May 29, 2007

anonymous comments

I've had a few anonymous comments as some of you may have seen. I deliberately set up my blog so you don't have to have a blogger account to comment, but please have the courtesy to leave a brief identification. It's one thing if you forget, but it's a bit aggravating to continually have someone (I assume it's the same someone) commenting anonymously. Just your name and/or a brief note as to how you found my blog is sufficient.

Thanks so much!

May 23, 2007

Vote for the Lazy Party!

After much extensive political analysis (snort) I've decided that I should like to start a new political party. I will call it The Lazy Party. Our motto is "we don't give a damn what you do so long as I don't have to do anything about it." Got a problem with your public school? Take it up with the principle. Public schools got a problem with parents yanking kids out of school? Take it up with the parents. (waves hands dismissively) I'm gonna go play table football with the Hon Senator Sittsdown. Huh? You don't think this will work? Let me tell you something. For the past who knows how long we've had little but eager beaver idealistic moneygrubbers campaigning to do this that and the other when really most of them just wanted to hang out by the banks of the money river and take a few swigs. You've gotten higher taxes, more regulations, more interference, and less efficiency and sanity as the terms have come and gone. Personally, I want in office because I'm tired of sitting at my desk all day and playing solitaire when the boss's not looking. I'd rather play tag with the Representatives on the front lawn. So here's the deal. You vote us into office and give us enough root beer and baseball tickets to keep us occupied, and we'll leave you alone. If a bill lapses who cares? We probably didn't need it anyway. Vote us into office and Congress will quickly stop caring what you do so long as we don't have to lift a finger about it. Shut up. Stop whining. Start living.

Of course nowadays narry a person would dare vote for someone like that. Heck, you can't even get them to vote Libertarian, but I'd rather have a self-avowed lazy congressman who didn't give a darn what I did than have one so interested in the minute details of my life that I couldn't turn around without running into his leering gaze. And if you think liberal or conservative mean a thing these days you are so far down in the paper bag someone's going to drop some Canton noodles on your head any second now.

May 22, 2007

A lovely peek through Trina's window...

He is learning to crawl this week. He will do it. He has every inclination, he just needs to figure out how his knees work.
I set three wooden blocks - clunk, clap - into a tower, just out of reach, tempting him. He bounces forward, arms outstretched - he loves his blocks....(continue)

May 21, 2007

What I am doing today

Lately, I've been feeling a push to get my projects done and get things around here in order. So here's what's going on today:

Pick up the living room, bedroom, and bathroom
Get the laundry put away
Catch up on dishes (maybe get Allen to help with this)
Cut out cushion covers
Finish large fleece blanket
Fix supper (Rosemary chicken with either rice or butter herbed noodles and steamed veggies)
Probably work on more project stuff or relax

May 16, 2007

Thinking about cooking

Ok, this isn't really a recipe post. It's more of a celebration of my husband's love of food. I can hardly fix a thing without him showering me with thanks and compliments. For someone who's family laughed her out of the kitchen on a regular basis it is sweet balm to my heart. Seriously, I was considered the one who couldn't boil water*, but now I soar along on my husband's unabashed enjoyment of my culinary skills. If you were to ask me I'd classify myself as more of a family or "man's" cook. I like thick soups and yummy casseroles and roasted or browned/fried meats. I like lot's of herbs and spices and butter and oil. Fresh, organic veggies are a must. I tend to make it up as I go along --freely interpreting and improvising off of recipe ideas. I cook with my nose and my fingers and my eyes. I like colors and flavors. I don't like doing the dishes afterwards, but appreciative husbands make wonderful kitchen helpers. For specific recipes like cookies or a lovely quiche I just might break out my teaspoons and tablespoons. For most anything else it's butter and oregano and broth and flour until it smells right, feels right, tastes right. I'm not sure exactly why I cook this way, but I thank God that He's given me the ability to do so and a husband who appreciates and encourages me.

*Ok, that might not be completely accurate since my dad did thoroughly appreciate my chocolate meringue pie which I learned to make from his mom, but other than that I was pretty much considered hopeless.

this is sort of a placeholder

Corin, from CMOMB, sent me a rather detailed response to my post of health. This is just a reminder that I need to respond to her and that more health discussion will be coming up.

"What I've been up to lately" or "Some domestic acchievements"

I was just thinking the other day that I hadn't been posting very much lately. I think part of it is that I've been getting my house together more lately. In the past I've had rather a time of it trying to keep up with things -and I don't even have that much to keep up with! As I've confessed on here before, I haven't had very good work habits or thought patterns. It's just one of those things I grew up with and am finding it a bit slow to grow out of. However, I'm excited to say that I've done much better lately. For instance, there have been times in the past when I'd look up and it'd be too late or I'd be too tired or I'd forget to go to the store or something, and we'd have to go out to eat if we wanted something other than a sandwich. So it wasn't unusual for us to go out up to 3x a week. This wasn't something that my husband really wanted to do, but he also didn't want to pressure me while I was tired and stressed over various things. Well sometime the week before last Allen told me that he'd really like up to be able to only eat out once a week. Last week I made that my goal. I planned out our meals and tried to plan so that there were leftovers in the fridge for those days when I was just tired out and didn't feel like standing in the kitchen for an hour. Guess what? I did it! We didn't have to go out once! This week so far so good as well. We did stop by taco bell once because that afternoon Allen found out about a speaker he wanted to hear, and I didn't have time to get my meat thawed and cooked before we'd have to leave. But Allen didn't mind that because it wasn't lack of planning on my part -it was him disrupting plans I'd already made. Really he doesn't mind much anyway because he's a patient man, and he knows I'm trying. It just helps to know what he wants me to be aiming for. Ok, one more thing, and I'll stop bragging on myself. I have days where I just feel sluggish and fuzzy headed, and I don't feel like getting anything done. Well yesterday started out like that. However, instead of curling up on the couch like I wanted to I went and picked up the living room, bathroom, and bed room, put away the laundry, and vacuumed the living room, bed room and hall. I also fixed cube steak for supper, and got us out the door ON TIME to hear this man speak again. Sometimes I feel like I can't hardly get one of those things done, but yesterday I did all three! I was so excited! Then to top it all off after we came home Allen and I watched Nero Wolfe and ate some leftover cheesecake. That was a very good day. The only room I have left that I haven't gotten in order since the move in the back bedroom which is currently functioning as an office/sewing room/storage room. I'm going to get in a little on it this afternoon, but I really need Allen to help me on this since it's got his papers and electronic stuff in there as well, and I haven't a clue how he wants all that organized. I'm not exactly sure he knows either, but it's still something I need his help on. Anyway, I'm excited about the progress I'm making in consistently taking care of my home.

May 8, 2007

Tex-Mex Shepherd's Pie

I've sort of been playing around with the idea of shepherd's pie for a little while, and I came up with this taco inspired version tonight. It's really very good and will probably end up going into my meal rotation. Of course, anything with cumin and red meat tastes good to me these days.

Ingredients (some of the measurements are approximations):

1-1 1/2 lb ground hamburger
broth (optional)
2 red bell peppers
1 large onion
4-5 carrots
1 1/2 c frozen yellow corn
1 can cream of mushroom soup
6-7 large potatoes
1/2 lb pepper jack cheese
+ various spices

Put the potatoes on to boil for mashed potatoes (I leave the skins on mine). While the potatoes are boiling set the meat to brown with a little broth and start cutting up your veggies. When the meat is browned season with cumin, onion powder, salt, pepper, garlic salt, and red pepper flakes and let simmer for a few minutes. Oh, I also splashed a little tobasco sauce on the meat as well. If the potatoes are done drain and mash them as you normally would. I mashed mine with a stick of butter, a splash of veggie broth, and about a cup of the potato stock. I then seasoned them with salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste. To assemble the pie mix the meat, veggies, and soup together in a baking pan and smooth the potatoes over the mixture. Cover the potatoes liberally with grated cheese and bake at 350 until the cheese starts turning golden (about 30 min.)

I expect us to get at least 6 ample servings out of it.

May 6, 2007

the life that once I led

Out of boredom I googled my name to see what would come up. After scrolling through numerous references to Natalie's wearing or selling or depicted on various short sleeved shirts I came across a University of Tennessee page from the English Department. I was listed on there for some incoming graduate student fellowship, but I got to looking at all the names and the lists of their various attainments. Many of these people I had been to class with or had worked with in the writing center. It just sort of got me to thinking about my walks to school, our little apartment, the campus, and all those other bits that made up my life just a few short months ago. I don't really miss it. It was very hard work for very little reward and for the most part I was simply too exhausted and uninspired to give it a real go. Looking at the list of articles and conference papers, and other major projects from my old grad school I found nary a thing that interested me. It rather sad really. I who love literature so much could find nothing of interest among the scholars of tomorrow. Perhaps I'm not really a scholar after all, or what's far more likely is that I'm not the kind of scholar people really want. I don't just read Beowulf -I embrace it. The odd turns of phrase and unique pacing, the sense of a world emerging out of the age of Oden and into the age of Christ, cold beauty of the epic. All these things entrance me. As Donne said, "Hold your tongue, and let me love." I love books, and I love to write. For some people that follows easily into loving to write about books. Yet it needs to be something worth writing. Most of what I see being written isn't worth the ink. But even if it was I'm not sure that I'd be the one best suited to write it. I think I'd much rather teach Beowulf and Blake to those too young to be bored by it than to try and write five thousand words proving a minor point about Eliot. Besides, I'm far too ignorant to deal with these subjects at present. Let me read Dante and Spencer and Milton and Pope and Swift and then perhaps I shall be prepared to say something. As of now I know only the merest bit of literature. You might think I'm being modest, but actually it's quite the opposite. Only a fool thinks a degree in English means you know literature. I got through the whole of my bachelor's degree without reading more than a couple hundred lines of any of the above authors. No, I'm no scholar, but I'd like to be. That's why I went to grad school. I found instead a bunch of cheap ideologies running around dressed up in the stolen robes of truth while truth sat embarrassed and ashamed outside the gates. However, there were a few there for whom I believe the light of Christian scholarship still glows. I once saw that light myself and thought it my duty to seek it in the halls of academia. Yet I am made of different stuff than they, and my road turned aside. So I look at the row of books lining the top of my bookshelf -anthologies, cheap college edition, novels, poems, and plays of all descriptions. The bright light of learning still draws me. But now it draws me for other reasons. It draws me because of my children and what they must learn. It draws me because books, and stories, and ideas are the glowing hearth of Christendom. What is the Bible if not a true book of true stories whose ideas have kindled entire cultures?

May 3, 2007

still going around...

So we did the ultrasound today. Such as it was. After waiting for over an hour she only spent maybe five minutes checking me. Obviously she didn't find anything that looked too much like a wiggly baby in there 'cause otherwise she would have surely commented on it. So now we just wait to see the doctor...which should happen in about 12 hours. Right now I'm just tired. There's definitely something going on with my body -nobody seems to be able to figure out what it is though. All they can do is say, "Well, maybe you should get this checked out." I'm still not giving up hope of a baby. Right now though I'm just ready for all this to be over. Allen thinks it's quite likely that the Doc'll order another ultrasound tomorrow, so it could be another long day. (grimace) I'm really just tired of this. So is Allen. In many ways he's much stronger than me, but it's starting to wear him down as well. I still have an unexplained lump in my stomach. I'm still experiencing other physical symptoms. Even as I was lying on the u/s table I felt something moving along the top of my stomach. When this is all over I don't know if I'm going to have a tumor, a baby, or a recommendation to meet with a shrink. Hopefully the second of the three, but if that's the case God must be planning to pull off a big one here. Which I readily grant He's capable of. It can just be a little wearying to us spectators. Come on God. Show up for me here. I'm getting tired and feeling lost. Have mercy on us.

May 1, 2007

round and round and round she goes and where she stops nobody knows

Well, it looks like we're going to have another spin on that merry go round that I wish could be called pre-natal care but really looks more like a huge game of hide and go seek where Baby is currently holding all the points. My brothers-in-law have already proclaimed that they refuse to participate in any future hide and seek games with Baby on the basis that she is already too darn good at it. However, much as I perhaps should be pleased at this early show of skill and dexterity, I should very much like for Baby to perhaps get the hiccups or knock over the broom handle and bring us all running to the closet before she decides to try hiding under the bed. (Yes, Metaphore, you've said "Uncle" three times quite clearly now, and I shall let you go.) Sufficing to say that later this week we will be getting and ultrasound and subsequently talking to a gynecologist who was recommended to us by both a friend and my MIL. Hopefully that will clear things up for us. This same friend also (after listening with her own dopplar and doing a bit of feeling) suggested that I have an anterior placenta which would make it almost impossible for a midwife to detect a heart rate with her hand held unit. However it wouldn't interfere with an ultrasound. As for the blood work...any woman can tell you stories she's heard about women who simply don't test well. I don't know why it happens, but it does. Anyway, muscle testing supports the anterior placenta theory, so we'll see what happens when we go in this week. Like I said, hopefully she knocks over the broom handle or something. I'm beyond ready to hear "Woman, didn't you know you're pregnant?!"

My living room is unpacked!!!

After a bunch of fuss and bother and quite a few days of not really wanting to get things done I finally got my living room completely unpacked! That does not, however, mean that it is currently completely clean : p But I'm happy to say that my living room does show evidence that people actually live here rather than merely inhabit it.


This is the bakers rack that some dear friends gave us when we got married. Since cabinet space is an issue I use it for dishes and glassware that's either too pretty or too large to store elsewhere. The table is an old one of my in-laws that they had been storing.


I love having a fireplace. My folks aways had one, and it was very much missed when I left. The mirror is a $10 thrift store find : D The dolls and figurines my mom bought me over the years. It was a tradition that every Christmas (and I can't remember when this started) that all of us girls would get a Madame Alexander doll. The one year mom skipped there was much gnashing of teeth from the girl children.


This is the bookcase my FIL made for Allen a while back that we got to take with us when we got married. Good thing too because we love books!


Here's my couch and rocking chair. The quilt was another wedding present from my aunt.


I'm obnoxiously proud of this little end table/shelf. I bought it unfinished from Michael's then spray painted and stenciled it myself. I personally think it's one of the cutest things in the room : )

After having some days where I could barely get off the couch and get supper ready, I'm so pleased with the progress I've made in getting things set up and organized. I've already made a big dent in finishing the bedroom since I got the living room straight, but it's not picture ready yet. I might post some when I finish though.