Monthly Archives: March 2011

the cling wrap caper, coffee pudding, strategic groceries

This week and the next two are going to be tough. I am keeping stress at bay as much as possible, but there is a ton of work to be done at home and at school. My break was fantastic, so I don’t regret a minute of it, but it’s go-time.

It’s funny, but my subject line is out of order. I’ll start with grocery shopping’s strategy. When I go to the store right after work, I am alongside many other people with the same idea. It slows down my shopping and is most noticeable at the checkout line (if you are ever curious who in a store is going to write a check, rest assured that I will find that line and wait in it…without fail). So today I decided, though needing some milk and produce, to go straight home and take a run. When I got back I decided to do some work on my computer with the help of a handy new IKEA egg timer to tell me to go at 6:00 to the grocery store. I did, and it was significantly less busy. I think I have found a new grocery shopping habit, though I need to wait for perspectives to be over to make Monday nights work (guilty of skipping out for the sake of getting grades done).

I took care of dinner (eggs…because I had 28 in my position…now 26) and made the executive decision to use some expiring half and half for a coffee pudding recipe that is AMAZING…at least by its warm, not set remnants in the pan. I made some espresso, boiled the half and half, added a mixture of cornstarch, brown sugar, and salt, and boiled gently for a wee bit. I poured the hot stuff into mugs (cute) and am hoping to push the 3 hour minimum by eating some of it at 10 instead of 11. Hoping also that the caffeine cooked out…not sure that works.

I was supposed to put cling wrap on top of the pudding so that the skim wouldn’t form, but when I opened the drawer yesterday discovered it’s gone. I have no idea where I put it. A bigger search today yielded nothing. It was green, leftover from an oikos reach-out my junior (?) year of college when we baked wretched sugar cookies and made little Philippians 4:6-7 cards for each room on my dorm floor.

Here’s to efficient time management; knitting, school work, house work, correspondence (K, I haven’t forgotten the CD yet!), summer planning (and summer work prep), life decisions.

I hope your first full day of spring was warm and mild like ours!

Thicker, too good to be true, and productivity

I just put a pan of brownies in the oven which took approximately 1 minute to prepare. Are you kidding me? As I was checking the bake time and temp I noticed that I could choose between “thick”, “thicker”, and “thickest” brownie depth. Evidently the family size box of brownie mix can fit into a 9×9 pan to make a “thicker” brownie. I went for it, hoping to maximize the chewiness. Tragically I realize now that while the favored edge pieces will be thicker, there won’t be as much edge.

I am timing that pan of brownies with my oven timer, but because I am centered in another room (my room), I decided to put my IKEA wind-up timer to the test. I am afraid it’s not going to be a great one…the ring is faint and I’m pretty sure during the test round it continued to tick tick tick past the ringing bell. Now I’m wondering if it’s ticking too fast. Because they were both set for 30 minutes, I am hoping to test the accuracy of the timer…even if it’s close, that’ll be fine.

My evening back at home has been productive. It reminds me of the weekend I moved in here and had everything put away within a  couple days…except this time it was just everything that I used over break (mostly traveling) and it’s put away. That’s a pretty good feeling and will allow me to focus more on school than on housework tomorrow morning as I am getting ready to start the fourth quarter.

I was really blessed to spend time in IC and MPLS this week…fantastic people in both regions, to be sure, and such encouragement for me. I finished up an afghan and was able to give it to its long-intended recipient as well as pick up a few new project ideas for the future…so though I didn’t knit a project a day, it’s been a good knitting break. I also got to experiment with the Broken Rib stitch pattern, with compliments to my friend A–love the fabric very much. Except it resembles Half Double Crochet…so I’m hopeful that any of its recipients will know of my time investment and favor of knitting to crocheting :).

Can I just say that it’s a really good thing that IKEA is as far away as Minneapolis? I know that a lot of the stuff in there is cheap and that it might not last, but wow. Such inspiration, such temptation :). I like to think that I’m picking up some style and taste in decorating with the help of home magazines and catalogs and walking through places like IKEA (without buying everything…just a couple things that will hopefully make my kitchen function even better).

So glad for spring break and excited for the summer around the corner. God is shaping it up to be an exciting one! Have a great week 🙂

toothbrush

We have a family joke in which on a car trip someone exclaims, especially when close to the final destination, that they’ve forgotten their toothbrush and we better turn around and get it.

It was my reality yesterday, except that I got no further than 5 blocks from my apartment before I figured it out. I turned back and got it…and packed a lunch. Peanut butter and bacon sandwiches no longer remain a curiosity. I had them. They were okay. The bacon was cold, so I’m not sure if that made a difference.

Besides that I made it all the way up north without any glitches in directions (score!) and found my way to a Starbucks where I had a delicious cup of Tribute blend. I’ve begun to drink coffeehouse coffee without half and half (I am a creamer-in-my-coffee fan, but the half and half isn’t cutting it). What made it EVEN better than being just another cuppa during this self-proclaimed coffee week was sharing it with my seester. She’s rad.

Not much else to report at this time…but lots planned. So glad for the extra time I had to get here and spend here because of break. I might need another break to rest up before the LAST quarter starts ;), but I’m optimistic. Let’s do it!

I hope your St. Patty’s day was fantastic; I used to get pretty into it because of my name. It’s not every name that gets its own day (and the prefix of Saint)…so I pretty much have to celebrate it.

Contemplating a very big Creator who loves intimately today…Peace!

House, home, and house blend

I am back from a brief stint in Iowa City where I got to chill with some great peeps (some were not even planned) and take care of errands, and be in the place that I love. I also took part in much coffee (four coffee house cups in all, though one was a privately owned shop across from the campus I visited that was so-so in flavor).

While in town I happened to sit at the old capitol on the famous perch site where I talked with a stranger who really reminded me of House…like the TV show. Except for his chattiness; that wouldn’t be much like House’s character. It was a bit on the “is this really happening?” side of unexpected…I didn’t get much reading done there.

Coming home was a bit odd this evening, as I have never returned from the east before. I took 3 exits to Altoona before getting on the correct one. I forgot to pay attention to the road connected to these exits…when I come from the west, the first exit is correct, but also lists Altoona and Bondurant. The corresponding first exit, labeled Altoona and Bondurrant only leads to 65 North and a road that goes into Altoona…not the right road. I was frustrated and it was dark…but I made it here eventually.

And now to bed I must go. Plenty to do to round out the week (and St. Patty’s day on top of it all!). Peace

done. now what?

1/4 cup of dough baked at 350 for 15-18 minutes. Perfecto.

My life’s objective has been met. Just kidding, but after years of terrible chocolate chip cookies, I have finally produced some that are objects of worth and pride. I would not apologize to serve these to anyone, and I even enjoy them warm (I often do not care for warm chocolate chip cookies…too much like eating dough). Some conversations and help from K prompted me to add flour and baking time while reducing temperature and quantity. So, rather than 18 dozen teeny tiny greasy and unsatisfactory cookies, I have 18 monsters that are both a bit crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Perfectly uniformly circular, golden brown. Something to sink your teeth into.

I’m packing up and heading east for a couple days (a whole 2 hours away…not a big trip, but I’m excited to see some folks), and in the meantime have noticed a fly crawling up my screen door. Very odd. I also read Psalms 142 and 143 and found myself in wonderment in the psalmist’s articulating emotion that I’ve known.

I went to school about 10 minutes after I woke up this morning because I had a nightmare about a program. Kindergarten was the programmed group (which doesn’t happen in our district, so it wasn’t a prophecy…whew!) and I didn’t have the barred instruments ready to go. I spent more than an hour back stage looking for the instruments and trying to get them ready before giving up. When I returned to the stage (which was in a garage), disgruntled parents were almost all gone and the few remaining were straggling out. My family was there and they were so embarrassed to have a connection to me…and they’d had to deal with the crowd. I decided to go to school to do some work right after I woke up…kind of “fixing” the problem. My heart was racing!! I returned after an hour and a half or so to a nice pot of coffee and a scone. The remainder of the scones hit my freezer; why on earth does anyone need to make 12 scones at once? They are half as good the second day…not to mention the third and fourth. You can’t really eat more than one at a sitting, either. I hope they reheat well. I have something like 8 or 9 left.

My last pan of cookies is about to come out of the oven, so I should clean up here and hit the trail. Have a great rest of Monday!!

lessons from a coffee shop

I am waiting for some pork to marinade for a stirfry (still an hour to go), and while I am convinced another round of coffee is in order (the first pot got interrupted by a hustle-out-the-door…thanks daylight savings), I’ve been bouncing a couple ideas for a blog post around in my head.

Yesterday I spent a significant amount of time in a coffee shop. Why? Because I’m particularly starved for one here in Indianola. I don’t think I have much reason to resent the lack of a decent coffee house here in town, seeing as I grew up in a town that only has a meager establishment existing in the beautiful flower/gift shop (or there’s always the gas station)…but for some reason I feel deprived just the same. Call it a sense of entitlement I gained from living in Iowa City and Ames. Anyway, for these 2 hours I drank 1 cup of coffee, ate one free lemon bar (as part of Tribute Days, Starbucks gave out a petite of your choice with any beverage purchase), and alternated between reading, knitting, and people watching.

Sitting down at pretty much the only available table, a handicapped accessible table that still had a dirty mug on it (with about an inch of latte foam in the bottom…) and some crumbs, I contemplated the difference between being alone and being lonely. Sometimes I get the feeling that singles like myself speak from the lonely lens when married (happily or not) people tend to view it as the alone-lens. Being lonely isn’t limited to solitude; I can be lonely in a crowd. I am trying to not allow its accompanying emotions to skew my view of group gatherings here…where I still fail to know many people. Being alone has a connotation of a choice; whether or not we choose to be alone, I’m nearly sure that we never choose to be lonely, but we can laud and celebrate choosing to be alone (and calling it introversion…).

I don’t help myself very well in either category (shall I call it introversion?). When lonely I can’t express it to the people around me (that I don’t know) because I don’t want to be the object of pity. I desire for people to want to get to know me and invest time in me and to do the same to them. When I am alone and feel some strength in that place, I am ready to defend that separation and prevent attachment…

Today I visited another church. A guest spoke (oddly enough it was a topic we weren’t necessarily supposed to ever fathomed, but it reminded me so much of a Louis Giglio message I’ve seen 2 times with kids and one time on my own that I was a little disappointed) instead of the pastor, so I’m inconclusive as to the exegetical or isogetical nature of the teaching, but I didn’t want to stay and invest in people. The worst part about church shopping is the temporary investment in people. Sure, I might see these people again around town, but they inevitably wonder and ask why I don’t go to their church anymore. Uh, sorry it’s ___________. Nothing personal, of course. And go our separate ways.

I visited Hope WDM last night, too. Oddly enough I exited the sanctuary when Pastor Mike did…and he said something to me (a comment about something we saw coming out) and shook my hand and said he was glad to have me there. I wanted to tell him that I’d worked for him…but perhaps after only meeting him once formally and eaten at his table a couple other times, being among thousands of exiting worshipers isn’t an opportune time to be reminded of a former acquaintance…I am thankful for the things I learned working at NorthBranch and the year that God had for me there, but I can be grateful now for God’s plan prevailing instead of my own when I started work there.

Maybe this isn’t a fair point of contention (it’s certainly not aimed at Hope or the church I visited today…but a handful of churches I’ve visited since November), but have you noticed at some churches that worship music needs to be sung with a smile and compassionate eyes (kind of squinty)–cannot be sung with any other expression appropriately? I’m craving raw worship time, that that incorporates expressions and emotions Biblical worship entails.

Long story short, I need a church. It needs to be a real one, too. One concerned for God’s kingdom and His word, and His creation. I know it’s not about me, how I like the music, how badly I want to stand up when everyone else is sitting, how much I long for consistent fellowship and spurring on through the teaching and application of the Bible, but I simply cannot align my heart with worship that is all about making our lives better, more comfortable, safer, healthier.

And I might buy a cajon (a box drum).

These, with the exception of the two church visits described, all crossed my mind while sitting at Starbucks for 2 hours.

Time to wrap this up and make rice for my stirfry! Have a great Sunday 🙂

knitathon

I finished the first project:

I used Lamb's Pride worsted weight, colorway Prairie Goldenrod, http://www.penelopeteapot.co.uk/2010/03/spring-time.html

And my living room smells amazing because a REALLY sweet teacher put some fundraiser daffodils in a vase on my desk after hearing that I went to Cornwall and fell in love with them there (recall that they grow daffodils as a crop in Cornwall!).

They came as buds and opened in the last day or so!

They are perfect. If it weren’t so beautiful outside today, I could very happily stare at them and breathe in their scent.

I love how they stretch to the light.

My coffee cup is empty…I made 2 lattes last night to enjoy while catching up on Bones and the Biggest Loser (while knitting). It was a good plan. Today my traditional 3 cups. I am thinking of visiting a coffee shop because I have the luxury of not having to be anywhere. That’s quite a luxury.

I hope that your spring break (or spring weekend; spring forward, right?) is a lovely one and that you are able to knit, or consume coffee or something of that nature.

Perhaps I’ll update with more knitting progress before the day is up!!