Friday, February 25, 2011

good time girls

S: Did you get some?
J: I did.
C: ... on the kitchen table.

C: I was exposed to Adele for the first time today!
A: Ready for the second time?

H: I can't wear it out of the house. It's a maternity shirt that says, "Who's your daddy?"

C: $5 at Walmart!
A: How much did they charge to sell your soul?
C: A lot. I felt like a worse person when I walked in.

A: Sometimes the blowing can get bad...
J: Write it DOWN!

S: You've got a problem with that?
N: With asses on her breasts? Yes.

S: Honey, you've got plenty to wiggle.

S: I've never had trouble with the cleavage thing.

C: Tuck it in her cleavage. She likes that.

J: That was fast!
A: That's what she said.

C: Wow, that's big.
A: Yeah, that's what she said too.

M: Patience is a virtue.
A: It is.
M: It's just not YOUR virtue.

J: So your sister will be sad if you move away.
A: EVERYONE will be sad if I move!

A: That's the most narcissistic thing I've said tonight.

S: I'm just showing my bra.

C: Every time I sit on this bench, I have to clench my butt. And then I get taller!

A: B's been doing that lately.
J: Lip synching?

C: I always get up and pee when (????)
A: (writing furiously) What did she say?
J: I have no idea, but I'm not sure I want to know.

A: I'm going to start blowing on your dice.

J: What is it with getting dumb after having a baby? I am like, STUPID!
A: You lost your brain after labor and delivery because you pushed it out your hoohah. I just write everything down, which doesn't help when I can't remember where I put my list.

A: You didn't ask for it, so I'm just going to DO IT TO YOU.

A: I'll play with dummy H.

F: The donkey'll do it!


A: Yes?
S: I'm just touching you.

C: It's a good size.
S: YOU'RE a good size.

S: Oh please. I have no time... no room for "decorative."
E: Just you.

A: I just like self-indulgent navel-gazing.
F: So are you pregnant?

J: Why are you writing everything down?
A: ... Uh, no reason...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

update on the weepy warbler

I have gotten nothing but encouragement and affirmation for my habit of crying during worship. It's taken me rather by surprise (and most of the stuff that really drove it home wasn't even in the comments - it was directly from people directly affected by my singing). One woman stopped me after church to tell me how much she loved it when I sing. I barely know her, and she was wreathed in gladness and smiles and a hug. Another didn't tell me directly, but told a mutual friend. The first thing out of her mouth after they greeted one another after the service was "I love it when Addie cries during worship. It's so real and helps me be real too."

And then others have said they do not notice. Also, the news that singing makes me terribly nervous and/or anxious? It totally flabbergasts them.

I think it's the secret of resting the mic on my chin. They cannot see it wobble.

What I've taken from this is that I need to keep singing. There will be no off-limits songs, since that's no guarantee I won't turn on the waterworks. I'll be brave and vulnerable and just take what comes when it comes. I will probably also bring Kleenex just in case, so I don't have to wipe myself off on my sleeves.

My next battle will be my vanity. If I'm going to cry, by gosh, I would like to know how to do so prettily, without my nose turning red and shiny and my mouth and chin contorting into new and fascinating shapes.

I will start singing with a paper bag over my head. That'll fix it. Much less distracting!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

but not today

I sing in front of the whole congregation a few times a month, as part of helping lead worship. I grew up singing - have had songs in my heart for earlier than I can remember and have the audio recordings to prove it - but did most of my formal singing in a choir. I loved singing in a group and rarely ever tried for solos. I get nervous when attempting to perform like that alone. Public speaking? No problem. I love me some attention.

Public singing? I'll get so nervous that it literally will not happen. At all. Nothing will come out, no matter how hard I try.

For years now, every time I get in front of the congregation (it doesn't help that in my head, I refer to it as an "audience"), I tremble. My heart pounds painfully, and I'm always afraid that my voice will disappear into one tremulous, pathetic squeak. I can only look at the music, never into the faces of friends, and I rest my microphone on my chin to keep it from visibly shaking. I have taken to praying fervently on mornings I'm doing worship: Lord, may my voice bring honor to your name. May it be about YOUR glory, and not my own. May I neither distract nor detract due to nerves or pride. May my worship be in spirit and in truth.

God's been faithful, and my voice is getting stronger in this vulnerable position (one man, one woman, some instrumental back-up). However, there are still land mines, like deeply meaningful songs. Really, I never know what's going to set me off in quiet tears while I mouth the words, but the songs I chose for big Blake's funeral are pretty much guarantees.

If I had only used songs I hated for that service, I would not be in this predicament!

For the most part, I can now sing Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus and remain composed. However, I learned today that just because I'm okay in rehearsal does not mean I won't bawl my eyes out during the service when we sing Jesus, What a Friend for Sinners. And it's not really embarrassing - I can cry publicly like I can speak publicly, I just look a lot blotchier - but it's distracting. Rather than people in a worshipful frame of mind of "How great Thou art!," I imagine them thinking "What's wrong with her?"

When I asked the man who chooses the songs what he thought about me having a "no-sing" list to ensure that I wouldn't cry, he remarked on two things. First, he really appreciated seeing my open and honest emotional struggle. As a divorced man, he was moved by the profundity of the words and how they had moved me... which then moved him to tears. He also appreciated my courage in just staying up there, crying and mouthing the words. He didn't find it distracting in the least, and he understood why I wept (as in, there was nothing new wrong with me). Second, he asked if those were the only two songs I would definitely cry at. And... they aren't. There are others - some from our wedding, some that speak to loss and the profundity of suffering and Christ's redemption and the joyous glory of Heaven - that can bring me down.

As one friend put it, "Well, maybe there's comfort in the fact that you take me down with you when I see you." Yep, so comforting. At least she doesn't mind, but she's also not in front of everyone else with every sniffle magnified by a mic.

Because I don't just dissolve into a teary puddle every time I help with worship, I'm reluctant to have a few off limits songs. I love these songs passionately. I want to be able to sing them with a glad heart and no throat-constricting tears.

And maybe one day, I will.

Friday, February 18, 2011

from wolf to woof

My folks recently spent some time in Bozeman so Reese and Matt could spend some childless time away from Bozeman. Fun was had by all, but I think anyone who spends any significant time with the twins comes away respecting Reese more. She spends all day EVERY day with them, and they are at a particularly challenging age (as in, they are not yet 30 and married).

Sawyer is a darling little biscuit who is only JUST getting comfortable with me. Used to be he'd take one look at my smiling face, scrunch his forehead in concern, and turn away saying "NO!" while looking for his momma. He is also not yet 30 and married.

I LOVE THEM ALL SO MUCH IT HURTS ME! And Blake and I got to hang out with everyone too. It was great fun. We went to the museum for two whole hours.

He tried to make a clean escape but was thwarted by... well... everything. At this point, he was whining a little bit and in distress, but we made sure not to rescue him until I had a picture. Just like good aunties and grammies do.

Experiencing what it is like to be found by a search and rescue dog. Also experiencing what it is like to be a prairie dog, peeking out of the burrow.

Really don't know what to say about this one, except the thing on Sawyer's face is supposed to be held to your ear, not used as a gas mask.

Friday, February 11, 2011

a very full week

Sorry Mom and others. This week was just crazy in many ways (covering a trade show in Munich, for one thing, that meant I published four extra articles, all after 10:00 PM). Here are the rest of the birthday photos, as promised. There are LOTS!

Rough Start
The twins had been prewarned about Darth Vader's planned appearance at the party, and when they arrived, they were very reluctant to actually come inside. However, they warmed up quickly.

Tjabe, a friend who was uninitiated in the way of Star Wars, heard the invitation read aloud by his mother, thought "Why would I want to waste a Saturday in some sort of strange class at Addie's?" and originally opted out. His mother focused on the pinata, the cupcakes, the FUN of a party. He came, timidly, but also warmed up.

Blake took one look at Tjabe backing Mason into the corner and ran over: "Guys, be VERY careful near these. They are my dad's new speakers." Terra and I about died.

Did I mention I was Leia? Do you know how many strange looks you get in the grocery store when you walk around with Leia hair? At least... I HOPE it was the Leia hair...

Apparently, these are fancy Jedi moves. Blake, Tjabe, Gunnar.

Terra came with the Schuyler boys, and I could NOT have done this without her. Well, without her, the number of guests would have been cut in half, so maybe I could have, but I wouldn't have WANTED to!

Yoda sodas: lime sherbet and Sprite. I wouldn't let them take the cups down until we had a table set up for them, so the boys ponied up to the bendy straws for refreshment. Mason, Smith, Blake (I think he's going to be quite tall).

You're not supposed to FIGHT Leia, you're supposed to SAVE her! I love Smith's face in this one.

Terrible backlighting, but Darth was a big hit. Once they realized he wasn't invincible...

... a veritable forest of light sabers came at him.

Sawyer, enjoying his galactic pizza out of the fray, was wondering what the hell was going on over there.

He is still not willing to take his eyes off the guy in the mask. Men in masks cannot be trusted.

The party crew!

Time to destroy the Death Star...

... with burning, focused intensity...

... and unfortunately glancing blows. After the boys each had a few good swings, Leia struck the death knell because she was freezing.

Crossed light sabers via cupcake! Silver sprinkles and M&Ms made up the handles.

Cutest photobomb ever?

We capped the party by watching an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Terra and I agreed that our view of the couch was better entertainment than whatever was on the TV.

The young padawans.

Finally, the Perrines stopped by for a surprise birthday visit! Maddox was adorable in the Darth Vader mask, and Bing is a very good sport about being massacred by light saber and the Force.

Rob's birthday was on Tuesday, and I surprised him by having Blake in bed by the time he got home (not hard - he arrives at 7:30, which is usually the bedtime goal). I surprised him further by having a smorgasboard of our favorite sushi arrayed on the table. I surprised him even FURTHER by having moberry yogurt in the freezer. Yay! No party, low-key evening, just like he wanted. While I cannot yet make Nonna Joyce's amazing Chinese food spread (seriously, it's amazing - and usually Rob's birthday meal of choice), I order up take-out sushi like a PRO.

Monday, February 7, 2011

i have a confession to make

I've not always been such a big Star Wars fan. I was pondering this while folding five Star Wars shirts (size 5) this morning. I've always liked it, and I figured B would like it, but having Rob around has put things into, well, hyperdrive. He owns far more books than there are movies and was really excited to learn that one of the women who attends our church authored a few of them - from when Han and Leia had kids. And for no other reason than for funsies, I've humored both of them in many many things.
  • Remember when we walked down the aisle? Star Wars theme.
  • That first night Rob and I really got to talk about our future together? Not until after we'd all watched The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Blake even got a Storm Trooper gun as a wedding gift.
With help from Reese, who pointed me to a site that gave some ideas on throwing a Star Wars themed birthday party, I decided to actually TRY this year. We were going to have a real party, albeit a small one since it would be in the wee condo. It started with invitations:

Invited You Are…

on a galactic adventure with Blake!

On Saturday, February 5th, you can take part in your

Jedi Training.

Your mission will be to rescue and protect Princess Leia,

as she has been taken prisoner by Darth Vader.

After Galactic Pizza and Yoda Sodas, we’ll be

fighting to destroy Darth Vader and the Death Star,

using your Jedi force powers.

Please bring your Jedi lightsaber to aid you

in your mission. You will be awarded with your

official Jedi robe upon arrival, in order to

assist you in your Jedi Training.

May the force be with you!

Training begins at 11:00 am, in a galaxy as close as the Bedford home.

Please have your Jedi Master (a parent) confirm enrollment via Addie!

I then set about to making the thematic elements.

Rather than actually sewing, I bought XXL brown shirts and cut a wide strip from the front center. The strip became the belt for the Jedi robe.

A soccer ball pinata (thanks Mom and Laurie!), when spray painted silver and adorned with strips of black tape, became the Death Star.

And rather than buying a spare $8 light saber, I used about $8 worth of Sharpies on this masterpiece.

Cake was strategically colored cupcakes in a light saber configuration.

Finally, as you can sort of tell from the clues, we were all in costume. I was Leia, Terra (not pictured but incredibly invaluable on party day) was "helpful friend #1," and Rob even made an appearance during his very brief lunch break:
The staff of our own little rebel base.

More photos and stories of the fun day to come. But now, hot cocoa and maybe a crossword puzzle for me. Recovering from a birthday party takes as long for this old lady as preparing for it!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

food on a stick!

Another winner tonight (on a whim - had the ingredients and wasn't sure what else to make while watching the Super Bowl commercials): Indonesian Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce. YUM. Even Blake like it, though only after informing me "I didn't think it would taste very good, but it does!"

Thanks for the vote of confidence.

The sauce is probably the most versatile. I've never really cared for peanut sauce, because all I can think of is "Why did they ruin this good sauce with peanut butter? Peanut butter only really belongs in sandwiches!" It's totally distracting. THIS, however, would be equally tasty mixed with hot noodles and chicken, or used as a dip for fresh cuke slices, or as a dip for almost anything. The only change I would make in the future (if B weren't eating it) would be to add more curry paste or some crushed red pepper for more heat.

Beef Satay
  • 1 pound skirt steak or flank steak, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce (I used just a touch less - Thai fish sauce, which is all I can find in Bozeman, is quite strong and I always taste it. In a bad way.)
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar (I only had light and it worked just fine)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 16 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
If using skirt steak, cut the meat crosswise into 4 pieces, each about 4 inches wide. Slice each piece across the grain into 4 strips, 1 inch wide. Lightly pound the strips to flatten them. If using flank steak, halve the meat lengthwise, then thinly slice it across the grain into 30 to 40 1/4-inch strips (partially freezing the meat for 45 minutes makes it easier to slice).

Whisk the lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, garlic, curry powder, and crushed red pepper in a medium bowl. Add the steak and toss gently. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Prepare your grill - medium-high. Lightly oil the grates.

Thread 1 piece of skirt steak, or 2 to 3 pieces of flank steak, onto the skewers, stretching each piece taut to maximize contact with the grill.

Grill the skewers until the steak is seared and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Serve with peanut sauce. Serves 4.

Peanut Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (see above about what I used)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add the shallots, garlic, and Thai red curry paste and saute over medium-low heat until the shallots and garlic are just tender and fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the peanut butter, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, and water. Bring the mixture to boil and simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the lime juice and let the sauce cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 1 2/3 cups.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

the force is strong with this one

Since a few people shared this with me yesterday, I'm sharing it here today. Apparently it's a Super Bowl ad that VW released early. To much acclaim.

And laughter.

a taste of what's to come

Six years ago today, I woke up at about 4:20 AM with mildly uncomfortable and regular contractions. My due date was 2.9.05. My husband had died on 1.1.05 (I had learned of this on 1.2.05), and the preceding month had been a fog of grief, painful moments of clarity, and waiting. I filled my waiting with many things, not least of which were cold walks in the neighborhood I grew up in, accompanied by my mother and sisters. I wore big B's new down jacket, and we all hoped to generate some uterine action so that I would have something else upon which to focus my time and energy. God alone knew the gender of our baby, and while I thought a daughter would be fun, I knew in my heart that it could only be a son.

4:45 AM: When I was quite sure I was in labor - I'd had Braxton-Hicks contractions throughout my pregnancy and they were quite painless to me, though occasionally alarming to my doctor with their frequency and regularity - I shook my finger at the two framed photos above my bed. "You should be here." Both were of big Blake and I, at a good-bye party hosted by dear friends as we neared our move to Los Alamos, New Mexico. Realizing I could be in for a very long day, I pulled my Bible from my nightstand and began to read and pray and cry, all while making sure that my body was centered on the waterproof sheet and towel... just in case my water broke. No sense in ruining a mattress unnecessarily!

6:00 AM: I decided I had been in on the secret long enough, and I woke my parents to announce my contractions.

6:00 AM - 3:00 PM: A flurry of family and friends came by to see us, hug me, touch my stretch-mark-free belly. The contractions got worse. I knew that Mom, my replacement labor and delivery coach, was waiting for four critical words to get me to the hospital: "I can't do this." I waited as long as I could, then dropped the bomb.

3:00-9:00 PM: Waited.
Cried to my mother about how I wanted Blake. She cried back with words I cannot remember and tears and stroked my hair.
Told the nurses my water had broken and they didn't DARE send me home. They didn't believe me. They checked (owie!) and laughed about how I was right (wanted to punch them) and that when the baby was delivered, it would likely be with a gush of fluid that would soak the doctor.
Thought I was at least at 5-7 cm upon arrival. Learned I was 3 cm. Realized that I was in both physical and emotional torment and that I could make one of those two things go away. Asked for an epidural.
Got immediate relief as well as an accompanying drop in heart rate. Asked for gloves because my hands were so cold. Was put on oxygen.
Heard that Reese was weeping in the waiting room because they would not permit her entry (after my doc and I had agreed upon who was to be allowed in, but a whooping cough epidemic made the hospital cranky and careful). Gathered all my persuasiveness and manipulation to make the case that those I wanted there should be there, damn the rules. Welcomed Reese and Matt.
Whimpered as the contractions got stronger. Remembered a friend that wanted to be a fly in the room when I delivered just to hear the creative cursing... and laughed inwardly at my complete and total lack of toughness. Reverted to a five-year-old when in that much pain.

9:00-11:20 PM
Felt the need to push. Remembered that I didn't want to push with my face or chest and hurt myself with popped blood vessels. Held back as I tried my hardest to push in a very localized area. Heard the phone ring during this time as family, believing we had forgotten to call in the rush of a new baby, called to ask if I had delivered yet. Demanded that someone take the damn phone off the hook or better yet, yank it out of the wall.
Pushed for two and a half hours. Decided a popped vessel was worth not having to do this anymore and really bore down.
Saw the look of concern as my doctor quickly whipped four loops of cord from around my baby's neck. Did not hear my baby cry. Desperately asked the nurse just to hold the baby up, I needed to know if it was a boy or a girl. The nurse answered, flustered, "I can't yet, he's peeing on me!" then looked horrified at usurping my desire to announce to the room whether we'd had a son or daughter. Laid back, exhausted: "I don't care that you said it. I have a son. Now make him cry," as they worked feverishly to make sure that my son was okay.
Held my son for a brief moment. Realized I had poop on my hand (not sure whose, but probably his).
Felt quite numb (though not physically!) as they whisked my baby off to the NICU for observation. Trembled violently as the adrenaline coursing through me sought exit through my vibrating limbs.
My family called everyone back with the news. He'd arrived. He was okay but being monitored in the NICU.

His name is Blake Samuel Morstad.

I look back now and am overwhelmed by many things, the first of which is this: my father and brother-in-law were in the room with me when I delivered my firstborn. At the time, it was appropriate and right and what we all wanted (especially the part where they stayed behind my shoulders at all times). Now? Now it makes me want to do this:

But that's not the strongest response. As one friend aptly put it: The days are long, and the years are short.

Tell me about it.
He's cute, but he still needed time to fluff, and pregnancy brought my freckles out in FORCE!

Blakie Sam, you gave me something else to live for at a time I desperately needed it. That's a lot of pressure, but I am confident that you have what it takes. Happy birthday, dear boy.

Friday, February 4, 2011

that's what we said

(while watching Dirty Jobs)
B: That's a mad house... I would not wanna be there.

A: I'm trying to help you.
R: I need you to be gentle. That way I can help you too!
A: WHAT AM I, A WIZARD? Gentle is not who you married!
R: "I'm not a witch, I'm your wife!"
(high fives all around)

A: Blake, why don't you tell Grammie about the things on your tongue that help you taste your food?
B: What things?
A: You know, those little bumps?
B: (turning triumphantly to Grammie Mony) Taste bugs!

B: 'Scuse me, tooted. That was an air toot. It sounded fluffy.

A: My weather app said the low today was -1 even as it showed a current temp of -14. LIAR! In related news, I have decided to learn how to hibernate: gorge, go to sleep fat and warm in winter, wake up skinny in spring.
RO: Most hibernating females give birth during that time, correct?
A: I've made a huge mistake...

(in comments on a video I posted for work over a year ago - the pic he refers to is my profile pic, posted at the end of every article I publish for BPL)
Anonymous: I thought she was going to be goodlookin from her pic but not so much...
A: Yeah, but false lashes and styled hair to float down a river is just silly! Good thing my husband likes me fresh-faced and freckled. He's a keeper.

R: (privately, to me) You start out hot and just keep getting better if you want to. That poor asswipe needs his butt kicked... but we should feel sorry for him. No matter how hard he tries, he'll always be stupid.

A: Uh-oh. Looks like we'll have more cupcakes than we'll know what to do with for Blake's birthday.
R: I'm sure we'll figure something out.

A: Because I love Rob so very much and he loves SCUBA so very much, I tried it. SCUBA and I do not agree, so I'll be happily snorkeling above him while in Hawaii.
J: Last time we were in HI, we tried "Snuba" and it was awesome! The O2 tank floats on a little raft on the surface and you get to "snorkel" about 15-20 feet down.
A: I have done snuba and liked it, so we have a lot of possibilities. Also, I hurt like crazy this morning, which is another strike against SCUBA. Or maybe just swimming. Or probably just getting out of bed.

A: You know what cleans laminate floors REALLY well? Pledge.
You know what makes Pledge-cleaned floors downright deadly and/or hella fun? Wool socks.
L: You would put clean before safety.
A: I would just like to say that ROB did this, and I discovered it when getting home. "A: 'Wow, the house smells really good!' R: 'We mopped!' A: 'Haha! Not with Pledge, right? ... Right?'"
But now I must confess that nothing else I use has worked as well... or been as exciting.

(while watching Planet Earth, and if you see a theme here... YES. We love us some Discovery Channel. The world is just awesome amazing. Only God is awesome.)

Narrator: There once were 30,000 blue whales-
R: (melodramatically) But now there are only three... and two of them don't even like each other.

(after a conflict earlier this week, Rob started to do something I do not like, then abruptly changed to something I welcome from him)
R: Oh, no.
A: What? (kissing him repeatedly)
R: Now you know I listen to you.
A: Yes, but don't worry. I know it only happens with a major increase in volume.