Do you have a question about relationships and flirting?

You can email me about any of your relationship and flirtation questions, and I'll be happy to address them in my blog. Won't that be fun! Its very Dear Abby, but hey...I'm just as good as she is! Just put "Dear Ottis" in the subject. Make sure your letters are annoymous though, to protect you and me. Send all questions to

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dear Ottis,

I recently broke up with my boyfriend, and I’m lingering it what I believe is termed the “rebound” phase. The idea of getting out there and dating is somewhat unappealing to me, but I know it must be done. How long can I stay cooped up before once again flying the nest? And when I do, how can I get excited about dating?



Dear Bird-thing

Might I begin this letter by saying that I love that you call yourself Bird-thing...very interesting indeed. This is a very common question: how to get back into the dating scene. I would suggest that the sooner you get out on dates the better. Sure they'll be rather uneventful at first, and maybe even down right annoying. But, this is the fastest way for you to get over your beau. The more you can have fun and be interested in other guys, the better for you. Some call this the "rebound" phase. I like to call it going out and having fun. Nothing wrong with that. Though, I would suggest getting serious or into a relationship too quickly after is rarely a healthy idea.

As to your question about getting excited for dating. That is a more difficult one to answer. People are so different about their dating views. I'd say just go have fun. Remember, you're getting it for free! What can be better than that? Try to go out with people that you know you can have a good time with. Refrain from the pity or principle dates. Those will not help you feel better. You can re-incorporate those into your dating life a little on down the line. Just remember, it is indeed hard to let go of someone that you love. Go ahead and grieve for that. Its an important and natural part of the process. However, the faster you allow yourself to get back out there, the sooner you'll enjoy it again! So, go out and get some dates, and have a jolly old time! Happy Dating!



Today's is going to be a rather difficult post for me to write. I have been talking to several people about various issues, and it all basically comes down to the same problem: dating confidence. Therefore, I will attempt to address this issue. Note that there are many sides to this issue, and some of them may even be contradicting, but alas, we'll see what I can do.

Men. Dating confidence comes into play right at the beginning for you. After all, a man has to be confident enough to ask the girl out. I think it's important to remember that this does take confidence. . . and practice (girls, remember it does take some guts). Now, here at BYU, most of the girls have the rule about always going on at least a first date to give him a try. You would think that this would relieve some of the fear for us, but it doesn't.

Here is why.

Generally speaking, when a guy asks a girl out, he does so because he is interested. When the girl replies with her default answer of yes, it doesn't really mean anything, because its a yes out of principle. We're not actually privy to knowing whether or not the girl is interested in us in return. There is just as much pressure and insecurity going into the date as there was in asking the girl out in the first place.

Now, you may say, "that's just normal." I would submit that it is not. You see, in normal dating scenarios, the very fact that a girl deemed a guy worthy of going out with her shows that there is some interest. Indeed, that allows the guy to feel some confidence and go into the date more relaxed and more able to show his true self. But when you go into a date with no clue, it muddles things up. In terms of dating confidence, the best way to gain it for guys is just to ask girls out. No need to be awkward about it. No need to be overly creative either. Just be you. There are few things more attractive to a woman than a man with confidence. Just ask. The more unsure you seem about it as you ask, the less confident you come off. Obviously.

Women. Dating confidence for you tends to be less about personal confidence and more about how many boys ask you out on dates. After all, the more you're asked out, the more likely that you'll continue to be asked out. Many wonder why it is in wards that a select few girls are asked out by virtually every guy, while others never get asked out once. There are obviously many factors in this, but let me discuss the one of confidence.

I realize that in our society, women are raised to be self-conscious. We are all bombarded with the beautiful people on TV, movies, and magazines. Let's all be honest, only 5% of the population actually looks that good anyway. Here is what you may not know: A lot of guys don't want that kind of girl. Men don't want someone too perfect. That'll just make them feel insecure for the rest of their dating/married lives. Sure, we all talk about it, and joke, but when it all comes down to it, we want a girl that we're gonna feel comfortable with, who we still find attractive, yes, but who is at least somewhere near our league. So, take confidence in knowing that.

Many of the girls who do get asked out on a regular basis are the ones who exude the most amount of confidence. As my colleague Paxton once said, "if you don't think you're pretty, then you're probably not!" That is to say that when you don't think that you're worth dating, worth loving, worth finding that perfect someone for you, then you are merely creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, as they say. I'm not a self-help guru, so I'm not going to even attempt to tackle that mess, but suffice it to say, we all need to do what we need to do so that we can feel like attractive, desirable individuals. The more confidence you feel, the more guys will see it in you, and therefore be drawn to you.

Now, I realize that lots of you will be saying, "Gee, that's awfully idealistic. It's nice on paper, but that's just not the way that it works in real life." Well, to that I say, "You're un-confidence is showing. . ." Geeze, that's embarrassing. . . You are only as desirable and date-able as you feel. Sure, it's nice to have that confidence come from outside sources (like members of the opposite sex), but at the end of the day, confidence is a personal journey that we all need to undertake! Especially when it comes to dating confidence. So, to all of you readers, get out there. Go on dates. To quote My Big Fat Greek Wedding, "Get married, make Greek look so old!"

Friday, September 25, 2009


So, on Wednesday I got to be a judge for BYU's Got Talent. It was quite the experience. One that I always wanted to have, and now that I've had it, I realize how difficult it is. When I got to the judging table and met my fellow judges, they strongly reminded us on how nice we need to be to the contestants. I chatted with the other judges a bit, and found that they couldn't really be mean to save their lives, so I realized that I was gonna be the only one who was slightly honest. After the first contestants sang (slightly out of tune I might add) I made my comments. I included the fact that they were a little pitchy. Well, I totally got booed. On one hand it cracked me up that I was being booed, on the other hand, it kind of shocked me, and made me shy away from making any harsh statements. Though, I did remind other people that they need to sing in tune... I did get booed a few more times, but it was fun. The highlights of the evening would have to be Nic - singer/songwriter who was amazing (and won), Yo-yo man - who was incredibly entertaining to watch, and for me the stand up comedian. After all, who doesn't clean up a spill with tar? The Balancing Guy would be a close contender also, but I did fear for my life. He balanced a yard stick, a chair, a mountain bike and a ladder on his chin. Pretty insane. Other than that, I also got interviewed by a reporter, and am going to be put in the paper. I just hope she doesn't make me look bad. I know how these reporters can be. I watch Law and Order...and The Closer. I see it all the time- back stabbing, self serving, lying reporters only going for their scoop, not caring who they destroy in the process. Typical. Well, I won't be a victim. I won't!
Anyway, in other news (I love how I say that, as if I'm some sort of anchor on the Night-Lee News (did you like that play on words)) I had a concert last night, and I'll have another one tonight. Everyone should come. Its gonna be great. Our opening song with the Women's Chorus (which is also the theme song for Homecoming this year) is pretty awesome. There are still tickets available.
I feel like I had so much more to say...but, I can't remember any of it. I guess thats the problem when I don't post more often. All sorts of things build up in my mind that I'm supposed to talk about, and then I never remember what they were. I would just like to say however that I have apparently learned a new skill from James. That is I can apparently just go on and on with this blog. I've learned the art of gab. Isn't that wonderful? The normal me would have ended this this after the third sentence, but look at me, I've learned to carry on and on about absolutely nothing. That actually makes me rather happy. Hopefully someday I'll learn to do that in actual conversation. And then, after I learn to do that, hopefully I learn to control it. That is the next step in mastery. Hopefully people don't care that I'm carrying on here, but if they do - Such is Life!

Monday, September 21, 2009

BYU's Got Talent? I'll be the judge of that...

So, I'm very pleased to announce that I am officially one of the judges for BYU's Got Talent this semester. I will be reprising my roll as judge next semester in BYU Idol. The competition starts this Wednesday in the Varsity Theater at 7. Its so nice to know people. I am so excited about this! Everyone really should come! Its funny because in the course of my email conversation with the woman in charge, she made me promise not to try and make people cry. Luckily, I don't have to try, it just comes naturally to me :) I just told her that I'd give my honest opinion, and hope that it goes well. Lets all be honest, my honest opinion can be harsh at times, but it can also be very generous. And if the other judges are gonna try and be mean, then I don't really need to. But...this is BYU, so I'm guess they'll all say they'll be mean, and then won't have the heart. They'll just be nice and sweet. Luckily, thats not very me. I just hope there are some real talented people, and not just a bunch of goofs wasting my time. Because heaven knows I shan't be able to hold back on people that are just there wasting my time...I am a busy person after all. So, come and support me on Wednesday!
And just an interesting note...I've had a wicked case of insomnia lately. I haven't gone to bed before 4am in the past few weeks, and its getting really tiring...haha. I just can't seem to get to sleep, and so all sorts of things have been popping out of my mouth because of the tiredness. Not a healthy situation, I know. Just be aware of this, y'all! Cause I don't mean to offend you if something stupid comes out of my mouth, or if I say something that makes no sense, or if I ramble on in self-pity or something...but like they say, Such is life!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dear Ottis-

First off, thank you for being selfless enough to solve other people's dating problems. You may remember me from a past life, the girl who thought that smiling nicely was pretty good flirting. Well, I'm happy to say that I have learned to flirt a little better. So this is my problem. I have a friend. For a long time (Fall-Winter semesters) we weren't really all that good of friends, mostly just like... "hey we are in the same ward, you are my home teacher." We did go out once, but then he got a girlfriend, and...yeah. So during the summer we (my friends and his friends) started hanging out more and his girlfriend was gone on a study abroad. We then became actual friends, rather than superficial friends. So... his girlfriend comes home, they break up, he immediately starts paying a lot more attention to me and asks me out and we start spending more time together. Ok all that being said, I really don't know how I feel about him. I definitely haven't ruled him out as someone to date, but at the same time, I'm not feeling that giddy butterfly feeling about this whole development. So... we're friends, we hang out, we went on a date, I'd like to see where this goes. So how do I show interest without showing interest?? I feel like my feelings could go either way at this point so I don't want to lead him on, but I also don't want him to give it up. Give me your opion, Ottis, please!!

-Stuck in the middle

Dear Stuck in the Middle,

Thank you for your letter. You are too kind :) You find yourself in a very common predicament, so don't feel like you are alone on this. In fact, I've had several conversations just recently with various people all with this common situation. I hope that I can offer some advice that will help you out.
The first thing I have to say is that you're response to his attention is very typical. Unlike men, women typically do take longer to really decide if they're interested in pursuing a type of relationship. Men usually know very quickly (since their judgement is based mostly on physical attraction). I think that the best way for you to decide whether or not you do, or could, have feelings for this fellow is to let things continue to unfold. Keep going out on dates with him, keep seeing him. Don't worry, you are not leading him on. This is a very normal part of dating. its all about getting to know each other on a more intimate level so that you can determine whether or not he'd make an ideal partner for you.
As to your question about showing interest without showing interest...that is a very difficult question to answer. The truth of the matter is you are interested in getting to know him better, and in seeing where things could go, even if that is not very far. So, show that! Show him that you want to be closer to him, that you want to get to know him more as an individual and that you are invested in that part of your relationship with him. I can guarantee that when a guy knows that you sincerely want to know him for him, and are invested in him as a person, he will grow in confidence and you'll get to see him become a better person, and what can be better than that! To do this, you need to show good open body language and engaged conversational cues. Be an active listener, show you're paying attention, ask questions. Don't sit with your arms crossed, expose your wrists to him (in a natural looking way). These are signs of openness. Keep up your good smiling! Hold his gaze a little longer than normal. These are all great natural things that show your attraction. Just make sure that you stay intuned with your thoughts through out this process. If throughout your dates you just think, I'm not really into this, then don't take too long to tell him. Be sincere and honest, and he'll respect you for it.
I just wanted to add that I since a small fear of being the rebound in the situation also. In my opinion, it doesn't feel that way to me. You developed a friendship well before. In the absence of his girlfriend he probably realized that he had some kind of feeling for you. Look at how quickly things ended with her when she got back. So, while it could be, it doesn't seem that way to me. So, keep on keeping on! Enjoy the fun you two can have together! I wish you the best!

Italian Recipes - cooking class II

Roasted Eggplant
1 eggplant
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 bunch basil
1 fresh mozzarella ball
olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. Put balsamic into a small sauce pan. Bring up to a soft simmer (low to med-low heat) and let reduce by half. Cut eggplant into 1/4" slices length wise. Place on cooking sheet and brush olive oil onto the tops. Sprinkle with salt. Cut mozzarella into slices and place on each eggplant slice. Stack basil leaves, and roll into a long cylinder. Julienne the basil. Sprinkle onto of the eggplant and cheese. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and sprinkle a little more salt. Place in oven. When the cheese is nicely melted and brown the eggplant is done. This should be about 10 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and serve warm.

Tips: Another alternative to roasting the eggplant in the oven is to grill it on a grill pan. Once the eggplant is seared, then you can put the mozzarella and basil on the top, and once melted, serve.
It also works well to allow your balsamic to cool before drizzling it on the eggplant. When it cools, it will get a much thicker and syrupy consistency.

Sun-dried Tomato Crostini
1 baguette
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 small jar sun-dried tomatoes
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Cut baguette into slices, cutting on the bias. Place slices on a cookie sheet. Drain sun-dried tomatoes and cut into 1" cubes. In med mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, parmasan, and tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon mixture onto bread. Place in oven. Cook until the cheese is nicely melted and browned. This should take about 10 minutes.

Tips: You can replace the sun-dried tomatoes with artichoke hearts if you prefer. You could also add some minced garlic to the recipe.
Remember that each oven is different, and thus they will take different amounts of time. Its really just a checking game.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 tbsp quality mustard
1 tsp minced garlic
1 generous tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp herbs de Provence
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients except olive oil. Mix well. Add olive oil. If you lightly mix, this makes a good vinaigrette. If you mix well until it emulsifies, you can add a tsp of water to keep it from separating and serve on the side. Salt and pepper to taste.

Tips: Remember if you're adding grape or cherry tomatoes to your salad to put them between to lids and cut through them. This will save you lots of time and energy.

1 large onion, cut into 1" dice
2 large carrots, cut into 1/2" dice
3 ribs celery, cut into 1" dice
4 cloves garlic
olive oil, for the pan
3 lbs ground chuck (18% or less) You can also use ground brisket or round or combination
2 cubs tomato paste
3 cups Merlot (or beef stock with 2 tbsp balsamic)
3 bay leaves
3 sprigs of thyme
3 sprigs of oregano
1 lb pasta
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
high quality olive oil for finishing

In a food processor, puree onion, carrots, celery and garlic into a coarse paste (You can add some salt to help with this). In a large sautee pan over medium heat, coat pan with oil. Add the pureed veggies and season generously with salt (go ahead, it'll be ok). Bring pan to a medium high heat and cook until all water had evaporated and they become nice and brown, stirring frequently. 15-20 min. Be patient. Its a waiting game. This is where we get the big flavors.

Add the ground beef and season again generously with salt. Brown the beef. Remember that brown food tastes good. Don't rush this step. Cook 15-20 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook until brown: 4-5 min. Add the wine or beef stock with balsamic. Cook until liquid has reduced by half: 4-5 min.

Add water to pan until the water is about 1" above the meat. Toss in the bay leaves, thyme and oregano and stir to combine everything. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. As the water evaporates you will gradually need to add more, about 2-3 cups at a time. Don't be shy about adding water during the cooking process, you can always cook it out. This is a game of reduce and add more water. This is where big rich flavors develop. If you try to add all the water in the biginning you will have boiled meat sauce rather than a rich, think meaty sauce. Stir and TASTE frequently. Season with salt, if needed (you probably will). Simmer for 3-4 hours.

During the last 30 minutes of cooking bring a large stock pot of water to boil over high heat. Salt the water generously once boiling (a good handful). Salty as the ocean! If your pasta water is under seasoned it doesn't matter how good your sauce is, your complete dish will always taste under seasoned. Remember, the pasta is the star of the dish. Add pasta to water when at a rolling boil. Cook for 1-2 min less than called for on the package (for the perfect al dente). Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

While the pasta is cooking, remove 1/2 of the ragu from the pot and reserve.

Drain the pasta and add to the pot with remaining ragu. Remember never to rince pasta if you're going to serve it warm. Add soem of the reserved sauce if needed to make it about an even ratio between pasta and sauce. Add reserved cooking water and cook together to marry the pasta with the sauce. Turn off heat and add cheese and drizzle with high quality olive oil. Toss and stir vigorously. Divide the pasta and sauce into serving bowls, or one big serving bowl. Top with a little more cheese and the remaining sauce. Serve immediately.

Tips: You can simmer for less than the 3 hours, but remember that the longer you cook it, the more developed the flavors will be.
Remember when cutting veggies to use the good claw technique for safety. Also, use proper blade holding technique.
If you get lots of crusties on the bottom of your pan remember that its a good thing! Just deglaze the pan by adding some liquid (like the stock) and then scrape it all up. It adds delicious flavor to the dish.

Peanut Butter Frosting
1-1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1-2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp dairy (I use cream, but you can use any kind of milk)
1/2 tub of cool whip

Put peanut butter in a med mixing bowl and beat until its creamy and less stiff. Add brown sugar, vanilla and corn syrup. Combine well. Add powdered sugar slowly, incorporating well. Alternate between adding powdered sugar and drizzling the milk product. Remember to taste it, to make sure its how you like it. You can add a little pinch of salt if you'd like. Place on cake, reserving about 1/4 cup in the bowl. Mix 1/4 cup of left over frosting with the 1/2 tub of cool whip. Stir until well combined. Use this to top your cake.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


For those of you who have not yet discovered Glee, it is one of my new favorite shows. There are some great songs and great arrangments in it. There are also some great singers (though there are also just some ok singers). So, randomly at work my coworker Jacob introduced me to this Glee cover of "Don't Stop Believing." Its all just one guy who sings all 5 parts. Interestingly enough, I think I actually prefer this version to the one in the show itself. Hope you all enjoy it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dear Ottis,

Unfortunately for me, and I would also say unfortunately for him, I have recently been broken up with by my bf of several months. It came as a total surprise, and in a matter of moments I went from guessing how long until the ring to how long until the brownies would be ready. Needless to say, it has been a rough several weeks, but I feel it is time to try and get back in the dating scene.

We all know that BYU is known for its social functions centered on creating a catalyst for flirtation. However, I find myself showing up to ward prayer and getting lost in the sea of people and my own anxieties. Lets face it, I suddenly can't flirt any longer. And its overwhelming to walk on campus and see all these men and feel anxious that the last one that past me was my soul mate and how am i ever to see him again?!?!?!

Contrastingly, I did go on my first date since the break up a few days ago. It was great for the first hour or so, and then suddenly my account titled "flirting tips and tricks" came up empty. At this point who was once "rude face ex" became "this years most eligible bachelor" and I was itching for him to speed up in a get-away car in front of the restaurant.

How do I get back on my A-game? Is there hope of finding Mr. Right on campus? And if so, how do I let him know I am his missing half if I am socially, emotionally, and flirting-ly handicapped?

-Bankrupt Flirter

Dear Bankrupt Flirter,

Let me begin by saying how sorry I am that you've recently gone through a break-up. Those are never fun. I'm sure that its more his loss than yours though. Just remember rule number 1. "You are a creature unlike anyother!" I most certainly agree that it is time for you to get back in the dating scene, and I recognize that dating and flirting in and of itself can be cause for anxiety and worry. Lets also remember that dating and flirting can be cause for great fun and enjoyment.

To get back on your A-game, I think there is one thing that you should remember. Flirting, and first dates for that matter, are all about having fun. There should be no pressure, there should be no "Is this 'The ONE'" type thinking. Just go and have fun interacting with members of the opposite sex. When you keep this mind set it actually does several things for you. First and formost, it keeps you relaxed and having fun. This is so important for a flirting and dating atmosphere. Second, when you're having fun, you actually subconsiously allow your self to flirt. You smile a gorgeous smile, you play with your hair, you give good eye contact and you become more open and vulnerable. Note that vulnerable here is not a negative, but a positive. Flirting is a completely natural behavior in all animal life. And lastly, it allows you to move on from prior relationships. When you can go and have a good time with another guy, feel attracted to him, and remember that not all men are 'skum' then that is a good sign that you are moving on. Flirting and dating is a necissary step to getting over someone, even if it starts off a little rocky.

Unfortunately, I can't help you know if someone is 'Mr. Right' for you. That is a deep and personal thing. What I can say is that when you allow things to develope naturally, without over thinking things, you will be able to determin if he is the right man for you, and you will learn to know yourself, and him, on a more intimate level.

I wish you the best of luck in your future dating and flirting. Remember...I'm single too...if you want :)

Something Good, and Something Bad

So, this is going to be an interesting post to write. First off, President Monson came to speak to us at the BYU devotional today. Can I just say, I completely covet his speaking skills! He is soooo funny, and has such great inflection/timing/pace...everything. So, ya. At the devotional the combined BYU choirs got to sing also. We sang "I Stand All Amazed" and can I just say, I think we sounded pretty dang good. There were less brilliant moments, as with every live performance, but all in all, it was dang good. It was funny, because we were watching the CES fireside at my apt on sunday, and people were commenting on how wonderful the choir sounded, and I just said "wait until tuesday devotional. Thats how a real choir sounds!" I'm such a choir snob...and dang proud of it now. Anyway, he gave a great address on the recent prophets, and shared some personal insights about the type of men they were. It was great!

Now for the less positive. We, here at the library, have been blessed with several new student employees. Some of them are smashing, and some of them...well, I want to smash. Luckily the ones in my cubical are incredibly barable. However, one of the newbies is ridiculously obnoxious. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm obnoxious too and I know it, but still. I was talking to Emilemily about it the other day, and we were reminicing about the annoying people in the past, including a certain someone who couldn't seem to stay out of our conversation. I had to tell her that this new guys is like 100x worse. He even just pops over in the middle of our conversation to stand there...very awkward. I have to say though, I definitely think he has a little something for my dearest cubical mate, Sydney. He definitely has a little crush on her, and loves to talk over the cubical wall to her (which is interdit).
Anyway, this whole ordeal has just reminded me of when you start off a new semester, even in your ward, and these new people come in and try and take over everything. You just have to sit them down and say, listen up Bleu, we're the vets of the ward, just let us do our thing! Ugh. My cousin tells me that I need to be nicer, and more accepting of people, though. So, I may give that a try... I would just like to submit though, that when I go into a new ward, I like to spend some time understanding the way the ward works, before I try to dominate it with my keen intellect...indeed, one may say that taking ones time is the propper way to do so. Anyway, this has turned into a bit of a rant but...such is life!

Friday, September 11, 2009

This is a first...

Well, I never thought that I'd do it...I never thought that I'd be one of those people who actually sits down and blogs...but alas, those times have changed. Due to popular demand, I am now going to try this whole blogging thing out and see what happens. As I sit here and wonder what on earth to talk about, I can't help but think that my writing a blog isn't going to be nearly as funny or entertaining as talking to me in person :) Not that I'm all that entertaining in person, but get the point. So, I figure in this little blog, I'll be talking about all the things that are very me...thus the Lee-isms (Thank you Syd). I'm prolly gonna throw up some recipes, some flirting tips :) and some pet peaves, or just anything that I can think of, but lets be honest here, I'm not really one who goes around thinking too often...haha. In other exciting news, Dr. Staheli has a greed to give me private conducting lessons. I'm gonna get into that masters program, even if I have to step over some people to get there. Anywho, I should probably go and make something of my weekend. I'd hate to sit here and do nothing, but...such is life.