On Thursday my sister Suzanna flew into Salt Lake and we road tripped together up to Rexburg to visit my other sister Allison for the weekend. Allison planned a full agenda for us including campus events and social affairs which kept us busy.
Priorities: We ate at Taco Bus as soon as we arrived.
Allison brought us along to a little social gathering she has with her friends called Art Night--where all the fancy art people draw pictures on a theme or collaboratively. It was incredibly intimidating but I pushed out a drawing of the Mona Lisa which ended up looking like my teenage mother.

We went on a full campus tour and Suzi was continually surprised about the strict rules they have at BYU-I and the culture of the Mormon homeland. On the drive up I would continually respond to these comments with "Welcome to the state of Deseret."

I found a parrot-friend in an unlocked room.

Pottery Class
I cooked a few meals while I was there too including this amazing (vegan) soup that my good friend Tallia sent me awhile back. I don't take pictures of my food so just know that its pretty as well as delicious and received high praises by everyone.

    Corn and Sweet Potato Soup
    5-6 cups of vegetable broth
    2 sweet potatoes
    1 tbsp olive oil
    1 onion (diced)
    2 garlic cloves (crushed)
    2 tsp cumin (I also added a dash of paprika)
    1 small red chili or jalapeno (chopped)
    1 red bell pepper (chopped)
    1 lb corn kernels (roasted ideally)
    Salt and Pepper

      ● Saute the onions until soft and slightly brown.
      ● Add the garlic and jalapeno and let fry for about ten minutes.
      ● Add 1 1/2 cups of broth and simmer for ten minutes.
      ● Add cumin, paprika, and sweet potatoes, let simmer for ten minutes.
      ● Add bell pepper, corn, and remaining broth. Simmer until potatoes are soft.
      ● Lightly puree the soup with an immersion blender.
      ● Top with lime (delicious), fresh cilantro, tortilla chips/strips, and avocado.

We finished our trip with watching Allison preform in a cover band competition where she ended up winning and getting interviewed by the school newspaper. Below is the video of their performance and at 2:50 my sister adjusts her glasses on camera.

Woah--back to normal. Rexburg was fun but I'm glad I don't live there; its so cold.


Emotional Shaving

There is an emotional satisfaction cutting your own hair. My beard is gone already--not even lasting a fortnight. While packing outfits for my trip tomorrow I had an emotional fit and just started shaving my face.

It was satisfying.

The next time I go for a beard I need to make sure I'm not going anywhere for a good month.

On to Rexburg.


This is a cultured blog.

I've sat in front of my computer for entirely too long trying to figure out a clever way to say how wonderful the weather has been this past week. The gist is that I wore shorts, laid in the sun, relaxed on the porch, and had a picnic in the park; it appears that the Groundhog got it right this year. Yesterday was so nice, my neighbor and friend Kersti joined me and did her homework on the porch.
Bowls for Humanity
Friday was the Utah County Food and Care Coalition's annual Bowls for Humanity event. The idea is that visitors come and purchase a variety of donated handmade ceramic bowls and partake of delicious soup in the name of supporting the foundation. I ended up getting a pretty cool bowl plus soup for $10 and it was a nice excuse to eat a meal outdoors.

As more evidence of how cultured I am (in case the cardigan didn't make it obvious) I got a new pair of glasses in the mail yesterday and went to a banquet discussing world poverty. The banquet was interesting in that they divided attendees randomly into socioeconomic classes and the bottom 70%, myself included, ate from communal bowls of rice and beans. The lecture focused on the inbalance of poverty in relation to women and how investment in a woman's education has a much more profound effect on the culture as she is more likely to reinvest into her family. It was an educational lecture and made me yearn a little bit for my college days.

Also I'm growing a beard again, we'll see how long it lasts.



Jazz hands
On Friday I took work off to help chaperone a field trip for some third graders. My friend is the teacher and they have a history of poor parent involvement so she asked me to help out and I thought--free trip to the aquarium.

I ended up having charge over three girls who were perhaps the most giggly and hyper active children I've met. Walking around with them made me appreciate the struggle my parents must have gone through to expose me to so many museums throughout my childhood. I tried to see as much as I could but if I started reading anything the girls would disappear into the crowd. I did see an octopus in a depressingly small tank though.

The best part, by far, was the continual reference to me as "Mister Otting," for I have wanted to be called that since childhood. Unfortunately I came to adulthood in a first-name-basis society so I'll have to become a teacher or something.


Otting Photographing

This weekend my little-cousin Kemarie turned eight years old and I was enlisted to take the photos for her baptism announcements. It was a rainy afternoon and I am quite the amateur but we got a few  decent shots.

Even though it blurry, its one of my favorites.
This was just a test shot but I like her attitude.
We did end up creating a fairly large hole in the lace of the dress but sacrifices have to be made. Now all I need is a giant watermark and I'll be a professional photographer.

Special thanks to Mirielle who provided the camera as well as advice. If you want to come to the baptism it will be held April 13th. It was delayed so Kemarie's grandma could attend.



I couldn't take it anymore, despite it still being Winter I went outside and did some gardening this weekend. The yard at my house is one of the few things I can own up on and I'm eager to continue working on it this year.

In our garden boxes this year we will be planting: Eggplant, Cucumber, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Tomatos (big and cherry), Lettuce, Peas, and Basil

In addition to these I have a small plot in the corner of the yard cleared for zucchini. There is an abundance of unused space on the far side of the property that is already irrigated which I plan on clearing out for spaghetti and acorn squash. Also, adjacent to the SW corner of the house I will be planing a few raspberry bushes for future production. I don't know what I'm doing at all but in that regard I'm lucky it's not my house.

I was talking to my friend tonight and mentioned to her that I would be completely content if I could spend every day working in my garden for the rest of my life. It is one of my goals as I grow old, and (since I come from a long line of farmers) I yearn to test the hue of my thumb. Even as a kid, my favorite video game was a farming simulator.

Seriously, I dreamed about this game before I even played it.