No Knead Ciabatta Bread

This bread is super easy to make—it just requires some advance planning since the dough has to rise for 18 hours. The list of ingredients is very short:

• 4 cups bread flour (3 1/2 cup white + 1/2 cup wheat)
• 1/4 tsp yeast
• 2 cups water
• 1 1/2 tsp salt

This 5 minute video gives a helpful play-by-play of how to make it. Even Eddie was entertained, asking to rewatch the "bread movie" several times. But just in case your attention span is shorter than a two-year old, here is the gist: Mix the ingredients together in a bowl for a minute or two until a sticky dough forms. Cover and let rise at room temperature for 18 hours. Form it into a long flat shape on an oiled cookie sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise for another 2 hours. Cook at 425 for 35-40 minutes.

My experience played out pretty much identical to the video with one exception. The original recipe calls for bread flour, but I used to unbleached all-purpose flour since that is what we have on hand. I'm no flour expert, but I assume this is why my loaf didn't turn out quite as light and bubbly as the one in the video. Do we have any bakers in the house? Am I right in my assumption?


Oquirrh Mountain Temple at Sunrise

As furniture continues to get moved around, our home reorganization has extended to what is hanging on our walls. Kristen and I have often discussed incorporating a nice photo of the temple into our living room decor. Luckily we have a temple 5 minutes away, so I got up early on a recent Sunday morning to shoot some photos as the sun came up. What do you think? Which one(s) should we hang up?

Oquirrh Mountain Temple #1

Oquirrh Mountain Temple #2

Oquirrh Mountain Temple #3

Oquirrh Mountain Temple #4


Buried Treasure

In the process of cleaning out our office to convert it into Morsel's future nursery, we have unearthed several forgotten treasures. Since we don't really have room in our little townhome for these things, we would be willing to part with them for the right price. Go ahead, make us an offer.

Two Binders of Baseball Cards
• Full page of Mark McGwire cards, sure to spike in value upon Hall of Fame induction
• Cards from the 1987 Topps collection feature stylish faux wood grain border

Dell Inspiron 1100 Laptop
• Vintage 2003 technology
• Sturdy like a bag of bricks, doubles as a leg warmer
• Makes a loud whirring sound when you turn it on—perfect for helicopter enthusiasts

The Phantom Menace Widescreen Collector's Edition VHS
• Retailed for $39.99 in the year 2000
• You never know when the famously stingy George Lucas will bother to re-release it from the Lucasfilm vaults

CD Rack
• Convenient place for storing your iPod


Working for SLCC

My short stint working for SLCC is officially over. While I didn't work there long (a little less than 3 months), I learned a lot from it. The biggest thing was that, as a community college, SLCC accepts anyone -- no matter what. That meant I got to work with some pretty "interesting" people. I would come home most every night armed with a few stories to tell Dave. I soon found I could categorize every person I talked to into one of the following groups:

Normal Students

Yes, there are some normal people who attend SLCC and who actually have some idea of what is going on. Luckily, I got to talk to this type of person occasionally, which made up for some of the others.

Dumb Students

Maybe it is because I attended college myself, or because I have worked at two separate colleges in the last few years, so maybe my standards are too high. But I really cannot understand how a person can expect to succeed in college if they cannot even figure out how to get to the college's website.

Student: "What's an address bar?"
Me: "There is a box at the top of the window where you can type. There you will type in www.slcc.edu."
Student: "Whoa, slow down. S-L-C-C dot what?"

People Who are Not Students

Our building housed a lot of conferences and meetings of non-school-related groups. This meant we got to answer a lot of random questions from a lot of random people, such as "Can I borrow your pen?" "Do you have an ATM?" "Can I borrow your computer?" These people tended to think that just because we sat behind an official looking desk, that we should be able to answer any question and would be annoyed when our attempts to help them were futile.

Helicopter Moms

Ironically enough, these types of moms tend to think the rules do not apply to them... after all, they gave birth to this person 18+ years ago. They ought to be entitled to accessing all the student's information, right? They ought to be able to do everything for their child short of going to class, thus ensuring their child's success in college, right? And if someone tries to stop them, they have every right to get angry at people who are only working to protect their child's privacy, right?

Mom: "Can't I just call my son and have him tell you it's okay to give the information to me?"
Me: "Unfortunately, there is no way to confirm his identity over the phone. So, no."
Mom: "This is completely ridiculous! You mean he has to come in here and do this himself?"

The Children of Helicopter Moms

These students fall into one of two sub-categories:

A. Incapable of speaking for themselves and happy to let their irate mother do the talking.
B. Embarrassed that they brought their irate mother to the Student Services desk.

I tend to favor those who are included in category B. They at least made me laugh occasionally while they yelled at their mom for yelling at me for something that is their own fault.

Thirsty People

In the building where I worked, one of the most common questions I answered (and one I answered at least once a day) was "where is the drinking fountain?" Generally people were embarrassed to learn that they just had to walk an additional 2 feet to their left and they would see it.

"Over there. The drinking water dispenser is clearly marked."


The Great Sports Awakening of '88

The year was 1988. Guns N' Roses and Rick Astley ruled the airwaves. George Bush Sr. was on his way to the White House. The Wonder Years premiered on ABC, popularizing voice-over narration that whimsically put things in context. As for me (cue "Sweet Child O' Mine" as I stare off into the horizon), I may not have fully realized it at the time, but it was then that I first became aware of the world of sports.

The World Series

In my first season rooting for the Yankees, they finished only 3.5 games behind the first place Red Sox, but that was only good enough for 5th place in a crowded, pre-wild card AL East. Thus the Oakland A's, artificially powered by "bash brothers" Jose Canseco and Mark Mcgwire, became my surrogate team for the playoffs.

The A's swept the Sox in the ALCS en route to meeting the Dodgers in the World Series. I watched enough of game one to see the A's take the early lead on a Canseco grand slam that dented a camera in the bleachers. But by the time the famous Dennis Eckersley/Kirk Gibson battle of the bad mustaches rolled around with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, I had already gone to bed.

Yes, I missed it all: Gibson's improbable, game-winning pinch hit homer, his ensuing hobble around the bases and awkward double fist pump, pre-Slim-Fast Tommy Lasorda euphorically leaping out of the dugout, and announcer Jack Buck famously declaring, "I don't believe what I just saw!" When I saw the headline in the sports page the next day I likewise thought, "I don't believe what I just missed!" The heavily favored A's never recovered, falling to the Dodgers in 5 games.

The Super Bowl

My newfound interest in sports carried over into the 1988-89 NFL season. I pledged my allegiance to the Minnesota Vikings (of all teams) based on the influence of 4th grade classmate Dave Rovell. The two of us may have shared the same first name, but he was bigger than me, cooler than me, and had a mullet that wouldn't quit.

The San Francisco 49ers, a perennial '80s powerhouse featuring hall of famers Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, were a popular team at Lincoln/Roosevelt Elementary, so I hopped on their playoff bandwagon after my Vikings were eliminated. They ended up meeting the surprising Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl, led by league MVP Boomer Esiason and rookie running back Ickey Woods (aka the mastermind of the legendary "Ickey Shuffle").

It was a tightly contested game, but with a little over 3 minutes to go the Bengals kicked a field goal to put them ahead 16-13. Still not used to the frequent disappointment of sports, I didn't want to stay up to see the team I was rooting for lose. Having learned nothing from my World Series blunder just a few months prior, I hastily turned off the TV and trudged off to bed before the game ended.

Once again the morning newspaper informed me of the surprising outcome: 49ers 20, Bengals 16. Montana had led a game-winning 92-yard drive culminating in a 10 yard touchdown pass to receiver John Taylor with only 39 seconds left. D'oh.

("Oh, oh oh oh, sweet child o' miiiiine...") Looking back now, I picked a pretty darn good year to have my sports awakening. I just had to learn the hard way that it ain't over 'til it's over.


Gender Politics in the Kitchen

As I was talking to a neighbor recently about my new job, I told him one of the things I was most excited about was that Kristen wouldn't have to keep working two jobs, and that "it will be nice to have her home for dinner." Afterwords, as I thought about what I said (and how I said it), I realized I probably sounded like this guy:

Of course, I really enjoy cooking. So, aside from Kristen's good company, I am excited to have someone around who appreciates the things I cook. Dining with Eddie just isn't the same. Given his limited diet, my culinary prowess has been reduced to melting cheese on bread or noodles.


Name That Baby

Once we found out Morsel was a girl, our most frequently asked question has of course been if we have any names picked out. Why yes, yes we do, thanks for asking. Kristen and I have narrowed our list down to the following five options. The comment board is open to voice your favorite. Or, if you prefer, tell us which ones are shared by an obscure acquaintance from your distant past that you HATED!

1. Bella Barton
A lot of people wrongly guessed the inspiration for Eddie's name when he was born, but perhaps it's time we fully embrace the Twilight angle. Of course, there is a small risk of some residual weirdness between siblings when they discover they were named after star-crossed vampire lovers.

2. Albus Severus Barton
After finishing the last Harry Potter book back in June (and just before we had announced our pregnancy to the world), I posted on Facebook and Twitter that "our next child will be named Albus Severus, regardless of gender." Since my social network credibility is on the line, I feel like I need to keep this option in play.

3. Kitanya Irenya Tatanya Karenska Alisoff Barton
We would call her Miss Kitka for short, a charming acronym that anyone who has seen Batman: The Movie 50+ times will appreciate (okay, that's pretty much just us and you, Hali). Dah, what a purr-fectly lovely idea.

4. Dolly Barton
It has a nice, instantly recognizable ring to it, don't you think?

5. Beatrice Barton
I'm not sure why, but Beatrice has been my go-to pretend girl name for years. Plus, it would ensure that Morsel is actually born an old lady, thus inspiring a Benjamin Button sequel and making us stacks of cash.


20-Week Ultrasound

Today, we had our 20-week ultrasound. I was extremely excited to get to see Morsel again and to make sure everything is going well. I could already tell that she is growing (because of my giant belly) and getting stronger (because I have been able to feel her movements from the outside a couple of times now).

Our ultrasound tech was great. She talked us through the entire thing and told us everything we were seeing and everything she was looking for. Morsel is measuring just right for my due date and looks very healthy. And yes, she is definitely a girl. The funny thing is that right after we reconfirmed that fact, Morsel moved into this position:

And here is a shot of her beautiful profile:

The ultrasound tech was so positive through the entire thing that I was taken a bit off guard when the doctor later said, "I don't want you to be concerned, but I have to tell you that your baby has a small cyst on her brain." Before I had time to freak out about that (or really process it), he went on to say that this type of cyst is very normal and they "always" go away. But, just to be sure, they will be doing another ultrasound a few weeks before my due date. In the meantime, we are not supposed to worry about it.

To help alleviate any worries I may or may not have been feeling, I stopped at Shopko on my way to work and bought more baby clothes. Then I got to work and ordered some more. If nothing else, Morsel will be well dressed.


The Job Hunt

As most of you know, I have been working limited hours at Salt City Candle since early 2009. By last fall, when it became clear this situation wasn't going to be resolved any time soon, I started preparing myself for the grueling task of job hunting.

Before I could start looking in earnest, my portfolio was in need of a complete overhaul. I spent my free Fridays working on this with the goal to have it finished by the end of 2009. I've always been someone who functions better with a deadline, and true to form I put the finishing touches on my new and improved portfolio on New Year's Eve no less. Check it out:

Over the last 8 months I have applied for dozens of positions, been a finalist for a few of them, and even briefly considered moving to St. Louis. But my search has finally come to an end. I'm going to take my talents to Stampin' Up and join their catalog team. A special shout out must go to friend and neighbor Cam Carter, who also works as a designer at Stampin' Up. He has been an invaluable inside man for me during this process.

I'm also extremely grateful for Kristen and her willingness to take on part time work to help us get by. But she is ready to be a mom again, and wasted no time turning in her notice at Salt Lake Community College. For the time being she is going to continue working mornings at Samson Cables—at least until Morsel is born.

As for Salt City, I have offered to stay on with them in a limited capacity, working on projects as needed in my spare time. Details are still being worked out, but it should be a mutually beneficial arrangement. At least now I will be the one working two jobs, not Kristen.


Cinematic Utah: Logan's Heroes

Previously: Wasatch Front to Back

Usually when we come across an old theater I am with Kristen and Eddie, so I don't always have a lot of time to work with. They wait patiently as I hop out of the car and take 10-15 shots, of which I typically pick 2-3 favorites to post. But when we were up in Logan for the Barton Family Reunion last month, I got up bright and early on Saturday morning so I could shoot the Utah Theatre by myself. Without anyone waiting around for me, I went a little overboard, eventually taking over 60 photos. And with more to choose from, I ended up with more favorites. So this will be my first installment dedicated to a single theater (unless you want to count the adjacent Caine Lyric Theatre in the wide shot of the street).

Utah Theatre #1 // Logan // 8.7.10

Utah Theatre #2 // Logan // 8.7.10

Utah Theatre #3 // Logan // 8.7.10

Utah Theatre #4 // Logan // 8.7.10

Utah Theatre #5 // Logan // 8.7.10

Utah Theatre #6 // Logan // 8.7.10