Sunday, August 31, 2008

Memory Verse

Psalm 90:14, New International Version

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Few Impossibilities

That it is almost September.

Of 2008.

That my parents are at retirement age.

That L and I have known each other for well over a decade.

That, based on how fast the last years have gone, I will be 40 in the blink of an eye.

That I'm this close to 40 and have the job I do.

That I still have never made pie crust from scratch.

Because I'm scared to try it.

Because what, the pie crust police will arrest me if I don't do well at it?

That I've been a homeowner for almost 5 years.

And that I still have yet to hang up almost anything on the walls. (Decorating paralysis. I think it's a real term. And I have it.)

That I really don't know the meaning of the word "few."

That I live in the Midwest.

And like it.

That L thinks I'm beautiful.

And sexy.

And tells me so all the time.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Things You Probably Need To Clean

I subscribe to Home Ec 101, and a recent post there caught my attention. Titled "5 Things You Probably Need To Clean," it made me a little ashamed of my housekeeping.

#1 - Top of the fridge. Definitely I need to clean it. I do so maybe once a year. I'm not that tall and out-of-sight really does equal out-of-mind. That and even if I think about it there's usually other things to clean that are higher priority.

#2 - Tops of door frames and the tops of anything hanging on the wall. Door frames, yes, absolutely, I don't know that I've ever cleaned mine. I do dust the tops of picture frames whenever I dust a room though. Not that that's all that frequently though.

#3 - The back sides of your faucets. Happily, I can say that I do this. I am somewhat anal about having clean sink areas, and that includes the entire faucet. Not that you'd ever guess if you looked at my kitchen faucet; the hard water stains have left it looking hideous. I console myself that it looks better than it did when we bought the house, and there's only so much I can do. Someday we'll replace the nasty sink and faucet and I'll keep it pretty.

#4 - Underneath and behind appliances that sit on the counter. I do this maybe once a month or maybe every other month, and am pretty content with that frequency of cleaning; they're not usually that bad. I should decrumb the toaster more frequently than I do however; L eats toast daily and that thing fills up much faster than I expect it to!

#5 - Toilet paper holders. Yeah, I can't say that I've ever thought about it, but I will now.

Now, my own personal list of things I should clean:

#1 - The floors. The carpet is old and gets gross looking so fast, and it doesn't help my already low motivation to vacuum. I also shed more than anyone I've ever known and the hair is just so obnoxious to deal with.

#2 - The floors. The kitchen specifically. I must be a messy messy cook and I should sweep and mop daily, but I just don't.

#3 - Windows. Especially the sliding glass door off the kitchen.

#4 - The sliding glass door track. GROSS!

#5 - Shower curtain. The hard water makes it so nasty so quickly I've just about given up on having it not be icky.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Writer's Block?

I've got several post ideas rattling around in my brain, but when I sit down at the computer to write I can't think of anything, or else it seems really silly and banal. Even more so than my usual posts I mean.

I need a way to record ideas when I'm in the shower, since that's when I seem to come up with a bunch of them. By the time I'm out and dry they've all vanished.

There's a definite correspondence between my interest in/enthusiasm for/ideas for blogging and my energy level, as in, how I'm feeling. I've not been sleeping well lately due to bad allergies and I definitely think that's contributing to my mental block when I try to write.

L told me that there might be rain in the forecast which usually helps with my allergies so I'm hoping for a soaker.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

  • Fall is almost here! I LOVE Fall so I can hardly wait!

  • I'm about to start taking a class online. I love learning new things so yes, I'm geeky enough that this makes me very excited. I'm grateful that I have enough money saved where I could sign up for it!

  • My house to-do project list is gradually getting finished. I'm talking about long-term projects and such and I am delighted that the master list I made up 3 years ago is almost completed!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Yes, this is very similar to last week's menu which ended up not being followed much at all.

Monday -Meatloaf. One of these weeks I really will make it.

Tuesday - Carrot potato pancakes and a green salad.

Wednesday - Straw and hay pasta.

Thursday - Mexican pizza.

Friday - Clean out the fridge!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fitness Failures

Yeah, so, I posted about my pushup program?

Haven't done it since.

I am a lazy, lazy person.

And I need to start over.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Words of Wisdom

We must meet the uncertainties of this world with the certainty of the world to come.
A.W. Tozer

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

State Fair

Once again, L and I have managed to not attend the State Fair. For as many years as I've been here and as easy it would be in many ways, we just haven't. This year I thought we might, because the weather was much nicer than last year's blazing heat. L's brother's visit was right in the middle of it though, and so it ended up not happening. Again.

I know, I could probably convince some friends to go with me if I really cared, but L keeps saying that we'll go together and make an outing of it.

Maybe next year.

But I'm not betting on it.

I am glad it's over in some ways though - my drive to work takes me past the fairgrounds and the extra traffic makes my commute that much worse; the morning drive in is usually ok (I go in much earlier than my teenaged self would have ever though possible), but the afternoon is crazy with people who don't really know where they're going or what they're doing.

Now it's back to just the regular commuters, which is bad enough, but at least there have been fewer people randomly stopping in the middle of the street; making sudden lane shifts across 4 lanes of traffic; and jaywalking in complete oblivion.

But the best part of the fair being over?

Fall is not that far away! I've almost survived another summer of heat and humidity.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

I had a flat tire this weekend. And yes, I'm including this in my gratitude post because:
  1. I was at home when L discovered it. Apparently it was a slow leak that didn't become really noticeable until late Sunday afternoon.

  2. I was not at work, where I would have been wondering what to do.

  3. I was not at the seminar I attended Friday and Saturday, which would have been really inconvenient and honestly, it was not somewhere I'd want to hang around and wait for L to come rescue me.

  4. I was not driving through some of the sketchy neighborhoods I have to travel through on my way to/from work.

  5. It was in one of the two tires that were due to be replaced anyway.

  6. The tire place had the replacement tires in stock and available, and they had time to get them replaced Monday.

  7. I was able to just take Monday off from work which made it much easier dealing with getting back and forth to the tire place.

  8. Our little air compressor was able to fill the leaking tire enough for me to drive it to the tire place with no problem.

  9. The tire place now stocked non-Goodyear that worked for my car, unlike last time when we had to get $180 Goodyears. That's $180 per tire, which is why we only replaced the 2 and saved the other 2 for later. Much cheaper this time!

  10. Our car repair fund had enough in it to cover the expense, so no juggling the budget to fit this in.

  11. L dealt with calling the place, and going in to talk to them both while dropping the car off and picking it back up.

  12. The timing of it meant that I got to go to a weekday lunch with L on our way to pick the car back up.

  13. Since I had a little free time that afternoon (it was 2 by the time I was almost home) I went to a nail salon and got a pedicure. My rough heels needed some attention.
So yes, many many things to appreciate about that flat tire!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Most of my recipes (well, all of them except for the meatloaf) come from the Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook

Monday - Carrot-Potato Pancakes with a green salad.

Tuesday - Meatloaf. For real this time.

Wednesday - Summer Squash & Bow-Tie Salad.

Thursday - Leftovers or sandwiches.

Friday - Straw & Hay Pasta.

For more menus, go to Organizing Junkie!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Guess What Learned?

How to remove the navigation bar at the top of my blog.

That's right, in case you didn't notice already, it's gone. Woo-hoo to that!

One of these days I'll figure out how to customize my blog more. That day just won't be today. ;)

Thanks to Blogging Basics 101 for the easy-to-follow instructions!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bible Study

I had a good talk with a friend not that long ago and asked her if she was in a Bible Study for the Summer. A couple of years ago I went with her to a few weekly sessions at her church that discussed basic doctrines, and while I never stuck with that one for long, I was hoping she was going to a new one that I could join.

Sadly she's not attending anything now and the Fall series at her church is on Tuesday mornings. That's kind of a conflict with work. She said we need to do a small group one ourselves, which would be great, but two people seems a little too small of a small group. So, I'm praying that
  1. If this is a good idea, that we'll find some additional women to join in with us.
  2. That we'll find a good study to follow. I know Beth Moore's are really recommended by some people, but I also know that there are a lot of other great ones.
  3. Alternately, that we'll both find a good Bible Study group to join - either together or separately. I know I need something that's not as solitary as the studies I've been doing the past couple of years.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

  • I've had two straight days where I've not had to drive in to work - I'm working "off-site" and thanks to some cooperative coworkers, have been able to do that only. It's extra nice because I hadn't seen much of L since early last week so my shorter work schedule has let me spend some time with him.

  • I have a conference to go to Friday and Saturday so that really means that I only have to go into work two days this week. Considering how rotten the end of the week was last week, this makes me very happy.

  • L had a great visit with his brother and they enjoyed their mini road trip to watch some baseball and golf. Since his brother's wedding, L hasn't really been able to spend that much time with just him so this was really nice; brotherly bonding you know. ;)

  • I made a final decision on Thanksgiving - we won't be traveling to see my family - and overall, while their reaction could have been better, it certainly could have been worse and I was afraid it would be.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Last week's plan ended up not being followed all that much, since L was gone even more than expected and I ended up fixing really simple meals for myself, so yes, there are some similarities to last time.

Monday - chicken with wild mushroom and balsamic cream sauce. I've made this twice before and LOVE it. If I make it to the store, I'll get buy some orzo, otherwise I'll serve it with rice.

Tuesday - skillet meatloaf with mashed potatoes and peas.

Wednesday - either spaghetti or mujadarrah since I didn't get either one last week.

Thursday - hopefully out somewhere.

Friday - Leftovers or pizza or sandwiches - I'll have been at a conference all day and don't know how much energy I'll have to cook. And the conference continues through Saturday, so my motivation will probably be extra low.

For more menus, go to Organizing Junkie!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Memory Verse

1 Thessalonians 5:18, New International Version

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Words of Wisdom

Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our path, is the perfect preparation for a future only He can see.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

One Hundred Pushups

I'm working on getting in the exercise habit, and as a part of that I'm following the hundred pushup plan.

When I took the initial test, I could do 0 pushups. Yes, that's right, zero. My upper body is weak (my wrists exceptionally so).

They list variations for weaklings like me who can't do regular pushups. Sadly, I can't do knee pushups because after two knee surgeries it's too hard on my knees, so I had to go for wall pushups. Twenty-three on the initial test, which is much better than zero.

I've now completed week two of the plan, and got to the exhaustion test it calls for before moving on to week three. Hoping I'd improved enough to do a regular pushup, I tried that. Still no go, but this time it was close - last time it wasn't even remotely close.

Wall pushups are really too easy unless I move back far enough that I almost fall down (yes, I am a klutz). I need an in-between that doesn't involve my knees.

So I invented my own variation - oven pushups. My stove top is low enough that it's definitely more challenging than the wall, and it's high enough that I can actually do them.

I figure I'll keep at this for a bit and then try the regular ones again. I don't care if I ever get to a hundred or not, but being able to do a real one sure would be nice.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

Yes, so I might be trying hard to come up with some today.
  • I am thankful that my job is flexible enough that I was able to call in and say I was unable to work today. I had one task that should be done, and I asked someone to switch with me, but if she can't and it doesn't get done right now I don't really care. It's officially a big deal, but in all honesty, it's not.

  • I am thankful that yesterday's issue is giving me the kick in the pants to go back to the doctor and see if there is something going on beyond what I already know. I had a really really bad visit to a specialist a year and a half ago and haven't been back to see him. So later today I'll be calling to see if I can find someone else in that field to see instead. It's a big city, there has to be another option.
Even though I sound cranky today, I really am thankful for all the blessings that I do have in my life - I do realize I have them and I am grateful. And I may have to repeat this to myself a lot, but I do believe it: GOD IS ENOUGH. Even if nothing else is added, he is sufficient.

And an extra verse for the week, because I need it:
Psalm 62:5-7

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Too Much Information

I am STRUGGLING today. And in case the title didn't warn you enough, what follows is probably way TMI for anyone not my doctor.

Last month was a 34 day cycle. Quite long, and yes, as much as I tried to keep them squelched, my hopes were raised a teeny bit. I wouldn't let myself take a test until day 35 (have peed on too many sticks over these many months years, and am tired of wasting money and hope). So, my new self-imposed rule is I have to wait for a full week to test. I have yet to test again since instituting this rule, but hey! At least I have stopped peeing money away.

So, yeah, no go last month, and it was a weird weird cycle even beyond the lateness - I started semi-spotting on day 29 ( so my hopes hadn't been raised too much, instead I just found myself thinking "hurry up and start so we can begin a new cycle!"). Yes, that would be 5 days of spotting before starting for real. Not normal. I blamed it on the kidney infection I'd had in the middle of my cycle and the antibiotics I took for that, and was really content and peaceful about it all.

This month, begin again, and happily the dates work out that prime time for trying (I now hate that term) would be just before L's brother arrives to stay for about 5 days and he and L travel out of town together. Both of which would have put a bit of a crimp in conception attempts if you know what I mean.

Today is day 14. Yesterday I had a minor bit of spotting, but nothing that I couldn't find an explanation for (sparing the specific details; this post is already skirting the edge of what I can believe I'm sharing). I've been bloaty and crampy and super hormonal too all day. Fabulous! This evening, well, apparently this month was a 14 day cycle because I have started. What is up with that??????? I have never had a cycle under 27 days (well, never since getting married and starting to really pay attention to such things and that's been over 5 years).

Do I blame it on the kidney infection again? The medication? It never said anything about wonking out your cycle. I'm just stunned and frustrated and depressed and irritated and I don't even know what all.

Additionally, my mother has impeccable timing AGAIN and somehow managed to pick today to send me a very unhelpful email too.

I haven't told L yet. I think I'll cry when I do so I haven't had the emotional energy to bring it up yet.

What has happened to the peace I felt about it not that long ago? I don't know but I'm praying for it to come back.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - skillet meatloaf with mashed potatoes and peas. I use the recipe from Desperation Dinners - I don't even like meatloaf and I like this version. Probably because making it into individual portions and cooking them in the skillet makes for nice and tasty searing on the patties.

Tuesday - spaghetti. We keep bumping it off the menu when we make other plans and I'm going into withdrawals.

Wednesday - big salads with leftovers from grilling out Sunday.

Thursday - burgers and hot dogs on the grill. Fresh corn & baked beans & ??? Maybe coleslaw.

Friday - mujadarrah (lentils & rice with fried onions) and cucumber salad. I LOVE this but L doesn't. He'll be out of town over the weekend so... :) I use the recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. There are a lot of versions of this posted around the internet, including one based on Deborah Madison's recipe.

Saturday - vichyssoise (potato and leek soup - I may or may not serve it cold). Another one that L wouldn't like but he'll still be gone so I get to enjoy it. I'll be using the recipe from 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson. It's a new one for me, but I've tried a number of recipes from this book and they've all been really good if not great. Definitely the best slow cooker cookbook I've found.

Sunday - beef bourguignon. He'll be home late Sunday and this will reheat well for whenever he arrives. And if he's not hungry at all when he gets home, it's great leftover. I haven't decided which version I'll use - my mom's which is actually a mock beef burgundy (no wine involved) or Judith Finlayson's version from the same book already mentioned. My mom's is much easier, but Judith's is probably a little tastier (sorry mom!)

I'm actually kind of excited about the meals I've got planned this week (probably because I've got some of my favorites planned). Well, the burgers on the grill doesn't excite me all that much but L asked to have it, so that's ok. :)

For more menus, go to Organizing Junkie!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Memory Verse

Matthew 26:41, New International Version

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Jury Duty, Part Three: Voir Dire

When we last left my wordy tale of jury duty, the prospective jurors were filing into the courtoom. In our assigned order.

The first two rows were reserved for us and we filled the entire first row and only a bit of the second. There were two tables set up - prosecution and defense if my years of watching Law & Order meant anything - and a woman sat alone at one and a man and woman sat together at the other. What surprised me was that those three were all turned so they faced us - my TV watching had me expecting them to be facing the judge. A women I assumed was the court reporter was stationed near the judge's bench and was shuffling papers. Once we were settled the bailiff slipped through a door near the bench. Eventually after much staring at the three people sitting at the tables, another door on the other side of the bench opened and the court reporter called for us to rise, because the judge was entering.

The judge was very nice, and introduced himself and the others in the room - as surmised, the paper shuffler was the court reporter, the woman sitting alone at the table to our right was the prosecutor, and the woman at the table on the left was the defense attorney. There was also a man sitting next to her who was not initially introduced. After the judge went through some other introductory-type stuff (speak up! the court reporter must hear you!) he asked the defense attorney if she wanted to introduce her client - so that was him sitting next to her!

The judge went over a lot of what we'd already learned from the video, and then started the questioning himself. First up, the obvious - did we know the defendant? No one did. Did we know the arresting officer? No one did. Did we know any of the prosecution witnesses? The prosecutor names the witnesses. No. Did the defense attorney wish to name her witnesses, since it is not required? She does, and she did, and no one knows the witnesses. Wait! One of the prospective jurors now thinks he went to high school with one of the witnesses. After many minutes of discussion over whether or not he really does know her, the nature of how he knew her, and whether or not it would impact his possible judgment of the case, we finally move on.

I can see how this takes so long. It is painfully slow, and it's barely begun.

Next question: Is anyone a police or law enforcement officer? Relatives of one? Close friends? Many hands raised, and lots of discussion again about the specifics.

Next question: Has anyone been personally involved, or had a relative or close friend involved in a drug case? (The judge does emphasize that no specifics on the individual involved are necessary, so if it's your own case you don't have to be embarrassed about mentioning it). A few hands go up.

Next question: Has anyone ever served on a jury before? When? Where? What type of case? What was the outcome - did they find the defendant guilty or not guilty? Once again, a couple of hands are raised and lots of specifics are discussed before the final question - would it impact your ability to fairly judge today's case?

Next question: Has anyone ever appeared in court before, either as a defendant or witness, etc. Only a couple of hands go up, but still, it takes forever.

Final judge's question: Do we all realize that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty? Do any of us believe that because he was arrested, he must be guilty? This was emphasize in the video as well.

Finally, the judge is done with his questions. But that just means that the prosecutor gets to ask questions, and if I thought the judge was bad, that's nothing compared to what's to come.

She begins with a rambling speech about ... something, but it was pretty obscure. We're all staring blankly, so she gets more specific. Juror #1, good morning, how are you this morning, we really appreciate you showing up to court so early. When you're deciding if someone is telling the truth or lying, how do you decide?

I am not joking.

After some stuttering answers, she moves on to juror #3, and again with the "good morning how are you, thanks for coming ..." How do YOU decide if someone is honest or not?

Basically the same answer as #1, rephrased.

And on and on down the line, skipping around somewhat, but mostly working down the row.. Everyone gets greeted. Everyone gives basically the same answers, changed slightly, as if we're a class trying desperately to give the answer the teacher is looking for so she'll move on to something else.

Finally, she gets to me and asked me if I think if someone has a motive to lie, does that mean they will?

Try answering that while being prompted to "speak up!" and being stared down by the defendant. It's kinda uncomfortable.

Once the prosecutor is done grilling us, the defense attorney gets her shot. She wanted to talk about what "possession" meant to us all - something tells me that might be a clue as to the charge in the case - and what's reasonable doubt. It's more odd questions with the prospective jurors all stumbling around trying to come up with an answer that will get the attorney to move on to someone else. Or at least that's what I was doing.

Hinting she was done, she then said again, do we realize that just because someone is arrested, it doesn't mean they're guilty? Would we be able to remember that?

After what seemed like forever, the attorneys are satisfied and meet with the judge for a bit. Then they sit at their tables, and the defendant and his attorney whisper, while the prosecutor whispers with the arresting officer. That's followed by more attorney conferences with the judge.

More discussions at the tables, and then the judge announces that they've picked the jury. Anyone not selected, thank you very much for your service and you won't be called again for at least two years.

Now the judge must explain how they're selecting the jury - each attorney has a number of preemptory challenges by which they can exclude someone without stating a reason. They also have an unlimited number of challenges if they're excluding someone because they have a connection to the case. We are not to be offended or upset if we're passed over. Like I would be upset over being passed over for it - I would be very happy.

Jurors selected are called by name, and I'm counting to see if they'll get to me - they need 6 (7 if they take an alternate), and I'm #12.

Once they get to #8 I realize that they have to take everyone left before me, or pass over me, or I'm on it.

Now it's up to #11 and only one spot to fill. Assuming they don't need an alternate.

#11 is picked. She gives a big sigh, picks up her purse, and makes her way to the jury box.

Only after she's settled does the judge announce that that's it - they're not taking an alternate today so the rest of us are dismissed. Thanks for your service. We're welcome to stay and observe the trial.

Everyone left immediately stands and funnels out of the courtroom. I guess I'll never know if the guy is convicted or not.

And at 10:30 I'm done. Woo-hoo, and yay for that. My civic duty fulfilled, I'm off to enjoy the rest of my day because I'm certainly not going to go into work after I'd told them I'd be gone all day.

It really wasn't a bad experience; the worst part was the painful questioning by the attorneys because most of the questions were so rambly and they added all the social chit-chat that just dragged everything out longer. And most of the prospective jurors (me definitely included) weren't always that good at giving short concise answers. Perhaps because if our answers were too concise the attorneys just asked us what we meant by that, and to please expand on it. It was like some of my high school classes (well, without any of the pressure of thinking I'd be graded on what was taking place).

In some ways I'm disappointed that they didn't get to me so I'd find out if I would have been passed over or not - I'm thinking definitely yes I would have been - I had to raise my hand to most of the judge's questions and some of my answers I thought would have the prosecution going "don't want her!" and other answers would have set the defense attorneys' radar off. But I guess that's something else that I'll never know - would they have wanted me on the jury?

I still think no.