Friday, April 30, 2010

Test



This is just a test. My sister is trying to show me how to make videos from youtube fit my screen.  Let's see...

Well try this video on for size.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Secret

Can you keep a secret?  I hope so, because I'm about to tell you one.

I think about my funeral a lot.  Now I know you probably think I'm really morbid.  I think about my funeral because I wonder what people will say about me.  Now you think I'm really vain.  Well, maybe people will say that I am vain and morbid, but I hope not.  I think about what people will say because I wonder if I am that person that they're talking about in my imagination.  I'm not going to tell you what I imagine (hope) people will say, because I want them to say it at my funeral in 65 years when I am done on this earth because it's true.  It is who I am.

There are days when I feel like I'm really close, and there are other days when "she" feels very far away.  The days when I let myself get bogged down in diapers, doctors appointments, insurance companies, traffic, and all of the other grit of life are the days when I almost forget who I am trying to be.  Then there are the days that I manage to rise above those trivial parts of life - not that they aren't there anymore, but that I've put my focus on something else, say on the beautiful Spring weather, or on how fast Hallie is running these days, or Hanna's new little laugh.


I fully intend on having another 65 years (give or take) before I have to actually plan my funeral for real,  but I figure if I work really hard on it now, and say I reach my goal at age 40, then I can spend the last few decades of my life really enjoying life, and liking who I am, every day.

So, maybe now you think I am morbid, vain and very strange.  Well if that is the case then I have my work cut out for me in the next 65 years to change that opinion to the one I hope you'll have at my funeral.

Who do you want to be?

Monday, April 26, 2010

You Tube

Guess what, guys! There's this really neat website that I recently found, it's called "YouTube" and people put videos of whatever up and then people can just watch them! It's kind of crazy...  Here are a few I enjoy:






Ah, Alison. Remember the days when we made awesome videos? Leave her to die, Louis.

I just can't help laughing at this kitty.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Delicious.

For you, Mindee.

A while ago I desperately wanted to make cookies.  This happens about once a week.  I'm in trouble when it happens oftener.  This time however, we had no eggs.  No eggs. What to do, what to do.  Well, I made this:

Chocolate Shortbread

Rack in center of oven.  Preheat oven to 300 F.  Have ready 13 x 9 inch baking pan.

Beat on medium speed until very fluffy and well blended:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup superfine sugar

Melt, stirring often, in the top of a double boiler or in a microwave on medium:
2 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.  Sift over the top:
2 cups all-purpose flour

Add chocolate/flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture.  Stir until well blended.  Press the dough into the pan to form a smooth even layer.  Bake until the top is firm when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 40 minutes.  Remove the pan to a rack and let cool until barely warm.  Cut into bars and transfer to a rack to cool.

From: Joy of Cooking, p 820 by Irma S Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker. Revised edition, copyright 1997.

Sooo good, and I made them with whole wheat too, because we didn't have white flour.  (This was right before we moved, and we were trying to not have a house full of food that we'd have to take.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Memory Lane

One of the fun things about moving is that you get to unpack, and reorganize all of your STUFF.  So this means that I get to go through all of the things that I own, and use, and all of the random things that I have been saving, sometimes for years and years.  I came across a couple of notebooks that we had to write in like journals my junior year of high school for our English class.  Most of it was the ridiculous, bored rambling of a 17 year old trying to fill the required page, but some of it made me chuckle.

Sample: This poem about dirt -

Dirt, dirt - get off my skirt.
I don't want you sitting on my shirt,
I need to look pretty when I flirt
so leave me alone cuz I see Burt.
Dirt, dirt, I don't want you to get hurt
but please get out of my yogurt.

Then there's this bit about my pal Hannah, she sat next to me, on the right.  "When I first met Hannah I thought she was pretty cool.  Now, thankfully, I know different.  Just kidding.  That was for Hannah's journal entry about me being a dork.  We have a pretty good working system.  When I work during class, Hannah bugs me.  When I'm done working in class, say, the next day, I bug Hannah.  Some days we get working together, but who wants to hear about those days?"  Now, I honestly don't remember any of this, but did we have such a system Hannah, or did I make this all up for Mr. Hritz's entertainment?  He put a smiley face next to it...

Then here's one about cheese.  (The topic of which, apparently, Hannah suggested to me.)

"My older brother, the one living in Arizona, believes that cheese is the solution to life's problems.  Before he went to Arizona last February and was still living at home he would always be found eating cheese.  If I came home sad after a hard or long or bad day of school he would give me a hunk of cheese.  Now, that always made me feel better, believe it or not.  It wasn't so much the cheese itself, but that my brother honestly thought it would make me happy, and so in a strange way it did.  I love cheese now that he is gone.  ... So, if you are ever feeling down and out, check your fridge for some good cheese.  Cut a hunk, sit down, and munch your problems away."

Seriously, and I got good grades too. 

This one last thing I will leave you with I think I was in seventh grade when I wrote, so I was twelve.  It's a poem for English class, again, and it's about my sister:

Sweet, cute, kind and caring,
always cautious, yet also daring.
Overflowing love and joy turning to empathy,
to a world with which to share her sympathy.
A happy face, blooming for her friends,
to her I owe a love which never ends.


Awww... and Dan, I'm sure I wrote something to you.  In fact, I found a letter you wrote me thanking me for the letters that I had written you while you were on your mission! It's a really nice letter, and it made me really happy when I found it.

Ok, enough sentimental goosheyness.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Curiosity Killed The

When I was a little girl I used to wish I was a cat.  They lead such an ideal life.  I remember I used to watch them, napping in the sunshine, stretching without a care in the world, strolling over to their Fancy Feast, having an indifferent nibble, then wandering around looking for the next most cozy spot.  Who wouldn't want that life?  Then I learned that curiosity killed the cat, and I suppose now that it is a good thing I am not a cat.  Since I am constantly curious about things, and always wishing I knew more than I do.

Here are some of the things I am curious about, and please, if you know the answer, let me know!!

 - Who eats jam on their fish?
 -  Where do critters go in the winter? (Rabbits, squirrels, ants, bees, cockroaches, etc.)
 - Where did weather begin? (I mean, there must have been a first raindrop, and where did that land? What leaf on which tree was the first to feel the wind move past?)
 - What was Adam's first thought in his new body?
 - What is Hallie thinking as she carefully moves piles of dirt from this side of the yard, to that one?
 - What is Hanna thinking when she giggles up at me, leaning over her crib?
 - How does a bird make a nest?  And who taught them how to?
 - The very first time money was used in a culture instead of bartering, how did they decide how many of those new coins bread was worth?
 -  How do salmon know which river to go back to?
 - How many people died before the hunting/gathering peoples figured out which mushrooms and berries were safe, and which were absolutely not?

Hmm, I sincerely hope that someone knows an answer to at least one of these questions.  But if not, that's ok too.  Until I know the answers, I'll just keep looking out my window, being grateful I'm not actually a cat.

Monday, April 12, 2010

FYI - Good Reads

Do you ever sit around, thinking to yourself, "Golly gee, I really wish I knew what Amy has been reading lately.  What I wouldn't give..."  Well, stop worrying and start reading!

OK, I'm done being weird.  I just wanted to point out a new feature on my blog that I'm really excited about, it's a "widget" from Goodreads that uploads books as I read them.  If you click on the book it will let you read my review of the book, so you can even know what I thought about it.

Enjoy!

AND - I would love to know what you've been reading too.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Gardening

I love gardening.  I don't know that I have always enjoyed it, but when I was at Purdue I worked in the greenhouses, and when I moved to Maine I worked for a landscaping company.  I do know that I have loved it since then.  And while gardening now is not nearly as fun as it was in Maine (reasons for which I am composing an entirely different blog post, for a later time) it is still just as satisfying.

The sun was shining brightly, the wind was blowing but was neither cold nor ferocious, so Hallie was willing to go outside with me and try working in the yard - where work was desperately needed.  So, sunscreen donned, we began our work.  As I was out there, sweating, grunting, breaking my back grabbing at weeds (why did the previous owners plant so much corn, in so many random places throughout the yard?) I couldn't help but feel a simple but profound joy bubbling up inside me, so much so that I wanted to just bust out and laugh.

Why is that, I wondered?  What is it about intensely hard physical labor that makes me feel so good?  I thought at first that it was unexplainable.  One of those mysteries of life, that we have no explanation for, but that we know to be true.  But as I continued working, and thinking about it more, I decided to try and explain it.  This is the best I can do.

First of all, the fact that I am out in my yard working so hard is proof of the fact that I have a strong body capable of work.  What a blessing!  Not only do I have a body that is strong, but it is healthy too.  What good to me is a strong body if it is unhealthy?  So I am grateful for my health, and recognize the blessing that that is.  I have a healthy body because I have good food to eat - and in this world that we live in, not everyone can say that, so how can I not rejoice?  The good food that I have to eat is provided to me by my loving husband, and the hard work that he does every day so that we can enjoy the fruits of his labors.  How wonderful to have a loving husband who also works hard!

Obviously I didn't have to go out in my yard and work hard to recognize that I had all of these blessings in my life, but how profoundly I felt them when I was actively taking advantage of what they meant!  Husband provides food, food makes health, health makes strong, I am strong so I can pull weeds!!

Another reason I could not help but have a silly smile on my face as I worked to beautify my little plot of this earth is what everyone feels when they go outside in this season: the joy of spring.  No matter how discouraged, how irritated, or how upset I am, I cannot help but see the message of the little sprouts shooting out of the cold dark ground.  "Don't give up! Keep working, keep hoping, keep growing! Look at us - we did it! We are out here, basking in the sun and you can too.  Keep going, keep going, keep going."

And now, with a heart full of happiness, I am going back out to my yard.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Circle Of Life

Devin is enjoying his new job.  After going to work for a week he came home and said, "Well, I've been a professor for a full week now.  I still have no idea what I'm supposed to do as a professor."  He'll figure it out long before we have to really start worrying about tenure, I'm sure.

So one of his duties as a professor is to teach the Product Development class for undergraduates in their senior year, it's the capstone class of the Food Science program.  He is not teaching it this semester, but he goes to the classes to see the way they do it here.  Today they went on a mandatory field trip to a dairy farm, and Devin learned a fun fact about the circle of life that I'd like to share with you.

In the morning, I pour myself a bowl of cereal.  Say, Fruit Loops.  (I never eat Fruit Loops, but bear with me.)  Onto my cereal in my bowl, I pour a generous amount of milk.  I lift my spoon, and I commence eating.

On a dairy farm in somewheresville U.S.A., a dairy cow is having breakfast.  And you know what that farmer (at least in the somewheresville near us) is feeding his cow?  Fruit Loops.  That's right, the dairy farm cows eat breakfast cereal just like we do, then they make the milk that we pour on our cereal.

Kind of blows your mind, doesn't it?  Maybe it's just me. 

(I used Fruit Loops because Devin said when the farmer held up the cows food he could see and identify Fruit Loops.  The farmer actually gives them a mixture of all sorts of breakfast cereals.  There's probably some Special K in there for the cows who have summer swimwear on their minds, and a bit of the ol' Bran Flakes for the more senior citizen cow ladies.)