Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I have a wonderful husband -OR- "The Blob"

Sometimes I don't write for a bit because frankly, I don't feel I have much to say (although my family and friends might say otherwise). Sometimes I'm just busy. But I had an experience this weekend that I just had to share. Had to. Well, that, and Casey thought I should share it. And before I go on, please don't expect a huge story...maybe a laugh at my expense, but that's alright.

Looking through my Betty Crocker cookbook -- a lovely wedding gift -- I found some wonderful desserts. The same do-not-shop-when-hungry rule should also apply while looking through a cookbook. I found a recipe for a jelly roll. And not just a jelly roll, but alternate recipes as well, like "chocolate roll" and "lemon roll" and..."pumpkin roll". WOW! And this alternate recipe -- the "alternates" were listed to the side of the main recipe so you could see what to add and/or substitute -- called for a cream cheese frosting as a filling. Mmm! It appeared to be a bit more of a baking challenge than, say, chocolate chip cookies, but at the moment I felt up to that challenge.

Saturday was the big day. It rained all afternoon, so it was a good time to be inside making yummy desserts. Oh, and I had to go to the store to get all kinds of new things, like a jelly roll pan (in case you're interested, it's 10 x 15 x 1), a sifter, and a few more mixing bowls. Lots of egg separating involved in this recipe, then beating the egg yolks -- which look nothing like egg yolks after five minutes on high speed, by the way -- and beating the egg whites, then folding one mixture into the other, etc. I was very good about all of this, very thorough. I checked the directions constantly to make sure I was getting it right.

At last I had folded and re-folded the mixtures, and was ready to spread the gooey batter over the floury pan. I was in the middle of doing so when Casey walked into the kitchen and asked innocently, "What about the pumpkin?" I whirled around, ready to answer, when a wave of panic washed over me. I quietly mumbled, "Oh no, no, no, no, no..." to myself as I looked at the recipe, my eyes darting quickly to the ALTERNATE pumpkin recipe -- and I realized I had completely done it all wrong. With my hand over my mouth, I looked at Casey, who could see that I had indeed forgotten the canned pumpkin and the pumpkin pie spice. And of course, Casey being Casey, he was immediately sympathetic...and probably wondering what I would do next. For a moment I could not even imagine doing all of that egg mixing again. But then the old stubborn nature took over, and I was determined to start all over again.

Casey helped out the second time through, which made things much easier. But neither of us could have known what we would be up against at the end of it all. I honestly thought that, if I had any big mishaps, it would be in rolling the cake to cool. But no. Although, when I flipped the cake out of the pan onto the powdered-sugar-coated (but not enough) towel, the pan slipped from my hands just enough to poke a hole near the middle of the cake. Doh! And it really had looked near perfect just seconds before that. No, the big mishap was in the final rolling of the cream-filled roll. Why, why, WHY did I put so much powdered sugar in the cream cheese frosting?!? Actually, the real question is, why did I spread all of the frosting on the roll? No idea. But when I started rolling, I knew it was all over.

There never was a "roll". There was, how should I put it, a blob. A big pumpkin blob with cream cheese frosting oozing -- no, pouring from every corner. Well, now I had to pick it up and put it on a plate so it could sit in the fridge. The blob was heavy, and began breaking apart as I picked it up. I would say I got a little frantic, at which point Casey came over to help. Together we lifted the sticky, oozing blob onto a wax-and-powdered-sugar-covered pan. While Casey made space in the fridge, I wiped up the countertop. The frustration over all the work and re-work, only to end up with an ugly blob of a dessert was just too much. "Case..." I said slowly. "I want to cry!" I turned to face him, and just as the tears began streaming down my face, I suddenly burst into laughter (much to Casey's relief). He began laughing as well, and I continued crying and laughing as we saw ourselves picking up the blob -- this is Casey's word, and I can't seem to think of anything else to call it -- and working so hard to save it. Most importantly, the laughing continued long after the crying had ceased. In case you're interested, we did try out the new dessert, and boy is it yummy! Anyone want my recipe?

On another note, I wanted to mention that Casey brought a dozen roses to my office yesterday afternoon. It's not my birthday, it's not our anniversary...he just decided to brighten my day! Yes, he is very sweet, and I am so very proud to say that he is my husband.

Thursday, August 26, 2004


Sometimes there are those days where things just happen, and you think, "How in the world did that just happen? What are the odds of that?" (or as my brother would say, "What are the evens?")

A lady came into the office where I work today, and she was looking for a room number and told me the name of the person who is supposed to be in that room, maybe to help me a little. I hadn't even begun to tell her that I am still new here (an excuse I've been using for over two months now) when the phone started ringing. I asked her to wait while I answered, and it was a woman looking for my boss who was not in at the time. Suddenly a light came on, and I realized that the woman on the phone was the same person that the woman standing in front of me was looking for! So I told this to the lady on the phone and I'm sure that threw her for a bit of a loop because who expects that kind of thing to happen? Still, I was able to get her office number and direct the other lady to the correct room.

But wait folks, there is more!

School starting back up means students paying for lockers. The law school has this big open "mall" area filled with lockers that each cost $15 per year to rent. I've rented out so many lockers in the past three days I'm surprised I'm not dreaming about it yet. Anyway, we have second- and third-year students renewing their lockers, while some others are renting theirs for the first time. At this point there is not one left, although there is the occasional third-year who decides they no longer need a locker, so they turn in their key and voila! Suddenly we have an available locker. This is what happened this morning (not long after the aforementioned coincidence), so I had just one locker open for rent. A student walked in and asked if we had any lockers, and was pleasantly surprised to hear that one had just become available. I pulled out the index card to write his name on it at the end of a long list of previous names, and he points to the first name on the card (dated about twelve years ago) and says, "That's my uncle's name! Am I getting my uncle's locker?" I told him apparently he was, and was pretty impressed that he had recognized his uncle's handwriting. He said he was very close to his uncle, and had even talked with him this morning. He asked me to make a copy of the index card so he could send it to his uncle, which I did.

What are the evens?

Monday, August 23, 2004

What? No soda?!?

Anyone out there as clumsy as I am? Because I am pretty clumsy. I can't seem to let a day go by without injuring myself in some form or fashion. Granted, it's not ever a big injury, but there are those days. Take Saturday, for instance. I was leaving the house, and we have this big porch with about twelve wooden steps leading up to it. They were still pretty watery from the previous day's rain. I simply walked down a couple of them and next thing I knew I was sliding down the stairs! My shoe had slipped out from under me, and a couple of things in my hand went over the railing. My hands, out of natural reaction, tried to catch my fall. I had an instant fear that I'd broken a wrist, but the pain was not so bad. Just some soreness and some muddy jeans. Whew! Maybe that story doesn't illustrate my clumsiness very well, because anyone's shoe could slip on a wet step, right? Still...I do have my moments. And just today I found a bruise near my knee, and I have no idea where it came from! Ah, the life of a klutz.

Meanwhile, life is so super-busy. School has started up again -- not for me, of course, but I do work on a college campus, so there are just endless streams of students. Really makes the time pass quickly. I do enjoy living in a college town, but of course there are ups and downs anywhere you go.

My husband Casey and I have agreed not to drink any soda for the next two weeks, as of this past Saturday (we actually shook hands in the grocery aisle). The main reason is just to try and get on a somewhat healthier plan. We're certainly not changing everything about the way we eat, but it's a start. We're eating more fruit (I had an apple today!) and I've been drinking decaf coffee for the past several days. Okay, I know coffee is not healthy at all, but you try going straight from regular coffee to nothing! These things take a little time...

Friday, August 20, 2004

I think I'll call it the 'Walker-Talker'

I'm not this craaaaazy computer person, like having to be on the computer 24/7. But there are things I love about a computer, like IM and all that kind of stuff. I occasionally listen to the radio on my little messenger thing, and then I'll tell Casey about it. So we're sitting in the car at Sonic for lunch today and I was telling him about rating the songs I listen to, because how you rate them determines what they'll play for you. Pretty neat. Casey made a joke that someday I'll just come into the office and plug an IV into my arm from the computer...ha ha. It is to laugh.

And I don't know what made me think of this today, but what with all of the technology these days, and it seeming like there is not one teenager out there without a cellphone/text messenger (are those the same?) -- do you think someone will make walkers with computer screens hooked onto the front so they can all keep texting one another when the 'Milliennial' generation is older? Maybe I should hurry out and have my idea patented...hmmm...

I'm in the middle of reading Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. I don't really get into a lot of his writing, and this may lead you to wonder why in the world am I reading it then?!? I'll have to explain my book box someday. Ah, my wonderful little book box. I promise, I'll tell all about it!

Feeling a lot better than I was at the beginning of this work week. Whew, what a difference a few days and some muscle relaxants make! Seriously, though, I am so thankful for all the prayers that have been said on my behalf. It is a wonderful peace that I feel knowing that God is hearing the prayerful words of friends and family.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Here They Come...

I work on a university campus, in the law school, and today is the beginning of orientation. I have been forewarned as to what I should expect, but I don't think anything can quite prepare you for this. I started this job in June, so it's been nice and quiet up until now. This is a small town we live in -- approx. population 12,000 -- where the students double the population. All the cars and the people appear, for those of us who are not yet adjusted, to be in complete chaos. Well, okay, maybe it's not that bad. But it's not great!All that aside, the beginning of a new school year is still exciting to me, even though I finished my degree over four years ago. There's so much anticipation, and you can see new relationships forming. Working on a campus allows me to do a lot of people-watching without having to deal with the stress of classes and homework. But looking back, I remember how very new everything seemed my freshman year of college. We were silly, of course, and laughed all the time. Lots of fun.

I'd still rather just watch from the sidelines.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Prayer and Pain

"Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5: 14-16
Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I attended the elders' meeting so they could pray for me and ask that God heal me of my chronic disease and the pain that comes with it. For those of you unfamiliar with all of this, I am not talking about something you may have seen on television at one time or another where a man puts his hands on a person and declares them healed. These are men of our congregation who have been appointed as elders -- leaders, shepherds -- who took turns praying that I might get better. If you'll notice that last verse, it says that "the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."

Did I leave that meeting knowing that I was healed? Actually, no. In fact, just a few hours later I experienced some pretty bad pain that I have been dealing with on and off for the past week or so. Just some inflammation, but it can really hurt. Being that it was a Sunday evening, we had to go to one of the elders' houses who also happens to be a doctor, and he was able to give me some medicine samples. Feeling better today.

I believe in prayer, very much so. But I also believe that God answers our prayers in His own time, and with such preciseness that only He can understand and that we can (sometimes) see only in hindsight. I know that He loves me and does not want to see me suffer, but I am confident that He is watching over me always.

Maybe my pain and this chronic disease will be gone tomorrow. Maybe I will have it for another year, or for the rest of my life. Only He knows. For now I now that I am blessed in my family, friends, and all of the love that comes from those relationships.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Matting Photos

I shot photos of the July 4th fireworks, mostly for the purpose of getting various-sized prints, matting them and taking them to a place downtown where artists’ works are sold. They also matte and frame paintings and photos there. The artist decides on the price, and the shop takes 20% if they sell.

I would say I got several nice shots – I’ve never taken still photos of fireworks, but I’ve done some timed release stuff like lightning. I just went with one particular photo and had two 8x10’s and three 5x7’s made. I’m not going to get my hopes up. I think it could make a nice gift for someone, so maybe people will be interested.

So, I’ve never matted my photos before. I’ve had some done professionally, but that costs so much money. Well – I guess that depends, really, on where you go. I used rubber cement and some really nice but not-too-expensive mattes I found. I didn’t see this process taking too long, but I spent over an hour on just five photos! That’s a lot of time breathing in rubber cement and leaning over. By the end, my back ached and I was a bit lightheaded. Still am.

I thought I would take the photos there today, seeing as it’s Saturday and I don’t really have that time during the week, but I think my self-consciousness is holding me back. I like the photo and think it looks great, if I may say so myself. But when I think about other people perusing through the artwork at the store…I don’t know. I just imagine them skipping right past my work or comparing it with everyone else’s. Self-consciousness is not a good place to be, so I’ve been working on that more lately.

Meanwhile, today is one of the most beautiful days I’ve ever seen. The temperature feels like it’s right on the edge of autumn – you know, those perfectly crisp fall days that make you want to take a walk somewhere – and the sky is a clear blue. The sun seems like it shines just a certain way for weather like this. Part of the reason for my loving this kind of weather, I think, is that my husband and I were falling in love when the weather began to change from summer to fall. He went to town today, and before he left I told him that he smelled "like dating." Maybe that doesn’t make sense, but it’s the only way I can simply describe that feeling of being in love with him. It’s this weather and the smell of his cologne all mixed together.

Friday, August 13, 2004

No superstitions here!

It is cold today. It's August. And it's cold. It doesn't matter how much I keep reminding myself, my body feels the cold and then tells my brain, "It must be fall -- it's October already!" But no.

Of course I notice that today is Friday the 13th but I have never been one to have superstitions, and that is due to my Christian upbringing. If something unusual or unfortunate happens today, then it happens. I am glad not to be leaning on something like that. I have joked about superstitious things before, I will admit, like the time my friends and I were on the way to our history final and two black cats crossed our path. What are the odds of that?

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Well, this is it...my first post

Wow, here I am! So what next?

Hopefully I can use this to share what's going on in my life. At the moment I am about to go home, so...not much to say. But life seems to be speeding up a lot lately. Must mean I'm actually doing a lot more than I used to. And that's a good thing, right? Well, we'll see...
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