Thursday, September 29, 2011

new blog

In addition to the webpage you currently peruse, I have instituted the existence of another internet log - one whose purpose has so far been (and will, Lord willing, continue to be) to hold records of various quotes and book excerpts which I find particularly convicting, encouraging, insightful, useful, inspiring, sobering, applicable, good, brilliant, telling, amazing, revealing, or in any other way worth repeating.

It can be found here: In case you care.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

it all depends on how you tilt your head

Twenty-two years. Huh.

When you're little, every birthday matters - one, four, seven, nine - all of them. At ten, you hit double-digits. Thirteen makes you a teenager. You can get your driver's permit when you turn fourteen, and your license at sixteen. The doors swing open to voting (if you would) and smoking (if you must) once you're eighteen, twenty leaves the teenage years behind forever, and of course no one can wait to turn twenty-one. Goodness knows why, and so does badness.

But twenty-two? Now all that's left is to tick off the decades until I expire, I guess. And how shall we describe such a day as this?

It was a good birthday, but weird.

  •  I started off by sleeping in waaaay later than I meant or wanted to, largely because 1.) I was tired, 2.) no one woke me up, and 3.) my unconscious self kept fighting to retain its unconsciousness in order to finish a dream which now, for the life of me, I can't figure out why I would have wanted to finish. It was all about getting chased around jungles and creepy warehouse basements by a maniac who wanted to murder two of us - first with poison perfume, then when that failed with axes, mallets, and machine guns - so he could have our cars. 
  • Anyway, after that was finally all over, I woke up with just enough time to shower and rid myself of all visible cobwebs before my lovely friend came to spend part of the day. (And if you knew which part of the day she spent, you would know how late I slept; but do you think I'm going to tell you that? Yeah, me neither.)
  •  My mom made a yummy brunch, then Jessica and I went for a longish walk, during which a dog from a neighboring farm followed us for nearly four miles. Dumb dog. 
  • A little later, while we all munched a snack and chatted, the clock got off its leash and charged at a break-neck speed into the future; when I looked up again, I had five minutes to get ready, say good bye, and leave. I taught three piano lessons, grabbed a slice of pizza and a donut at the gas station, then bounded off to the community college to spend three and a half hours learning CPR. 
  • Alas and alack, I am one of those pathetic people who won't tell you it's her birthday, but will be a little sad when she reaches the end of the day and all the people she didn't tell, didn't know. I thought about mentioning it at almost every stop ... I just ... didn't. Not even to the lady at Hardee's, and certainly not to the last guy I walked past on my way out of class, who looked like he might have wanted to kill me. 
  • When I got home at 10:00, the only two family members who weren't in bed were looking at football pictures on my laptop. I hid away in Dad's office and hopelessly practiced a cello piece whose fingerings made absolutely no sense to me. And that was that.

On the other hand, however ... It was a weird birthday, but good.

  • I had a bizarre dream about almost getting murdered, but the good news is that (so far) it hasn't come true. 
  •  I slept late, but as tired as I was yesterday I must have needed it; and while I slept, Mom was slaving away at a labor-intensively lovely brunch just for me, and Jessica was trekking across the countryside with her two small children in tow, just for me. 
  • While I blearily showered, someone made my bed for me. I now realize I forgot to even ask who. When I blearily tripped downstairs, everyone sang the happy birthday song at me. While I blearily scrubbed gel into my hair and brushed my teeth, Jessica and Co. were making their way up our sidewalk and into our collective arms. 
  • They came bearing gifts: the sweetest card, beautiful stationery, scrapbooking supplies, and - ohmygoodness - dark chocolate with mint inside. 
  • I got to sit on the living room floor and not do a thing but talk to my friend and play with her baby, while my loving mother and sister spread the table with blintzes, eggs, fruit, yogurt, syrups, cheese, milk, iced tea, coffee, and chocolate-covered-cherry-flavored coffee in the french press for me. When it was ready, we ate it, and it was fabulous. Fabulous. 
  • When we were done eating it, I got chased away from the kitchen and forbidden to help clean anything up. 
  • My grandma called me, like she does every year on this day, and sang to me. 
  • Sam kept hiding away in different places, and hollering to ask Mom how to spell my name, and coming to me with folded-up drawings of me, or me and him together, or other people - and lots of letters and words he knows. 
  • Jessica, sleeping William, and I walked four miles in the clear, cool, breezy sunniness of this perfect day. Four miles on quiet gravel, rustling dry corn all around, obnoxiously friendly dogs at our heels, and the occasional truck or combine to remind us that we didn't actually own the road. 
  • There was leftover spice cake and Breyer's ice cream for a snack when we got back. 
  • A package came via UPS, with two CD's - not for me, but music I like - and their chirruppy cheeriness accompanied our cake-munching. 
  • Several cards came in the mail, and a couple of emails from sweet friends, not to mention a form email from a website where I'd forgotten I had an account. 
  • When it came time (so soon) to leave, Jessica left at the same time, and I followed her for ten miles before I came to my turn. Strangely charming.
  •  I taught three somewhat shortened, but moderately successful piano lessons, during which each student advanced slightly. 
  • And seriously - even if it's inhaled at a mad gallop down the highway, there are definitely worse suppers than pizza and donuts. 
  • I got to spend the evening learning CPR, a potential life-saver and the first step past the paperwork on the way to becoming a real, live EMT. 
  • On my way home, I bought myself a birthday shake and enjoyed it heartily, even though the Hardee's employee didn't seem to care whether I lived or died. 
  • When I got home, all my family was safe, sound, and alive, and my siblings had picked me a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers and left them in a vase on the counter, with a note. 
  • And my precious, awesome God is still drawing breath into and out of my lungs - over and over again for twenty-two years, and still tonight He holds all the intricacies of my human frailty in order. And still today, His mind-boggling promise stands - that when my little trek around this planet is over, the blood of His Son is enough to bring me home, to refashion my death into never-ending life, and to give me the task of loving, glorifying, and enjoying Him forever.

Yes, it was a bit of a weird birthday. But it was good.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

thoughts based loosely upon

As mentioned in the entry immediately preceding this one, last night found certain ones among us sitting in a darkened room, slurping (or not slurping, as the case may be) apple wine, and watching the movie "Emma." It's a good movie. I listened to Jane Austen's original tale in audiobook form once a few years ago, and from this I know that the book is good, too.

(Even today the voice of the woman who read "Emma" aloud for takes me back to a sunny afternoon one summer or fall,


All but one of our male members being absent from home last night, we ended Mom's birthday (which marks the calendar only a few days before my own) by watching Emma. Some months (maybe even a year or two) had passed since I last saw it, and I was a little taken aback at the precision with which the title character reflected my own current sentiments. Vis:
"What is the point of my being almost twenty-two when there is still so much for me to learn?"
What, indeed?

Friday, September 23, 2011

breffuss genius

Not to be perpetually posting about food - and not to brag - but I think I semi-invented something rather charming for breakfast yesterday, and it seems only right to share.

I started with an online recipe for pumpkin oatmeal, which I followed approximately. Ok, now that I look back over the recipe, 'approximate' might be too strong a word. In any case, it served as the initiating idea. Upon sampling my eventual creation, I found the pumpkinny flavor a bit much, and a little boring in spite of the cinnamon. So in went the cloves, the nutmeg, the applesauce, and the raisins. (Also a little sploosh of leftover coffee in the last few bites - I'm not positive that was the best idea ever, but it wasn't horrible.)

The end result was fabulous! I thought so, anyway. Autumn rocks the world's socks off (albeit at a time of year when the world is trying particularly hard to get its socks and other warm articles of clothing on), and this was a breakfast that tasted just like autumn in a bowl. So very lovely.

In case this madness sounds as appealing to you as it does to me, here's an approximation of a recipe.

1 C. rolled oats
scant 1/2 C. pumpkin puree
2 C. water (or milk?)
cinnamon, nutmeg, & cloves to taste
~1/3 C. applesauce or cooked apples
some raisins

Cook the oats, pumpkin, water, and spices over medium heat until it resembles a slightly goopy version of oatmeal. Stir in the apple(sauce), raisins, and whatever else you feel is fitting - drizzle with honey - and enjoy!
The delicious factor diminishes significantly when re-heated, however, so it's best to only make as much as you can eat right away. (This makes 3-4 servings.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

philosophy of a salad

Have you considered the inspiration in a list of ingredients? Consider it.

Eggs. Life on earth begins here. Men with long pipes and longer beards may sit by the fire and argue relentlessly about whether a child's soul enters a state of existence before or after conception, and where it resides, and of what it consists - but the subject of our current discourse limits itself to the infant offspring of chickens, who never are endowed with souls however long they may live. So there's little need to worry our little ponted heads (bearded or no) about that perplexing matter, at least not until after dinner. When wise, bespectacled men do argue about poultry,

the recipe

Chicken Salad

4 chicken breasts, boiled in salt water, then cut up
3 boiled eggs, chopped
2 to 3 sweet pickles, chopped
1 to 2 celery stalks, chopped
1 C. pecans (I use less - saves $$)
1 C. green grapes
1/2 C. raisins
1/4 C. mayonnaise
1 tsp. sugar (or 1/2 tsp. honey)
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix chicken, eggs, pickles, celery, pecans, grapes, and raisins. Mix mayonnaise with sugar (or honey) and salt. Mix into chicken mixture.
Mix, mix, mix.
Let season for several hours. Eat plain or on bread; also delectable here or there, in a house, with a mouse, in the rain, or on a train. You may like it, you will see. You may like it in a tree!