Monday, November 9, 2009

So...

I have the Blue Screen of Death on my computer at work, and I burnt my ham. How's your day going?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Living Without

In my gluten free journey of the last few years, I've found (and been given--thank you to many individuals!) various resources to help me out. Obviously the major resource has been desperately needed recipes or information on food and what is GF and what is not.

Earlier this year I was given a few magazines called Living Without, and I just wanted to say that if you have food allergies/intolerances, have to live with someone who does, or just want to find out more about how you can help your friends/family dealing with this, this is a great magazine to read. (I've since got my own subscription). And it is fast becoming one of my favorite resources in my GF life.

Every issue is full of recipes (obviously) but also tips on living, well, without. If you're intolerant to dairy, what can you use to replace the dairy that is called for in recipes? How do you travel with food intolerances? As a parent, how do you handle school situations for your child with intolerances. Are you getting enough vitamins in your system if you are avoiding an entire food group? How do you fix it if you aren't. And of course there are multiple articles on the latest tests, drugs, and other health related factors.

All the recipes I have tried have been great. The latest one I tried last night was Chocolate, Banana, Zucchini Bread (need a way to shorten that title--Chocobazubi Bread? hmmm...will have to work on that). Any ways, yum. very yum.

So they're obviously a great resource for getting recipes that are pretty high on the list of "not going to flop." And as they do things seasonally, finding recipes for upcoming events/holidays is obviously made a lot easier.

So, this is my unsolicited endorsement of this magazine.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

To my husband...

"Sometimes the obvious is so obscured by brilliant analysis that it gets lost...The obvious need not be shallow. Sometimes it is profound and painful, and can be written off only by being called obvious." - Madeline L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Five Years Later

Tran-Siberian Orchestra has finally released a new album. This is an album they've been promising for at least five years because I know the first time I heard mention of it was the first time I heard them in concert--five years ago.

Non-Christmas, it contains many of my favorite pieces from their concerts that you couldn't hear anywhere else but in concert. So excited!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lost in Weather

I've discovered a new peculiarity of the breed of people called TCK. Well, at least those related to my immediate family.

This discovery came about on a morning when I woke up, looked out the window in our bedroom, opened the window, assessed the weather, and commented to my husband that it was a "British day."

He thought I was being weird. My sister, however, when asked about her thoughts on the day, immediately understood what I meant. Further discussion proved that, she also, classifies the general weather/feel of days by countries. Not that all days can be specifically classified, but many certainly can be. For me, there are days that the feel in the weather reminds me of Thailand, England, Washington state, Missouri, even Italy, Malaysia, and once or twice, India.

And thus certain days become "British days."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Confession

I am guilty of the sin of lusting. I didn't mean to step into this awfulness. Yet, isn't that the way sin so often happens? A moment of weaknesses. One chance decision that places you into a situation where all of the sudden you find yourself weak at the knees, salivating in desire, your head spinning with promises so sweet.


It was so innocent. A flash of beautiful color. A twisty road covered by an arch of orange and gold leaves. "Sure, I'll just turn down this road here. The fall leaves are so lovely." And then I saw it. So charming, heartwarming, tempting. And all of the sudden I found myself searching online just to see more. And I find myself lusting.


This is my confession.


And this....the object of my lust:























Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An Irish Prayer

I ran across this today, and it made me laugh.
May those who love us, love us;
and those who don't love us,
may God turn their hearts;
and if He doesn't turn their hearts,
may he turn their ankles
so we'll know them by their limping.

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Saturday

I think I have after-wedding blues. My friends got married this weekend. It was busy. It was crazy. It was fun. It was beautiful. And it was sacred. Such a presence of God that was in that sanctuary as they took their vows, I've rarely felt in any wedding.

I am now exhausted...exhilerated because it went to well....but completely wiped out at the same time.

I thought I'd post a few of the pictures from the wedding. At this time I have a severe lack of pictures of the groom. Oh well. Us girls make for better pictures any ways! And I do have pictures of my groom, so that's more important--to me any ways!







Thursday, October 8, 2009

Time for Tea

I have spent quite a bit of time over the last few months in preparations for a wedding of a dear friend of mine. While much of this has been planning and shopping, there were also a couple of showers that I was involved in.

The first shower I had very little to do with the actual planning and preperation of. It was a beautiful shower. Quite easily one of the prettiest I have ever been to.

The second shower was mine to plan as Matron of Honor. And of course it had to be a lingerie shower. Trying to hit a tricky balance between tasteful and fun with a lingerie shower can be very tricky. So I eventually decided to name it Afternoon Tea and Lingerie and went with a tea party theme.

Thanks to the help of a few other people (and a set of darling tea cups that I happened to pick around that time), the whole thing went excellently well! Just thought I’d share a few pictures of both showers with you.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Salt in a Wound

Have you ever had a cut or bruise where you just keep bumping or reopening it? You know, the paper cut that you just keep catching on something or the bruise that gets bigger because you just had to catch the same corner on your desk again (or in my case, again, again, and again because off of a dance floor, I'm a total klutz).

That's how I feel right now. Ever since we had our miscarriage three months ago, that wound just keeps getting reopened. First I find out that friends of mine are pregnant and I have to deal with the simultaneous joy for them and jealous and sorrow. Then I get to a point where I truly am just happy for them, and they have a miscarriage. And every time I hear that news, it breaks my heart again. Some of it is that I truly can empathize with them, but some of it is just that it's too close to my own pain right now and it reopens all those feelings and thoughts for me that were scabbing over.

How often can this happen? Apparently a lot. And really close together.

And then there's a side of me that just gets angry as I look at one woman I know who is pregnant and doing fine and has been very vocal about the fact that she didn't even want to have another baby. Or the kid who's been mowing our lawn trying to earn money to help support his very young, very pregnant girl who he knocked up.

Salt in the wound.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I Have Myself a Good One :)

This last week I have been reminded--a lot--of why I married my wonderful husband as he has done a number of things to just make my life easier, happier, and more peaceful. And most of them he just did! And then, just to top it all off, he does something like this.

I am blessed!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Mrs Poirot

My parents have bred in me a love of mystery stories. Whether in a book (physical or audio) or as film, I grew up surrounded by detectives, adventures, suspense, hidden clues, quirky characters, and all the other elements that comprise an excellent mystery.

These mysteries ranged from young adult/children's literature like Nancy Drew, Edith Blyton's Famous Five and Secret Seven series (which, incidentally, I picked up a copy of each of those series from PaperbookSwap the other day and was delightfully pulled back into those childhood worlds), or the mystery-lite of Patricia St John's books, to more adult mysteries like Agatha Christy and all the various types of mysteries that would show up on PBS's Masterpiece Mystery nights.

Whenever my parents are back here in the US, they go through an inordinate amount of books on tape because of the amount of driving they have to do while they are here. So, when visiting them recently, I was not at all surprised to find in their cars various books on tape/cd checked out from the library. I was even less surprised that some of them were mysteries.

Well, one of those mysteries was Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled which I enjoyed immensely. Upon arriving back home and looking for something new to read, I obtained for myself the first book in this series: The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax. And I have to admit to having fallen completely, head-over-heels in love with Mrs. Pollifax.

In terms of beautifully portrayed character, she reminds me of Agatha Christy's Hercule Poirot--the chubby little Belgian detective with the perfectionistic tendencies, perfect manners, and keen mind. While the suspense in the book is high and the mystery quite well developed, the book is also hysterically funny in parts as you deal with the character of Mrs. Pollifax who feels almost oxymoronic with her surrounding circumstances. After all, the character is based upon a quirky, white-haired, 60ish year old woman who is involved in various charities and other volunteer activities, yet who feels she has nothing to live for but is not quite ready to commit suicide. She goes to the CIA and very pleasantly inquires as to whether or not she can volunteer as a spy for them, thus fulfilling a life-long dream. And it just goes from there.

Read, relish, and enjoy!
Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.
~ Mortimer J. Adler ~

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Mother's Daughter

The fact that I really do take after my mother in many aspects of my life was reinforced to me just recently.

My job has been a bit scattered lately--not that this is particularly unusual for me. See the picture below? That's my job on a daily basis. 15 projects in the air at any given time and of course there's the delicate balancing act of public relations, interpersonal office junk, and whatever other looming projects I have that I just don't have time to throw into the air just yet with the other balls but really could be tossed up there at any moment.



Needless to say, I have a lot of notes, and these seem to wind up on random pieces of paper that eventually I transfer onto one nice and neat running log/to-do list. Well, this week in particular, has been really bad for the scattered notes. So I spent a good 30 minutes today just trying to make sense of all the different assignments/projects that have been thrown my way over the last three days.

And then I had a sudden mental image of a sight I saw just a few weeks ago when I was visiting my parent's. I came out in the morning, having slept in late, and saw my mother sitting at a table with about 10 different pieces of paper all with random notes, reminders, and to-dos on them. And she was neatly compiling them all into one list.

And as I sat with my 12 different pieces of paper with random notes, reminders, and to-dos, I suddenly realized who I got this habit from!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Editing Giggle

I do freelance editing for a Christian organization here in town. They send me various letters/emails/promotional pieces to hack away at prior to them making the pieces public.

Yesterday, I received an email to edit that was talking about encouraging people to follow the call of Christ and to witness to others and how this organization offers some tools for doing just that. As I was going through the document, I noticed they had listed a scripture reference (Matthew 24:19) that was obviously intended to go along with this sentiment of witnessing/evangelizing, etc; however, they had not put the actual verse into the email.

Feeling that it’s kind of pointless to list a reference without at least quoting some of the verse, I looked up what the verse says. Somehow, I didn't feel that it had quite the sentiment that they were originally planning on:

“How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!”

This is why I will always have a career option available in editing!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Trip - Final Analysis

The rest of my trip to see my parents was delightful. We saw an old friend of mine (well, she's not old, just the friendship has been around for over 20 years) and her beautiful three children.



We went exploring in some of the area around where they live. And we played games, relaxed, and had fun. All in all, a much needed and much enjoyed vacation.



And then I came home to my husband who, I fear, was beginning to miss me very much indeed!

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 9)

#1 - Why is it that no matter how long or nice of a vacation you've had, you always go back to work feeling tired? Or maybe that's just me? Either way, it's been a long week at work. And I feel like I want another vacation!

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#2 - In a previous post, I had mentioned laughing at the people on the plane who were sharing their entire life stories in far too much intimate detail with complete strangers. To quote myself, I said, "They don't seem to realize the small, small world of airport." I had further proof of that fact on my trip back home.

First of all, I'm sitting in the airport in Washington, innocently reading a book, waiting for my flight, and a couple of Asian ladies sit down next to me. They quickly start gabbing away in Thai, so after eavesdropping for a couple of minutes, I decided I should let them know that their conversation was not quite as private as they thought it was (they were speaking really loud!), so I leaned over and introduced myself--in Thai. Thought the younger lady would fall out of her chair, she was so startled!

We had a nice little chat, and then after awhile, I settled back into my book.

Well, after a few minutes, I look up and there's this guy standing relatively close by, waving at me. I looked at him, puzzled, for a minute before it dawned on me that I did know this person. He is my husband's new boss (and incidentally, he used to be the head of the program for missionary kids with our mission, so I know him from way, way back as well). Well, not only were we in the same airport, but we had the exact same two flights back to Missouri.

So let me reiterate the sentiment of my previous comment--you have no idea who you might run into in an airport!

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#3 - If you haven't yet seen this article on the squirrel/gopher/disturbed rodent picture crashing, you should do so. I found it highly amusing.

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#4 - I've been intending to mention for awhile now, a delightful way of getting rid of books you don't want anymore. No, it's not burning them. Put the matches down.

My experience with books has been a frustrating one. I love books (if you haven't figured that out yet, you're obviously a new reader to my blog). That has resulted in my having a (rather large) book collection. Now while I'm very protective of the books I love, there are other books that wind up in our collection that I really don't want to keep. But the question then comes--how do I get rid of them?

In the past I've explored various options: giving them to people who want them (sometimes hard to find depending on the book), putting them in with stuff for a thrift store, or selling them to used bookstores. Now, the used bookstores option has not gone well for me. Frankly, they don't give hardly anything for books! And I know they sell them cheaply, but seriously, my book is worth more than a quarter!

Then I discovered a free website called Paper Book Swap. I'm in love with it! You can post books that you want to get rid of on the website, and as other people want those books, they can request them from you. You pay the shipping to send the book to them; however, for every book you sent, you get a "credit" in which you can then order more books for yourself! Essentially, you wind up paying between $2.50 - $3 per book you get (postage costs), but as the website requests that they are decent condition, etc, it's winds up being a good deal. They have a HUGE variety of books, and they also have DVDs and CDs (although I haven't explored that option yet).

So, this is my endorsement of their website!

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#5 - So I was in a chapel service at work (a Christian university with our primary degrees all along the lines of biblical studies, etc) the other day, singing a worship song, and I discovered the most amazing piece of information that I thought would be important to share with all of you. Did you know that King David built the temple in Jerusalem? Yeah, I didn't know that either! Amazing, isn't it?

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#6 - While I'm on the topic of worship songs...is it just me or do most of the more modern (past 10 years or so) choruses nowadays seem to spend a lot of time focusing on warm fuzzies and ignoring topics like discipline, sacrifice, and all the other tricky things that Jesus spent a lot of time actually addressing?

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#7 - I was recently sent a forward with a whole bunch of news clippings/police reports some of which I found hysterically funny. I just had to share a couple of my favorites here because, frankly, they're worth it!





Thursday, August 20, 2009

Laminin

Last week, Tuesday, I was still in Washington with my parents. In the evening, we went to a small group my parents like to attend when they're in town. One of the ladies there shared the following. (Just watch the first couple of minutes to get to what I'm referring to).



I thought it was pretty cool, and being of a curious mind, I decided to do a bit of research and find out a bit more. In my research, I ran across the following two items: a Snopes analysis of the Laminin cross claims and a Truth or Fiction analysis.

The Snopes article makes some arguments against the guys sermon; however, either way, neither can fully disclaim what he is saying.

Take it as you like, I thought it was interesting. And personally, I'm much more interested in being seen as a carefully designed, formed, and planned out being than a blob that came out of the primordial ooze with no future, no purpose, and no point.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Eagles and Namaste

I've been enjoying being with parents the last few days. Being here without Chris makes me feel like I've reverted back to being a teenager again (at least for a little while) with my parents taking care of everything. It's kind of fun!

Saturday the day mainly focused around feeding me. Well, buying food that I can eat. It's been a bit of an education process for my parents. Kind of fun! I discovered a new GF brand that I'm quickly becoming very fond of. It's called Namaste and they are specifically gluten free and soy free---perfect! I bought a bread mix and a spice muffin mix. Really yummy for both. I don't think I've ever seen that particular brand at home; however, I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for it because it was really good. And knowing that it's a brand that specifically works to avoid soy as well as gluten is very comforting.

We went and explored a number of stores and then later that afternoon went and took a walk in the park in town. Lots of pictures of pretty flowers. Absolutely gorgeous park!


My APs!






After that we went to a last "health foodish" store where I found Cadbury's hot chocolate (which I can actually have and that is WONDERFUL!) and we actually were able to eat a meal at their little restaurant!

On Sunday, my dad had to speak at a little church near the Canadian border. That really made me feel like I'd gone back in time; traveling with my parents as they raise the funds! He did a good job (he's a great preacher), but the church itself was one that I can't imagine him not doing a good job in. The town only has about 300 people in it, but the church was fantastic. They were just a really committed, devoted congregation. We had lunch afterwards (I brought lunch with me but there turned out to be a couple of things I could eat) and spent several hours talking about how the church is working to impact their community. There were several people in the church that I could totally see myself becoming friends with if we were around!

After church, we drove through the Spokane Indian reservation where I was born ("nostalagia trip" as my parents call it). Didn't stop and talk to anybody; however, we did stop and take some pictures of the local eagles!









"The view" We have so many pictures taken from this particular spot; I told my mum she should get a picture frame with a bunch of picture spots and she can show the progression of our family growing up and changing throughout the years standing in this one particular bit of land!




Today has been quiet. I've been enjoying just chillin' and catching up on blogs, emails, books, etc.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Airport Ramblings part II

When Chris took me to the airport yesterday, we had the fun of going to the new Springfield-Branson Regional airport. I hadn’t seen it yet. It really is a lovely design; well laid out in a basic square maze pattern. Keep turning right and you’ll end up where you started. That’s why we had to laugh when the announcement came over the intercom that if anybody was confused about where to go in the brand new terminal, please just ask for help. If you couldn’t find your way around that terminal, you shouldn’t be flying. Because wherever you fly from there, you’re going to be going to a bigger terminal. And that would frighten to death anybody if they couldn’t handle Springfield’s cute little airport!

I had an interesting time. After Chris and I said goodbye, I went through security and settled down at my gate waiting to board. About five minutes before we boarded, a cop came by with an airport security guard. They were looking for Mr. Hxxxx, and thoroughly checked the id of every guy in that area. Little creepy. They never found him; I’m just hoping that Mr. Hxxxx didn’t somehow make it on the plane, as they didn’t seem like they were planning on having a nice little chat with him.

I had the unusual delight of getting the front row seat in the little airplane. Extra leg room! Yay! And not only a front seat, but an entire row to myself! Miraculous!

Apparently my tendency to look far younger than I am had the stewardess all sympathetic with me, so she took very good care of me the entire flight. I didn’t bother to tell her that I had, as she was quite young, probably flown more times in my life than she has!

As I sat sipping some water (thank goodness that’s still free), and looking out the window at the beautiful sunset pouring out over the clouds below me, I was amused to hear the confidences of the complete strangers surrounding me. What is it about airplanes that cause some people to just spill their life stories to complete strangers? In one particular case, it was very intimate details being shared!

Is it the belief that they’re never going to see these people again? Silly rabbits. They don’t seem to realize the small, small world of airports.

Is it simply nerves? Or is that they’ve simply failed to pack something to do, not realizing how boring a small cross-country flight can be without any in-flight movies or meals to occupy ones mind? Or are they just very lonely people with a captive audience? A cynical thought, I know, but still…..one has to wonder.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Airplane Ramblings

The humming of the engine around me, the muffled buzz of people’s voices behind me, the scraping of the ice, popping open of soda cans, and the repetitious inquiry of the stewardess as she asks what people want to drink are all sounds that bring back thousands of memories to me.

I feel like my whole life can be defined by airports and airplanes. And here I sit again, on a airplane, on my way to Washington state to see my parents whom I haven’t seen in one year and eight months (not that I’ve counted or anything!).

As we took off, the song that has been with me in travel since I was at least 16 years old, “Leaving on a Jet Plane” was playing in my head. I found out recently that the composer of that song was a TCK. That made a lot of sense to me. Despite the sad mood of the words, “Leaving and I don’t know when I’ll be back again” there has always been a simultaneous uplift to me with those words. Leaving all I know, all that is familiar, going to the unknown. And is the unknown really that bad? Not always.

There are times when the words of that song have about broken my heart. Particularly, leaving Thailand when I was 18 to come back to the USA for college, splitting up with my friends, my life, my home, my parents, everything that I had ever known. Those were the words that kept running through my mind over and over and over again.

But those same words have haunted me consistently since that time. Sometimes in a joyful way—finally, leaving, going somewhere, getting out of the black hole that is my crazy current home—and sometimes in a sad way—leaving family, again, leaving a country or place that my heart still longs for very often—and sometimes those words are simply bittersweet.

Today they’re on the bittersweet side. The delicious taste of going back to one, sort of, home, seeing my parents, at least one good childhood friend of mine, even hitting a town that, while not necessarily somewhere I define as home at least has the attraction of holding childhood memories and experiences.

The bitter side is that I travel alone. My dear husband couldn’t come with me on this trip; the downfall of being grown up, I guess. He has a new job and between that and complications with tickets and money, we decided it was the wiser (I hate that word sometimes) decision for me to go on my own. And so I left him today, but I’ll be back in just over a week. And in the meantime, I plan to relish getting away. Not from him, but from our town, from the humdrum life that sometimes wants to drive me insane.

I still find it difficult to believe that I have lived in the same town for ten years. I find it even more difficult to believe that I have lived in the same house for five of those years. There are days when I feel like my restlessness is going to overpower me. Can’t I just pack up what we need, sell everything else, move to another city, another country, heck, I’d even take another county!

Don’t get me wrong. I love my house. I even like our town; it has it’s advantages. But I’m restless, and I find that restlessness grows all the time. As we talk more and more about moving away, settling somewhere else (probably not overseas—yet—but at least away from where we are), I realize how much I want that. It’s not that I relish selling our beautiful home or having to find new jobs, new friends, new habits, new lives. But I feel stagnant.

I blame my parents! How old was I when we first went overseas? How old was I when I took my first plane trip? How old was I when I took my first major driving trip, for that matter.

I was just a months old when we drove from Washington state, down through California, to the Grand Canyon, through Missouri, and Texas.

I was a few years when we flew to England for the first time to see my grandparents.

And I was three when we flew to Thailand and settled down to the country, the culture, and the life that would become my home for the next, more or less, 18 years.

And throughout those 18 years, we traveled. I was talking to a younger MK the other day, and she asked me how many places I’d lived. Truthfully, countries, I’ve only lived in two (unless you count two months in Uzbekistan studying dance as living there)—Thailand and the USA. But then of course there is the land of my mother, England. And that country holds a great deal of my heart even though we’ve technically only visited there.

Beyond that, I’ve been to 17 other countries (been being defined as having actually spent at least a day there—technically I’ve been to the Arab Emirates and Amsterdam to name just two other countries, but as I’ve never really gone outside of the airport, they don’t count.

It’s no wonder I have wander lust. It’s no wonder that even after ten years, I still don’t feel settled in our little town. It’s no wonder I sometimes get the urge to grab a plane ticket and just fly to somewhere, anywhere. Pick a country, I’ll go. It’s no wonder I’m obsessive about making sure my passport is up to date.

It’s not a bad thing. It’s just part of who I am. I’m a homebody. But I’m a wanderer. And if that’s not truly oxymoron, I don’t know what is.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

China on the Mind

Almost back to back, I've been reading through two different historical fiction novels located in China. Both of them were highly intriguing, seemingly well-researched, and, I felt, worth mentioning here.

The first one that I read was Forbidden City by Muriel Molland Jernigan. Set in the late 19th/early 20th century, this particular novel deals with the fate of a young woman raised in a prestigious household in China and how she becomes the famous Empress Dowager Cixi. While it's obviously historical fiction, the lady who wrote it was a missionary kid who actually lived in China during the Boxer Rebellion and who is very familiar with details of that time, culture, and people.

I found it to be an intriguing story, well written, with enough details to paint a vivid picture of that world but enough story to round out the characters. The story and character of the Empress is fascinating, and I always love to see portrays of the Western world by those from the East. Her opinion of Queen Victoria, in particular, struck me as rather amusing.

The second novel I read right at the beginning of where Forbidden City starts. This novel, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, is gorgeous. Unlike the other novel, this one deals with the lifestyle of those from poor to middle class Chinese households. Lisa See talks about the research that went into the novel, and all the details that are given from foot binding to the intriguing secret women's writing nu shu are obviously pretty accurate (in the case of the foot binding, disturbingly accurate) and paint an detailed picture of the women's culture of that time period for China.

However, one of the things I really enjoyed about this novel was that even though it is historical fiction, a major part of the story-line is one that most women will relate to, and that is the difficult ins and outs of female relationships. I'm not sure if its because the author, although she is Chinese by heritage, grew up in the USA, and so has, however consciously or unconsciously, merged bits and pieces of her western world with this eastern story, but I enjoyed some of the character portrayals that connected women from any culture and any time to one another. After all, most women have at least one friend they consider extremely close, and most women have to deal with good and bad times in such relationships.

This particular novel was so good, I want to read some novels more by Lisa See and find out if I enjoy her writing in those as well.

So if you're looking for some good historical, ficiton with a nice Chinese-slant to it, pick up both or either of these novels. Well worth the time, I think.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vanity--It is All Vanity

Madeline L'Engle reminded me, today, why it might be that God allows many of us to have jobs that can be frustrating to do, puts us in contact with people who are sometimes difficult to work with, or means that you do hours of work for no recognition (or other people get the praise for that work!).

Speaking to those who give a job their focused, highest quality attention, and speaking to those who are apparently much more spiritually developed in this particular area than I sometimes am, L'Engle says the following:

Ah, surely it is vain to think about words of praise. It is permissible for us to be pleased that a job has been well done, but we can't take any personal credit for it. We can only be grateful that the work itself knocks self-consciousness out of the way, for it is only thus that the work can be done.

Getting to that stage where my self-consciousness has been knocked out of the way, there's the rub.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Husband - Literally

While there are many ways I could describe my darling husband (sweet, thoughtful, caring, self-analytical, compassionate, loving, ideologically realistic, and silly being just a few words to start with), I have to confess that there are two words that cannot be left out of any list about him: passive aggressive and literal.

And so when he forwarded me the following emails of an email dialogue he had with one of his teachers (along with his paraphrase of her response), I giggled so hard, my boss came in to make sure I was ok.

For those of you who just don't "get" Chris, try this on for size:

Initial Email
From: Christopher (Student)
To: Teacher
Subject: class assignment

"I have been going by the most exact interpretation of your assignments in your syllabus. If it says "bring in," then I do. If it says, like last week, "find one example of each" but doesn't say to bring it in, then I find it but don't bring it in. So for this week you say "choose 3 examples, then write a paper" but you do not say to bring the examples in. Does this mean "choose" (make my selections) and bring in a paper about them without bringing in the selections? I'm a literalist, so I think I'm not supposed to bring them in. Am I right?"


Teacher Response Email:
From: Teacher
To: Christopher (Student)
Subject: class assignment

"Actually, no. I guess I am not a literalist in that sense. When I say “find one example of each,” I thought it was self-evident that you would bring the example in—how else would I know you had found it? Interestingly, in all the times I have taught this class, you are the only one who has interpreted it “literally.” I can see how you could interpret this in that way; I just haven’t thought of it that way in the past and neither have others. Just a word of caution—you will probably find that a lot of people do not think as literally as you do. So if you have any questions, it is better to ask than to make the wrong assumptions. This also means that you will have to be sensitive to how other people make assignments in the work world—in some cases, you practically have to read their minds!"


Chris' Paraphrase of Teacher Response:
From: Christopher
To: Wife (that would be me!)

Subject: FW: class assignment


Let me paraphrase her response to me, “Who’s a cute literalist? You, yes, it’s you, come here, cute literalist. Come. Come on.”

Friday, July 24, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 8)

#1 - Yes, I'm back! Well, for now. I've learned something about myself as I've begun this whole blogging experience. What I have learned is that when I have big things on my mind, I don't like to write a lot. I think a lot, process a lot, but the writing comes later. And I have a hard time writing at, about anything when I'm in that mode. Once I get out of that mode, then I have lots of things I want to write about. And the trick then is actually having the time to write all the things I want to say!
So, hopefully my blogging will be back a bit more regularly now. And the ultimate lesson we have learned here is that this is why I will probably never become a professional writer.
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#2 - Growing up, my parents always told me I was unique. They didn't say it like my older brother would say it--in a tone indicating that my uniqueness was such that I either needed serious help or should be locked up far away from sane, normal, society. No, my parents always
usually would say it with the appropriate tone of parental encouragement and pride that every kid needs a good, healthy dose of occasionally.

Well, after many years of doubt, I have finally had proof given to me from a completely non-biased source, that I am, indeed, unique. There is a website called: How Many of Me? This website lets you type in your first and last name and then it shows how many people with your name exist in the United States.

With my maiden name, there are (and I quote) "one or fewer" of me in the United States.

With my married name, sadly, there are three of me. I guess I have to share my uniqueness with two other people. How unpleasant!

However, as my maiden name is the name under which I was born and therefore developed in my most formable (formidable?) years, I think the unique label holds true regardless!

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#3 - So in the process of writing the above portion, I learned a useful and dandy little trick that I've wanting to figure out for awhile. How to strike out a word in a post without actually deleting the word. So, for all those out there who aren't sure how to do this, I thought I'd share this useful piece of information. You had to edit the html portion of your text and use the following: < style="TEXT-DECORATION: line-through">insert here the text you want to use

Enjoy!
Note: Upon publishing this post, blogger did exactly what I asked it to, and put a line through the "insert here the text you want to use" portion of the code I put above. So, in order to fix that problem (I think!), I put a space between the first <>

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#4 - I ran across this post awhile ago, and it just cracked me up. So for a good (clean) laugh, go read...Judging People That Use the Table of Contents in Their Bible.

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#5 - Random Blessing Report. This past Sunday, Chris and I and my little sister went out to eat at the local Indian restaurant (apparently a good GF option for me; I've eaten there twice now and haven't been sick yet! Obviously that's with avoiding the nan and other fried products).

Any ways, we ran into several sets of missionaries there that we've known most of our lives. This is a frequent occurrence at this restaurant (running into random missionaries). Something about a high percentage of missionaries really liking good Indian food?

Back to my story, we chatted with them for awhile, and then settled down to go indulge at the fabulous buffet. After having stuffed ourselves to a happy level of way-too-full-why-did-I-eat-so-muchness, we went to pay our bill. And found out that one of the missionaries had paid for our lunch! I love random acts of kindness; they make for such a pleasant mood in a day!


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#6 - Actually, I feel like I've been handed an extra dose of kindness (not really so random, I guess) the last few weeks. As hard as it has been for me in dealing with our loss, I've been reminded over and over again of how many people we have in our lives who care about us. That helps a lot. And I owe quite a few people huge thanks for that.
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#7 - I'm beginning to feel old. My classes' 10 year reunion is next month. I'm not actually going to attend as I really want to see my parents who have just come back to the USA, and I can't afford to do both. However, I've been watching the Facebook messages fly back and forth between all these different people, most of whom I haven't seen in ten years, and it's making me feel nostalgic. And old. And puzzled. How in the world has ten years gone by since I graduated high school? I think it's a dirty trick that time plays because when you're younger, ten years feels like a really long time. But the older I get, ten years doesn't look like such a long span!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Biking

The weather right now is gorgeous. Feels like fall. Except it's the middle of the summer.

Due to the heat, we've not been biking as much as we would have liked the last few weeks; however, yesterday we took advantage of the beautifulness and hit one of the biking trails in town. Thought I might share some of the pictures I took of our latest biking escapade.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

How Are You?

That is the most common question I've received the last few weeks. Honestly, I'm not always sure how to answer that question. So in a, sort-of, attempt at answering that question, I give you the two primary thoughts I've been holding on to.

Jeremiah 1:5
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart..."

Psalm 139
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.

You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Questions?

How is it possible that one can hurt so much for that which has never been seen?

Why can an existance of miniscule proportions create such a huge hole in the fabric of my life?

Am I simply mourning a dream?

Will I always be haunted by the fears that my tired brain cannot censor away?

Will life ever be as it was?

Would I have given this up if it meant not knowing this pain?

To the last one, at least, I have an answer: No.

Monday, June 1, 2009

New recipes

I know, I know, I just haven't been around much lately, have I? The sun has finally come out, the rain has finally gone away for longer than one day, and add into that all the weddings, etc, and I've just not been in a bloggy sort of mode!

However, I did want to take a few minutes to share some of my new food ventures. Because they've just been fun!

First off, last weekend, I had a couple of cups of cream that were about to go bad. So I decided to make butter. I've wanted to for awhile. And it was fun! I just dumped the cream in the food processor and then let it run for about 10 minutes. First it went thick (like cream does when it's beaten), and then it thinned back out again to a liquid, and then all of the sudden out of nowhere, I had butter floating around!

After running water through the butter and squeezing all the buttermilk out of it, I flavored it with some herbs. And it tastes really, really good!

Well, that apparently was enough to kick-start me back into a new recipes cooking mode.

Hillery had actually tried out one of Betty Hagmen's bread recipes (Light Graham Bread) that turned out really, really tasty. It's made with Teff (one of my absolute favorites out of all the new flours I've been playing with). Since I liked it so much, I decided to make it. Again, it turned out tasty. However, it also split in half coming out of the pan (don't ask, I don't know), and so was a bit of a disaster because it's really hard to toast bread that's, well, shapeless. And try to make a sandwich with it? Not so much. However, in terms of taste/texture - it was great! Now to just get it to come out as a loaf.....

This weekend, to continue to new recipe trend, I decided to try making Pita Bread. I found three different recipes, tried the one that seemed most compatible with the ingredients I already had on hand, and it was DELICIOUS (and surprisingly simple)! Next time I'm going to definitely double or triple the recipe, make a whole bunch, and then freeze the rest so I'll have some for quite awhile. If you want to try, here's the recipe I made thanks to Gluten Free Gobsmacked.

If you're trying it, I did make a few substitutions. Instead of amaranth flour, I used Quinoa flour (very interchangeable flours), and as I didn't have any almond meal, I used Teff (told you I love the stuff!) instead.

And then finally, my last venture this past weekend was a bit unexpected. It was a warm day, and I wanted something light and refreshing to drink. But I didn't want juice. I looked up recipes for milkshakes (which I'll totally be trying sometime!), but was missing a few essential ingredients for those. And then I remembered. A few months ago, I had researched and tucked away for future reference several recipes to make Sweet Lassi (for those unfamiliar with Lassi, it is a yogurt-based, Indian drink; goes excellently with curries and other spicy food; very cool, light, and refreshing. A lot of people like the mango version, but I personally favor just plain, ol' sweet Lassi). Fortunately, I had everything on hand, so I whipped it up in the blender. PERFECT!

Some of the versions I found recommended lemon juice as well. I might try adding some of that next time and see how it goes.

Here's the recipe for that (I'd tell you where I got it from, but, to be honest, I don't remember!).

Sweet Lassi - Serves 2 (12 oz each) or 3 (8 oz each)
2 cups plain low fat yogurt
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
6 ice cubes

Combine the yogurt with the water, sugar, and cardamom in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add the ice cubes and blend until they are completely incorporated.

Friday, May 22, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 7) - Photo Version




Seven Quick Takes Photo Version! This is what I've been up to the last few weeks....



#1 - We have a shed! And we have moved much stuff out of the garage and into the shed! And it is happy. And pretty. And large. And it covers up the annoying view of our neighbours back porch.



In order to move stuff into the shed, Hillery came and helped me out as Chris was frantically doing several major, time-consuming homework projects the week the shed came. Her two kids came along and played as well. And her little boy was having a fun time with our tree. And digging in the dirt, thus adding to the size and number of holes in our backyard (thanks to the resident moles, dogs, and rabbits). Didn't get pictures of the dirt digging. But I did get pictures of the tree hanging.





and my favorite....



SO CUTE!

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#2 - We have a freezer! Which is one of the reasons why we bought the shed and moved a ton of stuff out of the garage into the shed. And the freezer is happy. And pretty. And large. And soon to be full of tasty food including quick meals that I can make ahead of time and freeze and not have to make from scratch all the time! Going gluten free has provided many complications in my life. Not the least of which is not being able to go out to eat easily (at least not without risking getting sick).


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#3 - We have a new dishwasher! (are we sensing a theme here?). And it is happy. And pretty. And, well, not really large. But it's quiet. And the door can be opened without having to be propped up on something to keep it from crashing to the ground. And the dishes are actually getting clean. The FIRST time! And it has a delay setting which means I can set the dishwasher to run and still manage to let my husband have a shower in the morning and also run a load of laundry. Such joy!




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#4 - We have a screen (look carefully, you can kind of see it). This is something that I haven't really talked about much in our saga of broken things and desperate needs, but we've actually been trying to get a good screen door for quite awhile. And now we have one. And it successfully slides open and shut on a consistent basis without falling off its hinges. And that is also happy. Not really pretty--because you can't really see it unless you run into it. And as that is the reason we didn't have a screen door in the first place (Mara ran into it), I'd prefer that you don't run into it. So just enjoy the lack of flies in the house and be done with it!

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#5 - It's been a few weeks in which many books have been obtained.

We recently had the opportunity to buy a slew of Bodie Thoene books for very cheap. I'm not much into Christian romance (with a few exceptions here and there), but I've read a few of the Zion series, and really liked them. And I've been told her other books are well worth reading. More historical than romance. We'll see. If I don't like them I can always sell them again and get something else!

Then I also had a few books I had to buy quickly from Borders. And since they were running a deal that if you bought $50 of books, you got a $10 gift card, and I had to spend $38 already, I went ahead and picked up a couple of books I've been eyeing for awhile. If I was going to buy them any ways, I might as well buy them when I could get something back for them!

And then today there was a book sale. A $1 book sale! So.....I wound up with a box of books. Yes, I'm a compulsive book buyer. And reader. And there went my allowance for the next month! Buy who needs an allowance with so many books to read?



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#6 - Recently, I found green papaya in our local Asian market. And my sister and I had a glorious time of making it into somtam (green papaya salad--my favoritest Thai meal ever). Actually, we've made it twice now. And it was so good both time. I say "we". Technically, I haven't made it yet as she wanted the honors! Mum, I'll turn her into a cook yet!



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#7 - One of the primary reasons I haven't written lately is that our usual slew of spring/summer guests has begun. My sister has moved in for the summer. And then we had a wedding last weekend which meant we wound up with various people coming and staying and going for about two weeks.

The wedding itself was a delightful, simple, fun, outdoors event (well, it was also freezing cold, which wasn't delightful or fun). However, we survived!


That's us (for those who were unclear on that topic!).


This is the happy bride and groom. Don't you just love her dress? She made it herself!



A cakey mess.
With a sweet make up kiss.


And a much needed wipe down with a towel to become presentable again!


One of my favorite parts of the wedding was actually an evening before the great event. The groom's mother was staying with us for a week, and at her request (and with great jealousy!) I helped her to purchase a Kitchen-Aid as a wedding present for the couple.

As she's a missionary and would not be around to see them open any of their gifts, she wanted to give it to them early. And so we did.

The bride-to-be (and the groom for that matter!) was, needless to say, delighted.



And we promptly made cookies. Because it obviously needed to be immediately tested out.






And the boys demonstrated their maturity levels by playing with the bread hook and pretending to be pirates.