Tuesday, November 30, 2010


On Mondays I arrive at work in the dark and depart a mere 11 hours later in the dark, exhausted and perhaps a tad negative about humanity.

Upon my northbound return to home, I deviated from my normal route on University Avenue (a bumper-to-bumper mass of homebound burned out nut cases) to a more relaxing route on Provo Canyon Road.

As I approached my westbound turn, an oncoming car began flashing the high beams. After checking my beam level and determining it appropriate, I proceded without flashing back. It became apparent that I would have to glance to my right to avoid total blindness. Just then I saw that the oncoming beam flasher had stopped and an Eskimo clad six-year-old on his bike was crossing this busy road in a pitch black crosswalk. I slowed, pounded my brakes to alert the drivers behind, and held my breath. The little goomer made it across

and I wept.

Be careful out there and watch for the unexpected.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tree Day

  • Willing Decorators - check
    Breakfast - check
    Surprise Gifts - check
    Smiles - check
    Laughter - check
    Sweet Rolls - check
    Holiday Spirit - check
    2 Hour Limit - check

Friday, November 26, 2010


Turkey - check
Dressing - check
Cranberries - check
Mashed Potatoes - check
Gravy - check
Rolls - check
Grandma Jensen's Salad - check
Green Salad - check
Sweet Potatoes - check
Pasta Salad - check
Pumpkin Pie - check
Lemon Meringue Pie - check
Apple Pie - check
Family - check
Bliss - check

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


When remodeling our bathroom, the ingenious idea of having a new tub crossed our minds. "STOP!" our minds should have screamed to the logic center therein. A new tub would have involved new plumbing, new fixtures, plus the tub itself. At the time, it did not seem practical, so I responded to the advertisemant in the paper for Artistic Bath, had them come and tell us the magic they could do, and agreed to a one-day makeover. The mystical paint would "last a lifetime" and "give us a brand new tub" in just a day.

Enter: Darla.

My first impression was, "My what a cheerful and talkative lady." And thus the spraying began. She guaranteed that the paint would be contained in the bathroom since the door was shut. The fumes soon squeezed their way out from under the bathroom door and spread throughout the house. After a quick errand to the store, I entered the my home into a thick, dense, white fog. When I made my way down the hall, I found the bathroom door wide open and Darla merrily spraying along. My thoughts became, "This lady's got to be stoned out of her mind...."

Upon her departure, I made a quick once over and deemed the job well done. However, as the vapors settled, I found major drippage all over the tub and bathroom, not to mention the film of white paint that settled on EVERY SINGLE horizontal surface in the house. It took weeks of scrubbing with a cottonball and nail polish remover to rid our dwelling of paint. Since there was a lifetime guarantee, we called them back to fix the drips.

The next year, to fix the flaking off in one of the corners of the tub.

The next year, the peeling of paint off the soap holder.

The next year, the separation of paint from around the drain.

The next year, the peeling near the floor.

It is now an annual event and since the first fix, we are now charged a $48 "service fee" for having a beautiful tub for "a lifetime." We often hear an audible groan when we call to tell Artistic Bath that it was

D - A - R - L - A

who completed the job.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Students' Magnificent Meals

These are examples of my students' final project - Magnificent Meals!!!

Look for variety in:






Completed in 2 hours, following a time management plan, nutritionally sound, within a budget of $2.50 per person, artistically designed on the table and plate.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Perfect Apple Pie

We use 925 pounds of apples for our “Apple Pie Week” at BYU. Over the past 4 ½ years, that’s 2017 pies. So here’s what works:

- pastry flour (has less gluten than all-purpose flour, but more than cake flour)
- COLD refrigerated Crisco shortening (no off-brands)
- plastic wrap in the measuring cups used for shortening (aids in clean-up)
- ICE water
- a pastry blender to cut 1/3 of the shortening in until it is as fine as rice (lubricates the flour for tenderness)
- a pastry blender to cut the remaining shortening, but keep these chunks as big as kidney beans (creates pockets of fat that create flakiness)
- when adding liquid, do so gradually using a lift and pat motion with a rubber scraper (gentle handling so that gluten does not develop and crust remains tender and flaky)
- let the dough sit for about 10 minutes so that the flour can absorb the water before adding the last bit of water (you might not need it)
- pat the dough out on floured plastic wrap to ¼ inch thickness with your hands, keeping the edges smooth before rolling
- roll the dough between two floured sheets of plastic wrap(keeps it all together and helps with cleanup and transferring the dough)
- use ½ granny smith apples and ½ golden delicious
- buy yourself an apple peeler, corer, slicer to do the apple prep
- use a glass pie pan (holds the heat so the crust gets done)
- make sure that the juices are boiling in the pie during baking (you may have to add time)
- use a foil collar on the edge of the crust to prevent overbrowning

The recipe does not matter as much as the ART of assembling the pie, but just in case, here’s our tried and true recipe:

Pastry: 2 ½ C. pastry flour, 3/4 C. shortening, 3/4 tsp. salt, 8 to 10 Tablespoons (1/2 c. plus 2 T.) ice cold water

1. Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
2. Gently cut in shortening with a pastry blender until pea sized.
3. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the cold water over flour mixture, tossing lightly with a fork or rubber scraper. Add the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork, and press to the side of the bowl until all is moistened.
4. Divide dough in half, and gently pat into 2 lightly flattened balls. (Don’t over-work your dough at this point. You should just gently gather the dough into two slightly flattened pieces, not two tightly compressed dough balls.)
5. For a 2-crust pie:
Bottom - On a lightly floured surface, roll one ball from center to edges, to form a 12” circle. Fold in half or roll the pastry around the rolling pin. Unfold or unroll it over a 9” pie plate. Ease the pastry into the plate, and, using kitchen shears, trim the dough so that there is a one-inch overhang of pie dough. Fill the crust with the desired filling.
Top - On a lightly floured surface, roll the second ball from center to edges, to form a 12” circle. Place the top crust on the filling, and cut slits or shapes to allow steam to escape. Using kitchen shears, trim the pastry one inch beyond the rim. Fold the top edge over the trimmed bottom edge, and flute the edge to seal.

Bake pie as directed on individual recipes.

6. For a lattice top pie:
Bottom - On a lightly floured surface, roll one ball from center to edges, to form a 12” circle. Fold in half or roll the pastry around the rolling pin. Unfold or unroll it over a 9” pie plate. Ease the pastry into the plate, and, using kitchen shears, trim 1” beyond the rim of the pan. Fill the crust with the desired filling.
Top - On a lightly floured surface, roll the second ball from center edges, to form a 12” circle. Using a pizza cutter, cut the pastry in 1/2” strips. Starting at the center of the pie, weave the strips over the filling to make a lattice. Press the ends of the strips into the rim of the bottom crust. Fold the bottom crust over the strips, and flute the edge to seal.

Bake pie as directed on individual recipes.

6 C. prepared baking apples (peeled, cored, and sliced)
3/4 C. packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt

To use on completed crust: 2-3 Tbsp. milk, raw sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 425°.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.
3. Peel, core and thinly slice apples. Add apples to cinnamon mixture and toss to coat.
4. Pour filling into the prepared bottom crust.
5. Place top crust over filling as directed above. Brush the crust with milk, and sprinkle with sugar.
6. Using FOIL, fold a 12” square of aluminum foil into quarters. Cut out the center section, making a 7 ½” circle. Unfold the foil and place the square section over the pie. You may also use a long strip of foil 5 inches wide to wrap around the pie. When placing the foil on the pie, place the shiny side out to reflect the heat away from the crust. Loosely mold the foil over the edges to protect them from burning.
7. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly. NOTE: You may want to protect the bottom of your oven from the molten syrup in case it spills out of the pie during baking.

Freezing Pies

Before freezing a pie or pie shell, make sure you tightly wrap it in plastic wrap or foil. Remove plastic wrap or foil before baking.

*Pie Shells
– Baked stored for 4 months. Heat at 350º for 6 minutes.
– Unbaked stored for 2 months. Bake right out of freezer.
*Fruit pies
– Baked stored for 4 months. Heat at 325º for 45 minutes.
– Unbaked stored for 3 months. Heat at 475º for 15 minutes, then at 375º for 45 minutes.
*Cream, Custard pies & pies with meringue
– Cannot be frozen
*Pumpkin & Pecan
Bake before freezing. Stored for 4 months. Heat at 325º for 45 minutes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


The hardest thing I've done lately - pushups.

A young body says, "Me thinks I shall be stronger."

An older body says, "Me thinks I shall die."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Online Purchase

Saucer Magnolia - Dawn Redwood - Thornless Honey Locust - Red Maple

Beautiful trees....all in one triangular box....can't wait to add water....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Saving Money

While trying to maneuver my tanker-sized cart down the aisle to save $3 on a coupon purchase at Costco, I intentionally strained to hear a heated debate between husband and wife over which toilet paper to purchase:

Him: "There's the Charmin, I'll get it."

Her: "Wait a minute. If we use the coupon on it, it still might be more."

Him: "More than what?"

Her: "The Kirkland brand."

Him: "I hate unwrapping each roll in the Kirkland brand."

Her: "Let me figure it out (whips out calculator)."

Him: "Charmin's softer."

Her: "We save 4 cents a roll with Kirkland."

Him: "The Charmin's already in the cart."

Her: "Take it out and put in the Kirkland."

Him: "grumble, grumble, grumble..."

As they depart, I throw in a case of Charmin (because it's softer and I hate unwrapping each roll) and make my way down the aisle after them.

Abrupt screeching of the shopping cart wheels (their cart, then mine).

Him: "Hey honey, here's some of that Moose Munch Popcorn!!!"

Her: "OOOO-HHH."

Him: "Should we get it?"

Her: "I love that stuff."

Him: "Do you see how much it is?"

Her: "Put it in."

Cost = $9.37, but they saved $1.92 on the Kirkland brand of t.p.

Monday, November 15, 2010

They Lie

We've been there, awaiting the call "Front line!", the first row of dedicated snow hounds, first up the mountain, first to make a run in a resort open the first day, and first to tear the bottoms off your skiis on rocks and sticks. Been there, done that, and trying not to make the same mistakes again.

The problem centers around all the hype delivered by the news media and weather personnel. "There are 28 inches of snow and resorts are open to some GREAT skiing and snowboarding!!!"

Yeah, right. 28 inches if it is first accumulated on a base of man-made ice, shoveled into a gully, and scooped around the measuring device. I find that the mountain cams and the "snow cam" at Snowbird are more reliable. We shall await more pristine conditions - Utahns can do that.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Birthday Celebration

Dennen = an awesome daddy, great one-liners, tolerant, willing to help, Christian, enthusiastic, supportive husband, sensitive to others, funny, and fun.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I am a magician - I can make a loaf of bread disappear, especially if there's honey and butter available.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Church of Miracles

Mine is a church of miracles.

The Gratitude Dinner which I agreed to chair was made possible by: PLANNERS - Rosemary, Darlene, Jan, Connie; SALAD MAKERS - Heather, Karen, Dorothy, Alisa, Elaine, Venetta, Sue M; CAKE MAKERS - Shirley, Rebecca, Jarah, Karen, Brenda, Jeanne; GARNISH GIRLS - Jenavene, Vicki G, Laura Lee; TURKEY WRAP MAKERS - Kathy Jo, The Entire Hoyal Family; NUT TOASTER - Darlene; GAME MANAGER AND REMINDER DELIVERER - Angela, Alisa; KITCHEN BOSS - DeVon; CHIEF PURCHASING AGENT - Garth; THOUGHT PRINTER - Sue C, Vicki P; SERVERS - Fred, Richard, Val, Ian, Paul, John, Bob; CHAIR GUYS - Scott, Ron

One person cannot do it all.

Many hands make light work and miracles.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Easy Yum Recipe

Black-Bottom Cherry Cream Cheese Pie

Stock up on cream cheese (.99), sweetened condensed milk (.99), cherry pie filling (1.99), crust (.88), whipping cream (.99) = (5.84) = YUMMM-MMME

Fill a pre-made graham cracker or oreo crust with cream cheese filling and top with cherries and whipped cream.

1 (15 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 can cherry pie filling
½ cup whipping cream
2 T. sugar

1. Soften cream cheese and beat until fluffy.
2. Add milk, slowly, while beating. Add lemon juice, vanilla and beat well.
3. Pour into crust. Chill and then top with cherry pie filling.

To serve: Whip the whipping cream and gradually add 2 Tbsp. sugar. Top each slice of pie with whipped cream.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Design Violation

After a discussion with a design professor where I work, we decided that a post-it should be designed that could be attached to property and people who violate basic design principles. A citation could be issued and a fine imposed. Here are a few to consider:

* shrubbery and trees planted with no thought for future growth (blue spruce against a house foundation??)

* bushes pruned in Disneyland shapes (keep it in the parks??)

* lapels of jackets where the stripes don't come together

* huge, out of proportion grills on the front of the new vehicles

* TVs placed in front of living room windows exposing a spagetti bowl of wires

* broken vinyl blinds ($11 at WalMart for new??)

* the Orem monstrosity designed for "city dwelling"

* Orem State Street

* home additions that match nothing on the existing structure

* exposed bra straps and boxers

* any tool, piece of equipment, or appliance that does not perform a function

* big box stores, big box anything

* schools that look like prisons

* second story doors to nothing (how many people must drop to their deaths??)

* huge efforts at JPU (just plain ugly??)

Monday, November 8, 2010


The days of a few great sitcoms have been replaced by few, great sitcoms. The Flying Nun made my childhood brain soar with airborne possibilities. Swooping, sailing, floating above humanity were feats that Sally Field mastered like she has now mastered the art of making all women near the age of fifty question whether their bones will stand up to the next stumble. The fact that all the ladies in the sitcom were call “Sister” was also, in my mind, a very cool touch. Wearing a habit and living life in a convent, however, was not worth flying or being called “Sister.”

It was not until my present job that I have the privilege of being call “Sister.” I love it and feel somehow fulfilled, kind of like being a nun, but without the commitment. I still can’t fly, but have some pretty amazing flying dreams, complete with swooping, sailing, and floating.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Savoring solitude,
Of Sunday,
Silent sunrise.


Something spectacular,
Scented with gutter-leaves,
Scattering under sneaker soles.


Shhh'ed still sleepers snore,
To swish-leaf scrunching.


Splintering, stirring, squelching,
Subduing silence singly,
By squished-leaf statements.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

D Day



dark chocolate


diet coke

delightful, delicious, devilish, delectable

...and an apple

Friday, November 5, 2010


When I was a kid, we ironed things. My sister used our Ironrite to iron the more complicated items. I did the pillowcases. This thing scared the b-geebers out of me. It would make a loud BANG noise and release the roller that pressed against the hot metal plate if it got hung up on something - like your ARM. I'm pretty sure the warning labels on appliances today would warn against use by children, but then we were a might tough group.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Are We Close?

When someone really could use a helpful hint, do you give it? or not? I find myself wondering.....

*Would I want to know?

*Will it embarass him/her?

*Will it impact our relationship?

*May their ego be harmed?

*Will they wonder how long they might have gone along blind to their flaw?

*Will it show that I have not heard a word they just said?

*Might they be able to remedy the problem without drawing attention?

*When they make the discovery on their own, will they hate me for not telling them?

*Am I being too personal in pointing it out?

*Do we know each other well enough?

...It is a definite conundrum when trying to figure out when to give the flippy nostril obstruction alert....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


At work my students play music in lab. This is fine by me unless they argue about what's playing or have it too loud. My family can vouch for the fact that I never hear the words. At the high school, this has had embarassing results as I hum along with some $%#!!#@*. You get the picture.

At my present place of employment, a large stack of unlabeled CDs have accumulated. After awhile, it all sounds the same. During our culinary exploration of South American cooking, some distinctive Latino tunes wove their way amidst the scents of garlic, onions, and cumin. I commented to my TA, Cameron, how fitting it was to hear something so appropriate for the day. Obviously more attuned to our regular genre of music that had been assaulting his ears, he claimed the CD as his and commented, "It beats those sissy cowboy songs you're always playing."

Made me laugh out loud! I love my job!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What Happened to Hats?

There once was an era of hats. Men wore them to the movies, fishing, and when they went "out." Women wore fancy dress hats, adorned with netting and fruit salads. My mom kept her fair-skinned children shaded from the cancer-inducing rays of the sun, stylishly I might add.

The merits of wearing hats include: hiding bad hair, spicing up an otherwise boring outfit, covering baldness, or being able to transform your younger brother into a sister (see photo). We called "her" Suzy Belle.

In celebration of Election Day, I vote we bring hats back.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Socks and Snow

Back in the day when I had a house full of laundry, springtime meant boxing up the socks and requiring all to wear sandals and filp-flops for the summer. The relief felt by the sock sorter was immense and life became suddenly simpler.

Extending the sockless season until the first snowfall, this year October 20, is still habit. The appearance of turtlenecks, winter footwear, and mittens somehow whispers permission to throw out all the orphaned socks from springtime and embrace this first indication of winter.

Ol' man Winter - Bring it on!