to them." Ok, for all of those out there with kids, please don't think this is some sort of bitter child-hating diatribe. I'm fairly sure that if they're your own, the love is much stronger there. :) Until I become a parent, I quite enjoy my serenity, though.

Anyhow...Trey is a cute little kid. You can't really tell what they look like when they're that old, but I can certainly tell that he looks like a Whitton.

Here are some pictures of the tyke...some are blurry, and there are a lot toward the end where we're trying to get him to open his eyes. He did not like that.

I'm in love...with a robot.



This post has been a long time coming, but I couldn't resist writing about such a great movie. Ben and I went with his sister and her blind date and saw WALL-E a couple weeks ago. I have to say that it's probably one of the best movies I've seen all year. Don't let my glowing review sway you one way or the other...you definitely have to check this one out for yourself.

When I first saw a preview for this movie several months ago, I sort of shrugged it off. "Pssh...yeah, like a robot movie is going to be that good." Then my new brother-in-law mentioned how it was supposed to be this great film and how he and Natalie were excited to go see it. Not wanting to be left off the bandwagon, I did a little more research, watched some full trailers...and hey, it didn't look too bad. After all, Pixar is putting it out--it can't be too horrible! After all, I've adored pretty much all of their other films.

More recently, I had heard great things about the film. Critics were raving that Pixar had done it again and made a smash hit. I was a bit skeptical but easily persuaded. I mean, it would be one thing for some rogue critic to find it charming and lovely while everyone else and their dog absolutely despised the piece of trash...but every critic was gushing about the quality of the film, its message and execution.

As for the actual movie--seriously, go see it--I loved every minute of it. There aren't many movies that I can honor with that praise. I've got ADD as bad as any kid, so I need to be entertained in new and witty ways, and yet I want it to be intelligent and not make me feel dumber than when I first sat down to enjoy the flick. WALL-E did this and much more. I almost cried--twice. (Disclaimer: I cry during lots of movies...Apollo 13 is just one example of a movie where no one else cried but me.) There were some extremely touching parts that made me reflect on what kind of a person I am and what great people I have in my life. Could just me, though...just sayin'...

I was surprised at how intriguing a movie could be where the first 45 minutes have no dialog. You would almost think that the viewer would be begging for some reprieve from the wordless black hole. This was no black hole, my friends. It was genius how I could be watching a robot--supposedly devoid of feeling and personality--and be so intrigued by its state of affairs. WALL-E has a bug friend, and just watching the play-by-play of the relationship he had to his work and his collection of human artifacts and this bug...it was almost surreal how it tugged at the heartstrings. The writers of this film are brilliant.

WALL-E also has a few different messages that it portrays in a satiric light, but I didn't feel like these issues were being drummed into my head or that anyone's agenda was being weighted too heavily. The morals were served very carefully in a light, huh-I-should-really-think-about-how-my-actions-affect-society manner. I guess a few viewers were offended by the "environmental message" that was being addressed. Hmm...I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that shouldn't we ALL be worried about destroying our own environment? In the film, Earth has become so overrun by consumerism and commercialism that any surviving plantlife becomes a miraculous treasure. Yeah, I understand that's pushing it to the extremes, but a very intriguing thought indeed.

All in all, quite an enjoyable couple of hours. I highly recommend it to movie-goers young and old. It was a cute, fun film that didn't feel diluted or pushy.

Conviviality and chaos

I can't believe I've waited this long to blog about the 4th of July! Honestly, it was just a fun day, nothing too sensational happened. But it was great. Ben came with me and was quite overwhelmed by just the scores of people who came to celebrate with us. Waffles and ice cream was at my parents' house, so the Snow side came over and gluttoned themselves (myself included!). I think Ben was in awe of the fact that I had this many relatives. "This is only half of my dad's side of the family...the smaller side," I told him.

I vowed I would get more pictures this year...I got a couple of my nephew Avery in his hat that made his ears go all cute and funny. And that's about it...I'm not even going to post them.

Mostly that day, I was just trying to survive burning to death and keeping Ben out of the line of fire. He handled everything so great, though. I give him an A for all his efforts at spending the day with my family. He even got to talk to my brother-in-law who likes to play board games, too. I was out grilling, but apparently it was a great conversation.

Also, it was pretty much impossible to find a place to a) escape the mayhem; b) take a nap; c) cool down. We opted for two out of three and took a blanket outside to try and find some shade...and moved about 7 times (this is not an exaggeration) before I finally got to sleep for about ten minutes.

To add to the mix, Natalie and Mike brought their friend Nick to the festivities. Apparently at Mike and Nat's open house last month, Nick's interest in my sister Paulie had been piqued. Hmmm...so he came along for the 4th. It was interesting...and by 'interesting,' I mean completely awkward. He was a bit strange and did not gel well with our family. Nice guy, but my theory stands that if all you can say about a guy is that he's 'nice,' he's probably not worth much time or effort. And nothing says fun-filled blind date like an entire day being scrutinized by an entire family and having no exit strategy. But both parties escaped, mostly unscathed. Let this be a lesson to you, please.

Anyway, Ben was a trooper and survived the parade, the Snow family waffles and ice cream, the ensuing noise and destruction, the BBQ, and the fireworks. Whew! It was a great time, though.