Thursday, December 31, 2009
Now, when I sputter in February, I won't feel so bad. Especially, since I've decided to FROST CUPCAKES. Actually, I may be able to really succeed in this one.
I became interested in my own family history when my first child, Finley, was born. As a new mother, it felt incredible to take my place in the long line of mothers who had come before me. And in the more challenging moments, it was comforting to think that all of these generations of parents had raised children, day-by-day, year-by-year, through the highs and lows, and they made it through! I didn’t want to lose that sense of connection. By graphically interpreting our history, our family tree serves as an emotional reminder that we always have the wisdom, humor, and experience of generations to draw upon.She has several designs, but I fell in love with this one, partly because I love the little, blue bird, but also because it sports the same color scheme that we already have going on in the living/dining area of the house.
The process was easy. I selected the design I wanted and paid for it. Then, Jen sent a spreadsheet for me to fill in with the pedigree chart information. She created a draft of the tree with all my names filled in and sent it to me in .pdf format to review and make sure everything was correct. When I gave her the thumbs up, she finished it and printed it and sent it to me in a mailer.
I'll post more pics when I finish getting everything hung on the wall. I need one more frame before I'm really ready, but I'm very close.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
My first project is to write some personal history. My blog is a bit of personal history in real time, but I'm going to spend time writing about memories and growing up. My commitment is to write something at least once a week. It doesn't have to be super long and drawn out and I'm not going to write about a whole year each week or anything crazy like that. It might be something small, like writing about my first memory or a things I loved to do on summer vacation or a trip I took as a kid. By committing to this small step, I think I can accomplish something important for myself, and maybe I'll even do more. I'll also share some of my writing here on my blog. I'd also like to collect photos that go along with what I write, so I may have to take a photo vacation to Boise at some point to collect the pictures that go along with my memories.
My second project is a little more challenging. I have an ancestor who wrote a personal history. Then another relative put it together (mostly as it was written, but not exactly) in a book called The Trios Pilgrimage. I've read the book a couple of times and I would love to read the actual manuscript and then write my own rendition of the story. Challenge number one is finding out who has the actual manuscript and then figuring out how I can get either the manuscript or, preferably, a copy of the manuscript. I'm hoping my mom can help with that. The second challenge may be reading the manuscript depending on how it was written. The final challenge will be having the discipline to do my own writing.
We'll see how far I get with both of these, but I think it will be fun. And I just followed the first rule of starting new projects. By writing it down, it's already twice as likely to happen!
Friday, December 25, 2009
We also had presents for them to open and the nephew seemed to love everything. However, the tribble was the highlight. The DH had gone to the EMP and Science Fiction Museum and thought that the brother would appreciate it. He thought it was good, but the nephew really loved it, at least while they were at our house. It was fun to find things for them to enjoy and we enjoyed the giving.
After everything else had died down for the day, I spent some time reading Christmas letters from my extended family. I'm grateful to my dad for pushing me and all my aunts, uncles, and cousins on that side of the family to participate in this annual tradition. I'm so blessed to know some wonderful people in my family and, since we don't see each other often, it's a blessing to catch up in letters once a year.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
On Sunday, we did what I think will become a new Christmas tradition for us. We went to the Northwest Boychoir Festival of Lessons & Carols concert. The music was beautiful and it really put me in the Christmas mood. The concerts are held in area cathedrals and end with two concerts at Benaroya Hall. We chose the performance at Trinity Lutheran church in Lynnwood and thought the venue was fantastic. The acoustics were perfect for the choir and there was not a bad seat in the house. I especially enjoyed the format where the congregation gets to join in the singing. Maybe that's why I thought it really got me in the mood.
Monday, December 21, 2009
The DH and I finally decorated our tree on Friday night. We put on the lights, the cool gold star, and our collection of all kinds of ornaments that we've gathered through the years. We even found some presents to put underneath. We're getting close!
When I was young, my mother made this every year at Christmas time and sent a box to my grandpa in Arizona. It was one of his favorite treats that she would make. The batch doesn't make a lot of candy, so 90% of it would be packaged up to send South and the small remainder would be divided between all the six kids in my family. That meant about two pieces each. It was never enough!
Now I find that even though I could make a whole batch for myself, in theory, it's too sweet to keep.
The pecan brittle is basically just sugar and butter cooked to a hard ball stage and poured over pecans. However, even in its simplicity, it's easy to ruin. I think that's a metaphor for something. Maybe you can tell me what.
I've now made four batches and two made great brittle. The first was perfect. The second, the butter and sugar separated and wouldn't go back together. The third I burned. The fourth was perfect again. I only wasted one pound of butter. That's actually not too bad for this recipe.
After making the first batch, I packaged it up in bags to give to the ladies that I work with in my church position. It was fun to have something I made to give them.
The rest of what I made with go to more friends in the next day or two.
If you want to try this, here's the recipe:
½ pound butter
1 cup sugar
Lightly butter a square 9x9 pan. Spread pecans on bottom of pan in a single layer. Cook butter and sugar in heavy pan. Stir all the time it is cooking. Cook until light brown in color and starting to smoke. Pour over pecans and let cool. Break into pieces.
Friday, December 18, 2009
- The electrician fixing the lights in the kitchen so I can see when I cook and the house won't burn down
- The turquoise scarf and red shoes -- those colors are my favorite combo right now
- Giving gift cards to the PMs at work
- Finally decorating the Christmas tree
- Working out so hard it hurt
- Meeting all my deadlines at work today
- Crocheting more than halfway around a baby blanket for Patrick's niece
- The awesome candy mouse that one of the PM's daughters made for all of us at work today
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
My current favorite is Kathy Mattea's Christmas album, Good News. My favorite song is called Brightest and Best, but it's not on YouTube. The only song from the album is Mary Did You Know, but I love that song and if you haven't heard it, you need to. It's beautiful! Of course, embedding is disabled, so you'll just have to follow the link. I promise that it's worth the effort.
You can watch this too, though. It's beautiful, but it's not Kathy Mattea.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
The program included a bunch of 20th century pieces in the first half. Although I appreciate the skill required to perform those (and it is a lot of skill), it's not music that I enjoy listening to. Perhaps that just speaks to my laziness, but I enjoy a good melody.
The second half started with a group of Strauss lieder and it was exactly what I wanted to hear. Every note was perfection. By the time she'd gotten through the songs, I was so happy that we'd come to hear her.
If you're interested in hearing classical vocal pieces, I highly recommend Renee Fleming. She is likely the most talented soprano performing right now. What a delight that I got to listen in person.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
We set up the Santa collection on the side table:
And put out the nativity and hung our stockings with care. I know the DH doesn't believe it, since I'm such a plant killer, but I just love having poinsettias in the house at Christmas time.
I hope you're getting in the mood too!
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
When it comes to Christmas music, I hate the "classics" and don't want to hear it. I enjoy the three or four songs the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings for the Christmas devotional, but I would never put on a MoTab Christmas CD to listen to for pleasure. For me, it needs to have some kind of interesting spin or not sound too traditional.
One of my favorite albums is called Navidad Cubana by a group called Cuba L.A. Of course, they're no where to be found on YouTube. The music is fun and jazzy, but with a definite Latin beat.
I also enjoy the Brian Setzer Orchestra album, Boogie Woogie Christmas for some of the same reasons. The music has a decidedly non-traditional beat and makes Christmas time sound fun. I mean, who couldn't get hyped listening to something like this?
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Technically, advent started on Sunday, but since I'm not Catholic I'll start mine today with this:
Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
9 in pie shell
1 ½ C pecans coarsely chopped
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ C unsalted butter
½ C dark brown sugar
2 extra large eggs
2 t vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350, rollout pastry into 9 in pan. Trim and flute, bake partially and cool completely. Reduce oven to 325sprinkle pecans and Chocolate chips evenly, beat rest and pour over top, bake until firm, about 50 min.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I realize that even when there are things in my life that I don't love or that I think are going poorly, I am so much more blessed than I can even imagine. I don't even know what it means to go hungry or be without a roof over my head. I'll say that's why I don't camp. It's to show my gratitude for having a roof over my head. I also am pretty far removed from disease and other calamities in the world. My hangnail is not a problem and neither is the inconvenience of waiting in lines or being without WiFi for a few hours.
I hope all three of my readers have a wonderful holiday and spend it with people they love.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Tonight's cake is a microphone. To make it, I baked a yellow cake mix in my smallest mixing bowl and a loaf pan. This gave me the basic shapes I needed to work with. You can see here how I've trimmed them to make the shape of a microphone.After getting the shape just right, I put a crumb coating on with white frosting and put them in the fridge for just a few minutes. Then I broke out the black food coloring. That's fun to work with.
It only took a tiny bit of food coloring to get the gray for the ball of the microphone. Then I put white sugar on it to make it look silvery and shiny. It took a TON more food coloring to get it to black for the handle. Then I used black licorice for the cord and the switch. This is how it turned out.
And as if the day wasn't pretty great anyway, totally unrelated to the cake and party, look what came in the mail! I have to wait until June, but it will be worth it. I've been listening to U2 for more than 20 years and wanting to see them live for just as long. Finally, I get my turn.
Friday, November 20, 2009
I felt a little courageous when I took the job I'm in now, but it was a pretty comfortable at the same time. I was going back to something I knew well and I also felt that my previous job had done a lot to prepare me for it.
Tomorrow, I'm going to have to face my fear. I'm going to sing karaoke. Pray for me.
When do you feel courageous? Or do you?
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The crafty mood was sparked by a church activity that included a few cute crafts. I did two things. The first was a wood block with vinyl lettering on it. It was super easy, but took forever because it needed two coats of paint and three coats of clear lacquer before putting the letters on it. I like how it turned out.
The second craft was doing etching on a glass pan. When I said I wanted to do this one, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had to use a stencil to write the words backwards on contact paper, then use an Exacto knife to cut out all the letters, then put the contact paper on the pan, put etching cream on it, wait the allotted time, and wash off the etching cream. That stenciling backwards is harder than it may sound. Or maybe it sounds really hard and that's exactly what it was. And time consuming. But it turned out just fine.And then, finally, I just had to go out and find flannel for a blanket for Patrick's niece who is pregnant with her first baby, a little boy. I'm planning to do a patchwork quilt with the rag seams on one side. This is the combo of fabric that I bought. It was so hard to find five fabrics that coordinated for a boy. There are hundreds of choices got girls, but really not so much for boys. I think I did OK. The baby is due on Christmas, so I need to get cracking on this one.
Monday, November 16, 2009
This clip of My Moon My Man is a great example of her style.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Yesterday, I did my shopping for the week and got pretty excited about doing some actual meal planning. Nice idea, huh? It's been rainy and cool and looks like we've got at least a full week of rain ahead. That always makes me think that soup would be good, so I made sure I have everything I need for Taco Soup in the pantry. It's super easy to make and takes almost no time at all to get done and taste good. Also, it's one of those recipes that you can use whatever you have around if you don't have the exact things it calls for. Any old canned thing will do (within reason). Also, I think Fritos are the only correct chip to eat with Taco Soup.
1 pound hamburger
1 onion chopped
1 16-ounce can tomato sauce
1 can whole tomatoes
1 16-ounce can corn (I use ½ cup frozen corn)
1 small can green chilies (I never use this much – put a little in and then taste it)
1 package taco seasoning
1 can small red beans
1 can chili beans
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown hamburger and pour off grease. Add rest of the ingredients and simmer. Garnish with chips, grated cheese, sour cream, and avocado.
Work has got me thinking about delivering and receiving feedback. I work with a few folks who get really mad when they get feedback on their work that is not what the client's want or isn't at the quality standard that we have set. I work with others who crave feedback and feel like they're not getting enough (usually because they're doing what they're supposed to and we're all too busy with the people that need corrective feedback).
I had a situation shortly after I started work at Microsoft where I did some really bad managing of a particular resource on my team. She wasn't doing her job that well, but the way I handled it was really bad. She actually complained to HR, so I had a lot of explaining to do. My manager called me into her office, outlined exactly what I had done that was a problem for HR, then talked to me about what I could do differently and what I could change about my management to completely avoid getting that far down a negative path with anyone in the first place. It was fantastic! I was so grateful that she took the time to help me instead of just telling me what a bad job I did. I learned a lot from that experience and I believe that it shaped me into a much better manager than I ever would have been without that happening. I was so grateful for the whole turn of events once I'd gotten through it.
As hard as it is to take, I'm one who really does want the corrective feedback when I do something wrong. What I wonder is, how do I help others to see that the corrective feedback might be just the thing that takes them from bad to good, or from good to great? This is my new challenge.
How do you feel about getting critical and/or constructive feedback? What makes it work for you or not? I'm really curious.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
We saw the movie last Saturday evening. We enjoyed Thai food before going to the show, and the show was pretty amazing from a cinematic point of view. I loved the fort that Max and the monsters built on the island. Visually, I thought it had a lot of impact. As far as the book goes, it's pretty light on plot, so Spike Jonze didn't have a lot to go on. I think he fleshed it out as much as anyone could without completely deviating from the original. Because the original story doesn't have a lot of development, I didn't expect that out of the movie either. Unfortunately, the DH thought he was going to get a full-blown plot. Not so.
Overall, I thought the movie was good. The time that Max spends on the island includes a lot more than you find in the book and it explores complex negative emotions that young people have. There's some fun in there too, but be prepared for some heavy stuff at times. The good news is that Max ends up at home eating his warm dinner in the movie just like in the book.
If you're thinking about seeing the movie, but haven't read the book, check this out. It's good to have appropriate expectations.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I had no idea that it might be subversive or thought of as cutting edge. It was just plain fun. It was one of the first actual children's television shows meant to be educational. It's good stuff. The best part, of course, is the series of outstanding guest appearances that they've had over the years. I'm sure there are many more clever ones, but here's some fun music by Feist. She's great.
Monday, November 09, 2009
This weekend, I spent quite a bit of time doing computer maintenance and organizing the files on the computer, because I have to move absolutely everything to a backup location. One of the things I noticed is that we have music in several locations on the computer, so I wanted to consolidate everything into one folder. Everything we have purchased from iTunes since obtaining the current computer was in one folder. There were over a thousand songs in there. (You can do the math, and you don't need to tell me that it's OBSCENE! I can't believe we've bought that much iTunes music either.)
I went to grab all the new iTunes music and copy it over to the other major music location on the computer and dragged it over and let it copy. Then it was gone. Completely and utterly not-to-be-found on the computer. It knocked the wind out of me and I was beside myself. The songs weren't in the trash, but no amount of using the search feature would uncover the whereabouts of said music. I spent a good part of the day yesterday fretting, searching, and swearing at the computer (but mom, it was just the tame kind of swearing -- gosh darn it and all that -- don't worry!). I walked away from the computer at intervals thinking the music would magically appear if I took some time away and then came back. It wasn't there. It was so gone.
At some point, I realized that files don't just disappear. It just doesn't happen that way. I took a deep breath and realized that I must have dropped the files in one of the folders within the huge music folder. This is where I need to explain that every artist has its own folder and every album has its own folder in the artist folder. Then all the songs from said album are in the album folder. We have HUNDREDS of albums from HUNDREDS of artists, each with their own folder. The list of folders was so long it made me tear up. I started at the top and opened every folder in there.
I finally found my lost music somewhere in the P's. It may not have taken a full hour, but it felt longer than that. The good news is that I found my obscene amount of lost music and then finished organizing all of it. The bad news is that between our photos and music, it wouldn't all fit on the external drive we have, so I have to buy more storage tonight to copy everything onto before I can install Windows 7.
Now, for your patient reading, this is your reward. I know you'll like it. It's the best song to get stuck in your head EVER! I'm sure you'll thank me later.
My parents had already started laughing at my unintentional mixture of English and German. I'd become quite fluent in German and all the English speakers there spoke German as well, so we had a natural mish-mash of the two languages when speaking mostly English. The quizzical looks on my parents' faces were the first inkling I had of my need to re-train my brain to English. That fluency in German is what made the events of the evening so strange and surreal.
After dinner at the Mission home, I went to a hotel with my parents and we turned on the TV. There was a German-language news show on. I was completely confused. All my life, the cold war had raged. Stories of the splitting of Germany and specifically Berlin were ingrained in my world view. What I saw on the TV, however, was a huge party near the iconic Brandenburg Gate. There were people on the Berlin Wall. I was immediately worried that there had been a mass uprising and hundreds would be reported injured or killed by the East German police. What I heard, however, was celebration and the announcement that The Wall was no more. All of the people on the TV were celebrating--not fighting or running from the law. I was astounded. It was breathtaking.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
The point of this post, however, is to drive traffic to Megan's adoption blog. She's holding a contest, but I'd be happy to post about her site even without the contest. Also, if you know of anyone who is in a situation that they may need to consider adoption, please think about directing them to Megan's site as well. You never know how you may be able to touch someone's life profoundly for good.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
2 lb stew meat (it's by all the other cuts of beef and says "beef for stewing" on the package)
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 white onion
2-3 stalks of celery
1/4 C olive oil
2 T. butter
3 large potatoes
2-3 cups of diced carrots (I use a medium size bag of mini carrots or 3-4 large carrots)
flour, salt, and pepper
Red wine (I have no clue what I buy, but it's always cheap)
2 Quarts Beef stock
2 tsp Sage
More salt and pepper
Get out a big ziplock back and put about 1/2 to 3/4 C flour, 1-2 T Salt and a few teaspoons of pepper in it. You can put some cornstarch in there with it too if you like. It makes the stew get a little thicker. Mix that all together and then throw all the meat in the bag. You may want to cut the meat into smaller pieces before dredging in the flour mixture, but that's up to you.
In a large stew pot, mix olive oil, butter, garlic, onions, and celery and cook on medium-high until onions are transparent. Pull meat pieces out of bag and put into pot and brown with the stuff that's already in there. This takes 10-15 minutes and you can chop carrots and potatoes while the meat cooks.
When the meat is brown, pour in 1-2 cups of red wine. It should boil up really quickly and you'll smell the alcohol burn off. Scrape the bottom of the pan while the wine boils to get the yummy flavorful bits from the meat off the bottom of the pan. This is critical to the tastiness of the stew.
Pour in Beef stock and add carrots, potatoes, bay leaf, and sage. This is a good time to add a bunch more salt, maybe a couple tablespoons, and some pepper. My mom always worries about putting too much salt in and it's rubbed off on my. I never put quite enough in, but everyone can add their own at the table.
Let all this simmer together for an hour or two. You can thicken it more with some corn starch if you'd like. If you do that, then put 2-3 T. cornstarch into 1/4 of COLD water. Make sure the water is cold and the cornstarch won't get lumpy. Then pour that into the stew and let it boil up again to thicken.
Eat with some crusty bread.
I was so shocked by what happened at Fort Hood this week. It breaks my heart to think of it. I'm so grateful for all those brave folks who are serving in the military and my prayers are with the victims of the violence there. In my blog reading, I found this beautiful tribute to military personnel. I also pray that there are no repercussions in the Muslim community in and around Kileen, TX. Although the shooter was part of the Muslim faith, his community would not support nor condone such behavior. I'm also thinking about my good friends, the Cornwall's. Nathan is stationed at Fort Hood, and although he was not part of the situation there, it still happened near their home and in a place they thought was safe.
In a perfect world we would have no war and no need for a military. We don't live in that world, so I am very grateful to our military. What are your thoughts about the events of the week?
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Part of the work was in getting posters, handouts, and tickets for the event and inviting two other stakes and making sure everyone understood all of the details and where and when things were happening. It was a lot more work that I even expected it to be.
Then, just a week before the event, we found out that Sheri Dew may have had to postpone due to the sickness and imminent death of a very close friend. All we could think of was that we would have to figure out how to communicate changes out to over a thousand people and figure out how to reschedule and to what date. It was difficult not to think about the potential issues, even though there was only the slight potential rescheduling. We also kept thinking, what if no one shows up. Or, what if twice as many people show up as we can accommodate in the building? We all just kept the panic at bay and tried to go with it.
In the end, none of the "worst case" scenarios happened. We had a pretty full house, but didn't need any overflow. We also had everything fall into place just as we had planned and it turned out fantastic.
In the end, the other really great part of the event was the wonderful message that we heard from Sheri Dew. She talked to us about the importance of knowing who you are, how much influence you have over the many people you come in contact with, and how important both of these things are. Her presentation was outstanding and I really took her message to heart. She also talked some about how we spend out down time and reminded me how important it is that I spend my computer time doing things that enrich me instead of just waste my time. All good stuff!
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
I found the first section of the book to by highly entertaining and engaging. This is where Pi Patel is still living in India and his father is a zoo-keeper in Pondicherry. Martel uses the language to his advantage and he is a fantastic story teller.
The second part of the book, at the length of a few hundred pages, is the telling of Pi's adventure at sea in a lifeboat. This truly was years long in the reading. Perhaps that was part of Martel's method, since it must have felt like a lifetime to the young boy, but I got bored and lost patience. I only picked the book up to read because I was flying for several hours. I had to force myself to keep reading. The writing is still good, but the story just wasn't compelling enough to keep my interest for such a long telling.
The final section of the book is very short and happens after Pi lands on dry ground. It was interesting and tied the story together.
All in all, I thought the book was good, but I didn't find it to have the profound effect that I was given the impression it would deliver. It also says that it will make you believe in God, but I didn't think it would have that impact on anyone. In the end, it's a nice story, a little long, but pretty good.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Seriously, we loved watching the roller derby, because it's just really fun and dangerous looking. I'm pretty sure I never want to try it, but it's great to watch. I guess the one part where Drew Barrymore's character gets a double bloody nose wasn't that fun to watch, but most of it was.
The better part was the story of Bliss and her journey and especially her relationship with her mom. The reason it was so good, was that it was actually complicated. It wasn't bad mom with misunderstood daughter or good mom with bad daughter or anything that easy. I love that they didn't make it easy and therefore too Hollywood. In the spirit of now ruining it for anyone, I'll also just say that the movie isn't totally predictable. I'm so impressed that we got to see a movie that made us think and actually kept us talking about it a couple of days later.
And for you protective types out there, Bliss falls in love and spends a long evening at a swimming pool with her new beau, but any mischief is purely implied. You don't get to see any skin that a bathing suit covers and the worst thing in the movie is a few times that they swear. There is some underage drinking and the theme is complex, so I think the PG-13 rating is more for overall content than any specific thing. That was pretty refreshing, to be honest.
Even a couple of days later, one of us will say, "you know what else I really liked about that movie...?" Maybe that's my very favorite part.
Monday, November 02, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
I got a cheap white turtleneck and some gauzy fabric and went to work.
Two hours later, I had this!
And the DH was just as scary as he ever is...
Having already been thinking along those lines, I enjoyed Maira Kalman's latest post, E Pluribus Unum. It is a reminder to me of all that is good and important and historic about our political process. I wish more people understood the whole political process a lot better. It might decrease some of the hatred and fear-mongering. Or at least, it would make a lot of people less suseptible to the influence of others and help them think for themselves.
Monday, October 26, 2009
The only problem is that I couldn't find anything quite as good as the music from the album on YouTube. I think you may have to take my word for it, but the music is beautiful. This gives you a taste, but it's even so much better.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
3⅓ cups diced, cooked chicken
6 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon lemon pepper
4 or 5 green onions, chopped (include part of tops)
Mix butter and cream cheese in a mixer until well blended. Add lemon pepper and mix, then add other ingredients and mix well.
Make your favorite roll dough or use store-bought dough. Let rise once and then roll out into as you would for rolls, but make it thinner and in a rectangle. Cut into about 4-inch squares. Put ¼ cup of chicken mixture in middle of square and bring corners together and seal making a bundle. Dip in melted butter and roll in seasoned breadcrumbs. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 375° for about 15 minutes or until golden. Top with chicken gravy.
Friday, October 23, 2009
And the only thing funnier than a nail salon... is bibity, bobity, bacon.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I bought lunch at Homegrown. I think I may be in love. The menu looked amazing from top to bottom, but in the end I got grilled cheese. I know you're thinking I'm crazy, but it was Beacher's Flagship cheese, caramelized onions, and some kind of red pepper aoli sauce. It came with homemade potato chips with salt and pepper on them. The whole thing was so divine! I must return to try other things on the menu, but for now my tummy is very happy.
I took a different route to get back to the office and walked along the ship canal. While I was waiting for the light, a man walked up and made conversation with me about how perfect the weather is today. It made me think that I work around a lot of really nice and friendly people. Then I smiled and crossed the street. I think this day must just be making people happy. Several people said hello as I passed them on the sidewalk and it just felt really good to be out and about on a lovely Fall afternoon.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Early last week, I was on Amazon.com and looked at some of my recommendations. Usually, I already have most of the things they recommend, but this time I happened upon a band called Iron & Wine that I hadn't heard of before. I listened to a few of the tracks and really liked what I heard. As a result, I ordered the CD Our Endless Numbered Days. It arrived on Saturday and I've been enjoying it even more than I thought I would.
The music is fairly mellow with a slight Southern Rock feel to it. It's definitely not music you "rock out" to, but that you listen to on a rainy afternoon or have playing in the background as you work on a project.
Naked As We Came is the second track on the album and I really enjoy the music. I hope you do too.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Note: the official vidoes are better, but won't let you embed. You can find this song with higher sound quality here.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
- LA-AME! (I said this once and M thought it was cool and kept saying it the rest of the day)
- I LOOOOOOVE my new walkie-talkies! (The DH and I gave M these for his birthday, so after he said that, Annzie asked if he like the Where's Waldo book that she gave him. He didn't think it was that great. Then today, he had on a mummy shirt that we sent. He told Annzy that it was better than the Where's Waldo book too. Hysterical!)
- You're the king of stupid! (This was actually said by M the day before we got there. Apparently he heard it on Schreck 3.)
Both M and E wanted to stay at Discovery Gateway all day. We only ended up being there for about four and a half hours, but to them it probably felt like 15 minutes. They were so sad we had to leave, but we had to get them fed dinner eventually. They have a farm area with a life-size horse for kids to get on and E decided it was his horse. He spent so much time stacking hay bales, putting away hay bales, putting on the horseshoes, then taking off the horseshoes, and getting on and off that horse. I knew he loved playing cowboy, but I had no idea how much. It was just joyful to see the boys use their imaginations and enjoy themselves.
But here's the real kicker. I've been around a lot of kids. The whole time we were out, all six-plus hours, there was no fighting and no melt-downs. Even when we had to leave, there was a tiny bit of whining, but that was it. Maybe we just got them on a good day, but that was absolutely great!
Friday, October 09, 2009
Unfortunately, what is real is often also full of emotions that are difficult to process and it makes going to what is not real seem a lot easier. That way, maybe you can just avoid the emotions. All in all though, that's a bad idea. Today my heart is very heavy and I'm feeling the emotions. I'm praying for my newest nephew, born early this morning and now at Children's Hospital in Salt Lake. I'm praying for my dear brother and sister-in-law, who I am sure are feeling far more emotion right now than they ever knew they would. Please join me in feeling what is real. And if you're so inclined, please say a prayer for baby Nolan and his parents.
Nolan Ray Robertson died late Friday evening.
When I let myself feel it, the sadness washes over me. I ache for my dear nephew, his brothers, and especially his parents. And I know that what I feel pales in comparison to their sorrow and grief.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Monday, October 05, 2009
Saturday, October 03, 2009
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
4 eggs, separated
1½ cups milk
1 cup pumpkin
¾ cup margarine
1 tablespoon vanilla
Combine first 6 ingredients. Separate the eggs and beat the yolks slightly. Add the milk, pumpkin, margarine and vanilla. Add the flour mixture. Fold egg whites into pumpkin mixture and then bake in waffle iron.
1 cube butter
1 cup sugar
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon Karo syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine first 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil in extra large pan. Remove from heat and sir in baking soda and vanilla. Mixture will fizz to twice its height. Let set, stirring occasionally until fizz is gone. Serve hot over pumpkin waffles.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
They didn't have a sign up yet, so you have to know where you're going, but it was totally worth the taks of finding. When the DH and I went there, we shared an appatizer of copa and pickled peppers, and then had a wonderful pizza with a very simple sauce, fours kinds of cheese, and their homemade fennel sausage. We also sat at the bar and got to watch them making the pizza. I enjoyed every bite of the pizza and we had a lovely time.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
- Man, don't sit there
- You annoy me by this
- Go and sit somewhere else until you can speak nicely
- I felt hands helping me to sit up
- I flung myself out of my seat
- and began to hover slowly across the ceiling toward me
- Striding down the hall in her nightgown and cap
- But then came the day that Chiang vanished. He had been talking.
- Lying in his grave
- Gleeming angrily
- He saw it was open
- There for the night
- Bro, we're missing you!
- Guy, don't leave without me
- Immediately afterwards she remarked
- The first daughter wanted a brocade dress
Monday, September 28, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
These rolls really are super easy to make. The best trick of all that my mom taught me is to use the pizza cutter to slice the circle of dough into triangles to roll up into crescents. It's brilliant. I wish I could have thought it up, patented it, and gotten rich off of it. Maybe it's not that kind of idea, but it sure makes these rolls easier.
2 tablespoons yeast (2 packages, not rapid rise)
½ cup lukewarm water
(Optional - 1 teaspoon sugar for the yeast to eat)
1½ cups milk
1 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
6 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
7-8 cups flour (no more than 8 cups)
Mix yeast, water, and sugar in a bowl and set aside. Heat milk and margarine together until the margarine melts. Combine eggs, sugar and salt, and add milk mixture. Mix in the yeast. Add flour 1 cup at a time and mix - dough remains sticky. Let rise until double.
Take ¼ of the dough, roll out into a circle (⅜- to ½-inch thick), and then cut like a pie into 8 to 10 wedges. Roll from the wide end to the tip, and shape into crescent rolls with the tip on the bottom. Let rise 1 hour. Can set for 5-6 hours. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Brush tops with butter as soon as you remove them from the oven. Makes about 36 rolls.
Friday, September 25, 2009
For reference, I'm thinking about things like how hard I want to work to get my team to improve their performance when I'm not sure I'll be able to give them raises at the end of the year (not is it OK to lie or cheat). They want that as a reward for the extra effort they put in, which is totally fair, but I may not have the option to give that to everyone. This is one of the fights that goes on in my head.
There are many more, but sometimes I wonder if I'm the only one who thinks about this stuff. It first came up in a Victorian literature class and it's been somewhere knocking around since then. It's fairly normal to have some cognitive dissonance, but we also naturally do things to decrease the cognitive dissonance in our lives. Usually, we either disavow ourselves of some notion or we lie to ourselves about it.
So, is there any aspect of your life where you live with cognitive dissonance? I'm curious.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
¾ cup butter
2 cups sugar
½ cup molasses
4 teaspoons soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
Cream butter, sugar, and eggs. Mix in the molasses. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Chill. Make into balls and roll in granulated sugar. (I use the large crystal turbonado sugar with vanilla for fun.) Bake 6-8 minutes at 375°.
Friday, September 18, 2009
This evening, I finally put the shadow box together and here it is!
This includes parts of our wedding announcement, the rose the DH gave me when he proposed, one of our engagement photos, and the little frame my mom put together with our wedding date in it as a favor at our wedding luncheon. I think it turned out OK.
And here it is in its new home on the shelf in my office. It looks great here and I spend enough time in the office to be reminded of that
Thursday, September 17, 2009
The DH and I have gone through three blenders in our four years of mariage. It's actually a little entertaining at this point. The latest is one with a square top with completely perpendicular sides that just doesn't do the J-O-B. And this is the one we bought after the last one started smoking. We don't allow smoking in our house, so it had to go.
Buying a VitaMix is especially funny to me, because we all got such a big kick out of it when my grandparents bought the VitaMix. You would have thought it could make dinner for you. Unfortunately, we got dinner made in the VitaMix. It can heat what's in there, so grandma made soup. Then she blended it. Yes. She blended the vegetable soup to a puree so we would eat all the vegetables. It tasted even worse than it looked. On the upside, I think we got ice cream out of the VitaMix too. It wasn't all bad.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I dropped the DH off for a massage and went to the Farmer's Market down town. It's such a great vibe there. I perused all the produce, artisan breads, baked goods, crafts, and a wide variety of specialty foods. I couldn't leave without stopping by the Mennonite's pie stand and buy a cherry pie for Pops. He was thrilled that I'd made it there.
After picking the DH up from his massage, we headed to Ethan's big soccer game. He's six and plays on a boys team. Today was his day to play goal keeper. We got a kick out of watching him (no pun intended). His team is good enough that goal keeping looked pretty boring. He said he had a good time and he was excited that we came to watch, so it must not have been too bad.
After the first soccer game of the day, we went to Julia Davis Park and looked around at the booths at Art in the Park. It's a large arts and crafts festival that the art museum puts on every year on the weekend after Labor Day. I have fond memories of participating when it was a very small festival. Now it's grown to six or eight times the size it was when I was young. I still enjoy it just as much and it was fun to take the DH there.
After spending some time at the park, we headed back West and went to Abby's soccer game. She plays with the 10 and 11 year old girls. As luck would have it, she was playing goal keeper for part of the game as well. She looked great out there and she really knows how to hustle. It was cool to see her Dad giving advice from the sidelines too.
After that game, we headed back home and the DH and BIL went to the Boise State vs. Miami of Ohio football game while we went to dinner and then headed back to Art in the Park. I ended up buying a couple of things there, including a set of chimes as a house-warming gift for a friend at work. After all that, we were exhausted and headed back home to relax.
Sunday was spent going to church, relaxing, and having my all-time favorite meal. In the early Fall, my mom makes the best fried chicken and serves it with new potatoes, gravy, corn on the cob, and whatever else is in season. It all tastes so good and fresh. I'm not sure if I love it most because we don't eat it just any old time or because it really is that good. Whatever the reason, I promise it was worth looking forward to.
The DH and I flew back Sunday evening and enjoyed sleeping in our own bed again. I love to travel and I love to come home.
Monday, September 14, 2009
An ambitious fusion of opera arias, Russian folk tunes, and art songs with beat-driven electronic soundscapes, the album largely succeeds in bridging incongruous musical worlds.Is that enough to get you interested?
Saturday, September 12, 2009
12 strips bacon
Mrs. Dash (or other seasoned salt)
Spray cooking spray in the cups of a muffin tin. Place one slice of bacon around the sides of each muffin cup. Sprinkle a little Mrs. Dash in the bottom of each muffin cup. Crack one egg into each muffin cup, being careful not to break the yolk. Put a dab (less than a 1/2 teaspoon) butter on top of each egg. Salt and Pepper each egg. Put in 425 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, until eggs look cooked. Eggs can easily be removed from the muffin tin with a large spoon and will keep their shape.
Friday, September 11, 2009
At work, there was a TV set up in a conference room. We wandered in and out of the conference room throughout the day, watching the news in disbelief. I cried with Gianna as we tried to process what we were seeing and hearing, still not quite ready to accept the reality of it all.
I read some of the Views of a Day in the New York Times today. It was good.