21 May 2011

Project 365: Week Twenty-One (May 15-21, 2011)

Project 365 button designed by http://richgift.blogspot.com


This is the soundboard at church (the SU does sound when he isn't playing).  I used to help run sound many, many years ago and I decided it was time to take my skills out of storage and dust them off so I had him give me a refresher lesson.  Maybe I can get good enough again to occasionally run sound.


Curious Grace huddled up in "her" chair - which, of course, belongs to the Large Man.


The Spousal Unit has told me for years how he LOVES these things and even though we're only one state over from where they manufacture them, we've never been able to find the orange cupcakes.  When I was picking up his prescription, I saw the store had these in the snack aisle so I got him a couple.


This was dinner tonight.  They are called banh mi and are a Vietnamese sandwich.  The filling is pork meatballs made with pork, basil, cilantro, Sriracha sauce, sugar, salt, cornstarch and onion.  The topping is cilantro and julienned radish and carrot that have been mixed with wine vinegar.  Yummy!


This photo required a bit of, um, judicious editing.  The Spousal Unit is in the midst of the smelly and thankless task of emptying the catbox and he has a pair of gloves he uses when he does it.  As you can see, they are rather...pink.  I held the camera up to take a picture and he said, "Oh, no you are NOT."  I said, "Yes, I am!" and he decided that sign language would be the way to show me he was displeased with the idea. 

Still took the picture.  Hah!


Munchkin doing what she does best:  sleeping.  Of course you know I can't let her just peacefully lie there...

Why must you torment me, woman?


I bought some heirloom tomatoes today so I can make roasted tomato soup tomorrow or Monday (tomatoes, onion, garlic, cream, sherry...mmmmm).

14 May 2011

Projct 365: Week Twenty (May 8 - 14, 2011)

Project 365 button designed by http://richgift.blogspot.com

Another week gone and another week closer to seeing my granddaughters (my daughter and son-in-law too, I should probably add :)! Other than that, it was the usual week with working and watching the Spousal Unit inch ever closer back to normal health. I also tried to get a few projects going that had been sitting on my "to do" list for a while. I at least now have my Combatives and fight videos in one place and I'm trying to make a Blogger page so I can just throw them on there and know where they are instead of this folder...that jump drive. I also got back to writing a little which is good. But, I digress. On with the pictures!


As I've mentioned before, Curious Grace is convinced I am the Other Woman. If she can just get rid of me, then she will have the SU all to herself and Their Love Will Be. Every now and again, though, she decides she really, really likes me and must show it by (a) laying on me and (b) grooming me (I think she just likes the way tat ink tastes).

Mommy!  I love you!  Never leave me!

What?  How can you doubt the sincerity on this face?


A Mother's Day picture from my four pseudo-grandchildren:  Samuel, Monkey (who has been a subject of P365 before), Bean and Houdini the Butthead.  They make my heart melt :).


Munchkin doing her usual dance of the weird.  She lay flat on her back in front of my chair and was apparently content to stare at me in a rather "Children of the Corn" fashion so I took her picture.


My mother's reign of terror at QVC continues.  We cannot barbecue in our apartment complex so she sent us an electric barbecue.  If the Spousal Unit cannot achieve the testosterone-y trifecta of Man, Meat, Fire, then at least we can have Man, Meat...Voltage?


We had a staff meeting and our boss brought Krispy Kremes.


Some days just require a strawberry limeade to kick it off.  We're heading into the last few days before the graduation deadline and, as usual, I have one department out of five who suddenly decided to investigate things I'd been asking them about for three months.  Grrrr.


I went and used the certificate my friends gave me from this post and got a pedicure today. Five years of training on mats had left my feet kinda like cheese graters but now they're smooth and purty!

13 May 2011

The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody

I love this video and the lyrical changes they make to suit it to Muppet-dom. Never fails to make me smile.

10 May 2011

Momentary lapses of reason

1.  Ow.  My back has decided it wants to be in pain for some reason.  I mean, granted, I'm missing a kind of important disc but, really, Mr. Spine?  I'm hoping the cause is from the lovely medicine that is convincing my pancreas to stop being such a helicopter parent about my insulin and release it into my body versus storing it up like some Biblical famine is on the way and only the insulin in my stomach can save us :P.  If it is continued weight loss, I can (someday) get my spine adjusted so it is used to carrying a lighter load and stop trying to have the nonexistent disc help with matters.

2.  I really need some new books to read.  Since I apparently have the self-control of a lemur, I have devoured all...well, let's just say "lots of" books in a new series I found and I need to find something else engrossing that either has multiple books or many, many pages for Mr. Kindle because...

3.  I get go to Alaska to see my grandbabies! (and I need something for the plane ride).  My mother has been incredibly generous and is paying for the Spousal Unit and I to go to Alaska with her and see our grandchildren for the first time.  The SU got to see Rylie for a few hours when she was a baby but she is just over two years old now and we haven't seen Emery in person ever.  So very excited to love on grandbabies in a little over a month.  I would do a happy dance but did I mention "ow"?  Would y'all settle for a fist pump instead?

4.  How do my cats shed so much and not end up naked?  I would get them shaved again but Arkansas requires they have tags and up-to-date shots and (a) they are almost eleven years old, (b) it would cost $250 to get what is required *before* I could even get them shaved and (c) carting 30+ pounds of cats in carriers down flights of stairs to the vet and back again just doesn't seem work the entertainment value of watching them adjust to their shaved selves once more.  The Spousal Unit keeps making noises about Valium and an electric razor, though...

Munchkin after we had her shaved the first time:  "Aaaack!  You're one of those people who thinks it's funny to take pictures of people in the shower, aren't you?"

Grace after her initial shave:  "I hate you...but you're petting me so I will let you live."

08 May 2011

Recipe: Nanaimo Bars

Since several people asked about it, I thought I would share the recipe for the Nanaimo bars.  They, um, aren't very, er, dietetic so make and eat at your own risk :).



1 cup butter, cubed
1/2 cup sguar
2 oz. unsweeted chocolate, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts

In a large saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and chocolate.  Cook and stir over medium-low heat until melted.  Whisk a small amount of the hot mixture into the eggs (this is to temper them - if you tried to add them all at once, there is a very good chance they would scramble due to the heat of the saucepan).  Return all to the pan, whisking constantly.  Cook and stir over medium low heat until mixture appears combined.  Remove from the heat; stir in the vanilla.

In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, flaked coconut and walnuts. Stir in chocolate mixture until blended. Press into greased pan (I used 13x9 Pyrex casserole pan) and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until set.


(*I usually make a double batch of this to make sure it will spread over the entire crust.)

1/2 cup butter, softened
3 Tbsp. 2% milk
2 Tbsp. instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups confectioners sugar

For filling, in a large bowl, beat the butter, milk and pudding mix until blended.  Gradually beat in the confectioner's sugar until smooth; spread over crust. 


I usually take some kind of pre-made sauce (chocolate, caramel, cajeta...) and slowly drizzle it over the filling.  You can also make a ganache and spread it over the filling as well.  Just make sure to let the ganache cool a little before you pour it over the filling.

If you're not serving this immediately, make sure to put it back into the fridge.

07 May 2011

Project 365: Week 19 (May 1 - 7, 2011)

Project 365 button designed by http://richgift.blogspot.com

Overall, it was a good week.  I wrote an entry a little farther down about some things God has been showing me.  It had been percolating in my head but just hadn't managed to put it all together until this week.  The Spousal Unit is also getting better and I'm hopeful we can start our Saturday walks up again so I can practice taking some more outdoor pictures.  In the meantime, enjoy the cat :).


Made Nanaimo bars 'cause I felt like it :).


I was vacuuming and Munchkin does not like the vacuum.  The first picture is for perspective - even though she hates it, she still is obsessed with watching it.  The second picture is her looking balefully at me and saying, "You can't fool me.  You say it's a vacuum but I know it's a kitty-eating machine and you're just waiting for me to drop my guard!"


This is why we can't have nice things :).  Munchin has a chewing fetish at times.  Currently she is enjoying gnawing on a plastic headband of mine to her heart's content.  Previous victims have included the corner of the leather couch (nearly resulting in Death by Spousal Unit) and the fireplace.


My Kryptonite.


A bowl of leeks being rinsed.  I was working on a recipe for Herb Crab soup.


Me after watching the season finale cliffhanger (damn you, J.J. Abrams!) of Fringe.


My friend, Janet, has never seen The Princess Bride.  I decided such a hole in her movie-viewing experience must be remedied.

06 May 2011

Fringe Season 3 Finale

I'll make this short and sweet:


*runs around in circles with hands pressed to temples*

What do you *mean* Peter has served his purpose, never existed and they don't remember him???


Stupid, sexy season-ending cliffhanger...

03 May 2011

Exhaustion, Endurance and Encouragement

I've been thinking (I know, you're shocked, aren't you?) over the past few days and weeks about the theme of exhaustion, endurance and encouragement.  Most of it was in kind of an offhand way until I went to the Beth Moore conference with Sara .  Most of my time at that event was more getting to know some of the women in the church since the Spousal Unit and I have only been in town and at our church for just about a year now and, let's face it, if you have (1) a blog descriptor that describes you as a hermit, and (2) a subject line that indicates misanthropy is an option, it might take you a bit of time to get to know folk :).


The thing that Beth said that made my brain perk up and take notice was this:  "Endure the hard for the sake of the good."  I've mused on or close to this topic before in earlier blog entries that talked about the coffee shop or some other things we have been through since then, but my brain started drawing some parallels to past experiences and then linking them up to current situations, moments and encounters, and...I dunno...maybe God just wanted to tap me on the shoulder and say, "Hey, think about this..."

Admittedly, my first thought when I heard Beth say that was "Yeah, but can someone tell me when the 'hard' is going to stop?"  But, then again, sarcasm is my mother tongue so that thought went in and out fairly quickly 'cause it's nothing new.

What I started thinking about after my knee-jerk response faded was kinda two-pronged.  One aspect was how tired I am physically, mentally, emotionally...just about any "ally" you can add.  The other was about the good and bad of self-reliance and that's the one I'm gonna hit, I think.

I've been pretty self-reliant from a very young age - about the time I learned that I really could only count on me to watch out for me.  On the good side of self-reliance is the ability I have to get out and get things done.  On the not-so-good side is the shell I built up because I put everyone in the "can't really depend on them" category.  Oh, I like people well enough but my normal modus operandi is you will get so far in a relationship/friendship with me and no farther.  My ready answer to how I'm doing is "I'm fine."  I don't even have to think about it.  It just rolls off the tongue.

I think that is one of the reasons I was so drawn to mixed martial arts.  You're loosely part of a team in that you all train together or around each other but your only real opponent is yourself.  How far can you go?  How much are you willing to push yourself to improve your skills?  You get walloped in practice?  You accept it and move on.  You ignore the bloody nose and proudly point out the black and blue bruises to your teammates.  Heck, I left one day with a hematoma on my shin the size of a baseball and tried to come in to train the next day. (Its name was Henry and I have pictures.  It was cool :)).  'Cause when the cage door closes, it's just you and your skills against the person standing across from you.

But relying solely on yourself and your ability to endure is not necessarily a good thing.  In my case, I took it past the level of "pain is weakness leaving the body" to "Hey, idiot.  Pain is your body's way of telling you that you now have a permanent spinal injury.  Congratulations."  Go me!

I can see that same strain of self-reliance/endurance in my spiritual life.  Just like in training, I get tired - really tired - but the little voice in my head says to suck it up and move on; get back to enduring.  Otherwise, I feel so totally exposed.  When I called Sara about potentially not going to see Beth Moore because of the SU's ill health, I suddenly found myself crying and I was absolutely mortified.  I think I even apologized to her for what I felt was such an unseemly moment.  Where was all my endurance?  (Well, apparently snotting up the phone line but that's beside the point...:P).

And that thing I said about it just being you when the cage door closes?  Not entirely true.  Every fighter has what's called a "corner".  Your corner generally consists of your trainer and at least one other person.  They know your strengths and weakness and generally have experience of their own as well.  They stand right outside the ring.  Since you, as the fighter are in the middle of the action and can't really take an objective look at what's happening and are mostly relying on instinct, it's their job to call out strategy and encouragement during each round.  A good fighter relies on their corner because he or she knows they have the fighter's best interests at heart.

What God reminded me of via his usual method (the clue-by-four that I've mentioned before) is that our Life Group and the friends I've made at the church are my corner.  During the Beth Moore weekend, our Life Group gave the Spousal Unit and I an envelope with some gift cards in it just to cheer us up and let us know they love us.  When the SU had to go in for surgery last week, they got together and picked nights to deliver dinner to us throughout the week.  I had no idea about it - which is probably good because I'm sure I would have said that I was fine and I'd be able to deal with a husband recuperating from surgery and cook dinner.  It was very humbling and initially almost hard to accept in a way because my mindset was such the opposite.  Nobody was saying I couldn't do it; rather, they were coming alongside to offer encouragement and a little rest between rounds.

Allowing others inside, strengthening myself by relying on others is something I will have to continue to work on as it hasn't ever really been something I've been comfortable with.  Yet if God has brought me these people, these friends, who am I to say no just because it isn't something within my comfort zone?  So, "endure the hard for the sake of the good", yes.  Nothing in there, though, said I had to endure it alone.