Candied Walnuts, Housing Market, & Other Fun Filled Things

Dear Blogosphere,

The graduate group at UC Davis is not only paying for my hotel room and food, but being so kind as to check all of the menus for gluten and ordering me special meals if necessary. Someone coordinating the visit emailed me asking me if candied walnuts were an issue, as a caterer inquired. I thought, "No... but since the caterer asked, maybe I should do a little research." Indeed, they are glutenous. It is easy to make candied nuts without wheat starch, but commercial candied nuts are not safe. Wacky, eh?

So, Taylor called today letting us know that our old house by the Country Club was on KSL. It is a little weird to see my childhood home on the news. Here's the story:

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

As far as music goes, I highly recommend that you check out The Dana Owens Album by Queen Latifah. She parted ways with hip-hop for this album. It is strictly jazz. Her voice is so beautiful.

Have a fabulous week! I am so excited to be in Davis in a week. Ah!



Dear Blogosphere,

I have a few minutes here to update you on the mundane details of my life, that I promised in the creation of this blog. I'll be going out to Davis on Wednesday so I am quite excited about that. Check out the department, meet people, sample the produce, see what Davis is all about. I'll be coming back on Saturday. This semester is going by way too fast! I am pushing deadlines. I have given up on getting ahead, and am now satisfied with just getting things done on time. The end of this semester is going to be stressful.



UC Davis

Dear Blogosphere,

Yay!! I got into UC Davis! Still waiting to hear from three other programs, but I am getting quite excited about Davis, I must say. I would actually get to use my spiffy bicycle. And I'd be living in warmer California. Not to mention the research prospects there. Ooh, I'm getting very excited!! Anyway, thought I'd share some good news!



Beyond Uptown Girl

Dear Blogosphere,

This post isn't to attack the popularity of Billy Joels' singles, but Billy Joel is soooooo much more than Uptown Girl or The Longest Time. Here are some songs I recommend you check out.

-Roberta (Streetlife Serenade, my soprano saxophone was named after this song)
-Summer, Highland Falls (Turnstiles)
-Shades of Grey (River of Dreams)
-Invention in C Minor, Op. 6 (Fantasies & Delusions)
-Stop in Nevada (Piano Man)
-Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway) (Turnstiles)
-Big Man on Mulberry Street (The Bridge)
-In a Sentimental Mood (on A League of Their Own ST or My Lives)
-Waltz #1, Op. 2, "Nunley's Carousel" (Fantasies & Delusions)
-Zanzibar (52nd Street or, for my favorite unfaded version, My Lives)
-Prelude/Angry Young Man (Turnstiles)
-The Stranger (The Stranger)
-Stiletto (52nd Street)
-Somewhere Along the Line (Piano Man)
-The End of the World (My Lives -- unfortunately there is only a demo of this song)

Now, for a statistics comic:

Amazing. Just amazing.



The Daily Utah Chronicle Article

Student musician will be missed

Michael McFall

Staff Writer

Published: Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Updated: Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Christopher Owens

Korin Owens no longer hears her son’s piano music filling the house.

She used to stop and listen to the music. She would wander the house until she found her son, Christopher Warren Owens, playing from memory.

Korin Owens’ family will remember Thursday, in the words of Don McLean, as the day the music died. Owens, a 20-year-old sophomore at the U, committed suicide last week. He is survived by his parents, Warren and Korin, his brother Cameron and his sisters Jessica, Erica and April.

“His music was his love, it came totally natural for him,” Korin Owens said. Owens, who played the piano, guitar and bass guitar, could hear any sound, musical or not, and name its pitch, note or chord progression, she said. He even memorized 48 guitar songs within a matter of days, a demand he met for a neighborhood band, Jaboom, in which he played bass. He also took home armfuls of high awards from music festivals, which helped earn him a scholarship at the U, she said.

Lindsey Lambert, a junior in music, said though she never knew Owens, she heard amazing stories of his melodies filling the music hall.

Owens’ music was used in the background of a 2005 Sundance Film Festival entry. The sound track was a five-piece guitar score. Everyone thought it sounded like an orchestra, when in fact Owens had composed and played all five parts and mixed them together, said Mike Toronto, his friend and neighbor.

“Ironically enough, the movie he wrote it for was about preventing suicide,” Toronto said.

After seven years of playing guitar and more than a decade at the piano, Owens had developed chronic back pain eight months ago, on top of developing clinical depression at age 17.

During one performance, he had to lie down on his back the whole time. Not long ago, he finally told his mother about it, but by then it was a little too late, she said. Despite going to several doctors and diligently following their regimens, the pain forced him to change his major from music to chemical engineering last semester.

“He was pretty silent about his pain,” Korin Owens said. “We had to dig deep to figure it out.”

Owens’ death is the second in the past three weeks for the Owens family, after Matthew Buhler, a family friend, committed suicide Jan. 16. Korin Owens said she beseeches friends and family to watch their loved ones closely for any signs of problems and to be open with them, and show them all the love in the world.

“Just always make sure that you know that you let them know how you feel, and that they are the most valuable person you can imagine,” she said.




Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

Dear Blogosphere,

I have a couple of songs to recommend today. These are chosen with Chris in mind:

*Charlie Mingus - Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
*Ben Folds Five - Magic
*Chantal Kreviazuk - Surrounded

Since I'm guessing most everyone reading this are friends, I want you to know that I am always there for you. Rain, shine, or overcast. This weekend was really hard. I can say with relative certainty that the impact Chris had on our lives is going to continue to ripple through the sea of humanity. I love you all.



Music Recommendations

Dear Blogosphere,

I've been listening to a lot of music the past few days and have a few recommendations.

-Anything and everything (sadly not nearly enough!) of The Pipettes. You can see them pictured above. I'd highly recommend youtubing them, too.
-Sam & Dave (particularly Hold On I'm Coming! and Soothe Me)
-The Bens (especially Bruised and Just Pretend)
-Ben Kweller (try Falling, Penny On The Train Track, I Gotta Move, Wasted & Ready, and Commerce, TX)
-The Wallflowers (favorites: God Says Nothing Back, Closer to You, and Be Your Own Girl)
-Simon & Garfunkel (try Keep the Customer Satisfied, Baby Driver, Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream, Punky's Dilemma, For Emily Whenever I May Find Her, and He Was My Brother)



Christopher Warren Owens

Dear Blogosphere,

Here is Chris' obituary. We're all going to miss him a lot. He was a very friendly and funny guy and an amazing musician.

Christopher Warren Owens 1988 ~ 2009 Our beautiful, bright, and talented son and brother, Christopher Warren Owens, passed away in his home February 5, 2009.He was born August 4, 1988, in Salt Lake City, Utah to his adoring parents Warren Duane Owens Jr. and Korin Cooper Owens. Christopher graduated with honors, in June of 2007, from Highland High School and thereafter was enrolled at the University of Utah on a scholarship. He was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was an extraordinary young man beyond measure who had the soul of a man well past his years. He was extremely hard working and strove for excellence in everything he pursued. His passion for knowledge and music were remarkable. He appreciated the little things in both life and music that many people would have no understanding of. He played the guitar, the bass guitar, and the piano for many years and could make the music come to life bringing joy to his family, himself, but also lighting up the faces of anyone who was listening. He loved fitness in both mind and body and would take in as much information as he possibly could and then put it into practice in his daily life. He earned his Eagle Scout award which gave him many wonderful and memorable experiences camping with his father, leaders, and friends. It was said he was always on top of his game and encouraged the rest of the scouts to pay attention and learn. He had a big heart and wanted to make a difference in the world. His love for his family and his desire to be a good son and brother was at the fore-front of his mind everyday. He wanted all to know that he could be depended on and was very eager to please. As he grew and matured, it was never necessary to give him guidelines, as he seemed to come to this earth with it all figured out. Our hearts are broken and we will deeply miss this giant of a young man. The memories we have shared with our dear Christopher will keep our hearts uplifted and we look forward, with joy, to the day when we will all be reunited in the presence of our Savior. Christopher is survived by his parents Warren and Korin Owens, brother Cameron Owens (Ashley), sisters Jessica Hickman (Mike), Erica (18) and April (11); grandparents Keith and JoAnne Cooper, Robbie Owens, a beloved nephew, and many aunts, uncles and cousins. He was privileged to have several close friends namely, Jeff, Chad, Mike, Jared, Josh and many others. He is preceded in death by his grandfather, Warren Duane Owens Sr. A viewing will held Sunday February 8, 2009 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the Salt Lake Highland Stake Center located at 2738 South Filmore Street in Salt Lake City, Utah. A viewing prior to the funeral services will be held 10:00 - 10:45 a.m. on February 9th 2009. Funeral services will begin at 11:00 a.m. thereafter. The interment will be at the Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park & Mortuary in Salt Lake City, Utah (enter from 3300 South).


What is Celiac Disease?

Dear Blogosphere,

A good friend of mine posted a comment on my "lets list the weird things that contain gluten" posting. I thought, hey, why not give a good explanation of that mysterious protein called gluten!

Gluten is a protein found in wheat. For ease, pretty much everyone (except probably gastroenterologists who work in labs) refer to the potentially harmful proteins in barley and rye as gluten as well. Gluten is not "bad" but can be harmful to some people. Gluten is the protein that gives bread all of its fabulous textures -- chewy and elasticy, fluffy and soft.

Gluten is harmful for people who have Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance. I do not know much about Gluten Intolerance, so I will stick to explaining Celiac Disease. Celiacs occurs in about 1:133 Americans. It is a genetic auto-immune disorder. About 10% of type 1 diabetics have Celiac Disease. The cause of Celiac Disease is an inappropriate immune reaction to gluten. When the immune system detects gluten in the small intestine, it decides to attack and kill the cells on the surface of the small intestinal walls.

The picture above shows what happens after time as the immune system continues to attack the small intestine. This is called villi atrophy. The left is a healthy tissue sample; the right is unhealthy. If you have learned about digestion before, you will know how the villi are so important. The villi allow for more surface area, and therefore, more absorption of nutrients. So, those with Celiac Disease (before treatment) tend to be vitamin and mineral deficient and their bodies are often starved or in starvation mode.

Usually, doctors diagnose Celiac Disease by running blood tests for antibodies and then, the gold standard, by biopsy. I went to my endocrinologist in June for a regular diabetes check-up. He asked me about my general health and I told him that I had upset stomachs often, but that's just because I'm too stubborn to stop eating cheese and ice cream (I thought I was lactose intolerant). He told me that he was going to order some blood work for Celiac Disease. I told him that I didn't think I had it, but he sort of demanded. Anyway, the blood work came back "very positive" (I had a lot of activity going on) so I went for the small intestine biopsy. It is very easy. They knocked me out for about 5 minutes and did an endoscopy (I do have pictures) and biopsy. A few weeks later, a pathologist had determined that I had moderate damage due to Celiac Disease.

The only treatment for Celiac Disease is avoiding gluten. And might I just say... THANK GOD! Although it has been difficult to cut out all of the delicious glutenous foods, to not have to deal with more injections and drugs that have side effects is fabulous. Within three days of starting the gluten free diet, I had energy I never knew existed. It takes about 6 months for the SI to heal itself, so I'm sitting tight. I have accidentally ingested gluten a few times (by cross-contamination), and it has been unpleasant. The worst part is the exhaustion that can last for days.

Perhaps the best thing that happened with getting Celiacs is the excuse to try new and delicious (and often expensive) foods. Since being diagnosed I have eaten polenta, made lots of Pad Thai, tried Amy's gluten free meals, and talked my mom into buying me sugary cereals (like Fruity Pebbles and Trix). I get to experiment and find the best versions of pizza crusts and pastas. I've also become even more aware of the food I eat. Since I now have to look hard at ingredient lists, I try to pick foods where I can pronounce all of the ingredients.

The one thing though... the bread will never be as good. No xantham gum can change that.



Weird Dreams and Not-So-Good News

Dear Blogosphere,

The above picture is of my handwriting. This is just one of the many fabulous timewasters on MacRumors. So, I slept for about 11 hours last night/morning. You know how if you sleep a lot you have some weird dreams? Well, I had a dream that I was taking in these poor rabbits who needed a home (they would appear on my doorstep, and I would make room for them). There was a very memorable one that looked just like Ben but with the fur of TWR. He/she was very cute.

So, in the dream, I have to rush to make a change on little "get to know you" at a graduate school I applied to and got accepted into. Somehow I ended up at a tattoo parlor in a shabby part of Southern California. I was alone and my cell phone battery was dead. I wanted to get out, because in this tattoo parlor was some sort of rave with trancy music. I woke up, with a headache from my dream, and decided to check my email because I had a very strange feeling. In my inbox was an email from the graduate school in my dream. It told me to go to another website to check the decision. I was horribly nervous. But thought, "Que sera, sera." In short, I didn't get in.

So I spent all day thinking about how I probably didn't get in to the other five graduate programs. I worked myself into a fit. I even ran a DARS report for another major. It would only take me about 4 semesters to get another B.S. Then I thought I could just do something like an internship at Planned Parenthood and rethink my life. But I just had a feeling like that's not what I want to do. The thing I'll miss most about college is writing papers. What will my life be like without writing papers? Without reading articles and thinking?

I think that whatever programs want me are the ones that I want. I think they can tell quite a bit about me from my application, so they can tell if the program will work for me. But it is disappointing to get a letter of rejection.



Perhaps I should have submitted my application in 10-foot high Braille. Ha ha.

Well thanks for reading, Blogosphere! Will be back more... hopefully with happiness.


Big Love, Painting, and Other Fun Things

Dear Blogosphere,

I am loving this season of Big Love! So much drama. Nicki was forced to be a 15 year old bride (and is secretly taking birth control), Sarah (my favorite character) is pregnant, Roman is about to go down (maybe), Anna has idiotically decided to join this raw patriarchy. It is getting exciting!

So my sister and I went to help my other sister and her fiance paint. Holy cow! They are painting like mad and it was already looking greatly improved. Before we started, we had Noodles & Co. They made their Pad Thai gluten free for me. Delicious.

Yesterday (Sunday) I went to the supposed great liquidation at Circuit City. No joke, a printer I was looking as was less expensive at Target. Did they mark everything up to "liquidate" it? They were selling a no-name turntable for $150. I saw a name brand double turntable on sale for $100 a while back elsewhere. I was quite disappointed.

So, I should have news from my prospective grad programs soon. I have a good feeling about Davis and the U. Will keep you posted as things become official.

Have a fabulous week, blogosphere! I love you!