Friday, July 29, 2011

i can only be SO amazing

Yesterday went swimmingly. I want to take and post photos of my nearly-sparkly garage, but that would require getting said photos off the camera and onto my computer, and I've found that almost impossible lately. Mostly due to my laziness, because once they are on my computer, I have little excuse about editing them and posting them all over the internet. I like lots of excuses, so if they are stuck on my camera, I'm golden.

If they haven't even reached my camera, well...

I think you see where I am going with this.

Just wanted to let those who expressed concern that I was almost PERFECT with my cuss words. I think I said "crap-bag" at some point, in jest, which Chase absolutely picked up on. The only real slip of the tongue was when I burst out with "DAMMIT!" at one point when the boys were tearing down boxes.

What else was I supposed to say? I was holding and mulling a location for two oddly-shaped puzzle boxes. When one of the boxes slipped open and spilled about twenty pieces to the floor of my dusty garage, some falling beneath the freezer, some into an open (mostly filled) box of random stuff, I may have said "Oh, shoot!" But when setting the boxes down carefully and three or more of the OTHER PUZZLE'S pieces slipped out and mingled with the rest...

I think you see where I am going with this.

I now have two puzzles that may or may not be missing pieces. Those pieces may or may not be in the wrong box or still on the garage floor. And this wouldn't be so bad if they weren't puzzles from the same company, which is know for visually engaging pictures on the front (one is a bunch of visual puns on food - 169 puns, to be exact, and the other shows 25 different fairy tales/characters) and, oh, each is 1500 pieces. So I can't just take a day this weekend to whip them together and figure it out before I forget about this disastrophe.

Anyone want to come work a puzzle with me this next week plus? Bring a big table. My six-foot craft table ISN'T BIG ENOUGH.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

a thrilling (and challenging) afternoon planned

A: Chase, what are you doing on Thursday afternoon?
C (who is 13): I don't think I have anything, but I'll check with my mom.
Steph (his mom, in the other corner of the office): He doesn't have anything, why?
A: I need help going through stuff in my garage, mostly finding two documents and organizing the rest. All the crap piled up on the sides is trying to rendezvous in the center, which means I won't be able to park in there once the sides have met and realized how awesome they are and start generating little crap babies. If I'm paying someone else to help me, I might find the motivation to spend an afternoon out there taking care of it all.
C: Oh! Ok.
A: I will pay you (mulling it over - what would make it worth my time? worth his time? I know he has things to save for...) ten dollars an hour, and it won't take more than four hours.
C: Wow! I wouldn't charge you that much.
S: WHAT?! (marching over) You can't pay him more than his dad and I do, or he'll never work for us again!
A: (fumbling) Uh, well... you two drive a hard bargain... I will pay you FIVE dollars an hour and feed you lunch and snacks.
S: That's more like it.
A: And tell Ryan (C's dad and S's husband and my boss) that I have my Pandora station set to "clean," so he can rest easy that all the 80s rock will be cuss-word free.
R (via phone later): And can you guarantee that you will be cuss-word free?
A: What am I, a wizard?
Fine, I'll do my best not to pollute your kid.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

the secret

I get in trouble for assuming other people are like me: terrible with secrets. As I explained to my dear sister-in-love, "It's not that I think YOU run your mouth off. It's that I KNOW I do, and I just paint everyone else with the same brush." It doesn't help that I get things like this from friends (I'm looking at you, Kellie) immediately after swearing THEM to secrecy:
We have a secret, just we three,
The robin, and I, and the sweet cherry-tree;
The bird told the tree, and the tree told me,
And nobody knows it but just us three.

But of course the robin knows it best,
Because she built the--I shan't tell the rest;
And laid the four little--something in it--
I'm afraid I shall tell it every minute.

But if the tree and the robin don't peep,
I'll try my best the secret to keep;
Though I know when the little birds fly about
Then the whole secret will be out.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

it's not funny... except when it is

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

today's mail

I'm so excited to get part 2 so I can wear the matched set. The front is a retro floral design. It first made me mad: "Who put a dirty shoe in my mailbox?!" Then confused: "Wait, only the postman can put things in there." Then it made me laugh. Hard. Then that made me cry.

Guess I'm still hormonal!

*Update: original photo displayed the full address. Then I checked on things and saw how many people have gotten to this site this week based on a search of just my name and thought "best not make it TOO easy."

a few recipes to try

I'm being asked for recipes on FB, and since I've only made these things precisely from recipes I've found elsewhere, I'll crosslink them here (with comments) and hand out this link. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Baked Steel Cut Oats, via Nichole Joyce. I keep trying to talk Nichole into cooking for me full-time. I like to eat, she likes to cook, and she's working on eating more fresh and local fare as well as nourishing fare. Through her I learned about (and was promptly intimidated by) Nourishing Traditions, a cookbook that advocates a certain style of eating to maximize nutrients and minimize artificial "food." I'm working my way through it and it makes a ton of sense, but implementation (other than buying full fat dairy products, and using more butter!) is proving daunting for me. Trying Nichole's recipes is a great blend of "I know that meets the 'nourishing' requirements AND I know I can make it!"

I fed this to Rob with low expectations. He doesn't care for oatmeal due to the texture. Using the steel cut oats is the trick - it's got a texture that's not oatmealy, is chewable, and the whole shebang is very very tasty. I have another recipe that I want to try, but I'm a bit nervous about the rolled oats it uses. Unless it has a cake-like texture, I might be eating that one alone (Baked Oatmeal, from Alexis Croft), but with apples and cinnamon in it, I might not mind having to consume what is practically apple pie. For breakfast. Talk about your nourishing!

We are topping the baked steel cut oats with a generous dollop of my new favorite recipe to use up rhubarb: Rhubarb Curd, also from Nichole. I'm a curd newbie, but after making an inordinate quantity of rhubarb jam last year (not recommended: it loses too much of the rhubarb flavor), I needed a new way to quickly use up the two rhubarb crops I find pressed upon me. Rob likes eating rhubarb raw. This is crazy talk, and I can only make so much strawberry-rhubarb pie.

Enter rhubarb curd. Anything with that much butter and eggs HAS to be good! I've slapped it on breakfast and shortbread so far, and even had a spoonful just off the stove. I'm excited to share with others until I look at my (empty) first jar and realize how quickly we're going to go through this stuff.

I think B and I will go for a hike today. Not only to walk off the curd, but to work off the half-and-half that we pour over the oats (and curd). Heavenly!

Friday, July 15, 2011

some good news (finally)

!!! WARNING: Exclamation marks ahead. Seems fitting, since I like to think of myself as an exclamation mark personified. !!!

I heard back from the doctor! What's left in my uterus is simply a clot, not a "structure of conception," so no D&C is required! I just have to wait it out!

They want another follow-up ultrasound in six months for the cyst. However, we do not have to wait that whole time to try to conceive again (but we still need to wait 2-3 normal monthly cycles as recommended post-miscarriage)!! The nurse said, "Call us to schedule the ultrasound in early December, but hopefully we'll see you before then for a prenatal visit."

HURRAY! I'm relieved, I'm grateful, I'm cheered! I've permitted myself disappointed and frustrated tears in the last few days (you may not know this, but I rarely cry out of sorrow any more), and prayed that God would use this waiting somehow for His glory so that it didn't feel like a waste of my time and heartache. I think His purpose is developing my patience, for I unwittingly prayed for that a few months back.

Mental note: that was stupid!!

However, I can handle this kind of waiting. I've done all I could do on the condo; it's now fully out of my hands and into the underwriters' and buyers'. We also got good news on the dues, so if the closing is delayed again, Rob and I aren't just up shit creek without a paddle (or $1000+).

What a great way to start the weekend!! I think I'll have some ice cream!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

float like a butterfly

In a desire to shake up the trend from the last three weeks, I'd like to punch life in the balls. I don't even HAVE balls, and life has managed to punch me in them repeatedly. It's getting old. I'm wavering on that thin line between "mad as hell and not gonna take it" and "discouraged and just want to stay in bed." Either way, I end up sinning, either by excessive swearing or excessive self-pity.

My ultrasound today showed that there's a lot of "debris" left in my uterus. As in, that organ should be clean and empty and Rob and I should be able to start our two-month wait, then try again for babies. Unfortunately, two weeks after taking drugs, I'm still doing a little more than spotting. This is not a good thing. This may mean I need a D&C after all. I'm not excited about that.

My cyst is unchanged. This may mean that we must wait 2-3 months and 2-3 normal cycles (since I'm still technically miscarrying, only God knows when I get a "normal cycle" again) to check it again, further delaying our hope to grow our family.

My neighbors just cost me over a thousand bucks, and we still may not be able to close as planned due to the underwriters and the time it takes to underwrite things. If we can't close by July 31, we're out over a thousand bucks WITH NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT.

It was very hard not to curse A LOT in this post. It's very hard not to sink into "mad as hell and not gonna take it." It's very hard not to cry in disappointment and discouragement. I am trying to rest in God's peace. I am trying to trust Him that He won't pull the rug out from under me.

But last time I was pregnant and had everything going my way...

Well. We all know how that ended.

***UPDATE 7/13/11***
After not nearly long enough in bed, I am feeling better this morning. None of the above has changed, but I'm no longer in the depths of despair about it. I will permit for "cautiously optimistic," but that's about as far as I'll go. Changing factors include a friend who is not usually a hugger being a hugger last night, being able to pour my heart out about it to Rob, and a very good book that is challenging me right now (more about it later). Well, and prayers. Not mine so much as others, I'm sure. I am thinking about reading another book (Anne of Green Gables) so as to remember how to be even MORE melodramatic when in the depths of despair!

Friday, July 8, 2011

how many times can I make this in one week...

... and eat the majority of it myself?

Why do you ask? ARE YOU CHALLENGING ME?! That would be bad. I'd win in a heartbeat, for my "too much carbs" gene was shut off during my first sugar coma.

Caramel Corn Snack Mix (adapted from
  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 4 cups Corn Chex
  • 2 cups small pretzel twists (I used pretzel Goldfish)
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup (I used honey)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
In a large, enormous, bigger-than-you-think-you-need bowl, combine the popcorn, cereal, pretzels, and pecans.

Combine the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup/honey in a saucepot. Cook on medium, stirring until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook without stirring for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour over popcorn mixture and toss and stir until evenly coated. This part is really hard, because the mix does not approve of "evenly" and goes straight to "clumpy." This is why the enormous bowl is helpful: you spill less in your efforts to beat the mix into submission even things out.

Bake (in the giant bowl) at 275 for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes. Dump out onto waxed or parchment paper and break up any chunks once cool. If you use heaping measures for the popcorn, Chex, and pretzels, there won't be any chunks. This is unsatisfying. If you're going to err on measurements, err on the scant side. The resulting clumps of caramel are VERY satisfying.

I made this last week, finishing up at 11:00 pm, and told myself I could have one small bowl. Then I thought "well, they are small, so two bowls is okay." When done, I then simply stood at the counter and ate the cooling mix off the waxed paper.

I think I may have a discipline problem.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

too engaging not to share

I have watched/listened to this a few times now, and it's just enchanting!

Friday, July 1, 2011

waiting on one less thing

We turned a critical corner last night, and I feel better this morning than I have all week. I did not require surgery, but was able to use medication to get my body moving. The pain was negligible and the worst part about the evening was simply that we were too keyed up (and I was too crampy) to go to bed before 3:00 AM. We slept until 10:30 this morning, and Rob was able to stay home from work to be with me and take care of me, though little care was needed beyond hand holding. God is good.

I have another ultrasound next Friday to check on things and make sure that my uterus is clear of debris and that two cysts are shrinking. Hopefully hormonal levels fall back in line so that I continue to feel like myself again.

Rob's staph infection is under control and he's able to treat and dress his wound without my help. The granular tissue is still a concern.

We will probably have to pay off the delinquent dues in order to sell the condo. However, we have a new closing date (July 19) to pray toward, and hopefully the buyers will agree to split the payoff cost with us. Otherwise we'll count it the best $2000 we've ever been forced to spend in order to move on with our lives. Because that would be a really wonderful feeling.

The Fourth of July is coming up, and I'm reminded every year of how much I FREAKING LOVE that holiday. As a friend says, we celebrate America by blowing up small pieces of China. It brings out the pyro in me (fire!), the girlie in me (all the pretty colors!), and the relationship-junkie in me (it's a great excuse to hang out with beloved family and friends). It's fun to walk up to the fireworks stand with my son and rattle off all the names for things I want and love, and know what I'm talking about. We're lucky that both he and I have all our fingers and toes!