Much Ado About Anniversaries

It’s a busy, busy weekend with the Utah Arts Fest, Gallery Stroll and just the all around fun of summertime.

It’s also finally Much Ado About Nothing weekend in SLC! Whoo-oo! To help celebrate this latest Joss Whedon goodness and a little anniversary with the boyfriend, I’m making lemon cake with blueberry compote. (Strawberry champagne cake plans were scrapped in consideration of Zed’s taste buds.)

The Cake Recipe:

Lemon Cake by Ina Garten

Ingredients
1/2 C. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 C. granulated sugar, divided
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
3-4 large lemons grated, set the zest aside
1 1/3 C. flour
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 C. freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
1/2 C. buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour one (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pan.

Cream the butter and 1 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Pour the batter into the pan, smooth the top and bake for 45 minutes.

The Blueberry Compote

Ingredients

2 C. blueberries

1/2 C. granulated sugar

3 Tbs. lemonade (I actually used a lemonade with blueberry drink, and suspect it might be best with fresh squeezed lemon juice.)

Directions

Add 1 cup of the blueberries, the granulated sugar and lemonade to a small sauce pan. Cook on low for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining blueberries and cook for an additional 10-ish minutes until the mixture is thick and syrup-y. It kind of looks like a thin jam to me.

Serve on top of sliced lemon cake or with crepes. It would also be delicious on a cheesecake!

Adorably Zed has volunteered to remake the very first dinner he ever cooked for me. (I couldn’t even remember what he made!) He will brine, slow cook and grill pork chops and asparagus for this lucky lady.

I’ll be sipping the Poema Cava and reciting Shakespeare. Maybe I’ll even remember to take a picture or two.

Granary Row and The Porch

Opening night at Granary Row. Photo via facebook.com/granaryrow

Opening night at Granary Row. Photo via facebook.com/granaryrow

Last week there was a bit of buzz about town with the opening of Granary Row.

It’s in one of those industrial west-side neighborhoods where it feels like no one lives, but trains and trucks. The area is hemmed in by a freeway on all sides. It’s a favorite haunt for budding photographers hoping to get their urban decay on.

It’s where I’ve met a number of amazing entrepreneurs working to build small businesses that make SLC more vibrant.

And it finally feels like a neighborhood.

The Kentlands Initiative worked with the city to design and build a “pop up market and festival.” Granary Row is made up of recycled cargo containers redesigned with gardens, restaurants and shops in mind. My favorite part is that the whole thing sits in the middle of a wide street. Those wide mid-western streets drive me crazy. It is one of the worst features of SL,UT life, especially on the west side.

A row of trailers breaks it up nicely. And it feels for once like a walkable area.

I’m going by weekend-only hang out tonight. My first stop is going to be the Porch. The group invites locals to tell stories about their lives in a supportive atmosphere. I’m thrilled the Utah Valley group has a second home “up north.” It’s the closest thing we have around here to the Moth, and I’m excited to see how it goes.

I can’t wait to hear the stories! Maybe someday I’ll be brave enough to share my own.

The Porch. Local storytellers in Provo, Utah. Photo via utahporch.org.

Wow. Umm…wow.

Michael Hastings died in a car accident Tuesday morning.

I don’t expect most of you to know who he was. He was a journalist. Most of his work was in Rolling Stone and on Buzzfeed. I never knew him at all. But I loved reading his stuff. He was one of the good ones. You could tell in the words, between the sentences, he was the kind of journalist all the reporters should want to be.

A hard ass and an ass kicker.

He probably had more enemies than friends.

It should be noted that the Los Angeles coroner has not identified the body.

This sucks. I’m going to keep his Reddit AMA in mind today.

Okay, here’s my advice to you (and young journalists in general):

1.) You basically have to be willing to devote your life to journalism if you want to break in. Treat it like it’s medical school or law school.

2.) When interviewing for a job, tell the editor how you love to report. How your passion is gathering information. Do not mention how you want to be a writer, use the word “prose,” or that deep down you have a sinking suspicion you are the next Norman Mailer.

3.) Be prepared to do a lot of things for free. This sucks, and it’s unfair, and it gives rich kids an edge. But it’s also the reality.

4.) When writing for a mass audience, put a fact in every sentence.

5.)Also, keep the stories simple and to the point, at least at first.

6.) You should have a blog and be following journalists you like on Twitter.

7.) If there’s a publication you want to work for or write for, cold call the editors and/or email them. This can work.

8) By the second sentence of a pitch, the entirety of the story should be explained. (In other words, if you can’t come up with a rough headline for your story idea, it’s going to be a challenge to get it published.)

9) Mainly you really have to love writing and reporting. Like it’s more important to you than anything else in your life–family, friends, social life, whatever.

10) Learn to embrace rejection as part of the gig. Keep writing/pitching/reading.

Personally I can only hope to be the kind of journalist Hastings was, I am too much of a people pleaser and way too comfortable with authority. But people like him prove journalism matters. He will be missed.

Utah news

Yesterday I was a bit disheartened to see Miss Utah making the internet rounds with her stumbling answer to NeNe Leaks question about income disparity between men and women in the US, even as more women are bringing home the bacon.

The answer is embarrassing. Mostly because it doesn’t quite make sense. “Create education better.” WTF? I agree with local Twitters, this is a sign of local education system at work. Ugh.

Marissa Powell had her shot at web redemption and put out a much better answer for Matt Lauer on the “Today Show.” One I agree with and one that makes Powell seem more articulate, educated and aware. Setting aside the question of beauty paegants and the problems with the question itself. I wanted to bring to light some of Utah’s better sides recently.

But really aside from all that, why not visit the state responsible for green jello and Mormons?

Come on, Visit Salt Lake is literally giving away 10 weekend vacations this summer.

The state is so cool, Summit just bought a mountain for $40 million.

One year

Zed and me at a Jazz game.Last summer I went to a party for a friend who was leaving town for a bit. I wasn’t planning on staying long. I just wanted to pop by say, “hey” and get home.

I walked in, said my hellos and was handed a beer. As I was catching up with Jess on all the gossip I had missed, this guy in black t-shirt kept interrupting us. I was kind of annoyed, but intrigued by this guy who could hold the attention of an entire room while making fun of himself. He was making jokes and taking the piss out of everyone.

I couldn’t stop laughing.

Without even noticing how it happened, he introduced himself, sat down and we suddenly we were bitching about Asian beer. I found out he taught English in China for a year or so, then he owned a bar, then he went sailing. We swapped travel stories for a bit. Then moved on to some more heavy stuff like God and religion. Despite the subject, we kept laughing. I thought he was the funniest, sweetest guy I had met in a long, long time. I couldn’t stop staring at his upper arm/chest area. (This is a seriously under-appreciated part of male anatomy.) He apparently also found me hilarious and likable. We talked so long every one else managed to make their way inside. The host had even gone to bed.

Finally I had to go home; it was way too late.

I was shocked he hadn’t asked for my number in the three hours we had been cracking each other up. So I told him my name again and asked him to find me. He said he would.

The next day he did.

It’s been a year now since that first beer and first laugh. He still makes me laugh every day; and I know a helluva lot more about beer now. 

I’ll have some bling with that


Are you gearing up for Sofia Coppola’s Bling Ring this weekend? I sure am. And a pretty awesome starting point is this Vanity Fair piece by Nancy Jo Sales.

This is the perfect movie to resurrect strawberry champagne cake. Even though I’ll have to wait a couple weeks for the film to arrive in SLC. (Boo! I’m still waiting for “Much Ado!” It’s been a whole week.)

After reading Monkey See’s piece about just how many films are men-centric today. (And by today, she really just means today, right now, this Friday.) Then there’s Indiewire’s  article on how the critics handle a woman-directed film. That is again upsetting and recalls the way Katheryn Bigelow is treated by Hollywood and its critics. (As if marrying James Cameron is the most important thing she has done. It not like Point Break ever happened. Just kidding. That’s a kind of terrible joke. She’s made at least two powerful and important films that I have seen Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. She is a master at telling stories that matter. And you know, Johnny Utah. God, I love that movie.)

I’m feeling all girl power-y and angry, and holy freak it’s been way too long since I binged on Buffy. 

Plus I’m wearing flares today.

Guys and gals, the 90s are happening now. At least in my house, bring on the grunge! And the sour patch kids! And probably some Pepsi! And ramen! I’m pretty sure that’s how I made it through elementary school

The motivation is getting to me. I need to do something. We need to do something. So if you can support women and films. Go see “Frances Ha,” watch “Girls” and “The Mindy Project,” take your friends to “Before Midnight” just so you can see a cast with men and women.

In the meantime, I’m taking this inspiration and revisiting an old project all about women. Following Jane Espenson’s advice to snare the power of the hour and write uninterrupted for 60 minutes.

Let’s see how this goes.

All the right ways

I hate myself for wishing for change, or at least, I regret it…a little.

There it is.

It comes like night. I could see the dusky light, I could feel it coming, the wind a little cooler as we waited, breath held, for that change.

It’s here now, an emotional shift brought on my physical pains. Nothing will be the same. Growing comes with changing, but does it have to hurt?

I’d like an easy challenge next, please. Maybe one with a definitive set of instructions, a map and a guide. Just one of those things would be awfully nice. I no longer know which way to go. The life map lines drifted into “there be monsters” territory ages ago. I need a new one.

The compass stopped working long ago; sometimes I forget it exists. In the rare moments I remember the magnetic direction, it pricks my heart. It hurts.

I hurt, too.

Perhaps I can find another.

I can’t look to the stars anymore: blotted out by city lights, smeared across the sky, coated in the gray skies of pollution. They might still be there. My memory can’t be just a myth, can it? I need to get out of this place.

I need the map, the compass, the skies, all of it–the toolkit to bring me back to life.

I’m drifting along in this raft, and sometimes you drift with me. But still I feel lonely. Alone.

I can’t swim yet. I keep trying. You’re pulling me along. Not always as patient as either of us might wish. I pant and writhe in the water. I’m scared of drowning. I concentrate so hard on staying alive I forget to move forward. Fear pushes into my mind slowly at first like a black dawn then it takes over rushing into every part of my functionality filling me with blackness. I stop thinking; I’m reacting, trying to keep my head up.

If I can just breathe, this will soon be over.

You watch me struggle again and again. I can see the love turning into loathing. It must be hard to see someone work so hard at failure. Eventually you will turn away from me. It’s a pattern. You won’t be the first person to give up on me and probably not the last.

The last will be me when I’ve had enough, when I’m ready to go. Maybe by then, I’ll know how to swim. I’ll be brave enough to go on without the tools I’m waiting for. Maybe by then, I’ll build them myself.

At least, I have a pen. Now where the fuck is that paper?