Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dark Chocolate Blueberry Clusters

Ah! I haven't been in the mood to blog recently and I don't even really feel like posting now, but here I am! I'm not sure why I've not been in the mood, as I have had some time, but there you have it. No excuses.

This evening I've spent some time finally making something in my new tiny kitchen. What? Some gluten-free treats for a dinner tomorrow. Gluten-free is an advantage, but these little treats seem much better than that.

Dark Chocolate Blueberry Clusters
  • 1 cup plump blueberries
  • 3/4  cup almond slivers
  • 1¼ cup dark chocolate, chopped
  1. On a parchment lined baking sheet, clump together little piles of almond slivers (approximately 1 tablespoon of nut pieces per mound).
  2. Place a small handful of blueberries atop nuts (approximately 4-6 large blueberries).
  3. Bring water in a double boiler to a simmer, place dark chocolate in the top and melt until smooth.
  4. Pour a spoonful of chocolate over each blueberry and nut pile until the blueberries are fully covered.
  5. Immediately place in the freezer for five minutes.
  6. After chocolate is set take nut clusters out and enjoy, or place in parchment lined Tupperware to serve later.
I took a tangent from this recipe and used milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate (more parties involved in eating this particular batch prefer milk to dark).

Let's see. Since my last post I celebrated two Christmases (one early with the family, the second (surprise!) on the day of with Brandon's family), packed all of my worldly belongings (except for a few missing books...), drove across the country (29 hours of driving (11 in one day, 18 in the next), unpacked everything, and started my new job. It's been busy! But mostly good. And now I've got two new roommate moving in within the next week.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Job! Move! Christmas!

Things have been crazy this last week! As I visited with Brandon I also searched for jobs and housing possibilities as well. And after months of looking for the former, countless applications and resume submissions and a good number of emails, I finally got one! Actually, ironically, in the space of the last five days I've gotten three job offers. I, gratefully, accepted the first offer I got, and while it's possible that one of the other two might have paid better, I'm fairly certain that the group of people that I'll be working with is incredible and that my experience with them will likewise be incredible.

I start the 26th of this month! Craziness! In the space of one week I'll have left Utah and flown home, celebrated Christmas with my family, packed up everything back into a truck, driven back to Utah (towing my car) and moved into my apartment. Wow!

Let's just say that I have incredible parents and an awesome boyfriend and between all of them and the people that extend from them they've made this entire process possible and much easier.

Also, moving like this just feels like Christmas, all by itself. I haven't seen the inside contents of most of these boxes since early June at the latest, not to mention that I didn't even use most of the living stuff for the nine months prior to that when I lived with my parents. Opening them up will be like opening massive gifts filled with random wonderful things. And on top of that, as my parents are downsizing their acquired horde from the last 30+ years of marriage, I've been gifted with all kinds of wonderful random furniture and art. I'm excited. :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Lights!

Last night we went downtown to Temple Square to walk around and see all the beautiful light displays. It was soooo cold! I'm not certain what the temperature was, but the last that anyone had checked, it was about 26 degrees. Brrrrr! Fortunately we were all fairly well bundled, although, I'll admit that I took far fewer photos than I'd originally planned because my fingers were simply too cold. We only took a few just before we left. This was my first time seeing the Christmas lights at Temple Square and it was very beautiful, despite the cold.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

West Coast Swing!

As an added note from the housewarming party we had on Thursday, when we decorated the tree with glass Christmas ball ornaments, as I opened one of the packages of ornaments, I cut my finger on a tiny piece of glass stuck to the tape holding the package closed. Small cut as it was, it hurt. And continued to hurt over the next twenty four hours at surprising moments. Typically I'm pretty tough and little cuts like that don't both me, but this one was surprisingly resilient. Why? Well, turns out that a tiny little sliver from that piece on the tape broke off and was stuck inside the cut. Apparently the sharp pings of pain were a result of that. Sitting at a Thai place for dinner I carefully removed the sliver of glass and instantly my finger felt much better. I couldn't help but share my joy and wonder at how much better it felt with Brandon and his roommates - several times over the next several hours. It's amazing how much a tiny shard of glass can make a difference.

That aside, Saturday I had the pleasure of attending a small bridal shower which included good food and company as well as an interesting game of questions that aided me in learning much more about the bride and groom to be!

And then in the evening! Highlight of my weekend thus far, Brandon and I went to a West Coast Swing lesson/dance on Saturday night and it was marvelous fun. I can see why it is Brandon and my sister and brother-in-law's favorite. Blues dance is still my favorite, but I can definitely say that West Coast is running a close second....and for my first time, owing to my considerable dance experience, I don't think I was half bad. :) Let's just say that watching other people dance, in real life or by video, isn't a good explanation for the dance. Doing it was what solidified it.

I look forward to doing more of it in the near future here in Utah! Brandon and I may sign up with the club we went to in order to go more often for lessons and dances at a discounted price. We'll see, but I'm happy to have found another wonderful style of dance.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Utah - Blood - Interviews

It's good to be back in Utah. :)

I arrived yesterday around noon, being picked up by Dallin (one of Brandon's roomies). I'd planned to arrive a day early as a surprise for Brandon, as well as to attend a housewarming party which they threw last night, but when I talked to Brandon on the phone a few days ago, when he asked what day I was coming, my brain refused to process the "sneaky" factor and out popped "Thursday." I quickly amended it, but to no avail. The seed had been planted. From there on out it was all subtle questions from Brandon goading me to see if he could get me to admit I was coming out early. All very amusing.

But preparations for the Ninja-Gingerbread-Castlewarming-Party went well and the event was a success with a house full of friendly and energetic individuals. A very good time. This was the only picture taken of the two of us last night, and I'll happily admit that I love it.

Today has been wonderful on its own. After dropping Brandon at work I finally went in and donated blood with the Red Cross (they've been calling me for months and months, but I've just never managed to be available). I can't say exactly why, but I get a high from donating blood. It makes me really happy. I don't enjoy being pocked my needles, but that feeling is always worth it. It infused my day with a smile.

And this afternoon I had an interview which I believe went very well. It's hard to know how I compare to the other candidates, but it left me very optimistic. I should find out early next week the results from that interview. I'm not getting my hopes too high, as I'm sure there are other good candidates, but again, I'm optimistic.

Other applications out the door and more contacts with potential housing possibilities. Life is good. :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wheel of Time - finished!

And I'm done! Early this morning I finished off the last chapter and epilogue of the thirteenth book in The Wheel of Time series. For me, having started reading the books more than a decade ago, this is quite an accomplishment. Granted, I've read several of the books more than once, but the last few continued to elude me. But no longer! Now I can anticipate the fourteenth book without any anxiety over unfinished books in the series.

I should note that, with these last two books, a good portion of the time I spent consuming their words was in the form of audio book as well as the written copies. For me, this has proven a very good idea. Frequently when I read I unconsciously skim through dense portions of details when my mind starts to wander. While this still occurred occasionally while listening, I feel that I've come away from these two books with more details than from some of the earlier books. I've no desire at this time to go back and read the books again, but I look forward to trying this method out more with other books.

An amusing addition to listening to these books in their audio formats has been to listen and critique the pronunciations of the readers. I'd initially thought of them as something of verification for the different pronunciations of the different names, but after they bungled the pronunciations of a few words, I felt inclined to pay them little heed.

Good things ahead as I head out for another visit in the West. :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ice Skating

I've been feeling less and less inclined towards blogging lately. It's not that I don't have the time, I just haven't felt mentally organized enough to spare time towards blogging. So things may be a little sparse for a bit.

Ideally I'll get a job within the next month and it will take me out to Utah sooner, but should that not occur, I'll be heading out at the end of this year in time to start one of my last pre-requistes that I need to take in person. I'm excited to have these classes done and to be out there in the near future. I look forward to having a job as well, and hopefully the relocation will somehow aid that as well.

Things to come!

However, in the meantime, let me finish off my November thankful list with the fact that I'm thankful for ice skating. It has been a wonderful past time that I've always enjoyed very much.

I think I'd mentioned it before, but I'd like to continue adding the things I'm thankful for. Not for every day, but for every time I blog. No need to catch up, but rather to be aware.