Monday, July 20, 2009

Lessons from Random Stuff in My Head

Don't Be Judgmental, Because You REALLY Don't Know.
Today, my dear friend Brillig's post about put me into tears. Go read it. You'll be glad you did. (Her blog has had some techno-problems. I hope the link works.)

If Writing a Random Claims to Fame Post, Don't Forget Your Own Family.
Um, duh. Yeah, I'm feeling kinda stupid on this one.

If you live in Utah (or are LDS and shop in Seagull and Deseret Book), you have probably heard of the A Capella group VoiceMale.

Okay, so here's my giant claim to fame: The founder and vocal percussionist, John L. (there are 2 Johns in the group, so they really do use their last initials) is my dear cousin. He put the group together when they were at USU. They practiced in my uncle and aunt's home, and he often arranged (and still does arrange) some of their music.

And he's one of the most generous and sweet guys I've ever known, and that's counting all the years we had growing up together as cousins when he and my brother played Stratego in their basement.

(John's the one in the middle sitting on the couch arm. Can't you totally see the family resemblance? Kidding. Actually, he looks freakishly like my nephew. It's odd how genes jump around.)

So here's why I'm mentioning it right now: VoiceMale has an upcoming benefit concert for the Ulster Project, which has been going since 1974 to help sow the seeds of peace between the Catholic and Protestant sections of Northern Ireland. You can learn more at the Ulster Project site.

The benefit concert will be July 31 at Murray High school, and tickets are available at the Ulster website (see the link above). VoiceMale concerts are always a ball, and they're great for the entire family. And I'm not just saying that because John's my cousin or because the acrobatics he can do with his voice are mind-numbingly amazing.

Other random lessons I have learned recently:

Don't Be Overly Optimistic
I recently lost more than five (much needed) pounds. In Sunday's rush to get everyone ready for church, I grabbed a dress that used to be pretty tight on me and I haven't worn in awhile. But I've lost some weight, right? Surely it would fit now.

In the whopping 1.3 minutes I had to get it on, I discovered that I didn't quite fit into it. The buttons bulged a bit, and they ended in a place so I looked about 5 months pregnant. Ahem. No time to change into something else. I grabbed the requisite "church bag" and ran out the door.

Note to self: Do not even touch that dress until you've lost at least another ten pounds.

Six Isn't Enough, And Seven Might Not Be, Either. Because I Am a Masochist.
If you followed my Facebook whining, you'll know it took me a whopping six batches of chocolate cupcakes experiments to get ones that both tasted good and didn't sink in the middle.

(My kids kept telling me to just use the sunken ones in the cookbook and call them "chocolate ice cream bowls. Yeah . . . sure . . .)

This cookbook journey has been a massive learning curve in the chemistry of baking. (I feel like Dr. Seuss: "Oh, the things you can learn!") Recently I had an epiphany and realized two things that might make the cupcakes really great. So I jotted down two notes to try yet another batch.

Today I did batch #7 . . . but since I'm so tired lately and observant (Haha!) and lame, I noticed and applied only one of the two notes.

The cupcakes actually turned out pretty darn good. But there's that little part of me that wonders if they'd be even better if I tried one more time adding that other note, because ya know, what if it made all the difference and made them that much better . . .

But do I have it in me to make an EIGHTH batch when I'm not even halfway (and should be!) on the book? I mean really?

I need to wear make-up more often.
I've really let this one go this summer, something I've never done before. My daughter recently commented how much better I look with make-up, in her words, "not scary."

Thanks so much, cutie. I think.

In her defense, it's actually a little weird how different I look with and without makeup. Part of the difference is that my eyelashes are very long but totally blond, so without mascara, it's almost as if my face has disappeared. I've shocked people on more than one occasion with the difference. And then I have adult acne and a rather splotchy skin tone, and blue circles under my eyes. The list goes on. It doesn't take much to hide it all, but the result is very different than what we started out with.

Once I had to go to church for the first hour but was sick myself and had to leave after that to get home to a sick child. I deliberately wore very little makeup (but I did put on some mascara), because I knew people would assume simply by looking at me that I was sick (which I really was). If I wore the full face, they'd wonder why I left, and I'd end up having to answer more questions. I'd predicted exactly what happened. I had people telling me to go home because I looked so awful. All because I wasn't wearing the full eye shadow/liner/blush/lipstick combo.

Yet this summer I find myself going to the grocery store in the middle of the day having barely gotten out of my pajamas, taken a shower (If I'm lucky. I often have hair in a greasy pony tail or it's wet from the recent shower) and wearing no make-up to speak of. Not sure what my problem is. Maybe I just don't care anymore.

Regardless, I think I'm giving small children at the stores trauma. I mean, it's bad when your own kids start commenting on it. I hope I'm not embarrassing them, but I must be. Worse, they're at that age when they CAN be embarrassed by their mother.

Sometimes I Need Chocolate I Didn't Make
Like tonight. There are days I'm so sick of my "chocolate laboratory" that I just want some comfort chocolate that my hands had nothing to do with. So it was with great pleasure that I saw my husband walk in the door this evening with my favorite chocolate silk pie. I'm going to have a very large piece right now.

See you on the flip side!


Kristina P. said...

I have to go read your previous posts about these cupcakes!

And 5 pounds is a great start so far!

Anonymous said...

That Kristina! She's lightning, I swear! =]

Annette,'re GORGEOUS, my dear. Really! Just gorgeous!

(p.s. I loved Brillig's post too. Bawled myself silly in the wee morning hours.)

Heffalump said...

Brillig's post did make me cry. Partly because I have two with Autism and a third being evaluated, so I know where she is coming from...
I don't wear make-up at all. I'm sure I would be less scary if I did, but I figure this way, my kids will just be used to how I look and they won't think I am dying when I get older and look awful.

Lara Neves said...

I'm really quite impressed that you've managed to lose 5 pounds whilst making lots and lots of chocolate cupcakes and other delicious items.

I find I go in cycles with the makeup/looking nice thing. Maybe we just get tired of taking the time, I don't know. But then one day I wake up and decide I'm a raving lunatic for daring to go out in public in my sweats, unwashed hair and no lipstick. :) I'm quite sure you're beautiful either way, and not scary.

Rebecca Irvine said...

5 lbs while baking all those cupcakes--that is an accomplishment.

I don't like to wear much make-up myself. And in the heat of AZ summer it all melts off anyway. A little eyeliner and lip gloss and I call it done.

Laura said...

Okay, you're officially in the real person category. I love the no make-up story. Love it. Just this morning I served breakfast to all the boys who stayed overnight at my house- in my pajamas. I didn't even bother with the ponytail. Sometimes you don't have to care.
And the dress story made me laugh out of empathy. You should see the pile of jeans I've just about given up on.
As for the chocolate- I am amazed at the fortitude you have shown with your new book. And since you've taken so much time to be sure the recipes are perfect- I'll be there in line to buy my copy.

With any luck, I'll even manage to bake the cupcakes right on the first try. Maybe. I'm really not that good in the kitchen.

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

You are such a hoot! I've done the exact same thing with the not-wearing-make-up-to-appear-as-sick-as-I-actually-am. Disturbing how well that works, isn't it?

Melanie Jacobson said...

I often skip makeup during the day. The other day I put on eyeliner and lip gloss and THAT'S IT. My husband looked stunned when I came downstairs and said, "You look really pretty." I said, "It's just eyeliner." He said, "I guess I really like eyeliner."

Okay. Now I know.

Annette Lyon said...

Laura, it gets worse. The other day I was feeling really gross and knew I just wouldn't be getting out of my pajamas. My 12-year-old daughter asked if she could have a friend over. I told her sure--if she didn't mind being totally embarrassed over her mother looking like this. :)

Jan said...

I loved these random lesson Annette. Peaking into your head is always fun.

CB said...

It is fun to see what other people are thinking.

I will have to check out the blog you recommended above - I could use a good cry, but I better get some chocolate...maybe cupcakes, first.

Blondie said...

Hey it could be worse. My sister-in-law, the former beauty queen, looks so different when she's not wearing make-up that someone once asked "You look kind of like Kristine, are you her sister?"

* said...

mmmm. Enjoy your chocolate silk pie. I feel the same with my chocolate stash...sometimes I need an injection of something truly extraordinary for my palate. THank goodness for husbands.

PS: wearing makeup boosts my ego. I highly recommend it. ;)

Erin said...

Okay, you wrote this chocolate post just to torture me this week, right?


And as you know, I love Voice Male. They are amazing.

Luisa Perkins said...

I really love the idea of Chocolate Ice Cream Bowls. I would make those in a heartbeat.

If you need any sea-level field testers, let me know. ;)

And you ARE gorgeous.

Kaylynn said...

I've been late to church rather than go in a dress that was too tight, but then again I hardly ever wear make-up. Maybe I should start.

Jessica G. said...

I am totally blog-stalking you...time to admit it and actualy make a comment.
And I hear you on the "not my chocolate" comment. As much as I love my buttercream frosting, when I've been decorating cakes all weekend, just the smell of it makes my stomach turn.

Brillig said...

Thanks for the linky love. The site will probably be back up again sometime today. As soon as I edit out any reference to anyone in my family by name. Bizarre world we live in. Anyway, not going to go into that now. haha.

As for the rest of this post, I'm dying. You're hilarious. I have TOTALLY done the "I-lost-a-few-pounds-so-this-dress-will-fit" thing. And gone to church looking pregnant when, ahem, I'm not. Ugh. Sorry if I'm giggling... I mean it in the kindest way.

But WHY should you be losing weight? you're GORGEOUS! And I KNOW, because I've MET you! (See? That's MY claim to fame!!!!)

Heather Justesen said...

Oh, I totally love Voicemale! I heard them in concert for the first time 14 years ago (back when there were 9 members) and have several of their CDs (and the ones I don't have, my mom does!).

Yeah, I've gotten totally slackerish on the makeup thing this summer, though thankfully my skin is decent (which is good, because scaring ambulance patients at 2 am because I responded without makeup would be bad form).

I'll have to try back on Brillig's site later. Hopefully it'll be working better then.

Good luck with the cookbook!

Wonder Woman said...

I'm with you on the make-up. Not the not wearing it, because I am far too vain for that. Something which I should apologize for, but have no desire to. Splotchy, oily, red skin, blonde lashes, little lips.....I can't go anywhere without at least powder, eye liner, and lip color.

And please feel free to send those less-than-perfect cupcakes my way! Chocolate is chocolate! (Unless it's disgusting.)

Thora said...

I am still laughing at the no make-up stories! I remember how you used to say you had to "put your eyes on" in the morning! And I have gotten the "scary" comment before-- my daughter told me I looked like a witch! All because I was wearing green eye shadow-- I guess I should stick to the same old brown I have been wearing for 20 years!


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