Friday, October 23, 2009


I read a lot of recipe blogs. I don't do a lot of cooking, mind you, but I do save a list of great recipes that I want to try, someday, when I get the time.
One of my pet-peeves is people who offer great recipes, but before you get to the recipe you have to read a whole intro about how their husband used to hate some food before they tried this recipe, or about their Nana who used to make it on a wood stove in a sweltering kitchen on hot Summer days, or whatever. I always somehow get trapped into reading the first parts of these posts, and then shake my head and scroll down. Just get to it! I'll make my own story about cooking it!
Now that you've read my introduction, here is one of my favorite recipe sites:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Give and LET Give.

The other night, on my way somewhere, I found The Choice on CBC on my satellite radio. This is some kind of a rerun show, where listeners or radio people can request a replay of some great favorite show of theirs.
This episode featured Margaret Visser, who has a new book out about gratitude. She was talking about how gratitude is expressed in different cultures, and about the trickiness of the whole gratitude thing. It was fascinating stuff (and you can hear it on itunes by searching for "CBC Listener's Choice" and looking for the Sept. 18 2009 episode) and I haven't been able to shake it since then. It's given me a lot to think about.
One of the things this strangely-spoken woman said was "Give and Let Give." Wow, easier said than done, right? If you're like me, the Give part is easy- it's the LET Give that is hard.
I thought of how often I've been asked by someone at work "can I help you with that? Anything I can do to help? Want me to do anything?" and my response is always an instant "oh no, I'm all set!" It's almost like a reflex- I don't even think about how this person could help me, and I'm somehow ashamed for them even thinking that I might want to trouble them, ask them to do something that I should be doing.
But on the other side of this, I am often the one asking that question. Is there anything I can do to help? And here's the kicker: when I offer to help, it's because I want to help!
My Mom recently told me that she was struggling because she needed grocery shopping done, and didn't want to call someone to drive her to the store. I reminded her that she had a list of people who had offered to do that very thing while my Dad was recovering from his recent knee surgery (he's doing great, by the way!). She said "well we can't ask people to do things every day." But the more I think about it, the more I think she's wrong about that. I think people who offer to help would love nothing better than be taken up on that offer. We all like to be helpful, to be needed, to feel like we have aided someone in need.
But if it's my reflex to deny the little offers of help that come every day, like an offer to help me clean up a kitchen, or move a table, or assemble home kits for the church, how am I going to develop any ability to graciously accept help when I really need it? And especially with church, I think it's probably important to let people help- it reminds me of the pastor in Kansas who tells his staff that if we are not asking people to serve at the parish, we are getting in the way of the Spirit for these people. I bet the Spirit can work through even assembling kits and moving tables- how, I don't know- but God is God and I am not.
So I'm going to practice. The next time someone offers to give me a hand with something, even if I don't need their help, technically, I'm going to look for a way to let them help me. Who wants to help?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Scenes from a Fall

It's the most beautiful time of the year up here on the hill. The birds know it, and the trees know it.

And on an unrelated note, could you study with this kind of pressure??

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What a pain...

My doctor told me once that I have a high tolerance for pain. It was a relief to be "diagnosed" this way, because I never had really known how to handle pain- I'm never sure when it's bad enough to be complained about. The doctor told me that when I went in because my back was out.
I had heard about backs going out, but until mine really went out, I knew what people meant by "out." I had been sleeping on a board, because our bed was old and way too squishy. (Really, a BOARD!) When the doctor asked how long I'd had back pain, I said "well, I guess about 4 years or so." I guess most people address things like this before 4 years go by.
Now my back is out again, but still it's hard to know how to address it. I mean, I feel fine unless I move or sneeze or have to lean one way or another. And even though it feels like stabbing when it happens, it only lasts a minute or so. So I'm being a good soldier, and taking Aleve, and hoping it'll right itself.
Or maybe I'll see a chiropractor. My sister says that no chiropractor will ever tell anyone that they don't need chiropractic care. At the fair this week I had free assessment from one in the "trade hall," one of my favorite buildings there... it's the one where they sell the Sham-wows and the sandpaper hair- remover pads... the chiropractor said that I carry 12 more pounds on my right foot than my left, and noticed that my right shoulder is significantly lower than my left- which I knew, it's been that way since my rainbow-colored book bag from high school.
I thought my surgery would really help my back, and I think it actually has- but surprisingly I have had to relearn how to sit and stand, because my posture is really really different now.
You know what else though? Here's something really painful: the Cleveland Show. Wow, it is a stinker.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Mickey Mouse

I'm a half-a**ed crafter. I do not come by my skill-less-ness honestly- my mother has always been a gifted crafter- she majored in Home Economics, and was an expert sewer and knitter. All my life we had homemade sweaters and mittens. I never did learn to do either, despite a few attempts. I had some success on the Knitting Knobby, making throw rugs for my Barbies, but when I tried knitting with actual needles I didn't get far before I sat on my needles and broke them. In my own home ec. class, I picked out a pattern for some cool diaper-design shorts. These were shorts that were all one piece- when you put them on, you kind of tied the back on, and then put the rest through your legs and tied them on in the front. Like a diaper. Surprisingly, I can't find a link to anything like them online to post here, so you'll have to use your imagination. Anyway, I got about halfway through making them and lost interest. I somehow finished them enough to get through the class but never did wear them.
But as an adult I tried a few things, and over the years my crafting gene has blossomed a bit. I did cross-stitch for a stretch in my 20's, and wasn't too bad at that. I learned to crochet through a mini-course at my parish. A lovely woman there volunteered to teach us to make baby blankets for hospitalized children. My first one turned out so bad, and I am NOT making this up, that they wouldn't let me give it to a baby. One of the kids in the mini-course said "well, they could give it to a blind baby!" I've gotten better at crocheting since then, although I only really know how to do one stitch.
A few years ago, Scott bought me a sewing machine for Christmas. It's a simple one, and I like using it, but I have no idea what I'm doing. I actually altered a bridesmaid dress a few years ago, despite having no right to think I could do such a thing. It held through the reception though and I saved a LOT of money doing it myself. This weekend I found a great tip for how to hem pants. I did my new jeans and a couple other pairs of pants, andLink they came out pretty good, despite my only "eyeballing" them, and not measuring a thing. I was pretty proud of myself, and it only encourages me to fake my way through sewing projects without working on developing any actual skills. Maybe I'll try a quilt someday... how hard could that be, right? All straight lines? Ah well, I am a Mickey-Mouse crafter. But as my father has been known to say (with a wink), "sometimes, Mickey is the man!"

Friday, October 02, 2009

staying up late

I don't have much to say but I hate to have a rant be my last post, lingering on the top of the page. Tonight we are in suspended animation, because later (much later) is the Laser Tag Lockin for the high school youth. They show up late at night and play play play until the crack of dawn, and then go home. It's fun!
I won't be playing this year because with this cold, it would make me cough until a premature death. But I traditionally go and greet the bus when it gets to the laster tag place, which is nearer our house than to the church. I hang out until I can't stay awake much longer, then head home. The weekend is a bust, really, because by the time Scott gets home Saturday morning, the sun is coming up and he is completely exhausted- we lay around all day and recover. Not a bad payoff for staying up late once a year. But I have a list of to do's, and will probably sneak out and be productive while Scott sleeps it off in the morning.
Speaking of productive, this week was one of catch-up and I did manage to get a lot accomplished at home and at work, after last week's whirlwind. In fact this month looks just a bit easier than last (good Lord I should hope so) and that makes me breathe a lot easier, despite the bronchitis. Today we took our 14+ year old cat Zarley to the vet to have her nails attended to- she has double paws (at least) and lately some of her lesser-used claws have been growing out of control and into the pads of her feet. Ouch! We were like proud parents, presenting her to the vet, who was lovely. When we tried to eject her from the crate in the exam room, she stuck one giant foot out and the vet tech said "Oh my God! Is that ONE foot?" We beamed in pride of our unique and sweet kitty, who was very well behaved the whole time. Now she's feeling better, trying out her short nails and not sticking to the carpet anymore. We were relieved to hear that she's doing well, physically, and is healthy and sound.
And that's all the news there is.