i scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream

My friend Krista, who has four kids, posted this recipe for ice cream the other day. Tonight we tried it!! So much fun. Tasted great.

2 T sugar
1 cup half-and-half (we used whipping cream, I know...it was all we had on hand.)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 T rock salt
1 pint-size plastic zip lock bag
1 gallon-size plastic zip lock bag
(our zip lock broke so I would recommend double bagging)
crushed ice

What To Do:
Combine sugar, half-and-half, and vanilla in the small bag; seal the bag. Fill the large bag half full with ice and add the rock salt. Put the small bag inside the large bag and seal. Shake the bag for 5-7 minutes or until the ice cream hardens. Enjoy!

Note: You can add 2 T chocolate syrup to the small bag of ingredients before shaking to make chocolate ice cream. I am sure other flavors would work just fine too. You can, of course, add toppings at the end. I recommend rinsing off the outside of the small bag before you scoop/squish the ice cream into a bowl so you don't get the salt into your ice creams.

Serving size- two small portions, the perfect amount really.

timelaps video of wildfires north of LA

Timelapse - Los Angeles Wildfire from Dan B. on Vimeo.


review: five fingers shoes by vibrim

Last year sometime, I read an article about the barefoot movement. The story began stating that shoes are bad for your feet. Your feet evolved to be the best way for people to get around and putting shoes on your feet, while protecting you from ring worm and cuts on your feet, basically let your feet get lazy. Naturally, the inner hippie in me came right out and I tried to buy the shoes in the article, by Terra Plana. Although the order went through and I remain on the Terra Plana email list, the shoes were in fact out of stock and my order was canceled; the shoes were on back order for months to come. I gave up. (Click this sentence to read the original article in New York Magazine.)

Until we went to Missoula last weekend. We went to this great little store, Hide and Sole downtown because Brent wanted to see their version of the barefoot shoe, the Five Fingers by Vibrim. You might know Vibrim because they make lots of soles for other shoes and hiking boots.

We both ended up with a pair of five fingers. Getting your toes into their little spots is hard the first five times, and then I think your toes figure it out. I love that my toes are forced to self articulate, it has been such a long time...I have been wearing mine everywhere but at work. My boss thought they looked crazy, and my friend Patrick was more opposed to them than he even is to the flipflop. (The man HATES flipflops.) I even worked out in them with Sam, which went really well.

When you first get the shoes, you have to gradually increase the amount of time you are wearing the shoes, because your muscles are weak. And boy can you tell it. My feet were sore like after working out, not like after a day of shopping, on my first full day of wearing the shoes.

I really like the shoes. I think they are cute and really helping my feet. At the store, the associate told us that a woman came in who had really bad planters fasciitis. After wearing the shoes for a few weeks it went away...so who knows, maybe they are good for me.

The New York Times did an article about it today, so we know the fad is over now. (Click this sentence to read the article, but the New Yorker article is better above.) I am going to keep wearing mine.


picnics and really big bugs

Went to a picnic today and had a great time. While we were sitting there the LARGEST WASP I have ever seen flew by, landed, and started digging into the ground. I kept begging people to come over and look at it. No one thought it was that big, except Keith. I just did some research, and it is a Cicada Killer Wasp. That is right. It KILLS Cicadas. I took the picture above before I got scared of it. Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphecius. To see pictures of the picnic, click this sentence. There are some fun pictures of the whole crew, with a focus on my friends Lynn and Lauren's baby Elana.

watch this...very cool.

It may or may not eat rats. Amazing.



When I was 8 I came up with a jingle for Delta:
"Delta...Delta Airlines, We wanna take you there, anytime, most anywhere."

Wait? Did I make that up or was that the real slogan?

I also tried to make a cheer:
Give me a "D" for dependability,
Give me a "E" for elegance,
Give me a "L" for loyalty...

Ah, loyalty. I am loyal to Delta because my parents both worked there, Mom for 15 years and Dad for 30. Many of my parent's friends draw their pensions from the company. I still have the Delta American Express card, so I earn miles.

But my flight yesterday inspired no loyalty. Do you want to know why? Well because my direct flight from Salt Lake City to Washington National made a PLANNED stop in DETROIT.

In Detroit, I called Brent and he looked up the flight. At first glance it looked like a direct flight, but then you had to click the link to go to Northwest. At the Northwest site it said the flight stopped.

I am pretty sure Delta has not fixed this because it slips by the flight aggregators like kayak.com. I asked the gate agent if it was actually a Southwest flight. He did not respond.

Ugh. So annoyed.

But what was really weird was that my same boarding ticket worked for both flights even though we changed planes. I was in the same spot on the plane. Weird.

And the gate agent in Detroit had a few trivia questions because we were running late: "If you use a lead pencil to draw a line, how far could one normal pencil draw?"

"What does everyone have, but you never use, and is only used by others?"

vote for lumpy

Hi everyone. Will be back in the swing of things soon...but please take a second to vote for my friend's cat: Lumpy. It is the weird first one...Click here to vote:


sean the frog boy

Spent the week with family in Montana and Idaho. My nephew hops like a frog...another stop motion video.


the wire and a new book

I can't wait to read this new book: What Else But Home. This family took in five children they met on a basket ball court in New York City. The boys are grown now, and four of the five graduated from
high school. After watching one season of The Wire, I cried and cried. I told Brent I wanted to help these kids. These parents did more than get upset about a TV show; they got involved.

We are working on writing a statement of values for our family. Helping others will feature largely, as will
having big dreams.


one in 8 million

The New York Times is doing this series of videos profiling New Yorkers. They are wonderful to watch. This one really struck a cord.


Each video is between 3 and 5 minutes. So interesting.


apartment: after

I took these pictures because we have lived here for three years! Can you believe it? Scroll down to see how things have changed since we moved in. It is not always this clean...Brent would have you know that I got rid of all of his stuff...not true. To see more pictures click here.

apartment: before


michael gore where are you?

I don't really notice music. I mean, I like music, I like listening to music, but I don't always notice it. But the music for the movie, Defending your Life, made me sit up an take notice. In the years before the internets, I actually called people to find the soundtrack. Michael Gore wrote it. I love that music. So, upon doing some more research, I learned he wrote the music to Fame. I LOVE THAT MOVIE. And just today I learned that he scored Terms of Endearment. The music can make me almost cry on cue.

I once tried to find Michael Gore. Where is he? I looked in LA, because that seemed like where he would live. I could not find him. Has he written anything else? I have not yet found him. I would love to hear more of your music.

Turn on your itunes and search for Michael Gore and listen to the Defending Your Life soundtrack. You could watch the movie too. It is quite cute. I think about it a lot when I envision what happens after you die.

consumer action handbook

Brent came home from work the other day with this catalog of helpful information. The publication is kind of amazing. The book includes information such as how to write a complaint letter, to information about buying a house, to information about how to stop getting calls from telemarketers. The last part of the book includes a consumer assistance directory for many industries such as the automotive industry and the state insurance regulators. At 177 pages and free, it is quite the font of information.

Your tax dollars put to good work. http://www.consumeraction.gov/ (Click here to go to the site.)


health insurance: You Do Not Have Health Insurance

So Brent sent me this blog post about health insurance, and I think it is pretty interesting.

By James Kwak

"Right now, it appears that the biggest barrier to health care reform is people who think that it will hurt them. According to a New York Times poll, “69 percent of respondents in the poll said they were concerned that the quality of their own care would decline if the government created a program that covers everyone.” Since most Americans currently have health insurance, they see reform as a poverty program – something that helps poor people and hurts them. If that’s what you think, then this post is for you.

You do not have health insurance. Let me repeat that. You do not have health insurance. (Unless you are over 65, in which case you do have health insurance. I’ll come back to that later.)

The point of insurance is to protect you against unlikely but damaging events. You are generally happy to pay premiums in all the years that nothing goes wrong (your house doesn’t burn down), because in exchange your insurer promises to be there in the one year that things do go wrong (your house burns down). That’s why, when shopping for insurance, you are supposed to look for a company that is financially sound – so they will be there when you need them.

If, like most people, your health coverage is through your employer or your spouse’s employer, that is not what you have. At some point in the future, you will get sick and need expensive health care. What are some of the things that could happen between now and then?

* Your company could drop its health plan. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (see Table HIA-1), the percentage of the population covered by employer-based health insurance has fallen every year since 2000, from 64.2% to 59.3%.*
* You could lose your job. I don’t think I need to tell anyone what the unemployment rate is these days.**
* You could voluntarily leave your job, for example because you have to move to take care of an elderly relative.
* You could get divorced from the spouse you depend on for health coverage.

For all of these reasons, you can’t count on your health insurer being there when you need it. That’s not insurance; that’s employer-subsidized health care for the duration of your employment.

Read the rest of the article by clicking anywhere.


wow: babies brains and spleens

So my good friends, Rob and Krista, have some good friends who have a daughter who, while be checked over for some seemingly mundane problems, found out their daughter had a brain tumor. Carly is doing much better, which you can read about at their blog by clicking this paragraph. What is so amazing is that little Carly has continued to grow through this whole ordeal. She even has her teeth coming in now. They mentioned she is sleeping a lot these days, which is good, because that is when brains develop. Bodies are amazing.

Along the lines of amazing body notes, turns out your spleen is REALLY important.

"Scientists have discovered that the spleen, long consigned to the B-list of abdominal organs and known as much for its metaphoric as its physiological value, plays a more important role in the body’s defense system than anyone suspected. Reporting in the current issue of the journal Science, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School describe studies showing that the spleen is a reservoir for huge numbers of immune cells called monocytes, and that in the event of a serious trauma to the body like a heart attack, gashing wound or microbial invasion, the spleen will disgorge those monocyte multitudes into the bloodstream to tackle the crisis."

I really can't believe the New York Times let this last line through: "Hail to the chief, hail to the queen and hail to the monocytes residing in my spleen." (To read the whole story click these paragraphs.)


another movie: lunch

This little video is of Brent eating lunch today! If you have a youtube account (or gmail account for that matter) click the video and review my movie! (Thanks to Brent again for all of his help!) Music: Waylon Jennings, I'm A Ramblin' Man