Friday, August 24, 2012

our first new orleans sleepover

We don't know how it happened.

Singh and Palovi invite us to go to dinner at Nirvana, a hopping Indian restaurant down in New Orleans. We accept at 7:30, walk out the door at 7:45, lock it at 7:46, hop into their car at 7:47, and at 7:48 our keys are missing. Between our door and the car, they keys have magically disappeared. (I don't know what it is with us and missing keys).

We look for them for about thirty minutes, and in that time have three people try to help us:

First. Man in a suit walks by and tells Michael his fail-proof plan (apparently he loses things and finds them all the time): think of the last place you know you had it. We already tried this, and we tell him so. They are not in the lock of our door. He repeats the advice, and walks away.

Second. George the Greek tells me to pull out my phone. I do so. He then recites a number three times and tells me to call it; apparently they'll come unlock my door for $50. Thanks, but no thanks, George. He proceeds to tell me about his fail-proof plan: he always keeps his keys on a lanyard around his neck (it also carries a whistle for special occasions). He also has an extra set stored in his car and in his house. He then says this same exact thing to Michael. He just really badly wants me to call the number.

Third. Jennifer from the floor below us is walking by with groceries, and returns with a flashlight--ah, blessed relief. Real help. But still, no luck.

The buffet at Nirvana closes at 9:00 and Singh is getting anxious about missing out on that deal, so we leave without our keys. The curry is delicious, as is the mango yogurt stuff (sorry, no good with Indian names), but enjoying it is a little difficult as I worry first about our keys and then about where we're going to stay tonight.

Drive home, look for keys, but they are nowhere to be found.

Luckily, Singh and Palovi live next door. And they're really generous. And they offer us their floor, a sleeping bag, and a blanket.

The office managers come in at 8:00 AM, but all of Michael's stuff for work is in our mysteriously locked apartment, so he texts his ride and says he won't be going to work until later.

A restless night in jeans ensues.

7:00 AM we're out looking again, hoping the sun will make those dern keys magically appear.

Singh's leaving for work at 7:15, so we check his car one more time. Michael emerges from the car victorious; the keys have magically appeared between the seat and the seat belt buckle.

I'm not sure what that was all about or why it all happened, but it sure does make for a good blog post.

It just better not happen again.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

we've got a cockroach...

Meet our cockroach.

We've seen him three times, all three sightings were at night when it was dark and hot in the apartment and we were getting home from some adventure. Flip on the light switch in the kitchen, and there he is.

Michael's tried to catch him with a cup, but those little creepers are fast. That's where my bruise comes from. I was observing Michael's catching progress, and suddenly that thing sprang at me. I screamed, turned, and ran right into one of our seriously heavy metal chairs. Keep in mind, the photo you're seeing was taken days after the actual occurrence. Roaches are large and terrifying.

We bought a trap when we had spiders in our Provo apartment, and it says it's supposed to catch roaches too, but so far, no luck. He's still hiding behind our dishwasher.

This means we're in Louisiana.

Monday, August 20, 2012

i love to see the temple

Last Sunday we tried to teach the Sunbeams about the temple. Sister McCready was out of town, so we had all of them. There were only six, but when the three most rowdy ones don't speak English, it gets really difficult to actually say anything except "Stop it. Don't touch her. Sit down. Now."

These children were jumping off their chairs and then throwing them, then chasing each other around the room, all the while screaming at the top of their lungs. Let's just say the lesson was one of the least effective we've ever taught.

Finally, we bribed them with saltines to sit around me on the floor and tried to fit our whole lesson into this 30-second time span before they went crazy again. "Be reverent for one second and then you can have a cracker," and then, with haste, "The temple is a sacred place, where you wear white and get married and do service. Have a stinking cracker."

We ended up tired and frustrated. I wanted so badly to tell them what I love about the temple, but I didn't do it very effectively. So, if I had the chance again, I'd say a version of this that four-year-olds could understand:

I've said it a million times already, but the Church is so comforting when I'm far away from what I call my home. No matter where I go, it's the exact same, and always will be.

The Friday before our insane lesson, we drove up to the Baton Rouge temple to do an endowment session. It's a tiny temple, at least compared to what I'm used to, with only three sessions a day. It had been a couple of months since we'd last been, and I was reminded again what a precious gift temples can be to those who attend. Not because of their beauty, but because of the covenants and ordinances made and service done inside.

When I go in wanting to learn, I learn. And even though I still have many questions, maybe even concerns, about what is said and done in the temple, I still feel an overwhelming peace that comes from knowing that even if I don't understand, this is correct, this is truth.

This is a simple truth that I know.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

it's been raining

For the past 72 hours. Pretty much straight through.

We woke up at 8:00 this morning to this.
We've been doing a lot of this.
And snuggling and looking at each other with wide eyes every time lightning strikes right next to our house.

And we're not sure we're safe, but it's sure cool. 

first anniversary celebration

We celebrated for real on Friday night by spending way too much money at Cafe Adelaide in downtown New Orleans. Probably the best meal either of us have ever encountered. Michael's coworker has been raving about it for weeks now, so it was pretty much decided for us. We made our reservations online and under the "Special Instructions" Michael just had to put "It's our first anniversary!"

We arrived to the restaurant early, so we walked around the block and came upon this: the Italian-American Cultural Center. Not sure what it's for, but the mix of modern and classical architecture made for interesting cultural conversation.

Someday I will tell the story of our awkward restaurant experience on our honeymoon. But we had another one of those during our anniversary celebration, so now it's tradition. The waiter brought out two tiny little cups full of gazpacho, "a gift from the kitchen," he called it. We'd never heard of gazpacho, and because the cups were so small we thought maybe it was something alcoholic, like shots, maybe. We were afraid to drink it after I stuck my finger in and it burned my mouth, so we texted my parents to make sure it was alright, but my dad didn't respond in time. Michael finally just asked the waiter (I'm so lucky to have an outgoing spouse), "We don't drink, so we were just wondering if these had any alcohol in it." He looked at us like we were really odd and said, "Um, no. It's watermelon tomato soup." And he's never had anyone ask him that question before, surprise, surprise.

Back to the meal. Michael ordered Muscovy duck (with thinly sliced crunchy carrots and some really good bread-y something on the bottom), and I had scallops with crab, bacon, corn, and grits. We both loved Michael's choice, but I wouldn't order my dish again, though it was yummy. Grinding grits against my teeth just wasn't what I was expecting. For dessert we had White Chocolate Biscuit Pudding with the perfect amount of root beer flavoring.

Afterwards we walked around a seemingly deserted French Quarter (we assume they were all at the Saint's game... but really, it was weird and empty. Fellow Louisianans, is it always like that?) and didn't have any cash to tip our parking valet (and yes, I just said that with the "t" because that's what they do at Downton).

Also, it's been raining nonstop for the past couple of days. And this is the only picture we've got of us together from this weekend. Enjoy!

Friday, August 17, 2012

august 16, 2011

We are the two most indecisive people in the world. It comes from trying to decide between frugality and fun. When Michael woke up we discussed the pros and cons of going out to dinner both Thursday and Friday night, just because we could, and because we were going to save money by not going to a hotel in New Orleans. This lasted until 8:00, when we finally decided we'd stay home and go out Friday night. Our night consisted of flowers, chocolates, an Izze drink from our luncheon (our cake was too good and all got eaten!), homemade chicken artichoke pizza, and reminiscing on the past year. Not a bad way to celebrate, all in all.

Our thoughts on the past year are these:
Has it really been a whole year? It can't have been that long...
We sure do love each other, though.
And if the first year's the hardest, we're going to have it pretty cushy.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

mari and flowers.

It's our anniversary. Michael's sleeping because he didn't feel very good when he got home from work this evening. Hmmm... I have filled my blog- and Facebook-stalking quota for the day, and read a chapter or two from Chaos (you can only take so much in one sitting. Interesting and well-written, but dense), and I can't practice the cello because I can't go to another room. So blogging it is. Funny how the thing I enjoy is put on the very last of my to-do list.

I was driving away from work this afternoon when I got a call from Michael saying I needed to go back to work. A man with a hat in a truck was supposed to arrive at work "no later than 5:00," he said.

It was 2:00.

So I sat there for a half hour and tried to call my mom, my dad, Davis, Addie, Quinci, and finally reached Sierra. However, Michael called again to ensure that the man with a hat in a truck had not arrived yet, and Sierra was on hold for a good ten minutes.

The man with a hat in a truck had left St. Rose at 5:45 this morning, so Michael assumed that he must've been able to reach my work in Metairie by 2:00. He didn't. So I went home after leaving instructions with Mari (pronounced "Mary") at the front desk to call me if a surprise package came with my name on it. Mari guessed that the surprise would be a stripper. Uh... heh heh heh...

Sierra and I chatted for a good while on my way home, and I finished dishes, cleaned up the house, and tried to find a good deal at a fancy restaurant for dinner this evening. At 3:30 I got the call from Mari. A package had arrived. "And you better come get it," she said, "He'll be sad if you don't. These things are not cheap." On the twenty minute drive back to work, my dad called.

I opened the door, and Mari pointed to the big green package with a grin and told me, "I was going to open it, but I didn't want to ruin the surprise for you." Out came twelve lovely roses and a box of chocolates--the good kind. Mari winked at me, and with that smoky voice of hers that makes me smile said, "Have a romantic weekend."

We will, Mari, don't you worry. As soon as Michael wakes up :)

He's up! He's up! Let the romance begin.

Friday, August 10, 2012

a key-less, phone-less wednesday

As I was walking out the door to go to work at 8:32 Wednesday morning, I realized I didn't have my keys. I panicked slightly, then laughed and kept looking. And panicked a lot more when I realized I couldn't find them. For real. They were gone. I knew exactly where they were. Tuesday night I was playing the piano at the church and they were sitting on top of the piano in the Relief Society room.

I'm supposed to be at work at 9:00, but at 9:00 on Wednesday, I was still tearing my house apart, praying that Heavenly Father would make my keys appear under my bed or in an unknown corner of my bite-sized purse. But that miracle was not meant to be that day.

I called Lauren, who lives at least twenty minutes away, to see if she could come take to me to work. She and her husband had just sat down at a restaurant to get breakfast; however, the kind soul said she'd come pick me up and JJ would wait for the food, and they'd eat it at work.

While I waited, I called my dad so I wouldn't cry. But they're on their way to a family reunion at Island Park with a boat and fun cousins, and I wasn't much in the mood for laughing. So I cried a little. And went to go get a key from management so I could at least lock the apartment.

What an angel Lauren was. She picked me up and chatted with me on our twenty-five minute drive back to where she had just come from. I got out of the car, walked upstairs, she drove away, and I realized that my phone had fallen out of my back pocket and onto the seat of her car. But she was long gone.

Let's just say work was less than 100% productive. I was too ashamed and prideful to just call Lauren and ask her to bring my phone to me on her lunch break, so I finally emailed Michael and told him I would be walking to the church, and he could come get me when he got home from work. I suppose I didn't really understand how far of a walk that would be. But at least it was sprinkling, not pouring, and not 120*.

I was almost to East Jefferson General Hospital, about twenty-five minutes into my little jaunt (and about a third of the way to the church), when I heard a honk, and saw Lauren's cute little red Mini Cooper pull into a parking lot behind me. Shaking my head with embarrassment, I got into the car and she said, "I can't believe you tried to walk to the church. That is so far!"

She followed that with, "You've had a long day. You need a treat," and we flew off to Tutti Frutti, where I drowned my embarrassment in Cake Batter and Red Velvet Cake frozen yogurt with cookie dough bits and white chocolate chips and Snickers bars.

We just talked. It's been a long while since I've just chatted with a girlfriend. She drove me home and told me to have Michael give me a foot massage.

Michael got home and said, "You've had a long day. You need dinner." So off we went to Raising Cane's, the Korean store (hooray! kimchi!), and to get my keys.

That was a long day. I owe Lauren fifteen bucks in gas and twenty for interrupting her and JJ's breakfast. But I got frozen yogurt, Raising Cane's, lots of hugs and kisses, and a friend out of it.

All in all, a successful day.

Monday, August 6, 2012

how to make this week the best week ever.

First. One hour of computer time per day. That includes all stalking and blogging and email checking.

Second. Thirty minutes of scripture study.  At least fifteen by myself in the morning, and fifteen with Michael at night.

Third. Find one person besides Michael to serve every day.

Four. Make five real meals. PastaRoni doesn't count.

Five. Apartment clean and cello practiced before getting on the computer.

Six. Prepare myself to go to the Baton Rouge temple on Friday or Saturday (we haven't been in so long, and we're excited to see Alexa and Kyle).

Seven. Some kind of physical activity (running or swimming or biking) at least three times.

Last night while we were falling asleep, Michael asked me how I was going to make this next week the best week ever. He quickly amended it to "a really good week" (cause how can you beat getting married and all that good stuff?), but shoot for the stars, right? The above plan may seem a little wimpy, but I know it will push me just enough.

Thing #1 I've learned about myself: If I don't have a plan, I will end up doing nothing.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

oh, the joys of technology

Grandma and Grandpa Rutter showed up to my parent's house while we were Skyping this evening. The following photo sequence explains my grandpa's reaction to the fact that he not only can see us, but himself in the little photo in the corner.
Captions go as follows: 
[First.] "Wait! Is that me in the corner?"
[Second.] "How about that."
[Third.] "It looks like I fell in a foxhole! I look terrible."

Hilarious, but false. He is the most spry 80-year-old I've ever seen. 

Also, please giggle along with me regarding my grandma's reaction in the final photo. I sure do love those two.

this is how i know we're not ready to have kids

Michael's ideas for boys names...
Our two favorite heroes.

But really... Dieter Davis?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

another lazy weekend

Friday we woke up to another rainy day. Michael ran to work for a couple of hours, and I cleaned our little apartment. Hallelujah (once again) for no-work (and four-hour) Fridays! Michael got home and we prepared to finally get to the bank. At which point it began, once again, to pour. So we read Lord of the Rings and made some lunch. When the rain finally let up a little bit, we ran to the bank, where we met Collin, a Californian who has been living here for 20 years and has become a Saints fan (it's literally impossible to live here for more than a month or two during football season and not).

Interesting fact: the first weekend of August, most things (not including food and entertainment) are state tax free. When Jaime told me about this on Thursday night, I couldn't sleep because of all the things I wanted to buy... a new swimsuit... new shoes... a sun hat... cologne for Michael... So after the bank, we went to the mall in hopes of spending my birthday money. We came away with nothing but milk and a can of spaghetti sauce to take over to the Hall's for dinner later that evening (both of which we had to pay tax on).

Jasmine and David invited us over to have dinner and watch some Olympics. Jasmine just had a baby. And she fed us dinner. I felt like a mooch. However, we had a lovely time with them and the Rich's. And I can't get enough of their sleepy little baby.

We woke up at 7:30 this morning to another crazy thunderstorm. I made french toast and eggs with buttermilk syrup and Michael made a fruit smoothie. We had great plans to go to the WWII museum, but we happened to not get out of bed until it was too late. But we had to do something. So we watched more Olympics. We have watched at least sections of the following: soccer, speed walking (it's as awesome as it sounds), synchronized diving, men's team gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, beach volleyball, fencing, swimming, handball, and table tennis. And yes, we spent way too much watching.

Our last effort to get out of the house was swimming. Michael scraped his elbows on the bottom of the pool on his first attempt at practicing his entry at the shot. And we were interrupted by a large family. So we headed over to another pool, where we swam laps like Phelps and sang songs to each other underwater until a couple of teenagers crashed our party.

I probably need to stop posting about food, but tonight we made some seriously awesome Italian Potato-Sausage Soup from Our Best Bites. We owe our obsession to Christina, who first introduced us. You can find the recipe here.

Next week we'll finally do some planning and go do something touristy on Saturday. But for now, I'm not complaining about our perfectly lazy weekend.

chocolate chip cookie-mint ice cream sandwich

I'm not sure what happened. Somehow Michael got all the good baking genes. Everything he makes turns out perfectly. 

For example: my aunt Deena's chocolate chip cookies. Every time I make them, something goes horribly wrong, like forgetting an important ingredient. Or if things go well, I leave them in the oven too long.

He made them, and they were just like hers. And then he put Blue Bell Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream between them. And they are heaven. 

Just don't ask how many cookies and how much ice cream we've had in the last week.

Friday, August 3, 2012

paradise point.

We went on a walk last night while our laundry was drying. I had wanted to go swimming because it was so roasty outside, but the pool outside of our building is kinda sketchy. Mostly because there are no lights, and who knows what might be swimming around out there in that water (see photo evidence below). Feeling kinda bummed that we haven't used the pool at all, we set off on an adventurous walk. And not 200 steps away, we found another pool. Well lit (or more well lit), clean, and perfect for a night swim. 

It was somewhat of a shock. Just behind the building across the street was exactly what we were looking for. And our pool key works for that pool, too! (We had a little scare when we first got there, but the key just needed a little wiggling.)

In the midst of our astonishment, Michael said, "We pretty much live at Paradise Point!" We spent our lovely honeymoon at Paradise Point in the lovely San Diego, and Michael talks about that place quite often. Michael didn't pack a swimsuit on our honeymoon, however, so we never got to use the pools (the swimsuits in the gift shop were like sixty bucks, and we all know how frugal Michael is... no swimming for us). But here we are. And Michael has a swimsuit. 

And suddenly, we're living at a luxury resort.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

since the last time we talked...

See if you can match the photo to the story...

We went to work out in City Park with one of my coworkers and her husband. Then we threw a frisbee around and explored the many antique shops of the French Quarter. Next up, a catfish po-boy while we listened to some smooth jazz. I felt weird wearing a tank top and no g's. But we had a lovely afternoon.

Also, we were sore for the next week. Michael's hamstrings, my shoulders and butt.

We were invited to a special viewing of brand new baby Isabella (the little sister of this little hooligan). She's simply lovely. 

It's rained quite a bit. The drainage people that work for the parish have plenty of work on their hands (yes, there is a drainage division. I drive past it on my way to cello).

Speaking of cello, I've had three lessons so far. I can play the first 34 songs in my book! The fact that they are four measures each is beside the point. Also, my Romanian teacher Simona has made me realize how big of a stress case I am. "Relax your shoulders," she says. It's much harder than it sounds, being a stress case like myself.

We taught two lessons to a bunch of rowdy Sunbeams. I feel like nothing's getting through while little Briton shoots guns at everyone and Peter makes crazy faces. Sitting in a circle may have seemed like a good idea, but as it turns out the Sunbeams just love to watch each other instead of the teacher. I was exhausted.

We celebrated the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics with Jaime, Jason, and Keaton with international cuisine (Korean bulgogi and Mexican burrito-y things and American watermelon and ice cream torches for dessert).

Michael plays basketball on Wednesday with some guys from the ward and a bunch of investigators. It's a hot and sweaty time. We met Kris & Bo (oh, the joys of being in Sunbeams where you don't meet any of the new people) who are newlyweds, too! Hooray for more fun friends!

Michael went to Batman Begins without me. Granted, he would have let me come if the guys in the ward hadn't insisted that it was a viewing only for men. But Michael needed someone to talk with about it...

So, we went again. We chose to go at 1:45 on Saturday afternoon and decided we needed to get there early so that we could get a good seat. I mean, it's only the second weekend and the tickets were only six bucks, which is a steal in a town where the movies are at least $11. So we, along with Andy, got there 30 minutes early. And were the only ones there. Granted, the movie theater was sketchy. And the guy taking our tickets was awkward (he apparently really likes Korean pop bands... Michael was wearing his I[heart]Korea shirt). The movie itself was entertaining, at least enough to sit through all almost-three hours of it and actually enjoy it. Of course, as in most superhero movies, there were things we couldn't quite believe (thanks to Andy for pointing out that taking a section out of a suspension bridge just doesn't work), but we were happy with the result.

We've chatted with family. I love it. And Michael's learning to ;)

We enjoyed more catfish when we went to dinner at Zeke's with Lauren & JJ and Kris & Bo. They kindly let us eat off their appetizers and desserts (fried bell pepper rings and Oreo beignets and pineapple upside-down cake). Pretty much, we owe them big time. Then, we decided it would be fun to go down to the Quarter to listen to some jazz or throw some darts. Darts, it was, except for that you have to be 21 to get into the clubs. . . . . . . awkward. Thus, by default, jazz it was. . . . . . . except you have to pay to get in with cash. And Michael and I both are notorious for never having any cash. So, we went home while the other four went to party. I've never felt like such a baby.

We've eaten at least two pounds of asparagus. Also, we made our first roast. And it's been feeding us since Sunday.

Michael made some killer cookies with my aunt Deena's recipe. Then he put our new favorite flavor of Blue Bell between two of them and made a mean ice cream cookie sandwich. However, our freezer was not cold enough to make the ice cream hard enough to make the ice cream cookie sandwich stay intact when you bit down upon it. So the freezer, and by extension the fridge, were turned down to the lowest. Which led to frozen and cracked eggs this morning when I went to make breakfast.

We threw a frisbee out on the levee with a fantastic sunset in the background. I threw the frisbee over the barbed wire fence that separates us from the water. But luckily, I was small enough to fit through the hole in the fence. Don't worry, I arrived home safely, but it's scary over there, close to the water.

We've played a couple of rounds of one-on-one Clue and UNO.

We've learned a lot about ourselves and each other and us as a couple. More on that to come.