Archive for September, 2010

September 29, 2010

With the eyes of a poet.

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I’m beginning to feel like my technology owns me.  Maybe it’s that I bought an iPhone this summer; maybe it’s that we finally got a new computer a month ago, also.  Maybe it’s that I’ve been waiting (and waiting and waiting) for an email that hasn’t come with good or bad news, and I check my email every 5 minutes.  This is easy to do with an iPhone, of course, because it can push information straight to me.  But do I trust it to do that?  No.  I check it manually anyway. I’m a firm believer in all the merits of technology, but lately I have been spending wasting destroying many of my perfectly good minutes.  These are minutes I could be spending writing, or playing music, which I vowed to myself I would do more of.  They could be spent reading the really good book I’m in the middle of.  Going for a run.  Baking something.  Actually doing those pesky chores that “can wait” but shouldn’t.  And of course my little brain is wired anxious and untrusting, and immediately jumps to how technology is taking over the world and we’re losing appreciation for simplicity and books and writing and paper and oh my gosh, my kids aren’t even going to like to read. Does that sound like a stretch? Yeah, I know.  (But maybe not…..)

So here’s my challenge to myself today, and perhaps you’d like to join — today or any other day.

1. I will make a paper to-do list.  I use TeuxDeux, which is awesome, but it does tempt me to linger online…..

2. Comprehensive email checks in the morning (done), at lunch time, and at the end of the work day only.  (I say “comprehensive” because I do communicate with Eric via email during the day and my goal is not to cut off my only way of communicating with my husband.  During these checks I will respond/deal with anything not from him.)

3. No TV/movies (currently watching: Veronica Mars on Netflix Instant) unless I’m folding laundry — my entertainment will be reading The Fountainhead.

4.  Absolutely no checking Facebook.  At all.  I checked it once this morning and that is plenty until tomorrow.

I’m not saying technology is evil (I am writing this in a blog entry, afterall), or that I am trying to limit my productive use of it.  Truthfully, when I’m busy, it isn’t a problem.  But my “screen time” has grown into a little monster in this precious, temporary little free season and I would so much rather spend my extra time on things that will encourage and edify me — unlike embarrassingly long Facebook stalking sessions. (Yikes.)

In honor of this, a poem (which I captured with my phone while pretending to be a Reed student…badbadbad):

© Bob Hicok, published in Poetry Northwest, Spring-Summer 2010 issue.

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September 27, 2010

Let’s stay here for a while. (+1000 gifts)

It has been a spectacularly warm end of the month — here, at last, is my small glimpse of what I usually think of as “summer”: nothing to stress about, friends to see, and no rain. The ten-day forecast says it will stay in the upper seventies for the rest of this week, falling into the upper sixties by the third of October. No complaints here.

It was a perfect weekend to show my parents around Sisters, where Eric’s parents live — mine were down for a conference in Sun River and we were all able to get together on Saturday. We even became HOT as we strolled past all the false-front western-style buildings, ending in a pretty green park that smelled like authentic pit barbecue. Reading, football, hot tub, the smell of roasting pine-needles… I’ll take this type of summer-fall as long as it wants to stick around.

Today I am thankful for…
(previous gifts here)

121. my makeshift caprese sandwich lunch (with string cheese!)
122. walking and talking and sipping iced tea with Aimee and little Avery this morning.
123. conquering the huge yellow and black spider outside my door all by myself.
124. still having plenty of leftover food to eat the rest of this month.
125. the gift of delightful parents and in-laws.
126. the intrigue of watching a huge house being built in the lot next to our apartment complex. (I wouldn’t build there… but to each his own.)
127. hope!
128. pastors and congregations committed to the gospel.
129. my Swiffer Wet Jet, especially since I have a teeny tiny floor that’s so not worth getting out a mop and bucket.
130. having a dishwasher.
131. encouraging bloggers and writers.
132. the gift of conviction…
133. and of strength to wage war against the things that keep us from Him.
134. options, possibility, and the feeling that the world just could be my oyster.
135. freedom from confusion and manipulation.
136. the opportunity to raise my family in a free country, however long that lasts.
137. the example of those who truly know what it means to suffer for their beliefs.
138. all the awesome free resources online — really, we can learn about almost ANYTHING with very little effort. (!!)
139. balsamic vinegar.
140. talking with Eric in the car on the way back from weekends full of paying attention to other people. :)

Like I mentioned in my last post, one or both of us has been out of town for the last five weekends. I’m ready to take a few days (or weeks) to get settled back into our fall routine, and as long as this weather lasts that should be positively enjoyable. I’m content to do the jobs I have while looking for opportunities to learn, use my gifts, and grow relationships. On this late September day, I am indeed thankful.

[photo credit]

September 24, 2010

The month of weekend getaways.

I’ve been a bad blogger this month.  And I’m about to go away for the weekend AGAIN, which means no weekend catch-up posts.

MONDAY.  That’s a promise.

[Gratuitous couple picture because my rad/thoughtful husband remembered the 3rd anniversary of our first date last week (*I didn’t) and took me out to dinner.]


September 21, 2010

Challenge: Leftover meal plan.

Ah, macaroni and cheese.  One of my favorite budget meals.  We like to stir in a can of chili or chopped up hot dogs.

This has been a bizarre month, budget-wise.  In order to compensate for all our weird expenses with getting to Spokane and back at the beginning of the month, I cut about $75 off our grocery budget.  I went grocery shopping yesterday and spent the last $40.  I could cut into other budgets because I may have gone a little crazy cutting back, but we can make it — and I like the challenge.  So here’s this week.

Tuesday: Wil and Kristen are coming over to make fancy fried chicken with for us! (Who am I kidding?) We bought the chicken on Sunday but realized when we were making dinner that there was no way we could eat fried chicken AND pulled pork sandwiches, especially after a big delicious lunch of  shredded pork and chicken burritos.

Wednesday: Leftover pulled pork and fall minestrone.  If we end up eating those for lunch, we’ll do breakfast for dinner — we have bacon and sage sausage to use up.

Thursday: Chicken, rice, and zucchini casserole, made and frozen a couple weeks ago.

Friday: Sandwiches on the road — headed to Sisters for the weekend!

Saturday/Sunday: We’ll be with Eric’s parents, who graciously bestow gifts of awesome food on us.  Sunday night we’ll probably eat at home, though, so leftovers/various it will be (see Monday).

Monday: Leftovers/various.
Quick options: Annie’s organic macaroni and cheese, quesadillas, grilled cheese with tomato soup (cheese theme?), more breakfast for dinner, pizza (leftover dough in the freezer).  Or there’s always frozen chicken breasts with frozen veggies and a grain from the pantry.
Less quick options (i.e. probably will never happen):  Take inventory of fridge, pantry, and freezer.  Match ingredients (more or less) to recipes.  Create something magical out of seemingly nothing.

Pschh…we got this.

[photo credit.]

September 20, 2010

Weber kettle as smoker. (+1000 gifts)

This weekend was FOOTBALL-FILLED!!  I’m not sure if I can handle this the entire fall, but it was a lot of fun.  Our friends Mac and Mikaela offered us tickets to the OSU-Louisville game, so on Saturday we journeyed down to Corvallis to watch the Beavers take on the Cardinals.  It rained all day.  I was, coincidentally, wearing my only rain-proof gear:  a bright (cardinal-colored) red jacket.  Eric was wearing a bright yellow (rival Duck color) jacket.  Hopefully my orange rain boots were enough to hint at my loyalty.

On Sunday, Wil and Kristen both had the day off, a rarity, and they came over to watch football and help us on our first meat-smoking adventure.   Thanks to some research and Wil’s foodie expertise, we had an awesome dinner of pulled smoked pork, swiss chard (*which barely resembled a vegetable after cooking it in bacon fat and white wine…mmmmm), and black beans.

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September 15, 2010

Fledgling Foodie: Will work for food.

I conquered the crab.  Don’t ask me why I was so afraid to open that little white package….. (Kieran was wary, too).

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September 14, 2010

Rookie Running: Confessions

You may have noticed that it’s been a while since I last had posted about running.  If you thought that was on purpose because my ultimate goal was to complete my couch to 5k program, you think more highly of me than you ought to.  In fact, I meant to continue, but I got sick oh… a month ago….and wasn’t sure how to run when I was coughing and phlegmy. (Gross.)  And then I had stressful circumstances to think and act through and, well, the excuses keep coming.  Yesterday I didn’t feel very good.  Today I feel fine but I didn’t eat at the right times so now I’m stuck with my office getting organized and my lunch eaten and halfway through a glass of milk with my stomach thinking, No way. Three hours from now is 4:45. Shall I go then? Oh, I hope.

I’m disappointed with running, all in all.  That’s not to say I gave it a fair shot — i.e. more than a couple months of actual, real running instead of run/walking — but I really hoped that once I “got into it” like everyone says, I’d be in love and couldn’t resist it.  ENDORPHINS, where you at?


I felt the need to write this confession because I want someone out there to tell me everything will be okay, including all my joints, which lots of people have scared me into believing will give me trouble if I continue to run. (Like I need another excuse not to, people!)  So here I have compiled a list of things that are GOOD about running:

• helps me feel less restless.
• helps me sleep better
• helps me stick to a schedule during the week.
• encourages me to eat healthier. *with the minor exception of the candy I let myself eat before I go — usually a couple sour patch kids. My father-in-law says he eats gummy bears during runs for little energy boosts.  He runs marathons; I run less than 3 miles. Anything that makes me run, right??
• allows me to be able to say “YES I exercise” if anyone (like my doctor) asks.
• acquaints me with my neighborhood.
• is FREE! Unlike a gym membership.

Goal for today or tomorrow, whichever it ends up being:  run a mile.  Just one little mile.  Next time I’ll be harder on myself.

September 13, 2010

A multitude of meals?

Okay, try not to die…

Whatever.  Betsy thinks he’s cute, too.

Today has gotten away from me!  Here is my thankfulness list and meal plan.  Happy Monday, all.

1000 Gifts

(Previous gifts here.)

Today I am thankful for…

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September 11, 2010

An end to summer?

I’ve been worrying about this weekend for months.  It was supposed to be the week I would start working my Fall hours, directly after a hectic wedding weekend and with Eric is gone for 5 days.  I expected to be anxious, depressed, stressed, and lonely.  Instead, it is still the weekend after Lauren’s wedding, and Eric is still gone — but I do not have to work, and I have had the privilege of hanging out with two of my favorite girls, my newer friend Kristen and my best friend Betsy.  And guess what we did?  Ate and talked, obviously.  Yep.  And how fortunate I am to know them both.

Betsy left this morning, and today is quiet.  I watched way too many episodes of LOST on  I cuddled with Kieran.  I emailed Eric an annoying picture of me cuddling with Kieran while watching LOST.  When I got restless I walked to the park with a blanket, my journal, bible, and a book of e.e. cummings poetry Eric gave me the first Christmas we were dating (2007).  I parked in a quiet, sunny spot, and began to read and write.  The sun only lasted for about three minutes before I was completely in shade and getting chilly.  A boy and his mom came to play tennis in the court right next to me, but thankfully they were speaking some language I couldn’t identify (Russian maybe?) so it didn’t bother me — usually I get distracted by conversation.  When I got too cold, I packed up and went home.  All in all my outing took about 30 minutes, including walking.  But at least I got out of the house, into the fresh air, under the blue sky, and onto summer grass that will soon be very, very soggy.  I forgot headphones, but I listened to Beach House through my phone’s speakers the whole way back, and it was so relaxing that now I feel like drinking tea and listening to Teen Dream all night.

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September 8, 2010

Goals and inspiration.

Thankful for the sunlight this morning after such a dreary yesterday!  I’m feeling motivated to set some long-term goals today; check back in for my motivation on actually accomplishing them.

1. I want to become a decent photographer, so that by the time I have kids I can take pictures of them with colors like these (via

(Of course,  I make it my goal to have kids as cute as hers, too.)

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