"In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured!"
~ Gordon B. Hinckley

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Coincidence? I Think Not

Back when I wrote my post about my first encounter with Trevor on facebook chat I forgot to include one important detail.

A year and a half or so earlier I was dating a guy who lived about a 45-minute drive away from me and I was working 40-70 hours a week. We only got to see each other in person a couple times a week, so we filled in the holes with facebook chatting and texting. I'm pretty sure I texted until I fell asleep almost every night during those months. At some point, I got into the habit of ending our facebook or texting conversations with the words "sweet dreams" every night. No reason in particular, I just did. And the fact that I only said that to him made it special to me for some reason.

Later we broke up, I spent some time being single, and started dating someone else. We spent quite a bit of time together in person, and also chatted and texted on top of that. I wished him "sweet dreams" every night too.

I doubt either of them remember; they probably didn't even really notice or care. But for whatever reason, it meant something to me, and they were the only ones I said that to.

Then that first night when Trevor started talking to me on facebook chat out of the blue, after our long conversation which ended with me thinking something along the lines of "well that was interesting and he seems nice" but nothing more then that, his last words to me were "sweet dreams".

I don't remember him ever saying it since then. Just a one-time thing. It didn't change my impression of our conversation or change my then lack of interest in him, but it did catch my attention for a moment. God's little way of turning my own personal meaning to those words around and telling me to pay attention so I wouldn't miss out on something wonderful maybe?

In any event, those words themselves didn't change my life, but I'd rather not forget them :) And now that we're married, the typed words "sweet dreams" has been replaced with "I love you"'s in person, and it's much better :)

And speaking of sweet dreams, I love this rendition of this song!
Dream a Little Dream of Me

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Pie Machine

In lieu of Thanksgiving being this week - and the fact that I work for Costco's Bakery - I have temporarily been turned into a pie making machine. The bakery is open 24/7 the 7 days leading up to Thanksgiving Day just to keep up with the demands for fresh baked pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie, dinner rolls, specialty bread, pumpkin spice bread and muffins, and all of our other bakery items that people buy tons of to feed the masses of friends and family they'll be having over for the Holidays.

My shift this Thanksgiving was the 3:20-11:50 pm shift. One of the pie shifts. Blah. This hasn't exactly done wonders for my sleep schedule. I've been getting home around 12:20 am and eating breakfast and wasting time before finally getting to bed, and then sleeping in really late, and heading off to work again.

Something I wrote one night/morning this week about the beginning to one of my many wonderful shifts:
I parked in the back by the back door we come out of at midnight, and rushed across the massive parking lot, hurried to the fridge to leave my lunch, and then to my locker to drop off my purse and pick up my hat and name tag, and punched in just barely in time. The night had begun. I made the mistake of leaving my hoodie in my locker the first 2 nights, and I made sure I did NOT do that again. They turn the heat off at night, and with all the refrigerated stuff in the produce, dairy, deli, and meat departments (plus it being winter) it gets nice and chilly! We're not allowed to wear jackets or anything back in the bakery when we're working with food directly, but just having it to wear while walking back and forth from the time clock at the front of the store, and the bakery in the back, makes it worth it!
The rest of my 3:20 - 11:50 shift and I all met up around the bakery sink to put on our hats and hairnets and wash our hands before starting our shift, and the bakery manager singled me out as he walked by. "Karin, how are you doing? Are you ok?" "um, yes? I'm good?". Then a couple of seconds later a cake decorator looked over and asked, "Karin, are you feeling ok? What's wrong with you?", followed by another coworker's greeting, "Did you just wake up or something? You look...more minimalistic that usual today". Haha remember that post where I said everything I think or feel usually can be read right off my face? Well I guess my dissatisfaction with my job and overall unhappiness of working like crazy over the holidays is showing. Oh well, I intend to make this my last holiday season working retail ever!

The 3:20-11:50 pm shift starts pretty much like normal. Finish up some muffins and cookies, make sure the products out on the sales floor look pretty, yada yada yada for about an hour or two. It's once that stuff gets finished that the real night begins. Pumpkin pie mania! The pie press is a super cool contraption that makes a perfect pie crust in just seconds! You drop a pre-measured blog of dough in the center of the pie pan, set it in the machine, press the two levers, it presses the hot top and bottom pieces together and voila! A pie crust! One or two people each shift get assigned to be pie pressers, and they just press pie crusts the whole time. The machine has to be going all night and most of the day to crank out enough pie crusts.

We mix up our pumpkin pies fresh every day in these huge mixing bowls probably big enough to hold me. One bowl holds enough filling for about 90 pumpkin pies, and we make over 20 bowlfuls every night! Once they've got enough pie crusts, the boys scoop the filling into the crusts, and load them onto our huge metal racks. 30 pans, 3 pies per pan, 90 pies. Then the full rack gets pushed over into one of our many monster-sized ovens to bake for over an hour, and then cool for a bit before being pushed into our freezer that's the size of a huge living room for another 45 minutes or so to expedite the cooling process.

this rack only holds 24 pans and only has 2 pies per pan...so 48 total. Ours have 90. We're cooler :)

When the pies are finally not hot anymore, we wrappers take over! I'm easily the smallest person in the entire bakery...so I usually send someone bigger to get the racks out of the freezer. With 30 pans each weighing nearly 5 lbs., 90 pies weighing about 4 lbs. apiece, not to mention the weight of the metal rack itself, that's like almost 500 lbs per rack to push around! And it only gets harder when the wheels freeze while the pies are getting un-hot, and the tread of your shoes is jam packed with food and you can't get a good grip on the floor. Our job is to make sure the new racks of pies end up in the freezer to cool, take out the cooled pies, put them in the white plastic tubs as fast as we can without breaking the crusts, throw away the ugly pies, snap on the lids, send them through the shrink-wrapping machine, put on the labels, stack them on wooden pallets 9 layers high (they have to be stacked exactly right or the weight of the pies will crush the packaging and smash the pies on the bottom), wrap the entire pallet in plastic wrap so none of the 99 pies fall off while we drag it around the store, make signs with the sell-by date so we can make sure we don't end up with a bunch of old pies at the end, and tote the pallet of pies off to a refrigerated trailer where they get to live until the store gets mobbed in the morning. Over, and over, and over, and over, and over....you get the idea...non-stop until morning!

It's tedious and repetitive, not to mention it makes your body ache from all the bending, lifting, pulling, and all that other good stuff that we get to do. I usually give everyone countdown updates till our punch out time every time I look at the clock. All night long. I'm such a terrible person, making time drag, but seriously the thought of going-home-time getting closer and closer is the happy thought I need to get through our 8 1/2 hour shift! There are a couple cool things about working so late though.

For one thing, once the customers start clearing out (8:30ish), we get to crank up the music. The first few days it was like a Kesha/Lady Gaga/Katy Perry/radio hits dance party. That was cool I guess, but after hearing the same songs several times a day for a couple days it got kind of old. Then yesterday it was like screamo rock band/guitar hero craziness. I guess that's what we get for just complaining about the music instead of bringing our own? The Sound of Music started playing at the end though...randomly...

Another fun thing is that we all punch in and out at the same time, so we end up taking our breaks at the same time and we're the only ones in the whole gigantic warehouse, so basically, we own the place.

Once we finally reach the end of our shift (which by this point I have been announcing countdowns for like every 5 minutes for the past 2 hours...) we hurry and try to mop up most of the bright orange raw pumpkin pie mix that's spattered all over the floor and the pie-pourer's pants and shoes before the midnight - 8 am crew comes in, and run to the front of the store to punch out. Then we get to make a mass exit out the back door, and scrape all the ice off our cars and go home. Finally! Yay!

All in all this year's Thanksgiving baking adventure was much better than last year's, and I'll even admit, I did enjoy parts of it. Not so much the first 2 or 3 days, but the last couple of days definitely got better. And yes, I did actually have a bit of fun :) That being said, I'm tired of being a pie machine! And I can't wait to go back to being a human now! Well...until the week of Christmas anyways.

In case anyone has a hankering to know more about Costco pies, I found 3 links you might find interesting Here and Here and Here.
Some fun and not-so-fun memories from this past week of pre-Thanksgiving work:
- the other day me, Tyler, Craig, and Blaine all randomly decided to wear green shirts almost the exact same shade. Our white bakery aprons were missing, and we had to wear red food court aprons, so we were all unintentional matchy matchy Christmas watermelon friends!
- there is a Clavinova type electric piano on display at Costco that plays music, and it got left on all night the other day. So there was this eerie synthesized harpsicordesque Mozart music echoing around in the huge cold dark empty warehouse
- I came home and ate breakfast at midnight a couple times. Egos with cinnamon maple syrup one time, and frosted flakes and Life another
- Trevor worked until 4 am last night, so after work I picked him up on his lunch break and we went to Wendy's and ate a frosty with fries in my truck before he went back to work :)
- In the random mix of music that played today, one of them was a Christmas song (Jingle Bells? I forget) made from cats meowing at different pitches
- today before we closed a little boy in a shopping cart was singing to the tune of Clementine "Oh my monster, oh my monster, oh my monster Frankenstien, you are very very scary..." and I didn't hear any more because I was laughing. It was so cute! Then a minute or so later, a lady walked by going the other direction humming Clementine. I'm guessing she heard him singing near the produce section and got it stuck in her head too :)

for the sake of not plagiarizing, I got the pictures from the first linked article, and http://pievcake.wordpress.com/tag/pumpkin-pie/
and http://www.ocregister.com/sections/printer/photo/?id=275613&pic=19

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Will Work for Cookies

There aren't a ton of things I like about working until midnight, but one good thing is that I get to sleep in and spend some time with my husband :) Our previous plans to go on a hike fell through thanks to some snow, a baby shower, and some other random things, so we slept in until about 11. That's always good. After a shower and breakfast and a good bit of laziness, we decided it was time to tackle our bathroom that has avoided a good deep scrubbing for way too long! And we decided it was also time for some cookies.

I mixed up some chocolate chip cookie dough from a Betty Crocker mix packet thing I bought on sale a couple months ago. They definitely weren't as good as homemade, but we weren't expecting them to be. Plus they were quick and easy, just like we wanted. And they were still actually pretty good.

While the cookies were baking and cooling, Trevor turned on some music and we both scrubbed that bathroom to pieces! And it was so much fun! So now our bathroom looks darlingly cute, clean, and organized, aaaand we had hot fresh chocolate chip cookies and milk just begging to be eaten once we had finished cleaning!

I thought it was such a brilliantly wonderful plan, that I decided we should do it every Saturday. Pick a yummy dessert to make, pick a room of the house/project/that thing you've been avoiding, and do it while the food bakes! Preferably with the man you're madly in love with and with a soundtrack of awesome music. Then it's 10 times more bearable - if not downright enjoyable, the work gets done, and you get treats and you can totally feel like you deserve them! I love it.

Then we played Farkle and I TOTALLY beat Trevor. Like 11,650 points to 3000. He's a good sport :) And, knowing him, he'll probably kick my butt next time we play.

What a great Saturday! Except for the part where I had to work 3:30-midnight after my super fun date-with-Trevor afternoon. But we won't talk about that. It was lame anyways. Except for the part where I earned lots of money! Yay!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Best Blonde Joke I've Ever Heard

The rest of my family may have dark hair, but I am a blonde, inside and out. And then I married into a family of blondes :) Blonde jokes are to be expected.

I should actually be tackling my to-do list...but I just remembered this and started laughing out loud to myself, so I figured it would be worth the 10 minutes to document it and remember it for posterity :)

A couple weeks ago Trevor's sisters were teaching his youngest - and most blonde - sister what a blonde joke was, and she responded "oh! I know one of those! Ok, so a black man walks into a bar..."...and told a joke that has absolutely nothing to do with blondes...apparently some of us are a bit too blonde to realize that we actually don't understand what a blonde joke even is :) hahahahaha oh blondes :) Love it!

Blackberry Walnut Greek Yogurt Cold-buster Smoothie

No picture, sorry, I was lazy, and I've got a nice long list of things to finish before I go to work...where I will be until midnight. Yes, midnight. Blah. Yay for working in a bakery the week of Thanksgiving! On the bright side, at least I have a job and at least I'm making a nice bit of money, and at least I'm unsatisfied enough with retail that I'm quitting and getting a job I like more after the holidays!!! Merry Christmas to me!!!

So about that smoothie, this is one of the first non-green smoothies I've made, and it's a keeper! I've been fighting a cold for the past week, so I did a bit of online research to see what articles/websites/whatever suggested eating to fight a cold. And then I ate them! I'm writing another blog post about the rest of them and what they do for you, but a couple that were suggested were oranges (of course), greek yogurt (which just so happened to be on sale at Costco 2 lbs. for less than $2! Victory!), bananas, berries, honey, and apple juice. So I thought, why not put them all together and make a yummy get-well tonic?

I ended up drinking all the apple juice before I got around to making the smoothie, but it was fine without it.

Here's what I used:
- about 1 cup of greek yogurt, mixed with several Tbs. of honey until it wasn't so sour (maybe 3-4 Tbs? I don't know, I just squirted, mixed, tasted, and added more if it needed it)
- 1 orange cut in pieces
- 2 small bananas frozen and cut in chunks
- about 1/2 - 3/4 cup frozen blackberries (that happened to be the kind I had on-hand)
- about 1/4 cup walnuts

I just threw the walnuts in at the end because I saw them in the freezer as I was putting the berries away and it sounded kind of interesting. Definitely a good idea! They were less blended then the rest of the smoothie because they were thrown in after everything had been mixed, and they added this perfect little touch of texture :) Oh yum! I can't wait to play around with this thrown-together-here's-what-I-have-so-lets-use-it recipe and tweak it to perfection!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Short Fat Story

Once upon a time my dear Trevor went out of town for several days. I was a lonely girl in his absence,  and my poor Trevor had to drive for like an entire day to get home. So to console and entertain myself, and to have something yummy to greet my husband with, I decided to bake a cake. But not just any cake...a multi-layer turtle cake of awesome!!! German chocolate cake batter baked partially, and then drowned in a caramel layer (a bag of those square caramels melted with 3/4 cups butter and a 7 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk), covered in a half bag of Hershey's chocolate chips, sprinkled with a cup or more of chopped walnuts, and topped off with the rest of the cake batter, and then baked just enough to  be cooked through while still being delightfully soft and moist, and just oozing with gooey goodness! Good heavens, it was perfection in a pan!! In two pans to be exact, it was so big it took up both.

Trevor didn't especially love it though, and hardly ate any. It turns out he prefers his caramel untainted by things like chocolate, cake, and nuts. You learn something new every day! And no harm done, all the more for me! I ate a ton right out of the pan, and cut up the second cake and put it in the freezer to preserve the wonderfulness.

Just now I got it out to eat some more and realized there are only 2 rather small pieces and some crumbs left. I made that cake a week ago. So...that means in the past 7 days I single-handedly consumed roughly an entire cake, a whole bag of caramels, a can of sweetened condensed milk, a stick and a half of real butter, and half a bag of chocolate chips. And that's not including the Hershey kisses I've been eating, or the cake pops, or the other half bag of chocolate chips that is now gone, or the scones, or the chocolates, or the cookies from my aunt, any of the other goodies I've eating in the past 7 days as well. Oops. Oh boy, I sure am well on my way to being a fat old married person!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

One Thing from the 80's that Needs to be Resurrected

It's Fall, Winter is coming, and yet again, my legs are cold. I can always put on 2 hoodies, a coat, layer socks, wear gloves, and pull my deep furry hood as far forward as it will go, but jeans...they just don't keep my legs warm. Not even close. 

Despite having been raised on Ballet, I never thought it was worth it to buy leg warmers. We weren't allowed to wear them once class started anyway, so why spend the money? Then one day earlier this year Kirstyn Perry was selling some old dance stuff before she moved, and among the piles was a pair of nice thick long black leg warmers for like $3! So I totally bought them even though I didn't think I'd ever be doing ballet again. Actually I think Travis might have bought them for me because I didn't quite have enough cash on me at the moment...I forget.

They got lost somewhere in my apartment, left behind when I later moved out to get married, were eventually found and picked up, and were then deposited in a random box somewhere in our new home...where they sat unused for a couple more months.

Then a week or two ago I was throwing together a costume for our ward Halloween party and didn't want my legs to be cold. Solution: find those leg warmers! Oh. My. Gosh. My legs were warm! It was crazy!!! Who would have ever guessed?! It's like a sweater for your legs! Best invention ever! And now I think I'm in love.

I'm so short they cover my feet and still come up almost to my hip. It's great! I wear them around the cold basement, I wear them to bed, I wear them under my pj's for late night grocery shopping trips or Guy Fawkes parties, I wear them on the way to church because skirts are chilly...love it!

Unfortunately, they don't fit under my jeans, and I'm not cool enough to wear legwarmers with an outfit just for kicks.  I soooo wish that wearing legwarmers was fashionable these days! My goodness, where are the 80's when you need them? Oh well, I guess for now I'll just have to settle for some nice thick tights, and wear my legwarmers in secret :)