Monday, June 30, 2008

Marco's Travels

Well, I finally made it to New Mexico. I had planned on leaving the house on Friday after the Mayflower guys finished packing our house. But, alas, they didn't finish until almost 4:30 p.m., and we thought it best to spend the evening going to dinner with the Sorenson's one last time (it was the right choice).

I decided I would leave early Saturday morning, but that didn't work either. When Dem and I kneeled down to pray just before I was to have left, I noticed small dots of what seemed like tapioca pearls floating in my right eye. Having experienced a retinal tear six year ago, I knew exactly what was happening -- I was bleeding into my eye (the tapioca pearls are red blood cells, and, yes, you can see them, oddly enough). Figuring unwanted bleeding into my vitrious liquid was not what I wanted to continue unabated, I called a local Opthamologist. Dr. Liu was nice enough to see me on fairly short notice, so Dem, Elliot, and I drove to his office in Omaha.

He dialated my pupils and shone one of those terribly bright lights in my eye for a good fifteen minutes. He then declared: "Everything's okay." "Really?" I said with my eyes watering and only seeing purple faux light in my right eye. "Then why am I bleeding into my eye?" I continued. Dr. Liu explained sometimes the sack in which the vitrious liquid is contained contracts, causing slight bleeding but no tearing (yeah, I don't understand that explanation either). Anyway, I chose to believe him, and left for New Mexico shortly after having arrived back home in Lincoln.

I made it to the bustling metropolis of Brush, Colorado before sacking out at the Econolodge. The front desk lady was nice and talkative. She figured out I was moving to Farmington, and had just left Demaree and Elliot in Nebraska because we hadn't finalized Elliot's adoption yet. Upon hearing we were adopting, she informed me she was thinking about adoption. She had four children, but they were all boys. She figured adoption would give her the treasure she had sought lo these many years: a girl. I wished her luck, went to my room, took in an episode of "Good Eats", and hit the hay.

Sunday was filled with driving, driving, and more driving. It's incredible how long it takes to get through Colorado. In any case, I made it to Farmington around 4 p.m. Dem's brother Denis and his fiance Lisa also stayed the night on their way to San Angelo. (They thought it a good idea to spend time with Denis's family before the wedding.) We had a good time talking, and eating dinner together.

(Update: my eye seems fine, I think. It hasn't become more populated with tapioca pearls, which is a good sign.)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Great Summer Citrus Salad

This salad is fast becoming one of our family favorites. (warning: if you think this is a green salad, stop reading now -- if you don't, sore disappointment will ensue). It's a very simply citrus and onion salad. Here's the recipe:

1. One half red onion
2. 4 to 5 oranges
3. Olive oil (to taste)
4. Salt (to taste)

Slice red onion cross-sectionally in thin layers. When finished, cut onion slices in half. Place onion in water for about an hour -- this takes the bite out of the raw onion. Take oranges, remove skin with a knife (don't peel them with your hands because you'll leave the pith) and slice them cross-sectionally as you did the onion.

To bring it all together, place oranges overlapping each other on a platter. Dry onion, and place strands over oranges. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Finally, pour olive oil on everything. Serve salad soon after adding salt, lest the onion and oranges will begin to break down.

Beautiful, simple, delicious. What more could you ask for?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Our Saturday at The Zoo

We took Elliot to the Omaha zoo for the first time this morning. For those who don't know, Omaha's zoo is quite good, so we spent a good four hours there. Unfortunately, the college world series held games today, which meant it was an hour and fifteen minutes from when we exited the freeway until we found a parking space. It was worth it though; we all had a good time.

This is Elliot rubbing the stone globe that rotates by means of water bubbling up from the bottom.

Here we are with the grizzly bears. Elliot did actually look at him after a minute. (Aside: As one who grew up with grizzly bears roaming his front yard (literally), I was rather disappointed with the midget grizzly on display. I swear, the thing was no bigger than some people you see at Wal-Mart riding on those self-propelled shopping carts.)

And here's the pachyderm. We weren't sure if he was incapacitated, but it turns out he was just lazin' out leaning up against some massive poles.

This is a zebra surrounded by ostriches. I kept waiting for the ostrich to lay the wood to Mr. zebra, but, alas, nothing. Evidently, they had come to an understanding.

And finally, we checked out the fishes. Elliot was mesmorized by them, probably because there were so many he couldn't possibly follow them all with his eyes.

After the zoo, we went out to eat with Henry and Jonie (and their kids, of course) in Blair, NE. Henry's finished the yardwork on his 1920s era house, and it looks pretty darn good.

Good day.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Dem Bustin' Out Some "Parto"

This is snippet of Demaree's masters recital in which she's singing "Parto" from "Clemenza di Titto." We'll eventually get the entire recital on the blog, but until then, enjoy.

The Sunken Gardens

We recently spent a morning at Lincoln's sunken gardens.

It was Elliot's first time, and he enjoyed himself. He was specially enamored with the two ponds stocked with gold fish of all sizes.

After the fishes, we visited Rebecca at the well. Elliot was slightly less taken with her.

Unfortunately, we don't have pictures of Elliot standing in the waterfall. He was okay for about ten seconds, and then he realized just how cold the water was and wanted nothing to do with it. All in all, it was a good morning.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Fried Chicken Recipe

Last week, Dem and I made fried chicken for the first time in our marriage. It turned out really well, and that's coming from people who aren't huge fried chicken fans. In fact, we liked it so much we thought we'd share; so, here it is.


1 broiler/fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces (two breasts, two thighs, two wings, and two drumsticks -- discard all extraneous bones)
3 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons kosher salt + 2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Flour, for dredging
Vegetable shortening (or vegetable oil), for frying

Combine the buttermilk and 2 tablespoons kosher salt in a large nonreactive bowl. Stir to blend. Immerse the chicken in the mixture and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

If using shortening, melt enough shortening (over low heat) to come just 1/8-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan. Once shortening liquefies raise heat to 325 degrees. Do not allow oil to go over 325 degrees. (325 is between your stovetop's medium and next highest setting.)

Drain chicken in a colander. Combine 2 teaspoons salt, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Liberally season chicken with this mixture. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess (easiest way to do this is to place dredging flour in a brown paper bag, place chicken inside, and shake it like a Polaroid picture).

Place chicken skin side down into the pan. Put thighs in the center, and breast and legs around the edge of the pan. The oil should come half way up the pan. Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 9 to 10 minutes per side. More importantly, the internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees. (Be careful to monitor shortening temperature every few minutes.)

Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan. Don't drain by setting chicken directly on paper towels or brown paper bags. If you need to hold the chicken before serving, cover loosely with foil but avoid holding in a warm oven, especially if it’s a gas oven.

(Attributions: this is a combination of fried chicken recipes from Alton Brown and Emeril Lagasse. You can find them at

Monday, June 2, 2008

Reincarnation? You Decide.

Over the last couple months, I have noticed a striking resemblance between Elliot and a Buddha statuette I own. Now, I know Joseph Smith, in no uncertain terms, denounced reincarnation as a false doctrine (see "Teachings of Joseph Smith" 104-05 (ed. 1972)), but these pictures make me wonder. I'll let you decide.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Demaree Singing Belta Crudele

Last year, Demaree went to Novafeltria, Italy as part of an opera program named "La Musica Lirica." While there, she also performed solo arias, one of which was "Belta Crudele" by Rossini. The picture is fuzzy, but the sound comes through well.

(Aside: Demaree has told me she performed this aria late at night, so don't judge her too harshly.)

Demaree, The Early Years

In our packing, Dem ran across some old photos. They're the kind you get all nostalgic about, enjoy.

This is the four-day-old Demaree: small and cute.

1986 Clayson family photo.

Sixth grade.

Seventh grade.

Surprisingly enough, Demaree still has this dress. (we packed it two days ago).