Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pastor Chuck Smith 1927 - 2013

Pastor Chuck Smith  1927 - 2013

I can only imagine the noise in Heaven right now.
Today the Christian community lost one of its most influential leaders, Pastor Chuck W. Smith. I can’t say I was surprised, as his health had been failing for some time, but it was still a blow to my soul. In spite of his weakened state due to cancer and the effects of chemotherapy, Pastor Chuck continued his teaching up until the very end. And always with a smile and word of encouragement.
I am certain, that early this morning, Pastor Chuck finally heard the words “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” from the mouth of God himself. Which makes me wonder, will those words meet me when my life is done? I’d like to think so. Granted, founding a church the size and scope of Calvary Chapel is very likely NOT my calling, but what have I done with my life that would make God proud? True, my ticket has been paid, so to speak, but I’d really like to arrive at the pearly gates with something more on my resume than “filled out the appropriate paperwork”. I’d like for God to be glad to see me.
The internet is awash right now with encouragement to pray for Pastor Chuck’s remaining family. The thought briefly crossed my mind that now might not be the best time to call Heaven, as the switchboard would be overwhelmed and may shut down. Or perhaps all calls would be answered with “What? What? I’m sorry, I can’t hear you – there’s a huge party going on right now…”
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Matthew 25:21

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Adventures In Home Maintenance: The Saga Of The Smoke Detectors

Oh, the negativity. It’s stomping around in my brain like a desperate 4-year-old in the candy aisle at Wal-Mart. I’m trying to ignore it, or at least distract it for a while, until it can be properly subdued.

Perhaps I can blame lack of sleep. It’s always a happy thing when one can assign blame. Around three o’clock this morning, our smoke alarms upstairs decided to freak out just for the sheer joy of it. Three short, piercing shrieks startled us out of our coveted sleep and sent my heart racing. After waiting for a few minutes, I relaxed enough to drift off again. Until it happened again. Three more times at random intervals, the smoke detectors screamed into the pre-dawn darkness. At about 4 a.m., the darling husband gave up and rose for work. I stubbornly held my ground though, determined to get a few more winks in. I never did fall back asleep.

Shortly after six I too admitted defeat and rolled out of bed. My first order of business was to silence those alarms. There are three of them upstairs, each one at least nine feet off the floor. Luckily for me, darling hubby has a decent collection of aluminum ladders in the garage. The trash had been set out the night before, leaving me easy access to Big Momma, the 16’ extension ladder. She’s a scary one, she is. I managed to retrieve her without incident. Alas, that was the easy part.

I discovered just how low some our ceilings really are.  And our doorframes? Laughable. I was grateful for the “Improv for Actors” workshop we attended at the Renaissance Faire that repeatedly advised us to “always know where your ends are”. It’s frightening how often this advice comes in handy.  But I am pleased to report that in spite of Big Momma’s awkward length, I managed to make it through our narrow townhome to the top of the stairwell. By the grace of God, we will not have to replace any drywall, windows, furniture, light fixtures, or stair railings.

I tackled the highest one first, before my nerve ran out. With my granny glasses on my head and new batteries in my pocket, I crept up the ladder until I was face to face with the offending detector. It was at this point, high up on the ladder placed at the top of 13 stairs, that I realized I had no idea what I was doing. But I was at the point of no return. I lowered my granny glasses onto my nose, indicating to the world that I meant business.

I’ll assume at this point, that when darling hubby purchased these smoke detectors, he chose a model simple enough for his wife to figure out. God bless that man. Because I was able to locate the compartment and remove the original battery. The fool contraption chirped angrily until I got the new battery seated properly. Which was hit or miss, as there were no symbols indicating which direction the battery needed to face. At least there were none that I could see, and at that height there’s a limit on how much time I’ll spend researching the dynamics of battery replacement.

After a fair amount of trial and error, the first replacement was successful. I knew this, because as soon as I closed the compartment, the smoke detector emitted a sound that can only be described as Cyndi Lauper on a double espresso. Then silence. Blessed, blessed, silence. I descended the ladder as gracefully as a woman my age, height and weight could manage.

Feeling confident, I lowered the ladder and headed for the bedroom. In my haste, I forgot that I was trying to maneuver an 8 ½ foot ladder thru a 6 ½ foot doorway around a sharp turn. There was no damage, but a great deal of noise. (Interpret that as you will). It was an early morning lesson in the properties of physics that I’m not eager to repeat any time soon.

The bedroom detector was more cooperative.  I took that as a good sign.  While up on the ladder I realized just how dusty the top of the doors can get. Fabulous.

The last detector was a total bust. After all the work and sweat to get up there, the darned thing would not take the new battery and complained loudly until I put the old one back. There’s just no reasoning with some machines, I guess.

Once I came back down (and dusted all the door tops), I carried the ladder triumphantly back down the stairs, with the Rocky soundtrack playing in my brain. After returning Big Momma to the garage, I treated myself to a big greasy breakfast and sat down to peruse Facebook.

Good thing I was feeling invincible, because somebody posted the most depressing video in the world about the horrors of customer service, (my area of expertise and focus of my job search)and how it only gets worse. Sorry, negativity, one day you may defeat me, but today is not that day! After a few rousing games of “Stack The Cats”, I tackled some chores, and updated my LinkedIn profile, confident that I can now claim “Always knows where her ends are” on my resume.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, August 5, 2013

Smarter Than Shrinky Dinks

It's beautiful August morning, somewhat marred by the fact that I am due at the dentist very soon for my permanent crown.

The job search has been fruitless. My last position had a vague title that makes it hard to find a compatible match. Most opportunities with the same title only pay minimum wage and have no need of my 20 years of experience. And the ones that do match my experience have titles that don't match mine, which throws me right out of the running.

But instead of dwelling on this, I choose to indulge my creative side. I take comfort in the fact that if my endeavors do not work out as planned, there is nobody here to pull me into a room and bawl me out for my errors. My failures will not be logged, published, distributed, and thrown in my face when somebody needs an excuse to be mad at me.

Wait, I thought I was not "dwelling"...

My latest epic failure of biblical proportions was the bracelet I am trying to make out of my nephew's artwork. He drew a flock of Angry Birds for his Boppy, (my Dad) which I happily copied and framed for my own art collection. I resized the drawings and printed them on a sheet of shrink plastic. After I cut them out, rounded the corners and punched a few holes, I shrunk them according to the directions. They turned out beautifully, and I was able to quickly fashion them into a bracelet.

Unfortunately, the ink began flaking off before the day was over. My attempts at sealing the ink resulted in smearing, bleeding ink, or in some cases, brush marks or lumpy, peeling finishes. I opted to try a different plastic, one specifically for ink jet printers. I purchased Grafix Inkjet Shrink Film. Good news: The ink is stable. Bad news: the plastic is crap, for lack of a better word. It's gritty, cracked, and yellow. It looks like I drew on old toenails. It's cheap and rough unattractive, unlike myself.


I am determined, however, to make this work! I have printed out a new set on the original, "pretty" plastic. I'll give them another chance with another sealing product (or three) before I abandon the shrinky-dink method altogether. In the meantime, I'll see if those job boards have any updates today.

A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked.
Psalm 37:16

Friday, June 28, 2013

Tee Gee Eye Eff...

Quickie post because I haven't said anything snarky in a while.

The job search has been somewhat of a disappointment. Strangely, this time I am not panicking. The artsy side of my brain has mutinied and is running amok, dragging the logical side through its glittery, yarn-strewn wake.

I have cranked out three baby blankets in the past few weeks, which is a record for me. One was a wee green and gold granny square blanket commissioned by a dear friend, who has far more faith in me than I believe she should. Another one started out as an experiment in ladder stitching that took on a life of its own. The third was an unfinished project from about a year ago that became an exercise in self-discipline. By some miracle, they all turned out quite well.
Baby Blue Diamond-weave blanket.

Pink gingham baby blanket.

Baby Green Bay Packers blanket, waiting for a border.
The blue and the pink ones are going up on Etsy, once I finish writing up the patterns. I spent all afternoon in this oven of a study working out the instructions for the blue one. It's turning out a bit more complicated than I had expected. I have resorted to adding my own amateur photography and shakily drawn diagrams to the document in order to convey what makes so much sense in my own lopsided brain.

It's keeping me focused and happy, and more importantly, out of the kitchen. Which, according to my ever-shrinking blue jeans, is far more dangerous. I'm sure the smoke detectors appreciate the break as well.

On another note, this evening our next door neighbors are hosting yet another Friday night get-together. From where I sit in the study, it sounds like someone is throwing furniture in their upstairs bedroom. From the patio, the neighbor's shrill friend lets loose with a laugh that sounds like an angry donkey. The only saving grace so far is the fact that I can hear Cheap Trick's "The Flame" wafting over the fence. Ah yes, Robin Zander, I want you to want me, too.

Alas, the generously flowing alcohol has apparently convinced angry donkey lady that she is Patsy Cline and must accompany the rest of tonight's soundtrack with her caterwauling. Joy. So, triple-digit temperatures or no, tonight we shall be sleeping with the window closed and the fan blasting over the barnyard cacophony next door. All the while, praying for an unexplainable yet well-timed sprinkler malfunction.

And in the morning, say about 6 or 6:30, I suspect we will need to mow the lawn. Or rearrange our metal patio furniture. Or take up yodeling. Because you just never know when you're going to need it.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Strawberry Lemonade!

Lately, this ideal weather has been calling for some vintage lemonade. I dug up (and pinned) the recipe I used the last time, which may be the last recipe for lemonade that I’ll ever need.
This recipe takes some time, but is well worth it. First, I measured out 1 ¼ cups white sugar. I then pared the rind off of 5 lemons, leaving the bitter white pith intact.
I mixed the rinds with the sugar and let it stand for 1 hour.

After the sugar had absorbed the oils from the rinds, I brought 1 ¼ quarts of water to a boil. I poured it over the lemon-sugar mixture and let it steep for half an hour. Meanwhile, I halved and juiced the peeled lemons. This gave me about ¾ cup of juice. Once the lemon syrup had cooled, I removed the rinds and stirred in the lemon juice and six cups of water.

Never one to leave well enough alone, I sliced about 7 ripe strawberries and sprinkled them with a few tablespoons of sugar. After they had macerated (about 30 minutes), I pureed the berries and juice, pressed them through a sieve, and added the liquid to my lemonade. Then I crossed my fingers and took a taste.

I will definitely be making this again. With or without the strawberries, this was delicious. I would recommend adding more water, about a pint or so, because this was very strong. Next time I may try it with blueberries. Or perhaps adding some sparkling water. But yes, this will be a regular in my fridge this summer.



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Grumpy Cat, Part 2

Grumpy cat project is progressing nicely. Hat 1.0 came out better than expected, considering the color changes involved. I was able to get the angles right on the muzzle with the strategic placement of increase/decrease stitches. Good to know.

Alas, I had a PLETHORA of ends to weave in afterwards. We’ll deal with that issue on the next hat.

The eyes came together fairly quickly, until I got to the pupil, which I embroidered. The frown as well had to be pulled out and re-stitched twice. Embroidery is extremely tricky on crochet stitches, but there will be plenty of practice in the days ahead, I am sure.

I whipped up a couple ears, brown on the back and tan on the front and tacked those on. Voila!

After finishing the entire hat, I have decided I need to re-work the design of the ears and the nose so that they will have a more feline silhouette. I also want to try changing the top of the head to the lighter color to better match the original “Grumpy Cat”.
So I’ve got a bit of work ahead of me. Until next time!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Grumpy Cat Project, Part 1

Thank God there are a million and one distractions around here, otherwise I might succumb to panic due to the lack of response on my resume. I needed an excuse to get out of the house. I wanted to take note of some of the businesses in the area, (which I intend to research later). So I took a short trip to The Home Depot to pick up a couple of inexpensive coated metal plant supports in the hopes of keeping the cukes and the zukes from crawling across my lawn. Mission accomplished.

My big project, however, will be working on the final draft of the Grumpy Cat hat. Thanks to a recent success on my Etsy site, I was inspired to design and create more silly hats. Facebook and Pinterest were instrumental in deciding on a subject matter. Google was a perfect resource for images.

Thanks to Mr. Nick’s commercial art class in high school, I was able to apply my “basic shapes” knowledge and come up with a rough sketch.  Then, with some basic math skills and my handy calculator, I was able to work out a scale drawing for the details of the hat. And Mom thought I wasn’t paying attention in class…

For my color study, I opted to use some colored felt that I had on hand (and that miraculously fit my color palette to a T). I discovered that felt cut-outs are quicker and more forgiving than a furious coloring session with colored pencils. I carefully laid out the components to my liking. Once I stopped giggling at the results, I selected the yarn colors to match. And if you’ve seen my yarn collection it shouldn’t surprise you that I had all the colors in inventory.

Next episode – I work out the logistics for the stitches (and color changes) for the muzzle, as well as the eyes and ears. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Now We're Cookin'!

94 in the shade! Holy flaming dirtballs, it’s a sauna in here! Yesterday I think I made a big mistake with the mini baking marathon. I churned out three different batches of cookie dough. Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and peanut butter. I only baked a dozen of each, but that was enough to send the indoor temperature skyrocketing. The remainder is in the freezer, and if the current trend continues, that’s where it’ll stay. I can’t afford another evening with my semi-bare thighs fused to the furniture.
Thank God it’s supposed to cool down soon. I’ll need substantially more income if I want to use the AC in this house. Luckily the water bill is more forgiving, because today is all about HYDRATION. I made sure the yard got a good soak before the sun reached its zenith. The produce-babies are thriving. The tomatoes have doubled in height and the herbs are climbing out of their pots. The peppers, on the other hand, are stubbornly refusing to change. Spiteful little beasts, they show no gratitude at all for the generous smearing of poo I provided for their greedy roots. Happy Mother’s Day to ME.

The critters out here are getting more brazen. During yesterday’s massive weed-purging, Big Al, our resident tail-less lizard, dashed right under my nose. He stopped, spun around, and stared me down until I noticed that his tail was actually growing back. I felt obliged to compliment him on his accomplishment – AFTER I checked over the fence to be sure no one would hear me. Wow, everything’s blooming this week, even Big Al’s butt. Way to go, Big Al. My butt’s growing too.
The birds are getting braver as well. I guess thirst is a powerful motivator, and the fountain in our yard is a powerful temptation. They no longer wait until I have vacated the area before stopping by for happy hour. It’s all well and good as long as I remember to duck every now and then. Good thing they’re cute, because they’re basically frat boys with wings.

And according to the thermometer outside, we have broken the three-digit mark. I have managed to keep the house substantially cooler with minimal electronics. That’ll be my big accomplishment for the day.  I don’t dare turn on the oven or stove, so odds are dinner will be cold cereal and popsicles (and maybe a margarita or two). Cheers!

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Awesomeness Of Unemployment

Sometimes I love not having a job. I just hate not getting paid. I hate the perceived resentment of others on whom I must rely when I can’t support myself. I hate feeling that someone else needs to make sacrifices because of my inabilities.
Trying to find a job while stuck in this mindset is a challenge. And yet, it’s far less miserable than the sheer torture of a job that you truly hate. And I’ve had a lot of those. I’m grateful that I’m no longer waking up in a cold sweat every morning, praying for some severe physical malady to strike me just so that I won’t have to face another workday. Because a stroke would be so much more fun.
So today, (hyperbole warning), since there are CLEARLY no more jobs on the internet anywhere in the world (/hyperbole), I’ll bake some more bread and reflect on some of the well-meant but annoying advice I’ve received in the past.
“Don’t like your job? Find one you do like!” From someone with a wealthy spouse who supported her. Why didn’t I think of that? It’s so simple. I’ll just go out and pick one from the thousands of fun, rewarding, lucrative careers that are going unclaimed. I think I’ll just go to the “Ideal Job Rescue Shelter” and adopt a lonely, unwanted career that desperately needs a loving home.
If you don’t love what you’re doing, then you are in the wrong job.” I very nearly laughed out loud at this one. Because what I love doing is lying on the couch watching Castle reruns. Too bad that job was already taken. Anyone with a job is lucky to have it, whether they love it or not. We can’t all be astronauts and ballerinas. The world needs sewer workers and DMV clerks too. Don’t insult me by suggesting that if I don’t love being bullied, belittled, and humiliated in my current workplace that I’m wrong.
“Well, maybe you shouldn’t have gotten fired.” This wasn’t said out loud, but was certainly implied.
“You can sew – you should sew clothes for ladies” A charming, but outdated notion, as nobody really employs seamstresses anymore. And I certainly can’t compete with the industrial revolution. I could make the same blouse in eight hours that Target sells for ten dollars. I did the math, and it wasn’t pretty. I do have an Etsy site. If I could make and sell 25 hats a day without my fingers rotting off I could make a nice living.
Luckily for all of us, that’s all I can think up at the moment.
So instead of advice, what assistance can one provide to a job-hunter like myself?  I submit the following: pray. I could certainly use all the help I can get. And not because God isn’t listening to me. Or better yet, hiding under his desk, hissing at his secretary, “Tell her I’m not here! Tell her I’m in a meeting. Tell her I’m golfing!” Wouldn’t that be awesome. I'd like to see pictures of that.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

When Life Gives You... Oranges?

Patience is a virtue, or something. I’m still waiting for snark and cellulite to make the list, because then I’d be really amazing.
Last weekend I made a gallon of delicious marmalade. Well, I made something that in theory will become a gallon of delicious marmalade. Perhaps next time I’ll use a smaller recipe. Perhaps next time it won’t eat up seven hours of my Sunday. Right now, let's just say I am building character.

Here is how my endeavor played out.
First I had to remove the outer peel from eight oranges and three lemons. One hour.

Then I had to peel the spongy white membrane off of eight oranges and three lemons. One hour, five minutes.

Then I had to seed, chop, and boil eight oranges and three lemons. One hour, thirty minutes.

Some pectin, sugar, and a good rolling boil later, I had a delicious citrusy soup. The recipe warned that it could take up to two weeks for the marmalade to set. Certainly, after the success of the blueberry jam from last week, this disclaimer did not apply to me. I confidently processed the nine jars of syrup. Since my pot only held four jars at a time, I had to repeat this three times. Three hours, ten minutes.

That was four days ago. I have ten more days to go before I have either marmalade or a meltdown. So far, the syrup has not responded to tears, logic, or threats of violence. Therefore, I have decided to stop obsessing over it, because that’s what an adult would do. If you need me, I’ll be in the yard, waiting for the lavender to bloom.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Flora and Fauna and Fertilizer

Saturday I decided to do something about the lack of plant life in my flower beds. I’d planted two tomato seedlings in January in a fit of optimism, but they stubbornly refused to flourish and died out of spite. The only hint of life to be found in the yard were the sorely neglected potted mint plants that even I could not kill. A miracle!
I spent some time swooning over the beautiful photos on Pinterest. I had fallen in love with the idea of a steel baker’s rack laden with planters; a vertical herb garden. The short walls in my yard, however, necessitated a shorter option. I was able to procure this bad boy at the local Goodwill for $10.

A quick stop at the Home Depot provided several new plants, two long planter boxes, and a giant bag of poo. Granted, the packaging says potting soil but trust me: the nose don’t lie. I lugged my haul out into the backyard all by my lonesome. Thank God for the hand truck in the garage because I was NOT gonna drag fifty pounds of scat around to the gate or worse, through the house.
Giant bag of poo!
I donned my gardening gloves, grabbed the shovel, and tore into the planters flanking the patio. The sun was brutal. Although I was clever enough to remember the sunblock, I was not LIMBER enough to completely cover my back. I now look like a pink giraffe.

After much digging, grunting and sweating, I was able to incorporate the manure and half a bag of leftover potting soil into the appropriate receptacles.

I was now ready to drop in the greenery. Gently, to be sure, as I could tell they were terrified of me.
“Shhh,” I murmured, “I mean you no harm”. I should probably stop saying that. Last time I said it was to a rather brave little lizard, happily sunning himself on the wall. He eyed me skeptically. I moved about slowly, so as not to disturb or startle him, and assured him, “I mean you no harm”. Then my dog ate him.
But reptilian tragedies aside, I managed to find comfortable homes for my new tomatoes, peppers and squash in the ground, and the herbs in their makeshift bunk beds. I tossed all the trash, cleaned the tools, and gave the whole backyard a good soak.

One hot shower and one glass of wine later, I stood at the back door and admired my handiwork. My back muscles were killing me, but it was all worth it. The previously parched backyard once again looks like a fresh garden. Too bad it smells like a fresh diaper.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sunny, With A Chance Of Whoops.

This weather is perfect for outsidedness. Big Al, our tail-less resident lizard, agrees.

Today’s adventures started out in the backyard. The recent winds left the air and the ground extremely dry, and the lush brown foliage was clearly unhappy.  I unrolled the garden hose and with a fair amount of struggle and some colorful vocabulary, attached the spray nozzle. Or so I thought. I turned on the faucet and shot myself square in the face. Praise God for clean sinuses. The hose connector had been dropped on the patio one too many times and was now bent, or jammed.
One dozen Kleenex later, I reapplied my face, dried my hair, and headed out for Home Depot for a replacement. I found the connector I needed and also picked up a new spray nozzle, because the old one could have instigated the whole fiasco in the first place. I wasn’t taking any chances.
I’m happy to report that the second attempt at watering was a success. I confess that before I turned on the sprinkler (which you’ll be happy to know attached without incident), I was sorely tempted to go skipping barefoot through the grass. Alas, the wind we discussed earlier had left the entire lawn littered with pointy seed pods and crunchy brown leaves from the trees across the fence. Leaves which are the organic equivalent of Legos. Seeing as how I’d expended my daily allotment of four-letter words, I refrained from the frivolity and instead, let our thirsty grass have a good long drink.
The rest of the afternoon was fairly uneventful, that is, until the phone rang. Caller ID declared that the number was unavailable, and normally I let such calls go to voicemail, but job-seeker that I am, I answered. It was a charity, looking for donations.

I politely declined the caller’s request for a pledge of $50, then $35, then $20. There was a long pause, then a snippy “All right - have a good one-CLICK”. I don’t even remember what it was for. Some organization collecting funds for, I don’t know, underprivileged, orphaned barn owls with diabetes, addicted to meth. Doesn’t matter. Don’t call me asking for money then act like a jerk when I tell you I don’t have any.
I won’t let it spoil my afternoon, though. Right now, I believe I’ll pour a glass of cheap girlie-wine and hang out lawnside with my buddy, Big Al.

Unless he’s collecting money for a new tail. Then Big Al can pound sand.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

High Heels And High Winds

Ah, job interviews. I'd forgotten how much fun they were. Granted, I am grateful beyond measure that I got one. Astounded, actually, that I got a hit on my resume within 24 hours. (I don't need to tell anyone how unlikely that is in this economy.) Nevertheless, they all have their moments of well, swellness.

My resume was current, because I'd been in the habit of pulling it out and polishing it up every time I was mad at my coworkers. Consequently, I have several versions from which to choose. My cover letter, thanks to Google, was easy to draft and customize from the many, many, many templates available on the internet. The trick was to make it sound original without being offensive. And for me, that's trickier than it sounds.

So, with my paperwork in order, I was now free to freak out about the impending interview process. Which I did, quickly and quietly, kneeling, with my eyes closed and my hands clasped.

The morning of my interview started out well enough, until I opened my closet. The last ten years of my life was spent working in a "business casual" environment. I can't remember the last time I donned a skirt and heels, but it must have been a few years, at least. As I slid into the straight skirt I'd had in mind, I realized that this might be more of a challenge than I had anticipated. The skirt, no doubt, was wondering what I'd done with its previous owner. I was wondering the same thing myself. Although I was able to zip myself in without injury to myself OR the skirt, my common sense asserted that this look could result in the wrong type of offer.

Determined, I instead chose a more forgiving option that was a bit longer and considerably looser. I gave myself a quick once over and once satisfied, confidently stepped out the door, straight into the windiest morning in the history of mornings. I remembered at that point why I was partial to slacks. I recalled the last time I wore this skirt in this kind of wind. Years ago, as I was leaving work, a gust of wind caught me off guard in the parking lot and basically shucked me like an ear of corn. Nobody was from work was around, but the construction workers across the street seemed to appreciate it. Oh well, at least there's that.

I made it to my appointment and through the interview without any incident. I was relieved to get home and change my clothes. I swear, if these skirts had eyes the would be rolling them at me in disgust right now. So, I predict there is an appointment with the stationary bike this afternoon. That is, unless the jar of homemade gumdrops in the kitchen has anything to say about it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sugar Rush

Unemployment has its perks. At the moment, at least. This unexpected bit of free time has resulted in an abundance of high calorie deliciousness. And, much to my sister’s chagrin, two more items to add to my “I can MAKE that” list.

Last week, I pulled out the beautiful pressure cooker that my husband bought me, and pounded out 4 ½ pints of blueberry jam.  Recipe here. Luckily, there was just enough left over for testing. Extensive testing, conducted by Hapnueby and myself. Four out of the five jars are reserved for gifts, so if we want any more, (and I have declared that we WILL), I’ll have to repeat this project. Probably more than once, you know, just to be sure.

As if that wasn’t enough, the next day I was compelled to make gumdrops. I hold Pinterest entirely responsible for that. I found the recipe on this site. Sort of messy, definitely delicious. If you are inclined to try, I highly recommend using the cheap 3x4 foil bread pans from the grocery store, sprayed liberally with cooking spray. Your life will be so much easier.
This burst of productivity has spilled over into this week, in which I plan to refine my newly-found recipe for English Muffin Bread. Or perhaps I might crochet hats instead. Turns out, I’m running a little low on sugar.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Complaining Like Moses

I recently perused some of my old journal entries that I posted during the last decade and came to the following conclusion: I complained a lot. Not the lighthearted “thus and such happened and here’s what I learned from it” type of anecdote. Rather, the flat out whining, foot stomping, electronic temper tantrums. With no comedic value whatsoever. What a waste.

Rewind a bit farther to earlier this year, when I was led to revisit the book of Exodus. After a long hiatus, I was able to read it with a fresh perspective. I realized, to my great surprise and amusement, that Moses was a big. Fat. WHINER.

Not to be disrespectful, but Moses was not the dignified, flawless giant that I’d imagined in my youth. Not Charlton Heston. No, this Moses was imperfect and insecure. Constantly making excuses for why he couldn’t or shouldn’t do what was asked of him. And the more I read, the more irritating he became.

Yet in spite his shortcomings, he was chosen by God for a task that would change the world. And every disaster that befell him ultimately placed him exactly where he needed to be. I’m sure it never crossed his mind that he would ultimately go down in history as a hero. In fact, imagine if Moses had Facebook. What would his status updates look like?

“Oh noes – killed an Egyptian today. NOW WHAT?”

“Burning bush in the middle of nowhere. For reals. Of all days to forget my iphone!”

“Argh. Back to the old hood. Gotta deliver bad news – they’ll never believe me!”

“No clue at all what I’m going to say. Better bring Aaron – he never shuts up…”


Moses would have been blocked from my feed in very short order. Which makes me wonder: What purpose do MY words serve? Most of it’s nonsense, granted, but what is my goal when spouting the occasional malcontented rant?  Popularity? Pity? Attention? There’s certainly no value in any of those.  I may not have a lot to say, but the least I can do is be wiser in my verbal contributions. And unless there’s any wisdom to be gleaned, or comedy gold to be shared, complaining online is pretty much useless.
And odds are, if I don’t scale it back a bit, Big Fat Whiner might very well be my epitaph.