Sunday, September 28, 2008

stab in the calf

So today, as I bustled around to get on our way to church, I grabbed my nursery bag full of books, puppets, scissors, glue (the works) and headed for the door. Somehow, the bag wrapped around my right leg, and I felt a sharp stab. Now don't get me wrong, it hurt pretty bad and I probably yelled a pseudo swear, but I thought it was just a right hook by the corner of a book, a typical injury suffered by those like myself who weren't born with much grace. I took a quick look anyway, and as it turns out, a pair of scissors made their way through the bag and into my calf.

So I'm sitting on the toilet, my skirt around my knees, staring at the hole in my leg and say, "Um, Hon...we're gonna be late..." "Um...Hon...this could use a stitch or two..." "Um...Hon..."

And then as quick as you can say BLACK OUT, I had my head between my knees, willing the blood to make its way down south. Then came the extreme urge to spew the contents of my empty stomach (I was fasting), followed shortly by profuse sweating and tunnel vision.

I army crawled out into the front room, simultaneously ripping off my top layer (don't stress - this is a G rated blog, I was wearing a short sleeve still), stopping only when I got to the fan. I sat there in the fetal position for ten minutes, praying it would pass. By the way, the wound wasn't a bleeder, otherwise, this sitch would've been even more complicated. So there I am, silently crying for my mommy, wondering if I might die of a scissor wound. After several shaky minutes, as in my entire body was shaking, I told Jess to get me a Sprite and some bread (fast over), pulled back my hair, picked up my shirt and the first aid kit, and stumbled out to the car.

Not okay.

Several years ago, I biffed it while out for a run and sliced my knee open. When I got my knee stitched I actually sat and watched him shoot me up, wiggle the needles in my knee, then sew it up while my mom crouched in the corner to avoid fainting. It didn't faze me. However, apparently I've inherited this late onset hemophobia from la madre.

My poor kids. I'll be like, "Sorry Timmy. Mommy's going to up chuck. Just hold on to your finger there. Daddy'll be home soon."

Friday, September 26, 2008

free and clear

So here's the thing: Sister Rissa is tying the knot in about two months, and I've got a bridesmaid outfit to squeeze into. So here's what I'm going to do: go sugar free for one month.

I've done this before. I did it with my co-workers back in Salt Lake. It got so bad, we called it Hell Month and vowed we would never do it again. (In fact, for the most part, I'm pretty sure we've all just pushed this particular block of time to the back of our minds, back there with that horrible learning to ride a bike stage.)

However, the stakes were high (cash) and the competition just as intense (big fat cheaters that threatened my win on a daily basis ;) ). Plus, I had extra motivation - I was running a marathon at the end of said duration of deprivation, and I knew that the lack of sugar would only help my run. And it did. So not only did I win the competition (what, I'm not competitive), but I finished that marathon, and I finished by my goal time, under four hours (3 hours and 58 minutes, thank you very much).

So I'm doing it again. My motivation isn't as high (hello, free money?) and I won't be running 26.2 miles any time soon (read: EVER AGAIN), but the fact of the matter is, I eat sweets just as often as I eat healthy foods. Okay, actually, I would say I eat sugary foods more often than I eat healthy foods. (Remember my Pilsbury addiction?) I won't be going insane like we did at work, and I will allow sugar free drinks and occasional sugar free treats (as sugar free treats are most often accompanied by, uh-hum, adverse conditions). But the point is, I won't be eating cookies, cake, dessert, etc. for the duration of October. (Which won't kill me. However, I'm pretty sure I might become comatose or something.)

Oh, and because I've recruited the Cheney girls in this month of self inflicted torture, I've granted them Halloween off. So Mom (who is also voluntarily signing up to STARVE), we can eat our much anticipated Halloween sweet rolls.

Anyone else in for some fun? I dare you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

i confess...

...I can't sleep. Got back from U-Tar this evening. Sure wish my body could figure out which time zone to adhere to.

...I like taking my contacts out because my complexion suddenly becomes nigh unto perfection. It's like my eyes' inability to focus takes all the blemishes and blends them into one, giving my skin a sort of Nicole Kidman-eque quality (plus several shades, courtesy of Jergen's Natural Glow).

...I still miss Tokyo. I know you all know that, but I do. Sometimes I feel like I need to go home, but I can't. Because home is on the other side of the globe. And home is really expensive to get to. I loved the respect and dignity of the country, the quietness I was allowed to slip through, unnoticed even as a tourist. Because even from subway to subway, the loudest sounds you hear come from the train you're on, not the people you're sitting with. It's a learned behavior I think, to respect one another, even to respect the sound around you. And the quietness of that country helps you be more aware of where you are, of what you're looking at. It has a way of helping you take it all in.

When Sis Kris and I went to the Museum of Natural Life and Science in Raleigh last weekend, I spotted a Japanese doll (one of these) from a mile away and ran to the case and hugged it. And when I picture myself back on those precisely clean and organized Tokyo streets again, I picture myself hugging the very air I'm breathing in.

Friday, September 19, 2008

sound the alarm

So yesterday, I woke up at 2:30 a.m. And when I say I woke up, I don't mean I "woke up because I had a bad dream at 2:30," or I "woke up because the baby was crying," as we don't have a crying baby unless you count me when I don't get the cookie that I want. When I say I woke up at 2:30, I mean I woke up. At 2:30. And didn't go back to sleep.

You see, we flew out to Utah yesterday. And our flight left at 6:00 a.m. Which meant we had to leave the apartment at 4:30 a.m. I'm pretty sure my brain was so focused on not letting me sleep in that it increased the brain activity to sound the alarm a few hours early. No matter what, I couldn't go back to sleep either. My eyes weren't even heavy. It was like I was up and ready to go.

On the bright side, at least I got to shower before we left. I always like to shower before beginning a trip. It's like the moment you sit down in those ultra comfy coach seats, the grime from the hundreds of bodies that came before you (in various states of cleanliness) begins to wrap itself around you, slithering across your face, giving you that nice "I've been on an airplane today" sheen.

So while it may seem counterintuitive, I like starting the day clean. And why not start the day at 2:30 a.m. while you're at it?

(I slept really good last night, if you were wondering.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

making the grade

Conversation that took place today while vegging in front of the TV, ESPN chatting away in the background.

Jess: Took my Econ quiz today.
Shauntel: Oh, really? How did it go?
Jess: Got a few points.
Shauntel: Like you got a few points wrong? Or like you got a few points.
Jess: Yep, GOT a few points.


P.S. This class is required for Jess' Master of Economics degree. Microeconomic Theory is the name of the game, what Jess calls "math without numbers." And for the man whose mind filters through numbers like mine speeds through the different combinations of chocolate I can consume in a day, it is some serious fun. Today was the first pop quiz. We're hoping those few points will contribute to a solid passing grade.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Per Mrs. Melessa's request...

So the reason why we don't openly share this recipe usually is because it's SO STINKING EASY TO MAKE. It looks so fancy, tastes so light and delicious, but really? So easy.

You need:

1 white cake mix
1 tsp almond extract (optional, although it's totally not the same without it)
1 tub of Cool Whip (8 oz)
2 peach yogurts (6 oz size)

To make this heaven sent creation:

1. Make the cake mix as directed, adding the almond extract should you be so inclined (do it, you know you want to, everyone else is...), using two round pans.
2. Cook cake as directed. Allow to cool (we remove from the pans after about ten minutes so they don't stick).
3. Mix Cool Whip and yogurts together.
4. Frost your cake with the Cool Whip mixture.
5. Cover and store in refrigerator. (The frosting gets more stiff upon a visit to the fridge as well.)

I wish it were more difficult. If this seems too easy, sometimes we like to make this while standing on one foot, using only two fingers on our left hand. Makes the cake feel much more dignified as well.

Also, do not use sugar free, "light," or a generic brand Cool Whip. You'll have a very droopy frosting if you do. And if you don't prefer peach, you can put any kind of yogurt in that you want. We like raspberry too.

Oh, as an added bonus...for those of you who are similary afflicted with the lactose intolerance DISEASE (I'm pretty sure it's a disease), this cake takes perfection one step further by being virtually lactose free. Cool Whip doesn't contain dairy and although yogurt does, it's so full of strange cultures and such that keep your stomach busy that the dairy doesn't have time to get to you.

So in a few easy steps, you too can achieve perfection. (When it comes to cakes. ;) )

Friday, September 12, 2008

sis kris

It is possible that at one time (at least once), Sis Kris and I sat down and ate half a cake, off the platter without plates. But you have to understand - this isn't just any cake that warrants such primitive behavior. This is my most delicious birthday cake. My momma made it for me this year when I was home, but since I can't get enough of it and because Kristen decided to come visit me, you better believe I deemed that more than a good enough excuse to whip up this delight. (Can you believe it isn't chocolate? And it really is my favorite cake IN THE WORLD?)

I'm so excited she's here - I haven't seen Kristen since I got married almost a year ago, so when she asked if she could come visit, you better believe I said "Yes, please."

So beside the fact that I have a friend here that will accompany me in activities of expenditure, most importantly, I have a sister to eat cake with.

Also, please note our common trait - our totally artificial hair color. :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

falling for fall

It rained today. It rained good and hard. It's like Hurricane Hanna hated to leave as wanting, as we did indeed wait all weekend for her, and in the end there were just a few gusts and raindrops to even indicate that she blew through. (We're desperate for entertainment here in Durham - we actually get excited for a tropical storm to knock some trees down, make a little ruckus. Not normal.)

Anyhow, it rained so much today that it cooled us right down. We were sitting at cool, crisp (if you call 97% humidity crisp) 70 degrees. I recently organized my closet so that the shirts run from short sleeve to long (totally normal), and if my closet was big enough I'm pretty sure I would've done cartwheels down its length and then finished with some enthusiastic jumping up and down in front of the long sleeve section.

In the end, I actually didn't wear long sleeves as I'm perpetually warm, and long sleeves for the Human Heater require even cooler temps, but the fact is, there was something in today's rain that smelled of fall. And it made me happy. My favorite season is anything but summer, but particularly fall. I'm so excited that I just made myself a cup of hot chocolate.

Isn't the frothy chocolate at the top of the mug just the very best part?

Welcome fall. I've been waiting for you. My hot chocolate is really excited to see you too, and my long sleeves are nothin' but smiles.

Monday, September 8, 2008


So prior to my move to the NC, my last big move was from downtown SLC to Sugarhouse (also in SLC). I happened to be moving at an insanely busy time - Christmas - and not only did I have the regular Christmas stress, but I was also in charge of the company party. My mom (bless her) flew up and helped me pack up, but when it came time for me to check out, I still had a dirty apartment.

So I did what any other single, intelligent, spoiled girl would do - I hired a cleaning service.

And after spending several hours (several equals anything over two, as two is only a few) cleaning the old apartment today, I'm pretty sure that hiring the Merry Maids is one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Right up there with marrying Jess.

And eating chocolate every day.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

i confess...

...Sometimes I drive my car to the fitness center, the fitness center that is housed within my apartment complex. Which is somewhat ironic given the fact that I'm driving maybe a quarter of a mile so that I can then sweat out six.

...I only eat the cream in an Oreo to get to the cookie. If I could, I'd buy fillingless Oreos. (No, I am not referring to the Mexican Oreos, in case any of you took that train.)

...I've fallen in love with Peace Like A River, a novel by Leif Enger, all over again. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I'm a total book snob, especially when it comes to contemporary fiction. I practically require perfection both in language and imagery. However, Enger has this amazing ability to speak to you like a human, without being simple. His writing is some of the most excellent I've come across in years, rivaling the great Austen's ability to capture characters and their worlds in a way that makes you feel as though you've pulled up a chair at their kitchen table. (Plus, I'm allowed to channel my inner cowgirl through one of the characters. Give it a try - you'll see.)

PHOTO: These are one of my two pairs of boots. I actually wear my other pair all the time in the winter - they aren't so cowboyish and I love them with jeans. I love this pair all the same, even though I haven't found the perfect rodeo to wear them to yet. :) I found them while packing and wore them the whole day - with pajama pants, mind you.

Monday, September 1, 2008

kitchen creation

So today as I drove Jess to school, I mentioned that my goal was to get the whole kitchen moved over from the old apartment to the new. I then noted how stupid it sounded that my goal for the day was to move the whole kitchen, as if I was saying, "Today I'm going to move the whole Mount Rushmore." (Because how could I choose whom to leave behind?)

As it turns out, it was a hefty goal (the ol' body is a achin' already). But I'm of the sort that gets real stubborn - when I say I'm going to do something, I pretty much won't stop until it's done. So after going for a quick run at my new (fully functioning) fitness center, I headed over. I figured that while I was a sweaty mess, I might as well continue the sweating. And five sweaty hours later, full of box lifting and appliance cradling, I was done.

My kitchen at the old place was about the size of my thumb. I had pots and pans and appliances (oh my!) shoved into the kitchen's highly uncomfortable and quite non-functional deep cupboards, the Foreman hugging the waffle maker to the point that the rice maker was jealous. So this whole packing up the kitchen was kind of like a treasure hunt. As it turns out, my kitchen is outfitted pretty decent (thanks to many generous wedding gifts), but it's like I had almost forgotten. Making dinner tonight was pretty much an adventure. It was sort of like Christmas, only instead of a tree and lights there were pots and pans, a few serving spoons for decoration. I now have the counter space to place two cutting boards next to each other, with room to spare.

Also included in the awesomeness of transferring kitchens, I discovered:

1. I have two can openers. I'm a little old fashioned, at least when it comes to can openers (not so much when it comes to air conditioning). I don't like the electric kinds. They constantly malfunction, they tip over, they collect layers of grime from said tip overs. I'm a huge fan of the hand held, use your own sweat grease to open your green beans, kind of can opener. Luckily I have two - now I can open two cans at once.
2. Oreos from Mexico. We went to Mexico on the Cheney Christmas Cruise in December. December folks.
3. Missing cookie sheets. Weird that they had disappeared into the black hole behind the oven. :)
4. I have a food processor. I had honest to goodness forgotten that I had one. I feel some chopping coming on.
5. If you leave potatoes in your cupboard ALL SUMMER, they will rot to the point that they no longer resemble the vegetable they once were. In fact, they become the consistency of glue - dark, brown glue that smells as good as it looks.

So I was already loving this apartment, but I'm pretty sure my deluxe-o kitchen just sealed the deal.

Also, I'm pretty sure my arms are significantly more sculpted than they were when I woke up this morning. ;)


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