Tuesday, November 22, 2011

dear wendy, the holidays

I have an article on Dear Wendy today!  I am very excited, but a bit .... intimidated, maybe?  There's a great community on DW, and I hope they like the article.  I read her advice columns all the time, but I usually read posts after all the discussion has ended, so I don't often comment. 

In other news, it's Thanksgiving week and I have no idea what happened to this month.  We are heading to Shreveport tonight to have dinner with our good friends at 2 Johns, then on to Houston for Turkey Day festivities.  Gates' aunt and uncle are hosting Thanksgiving dinner...We are supposed to bring a pie and two bottles of wine - easy enough!  We will also be selling Gates' Jeep, going through many boxes, and visiting Ikea.  I am hopeful that we will also get by Nadeau, a fun furniture store.  We got an end table at the New Orleans location a few months ago, then we decided we need another one.  But of course they were sold out....maybe there will be one in Houston! 

sermon from October

I forgot to put this up when I preached it....but perhaps better late than never?

        A few months ago, Gates and I had our first meeting with a financial advisor.  We brought all of our tax and retirement information, and we left with a budget worksheet.  We were supposed to fill out the worksheet with all of our expenses and bring it back.  This was not the most exciting activity we had ever contemplated, so we put it off until the night before our second meeting.  I put the amounts of our paychecks in the columns, and then Gates and I talked through amounts for our expense lines. The goal was to create a zero budget, and once we had accomplished that goal, I hit print and tried to think about it too much. 
         The next morning we sat with this very nice Presbyterian man, wondering if we had grossly under or over estimated any expenses.  As we went down the column, I realized that there was a zero in the little box where I was supposed to list my pledge to my church.  I immediately realized how awful that appeared.  He knows that I am a priest, I have no pledge on paper….embarrassing right?  I then started to explain, probably over-justifying the situation, considering that there’s a simple explanation.  You see, my pledge to the Cathedral is a payroll deduction.   My pledge gets taken out of my paycheck before it gets deposited in my bank account, just like my taxes and Social Security.
         Luckily, my financial advisor seemed to believe me, and the awkwardness that I felt passed away pretty quickly.  But later that day, when I had some time to think about it, I realized that the money that I give to the church had become a non-factor in my life.  That amount of money never makes it to my checking account, so I don’t have to write a check or approve an automatic bank draft or really do anything at all.  Paying my pledge is just like paying my taxes each month. 
I winced a bit when I realized this, because who wants to equate a gift freely given to God with taxes?  Not me.  Taxes are mandatory.  They are usually more than we want to pay.  Most of us don’t really know where all of our tax-money goes.  My donation to the church, on the other hand, is given out of gratitude, I got to choose the amount, and I know exactly where that money goes.  I see the homeless men and women that eat breakfast here, the children that get scholarships to camp, the community groups that meet within our walls, and the employees that make it all happen.  Taxes and pledges are not the same.   
         It would appear that our gospel reading this morning is making the same point, though in a different way.  Jesus tells the disciples of the Pharisees to give to the emperor what is his and to give to God what is God’s.  Now for us, this sounds like an endorsement of the separation of church and state.  It sounds like Jesus is telling us to pay your taxes as well as your pledge.  The problem though, is that the separation of church and state was not a familiar concept in Jesus’ day.  The church and the state were inextricably intertwined.  So if it’s not about the separation of church and state, then what’s the point of answering this question?
If you read any amount of commentaries on this section of Matthew’s gospel, you will find that Jesus is making the point that the world and all the things within it belong to God.  Sure, they could give the emperor what is his….but what really is the emperor’s?  Nothing.  Everything we have now and will ever have comes from God.
         We affirm this belief every week at the seven-thirty service when we raise the collection and say, “All things come of thee O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee.”  It reminds me every time I celebrate Rite One that all things are God’s.  We are only stewards here on earth.  We are here to take care of the things we have while we are here, knowing that we will not be able to take them with us. 
Every once in a while, we get a chance to hear from someone who truly lives a life of stewardship.  This summer I watched as some of our youth participated in an open question and answer with a Catholic nun.  She explained their vow of poverty and their understanding of possessions.  She actually answered a few questions I have always had, by explaining that everything in her home is not hers, but the property of her order.  The car she drives, the house she lives in, even her clothes and family photos belong to the Sisters of Mercy.  It all, every single thing, belongs to her order.
I have got to say, that is a hard life for me to imagine.  I have lots of things that I would not want to share with other people.  Some for practical reasons - my shoes.  Some for sentimental reasons, like the quilt my great-grandmother made.  And then there are the things that I just like having.  I like knowing that some items are in my house, should I ever need them or want to look at them again.  My collection of Baby-Sitters Club books from childhood.  My extensive collection of cake pans in fun shapes.   Even if I never read those books or make a beehive shaped cake, those things are mine.  There is some amount of pride in ownership.
But what if all of those things are really God’s?  Well then, I may need to reconsider some items.  It may be time to release some things out into the world, to let them find homes where someone needs them, instead of just liking to have them around. 
The same goes for my money.  As I continue to consider the ways to spend my money that will most glorify God, I am quite sure that certain priorities on my budget spreadsheet will shift.  It is so easy to carry on without intentional thought about what resources I am tending for God.   It is easy to just check the online bank statement here and there to make sure things look okay.   But like so many other things in this Christian life, we are not called to do what is easy.  We are called to do our very best with what we have.  We are called to be intentional with our resources.  We are called to give God what is God’s. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Why I am voting no on MS 26

Here are the two major reasons I am voting against MS 26:

First, I don't trust the system.  I don't trust the system to ensure that women with ectopic pregnancies will be allowed to have necessary, life-saving and fertility-preserving treatment.  I don't trust the system to ensure that women who have miscarried will not be investigated for attempted murder.  I don't trust the system to properly advocate for the children that are placed into foster care after being born to mothers who would have used birth control.   Voting yes requires the voter to trust the system, because the language of MS 26 does not address any of these situations.

Second, I fundamentally disagree with the idea that a fertilized egg is a person.   I don't have a problem with hormonal birth control.   I do not think that hormonal birth control is the same as murder.  I don't have a problem with IUDs...I just don't think using an IUD is the same as murdering someone.  My thoughts on abortion are far more nuanced.  Frankly, if we were voting on abortion, then this post would be far longer and more complicated...but we aren't voting on abortion.  We are voting on what we consider a person to be.  And I don't think that a fertilized egg is a person. 

I know, the second reason should be the first - after all, we are voting on personhood.  But either way, the result is the same.  I am voting against MS 26.

Monday, October 10, 2011

politics, MS 26

As a rule, I am not one to talk about politics on public forums.

It's not that I don't have opinions - I do.  But I have never felt it necessary to share those opinions with the public at large.  Ask me what I think about something at a cocktail party, and I'll probably tell you.  Post a survey to my facebook wall and you are guaranteed to receive no response. 

But there's an exception to every rule, am I right?  And MS 26 is officially my exception.  Here's the summary:  "Initiative #26 would amend the Mississippi Constitution to define the word 'person' or 'persons', as those terms are used in Article III of the state constitution, to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof."


Sure, on first glance this may appear to be about abortion. But notice that the language does not specify abortion at all.   The consequences of this initiative - specifically, the effects on birth control pills, IVF, IUDs, ectopic pregnancies....go on and on and on.   And please do not get me started on the awful reality that with the passing of this initiative, mothers that have miscarried could be investigated as attempted murderers.  I can't even think about my dear friends that have lost children being visited by law enforcement without my head threatening to explode.  

So...y'all read about this one before you vote, okay?  Make sure you know exactly what the law will say and how it might impact the women (and, indirectly, the men) that you care about.     

Sunday, October 9, 2011

literary mash-ups

Most weeks we play Pub Quiz (a group trivia game) at Hal and Mal's.  One of the regular hosts is out sick at the moment, so I got to co-host last week.   One of the rounds I wrote was based on combining the names of books by overlapping syllables.  This idea was totally stolen from the aforementioned regular host, though he usually combines movies.  For example, "Crime-fighting dog roams the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn on the hottest day of the year" = Scooba Doo the Right Thing.  

Do you get it?  It's pretty fun.

So, since I hope that everyone is most curious, here's my round (if you have to take out the word "the" to make it work, that's just fine):

1.  Domenico Clericuzio, an aging mafia boss, tries to help his family enter the legitimate world before retiring to La Mancha and going on quests, starting with an attack on nearby windmills.

2.  Winston Smith lives in the dystopian Airstrip One and rebels against the Party until he is re-educated by Thinkpol and sent to Segovia, where he must help Robert Jordan blow up a bridge during the Spanish Civil War.

3.   Andrew Wiggin is trained at the Battle School and helps defeat the Buggers before going to the kingdom of Westeros and fighting seven families for control of the throne.

4. Guy Montag lives in a future American society where reading is outlawed and firemen burn books when he reads the multi-generational story of the Buendia family from Macondo, a metaphoric Colombia.

5.  Marty Preston lives in West Virginia and strives to protect an abused beagle. He moves to Nebraska and meets Alexandra Bergson, a Swedish immigrant running a farm at the turn of the 20th century. 

6. Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice and is a symbol of rebellion when she becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall and falls in love with her employer, Edward Rochester. 

7. An unnamed African American man tells of his unseen life in American society and then as a redheaded orphan living on Prince Edward Island with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert.

8. Harry Potter is in his sixth year at Hogworts when he befriends two boys that are identical, though one is royalty and the other a peasant. 

9. George Milton and Lennie Small are displaced migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression in California, trying to understand gender relations in the 90’s using a planetary metaphor. 

10.  This play details the romances of two childhood friends, Leontes the King of Sicilia and Polixenes, the King of Bohemia who travel on London and Paris before and during the French Revolution, when it was both the best and worst of times.

It was a lot of fun to put these together, though it did require an unusual amount of time spent searching on Amazon. 

The answers are below, just highlight the empty space.

1.  The Last Don Quixote
2.  Nineteen Eighty For Whom the Bell Tolls
3.  Ender’s Game of Thrones
4.  Fahrenheit 45100 years of solitude
5. Shilo! Pioneers
6.  Mockingjayne Eyre
7.  The Invisible Man of Green Gables
8. The Half Blood Prince and the Pauper
9. Of Mice and Men are from Mars Women are from Venus
10.  A Winter’s Tale of Two Cities

P.S.  They are having a benefit for Donovan next Sunday - check it out on facebook.
P.S.S.  the Hague is a literary mash-up wonder.  Call her if you ever need help coming up with these.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

E is for Elliott.

Last September, Design Sponge had a DIY entry on making a letter-shaped lamp.   Design Sponge always has neat ideas, but this one stuck with me.   I really wanted that lamp.   For the front of my house. 

But there were a few problems.  Or, really, one big problem:  I knew that I couldn't make that lamp.  At least half of the steps included a material or process with which I am not familiar.  So...I was going to need to find a ready-made E.    But what are the odds of finding that?  This project got put in the "that would be nice if it worked out some day, sigh" pile. 

It stayed in that pile for a whole year until.....two weeks ago!  When we went to the Flowood Flea Market* and found ourselves a big plastic E!!

It used to be part of a sign (the O is still available if anyone is interested). 

Converting it into the outdoor light fixture I've always wanted took a bit of prep, but it all got done pretty quickly.  I spray-painted it green, took off most of the old hardware, found an appropriate outdoor string of lights, and drilled holes for the bulbs.

It's pretty awesome...check it out:


*  If you are ever lost on the way to the Flowood Flea Market, don't stop by the airport to look at google maps on your phone.  The authorities will not be impressed.

well then, back again.

So, obviously regular blogging is harder than I thought.  It seems to be one of those things that can very easily fall by the wayside if I don't stick to a routine.

Summer got a bit crazy, and absolutely routine-less.  Plenty of things got done, but the various trips and projects absorbed whole weeks. 

I'm so glad that it's fall.  So very glad. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

new recipe for easter numbers 2.0 and 2.5

I have decided that two beverage recipes equal one food recipe.  Hopefully, everyone else will agree.

The recipes in question are for delicious raspberry citrus punch and an AMAZING fizzy minty thymy drinky drink.  If you have a porch, you should make one of them right now and get out on the porch.  They are both perfect for sitting outside before it gets too hot for that to be fun.

The raspberry citrus punch might be the easiest beverage in the world to concoct.  All you need is a 2L of citrus-flavored soda - diet or regular - and Raspberry Zinger tea.  That tea is available at just about any grocery store- follow the link to get a picture.  To make the punch, put two of the tea bags in the 2L and let it steep.  The wonderful person who taught me this trick recommended steeping it overnight....but I am not the most patient person and have found that less time is okay.  When you open the bottle again it will be VERY fizzy.  Watch out for that.  The resulting punch is delicious and quite low-calorie if you use the diet soda.  It's also a pretty pink color.

The second beverage has a few more ingredients.  I first saw it at a restaurant called Jackson, so we are going to call it The Jackson.

The Jackson
8 oz. club soda
1 teaspoon lemon juice
fresh mint (about 4 leaves)
fresh thyme (about 1T)
sugar to taste or one splenda

Muddle your herbs in the bottom of the glass using a muddler or a wooden spoon.  If you aren't a regular muddler, just try to crush the leaves without breaking them.  They will quickly become more fragrant.  Then pour the lemon juice over the herbs and add the sweetener.  Next pour the club soda over the mixture and stir.  Add some ice last.  You will have a delicious and refreshing beverage. 

If you so desire, you can add a shot of vodka.  Considering the rate at which I like to drink these, that's not the best idea for me. 

Stay tuned for inspirational pictures!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

juan's flying burrito

We had a late lunch on Friday at Juan's Flying Burrito (I found this photo online because I forgot to take one).    Juan's is one of our favorite restaurants - if we were making a list of the places we eat most often, it would be top ten....never mind the fact that it's about three hours from our house to that sign.   We go to the one Uptown on Magazine - I hear that there's another branch somewhere....allegedly the waitstaff is nicer at the other location, but the food is not as good.

My favorite of all time is the jerk chicken burrito.  delicious.  This time, Gates and I shared it along with the guac/salsa/queso with chips.   The service was strangely quick....as in, we got all of our food within ten minutes of walking in the door.  Can't say enough good things about Juan's.

You should also know that we spent about half of our lunch talking about opening a burrito place in Jackson.  We think the city needs one - probably somewhere near Millsaps.  Neither Gates nor I have spent much time waiting tables or managing a restaurant...but we did watch Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey A WHOLE LOT last year.  It's all about fresh, local, ingredients, apparently. 

So, let me know if you want in on the burrito idea!  We are totally ready for such a venture, I promise.....

Saturday, May 7, 2011

this week

this week has been horrible, terrible, no good, and whatever else poor Alexander experienced during his unfortunate day.

I am pretty sure that I will write a longer post with the whole story later, but the synopsis is that our precious beagle Pepper was hit by a car and is now in the ICU at Mississippi State's Vet School.  She has a good prognosis, but it has been unbelievably stressful.

If the world would like to send me a reward, I would like this.  Either color would be fine. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

eastertide recipe number one: tacos with ground turkey meat

Tonight we had tacos!  The recipe is here.  It's actually for Turkey Tacos Picadillo.   When I read the title, I thought it said Turkey Tacos Peccadillo.  That recipe name was FAR more strange and potentially funny. 

In any case, it was delicious!  I continue to be a fan of throwing together spices rather than buying the taco seasoning.  Gates prepared the taco meat and I chopped tomato, lettuce, and avocado.  Unfortunately, the avocado tasted terrible.  for real, TERRIBLE.  So we threw that out.   And we did not cook the tortillas - just warmed them up. 

And then we watched Game of Thrones (which is beyond fraught with intrigue) and Treme.  It's not tv, it's HBO.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

post-lock-in grossness

Warning:  The following picture is kinda gross.  It features the MUTANT, MONSTER blister that I got wearing one of my favorite pairs of flats.  I wear them all the time, so I have no idea why this happened.  But it was definitely the result of the confirmation lock-in.  So....workman's comp, anyone? 

For real, have you ever seen anything like it?

The lock-in went really well, though, and due to the supreme kindness of the other chaperones I got to go home and sleep for about 4.5 hours.  That was truly awesome, because it meant that the 7:30AM service was far more pleasant than it would have been after sleeping on the floor of the nave. 

btw, I wonder if there is a more efficient way of getting photos from my phone to this blog, rather than emailing them to myself then downloading them then uploading them to blogger.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter List!

New season in the church means new list on the blog.

Here's what I want to accomplish before Pentecost - which is June 12th this year, y'all.

clean out my desk - and clear off the top of it too

clean out my craft supplies, particularly fabric
hang up the things we got framed during lent

try four new recipes

finish reading Stuff

update my CDO profile and my resume

decide what color to paint the bedroom

get the rest of our china ordered

finish the painting in our dining room (for real this time)

*Pentecost is also the staff training day for the camp session that Gates and I are directing at Bratton-Green.  We still have spots for kiddos that have completed the third and fourth grades.  Head over to graycenter.org if you know a child that would enjoy summer camp!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Update

So, here's the list I started with for Lent...let's see how I did!

try five new recipes
got this one on lock: spicy orange chicken, chicken fajitas, chicken piccata, 
jerk chicken kebabs, and turkey meatballs and tomato sauce
work on the lentil recipe I have for the crock pot
 done - made that this week, it was much better.

organize the sock drawer
definitely better than on Ash Wednesday....the socks are no longer spilling out and causing issues.  but it probably still needs some work...mainly for sentimental reasons.  Have you ever lost one half of your favorite pair of socks and been unwilling to let the other one go?  I have.
clean out my closets and take things to the salvation army
did this one.  then found out I needed to donate things to another organization in August.  oops.
get the print that we bought in israel framed
get the print that Gates got in south africa framed
check and check
print pictures from the wedding and frame them and display them
if only pictures didn't have that s on the end!  we framed one big group shot.
paint a picture for my goddaughter's door
take the picture to my goddaughter 
yep, for sure. wrote about it here.
take pictures of the things my sister and I have painted and get the etsy store running
didn't do this one.  I think this was just not high enough on my priority list.
I need some outside motivation to get this one done...maybe from my sister.
find abita strawberry, save for easter
whoa.  this turned out to be WAY harder than I expected.
while in New Orleans, dear friends found me a six-pack at Rouses, YAY!
plan a vacation for May
done!  leaving on May 9th, can't wait!
see two live music acts
Kermit Ruffins and Lady Gaga.  awesome.
finish the painting I started in our living room 
I meant the dining room, but that didn't really matter.  I didn't do it.
this has the highest probability of making it on the Great 50 Days of Easter list.
finish reading "the blessing of a skinned knee"
this one took me very little time, because I didn't realize I only had about twenty pages left. love this book!
get a plan together to learn more spanish 
oh dear.  I didn't even remember that this was on the list.
I really really want to learn Spanish.

I am writing a new list for Easter...the season, not the day, which is pretty much over.
The only thing on my to-do list for today is going to sleep.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday Sermon

           Ten years ago, I spent the third weekend in April traveling by myself.  I was studying abroad, and I had decided that there was one more place I needed to see before coming back to America.  I took one overnight train to Prague, and then another overnight train to Krakow, in Poland.  I spent the early morning hours wandering around Krakow, trying my best to figure out signs in Polish, until I found first the bus station and then the bus that I wanted.   It was a local bus, and it would take me to Auschwitz. 
It was a short bus ride before I was dropped off at one of the two centers for visitors.  I picked up a pamphlet and a map in English, then walked out into the former concentration camp.  There were no guided tours.  I was on my own.  Throughout the rest of that day, I saw the original entrance, with the infamous script reading Work Makes One Free in German.  I saw the buildings and remains of buildings where hundreds of prisoners slept.  I saw a display case filled with the hair taken from women, men, and children.  It was ninety-eight feet long.  A third of the length of a football field.   Towards the end of the day, I saw the gas chambers where prisoners were executed.  I wanted to cry, but somehow it wasn’t possible.  I knew how to mourn one person’s death, but how to mourn the deaths of one point one million people? 
As much as I did not want to believe that human beings could be capable of such horrors, I knew that it was all true.  A deep weight settled in on my heart, the weight of knowing what people are capable of doing to each other.   
Over time, that weight lifted, but I feel it again today.  It is impossible for me to hear the story of Jesus being betrayed, judged, beaten, and then crucified without encountering the profound brokenness that will always be a part of our humanity.  
We hear that Jesus was betrayed by someone he considered a friend. We hear that Jesus was not only beaten, but also mocked.  We hear Pilate succumb to peer pressure and hand Jesus over to be executed rather than risk a breach of friendship with the emperor.   And finally, we hear of the crucifixion and death of our Savior. 
Again and again we hear that Jesus is being subjected to emotional and physical pain, and yet we do not hear him object or try to change the course of history.  We can all picture the injuries that Jesus sustained in our minds, we can see the horrible nature of his death, and yet we do not see him rising up against his captors and walking away from humanity.
Instead, we hear that Jesus humbled himself unto death.  He gave himself up willingly to be taken into custody, sentenced, and executed.  He allowed all of this to happen.  He allowed these things because he wanted to save us, he wanted to make sure that we would be able to live as children of the light for generations upon generations. 
Given his personal knowledge of how prone to pettiness, self-absorption, and greed humans can be, it is a wonder that Jesus chose to give up his life for us.  Given his awareness of the multitude of sins that we commit against each other and God, it is unbelievable that he would make that choice. 
And yet, he did.  And today, Good Friday, the church takes a collective deep breath and acknowledges this gift.  This is a difficult day, because in order to acknowledge the enormity of the gift that Jesus has given each and every one of us, we must acknowledge just how much we need it.  We must be willing to admit that we have personally fallen short, and that as a consequence we are in need of the saving power of Christ. 
That is a frightening thing.  Few people enjoy taking stock of their lives to remember the times when they needed the unconditional love and forgiveness of God the most.  Even fewer people would like to take stock of their lives right now, looking for the situations and relationships that need to be turned over to God.  It’s a painful process, one that takes a good bit of time.  It’s the kind of systematic evaluation that cannot be finished in one hour-long church service, the kind that requires true effort and willingness to change one’s life.
Yet, without that process, the meaning of this day, Good Friday, is lost.  If we fast-forward in our minds to Saturday evening, avoiding this day entirely, then what will we give thanks for on Sunday morning?  Without Jesus crucified, the rest of the story does not make sense.    Without Jesus dead and buried, how could he be raised?
And so we sit in this church stripped bare of everything that we are accustomed to seeing.  We sit here and we allow ourselves to feel the burden of our brokenness as a collective people and as individuals.  Soon, we will give thanks and praise, but for now, we wait with heavy hearts.    

Thursday, April 21, 2011

lentils...they're what's for dinner.

Clergy couple + Holy Week = not a lot of time to make dinner.

Monday-Wednesday went pretty well, but we knew heading into this week that Thursday-Saturday were not going to be so great as far as time in the home.

That means ... lentil time!  This recipe for Indian spiced lentils in the crock-pot makes enough for both of us to have dinner tonight and the next two nights.  It's also delicious enough that we want to eat it three nights in a row.  Perfect.  So, I ran home this afternoon between a coffee appointment and the Maundy Thursday prep meeting to throw it together. 

The first time we made the crock-pot lentils, we made a hybrid of that recipe and this one.  It was not nearly spicy enough.  So this time, I just used the first recipe and tripled many of the spices...specifically the coriander, tumeric, mustard, and cumin.  I did not triple the garlic or the parsley.  I added a bit more kosher salt, but not triple.  And an extra can of green chiles.

I didn't add the chicken to the crock-pot, because I couldn't find the chicken in the freezer.  Worked out though, Gates cooked some chicken and brown rice when he got home from the Chapel.

I kinda hate that I forgot to take a picture, but I guess I will have a couple of days to get that photo.  Also, it's not the most photogenic dish in the world.

Here are my favorite new-ish songs right now...

look at me now
by busta rhymes, lil wayne, and chris brown
(not safe for work or kids)
this is technically chris brown's song, but I put the artists in order of my preference

if I die young, the band perry

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

blood donation: FAIL

I got an email today about a baby in town that needed folks to donate blood (actually, platelets).   I was not positive that I was the right blood type, but I was pretty sure there was a good chance I was qualified.  My parents are O and A, so I have to be either O or A, right?  High school biology - anybody remember that?

It's been a while since I was eligible to donate blood - seems like just about the time I become eligible again, I travel to one of the countries that is not approved.  But Israel and Jordan received the all clear from MS Blood Services, so I headed out there.

I made it through the first part of the questioning.   I passed my iron test, which was awesome since I don't eat red meat.  My blood pressure was a little high, but that was probably because someone had explained the process of donating platelets to me (yikes!).

And then the nice nurse took my temperature.  It was 100.5.  She asked if I had been chewing gum or something - nope.  She took it again, on the other side of my mouth.  100.3.  And with that reading, I failed the mini-physical.

Not only could I not give blood today, apparently I am sick. 

This is not ideal.

Side note:  How do people know their blood type?  I called my doctor, and they had never tested it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ra ra ah ah ah, roma, ro ma ma

You might remember that one the items on my lenten check list was to see two live musical performances.  We knocked both of those out on one trip to New Orleans, seeing Kermit Ruffins at the Rock-n-Bowl on Friday night and Lady Gaga at the arena by the Superdome on Saturday night.

Kermit Ruffins was fun times, though the rock-n-bowl had made the dubious decision to put hula hoops out on the dance floor.  There were a couple of girls that LOVED the hula hoops, and so a huge chunk of the floor was unavailable for the general public.  We did not approve, and eventually took care of the problem via stealthy methods. 

Saturday, though, was a whole other category of fun times.  Gates scored us general admission tickets on eBay to see Gaga, and we got there at a respectably early time, so we were about eight feet from the part of the stage that jutted out into the crowd.  We were just to the right of a guy with a mohawk made of Barbie legs, and just to the left of a girl with a hat made from a rotary phone.  Our outfits were quite tame by comparison - I was wearing a red dress, purple leggings, and yellow jewelry.  I also had my bridal veil on, but sideways for a different effect.  Gates wore normal clothes, but did have a bull-fighter hat. 

I could go on for paragraphs as to Gaga's talents and outfits - she really is an amazing performer, and whoever designs her costumes has quite the imagination.  But the thing that was most striking about the concert for me was the time that she spent talking to the audience.  The first short speech she delivered was about body image.  She talked about being bullied in school, about being consider strange-looking, etc.  And she told everyone that the public didn't get to decide whether or not they are attractive.  Pretty interesting.  The second speech ended up being more of a sermon - she talked about how some people say that Jesus only loves some people, but really Jesus loves everybody.  You could have knocked me over with a feather - I expected the show to be strange, but this was outside of my expectations. 

I was immediately struck by two things:
  • Lady Gaga had a captive audience of about 20,000 for her homily
  • I will probably not preach to 20,000 different people during my entire preaching life
Haven't really completely processed what that means...

It was a great show though.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

love this fabric

Saw this chair on design*sponge, here.  Fell in love with the idea of recovering one of the chairs we have....but can't find the fabric anywhere.  Sadness.

But it sure is beautiful, isn't it?

at least it wasn't black swan

I had my first anxiety dream about breastfeeding last week.  Right now, before anyone gets any ideas, I would like to make it clear that I am definitely not pregnant.  I am 110% sure that it was my anxiety about another topic that caused me to dream about having a baby - a newborn that I had to give formula because breastfeeding was not working.  And I was heartsick about it - partially because I really wanted it to work, and partially because I did not want to tell people that I was giving my baby formula.

That's pretty strange, right?  On the one hand, why would my anxiety be manifested in a dream about something I have never done, instead of the usual math test dream?  On the other hand, breastfeeding - whether or not women are choosing to breastfeed, what they wear while breastfeeding, where they breastfeed, how long they breastfeed, whether or not they give up too soon, how many times they see a lactation consultant, etc.  -  seems like the most judgement-y topic among women my age right now.

I hear about it a whole lot, it seems.  And I get that I don't have the personal experience of you know, having a kiddo, that would give this more credence - but I think that if ever there was a time that a woman would need/want/pray for the support of other women, it would be right after giving birth.   I am sad to know that women feel judged at such a vulnerable time.  

I hope that someday it will work out for me (the benefits are awesome, after all).  I really really hope that this particular dream won't come true.   But I hope even more that if it just isn't working, I will be able to make peace with the situation - and have the support of my friends.

And if anybody needs someone to tell them that sometimes you have to make parenting decisions that you are not thrilled about - and that does not make you a bad mom (or dad) - give me a call.  I will be glad to be that person.

Monday, April 11, 2011

the house, it is not in order

One major side effect of the past three weeks of fun events is a rather unfortunate level of cleanliness in our home.  it's not like there are other living organisms competing for our oxygen, that would be worse, but there is a TON of dirty laundry and the bathtub hasn't been scrubbed in some time.   and...I have an admittedly strange relationship with clutter where it totally doesn't bother me at all and then all of a sudden I must have a clean house, as in NOW.  

Gates and I also haven't quite figured out how to both do chores on a regular basis - I previously used the method of just picking up stuff every few days and cleaning more when company was on the way.  That worked just fine for me when I was by myself, but now that there is a whole other person in the house, it is time to get intentional.  

And that means....a chore chart is in order. I did a good bit of googling earlier today and discovered that the average chore chart :
  •  is for small children  
  • includes things like making the bed (which is not my biggest problem, frankly)  
  • ties chores to specific days (not good when your schedule varies) 
  • requires the use of gold stars or similar stickers.  (Though I wouldn't necessarily mind receiving a gold star for mundane tasks, it somehow seems wrong to award myself one for doing a load of laundry.)
So, I ended up creating my own, which is below.  I am confident that after a few weeks we will need to add some things or change the frequency of the chores.  But at least now we have something we can check off each day that reminds us of what generally needs doing.  Does anyone else have a chore chart?  Is this the saddest thing ever, that two fairly competent adults have to have a list to keep the house clean?
*please note that I am not even trying to pretend that we will do our own yard work.  Every single time I trim things or rake leaves or do anything in the yard, I end up with poison ivy.  And that's after poisoning all the plants I could find.  So I am done.  It wins.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

living on the west side of state

I just found out that we can't watch the stories that we DVR in the living room in our bedroom because...well...we live on the west side of state street.  That option isn't available to us yet. 

back before we got married, when it was just my house, lots of people expressed concern that I had bought a house on the "wrong" side of state.  This was confusing for me.   I live on a quiet street, I have lovely neighbors, it's a shockingly short commute to work, what more could I want?

the first time I tried to order pizza, I got an error message from Papa John's online.  it said that my house was too far away from the local Papa John's branch to get delivery...but I knew that it wasn't really very far, so I called.  Turns out, they don't deliver over here.   I could go pick up the pizza at the store - but I have enough neighborhood pride that I usually just order from Pizza Hut, which is happy to bring pizza to my home.  After all, if papa john's doesn't want me as a customer, then I should not want them as a pizza provider, right?

for a while, I didn't have a security system, but eventually I decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to get one.  The guy who came to install it told me that he thought it was a good idea for a single girl to have a security system, but that I probably didn't need to worry much about theft.....as everyone knew that the houses were nicer on the other side of the street, so most thieves went over there in the hopes of better loot.  This news was strangely comforting. 

and later pepper the beagle and then my husband moved in.  I am not here alone any more - and I rarely think about my safety.   I do religiously set the house alarm and take great pains to hide the things that I would be upset about getting stolen - the things that would not be valuable to anyone else like they are to me....a necklace we got on our honeymoon from a store very much like Anthropologie, if Anthropologie only sold accessories... But that's just common sense, right? 

Or do people really live differently over there, in the land of promise just a two or three blocks east of here?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I forgot to take pictures of the garden today.   Well, technically I did remember, but it was after dark and the pictures are terrible.    

The basil plants are over there to the right....one survived the storm, the other didn't.  Happily, it seems to have been our only casualty so far.   I have no idea when I should next water these plants.  They got swamped by the rain, and still seem rather well-watered. 

In other news, I have been to Louisiana for the past two weekends and will be going back to Louisiana this weekend.  The timing has been strange, but everything has been very fun.

The first weekend, I got to see my sweet god-daughter in Shreveport.  One of my Lenten goals was to paint her a picture and take it to her - because I sent her baby brother a painting for the hospital room's door when he was born. 

(Side note:  I mentioned this hospital door sign concept to a couple of people who are not from MS or northern LA, and they had no idea what I was talking about.  Apparently, that's a local thing.)

Anyway, that goal has been reached - Eleri has a sheep for her door, over on the left.

Eamon's monkey is on the right.  His name was unknown (to me!) before the birth, so his mom filled it in. 

It was a very good visit - including a special dinner at 2Johns.  If you happen to be in the Shreveport area, check it out!  I had the blackened salmon, which was very delicious.  So many things looked good that I had a hard time choosing - next time I will get the runner-up,  snapper over goat cheese mashed potatoes. 

It was sad to leave Shreveport, but the knowledge that I would be heading to new orleans in less than a week was comforting.  more on new orleans soon - after I go back in two days!

Monday, April 4, 2011

container garden!

Yesterday, I planted a bunch of plants in containers:  three 5-gallon buckets, four enameled aluminum bowls, and one actual planter.  The aluminum bowls have been used in my family to shell peas for a long time.  I had to get a fancy drill bit to make the drainage holes in the aluminum bowls.  I had two of the buckets and bought one.  I am not really sure where I got the planter, but it has been hanging out on the top shelf of a closet for a long time. 

It was quite the process, beginning with buying the baby plants in New Orleans at the farmers' market.  For twenty dollars, I became the proud owner of a ton of plants: rosemary, basil, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, serrano peppers, thyme, chives, parsley, and three kinds of mint (mojito, orange, and lemon-lime).  I got a patio tomato plant and another bell pepper plant at the store when I got potting soil. 

I am torn between a great sense of pride that I have actual plants on my actual front porch....and a feeling of dread that they may be dead soon because of the torrential rain and temperature drop that has happened this evening.  Also, I am not known for keeping plants alive.  Bamboo died in my house this year.  That's right, bamboo.  It's hard to kill bamboo.

There will be pictures tomorrow - assuming the plants survive!

And...if you think this whole gardening on your front porch in five gallon buckets thing is just a bit too precious, don't worry, I know.  For real, I know. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

drug tests

dear parents of kids in grades ten through twelve,

You should definitely be drug testing your kids.  Here's why:

One:  Peer pressure is an amazing force of nature.  Kids need a reason why they can't smoke pot.  If you regularly drug test your kids, then they have a reason: you, their totally lame parents. 

Two:   Many kids will smoke pot at some point in high school.  If they have pretty immediate consequences, that will help them figure out that it is a bad idea.

Three:  There's no real down side.  It's pretty easy to do - they sell them online, you mail in a hair and can get the results online in seven-ten business days.  Click here for one option.

Maybe your kids get drug tested at school - that makes this a bit easier.  But make sure you know how often the school tests your kids...every 90 days or so is a good idea, because that's how long a hair test works.

And remember, this has nothing to do with your kid being good or bad or smart or not.  Even the best and smartest kids will make bad decisions from time to time.  If you establish that drug testing is part of your family's plan for the teenage years, then it's not about their new friend that you don't like or whatever.  It's just part of their life. 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

i love this song

people are sometimes surprised by the fact that I love rap music.  is it really that strange?  I don't know.  but this is one of my favorite songs right now:

non-edited version

edited version

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Alright, so, I had wanted to see Black Swan for weeks before I did.  It premiered, it went to a major market release...but it didn't make it to Jackson.  And then, one day, it was at Malco.  And I was very excited.

Gates and I went to see it one afternoon....and it was horrible.  I don't mean that the cinematography or the acting was terrible - it was a well shot, well acted movie.  But I hated almost every minute of it.  I did not know that I had signed up to see Natalie Portman slip into insanity...and watching that journey made me anxious beyond belief.  The scenes where she pulled at her cuticles....there are no words for how awful they were.  If I had possessed an ounce of sense, I would have left...but leaving seemed like the wimpy thing to do.  After all, it was just a movie, right?  And the make-up was awesome, if nothing else.

So I was jumpy for the rest of the day.  And then I had nightmares for two nights. 

Over spring break, Gates took the EYC from Chapel of the Cross to see The Unknown.  I went with them, because it was my day off.  I had heard that it was good - and I have liked Liam Neeson for years, thanks to Love Actually. But the poor guy couldn't figure out who he was - his wife wouldn't talk to him.  And the camera work was full of spins and other obvious visual representations of confusion. 

I made it about forty-five minutes in the movie before I left.

Then I told Gates I would see him later and went to Hudson's. 

Next movie I see in the theater is a romantic comedy.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

sermon preview

         When I was in the ninth grade, a group of us managed to convince our parents and the curate at Mediator in Meridian that we should go to New Orleans for our annual EYC trip.  This was not an easy task, particularly because we wanted to go to the first weekend of Jazz Fest.  I don’t really remember too much about the music that weekend, but I have vivid memories of seeing the Quarter at night for the first time.   I was one of five baffled fourteen year olds – all of us properly astonished at the sights and sounds of the street. 
But of all the sights that surprised me, the one that seemed most outrageous was a middle-aged man with a beard holding a huge cross.  As I walked by, he handed me a pamphlet and screamed, “Have you been born again?”  Needless to say, I did not answer.  I put my head down and kept walking.  
It was not the first time I had been asked that question, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.  But at that point I really had no idea what it meant.  My first problem was that, like Nicodemus, I took the question literally.     Since it didn’t make much sense from that point of view, I didn’t know why anyone would ask that.  Secondly, I had never paid much attention to this story, so I definitely did not know that Jesus had said we must all be born again.   I thought that language had been created by someone out there – maybe preachers in other denominations - who told their flocks to go out and question the faith of everyone they met. 
Since I didn’t have the knowledge of this story necessary to get the question, it seemed like he was making an accusation rather than beginning a conversation.  That’s actually been my impression many times when being asked whether or not I was born again – that the person asking me was doubting my faith, my ability to relate to God, maybe even the Episcopal church’s relationship with God. 
And that’s a sad, sad thing.  Because I am positive that Jesus did not intend for this metaphor to create differences of opinion between Christians.  Rather, he intended to make a point about all who believe.  That point, it would seem, is that we are all new people as we come to believe in God.  The Holy Spirit is with us in all things – guiding us, helping us to live the very best way that we can.  We are no longer just the product of our human parents, we are now reborn with the Spirit.  If we can remove all of the other  connotations we may have from these words, we will find them to be quite lovely, even poetic. 
After all, for most people there is a deep reassurance in knowing that Christians are not alone - God will always be with us.    For many people, it is a relief to imagine that there is a way to begin anew, leaving behind the things that prevented them from being the people they wanted to be.  And for some, whose parents were unable to care for them as they needed, there is an abiding comfort in the knowledge that the Holy Spirit is another source of love and guidance.
So maybe it’s time for us Episcopalians to reclaim this concept of being born again.   It’s okay that Episcopalians are not really known for asking people if they have been born again, or if they have been saved, or really asking too many questions about someone else’s faith at all.  It’s just not our thing.  I would say that our thing is to let our faith be known through our actions.  We are far more likely to be found building a home with Habitat or sorting canned goods at Stewpot than to be seen walking Bourbon Street late at night looking for converts.   We show others that we are new creations in God by the way we live our lives.
In that way, we are a good bit like Nicodemus.  As we heard, he came to Jesus to ask questions at night – out of the sight of the crowds.  He was leader of the Jews, and as such, he was not interested in loudly broadcasting his interest in Jesus.  He took the less public route to discuss his faith.  
But Nicodemus appears twice more in John, and in his third appearance Nicodemus is the one that comes to help Joseph of Aramathea prepare Jesus’ body for the tomb.  When he is needed, he is ready and willing to be of service to Christ.  He is ready to do the work that needs to be done, and he is not afraid for everyone to know that he believes.
Perhaps our task in this church is to follow his example, to continue to be the hands and feet of Christ in this world, finding new ways to be more visibly Christian in our actions.   After all, there are many simple ways that we can identify ourselves as Christians without rudely imposing our beliefs on those around us. 
For example, over the past six months of marriage, I have been learning a new discipline of saying grace at restaurants.  You see, Gates never fails to say a prayer – out loud – before eating.  I, on the other hand, have always been content to say a silent prayer when in public, mainly because I feel awkward.  I feel awkward praying while waiters are trying to refill glasses and I feel like everyone is watching me do this weird thing. 
But now that I’ve been praying with Gates for a while, it’s better.  I still feel awkward, but less so.  Sometimes, it’s even okay.  I have realized that generally, waiters are just trying to do their jobs, not dissect our behavior.   And, maybe, someone who has seen us pray has been one of the hundreds of people in this town who are unsure if this Christianity thing is worth considering.  Maybe, somehow, it helped further the mission of the church – and maybe not.
The truth is, of course, that we may never know who is impacted by our actions.  We may never know who will see the light of Christ in our lives and be born again into a new life with the Spirit as a result.  We can only continue doing what we do to the best, living out our faith in this world as the new creations that we are. 


Friday, March 18, 2011

new couch!

This is our new couch model - color-wise, our couch will be a gray that has a bit of blue rather than the white.  We are getting the yellow/orange pillows though!

This was after MONTHS of looking for a couch that was just right.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

abita strawberry

Abita strawberry is delicious.  If you have not had the pleasure of meeting abita strawberry, this is what you should be looking for:

(the radiating lines are to represent the awesomeness emitted by this product)

The Abita makes a variety of beers - some that are available all year and some that are seasonal.  They call some of the seasonal brews, "harvest brews." I have no idea what the difference might be.

Anyway, here's the description from their site:

"Strawberry Harvest Lager is a wheat beer made with real Louisiana strawberries, picked late in the season when they’re at their sweetest. This brew has earned quite a reputation in a short time, causing the brewery to up their production year after year."

Unfortunately, this is the sight I have encountered everywhere in Jackson,
even after a facebook appeal:

(if you can't make this out,
it's the Abita strawberry label
with nothing behind it)

I saw the local distributor in McDade's today - he said that there are four cases at the Sprint Mart in Florence (which is about 13 miles away).   I haven't worked up the level of dedication necessary to go to Florence to buy some of it.  But if anybody reading this has that level of dedication, please bring me some!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

brand new recipe number three

tonight's dinner was from this book:

I ordered it from Amazon in anticipation of needing new recipes to try.  And it has a ton of recipes that look good.  We definitely had a hard time deciding what to try first.

We picked the turkey meatballs in red sauce.  Gates cooked while I shredded old EOBs and bills.  It was quite the evening of domesticity.  We had the sauce over whole wheat pasta. This is, by a good bit, my favorite of the recipes we have tried this Lent.  It did take an eternity - mainly because the meatballs have to set up for at least an hour, but the product was worth it. 

Anyway, if you are thinking about ordering this book, do it!  I was not expecting the lengthy explanations as to why the recipe has certain ingredients rather than others, but it does make you appreciate the concept of the test kitchen.

Monday, March 14, 2011

brand new recipe number two

Chicken Fajitas! 

Gates made chicken fajitas tonight, using this recipe.  We were planning to have a fajita salad, so we left out the green bell peppers.  The chicken and onions were quite good with baby greens, fresh spinach, tomatoes, avocado, green onions, salsa, and a bit of cheese. 

Our only complaint is that the fajita marinade was a bit too liquid-y...so the fajitas had a sauce of sorts that was not ideal for the salad.  But, this recipe was purportedly developed by an eight year old (!), so I guess we did pretty well.

I liked having the spices come together from the spice rack rather than buying Fajita seasoning at the store, mainly because I am familiar with all the ingredients. 

For comparison, here's the list of ingredients in one brand's fajita seasoning packet:  maltodextrin, spices (including black pepper), salt, onion, garlic, corn syrup solids, caramel color, lime juice solids, citric acid, natural flavors, and modified corn starch.  That just seems unnecessary, when the spice mix is not particularly difficult to create. 

So, two recipes down...three to go!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

brand new recipe number one

We made Spicy Orange Chicken Stir-Fry tonight!

I did not take a picture...but frankly, it tasted better than it looked.

We got the recipe here.  It was very good.  We doubled the recipe because we had folks over....we probably could have had a bit more chicken.  Or I could have remembered that brown rice takes 40 minutes to cook - as it was, we did not have rice.  Friends contributed a salad and a delicious bundt cake.

Changes I made:  I did not see the fancy peppercorns at the Kroger, so I omitted those.  I also omitted the tomatoes and scallions because we had other veggies in mind.  Instead of the chili bean sauce (also not locally available), I used sriracha.  I halved the amount because I was worried about too much spice.  I also added the juice of one orange so it would be more orange-y.  The additional liquid also meant that it could cook down a bit while the broccoli, orange bell peppers, and sugar snap peas got tender - those were cooked separately in veggie oil, soy sauce, and a little bit of chicken stock.  Lastly, I did not add the salt.  The soy sauce seemed to have that covered. 

Things I will remember:  This would be easier with a wok, I am thinking.  The very hot pan + oil + ginger part was not particularly fun.  In fact there was a leaping flame for a second.   Also, brown rice takes a long time to cook. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

christmas...it was a while back, yes.

Yep, it was our first Christmas as a married couple.  It was also our first Christmas for one of us to have the flu (that would be me) and our first Christmas to host dinner for our families.  Which meant that it was Gates's first Christmas to cook a major portion of the meal.  Besides the veggies and potatoes, he made a red velvet cake from scratch.  It was a big hit.

We had two shades of green Fiestaware, so we decided to get some red place settings to supplement those.  I had grand plans of making napkin rings....but ended up putting the supplies in the cabinet when I became too fever-y to function.  Our table looked like this:

pretty festive, yes?

Best part:  neither of the infants who came to dinner caught the flu. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

luck, or a general lack thereof

I don't know anything about being lucky.  From a young age, I realized that my sister had gotten all of my family's hereditary luck.  She won several grocery store raffles by the age of ten, was always standing on the right square at the cake-walk, and always beat me playing Monopoly by NEVER landing on my property.  

My general lack of luck doesn't affect my life too much these days.  I have stopped buying raffle tickets and don't patron any of MS's many casinos.  But, occasionally, I decide to leave Jackson and go somewhere else.  Something happens on every trip that confirms, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the fact that I might should have stayed at home. 

My latest example:  this February, Gates and I went to Israel and Jordan with a group of Mississippi Episcopalians.  One of the most impressive stops we made was to Petra, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.  It's also the temple hidden in the desert where Indiana Jones finds the Holy Grail in the Last Crusade movie.  

Before Petra became a national park/tourist site, a group of bedouin lived and worked there.  When the government set up the park, they decided that the bedouin would continue to work there, setting up cafes, souvenir shops, postcard stands, etc.  They also have a thriving business offering novelty camel rides. 

Now, I know better than to try to ride a camel.  I am not coordinated.  As such, I don't like skates, bikes, horses, or really any situation where I can fall off something and onto the ground.  But, the peer pressure to ride a camel was pretty intense.  The older people in my group were riding the camels around in a circle....Gates rode the camel around in a circle...Gates really wanted to ride the camel for a km or so, and he wanted me to ride one too.  Eventually, I decided that I was being silly and that I could do it.  We made a deal with a camel driver to pay him 20 Jordanian dinar for the two of us (about 30 dollars), and he brought the camels over.

Gates got on his camel first.  All was well.  But....the SECOND that my camel stood up, Gates' camel bit mine.  On the tail.  And wouldn't let go.  My camel went crazy.  It ran in a circle, it tried to throw me off...and the camel driver couldn't get it to stop.  I was screaming.  Gates was trying to talk to me.  It was terrible, and I was SURE that I was going to fall off the camel.  After what seemed like hours of this, the camel stopped being horrible.  I had not fallen off.  Life returned to normal.  Sure, I cried (out of relief) when I got off the camel fifteen minutes later, but I was still able to take pictures of Petra.   And our camel driver got this one of us...I think I am masking the fear pretty well!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

To-Do List

I recently read a blog post where the author listed all of her new year's resolutions from 2010 AND 'fessed up as to whether or not she had accomplished them.  I am not much for new year's resolutions...too overwhelming at an overwhelming time of year.  But I am great at making to-do lists and checking things off.  So this is going to be my official Lenten project - getting as many things on the list below done as possible.  And blogging. 

try five new recipes
work on the lentil recipe I have for the crock pot
organize the sock drawer
clean out my closets and take things to the salvation army
get the print that we bought in israel framed
get the print that Gates got in south africa framed
print pictures from the wedding and frame them and display them
paint a picture for my goddaughter's door
take the picture to my goddaughter
take pictures of the things my sister and I have painted and get the etsy store running
find abita strawberry, save for easter
plan a vacation for May
see two live music acts
finish the painting I started in our living room
finish reading "the blessing of a skinned knee"
get a plan together to learn more spanish

There's a lot on this list - we shall see how it goes!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

oh, the magical internet

websites you should read if you aren't already:

Etiquette Hell - the premise here is simple.  if your friend or relative has done something worthy of being banished to Etiquette Hell, write in to this website.  They publish a few stories of abject behavior every week.

amalah - blog written by a stay-at-home-mom/stay-at-home-writer with two boys in the Washington, DC metro area.  I know somebody who saw her once at 2 Amys, a pizza restaurant near the National Cathedral.   It's like we are bff.

Dear Prudence - advice column at Slate.  always a ridiculous mix of sticky situations and problems that have obvious solutions.

Project Rungay - the original focus was Project Runway, but now Tom and Lorenzo blog about fashion in general.  They are hilarious, and so their blog is hilarious.  It also has a great layout for browsing.

Swistle Baby Names - Swistle advises people on what they should name their baby, based on their parameters.  It's like a logic puzzle, figuring out complex questions like: what name is like Basil but more masculine and starting with C and not ending in D, E, or R and sounds good with the sibling name Morris?

Mamapop - it's pop culture celebrity gossip guess who's pregnant and cheating on their boyfriend have you heard of the kardashians? etc.  And I check it every morning.