Saturday, February 28, 2009

Snowy Saturday

So for the second week in a row, I've woken up to snow on the ground. Both weeks it has been after we've had really nice weather the few days before--you know, "high 60's. No coats. Let's go outside and enjoy the sunshine before it disappears" kind of weather.

Any once else wish winter would just go away?

Friday, February 27, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 3)

#1 - I've decided to add a little distinction to my name by signing myself, "The Hanna". The Irish got away with it; why can't I? What do you think? A little over the top? Well, that's what happens when I get woken up after being in a deep sleep for several hours...things just get weirder and weirder and funnier and funnier. And random ideas like calling oneself "The Hanna" just seem brilliant. Truthfully, I could make a killing as a comedian if only I could arrange it so that I would tape immediately after being woken up having slept for a couple of hours. I wonder if that could be arranged? I wonder if I'm having this thought because I'm writing this at 4am after having been woken up?


#2 - On a more serious note, is anyone else disturbed by the current news on the "Fairness Doctrine"? It truly amazes me that such a concept would even be open for discussion. Why would anyone would support a law which would essentially stamp out some the fundamentals doctrines this country was founded on? What is happening to this country? I don't care what party you belong to, who you voted for in the last five elections, or where you grew up. If you have any passion at all for the so-called democracy of this country, don't ignore this issue.

#3 - Since I'm on the subject of politics, I will say it was interesting to read part of the interview filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of Speaker of the House, Congresswoman Nanci Pelosi did with Salon asking her about Alexandra's experiences following the McCain campaign for a documentary film.
Salon asked Pelosi the following question: "Did you go out there with the expectation that the polls were probably right and the candidate whose supporters you were interviewing was probably going to lose?"
Her answer was surprisingly refreshing: "Well, more than 58 million people voted for John McCain, and I know that everyone on the coasts is on an Obama honeymoon right now, and they seem to forget that more than 58 million people did not want Barack Obama to be their president. And when I was traveling over the summer and I would go to rallies and 20,000 people would be there, it's hard to say I knew Obama was going to win. They had some real enthusiasm at these events for the GOP ticket. So, I did not go out presupposing that Barack Obama was going to be president. I wasn't trying to make a point about, "Ooh, he's going to be president and here are the losers, let's go check out what they have to say.

"They had huge crowds, and I felt they were really underrepresented in the media. I didn’t feel like I saw these people on TV. And when I went out to talk to people, the first thing they would say to me was, "I can't believe you're talking to me." They were so flattered that I wanted to hear what they had to say because they'd say, "The media doesn't listen to us. You turn on the TV and all you see is Obama nation and you don't see us." They had some points. My liberal friends, I have to remind them that they have some really good points. No. 1, the media did not fairly represent them in this election. Obama was on the cover of every magazine all summer long. I understand Obama sold magazines. It's a business. But when you've got a presidential election and you have half of the country feeling really underrepresented, I think that's a real problem. And I think that's a bigger problem than Obama versus McCain.

"There was this guy in Fort Wayne, Ind., Fred Boise, who says, "The media paints us to be fanatics. They treat us like hicks and we just go to Wal-Mart and we're rednecks. And they don't come to get to know us, and they go on stereotypes." I think all of that is true. Of course there were a lot of clichés that I had to overcome when I got there. "Hi, I'm from New York and my last name is Pelosi," and obviously that was like funny to them in a weird way. Like, "What are you doing here?"
#4 - I ran into an interesting post on a new blog I've been exploring this week that fits in nicely with my (what I'm afraid might become thematic) rant on marriage, feminism, etc. Go check out "The Big Dumb Husband" over at The Family Homestead


#5 - On a totally different topic and because I apparently still have zombies on the brain and this cracked me up:
#6 - On the subject of celiac disease:
I was reading The Gluten-Free Homemaker, a blog that I've recently come across and have found has some really good information on Celiac and living Gluten Free. Any ways, the writer of this blog posted an article called "How Gluten Affects Me Mentally" that I personally found very interesting.
She began by describing how when she gets glutinated (my term not hers), her mood is really affected. Immediately I began to read more closely because her description was, well, me, or at least what's been happening to me mood when I've had gluten. In short, I become a crabby, irritable brat (to put it nicely)--and this grumpiness is not just because of how I physically feel. I literally can feel the gluten affecting my mood. And even more weird is how, as everything gets processed out of my body, I can literally feel my mood getting better. It's distinctly noticeable and slightly unnerving at times!
Any ways, she had a medical explanation for why this happens to those with celiac or gluten intolerance. To quote:
"Intestinal permeability is part of the reaction that takes place when someone with celiac disease eats gluten. To put it simply, molecules that should be kept within the intestines are able to “leak” out into the bloodstream. Gluten is one of those molecules. When gluten is carried by the blood to the brain, it causes problems. Dr. Fasano explained that the gluten molecule is similar to endorphins which, along with other things, give us a sense of well-being. The gluten molecules will dock where endorphins are supposed to dock. In effect, gluten blocks endorphins and the positive feelings they can give us."
It's not an excuse for bad behavior on my part, but it is a relief to know that I'm not the only one who goes marginally Witchy upon the ingestion of gluten and that there's an actual reason for it.
And then I sent the article to my husband and he said he's going to start telling me to get my receptors cleaned. I'm not exactly sure how to respond to that!
#7 - Why is that when I center my cute little asterisks line right above point #5, all of point #1 immediately also centers itself? Not point #4, #3, or #2. Just #1. And if I make point #1 be left centered, then the line right above #5 becomes left centered. Why are computers so irritatingly uncooperative?
Signing off till next time,
The Hanna

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lent 2009

A few months ago, as I was going about my usual day, the sudden and very random thought popped into my mind that I should give up fiction for Lent this year.

Now, for those of you who know me or have read this blog even a tiny little bit, you'll know that I'm what can be accurately described as a bookworm. A voracious reader would be a slightly more sophisticated way to describe my reading habits. Namely, it is not uncommon (of course depending on the size of books and my amount of free time) for me to get through four or five books in a week. On an exceptionally high reading or eight. I am, admittedly, a speed reader. However, my retention skills are very high, so I get along quite well with all my reading. And, fortunately, I really do enjoy re-reading many books because otherwise my reading habits would cost me a fortune.

While I do read non-fiction, I generally do gravitate more naturally to fiction of all sorts. And thus, the non-fiction books I both want to and sometimes need to read get neglected at times. While I love to challenge my mind and I enjoy reading non-fiction, I find it harder to lose myself when reading non-fiction, and thus, as reading is not just a hobby but is also a way for me to escape from stress, etc, the non-fiction gets left behind.

Any ways, I kind of laughed at the idea--me, give up reading fiction for 40 days? the absurdity of the idea!--but then I began to pray about it because I felt like this idea was more than just a stray thought that had wandered across my somewhat tired and stressed brain but perhaps was a little nudge by the Holy Spirit about something I really did need to do.

After several weeks of contemplating and praying about the idea, I decided that it was something that I both could and perhaps should follow through on for Lent. Like I said earlier, I often times choose fiction over the non-fiction that I need to read. And some of these nonfiction books are ones that really could be challenging to me spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and might be bringing some very needed concepts to light that I would otherwise not be considering.

And so, starting today, I will not be reading any fiction--a decision I do not make lightly and without some trepidation. I will not, however, as my crazy husband suggested randomly upon finding out my resolution, be giving up reading completely. I have at least ten books that are currently calling my name and that I hope to make good headway on delving into.

And we will see where the Holy Spirit will take me through this.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pancake Tuesday and a Happy New Year to all!

Are you confused? Allow me to elucidate.

It's Shrove Tuesday today and although we are not having any pancake races we are still having crepes for dinner (have I told you about my amazing gluten free crepe recipe? Because if I haven't...let me just say that it is phenomenal and if you didn't know that they were GF, you never would know! Again, thank you Susan O'Brien. But I digress...). Although Shrove Tuesday officially marks the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent - more on that tomorrow - for my personal calendar I'm labeling it New Years. At least for 2009.

You see, I'm not quite sure what happened to the first two months of this year. They've just kind of...well...vanished. I feel like I skipped from the end of 2008 to the last few days of February 2009 and just missed the entire month of January and the first two-thirds of February. So, I decided that this is officially going to be the beginning of my year...I guess you could call tonight my New Year's Eve...because, frankly, I can't catch up. So, rather than trying to kill myself in a vain attempt to catch up and thus probably getting farther and farther behind all year...I'm instead just going to start where I'm at with my own fresh New Year.

So, happy pancakes and an even happier new year to you!

More on the traditional New Years Resolutions later because, after all, what is a New Year without resolutions?!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Upon Reflection (aka - A Mini-Rant)

I've decided that I'm really not a fan of the myriad of websites like Facebook and MySpace.

What has caused this sudden declaration of dislike?

Well, there are several reasons.

First, I can barely keep up with regular letters and emails and then you add in these other sites that change so rapidly, it gets stressful. Not that I don't enjoy the actual more email/inbox type items that come my way. These I do read and and try to respond to faithfully. But the other piles of messages that get sent--it's too much to handle! And so often they are just surface, randomness. I'm not getting to know these people any better, not unless we're actually directly corresponding about something. But I did get to hear the stunning news of how so-and-so is glad her acne cleared up and that person x is contemplating his navel. Am I cynical? Maybe it just means that I'm a selfish person, but sometimes I really don't care about hearing how every second of other people's lives are going in the one-liner updates - "Person X is.....".

There's a Gilmore Girl's quote (I think there's a GG quote for just about every situaiton in life if you simply take the time to think about it) that really struck me as being the exact right description of how I feel about the people updates on these sites. You know, updates that are generally so vague they don't really describe anything much of importance and mostly really don't lead to any actual depth of relationships being built but are just kind of vague comments about one's life:

"Fine is a word you use when someone stops you on the street that you sort of know but you don’t want to talk to, so they ask you how they are and you say fine and that’s just enough so that they don’t have to keep talking to you because they don’t want, and then they can feel good about themselves because they’ve been considerate enough to ask. And then if, God forbid, something actually is wrong, they’ll actually sit down and take the time to listen even though they don’t want to." -Sookie St. James, Gilmore Girls, Season 1 Episode 4

And perhaps it's just me, but there are so many little tools that seem designed to keep one in high school forever. You know, comparing to see if you're placed high on so-and-so's friend list or if you're considered in the top ten list of "nicest" persons. Or like the invites. I know of several people who have mentioned to me about feeling hurt because they thought they were friends with a group of people and yet they see that group get together all the time through these public "invites", and yet they're never invited.

And since I'm on the topic of invites. Unless you're a faithful "user" (no drug-reference intended there...or maybe there should be one...hmm...have to think about that analogy), you might wind up missing out on invitations to stuff because you didn't receive the invitation on your Facebook account, and when you did get on there, it was so buried in a mass of 50,000 pokes, pies in the face, and gifts of plants, fish, and cookies that you didn't see it! All because someone else thought that was a good enough way to stay in contact with you.

And does anyone truly enjoy getting poked, pies in the face, and the other hundreds of things that people can virtually do to you? And how is one supposed to respond exactly to said pokings/pies, etc? Will a simple thank you suffice? Will they be offended if you take the quick and easy way out by simply ignoring their offering? Or do you have to in return look through all the different options and send them something just as obscure back? Hmmm...I wonder if so-and-so whom I haven't actually seen in 10 years would be offended if I sent her a cookie or would she prefer a butterfly? Or maybe I should just "super poke" her?

Now, don't get me wrong. When I first became a member of both sites (a couple of years time-difference between those two events) there's an initial fun buzz that goes with it (there I go again with the references!). And there are people with whom I've gotten back into contact through these websites. And I truly am grateful for those relationships that I've been able to reestablish and even rebuild. But, out of the 100ish people with whom I am "friends", we're talking about only a handful of rebuilt relationships. And yes, I do value those relationships (which is why I'm not cancelling my accounts).

But for the most part, I'm not a big fan. I use the sites minimally. I glance at other people's stuff. I rarely post things. Truthfully, anything that I want to write or update...I'll put on here. And I do keep up with any messages sent directly to me...but beyond that, it just feels like a headache to me.

Maybe it's the introvert in me coming out. I don't know. But I'm really not fully on the "MySpace/Facebook" bandwagon. I'll keep using them just to stay in touch with the few people I do correspond with regularly, but for the most part, if you want to get hold of me, send me an email directly. Write me a letter. Pick up the phone and call me. Skype me! Or better yet, come on over and we'll hang out.

Just my two cents.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


So, I just wanted to throw out there the name of a blog that I ran across a few months ago: A Year of Crockpotting. Stephanie made it her mission last year to literally do one full year of crockpot recipes. And her daughter is on a gluten free diet - which makes it doubly useful for me. Seriously, if you ever want to find a recipe for the crockpot...this is site!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Movie Review: The Women

I just finished watching The Women. And truthfully, I didn’t like that movie. I can’t necessarily put exact wording to why it just left me feeling disgruntled, sad for the state of mankind, and with this general negative bad taste in my mouth. Then I watched the director/writer explain why she directed and wrote the movie the way she did, and I just had to shake my head in disbelief.

First of all, you hit the climax moment of the movie, the point at which the lead has to make her ultimate decision, and what line do they give? “The question you have to ask yourself is, ‘What do I want.’” And yes, it is the defining line for the entire movie – but not in the positive way the line was intended. No, that line was literally what the whole movie was about. “What do I want?” I want to do what I want, say what I want, act how I want, never mind who I throw away, hurt, or ignore in the process.

Now, granted, I’ve never seen the original movie, but it felt to me – in watching this movie – that this remake epitomized the feminist movement of today: It is all about me. And even though the end result is good, it is this attitude from the very beginning that is the ultimate problem.

I’ll admit here and now, I am becoming increasingly weary of the feminist movement as it exists today. This movement in which women are so determined that they can do it all themselves is destroying not only the beauty of being a woman but is destroying the entire structure of being a man. But I won’t go further into that rant now.

The director talked about how her intent was to show how women need to bond together, work together, to get through difficult times. And I don’t disagree with that portion of the story. I’ll admit, there were parts that were incredibly clever and moving just because they really do show snippets of how many female relationships are – both in the good and the bad ways. However, what they also did through the remake of this movie (and which was emphasized by the director) is that women no longer need men. The director talked about the necessity for balancing the movie as, in her description of the original, it was all about women if not acquiescing to their men then at least needing them in order to have a worthwhile existence. However, this version didn’t feel balanced. Instead, it felt like (again, I’m saying this without having seen the original movie) she swung the pendulum to the complete opposite side and turned it into this whole women don’t need men at all.

There was one other major thing that I really could not believe about the director’s comments. Apparently the original movie was actually a play written by a woman in the 1930s who had recently come into the New York social life and who despised the way these upper class women acted and treated each other. It was her way of poking fun at their way of life. And so while this director is discussing this, she’s also talking about how she was able to make this movie by hobnobbing with the right people, having the right relationships, and talking about how she managed to make the right connections because she has a house on Martha’s Vineyard and a lady she really needed to back her happened to have a “little cottage” there as well. i.e. She is so desirous to have her rewrite of this play produced – and she did so by using the very people and methods that the original play was written as a mockery of!

All in all, I was not impressed with the movie. Now, to be fair, I do have to say it had good moments. There was at least one woman in the movie who did emphasize how she and her husband stuck together through the messiness of an affair because they felt not only that it was what they wanted but because they loved their children and that was vital…and ultimately you get the impression that the main woman will work out her relationship with her husband. The primary woman does give a good speech about how building trust back is hard and there are a lot of issues they will have to really work out to make it work but that it can be done. And the movie did present the idea that a good marriage is worth fighting for, but even with a somewhat decent end, I felt like there was so much anti-man/woman commitment sentiment dumped into the movie, it slightly sickened me.

And yet again, a seemingly common theme in my life the last few months, I am faced with the question: What is happening to the concept of marriage? Or is just that I’ve been blind to the systematic deconstruction of marriage, and it’s been occurring for a very, very long time?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

That quiet mutual gaze of a trusting husband and wife is like the first moment of rest or refuge from a great weariness or a great danger. ~George Eliot

Friday, February 13, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 2)

#1 - So my first comment about these "quick takes" is that I like doing them. My second comment is that I might as well confess freely now that they will probably not be a regular Friday occurance. Because the truth is, no matter how well intentioned I am, or how organized I am, things like this never do become completly regular for me. Sad but true.

#2 - Continuing on the above train of thought, why is it so hard to do things that you both want to and know you should? To quote Paul, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." (Romans 7:15). Granted, I know he was talking about "doing" sin and evil in this passage, but it does apply so well to so many other things in life. Why don't I do some of the jobs around the house I know that need to be done and really would only take me a few minutes to do and I would feel happier for having done? Why don't I get up and work out in the morning when I know it'll help my mood the rest of the day. It's silly really. And yet the reality remains that I don't! How to solve this problem?
#3 - Movie update. I watched Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day this week. First of all, qualifier - there is some back-end nudity in the movie and definitely some sexual inuendos. However, if you like period pieces and a good love story, this is a great movie to watch. It's set right before WWII and deals with some of the attitudes of that day. I really liked it; Amy Adams' performance is really, really good.

#4 - It's Valentine's Day tomorrow. Sadly, the weather is supposed to be kind of gross, and so our original plan has been destroyed. I guess it's time to come up with plan B! Of course my diet complicates everything, but I think we can find something fun and special nontheless. Maybe even a new tradition can be found. An old tradition is not going to be followed this year - Christopher isn't going to give me a bear. I love the ones I have and they have much symbolic meaning for me, but I'm actually pretty good with letting that tradition go (although maybe on occasion it might still be nice!). What to do instead?

#5 - Talking about love, does anyone else feel like the institution of marriage is being strongly attacked right now? I know that there's been battles going on for years, but the last number of months--at least from where I stand--have extremely bad. Maybe I'm just feeling this way because we've just in the last month and a half we've now had three friends/acquaintances/ people we look up to be involved in affairs, divorces, etc (the third I just found out about today). It hurts to see what these people are going through. From a purely selfish perspective, it's a good reminder to not take my husband for granted, to not be neglectful or blaise about needing to continually work on my marriage, and to watch the words that I allow myself to use with or against my husband so that he does not feel the need to seek companionship or love from someone else.

#6 - Update on the Thai food. I have not good back, although I may tomorrow. It did affect me (soy I think, not gluten), but not severely. I'm not sure about how much more severely having more within just a few days would have an impact. I guess we'll find out...maybe!
#7 - I can't help but admire the creative workings of my husband's brain. Last night we played a game he's invented and been working on. It's quite good...we completely revise it, but the basic concept is good. Much impressive. For all my creative abilities, I don't think I could do that.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thai goodness and sadness all mixed up in a bowl of spicy tastiness

I probably will pay for it tonight, but I just had the best Thai meal I have ever had in the USA. And, truthfully, the quality of the food rivals that of a lot of Thai meals I've had back home.

A few months ago I heard about/saw a little Thai restaurant tucked in out of the way beside a gas station (how Thai can you get!) near our house. Unfortunately, with all the food issues, I haven't been eating out hardly at all the last year. And so we never tried out the restaurant.

And then on Sunday my sister came over and informed us that not only is it a really, really good restaurant but that they have Isarn food (Isarn is the Northeast region of Thailand - the area I grew up in - and has very distinct food [and in my opinion the BEST food] that you don't really find elsewhere in the country) which is rarely found outside of Thailand itself because it's not what the tourists generally eat. But the truly sad news was that they were closing down this week.

So tonight we (Chris, myself, my sister, my brother, and sis-in-law) all went to eat there. And oh my goodness, Joy wasn't kidding. That was the best Thai food I've had in years. Seriously, if that restaurant was open in Thailand, it would be one of those which the natives would frequent because of how good it is.

But, as the saying goes, "location, location, location." It's so far out of the way, no one knows about the restaurant. And on Sunday it will be closing its doors.

So for now I will concentrate on the delectable spiciness of the food and pray that I don't get sick tonight/tomorrow (and I won't regret the meal if I do get sick!). And I'm praying even more than the normal "I don't want to be sick prayer" because I really, really, really want to go back and eat there again at least one time this week before it closes down!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Susan O'Brien

is my new favorite chef/creator of cookbooks. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago when I was talking about the new pizza crust recipe I had found that is really good (see Pizza Success! blog here) that I had bought myself three GF books as a self Christmas present. One of these books is called Gluten-free, Sugar-free Cooking: Over 200 Delicious Recipes to Help You Live a Healthier, Allergy-Free Life.

If you are ever looking for a really good cookbook that is gluten free, sugar free, and really, really good - I would recommend this one.

Now, I will admit, she doesn't have a lot of baked goods in this cookbook. Primarily because she really does focus on healthy eating in addition to good eating. And let's face it folks, a lot of baked goods really don't fall into the healthy eating category! However, she does have some desserts and some baked goods.

If I have one complaint against her it's that she doesn't address using Stevia at all as a sugar replacement - and that's something I want to learn more about. But that aside, her recipes are fantastic. It has gotten to the point that I'm willing to try any of her recipes without hesitation just because they are all so good.

Some of my favorites?
  • crepes (you seriously cannot tell that these are GF crepes)
  • O'Brien Family Spaghetti Sauce (I have really struggled with finding a top-notch spaghetti sauce recipe - this one is it. Hands down, this is probably the best spaghetti sauce I've ever eaten)
  • her hummus recipe is very tasty and very simple
  • the Basil Chicken Curry is going to become a regular part of our dining experience
  • her Mexican Rice recipe is also really good

So, if you're looking for a really good and healthy cookbook - whether or not you are with the GF crowd - this one is definitely a good pick.

(Just an afterthought: While I was researching cookbooks, I ran across so many people who get really upset if there aren't a lot of pictures in a recipe book. For me, that is not a big deal...but, if you are one of those people who want pictures - this is not the book for you. There is only one picture in the book and that is the front cover. Just had to add that for the sake of transparency!)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell."

- C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

I've been tagged about half-a-dozen times on my Facebook account in the last week for this, so I decided to go ahead and do this (and throw it on here as well!). Please note, I will not be tagging another 25 people to do this. Not that I don't care to hear about other people but simply because most of the other people I would tag have (a) already been tagged or (b) probably wouldn't do this!

1. I love bubble wrap. Well, technically I love popping the bubbles in bubble-wrap. It can be a form of stress release. Especially if you have the bubble wrap with the really big bubbles, then you can just stomp on it if you're really having a bad day!

2. I come from a family with green thumbs. I have a black thumb. This fact is saddening to me because I love gardens and (especially given my recent food issues) would really love to start a vegetable garden. But death, it seems, is the most result of my gardening attempts!

3. One of my favorite things is to wake up in the morning to a tidy house. It somehow starts me out in a calmer mood than if I wake up to a house of messiness.

4. I have lived in 3 countries (lived being defined as being somewhere for at least two full months) and have lived in 20 different houses/dorm rooms/basements. The longest I have ever lived in one place has been my current house in which we've lived for just over four years now.

5. Truthfully, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I thought by the time I turned about 25 I'd have my life all set....not so much I guess.

6. I love the first two Mummy movies (haven't seen the third one). Why - I really couldn't say. But I truly love watching those movies!

7. I want to own my jet ski. I love jet skiing (and snow mobiling for that matter).

8. I've always wanted to learn to ballroom dance with my husband.

9. One of my favorite things is a new notebook. The feel of the crisp paper not yet sullied with finger marks and use, wondering about what will be written on the white loveliness, even the smell makes me slightly giddy with delight! Oh, but I much prefer notebooks that are spiral bound and not flat. In fact, I will barely use a flat-bound book. BLEAGH!

10. On the same note as above, I love office supply stores. Almost as much as I love the Container Store. I imagine I feel the same way about office supplies that many people feel about shoes. I just can't have enough! Except I do restrain myself because my budget can only have so much :)

11. I've always wanted to learn to make my own clothes. In fact, that is something that I want to start learning this year. Why? Just because the idea of not being dependent on someone else to design something that I like would be nice. And it just seems like fun!

12. I like being short. I really do. Yeah, I get a lot of teasing about my rather diminutive height, but truthfully, I wouldn't change my height if I had the option.

13. I am absolutely pathetic at writing letters. Not the actual writing of the letter; that I can do pretty well - in fact - when I do it, I enjoy it! It's the sitting down and actually writing a letter (or an email) that I'm awful at. I've been trying for awhile now to come up with some system to keep on top of my correspondence, but it's not getting any better. Suggestions?

14. The longer I've been married and had "grown up" relationships with people, the more I respect my parents and certain points of their marriage.

15. I truly have a hard time saying what my favorite colour is. I've always said blue, but in reality I love green, I love purple, and if you get me in the right mood or in reference to the right thing, I love red, black, and yellow!

16. I have a serious book addiction. It really is a problem. Sometimes I feel that I can't keep enough books in the house to satiate my reading desires. Fortunately I do like re-reading books, so that helps a bit. But sometimes when I go to a library I get overwhelmed because it seems like no matter how many books I read there are still so many thousands out there that I haven't read and MUST read!

17. I think organizing things is fun. I know, I know, weird. But I really do. Going through clutter and making something neat and (to me) beautiful out of it is incredibly satisfying.

18. I have a tendency to resent people who look at me and assume that because I look young or because I tend to be soft-spoken and generally non-aggressive, that I'm somehow less competent. And I have a hard time letting go of resentments (sad but true).

19. I miss teaching. I don't miss the public school system. But I do miss teaching and hope that someday in the not-to distant future I might somehow find the right niche for me in terms of teaching.

20. I have very eclectic music tastes. But I really do not like most Christian music. Worship music - definitely. I can listen to good worship music all day long. But most Christian music I find to be annoying and very exclusive.

21. One of my wishes in life that will now never be fulfilled (as she's dead!) is to have met Madeline L'Engle. I find her writings - fiction and nonfiction - fascinating and inspiring. And I think I could have gotten along really well with her.

22. I love driving. I really do. I can't even really say why (unless it has something to do with my love of travel). I just know that I really, truly enjoy to drive.

23. Someday I want to get my doctorate. I'm not sure in what. I just know that I love school, I love to study, and I would really love to be Dr Hanna .......!

24. When I was little, I always wanted to grow up to look like Audrey Hepburn. I was very sad when I realized that was probably an unlikely thing to happen.

25. There are three foods I cannot imagine living without for the rest of my life: rice, cheese, and chocolate.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pasta Carbonera

I was 16 when we went to England for the summer and an aunt and uncle of mine took us to Italy - Venice and Verona. Somewhere in the Dolomite mountains, I had this disgusting unhealthy and incredibly tasty dish called Pasta Carbonera.

I ran across the recipe for this the other day and decided I had better try and make it. And it's just as yummy as I remember it. And having a better knowledge of calories, it's even more unhealthy. But well worth every tasty bite!

1 pound of spaghetti, cooked al dente

1/2 pound bacon

1 medium onion, minced

2 cloves garlic

2 tbsp fresh basil or sage leaves, chopped fine.

2 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

Cook the spaghetti, draining and setting aside when done.

While the spaghetti cooks, chop bacon into 1/2 inch chunks and cook in a heavy skillet until nicely crispy. As you are waiting for the bacon to cook, mince the onion very finely, chop the sage or basil and peel the garlic. Once the basic is crispy, remove it from the pan and set aside in a small bowl.

Do not dump out the bacon drippings because that's where this recipe gets it flavor. In the pan with the bacon drippings, cook the minced onion, sage or basil, and garlic over medium heat until the onion is soft.

Add the hot pasta and toss well. Crack the two eggs into a small bowl and whisk well. Pour the eggs over the pasta, stirring the pasta quickly so that the eggs coat the pasta as evenly as possible.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, February 2, 2009


I find it disturbing the things that people will do in a desperate attempt to be "funny."

I had a most unpleasant experience a few weeks ago that while I have laughed over it and it has become a bit of a running joke around here, I have also been very disgusted by it.

Allow me to explain.

I was laying in bed, cuddled up with my husband, and just drowsing off into a nice deep slumber. All of the sudden the phone rang. As it was about 10:30pm and most of our friends/family know that we go to bed relatively early, I was a little surprised by the call. And a little concerned as most calls that have come at that time of night have been because of something wrong. After all, even telemarketers tend not to call that late! So I grabbed the phone.

Me: "Hello"

Unknown Female: "Can I speak to Chris?"

Me: "Who is this, please?"

UF: "This is Jessica...his girlfriend."

(momentary stunned, confused silence from me as my brain tries to wake up and catch up with where this conversation has gone)

Me: "I'm sorry, but I think you have the wrong number."

Jessica: "No, I don't. This is the house of Chris and ..........[I don't actually know for sure what was said at this point - but my memory wants to say that she said his wife]....Hanna."

Me: "Yes. But you can't be his girlfriend because I'm his wife."

Jessica: "You [I'll leave the expletives out!]....let me speak to my man!"

At which point, needless to say, I hung up the phone.

I explained the conversation to Chris as we tried to figure out what that was all about. And then after a few minutes, we settled back down to sleep when the phone rang again. We left the answering machine to get it.

The next morning, before I left for work, I listened to the message. Sure enough, Jessica - in a very non-enthusiastic, lazy kind of voice - "Hi Chris. This is Jessica. I've been thinking about you. Love you. Call me."

No phone number and seriously non-convincing in her tone. Yet rather unsettling, nonetheless.

But this is not the end of my tale. Oh no.

I went to work and was chatting to a good friend of mine there, telling her about the rather random phone call. We laughed about it, but then my friend asked a rather curious question. She reminded me of a girl in one of Chris' classes who had been rather blatantly trying to flirt with - to a point where he was rather uncomfortable around her. Could it be her?

I laughed it off. Surely not. He has made it very clear to her that he's married. She wouldn't be that stupid? Besides, her name isn't Jessica.....I think.

Then I get an email from Chris. He had suddenly put the dots together himself with this girl........and her name was Jessica.

At this point, my heart sank, and I immediately started formulating "accidental death" schemes.

End result - he listened to the message. Wasn't her. In fact, her life has taken a very different (and from my perspective - very relieving) path of having her own relationship.

Since then we haven't heard any more from Jessica and have decided it must have been some kind of cruel prank.

Many random things have since been blamed on Jessica. And yet, especially for the first few days, I couldn't help but be angry at the kind of person who would be willing to do such a thing. If Chris and I didn't have the strength of relationship that we have fostered over the years, something like that could be enough to destroy some relationships that I know of. And what kind of society do we live in that someone would think such a thing is a funny joke?

All I can say is, "Jessica, don't you come back. You'll regret it!"

One Year Ago Today

On this day, one year ago, we completely changed our lives. We drove away from jobs and home and loved ones to a new adventure of the very m...