Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Losin' it with Mamakat

I'm taking Mamakat's challenge so thought I'd close out Two Oh Oh Eight with my Top Ten "Favorite Stuff I Ate/Drank" - all here in my humble kitchen because you won't find me in restaurants much.

10. Zola Acai juice - the best acai you can buy IMHO. Unfiltered. Perfect after-workout refueler.

9. Pom Wonderful pomegranates - this has to be one of the best seasons for them!

8. (My) Power Bars. They are to die for. Just ask my kids.

7. Chilean Sea Bass from my local HyVee. $25 a pound for something that makes you moan and your eyes roll back in your head is worth it - once in a while.

6. Green tea. Green tea. Green tea. Loose leaf, please. Genmaicha is my favorite but I'll drink anything green (if its tea).

5. Panera whole grain baguette. Yes, I could eat one saturated in olive oil in one sitting all by my lonesome. Now how would I know that?

4. Caramelized onion, sun dried tomato, and goat cheeze pizza. Oh yeah. Even Ron Burgundy likes that one. That's saying something.

3. Brown rice and wild mushroom risotto. Worth every minute it takes. And it certainly does take a few.

2. (My) Chicken Tortilla soup. Tweaked just the way I like it. Hot. Very hot. With my own crisped tortilla strips.

1. (My) Black Bean and Roasted Corn Salsa. Came close to winning a contest with this one. More requests for this recipe than anything I've ever brought to a potluck. But then, that's all I ever bring...

There you have it.

Now, I'm resolving to eat less of all of it in 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

"Not me!" Monday

First and foremost, I did not have a wave of panic when baby Stellan was hospitalized over the weekend with an apparent upper respiratory infection. But within minutes, I also did not feel a genuine peace that God would keep him safe, as He indeed did.

I did not pack up a dear friend's birthday present (actually Ron Burgundy packed it up) and send it home with my daughter by accident. I'm late for her birthday anyway - and now the present is 100+ miles away. But as a wonderful Godwink, who needs the Serenity Prayer inscribed on a bracelet more? Apparently KT.

I did not scrub my face with a Scotch-brite pad yesterday morning, because there was simply nothing else that would do. And nothing screams smo-o-o-oth like my favorite All-Clad non-stick skillet.

I did not make my paranoid 83 year-old mother think she was getting a computer for Christmas by dropping every hint imaginable, even wrapping her much-needed/wanted hassock in a huge Dell computer box. She absolutely refuses to have anything to do with anything electronic other than her "off the rack" cell phone which she doesn't know how to use. She has threatened to disown the entire family if they place a computer in her presence. Personally, i think she'd dominate the Hawkeye Nation chat rooms and would have 3487590 Facebook friends.

I did not make a New Year's resolution list. I just don't do that anymore.
Wait, whose is this? Caught by the resolution fairy again.
  1. Become fit and trim with arms like Felicity Huffman by May 16th. The "flesh flags" may be an obstacle.
  2. Find a way to pony-up and update the ol' wardrobe. Seriously folks, I'm a fashion disaster. I haven't purchased anything new to wear in over two years. Hadn't been to the mall in about that long, and only went there last week to buy the obligatory underoos for Ron Burgundy's Christmas present. They had the nerve to rearrange the store while I was gone!
  3. Get up just a bit earlier every day (which may entail going to bed earlier the night before). Need more quiet God time.
  4. Get caught up on my "Bible in a Year." According to that, it's only December 5 today.
  5. Teach Ron Burgundy how to cook. And budget. LOL. ROFLOL. I can dream, can't I?
  6. Learn Adobe Premiere Pro so I can edit my own videos. Independently. (This will be a trade-off for #5)
  7. Maintain my LDL in the 70's. So far, so good, but it's not yet even January.

If I can't do 6 things in 12 months, then there's always next year.

I did not use this purrfectly feline fur ball as an excuse to not take down the Christmas tree this weekend. She owns that tree. Don't mess with her.

Tea today: Chinese flower

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Be Still Sunday


Saturday, December 27, 2008

TSMSS: Came to My Rescue

I've blogged about the words to this song before, but never actually posted it. It seems when things are heavy on my heart and I'm in need of a spiritual and/or emotional rescue, this is the first song that comes to mind. Enjoy. (Scroll down and turn off my music first!)

Yes, He always answers when we call.

Tea today: Genmaicha

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Ron Burgundy

Coming down after Christmas. Emotionally, I mean.

It's a grieving process, of sorts. After the catecholamine surge of getting the dinner on the table hot and steamy, seating people so nobodys feelings are hurt, going through the exhaustion that follows a 4 day meal prep (which is eaten in 20 minutes), shaking off the tryptophan tiredness, and the aftermath of an empty house...let's just say it was a bit anticlimactic.

It gives me pause to remember why we celebrate all of this, anyway. Oh yea. Him. The Gift. The One who made all of this possible, the up and the down. The way He'd always planned it.

Now I feel better. No really, I do.

Rather than a season of good buys, this was a season of good byes for me.

Good bye to shopping - I did next-to-none other than a few gifts online. I didn't try to out-do anybody, knowing full well He already had. Who can compete with that??

Good bye as the kids, one by one, return to their respective lives.

Good bye to LuckyPuppy, though despite the denial by everyone but me that he's actually dying, his next Christmas will be from the Bridge.

Good bye to my laptop, dying a slow death as I type from an attached USB keyboard, all of which requires balance and coordination which said good bye many years ago.

Good bye to a year of hard work and some "uncomfortableness" which means simply bringing in another one of the same, yet not saying good bye to the faith and strength that has so graciously allowed me to perservere. The faith that allows me to firmly trust that I am enslaved to no one or nothing as long as I choose to follow Jesus with a servant's heart, knowing this plan of His is unfolding in my life and I may as well submit or be dead. That's a hard pill for a control freak to swallow. But I have learned so many lessons along the way.

Good bye to the BHTC. It was nice knowing you for over 15 years and I miss you and the friendships it provided. Even though I promised to stay in touch, I didn't. Keep me in mind for Rudy's on Wednesday. I'll make it eventually. I know everyone was dying to receive my White Elephant gift this year. My laptop wallpaper even got the boot.

So as I feel the years creeping in and the tooth getting long, I gaze out the window this afternoon to see this:

Yes, that's Ron Burgundy next to what appears to be a snowman.

And he's talking to himself (Ron, not the snowman). It's my guess he's talking to the Great Snowmaker and He must also be the Great Multitasker because He's listening to me at the same time.

And when the snowman's done, he comes in to share his boyish joy (yes, one can be a "boy" at 58) and happily obliges me a photo op. This fully-grown man has taken time to relive the simple joy of recreating a childhood memory.

All. By. Himself. Sorta.

He took his sadness of the post-holiday empty-nest mood and purposefully, intentionally, cast it to the winter wind, smashed it into a snowball. And another. And another.

And stuck a carrot in it for good measure.
He needed very little earthly "stuff" to get this job done. Just the heaven-sent snow, random rocks, oh, and perhaps Christmas lights for a mouth?

It would serve us all well to go back to the simple things that can bring us happy thoughts. Safe thoughts. Peaceful thoughts.

It's my guess that it wasn't about the snowman, but the thoughts God placed on his heart this afternoon to create it.

Tea today: Green Ginger

Monday, December 22, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside!

This was my car thermometer this morning as I left for work. Yes, that's minus 14 degrees.In the wind. With this huge "in-case-I-get-stuck-on-the-side-of-the-road" coat that makes me feel like a Sumo wrestler.

That stiff-looking figure to the right of the 14 could be have been me. Frozen solid.

This same coat forced me to go from a compact car many years ago to an SUV (I couldn't fit in that Tercel with that coat)!

And the same coat, yes, that on a whirlwind trip to Tar-jay this evening, caught the end of a DVD display stand and dumped every single DVD to the floor. Santa Clause, I & II, Clark Griswold, Buddy the Elf, Ralphie...all fell victim to the coat.

And by the time I got back to my car, I was sweating like crazy. But by then it was 5 degrees above zero. Almost 20 degrees warmer than when I had started my morning at 0500.

Tea tonight: Chinese flower

Saturday, December 20, 2008

You'll shoot your eye out, kid!!!


There was nothing practical or frugal about the Christmas of 2006. The kids decided Ron Burgundy needed the leg lamp.

In the FRA-GEE-LAY box and all!

Now it adorns our front window during the Christmas season.

In all of its splendor.

Yeah, it's really ugly. But oh, have we enjoyed the laughs!

Now how much do you think this kid looks like Ralphie??
No wonder this movie is so close to our heart.

Our own little Ralphie, circa 1992.

Tea today: Republic of Tea Beginner's Mind

Bustin' out on a Saturday night

What kind of woman with a dead cell phone and a sick dog goes out into the minus 21 degree wind chill facing 2-3 ft drifts to drive 6 miles to church on a Saturday night alone?

A woman with her tree decorated.

A desperate woman with a really big truck.

A drift-bustin' truck.

And in the silence of prayer, in the midst of an beautiful sermon about "listening" and a handful of church-goers...

there was a really loud God.

Tea tonight: Chinese flower


I really need to be getting ready for Christmas. For some things, it's almost too late.

Like baking cookies. Thanks, Mom, you got me covered. Check.

Like shopping. Don't know what to get most of my kids and can't find the stuff on the list for the one who actually gave me ideas. Uncheck.

I'm using Ron Burgundy's computer that has fingerprints on the monitors and food in the keyboard and it takes me twice as long to type anything. Check.

Oh yea, my laptop died and I need to take it in for diagnostics. Now. Uncheck.

I got the Chex Mix made. There's one thing done for the holidays. Chex.

The tree is up. Two things done. Check.

There are no ornaments on it. Uncheck.

I really miss my dad today. Big check.

My dog is sad. He really doesn't feel well today at all. Hang in there, boy. The Bridge isn't ready for you yet. And I'm not ready for you to go. But in true Godwink fashion, I just now got an email from the Rainbow Bridge Kids at Doggyspace. Check.

So this is a quick post as I'm off to the shower, then to the computer saviour (I hope) and then back home to decorate the tree. I will church alone tonight. Check. Tears. Double check.

Ron Burgundy went to a memorial service for the mother of a childhood friend, and I intended for this to be an extremely productive day. I'll check back later and see. Perhaps I'll even comment on my own post.

Thank you, Jesus, for getting me through this day. Check.

Tea today: Bigelow green with pomegranate. Check.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

32 and holding

On this day, 32 years ago, we had a "Bicentennial Baby" - our first. It gave me a new perspective on Advent, and I'll never forget it. Looking back, I think this was about the time I started regularly crying in church - out of sheer emotion. He was bald, beautiful, and perfect in our eyes and of course, in the eyes of God. None of that has changed.

We brought him home on Christmas Eve. Things were different back then - he was a little jaundiced and all nursing mothers got to stay if their babies needed to stay. So I stayed in the nursery as much as I could since "rooming in" was just a new concept, and you could only have your baby in your room for an hour at a time.

The first thing I did when I got him home? Put him in a cloth diaper. That's all he ever knew. I would still do that today.

Because nothing says love like a soft white diaper on a little pink butt.

Tea today: Republic of Tea Sip for the Cure

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Not me!" Monday

There must have been over a hundred little cherubs up there joining the praise band at the church Christmas program Saturday night, and as the videographer zoomed in I did not see all of my kids from many years ago projected on those screens.

Ben, very serious, enunciating every word to every song, not getting a single one wrong, with a slight lisp and a shower of spit, looking for approval and grateful for Mom and Dad in the audience with their thumbs up. Not a hair out of place. Some things never change.

Katie-kins, meticulously hand-sewn clothes perfectly suited for the occasion, shyly smiling, and singing about every third word correctly ("Joy to the Girl....," "All I want for Christmas is my two front feet..."), and flopping her long gorgeous hair diva-style on the annoyed boy behind her. I never did tell Ron Burgundy I spent $80 on a luscious forest green velvet and imported white eyelet to make her dress the year she was 3. Sorry dear. But you're the one who thought she needed the "fur" coat. Can we call it even?

Luke, squirming, not singing, but screaming words of his own choice, hands over his ears, eyes darting to make sure everyone's watching, elbowing the person next to him, and rolling his eyes back as if to say "I am Luke and you're not." And giving Sweet Baby Jesus a kick in the manger on the way off stage. Our baby, the only child to ever be banned from the church nursery before he was 2.

It just wouldn't be a Christmas program without some family providing the riff-raff, would it? And there were not lots of parents there with video cameras, just like Ron Burgundy always was. Those videos will be awesome to watch from our rocking chairs.

I was not tired back in those days. And I couldn't even blog about it. Neither the word "blog" or the home computer were invented. I am, however, not still tired.

This post would not be complete without an out-take of an old Christmas card photo, circa 1983.Nope, I did not cry for days gone by. Tears of emotion and love, not sadness.

I did not give up the idea of Christmas cookies, and order them from a local baker last night. Who would be so unambitious? Not me, with no tree up yet. Or, wait!

I did not do the first of my Christmas shopping! From my lazy-boy. Online. Two down, dozens to go....

My oldest baby boy does not turn 32 on Tuesday. Not mine. I'm only 39 (again), so it's simply not possible. And every year at Advent I don't think about that restless baby I had in my belly accompanying me to Advent services (he was supposed to arrive mid-November, and has been late ever since), and think about Mary - her full and faithful heart. She was most certainly a better woman than I. I whined about being overdue, and certainly wasn't traveling by camel.

I did not open the pantry Saturday to find the milk on the shelf. This has not happened once before, only with the cereal to be found in the fridge shortly thereafter. This time the milk was simply. In. The. Pantry. I did not do it, and Ron Burgundy drinks milk all the time. Yeah, right.

Tea today: Young hyson

Friday, December 12, 2008

7 Quick Takes Friday

Click on over to Jennifer at Conversion Diary for my 7 Quick Takes inspiration ala Mr. Linky.

More appropriately, this may be a few whines and a few "takes."

Jon from SCL is having a birthday December 19. His most annoying (as in loving, Christiany annoying) friend, Stupendous Stacy from Louisville is having a card party for him, so click here to get the address to send him any stupid card you can find. It doesn't even matter if you know him. I don't. Send him a card that says "who the heck are you and why am I sendin you a card???"

And a two.
There are some redeeming qualities in working 14 hour days in two different locations. You can wear the same clothes two days in a row and nobody notices. (Unless they ask you if you had spaghetti for lunch yesterday because they can see it on your sweater). And you have a good reason for looking very tired. And for not having any Christmas prep done.

And a three.
Yes, three. Three people I know and really care about lost their jobs this week. They say a recession is when other people lose their job; a depression is when you lose yours. I think whatever we are in, we need to recognize Who is in control, and lift our brothers and sisters up in prayer during these difficult times. We just never know when we are next. We must take care of each other.

And a four.
Say a prayer for my daughter this weekend as she goes skiing in Colorado with friends. There's a reason we didn't name her Grace. Or Picabo.

And a five.
Hats off to Shonn Green from Iowa for being the first Hawkeye to win the Doak Walker Award. Now I know nothing about football, Doak Walker, or what a running back even does (run, maybe?) but I have watched Shonn present himself as a very humble gentleman throughout this season.

And a six.
I was sad to hear that my puppy's sister Maddie had to go to the Rainbow Bridge a few months ago. They were from a litter whose mother was hit by a car when they were just a few weeks old. He will soon follow her. I don't like loss, grief, and death. I handle all of them poorly, and I pray I get better at it because it's not like it's going to go away. But it's hard to imagine being without a loyal friend who has been by your side for over 14 years.

And a seven.
This week, I was convicted by this post. Perhaps Jon should be sent a praise card. (See item One.)

Tea tonight: Green with lemongrass

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordless Wordy Wednesday

My blog friend Elaine over at Matters of the Heart got me thinking I had the perfect picture for a Wordless Wednesday after her great post today. Be sure to check it out.

So here's mine. Not really wordless, because I must include a disclaimer for the 80's wallpaper and the clarification that this pondering child is now 28. But you all have such great posts of your kids, and I continue to wax nostalgia, thinking back to the days of film, my Kodak Instamatic, and my very first PC Junior.

Don'tcha wonder what's up with those toes?

Tea tonight: Green with pomegranate

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Flashback to Christmas Past.

Ahh, the picture of innocence. Christmas card, circa 1982. It always took about 3 rolls of film to get just the right picture. And a bribe of several boxes of candy canes.

They are precious in His sight....
Tea tonight: Zhena's Gypsy White Cantaloupe

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Not me!" Monday

Shout out to MckMama for her "Not Me!" Monday party! She'll be asleep when I leave for work so I'll be late for Mr. Linky :(

I did not shudder when seeing the pictures of my son's crushed totaled Jeep. IN THE CAR WASH GARAGE. Apparently the car-drying dude felt it was necessary to rev the engine, then proceed to smash it into the concrete block wall. Sad, sad Jeep - PTL nobody was hurt, except for the guy who probably lost his job....and got an airbag in the face. My final thoughts on this incident: there are no accidents. Everything works together for a purpose. You listening, Ben????

I did not beautifully plate up a pot roast dinner, complete with carrots, potatoes, and gravy on one of my good plates for my terminally ill dog, then proceed to sit and have a picnic with him on the kitchen floor. It had been a bad day for both of us, Ron Burgundy was out of town, and comfort food was the order of the day.

Someday, I hope to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am.

I did not finally get some Christmas decorations dug out of storage. I love the old sentimental ones, especially the ones the kids made in school. But I did not lament that some of them are from the 70's and 80's and my collection could use some repairing and updating.

Wait, it's not about the decorations. Never mind.

I did not become extremely nostalgic over this one. My mom had the kissing angels that topped our wedding cake (cute 35 years ago, but would be a Cake Wreck today) made into the first Christmas decoration we ever owned. Nifty little arrangement in a bell jar. I really love this one, mistletoe and all. The bell jar and the marriage have not survived all these years! And another one of my favorites is not this mini-nativity scene. Sure, the meaning is special but best of all, I can still hear and see the 3 year-old, tow-headed boy next to me say. "Mom, it's Mary, Joseph, and JC Penney!!!" And that does not make me cry, every single year.

And while we're on the subject of crying, I did not cry five (count 'em, five!) times in church Sunday. But I had good reason stimuli: beautiful solo of "Mary, Did You Know?," "A Story for All People," we sang the Lord's Prayer with the praise band instead of saying it (well, I lip synced), "Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)," and "May You Run and Not Be Weary." Needless to say I left with a terrific headache and the zero degree wind chill actually felt good. Why do I do that???

Tea today: Sencha

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturdays: The Peace Carol

I'm going retro with the only song that seems appropriate for my day: John Denver and the Muppets sing "The Peace Carol." (Sorry, no video embedding was available; scroll down to turn off my playlist). We had the album (yes, the vinyl kind) when the kids were little and my eldest son would cry whenever he heard this song, even as young as 2. And every year hence. I pray he gets his passion for the Lord back in his heart like he had back then. The kind that brings him to tears.

I'm still banking on the fact that this song would make him cry nearly 30 years later. I know it makes my tears flow.

Tea today: Organic green with citrus, Harney & Sons

Friday, December 5, 2008

7 Quick Takes Friday

Click on over to Jennifer at Conversion Diary for my 7 Quick Takes inspiration ala Mr. Linky.

I'm sorta with Jennifer on the balloons, but my "eek" is rubber gloves. And I occasionally have to wear them at work. I love the vinyl ones, but the rubber ones are just too, well....balloony.

And a two.

Don't wash your car. Seriously. This is what happened to my eldest son's Jeep when he took it to a reputable (well, until this week) full service car wash. Seems Car Wash Dude thought it was cool to rev up the engine. Big time. In gear. One word: totaled. The blessing: nobody was hurt.

And a three.
Remember the scene in Bruce Almighty when "God" Jim Carrey got all the email so fast he couldn't keep up? That's how I felt when I Lucky posted a pathetic piece on Doggyspace. The dogs of this world really have hearts. Sympathy emails kept pouring in so fast on Lucky's journal post that I still haven't responded to many of them! Call me nuts. I love my dog and I'm really going to miss him.

And a four.
Back to cars. Here's our repair list for the week: wheel bearings for Ron Burgundy's truck, my 4 wheel drive is down to 3, my remote to unlock doesn't work, the driver's window gets stuck in the down position (it was 17 degrees this am), I'm 2500 miles over the need for an oil change, and my cell phone won't stay charged which isn't really a part of my car but with everything else going on, it needs to be. I hate it when things don't work. It's my pet peeve.

And a five.
Over 600,000 people lost their jobs this month. This just makes my heart ache. Please join me in praying for them.

And a six.
My daughter (mildly) rear ended a dude while texting yesterday. KT, if you're reading this, don't you know what an accident could do to your beautiful face? To children in the car ahead of you? Put the Crackberry down and focus, sweetheart. Nothing is so important as the tail lights in front of you. I'm begging. Humbly. Focus. FOCUS. FOCUS.

And a seven.
Will this be the weekend the Christmas tree goes up? The latest it ever went up was December 21. It was still worth it. After all, tradition says it goes up on Christmas Eve. I have lots of time. Problem is, it will fly. And there will be a turkey to brine and chestnuts to roast and potatoes to whip....oh, and that horrible Strawberry Pretzel salad I complained about last week....

Tea tonight: Organic green with acai

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Hand, Grace, and Love of God

One of my favorite bloggers, Stacy From Louisville (whom most of you will know as SFL) posted this on her blog today, and I watched it at least 4 times - so far. What a beautiful portrait of our salvation. And leave it to SFL to take us from laughing hysterically one day over her family Christmas letter, to shedding tears of appreciation for our huge God the next.

Stacy's got it going on.

Peace to all.

Tea today: Green with triple antioxidant

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I have an Elf name!

My friend Elaine at Matters of the Heart helped me find out who I REALLY am.....

Your Elf Name Is...

Trixie Fluffernutter

As my kids would say..."Mom, you have way too much time on your hands."

Time for friends, that is :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

MckMama's on the Loose!

She's at it again friends! Head over to MckMama's blog and join Rebel for a Cause. Lots of chances to win a great prize package but better yet, to help out those in need! NO EXCUSES! Click on the widget below to get started.

Tea tonight: Yogi with triple antioxidant