Monday, February 28, 2011

I'm Back and it's My New Year's Day

No bruises to report. I'm actually in much better spirits than I was. Today is my personal New Year's Day. I didn't settle all my issues, nor did the sky collapse. I'm just in a much more peaceful place than I was in my heart last week.

Having done some praying, thinking, and planning about changes, this upcoming season should be a growing one (or shrinking one, at least physically).

For my New Year I have three main goals that came from wrestling with God. (Truly, it was more like a pleasant retreat.)

1. Spiritually-- to journal again. I got out of this excellent habit little by little, until I got to the place I realized I no longer even wanted to journal what I was hearing from God. And then it seemed He wasn't speaking. Well, you know, wise people know when their audience isn't listening. The solution? They either shout, whisper, or stop talking. This time God whispered, "Write down what I'm saying." So today I began that again.

2. Physically- Get moving! I knew that walking the dog would do double duty. (Well, I do mean duty and not doody. I myself use indoor plumbing, thank you very much. Reilly prefers the camping style.) Anyway, I took him out for 20 agonizing minutes. He is so strong and has no concept of how NOT to pull on a leash. I was ready to call Cesar Milan before I had gotten 30 yards from my front door.

So that's the get-moving part. About the eating: while starting to take better care of my health, I have devoted breakfast, lunch, and snacks today and tomorrow to only fruits, veggies, and legumes. This functions as a mini-fast/"clean-out" phase of my long-term better-eating plan. I want to lose 8 pounds in March. I'm still devising a plan for the long haul.

3. Mentally--to regain what memory I lost through anaesthesia (the ability to recall some common nouns) by not settling for "hoojie-bobs" and "whatchacallits," but to strive until I think of the word. For example, I was remembering "co" but couldn't get "coffee pot" to come out. Or
"pa" but not "pajamas." It was scary. Seriously. Made me wonder if I had early-onset Alzheimer's, and I'm not being funny. It made me wonder what it's like to really have memory loss. This is so frustrating! Simple words just GONE! Thankfully words come more easily when I'm writing. I don't usually say hoojie-bobs when I write.

And I've started memorizing Romans 5. If you're going to sharpen your memory, you might as well sharpen it on scripture, right?

Happy New Year to you. Have you got any new goals, hopes, dreams, or other whatchallits?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Taking a Blog Break to Wrestle with God

I am in that place again where I feel like a hermit, a talkative hermit with all this stuff to say and all these feelings to process, most of which lately have not been positive. Basically I realize I've accepted the invitation to my own pity party, and as you know, those are not well-attended by other folks. Misery may love company, but company does not love misery!

Like Jacob of the Old Testament, I am wrestling with God over a few things. Things too private for the blog. Hurts, disappointments, breakdowns. I know I won't "win" when I take God to the mat, nor do I want to. Could I trust a God I could beat with my angry words? Could I rest securely in His love if I thought He would leave me if I screamed at Him or if I begged him one more time to please take this thorn from my side? No, I could not, but like Jacob, I'm a wrestler at heart. I want to wrestle some hard questions with God until my strength is gone, my tears soak the pillows, my will is broken, and my heart is rightly aligned again. I want to come to that place of sweet surrender where I say, "Father, I see the good now. I see Your glory on display, not mine. And that's how it should be."

That said, I'm taking a blog break (I'll still be reading others' blogs, but not writing on my own or leaving comments) for an indefinite amount of time. If you're the praying kind, I would appreciate prayers, prayers not for strength, but for surrender of my foolish and false sense of strength.

For some better company, how about reading what other Company Girls are up to?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hodgepodge Wednesday on a Real Wednesday, EDITED

Joyce, over at From this Side of the Pond always has great questions to get the mind in motion.

1. Did you know there is a national day of pretty much everything in the universe? Feb 23rd happens to be National Inconvenience Yourself Day...when was the last time you were inconvenienced?

The last really major inconvenience happened this past Saturday. I won't rehash it (you can scroll down to the post below called "Ours at Last..."). The inconvenience of me being a post-operative woman dealing with complications, hormones, a birthday boy with 7 friends talking about farts and poop, a new dog who is both an answer to prayer and a 74-pound ball of undisciplined affection, a 4-hour round trip car ride to adopt the goldmeister (the cute dude above, looking all innocent and everything), plus hunger, dehydration, elation for us, sadness for others...well, it was what I would call a Glorious Inconvenience.

2. When a room in your house needs painting, who does the job?

My husband. I wouldn't have it any other way. He is tall, perfectionistic, and tenacious. He will not stop until the job is done, and done beautifully. I am only the runner. I run for paint supplies, run for his iced tea, run for whatever he needs. But I love his mad paint skills. He procrastinates and hems and haws about getting started, but once he's got that roller in hand, it's full-steam ahead, baby. Speaking of steam, I find him uber attractive when he's in handyman mode. He doesn't understand why I find him so sexy when he paints. (But I've noticed he won't hire anyone else, either!)

3. Are you friends with your cousins?

Funny you should ask. I've just recently gotten back in touch with my cousins through Facebook. We never really knew each other as kids, living so far apart. But as adults sharing the same heritage (common enemies?) we really hit it off. My cousins, aunts, and uncles are hilarious and generous, talented and kind. I had the distinct pleasure of going to Texas this past New Year's week for a mini-reunion with my cousins Lisa, Cindi, Craig, and their branches of the family (nut) tree. The "highlight" of the reunion (aka Fireworks at Craig's on New Year's Eve)
came at about 5:30 pm just as the guests were arriving to eat. Craig's little girl fell out of the tree and broke her arm at the elbow. So off to the ER for them, and the rest of us hosted our own party and felt right at home.

4. Do you use an alarm clock-if yes, is it an actual alarm, music or something else?

Yes, but it's on my husband's side of the bed, set to music. I am almost always awake before it comes on because I have a bladder the size of a grape. And it's a grape that does disco.

5. What do you put ketchup on?
French fries, hash browns, and meatloaf.

6. What smells make you nostalgic?
A lot of them. 1) Perfume of my third grade librarian, Mrs. Fountain, and that of Mrs. Reeves, the mother of a close high school friend. The perfume Mrs. Reeves wore was called Norell. 2) Boxwood. It reminds me of Nan C's yard, tucked away from everything, where I found solace and the love of Jesus in Nan's company. She was my spiritual mother when I was a confused and hurting teenager. 3) Lilacs take me back to Kansas. 4) Honeysuckle to my lazy summer days in Dublin (Maryland).

7. Did you hear about the high school English teacher recently suspended for some things she wrote on her personal blog? You can read the story here but in a nutshell she vented a lot of frustration onto her blog. She didn't mention individual students by name but she did make some harsh comments about kids in general and their parents.

What are your thoughts-if you're a parent is your child's teacher online and are you a 'friend' or 'follower' there? If you're a teacher are you on facebook and do you accept or friend students there? How about their parents? If you're a student are you friends with your current or former teachers online? Do any of them have blogs you read? If you're a teacher or a parent do you ever use your blog as a place to vent your frustrations with our educational system? So much to discuss....

No, I didn't read it. It's not wise to air one's job grievances online. I learned the hard way as a teacher who didn't use names. Teachers: When a student misbehaves egregiously, and it's out of your league or needs further addressing, go to those who can do something about it: the parents and the principal. Parents: Do your teacher a huge favor and ASK frequently how your child is doing with listening, respecting, following directions, learning, getting along with others, neatness, etc. Don't assume everything's fine just because you haven't heard otherwise. And by all means, do NOT assume that your child is right just because you heard his side of the story first!

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Our new dog just ate a pencil eraser. Can I hope that it will erase some of his bad habits that come from within?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bucket List Commentary

Back in December I made a bucket list for 2011. I'm thinking it's time I check in and maybe check offat least 3 things. Let's see here...

1. Have a regular game night every month with my friends. I need more fun in my life.
Played Battle of the Sexes with my kids and their significant others. Fun. Haven't gotten w/ my friends yet.
2. Redecorate the living room. The sofa and chair are very comfy but quite outdated and too big for the space. Nope. Same old, same old. And it's really starting to bug me.
3 Memorize Romans 5 or 8 . Haven't decided for sure. Still decidin'...
4. Lose 46 pounds before I'm 46 (late August). Just fuhgettabowdit. Maybe 30.
5. Do a 5K run/walk for a good cause. See #4 for the good cause.
6. Visit my sister Rachel in TX. DONE! Happened Dec 28-Jan 3.
7. Visit my sister Andrea in AZ. hoping...
8. Celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary (next December) in Europe. (A girl can dream, can't she?) Really depends on finances.
10. Do something special for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary (October). Being discussed amongst us girls.
11. Take an art class at the community college. (Preferably painting.) Itching to do this.
12. Have necessary surgery and recover quickly from it. Had surgery. Recovery is still ongoing. I am discouraged daily because I don't think it was a success.
13. Learn to play our hammered dulcimer. I aspire to play like the late Rich Mullins. I would start with "Jesus Loves Me" and, if I mastered that, aspire to play the music to the song "Creed,"as heard in the background of this video. Kind of lost motivation
14. Get professional counseling and be finally free of longstanding issues in my life. Need to concentrate on physical wellness at the moment. One thing at a time.
15. Support my friend Bonnie in Zambia in myriad ways--prayer, money, cards, care packages, etc. DOING THIS. A care package from a bunch of us will go to Africa in early March with the fellow in charge.
16. Make one new dish from a different culture each month, including the beef stew as seen in the movie Julie & Julia. I think I made something in January. Not sure. Tonight I made a new Italian dish from Rachael Ray's Express Lane Meals. Pasta w/ Broccoli & Sausage with a Ricotta Surprise. (pg. 80. Everyone liked it.)
17. Help Ben move out, per his desire to have a place of his own after college graduation.
18. Remodel the master bathroom. The mold will drive Paul either to Lowe's or the hospital.
19. Visit the Brownes in NH.
20. Sponsor another child.
21. Read at least 13 books in various genres. Slow going. I need to give up Facebook or blogging for a while, and get serious about real reading.

That's One Way to Put It

This morning I informed Joel, our 9 year old, that we were going to learn to pray more. The first thing we would do when beginning a prayer is to tell God His attributes. So we started to pray.

"Dear Heavenly Father, we are coming to you to tell you of your great attributes," I began.

"What are attributes?" my son asked, whispering into my ear. " I forgot already."

"Characteristics. Things about Him," I answered, also whispering.

"Oh, okay," he said to me, and then continued praying--loudly, "And dear God, you are bullet-proof!"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ours at Last: Adoption Day for Reilly

At last the day came! Doggie Adoption Day!

The dog we've been praying for since Molly died on January 7th. No, it doesn't sound very long, and I thought it'd take more time for me to start the process of looking for a new dog. I mean, when you've had the best dog ever, then what? You pray. And when a good thing falls through after that, then what? You pray more. And then you wait. You pray and wait. Wait and pray. And then, that answer to prayer finally comes. For us, it came in the form of a purebred Golden Retriever named Murphy (his previous name).

We quickly renamed him Reilly. Reilly means "courageous." His name reminds me of the courage it took to walk Molly through her last days. It took courage for this dog's previous owner and her 11-year-old son to put him up for adoption. "Murphy" had been a gift from her dying father a year ago, but the new landlord had a no-dog policy. (Ironically, Reilly is scared of Sarah's fish.) And perhaps, God willing, Reilly will give hope and courage to many suffering and lonely people someday when we do Therapy visits together.)

Saturday, February 19th, was the big day. It was more than eventful:

1. From 10 a.m. till noon, we had Joel's birthday party with 7 other boys at a place called Lunar Golf at a local mall. Then we took them to Chick Fil-A. He was one happy boy. I felt unusually weak and had a gripping headache, but adrenaline was a grace in the moment.
2. When we got home from the party, I immediately discovered a complication from surgery that I thought would send me back to the ER. There I was, looking at the clock, lying in bed at 1:03 pm, freaking out that I'm having massive blood loss AND I'm supposed to be getting this dog in two hours in Pennsylvania. I called the doctor and he said it wouldn't be an emergency unless I lost a lot more blood or my blood pressure went to 90/60. It was on the high side(146/98) from all the nerves, I guess. The doctor said it was a hard call, but he advised I go to PA, keep drinking a lot of water, and take it easy.
3. I rode in the back seat of the van with Joel, feet propped up on him with a pillow. Paul and Sarah were up front, Ben and Dee in the middle. If Ben rides in the van, you know it's a big deal.
4. When we got to the adoption center/pet store, we happened to be parked right next to the previous owner. She got out slowly, her son even more slowly. I didn't see the dog at first. I greeted the lady; her son wouldn't make eye contact; the wind was whipping us like a cold towel in the face. And then I saw the dog. Beautiful! Strong! Active! Friendly! I kept saying, "He's gorgeous! Oh, my! He is beautiful!"

But I was also rushing into the pet store to get in out of the cold and to use the restroom. Some things just can't wait. This was not the scenario I had imagined for this occasion. Just the opposite. In my mind, we would have a long talk about him, together, maybe walk with him, me asking questions about all his little habits, likes, dislikes. How her son was doing today. How she was feeling. But the reality was: a very preoccupied me in the bathroom where a demon cat was being caged, me hoping I wouldn't get an allergy or claw attack by it, people waiting for my signature as the adoptive owner, crowded store, customers, animals. Overstimulation at every turn.

There was so much I wanted to say to comfort the woman giving him up, whose son sat cross-legged on the tile floor, petting the dog when he'd whisk by on Ben's leash. But when I finally could, I hugged the woman and just barely managed to say, "Thank you! I know this must be so hard for you." She broke down crying, nodding. I cried. Her son cried. Sarah cried. I said to the boy, "I am so sorry," and he said, "It's not YOUR fault! It's the LANDLORD'S fault I can't keep my cute little puppy." (This 74-pound "little puppy"!) I assured them we would take good care of Murphy. We asked the boy if he'd like us to take a picture of him. He said, "Yes!" and begged us to email them right away. Poor kid. I said, "I wish you could keep him, too, and that we could find another one as great as him."
5. The pet store was located on a busy road, and the dog had only a thin leash and narrow collar. We'd be replacing those ASAP. The only person I trusted to be strong enough for him was Ben. So Ben took him out to do biz and Paul pulled up the van. We all piled in. Reilly loved us all instantly, going from person to person,
not licking obnoxiously, just sort of nuzzling each of us. I felt complete. The ears did it for me.
It was the feeling I'd been waiting for a long time. I whispered a prayer of thanks to God for filling the void in my life with this golden gem. Reilly rode calmly all the way home, occasionally making his rounds to get to know his new family. I don't think he ever looked back for the old family.

6. Reilly had not been brushed well for a long time. He shed all over us. Big time.
After a good brushing...

7. Paul and Reilly hit it off immediately. Paul has not been an enthusiastic dog person until recently. But in the past couple of weeks, he has been watching dog shows on TV, telling us all about training, and setting up sleeping quarters for him (ie bathroom the first night, crate the second).

8. We took pictures all the way home.

9. The lady had warned us to watch out: "He loves pens." I'm thinking, "Perfect. He has a penchant for pens." But so far, I have not seen him try to get hold of one.

He's got a hold on our hearts, though. That's for sure.

-------more later------

Reilly's Ride Home: Adoption Day (Feb 19, 2011) in Pictures

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Joel's 9th Birthday

Could it get any more exciting ?

Me, the mother. AKA Creature of torture. Fill in your own captions.

How to blow out 9 candles in as many minutes.
He didn't want me taking pictures of him, so he acted bored.
Someday we'll look back and laugh, right?

The exciting part had to wait till the next day...his birthday party with friends, and then a ride to get our new dog.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Grilled Chicken Orange Vinaigrette Salad

I really enjoyed this dish. Of course I had to tweak it (since I improvise better than I plan ahead).

I used fresh garlic cloves, white vinegar and cooking sherry (1/4 c. each); olive oil w/ herbs already in it; broiled it at 425 for probably 30 minutes on a rack which I set atop a large roasting pan, basted often with the drippings;then took out my grill pan (so I could get those terrific grill lines I love so much) and also turned up the heat to high to get the sauce to thicken to a sweet glaze, covered to preserve moisture; skipped the broccoli (had none)

I happened to have romaine as well as a bag of salad (not crazy about those bagged salads, but they work in a pinch. They taste a bit "chemical-y" to me ever since we hosted an Alpha meal at church and one of our guests, a chemist, told me he could taste the preservatives in our bagged salad! Oops.) Anyway, I enjoyed plating this salad and shooting a picture.

When I make it again, I will double the sauce so there's a lot more juice leftover to use as dressing.

Ingredients for 6 servings --I would double this for 8 breasts so that there's plenty of glaze for every piece.

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons salt-free garlic and herb seasoning blend
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 head romaine lettuce- rinsed, dried and chopped
  • 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup chopped fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup chopped baby carrots


  1. Preheat grill for medium-high heat.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the orange juice, vinegar, olive oil, seasoning blend, and sugar. Set aside about 1/2 cup for basting.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill chicken for 6 to 8 minutes on each side, basting frequently with the reserved portion of the dressing, or until juices run clear. Cool, and cut into strips. Discard basting sauce.
  4. In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, oranges, broccoli, and carrots. Top the salad with grilled chicken strips, and drizzle with remaining dressing to serve.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentine's "Day" in Pictures

I put "day" in quotations because it started Friday and ended the following Wednesday .

On Friday evening Sarah, Steve, and Ambrey cooked Chicken Marsala for their parents. We had Cheryl and Marion over and just let the kids serve us. What a blast! They had done everything from scratch--the marsala, twisted breadsticks, Olive Garden style salad, linguine (from a box), and banana pudding. Everything was delicious and we loved getting to know Ambrey's folks. I regret not getting pictures of our special occasion, but things were a bit hectic!

So many good memories I have stored up in my mind and heart this year! Here's a montage...


Steve had this vignette ready for his sister and mama on Valentine's morning. How
sweet. (Ben was in New Jersey with his girlfriend, spoiling her.) Joel got the day off
because Feb 14th is his birthday. He put this 1,000 pc Lego battleship station together in
7 and 1/2 hours . I helped him for 45 minutes for starters, to help organize pieces.
The necklace from my kids...
Can you see the image? Mother dancing with her four children. Perfect.

I'll leave out the part where I had a doctor's appointment. Doesn't every woman want to see her
gynecologist on Valentine's Day?

TUESDAY, after we'd all gone to bed...

Steve set the table and prepped the waffle iron and ingredients for the next day's brunch.


He and Ambrey made Belgian waffles, and she gave Joel a gift --a huge Hershey's kiss
and his choice of little gifts . He chose a plastic frog that he says looks like a Democrat.
But then he said, "No, actually, he looks John McCain.Seriously! Look at his mouth!"

We laughed at ourselves for being such fashionistas. I was so stylin' I couldn't be seen
in pictures. Don't wanna make someone jealous. Ask me how to put together a man's white turtleneck brown ankle-length skirt, grey socks, and furry slippers.

Sneaky me, I snapped a shot of Steve & Ambrey warming up for a run.

Flowers for Sarah .We love her so much.

The ring on top was my ultimate, uber romantic gift from my generous husband.

Stunning tulips from my daddy. I'll plant them somewhere special as soon as I can.

Woops--more MONDAY memories!

Found all this at my place on Valentine's morning when I came downstairs.

I made each child a big pancake.

I highly recommend what Paul did: bought a dozen plain red balloons.
We were able to personalize them with a blue Sharpie--Steve to Ambrey, and
me to my folks.

Steve heading out, bearing many gifts for his lovely girl, Ambrey. He put
together a veritable treasure chest of her favorite things: an aquamarine
necklace, a polka-dotted puppy, Swedish fish, Lindor truffles, pink Gerbera
daisies, a Wawa cappuccino, and a card picturing two Golden Retrievers snuggling.
(She has a female Golden and we're getting a male Golden in 2 days!)

Man on a mission. Made my heart sing.

I gave my parents a few little gifts to remind them of when their love was new.
After all, their love is the reason I'm here.

Daddy looking forward to opening the KU loot bag with Mama at home. (She was in bed with
a bad chest cold. He was just getting over it.) The bag itself was a thoughtful gift from
Laurie, my blogging friend in Kansas. I was painfully aware that Laurie and her family were,
on Valentine's Day, at her mom's funeral. My heart was breaking for them.

Daddy gave Sarah a box of chocolates, and both of us got a sweet card. The
boy is being his usual photogenic self. UGH! You can pick out a 9 year-old boy in any picture, can't you?

Pappaw (Lyle Dauber) and Joel Lyle (or as Joel said, "the two Lyles")

I finally got a new 'do at the end of the week.

For so many reasons, this year's Valentine's celebrations made me rejoice. How great the Father's love for us, how vast beyond all measure!

Positive Space (22 Words)

Positive space, in art, refers to the presence of objects or marks that reveals an image. Jesus, please be revealed through me.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Early Valentine Surprise

My honey really spoiled me this year!

On the way out
to run errands
together on Saturday, and to meet my sister's new puppy, Paul said he had a surprise--a trip to Nelson Coleman

We got there and he told me to pick out what I wanted "within reason."

So I did.

But not without some turmoil in my heart.

I kept thinking of all the other ways we could use the money, and how many kids in Africa could be fed with this money, but I felt God say, "Let him bless you." I resisted some more,
torn between guilt of choosing a luxury and yet wanting to affirm my husband's romantic initiative and spot-on thoughtfulness. He has often felt challenged in the romance and gift-giving department. Why spoil it with rejection?

We were engaged 25 years ago last month; this seems a fitting reminder of his proposal and my "yes!" way back when.

At one point in the jewelry store, I got really close to his face, whispering, tears of gratitude welling up in my eyes, "Why are you doing this?" And he said, "It's an investment." I took it both as "financial" and "relational" investment:). But then he added, "And I might not be around much longer." I smacked him playfully and said, "Don't SAY that! Why would you say that, honey? It scares me when you talk like that."

I finally decided it would be best to receive his blessing with joy and gratitude--the response I'd want if I'd given someone a generous gift meant solely for them as a lasting token of my love.

His joy was my joy. My joy, his. To me that is the essence of romance--knowing your mate and doing what makes him/her feel cherished. I love jewelry! I love anticipating a surprise that I've been told is coming. I love being given time to admire the very same kind of jewels that God told Solomon to use to build His temple--and without guilt! God did not say, "You'll glorify Me more if you use cubic zirconias and rhinestones," so I'm thinking He smiles when we enjoy a little of His creation on our fingers!

This ring fits perfectly without any sizing needed, and looks made to go with my 10th anniversary band. I will always treasure it. Not that I need jewelry to feel loved, but I feel loved when I'm given jewelry--and my Paul knows that very well. Mwah!!

Meal Plan

Mostly for my records, but perhaps to inspire anyone in a rut, here's what we've had this week and my plans for the coming one.

Sunday: Brazilian Steak Salad @ Manhattan Grille (to celebrate Ben's new job!)
Monday: Venison chili
Tuesday: Sloppy Zo's, macaroni salad
Weds: Chicken Diane (an Alpha recipe) because, in dealing with dog rescue people this week, there have been 3 different Dianes. ;) One of them came for our home visit and approved us! With the main dish I put a rice-and-peas side dish I created, plus baby spinach & romaine salad w/ pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, cheddar cheese and croutons, w/ balsamic & honey dijon dressing.
Thurs: Lemon Pepper Roughy, asparagus, and Yukon golds
Friday: something Steve & Ambrey want to fix :)
Saturday: steak fajitas
Sunday: ?? Valentine dinner out???
Monday: Beef Burgundy over mashed potatoes and whatever Joel wants for dessert--it's his birthday
Tuesday: Tortellini & Pesto w/ Portabella 'shrooms (S.Steward's recipe)
Weds: Pork tenderloin in crock
Thursday: pizza (first day back at co-op, I'm sure I'll be whooped!)
Friday: Beanies and Weanies (S.Steward's recipe)
Saturday: Joel's Party/ Get Murphy Day --TBD

Boy, it's funny what you notice about yourself when you actually write down your meal plan.
1. We eat a lot of green beans. I need to get more creative w/ the veggies.
2. As the week winds down, so does my "umph" in the head and the kitchen.
3. I think a lot about my kids' likes (which are many) and dislikes (few)-- and who will be here to eat.
4. Nights when we'll be singing/breathing/co-existing with church family, I think harder about What Not to Eat.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Looks Like We're Getting a New "New Dog"! Now with Picture!

After much searching, and after having our first doggie adoption fall through, we got a call last night that we were chosen to adopt Murphy. The adoption center had over 20 applications for him, but --this makes me choke up with gratitude-- our application had everything they were looking for" for their dog. It just "so happens" (no, it doesn't, we prayed a lot and God has been answering detailed prayers!) that Murphy appears to be everything we want in a dog--smart, loving, trustworthy, young, and housetrained--not to mention gorgeous and very approachable.

It's a bittersweet tale of love and loss for the dog's owner. In a way I'm afraid to let my heart to get attached to Murphy since the turn-of-events with Riley. You know what they say, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings." (Allrighty, then, maybe I should warm up my vocal chords and belt it out!!!)

But as of last night, the rescue lady sent me the adoption papers, expressed her great happiness that Murphy will have a lot of room to romp and play, and will be great for Therapy visits, and will always have someone to Velcro his golden self to. The owner wants some pictures of our place to see where her dear pup will be living. She also wants to keep him this weekend to grieve the loss of her father with Murphy there (the dog was a gift from him a year ago, and this weekend marks the one-year anniversary of his passing). Her young adolescent son is having a terrible time letting the dog go, but the landlord has said no pets. The family he then was first placed with loved him greatly but one of their children is severely allergic, a fact they didn't know because this was their first dog ever. Everyone is this triangle (the owner, the fosters, and us) have lost a dog in one sense or another in the past month, and yet I have faith that God will bring the best to each family. It just seems like we're the ones getting the best of the best. Deep healing from losing Molly, our golden girl, made possible in large part through the life of this new one-year-old purebred Golden from Pennsylvania.

Murphy will be neutered on Monday or Tuesday and has special permission by the landlord to recuperate this week after that. Our plan is go up Saturday and bring Murphy home, to his new home. And if it works out, I may even get to meet a blogging friend, Jessi, for the first time in real life. She lives in the same town as the adoption center. How cool is that?

Click on his picture and then hit CTRL and the + key to upsize it. Might have to hit the plus key a few times to make it big enough for yourself!

Chicken Rice Soup Rice with Peas

Normally my family doesn't like rice too much, except with Chinese food. But I get tired of pasta and potatoes, so I sort of created this side dish of rice last night. Thankfully it was a hit. Paul asked where I got the recipe, and when I said "my head," he nodded and said, "Good." Wow! Did he actually not rib me about not using a recipe? I never get tired of compliments. They motivate me to keep up the good work.

The recipe:

1 can Great Value chicken & rice soup, condensed
1 cup instant rice
1 cup boiling water (use kettle, it's quicker and makes no extra dirty dish)
1 -2 handfuls of frozen peas

Heat soup and peas in a small pot (on medium). Boil water in tea kettle. Dump raw instant rice into serving bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Let it stand 5 mins. Pour soup mixture into it. Stir and serve.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Parsley, Sage Advice, Make-up, and Rum

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside!

These questions actually were presented last Wednesday, and I wrote most of this last Friday, and not much has changed, so here goes...on Thursday, a week later.

1. Would you rather be seen as a person who did your duty or forged your own path?

I'd like to be SEEN as a person who did her duty, but that doesn't mean I always want to DO my duty. Being seen as noble is a whole lot easier than actually being noble. As for forging her own path, in some ways I've done that. Like homeschooling in the 1990s when it was only what weirdos and rebels did.

2. To shorten the question, I'll put it like this: "What day this past week would you want to do over?"

None. I just wish I knew what caused my allergic reaction last Wednesday night. I have no clue and am only allergic to one medicine and no food. I didn't have that medicine. I'm baffled. Was it the butterscotch, coconut, chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, or something else in those cookie bars?

3. Hot cocoa...yay or nay on the marshmallows?

Oh, yes, indeed. Marshmallows are to hot chocolate what pillowcases are to pillows.

4. Do you wear makeup every day? What are the top two must haves in your daily makeup routine?

Yes, I do wear make-up every day. Even if I have plans to go nowhere, I at least put blush and lipstick on, and mascara ...and oh, if I'm gonna put mascara on, I put eyeshadow on, too. But at the very least I start with Oil of Olay (that's a must-have if you call it "makeup"). At my age, neither my cheeks nor my lips ever seem to have enough natural color to suit me. My husband doesn't get it. He says I look fine no matter what, but I feel like a prettier mare when the barn is painted.

5. Is it more important to you in a relationship to be loved or understood?

Do I have to choose? Oh, okay; that's not hard, because sometimes I don't even understand myself. However, I am not easily convinced that I'm loved. It's one of the hardest things for me to believe, and I hate it when people say too soon in a relationship with me, "I love you." I'd rather not hear that, than to hear it and doubt it every time you get angry at me or forget to call me about things important in your life or mine, or any number of ways I get my feelings hurt.

6. Parsley, sage, rosemary, or thyme...your favorite?

Probably parsley since it's so versatile, and because it's part of the Passover seder I dearly enjoy celebrating. One time I OD'ed rosemary in a dish, and gagged. So I could live the rest of my life w/o rosemary. But I think it's a lovely name for a woman. Sage is great in stuffing. Thyme? Do we ever have enough thyme in our day?

7. What do you do when you feel angry?

Oh, loaded question with a loaded answer. I have multiple responses to my own anger. It's an area I've only grown in by baby steps since becoming a Christian, So what do I do when I feel angry? Cry. Yell. Throw things if I'm out of control. Sometimes pray. Consider booking a flight to Kansas where someone understands me. Go for a drive to bad neighborhoods (not on purpose but because there are some on the way to the airport). Sometimes gossip. Sometimes clean my house really hard (the only one of two good coping mechanisms). "Backpack" my feelings if I think that venting won't do a thing (usually my response to people in authority, or when venting before hasn't changed a thing). Sometimes when I'm angry, I want to withdraw altogether--including deleting my blog and Facebook accounts.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Three good thoughts from one bad baking experience last night:

1. Trust your instincts.
2, Read handmade labels.
3. It's possible to get drunk on bread pudding glaze.

Last night I made some using a recipe I found online. It called for 1/3 cup of rum, 1 cup of powdered sugar, 2 beaten egg yolks, and 1/2 stick butter. From the pantry I pulled what looked like a small, clear container of powdered sugar. Before reading the little label that Sarah had made for it, I had mixed in ONE CUP OF CORNSTARCH to my rum, butter, egg mixture. YUCK!! Sure glad I tasted it first. Had to dump all that and start over. Then I thought 1/3 cup rum sounded hefty, but I went with it anyway . Man! Why didn't I listen to my instincts that said 1/4 would be plenty? I couldn't even let my 8 year old have a taste of it this dessert! 80 Proof Bread Pudding Glaze. I think I have a hangover.

Feel free to borrow this meme. I like to read people's answers to the same question. Learn something new every day.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Little Hands, Damper Bread

We should do more hands-on stuff like we used to in our home school
We've gotten too workbookish. Blech.
So yesterday I says to m'self, "We're gonna make this here Damper
Bread from this here geography lesson about Australia."

And we did.
Sort of.
The chemistry wasn't right. It called for 6 cups of self-rising flour.
I had only all-purpose, and when I consulted the conversion chart to
see how much baking powder to add for some "rising power," it would've
been something like 9 teaspoons. Can you say hypertension? I nearly had
a stroke reading that .So I did my own thing. Scientist that I am.
Added about 2 tsp baking powder and 9 cups skepticism.

Let's just say the most fun part for me was watching him enjoying the process.
Especially the part where he got to cut a big X in the top. Nothing else mattered.
A mom, a boy, a lot of flour, a hint of science, a bit of Down Under-ing, a heaping of doubt, a floppy result. Unless, of course, it's supposed to turn out Damper in the Middle than Any Other Bread I've Ever Made. Or not rise a'tall, mate.

But that's not really what I meant to write. That's all pretty cerebral stuff. What I was feeling was nostalgia. What happened to the little boy that needed a chair to stand on at the counter? The top of his head now grazes my chin. Where's the little boy who called me Comfy Princess?
Where's the little boy who wasn't allowed near knives, but turned everything into a weapon anyway. (Oh, wait, he still does that.)

Every now and then I'd reach over and caress his whipped-cream cheeks and just smile. Phooey on the baking powder. Who cares? I loved listening to his still-high voice; it'll deepen in a few short years, and so gradually it'll be like waking from a dream. I will want to go back to my dreamy state because I won't remember that voice, as hard as I try. I know I won't remember. I have two grown sons whose bass voices bellow from the shower or just sound so ...manly...on the phone. I'm sobered by the fleeting of time as my adult sons come to my aid in the kitchen to they reach things I can't reach without a chair.

My baby boy one will turn nine years old on Valentine's Day. I remember wanting him for ten years before his birth. Now we are nine years past it? Too soon he will want only his dad's attention. It happens. It's natural. It's sad. It's healthy. Too soon after that he'll want to spend every waking moment possible with a girlfriend, just like those brothers of his. t happens. It's natural. It's not all that sad (a bit scary). Usually healthy.

Too soon I will have what I've always dreaded-- an empty nest.

Talk about putting a damper on our Damper Breadmaking Day!