Monday, December 28, 2009

early new years--just in case

I really wanted to wait and post this on New Years, but then I realized that I could be stuck in a hospital then, so I should probably just go ahead and post. So here is my fortune cookie thought for the New Year.

How would you feel if in one fortune cookie you received two fortunes, and the first one said:
-You will maintain good health and enjoy life
and then the second one said:
-Your luck has been completely changed today

Do you worry that your luck has been completely changed AFTER the first fortune? Should I be worried that I'm no longer going to maintain good health and enjoy life? I just need to know... How do you balance out the reading of two different fortunes? that arrived in one fortune cookie! And, most importantly, will this effect my new year at all?

What a relief that I don't really believe in fortune cookies and their ability to change the course of a woman's life.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Five Years

Today I wanted to write about the 2004 tsunami...to remember...but I find that there aren't enough words right now. I spent my entire senior year of college trying to process it and put it in some kind of written form, and so now the idea of sitting down and writing something brief and pithy about the depth of grief and devastation that was brought about on December 26th five years ago is just overwhelming. There were so many stories. Even now, it's hard to know what to do with all the stories. I was only there for a week, six months after the tsunami, to help with relief work, but I heard enough stories to write a book. Stories of survival. Stories of grief. Stories of complete and abject loss. A few have especially stuck with me: the young boy who somehow managed to swim to safety but lost his entire family, the woman who had to be tied down at night to keep her from going down to the shore to look for her only daughter who had drowned in the waves, the music professor who thought that if he could only have a piano everything with be okay. I know that they haven't forgotten, so neither will I. I continue to pray for them and tell their stories, and it may not be much, but it's something.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mary and Me

As Christmas is closing in, I've been thinking a lot about Mary. Thinking about what it must've been like to be her at the birth of her son Who was going to turn out to be so much more than who she ever thought He'd be. I've found that I have a different way of looking at the Christmas story this year than before. Sure, you say, it's because she's nine months pregnant and getting ready to explode with child. And yes, that's some of it. But it's a little bit more.

Mary didn't have her perfect pregnancy. Growing up in her culture, giving birth to her firstborn son was probably something she'd looked forward to her whole life. Yet because she submitted to God's will, all her dreams for how it should be were taken from her. She didn't have her family around her to support her. She didn't have a nice place to give birth. She didn't get to help pick the name of the child. And that was just the tip of the iceberg. More than anything, I think about how what should've been an occasion for joy would have been tainted by the shame that others were projecting on her. Think how it must've looked to everyone. Think how it must've felt to not even be able to tell her friends for fear of what they would think.

I know I don't have anything on Mary, but I know what it's like to not have your perfect pregnancy. I may not be without family during this time, but I don't have my husband. I may not be giving birth in a stable, but I'm delivering on an Air Force base (not anywhere I'd ever planned for). I may not have been given the name of our child by God, but I'm filling out the birth certificate on my own--and if it's a girl, I don't know what we're going to do! And while I don't have the cultural shame of being pregnant before I got married, I do have the current cultural shame of getting pregnant my first year of marriage when I "could've done so much more with my life."

I think I'm very glad that God knew best, in my case and definitely in Mary's. My little guy is going to be such a gift to our family, and every time I look at him and see his dad's face, I'm going to give thanks...and it'll make our time of separation go by so much more quickly. As for Mary, her baby turned out to be a gift not just for her, but for the whole world. And every time we look at Him and see His Dad's face, we can give thanks...and be glad that we're no longer separated from God because of our sin.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

the snow hat

Just wanted to let it be known that the Snow Hat (yes, it now deserves capitals) worked its magic last week:

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Goodbye, Twenty-two

I just want to say (in this final twenty-two year old post) that there is nothing quite like starting out a new year right...by cleaning and reorganizing your room. Normally, I personally and nerdily celebrate my birthday by going for a run. That's not exactly possible this year. Instead, I have a newly organized closet and desk. And that's entirely satisfactory.

So, goodbye, twenty-two. I start out twenty-three with stretch marks (that are SO worth it for who's coming in the next few weeks), an increased ability to laugh, a growing love for my husband, several writing projects underway, gratitude for family and friends, and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, and what could potentially be the best birthday present ever: a full set of the Anne books and The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery (we celebrated early since it's already my birthday where the Man is). My husband may just love me more than I deserve.

With that said, on to Twenty-Three!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

rain or snow

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
James Farley Post Office in New York City

I'm waiting with high anticipation for the 1 to 3 inches of snow that weather.com promised me this afternoon. In the meantime, I'm sitting in front of the fire with Oswald next to me and my fuzzy sweater on. Oh, and my furry slippers as well. Right now, there's a consistently cold drizzle, but I have faith in my snow hat. I wore my snow hat yesterday, and it will bring on the snow, just like it did last year! Besides, I'm all for early birthday presents.

In the meantime, I have another package to get ready for my poor frozen husband. This one will include yet another set of flannel sheets. I'd rather get him back with all fingers and toes attached. Frost bite and I are not friends.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

November? November???

I'm determined that November didn't have a full thirty days. I mean, seriously, where did it go? I only made it through three posts this month...and I had so many more that I thought about writing. I'm highly disappointed in the disappearance of November.

I recognize that this is not typical for me. After all, December is My Month, the celebration of all that is Me. I have my birthday, the end of school, my favourite holiday, my anniversary, and possibly (possibly) a baby coming (if he comes early). But frankly, this year, I think I'm trying to survive My Month even more than I'm looking forward to the relaxation it usually promises. After all, there isn't much relaxing about the possibility of going into labour. Just saying. Neither is there much relaxing about the thought of corralling 100 or so preschoolers into a somewhat organized Christmas program. But December is here, and my plan is to end the year with a full complement of fireworks and exciting explosions. Let's go out with a bang!

Until that bang, though, I'm so glad to have my parents here to help me survive the bloating belly syndrome. Dad put together the dresser yesterday and the crib today, and Mom is cooking and cleaning and organizing up a storm, and I have rarely been this grateful in my life. I admit to certain prideful and self-sufficient tendencies around August that led me to believe that I could handle this myself, but let me tell you honestly: I can't. Putting a fitted crib sheet on requires a little less belly than I have.

All this to say, November, where did you go? December is fast upon us and suddenly I'm nine months pregnant and utterly dependent on my parents (which hasn't happened in quite some time), but December brings the halfway point for the Man's deployment, and that is definitely something to rejoice over.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Note to Self

Don't ever let my little boy wear pink Dora the Explorer crocs. There are some lines that shouldn't be crossed. Ever.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pregnancy Class?

Feel the rhythm of the music getting stronger/Don't you fight it till you've tried it/Do the conga! Beat!
Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine

On Saturday, my gracious sister accompanied me to what she called a "pregnancy class." I tried to explain to her that I don't need a class to understand how to be pregnant, but the concept of a "child birthing class" was apparently too much for her to grasp. We were there from 9am till past 5pm. As I told my mom, they were trying to give us the full blown birthing experience: stuck at the hospital all day.

But really, it was pretty useful on the whole. I mean, we got to dance the conga for exercise--how much cooler can you get than that? Plus, my sister got some really great tips on how to be a good birth coach for me...like singing "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" while I'm showering during my contractions. I anticipate that being hugely soothing. Maybe she'll even follow up with a rousing rendition of "Oh, Susanna". I can only hope! She also learned some practical massage techniques, which I will take advantage of during her entire Christmas break. And we got to take a nap under the table after lunch so that we could learn how to relax our bodies. It was a big day. Especially because the videos we watched were made in either the late 80's or early 90's...and those hairstyles were cute. My sister promised she'd give me a mullet before I went into labour so that I'd be adequately prepared.

I'm so glad that she was able to go with me. It was hard being there without the Man, hard seeing the other husbands there learning how to help their wives, hard to know that he wasn't going to get to experience this with me. But I'm so proud of him. I know that he wouldn't miss this for the world if he didn't have to and that he'd be a great labour coach if he could be here (and that he would've been awesome enough to dance the conga with me). And I'm reminded of the huge blessing it is that we will most likely be able to video call from the hospital. I am appreciative of the technology that makes this so much easier. And the technology that enables us to see really awesome and inspirational videos from the 80's...


I sent this picture to the Man before the child birthing class so that he could see that, even if he couldn't make it to the class with me, his t-shirt did. Which is useful since none of mine fit any more. You can kind of see Baby Friz poking out over my legs. Incidentally, my legs are a lot skinnier now after 30 minutes of the conga interspersed with lunges and squats. Those instructors weren't playing around!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Mouths of Babes

Quote for the Day: "My mommy doesn't do that because she's difficult." -anonymous child in my three year old class.

There are great things about teaching preschool. Hugs like nobody's business, being told that I'm loved, seeing that light bulb moment...but more than anything: getting to laugh at the hilarious things my kids say. Like the other day in chapel when one of the kids proudly announced that he prays for pickles. Hearing our pastor say, "That's right, sometimes we do pray for pickles," about made me pee in my pants.

Working with kids is really just the tip of the iceberg though. My oldest sister delivered her son this week, and oh my goodness, he's a cutie. I've been video skyping with him as much as possible (the beauty of the digital age), and I am counting the days till I get to see him at Thanksgiving. It's kind of crazy to me, knowing how much I already love this little dude, to realize that Baby Friz is going to be even more loved when he gets here. And I admit, I was a little surprised to see a newborn who doesn't resemble E.T. so it gave me hope for Baby Friz's looks. Now if only he could be born with a fro and dimples...

My cute nephew with his gorgeously huge mouth and awesome head of hair:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Little Bits

  • If I hold my laptop in my lap and lean forward, my belly will do the typing for me.
  • A really funny story about being chased down by an escapee tent with a malicious side can easily turn into a seven hour visit the to emergency room...and the emergency room visit can just as easily turn out to be caused, not by the really awesome tent story, but by a puncture wound caused by a bacteria ridden cat.
  • I look cool when I walk with a cane.
  • People think it's funny to tell a hobbling pregnant woman not to run in the hallways.
  • Rainy autumn days and yellow school buses go together. They just do.
  • A combination of garlic and antibiotics seeping out of my pores makes for a very smelly bedroom...and leads me to open my windows, light some candles, and take long showers.
  • Now that I'm seven months pregnant, the Man's shirts fit me exceptionally well. Except that my arms aren't as buff as his. Thank goodness. That would be weird.
  • I'm almost an aunt. Nephew mine! Hurry up and get here! You would be such an inspiration to Baby Friz if you would just come on! And your mommy would really appreciate it too.
The End.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Death of the Betty Crocker Inside

Guy in line behind me at the grocery store: So... you're making cookies, huh?
Me: I promise they're not all for me. *smiles charmingly* I'm being an overachieving wife and baking cookies for all my husband's troops. *mentally pats self on back*

Today I decided to go above and beyond. In an effort to get the "Best and Coolest Wife Ever" award, I attempted to make 100 some cookies for the Man's guys who probably don't get very much to eat and who definitely don't have wives as awesome as me. I also had to make brownies for the fall festival tomorrow, so I thought I'd just get my bake on and be all domestic (I even ironed some napkins--be impressed). And, in order to make it even more interesting, I thought I'd do a photo-journalistic overview of what happened, thinking that it would be a great opportunity to show off my culinary skills.

The baking escapades started off well-organized and seemingly idyllic:

And the brownies came out beautifully:

But the first batch of cookies, um, disintegrated:

And the second batch wasn't much better:

This is the third batch on the way in. It turned out pretty much the same as the others, ie. ugly:

Further cookie death occurred when transferring the cookies from the wax paper, where they had cooled, to the ziplock bags for storage.

So, at the end of the day, I'm left with two beautiful pans of brownies and a bunch of ziplocked cookie shards. Needless to say, I doubt I'm going to send these cookies to the Man (although maybe the demolition would be blamed on the postal service instead of me) since I don't want to be "the lieutenant's wife who, bless her soul, can't cook". Here's my disappointed face:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lessons Learned


But for a moment the whole world comes to. Wakes up. Proves it lives. It lives— red, yellow, orange, brown, russet, ocher, vermilion, gold. Fla-me and rust.
 Excerpt from "Leaves" by Lloyd Schwartz

Although my blog is typically not one to generate the amount of comments necessary to bring me fullness of joy, I did learn that posting a ridiculously long blog that is primarily about art and in-law relations will bring about even fewer comments than usual. In fact, the only person who actually commented was staying at my home for the weekend and was severely bullied into leaving me that cherished little message. Threats of no ice cream may or may not have been made.

On that note, let me keep it brief and just say this: I sat on the porch this evening with a blanket and a mugful of steaming cider, watching the sun set. I stayed out until the first star put in an appearance and I could no longer take just how much I was missing the Man. Now I'm inside, sensibly working on lesson plans, which I should've just done in the first place.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Internal Alarm Setting Off Jackson Pollock

So, I've been planning on blogging about this for a couple days now, and since my aforementioned internal alarm clock went off at 630am on a Saturday morning, now is as good a time as any, right?

Here's the back story. I was talking with my eleven year old brother-in-law, who told me that he'd been drawing "nothing, just a bunch of scribbles" that day, which caused me to automatically reference Jackson Pollock (it just seemed natural). Brother-in-love told me that he had absolutely no interest in Jackson Pollock, whoever that was, which incited loud gasps from me. He then told me he was more of a John Wayne or Gary Cooper fan, which brought about even more loud gasping as he evidently had no clue that Jackson Pollock was an artist, not an actor. I had to 'fess up that I had no clue who Gary Cooper was, and we proposed a trade of information (although I had to IMDB Gary Cooper myself). Consequently, the following emails.

Subject: Jackson Pollock for W
Date: 14 October 2009 20:23:44 EDT

Okay! Jackson Pollock for you! The important thing you need to know about him is that he did abstract paintings that really just looked like splatters and could've been done by a two year old but (miraculously) sold for Big Bucks.

This is a picture of him painting in his studio. Don't ever pick up smoking--it's a nasty habit.


This is one of his paintings (in colour):


Here's another one of his paintings:



And last one:


Now do you understand why I referenced Jackson Pollock when you said you were drawing a picture of "nothing, just a bunch of scribbles"? Make sense?

This article gives you a short run down of why he's so famous if you want a little more info. If not, skip to the bottom:

On the floor I am more at ease, I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around in it, work from the four sides and be literally `in' the painting.
-- Jackson Pollock, 1947.
Pollock, Jackson (1912-56). American painter, the commanding figure of the Abstract Expressionist movement.
He began to study painting in 1929 at the Art Students' League, New York, under the Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton. During the 1930s he worked in the manner of the Regionalists, being influenced also by the Mexican muralist painters (Orozco, Rivera, Siqueiros) and by certain aspects of Surrealism. From 1938 to 1942 he worked for the Federal Art Project. By the mid 1940s he was painting in a completely abstract manner, and the `drip and splash' style for which he is best known emerged with some abruptness in 1947. Instead of using the traditional easel he affixed his canvas to the floor or the wall and poured and dripped his paint from a can; instead of using brushes he manipulated it with `sticks, trowels or knives' (to use his own words), sometimes obtaining a heavy impasto by an admixture of `sand, broken glass or other foreign matter'. This manner of Action painting had in common with Surrealist theories of automatism that it was supposed by artists and critics alike to result in a direct expression or revelation of the unconscious moods of the artist.
Pollock's name is also associated with the introduction of the All-over style of painting which avoids any points of emphasis or identifiable parts within the whole canvas and therefore abandons the traditional idea of composition in terms of relations among parts. The design of his painting had no relation to the shape or size of the canvas -- indeed in the finished work the canvas was sometimes docked or trimmed to suit the image. All these characteristics were important for the new American painting which matured in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Last bit from M. :) Hope you enjoyed learning something new. I will try to get ahold of a copy of Sergeant York before the next time I see you--but if I don't, we'll watch it together, okay? So far, the only thing I've seen that he was in was Ben Hur, and he was just an extra in that movie. Love you!
Marian
PS Hope your brother was able to be patient. msf
His response was:


Subject: Re: Jackson Pollock for W: BORING!!!
Date: 14 October 2009 20:36:42 EDT

They're just BLOBS!!! You said this guy was FAMOUS!!! Anyone could do his BLOBS!!!

W

PS: How was Gary Cooper 'cause I didn't read the email I just looked at the pictures briefly. No need to be patient. LOL! HAhahahahahahhahahhahahahhahahahhahahhahah. sorry, Where was I.....BORING!!!

My end conclusion? He'll appreciate me when he's in college and some girl that he likes starts talking about Jackson Pollock in an attempt to sound cool and sophisticated. Then he'll be glad he had such an awesome sister-in-law.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rainy Day Thursday Cheer

"So softly/Rain against the windows/And the strong coffee/Warming up my fingers/In this fisherman's house..."
-A Fine Frenzy, "You Picked Me"

Woke up to the sweet kiss of rain on concrete, and I knew it was going to be a good day. This in spite of the fact that I woke up with a man voice and Oswald was vomitish (which, in turn, made me vomit). And I have been in a rather cheerful state listening to rain music (real and imagined) and thinking about the The Prayer of St Francis and the Love Chapter. Rain always brings out the best in me, and I've been trying to pray through both of the aforementioned passages. I want that kind of life and that kind of love.

So hurray for the rain and cable knit sweaters and good music and butt warmers in the car (because 46 degrees is way below my natural temperature) and the mist over the changing trees and the happy dance that was Baby Friz this morning and long emails from my husband and learning from lovers of God who have long since gone to be with Him. I think that's sufficient cause for joy.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Today?

Yesterday was so many things: boots and books and tights and a dress and baked potato with broccoli and chili and the end of JAG season 4 and talking with the Man and laundry and a slow sunset and two hearts. Yesterday was a flower from one child and being told I was handsome by another. Yesterday was morning, noon, and night. Yesterday was...well, yesterday.

So what will today be?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Semantics

I have the day off from work today, which means to me that I'm going in to work anyway, but I'm taking the day off from 1) getting there on time, 2) showering, and 3) looking presentable. What fun!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ode to My Closed Right Nostril

  • orange juice, lots of it.
  • water, lots of it.
  • tissues, taking over my bed.
  • soup, beginning to be a really boring meal.
  • tylenol: sinus (congestion and pain)--you'd better not cause long term issues in my unborn child or I Will Cut You.
  • Oswald: jumping every time I get a new tissue from the box (which is about every 5 minutes), putting his ears back at the loud honking noise that then issues forth from my slightly red schnoz. His life is so hard.
  • JAG, maintaining my sanity. Somewhat.
  • old husband t-shirts, comfortable and comforting.
  • multiple trips to the bathroom since hydrating and pregnancy are not coexisting happily.
  • wanting to reach my hand all the way down my throat and scratch like a mad woman until that itching that kept me up all night STOPS.
  • lived in bed.
  • lips falling off my face in spite of extra moisturizing intensive chapstick.
  • and last, but not least, my right nostril...permanently cemented shut.
I think I'm firing my body. What was it thinking getting sick at a time like this?! Thoughtless, I tell you. Thoughtless!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sister Surprise!

I saw a pair of teal sandals peaking out from behind my middle sister's car... and so began the first annual Sister's Party.

This is my surprised face:


We are so cutely pregnant. Everyone loves pregnant sisters. Especially when we go out and get two large pizzas and two really dumb chick flicks...and no one knows that there's another non-pregnant sister who will help out with the eating and watching.


Somehow Jon got invited along for lunch at Satay Sarinah. Sometimes he acts like my sister... Oh wait...


Just like home.


The timer on Jo's camera was a life saver.


We had to compare belly sizes. My middle sister won.


The somewhat terrifying future of a pregnant A! Her child will have corners! (We're all so proud.)


So yeah. It was a pretty full weekend, as you can tell.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Open Windows

I think I'm a success as a teacher. I've made it through two whole days of school, one of music and the other of library, and only one kid has tried to jump out a window! Sure, it was a third story window, but it might've been an improvement on the class if he'd actually made it out. (The next day there was a tactful note to all the teachers reminding them to keep their windows closed and locked at all times. I made it 24 hours before I got in trouble.) In his defense, maybe he doesn't like music...or maybe he thought my singing voice wasn't quite up to par...or maybe, maybe, he had perfect pitch and we just did him in. The options are endless.

At any rate, it's probably a good thing that the library is on the first floor. That way if one of my kids just absolutely HATES books or thinks that I do a really bad job interpreting the author's intent (Dr. Seuss could go so many different ways) and tries to launch him/herself out the window, they won't have very far to go.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Potato Tears

The Man is TDY for the next three weeks, and Os and I are home alone.  He tried to go with The Man, but I think in the long run he'll be glad that he stayed home with me...and his litter box...and his food bowl.
So far, I've got to say, not having my husband here is just...weird.  Considering that I'm pregnant (read: hormonal) and I really only cried yesterday over a lonely baked potato, I think I'm doing pretty well.  Oswald and I are bonding.  We eat barbeque together.  Don't tell the Man; I'm not supposed to feed the cat people food.  Yup, this is what happens when the Man leaves.  I start breaking all our family bylaws (do not, under any circumstances, feed the cat people food); I turn into an insomniac; and I cry about carbohydrates. What's next?! I can't wait to find out...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

We take our cat for car rides

It's 12:41am.  The Man is sitting next to me on the couch, obsessively playing Typing Maniac on facebook.  We just finished watching Escape from New York and are about to watch Escape from L.A. My sister has been demanding for about a month now that we watch Escape from L.A. but when we sat down to watch it tonight and the Man realized that it was a sequel, we ended up watching New York first.  How? Why? I don't know. But we did.  And we ate donuts while doing it.  Donuts we picked up with the cat.  As in, Os had a great time riding in the car with us.  He did not have a great time getting out of the car as it was pouring down rain.  So worth it though.

We're on to the next movie now.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Remember

A year ago today one of my dear friends died, a heart friend who made me laugh. Since then, I've thought of him nearly every day--not morbidly, but joyfully.  His death is very hard for me to realize as he was one of those people who was so full of life that it defined who he was.  There are so many times when I have found myself telling a Jon story only to remember midway through that he's gone.  It comes as a shock.

So today, though the emotions are close to the surface, I remember the good.  And there is much good to remember.  Jon was a part of my life since I was three years old, about as long as I've known anyone who isn't immediate family.  He was my first crush (we got married when I was 4 and he was 5). He was my arch nemesis in middle school. He was my dorm brother in high school, the drummer for our worship band, the one I got in trouble with during class.  We were about as different as they come, but we made each other laugh, and in some way we balanced each other out.

Mas Jon, I miss you.  I wish you could've been at my wedding.  I wish I could've told you that the Man and I are having our first child in January.  I wish you were still a part of my life.  But I know you and Jesus are loving life together, and I love that.  Today I'm remembering you.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Muffin Man?

Jack: How you can sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble, I can't make out. You seem to me to be perfectly heartless.
Algernon: Well, I can't eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them.
Jack: I say it's perfectly heartless your eating muffins at all, under the circumstances.

-The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

I made muffins yesterday, nice fat ones.  I finally got the guts to confess to the Man (at around 11pm) that I'd eaten seven of them for lunch. Yes, seven. Seven muffins.  He had three when he got home from work and that left two in the ziplock bag on the counter.  Those two were my breakfast plan.

But they weren't my breakfast.

Why? Quite simply because the cat ate them.  Yes.  The feline ate my muffins. And I have yet to forgive him. What business had he to be eating muffins at all, under the circumstances?  It was perfectly heartless of him!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Steak (because I can)

So, while the Man and I were at the shore this week, I decided to order a steak (yes, when I could've gotten seafood--don't ask).  Now, I like my steaks medium-well to well-done.  As in, I don't like to see gushy red stuff coming out of something I'm eating.  The Man informed me, however, that by ordering my steak as I did, I was practically inviting the chef to give me the crappiest piece of meat he had on his hands.  All I have to say to that is "shame on you!"  My steak actually turned out quite scrumptious (even the Man said it wasn't bad), but when I got back to D.C., what did I find on my yahoo homepage but this:

http://food.yahoo.com/blog/edlevineeats/27074/the-best-steaks-to-grill

The first two lines read: "If you ask Mark Pastore of La Frieda Meats, a Manhattan-based meat purveyor, you should never prepare your steak well-done. That's like squeezing all the goodness out of the animal (and eating a leather shoe).

My response? Oh, well.  I don't plan to stop eating shoe leather any time soon.  It tastes nice.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Evidently...

When you're pregnant (or rather, I should say, when I'm pregnant)...

When ONE'S pregnant,

One can laugh so hard that one can cause one's self to throw up!

And then, one can throw up so hard that one can pee in one's pants!

Cool story, eh, Hansel?

I'm never letting the Man be funny ever again. Baby Friz evidently does not appreciate humour.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Oswald: Friend or Fiend?


I think this should go out to a vote.  (See above, Oswald's myspace picture.)

The Man and I bought a cat last October, ostensibly to keep him company while he was living by himself in DC before we got married, mostly because I wanted a cat and the Man spoils me ridiculously.  Unfortunately, we couldn't take Os with us to Texas after we got married so he spent 4 months in Lebanon with my oldest sister and her husband, wrecking havoc and generally rampaging.  They say they loved him. They also say that they will now never own pets. So Oswald came back into our ownership around the middle of May and, since then, has been going back and forth from my black list to my favourites list.

Here's the situation (you can judge for yourself). 

He's adorable, extremely personable, and highly amusing. However, he's destructive as all get out, overly opinionated, and occasionally violent.  I love: that he comes to cuddle with me in the mornings, that he likes to be petted in the middle of the night when I go to the bathroom, that he chases his tail...and bites it, that his mouth opens up a good two inches like that snake that can unhinge its jaw.  Plus, he's just so darn cute.  However, I highly dislike Oswald's propensity to: chew through important wires (like my laptop charger...which cost 80 bucks to replace), climb on my newly sanitized kitchen counters, meow and throw himself at our bedroom door if we don't get up early enough in the morning, beg for food when we're eating dinner (sounds cute; gets old fast), chew on the blinds, and bite when you don't pet him exactly where he wants to be petted.

Can you understand my dilemma? I'm past the point of wanting to drown him in the nearby Potomac (I was so close the weekend where he chewed through 6 major cords in the space of 24 hours), but I'm still not completely sure where my opinion of him lies.  So what do you think? Friend or foe? Let's take a vote.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Morning Yearning


Sunrise at a little green table with my journal, a sarape, and a cup of tea. I have a feeling that this is going to be my safe place. I woke up earlier than usual, unable to sleep well after the Man left for work, and my reward was a quick snuggle with the cat and the chance to see the sky change colour.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Little Bit of This

So it's been a while.  In fact, such a while that we've completely moved and started something new in D.C. (well, Alexandria to be precise).  The Man works long hours, and I'm home figuring out this whole life thing.  Our house is mostly set up, and there's news of a dining room table, although eating on the couch is still a step up from eating on the bed, which was the first four months of married life.  We still need curtains (blankets tacked up over the windows=tacky, no pun intended) and a desk, but we are making friends and settling in, and I am finding my place here, I think.

It's interesting to me, this whole moving thing.  I've done it before (frequently), but since getting married, for the first time I find myself moving without a preconceived notion of what's next for me.  I'm not moving for a job or for school; I'm moving for the Man's job.  And it's not that I'm not looking for a job or looking at grad school possibilities (because I am), but they are not the only options, and I think sometimes I could do nothing all day but read and pull myself together really quickly before the Man comes home.  That's not what I'm planning on doing though.

Yes, I do find life to be a little smaller right now. I'm not running around for 19 hours of classes, a part-time job, ridiculous amounts of extracurricular activities, and a social schedule that leaves me coffee shop hopping. But I'm learning that there's beauty in the smallness.  I have time to go for walks and find wild strawberries in the woods. I watched a squirrel run off, possessively, with a mushroom as he glared back at me for even daring to look at him while he was foraging. I take time to pet the cat (and punish him--fiend). I'm almost done with this latest journal that has taken me through several months of big changes. I've made enchiladas verde and electric lemonada (this with an awesome newish friend) and zucchini bread and lasagna. And the best part is that the Man comes home every night, and I can stop whatever I'm doing to be with him.  Funny how I know that's the best part since I only have a couple more months of it.

There's no point to this post.  Just a little doodling. I suppose, in my own way, I'm leaving behind little footprints to look back to later.

I miss the ocean, but I found a little stream behind our apartment complex...and a couple ponds complete with Canadian geese, which make me think of The Westing Game.  And I got to go for a ride in a yellow bi-plane which maybe is one of the coolest things I've ever done. Maybe. It's a toss up.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Almost Over

The Man is out on 24 hour patrol, and I'm at home with my computer and a stack of unfinished thank you notes listening to the Weepies.  It's Wednesday night on the home front, my second-to-last Bullis Wednesday.  And so begins the countdown of lasts.

The biggest last that I'm faced with is that this week is the last time to prove to myself that I can live without deadlines or due dates, that I can motivate without the promised reward of good grades or someone else's approval.  It's been three and a half months of tanking out on myself in that regard, but who knows? Perhaps I will suddenly be injected with some alien ambition and will find myself doing more than stagnating.

What a weird, weird few months.  I've made friends, watched stupid movies, gone tubing down a silk-green river.  I've spent hours writing (and weeks purposefully not writing).  I've read my Bible (and avoided reading it). I've had many mugs of coffee (and almost as many of tea). I've gone for walks in the burning sun, seen seven circling vultures, watched a snake coil sinisterly, laughed at yellow butterflies.  I've felt the ocean spray on my face and laid awake at night longing for rain to come.  I've seen the hill country in the light of a lowering sun and read books the wind tried to tear from my hands.  Most importantly, I've loved the Man so intensely that the thought of him leaving...is not a thought that I want to entertain. 

And next Friday we'll squeeze all our belongings into our sun-roofed silver car except for what can't be squeezed, and we'll leave behind "my" back road, Saturday breakfasts at La Madeleine,  the toaster oven that won't work at the same time as the coffee maker, the fuzzy TV, the boxes full of the Man's MRE's, the miscellaneous gear hiding behind the armchair, the laundry basket I dragged up and down the stairs twice a week, the Do Not Disturb sign, the scratchy white towels, the view out my window...and a thousand newlywed memories.

There are rumours that there's a home waiting for me somewhere in DC.  I hope so.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Finally, Donuts.

doughnut (IPA/ˈdoʊnət, ˈdoʊˌnʌt/) (slang "donut") is a sweet, deep-fried piece of dough or batter. The two most common types are the torus-shaped ring doughnut and the filled doughnut, a flattened sphere injected with jam, jelly, creamcustard, or other sweet filling. A small spherical piece of dough, originally made from the middle of a ring doughnut, may be cooked as a doughnut hole.Baked doughnuts are a variation that is baked in an oven instead of being deep fried.

I have lately been experiencing an unaccountable craving for donuts.  In fact, my depth of donut desire has gone so far as to have recently caused me to dream about eating cinnamon sugar covered donuts by a fountain (no, the fountain isn't important).  Because my husband loves me, and loves to spoil me, and was sick of hearing about how much I wanted donuts, last night he took me out to find donuts.  We went on a wild goose chase around San Antonio, burning several gallons of gas, trying to find a home-grown, mom-and-pop donut shop.  Finally, we gave up and settled for Krispy Kreme.  Consequently, in the space of the last 24 hours, I have single-handedly eaten 4 and a half donuts.  Two original glazed, one sugar covered, and 1.5 chocolate cake donuts.  The Man helped a little bit.

Now the question is, do I feel guilty? NO!  Because I have to say that donuts are a beautiful thing.  Admittedly, I recognized last night that what I was craving wasn't so much donuts as Gibsons (our local Memphian donut shop that sold half a dozen for a dollar after 11pm) and everything Gibsons entailed (it's an experience more than anything), but the important thing is that my donut objective has been reached and I can now go into remission until next month, by which point I may be able to make it to the end of April and thereby actually eat real donuts at Gibsons.

L.M. Montgomery wrote in Emily Climbs that one cannot stay angry while eating donuts, and indeed, I propose that donuts solve a variety of emotional ailments, anything from heart breaking depression to post college ennui.  So here's to donuts.  

I believe.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Million Dollar Question


We called the Man's family yesterday, and after he had finished telling his little brother about all the cool things he's getting to do (like throwing grenades and running obstacle courses), Little Brother said, "What's M doing all day? Reading and watching TV?"  ...  Well, he was pretty close.  So for all those people who are wondering what I'm doing while the Man is out learning how to save the world, here you go.  

First off, every morning I wake up and drink a lot of coffee to get me going: 

Then I might go for a run in these most excellent of running shoes:
Most days I do the piles and piles of dishes that our very large kitchen produces:
And some days I borrow the Man's flip-flops and go downstairs to do laundry:
Other than that, I read (thinking hard about the important subject matter of my books):
I "work" on my computer (facebook, email, phone calls through skype, the occasional blog, and, if I'm feeling really productive, actual editing or writing):
And if the Man is still not back sometimes this happens:
On the whole, it's not a bad life.  Especially when I have days that bring me flowers:
or postcards from far away countries:
Cool, eh?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Additional Information...

All I have to say is, SEE, I wasn't crazy.  We're in extreme drought conditions here, people.  But don't worry:  there's still enough water to make coffee, which is a good thing for me.

US Drought Monitor, February 24, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rain Drops Aren't Falling On My Head

Marianne: Is there any felicity in the world superior to this? Margaret: I told you it would rain. 
Sense and Sensibility

I admit to insanity.

Last night, it rained.  The first rain I have seen since arriving here, and, oh, how much I've missed it.  And as the thunder growled and the water pounded onto our roof, I laid in bed and cried from sheer joy--and the Man was loving enough to not laugh at me.

But it didn't last long enough for me.  I woke up this morning to glaring Texas sunshine (who would have ever expected me to complain about sunshine!) and all I wanted was an Indonesian monsoon or a steady British drizzle or even a torrential Memphian downpour.  Something with which to be cozy.  I needed the right weather for a cup of tea and a blanket.  Since that wasn't an option, I've simulated: this afternoon, I curled up in bed and watched Sense and Sensibility, particularly enjoying the two absolutely soaking rain scenes with Marianne, imagining myself drenched and lovelorn (though I wouldn't waste my time today chasing a blue sky).  And since the movie only lasts a measly 136 minutes, I am now listening to rain sounds that I found online.  After this, I might do a rain dance.

What is it about rain? There is something so soothing about it, something so comforting, and at the same time, something that borders on danger and adventure.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, "Into each life some rain must fall, some days be dark and dreary."  I just wish that this was true for me more often.  Sunny Texas, I don't dislike you, but could you try not to rub it in my face quite so much?

So here it is. I'm putting in a request for a nice grey day with plenty of rain, a few claps of thunder, occasional shivers of lightening, and just enough wind to put some variation in the home grown water music.  And yes, I'll take a cup of tea with that.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Meeting Madeleine

The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been.
Madeleine L'Engle

The Man and I stumbled upon a Half-Price Bookstore today while trying to find Marble Slab.  We got sucked into the vortex for about an hour, finally emerging with a book each (after much deliberation).  I have a sneaking suspicion he picked up a couple other items for me while we were in there, but I diligently appraised Etta James CDs while he checked out.

My book of choice was A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle, the first book in her Crosswicks Journal collection.  I grew up reading L'Engle's novels, and she always managed to fascinate me with her knowledge of science, music, literature, and life.  Each book of hers that I read challenged me to look at my world from a different perspective.  Coming to her journals, I find myself intrigued by what was going on inside of her mind and what I can learn from her.  

Aside: I've found that my book taste has changed significantly due to marrying the Man, who could spend hours in the History/Biography/Military section of book stores without ever setting foot in the Fiction section.  Initially, I admit, I was a little scandalized by this.  After all, isn't a historian merely an unsuccessful novelist (H.L. Mencken)?  But after a more than a few bookstore trips with the Man, I've learned to amuse myself while he browses, and by doing so found the attraction that he finds there.  You see, the Man reads about people that he wants to emulate, namely, good leaders and men of honour.  I, on the other hand, am finding all sorts of fascinating books about people that I want to emulate, namely, good writers and women of travel.  Hence, my new obsession with journals, travel writing, and biography.

Back to A Circle of Quiet.  I picked it up this afternoon while the Man was single handedly finishing off our nap (I put in an hour's worth of effort and then decided to move on to better things: reading).   The first few chapters were fascinating.  Not only did she manage to include some of my very favourite words (ontology, green, and art), not only did she jump right in to talking about creativity and the unconscious, not only did she give me new insight into the meaning of humility, but she took me right back to a younger me, back to the me that lived in her novels.  Because, you see, the Murry family of the Wrinkle in Time series lived in her very home!  Not literally, of course, but it was all there: the old stone farm house, the glacial stones and apple trees, the star-watching rock.  Old friends come to meet me in reality.  It made me smile.

The Man is sitting next to me doing peer evaluations for class now, and I'm happy once again that I get to curl up with my Mac to write about literature and return to my childhood and, perhaps, think deep thoughts while he actually makes money for us.  

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tea Bags and Mid-Morning Discovery

Just doodling for the moment while drinking tea made in a coffee pot. How I miss Aunt C's electric tea kettle!  I whipped out my flute while the water was heating and found my passport hiding in my sheet music.  I'd been wondering where it'd gone...  Amazing how I always think I've put it in the most obvious of places and then can't find it for a month.

I just wanted to set up the blog (since I have nothing more exciting to do at the moment or rather, since I have no energy to do anything more exciting at the moment), but I'll come back later when I'm feeling more inspired and actually write something cool.  Maybe.

For the moment, let me leave you with this most excellent of thoughts that came straight out of the mouth of my sleep deprived husband last night: "We're not in Neverland anymore, Toto."