>> Monday, September 29, 2008

We drove to the Bethany office in Columbia, SC, today to check in and see how much we had to start over from the move, and where things stood. After a long meeting, we can now announce:

We're "pregnant". :)

We have no more paperwork to do. We have to take 14 hours of training in special needs kids, because it covers things that happen in foster care, and our house has to pass inspection. Then we're free to find our child. I'm pretty sure (though not positive) that we will be parents within the standard 9 months. Plus, SC completely subsidizes and gives us stipends for waiting children. Amazing. I can't describe how we feel right now.

Anyone want to come help us fix our house so we can pass inspection? :P



>> Sunday, September 28, 2008

We meet with Bethany Christian Services tomorrow at 1:30 for our first SC informational meeting on adoption. We'll probably leave around 11:30 to give us time to get there and other unexpected things, and be a little early. Finished up some paperwork today.

We started this process three years ago in NY, and had to put it on hold when Lanse lost his job and we moved. Now we're settled and officially picking it back up. We're hoping to adopt a child between walking and age 5. I prefer closer to preschool, Lanse prefers closer to infant, so we're open to agency input. Prefer racial characteristics as close to ours as possible, but also open to agency input.

Honestly, as far as I'm concerned, we can bring someone home tomorrow; I'm tired of waiting. But our homestudy's not approved, so I highly doubt that's legally possible.

More information will probably follow after the meeting.


Snippets of Recent Thoughts

>> Thursday, September 25, 2008

Super villains tend to monologue and blame everyone else for their situation. Super heroes analyze the situation, state their goals, then keep their mouths shut and bring the smackdown. Which one will you be today?

My dreams (in the goals sense of the word) have a home of their own within my Imagination, and exist in the same way the worlds in my books exist (they live next door). They are calming and soothing to me. Now that someone has suggested that I can actually attain my dreams, they've moved out of that house into the neighborhood of Possible, and I have an empty house in Imagination to sell. It's very lonely.

Words have power over emotion. I woke up this morning and thought, "Hey, it's kind of windy." I've thought that many mornings; it was often windy in Rochester. A high-wind day there brought gusts around 40 or 50 mph, and the worst I remember was 80mph. It was a Very Windy Day, but we all went to work and toddled along in our lives just fine. But today, our rip-roaring 27mph wind gusts have the title Tropical Depression, heading towards Tropical Cyclonic Activity, and the next thing you know, we'll be giving it a name like Kyle or Lucy. 27mph winds are nothing, but give them a name, and there's fear.

I have been momentarily thwarted by tortillas.


Literal Junk

>> Sunday, September 21, 2008

Now, obviously this doesn't occur with every piece of junk. There are some pieces of junk that just don't take any efforts to hide their purpose, or misspell things, or try to be at all creative with what they are really up to. And when I say "junk", I mean "spam", at least for these purposes. But some of the subject lines of the stuff I get filed to my spam folder can be taken with more than one meaning.* Here are three examples from the past week that provided me some moments of amusement. (Brief, but moments nonetheless.)

1. "High Quality Pills At LowPirce" I have no idea what a LowPirce is, but I imagine this photo could be related. Looks like a high quality pill to me:

2. "Married women looking to meet new people" Considering the great number of friends who have had babies this summer, this one makes some sense.

And finally, one of my favorites:

3. "Wild Hot Dates Await you this weekend" I'd be interested to know the kind of person who would go to this much trouble for a weekend. Or maybe I wouldn't.

Looks pretty wild and hot to me, and those are definitely dates!

* Be careful when doing this on your own time. Some things, when taken literally, only make it worse.


No such thing as average

>> Friday, September 19, 2008

Aside from waking up late and running out of the house without breakfast, this morning was wonderful. Beautiful upper 70s day, sunshine, breeze, drive-with-the-windows-down-and-music-blaring kind of day. Fantastic. Had a great Bible Study, talked to lots of friends, made a NEW friend (more on her later), had food and cat snuggles on the porch, finished and submitted a paper, finished reading my SOC...

And then the post-dinner part of the day arrived. I took my SOC quiz, and got two answers wrong, which I had initially gotten right and then double checked and second-guessed myself. Then I thought, "You know... something's nagging me about my paper. Maybe I should check the assignment again." Yep. I did the assignment (which I've already submitted) from the wrong direction, not actually fulfilling the assignment requirements. It's a good paper, and I asked the prof to look it over in hopes that she'll like it enough to keep it, but I may have to re-write it. I haven't got time to re-write it.

So, with many head-beatings and suppressed tears (cuz it's been that kind of term) I threw up my hands, said SCREW IT ALL and went to take a shower.

Where I cried a little, rubbed my eyes with conditioner-laden hands and thus cried a LOT more, and then promptly cut my underarm while I shaved.

I'm done now. Really.

And just broke my mouse on the floor. Again.


A comforting perfume...

>> Wednesday, September 17, 2008

There is a certain scent... a perfume, if you will... that fills the heart, settles the mind, and comforts the soul. It says, "Yesterday shapes, tomorrow we'll strive for, but now is here and it is Good." It promises the warmth of a heavy quilt in the cold, the loyal love of a friend to come. It offers adventure in mind and wonders unknown in the safety of home. This scent fills me with hope and overwhelming peace.

This scent is Books.

And now that we've transferred our library to the second biggest room in the house, that scent is also Bedroom. And now I am home.


Betrayed by my subconscious

I had my first school dreams last night since I started college for my child development degree. While I've definitely been stressing out about each class individually, I hadn't realized how I'm stressing out about where I see myself in the end.

First I dreamed that I was a new Administrator. I quietly eased myself into a chair at the back of a Junior High classroom to do an informal observation of the teacher. The teacher was a grumpy sort. I asked some kid for a piece of paper because I'd forgotten mine, and the teacher started yelling at the kid for interrupting class, made a (verbal) example of him, and sent him out of the room. Seeing as how it was my fault, I spoke up to try to help the kid, and the teacher walked right up to me, loomed over me and started yelling at me. I was so stunned that I just sat there. The teacher left the room to get the kid and while they were gone, I resolved *just exactly* what I was going to say to that teacher in the presence of the class. Woke up before I got to say it. (Incidentally, and probably unrelated, I had the idea that the teacher was female, but they looked suspiciously like my 6th grade Social Studies teacher, who was not.)

Then I dreamed that I was co-teaching 2nd Grade kids with two other teachers, and there was this period of time every day when we sent the kids to another class elsewhere, which was theoretically a theatre class. After doing this for a while, I decided I was curious about how the class went, so I watched it for a couple minutes. Turned out that it was something along the lines of a Moulin Rouge live dancing show. Understandably, I was quite upset, but for some reason I had no power to just jump in and break it up. Very diplomatically I went to my co-teachers and explained what was going on and that I felt something should be done, that a nearly-naked-women Moulin Rouge show *probably* wasn't appropriate for 2nd Grade boys, but that I realized my convictions were quite a lot stronger than theirs and so we should probably sit down and discuss it. Then we were sitting at a lunch table in a cafeteria discussing when would be a good time to discuss it, since we didn't want the children in on the conversation. Then I woke up.

So I guess I'm feeling... what? Powerless yet motivated to change? Kinda reflects my whole previous experience in teaching: not given the status to do what I'm told to do, always deciding what should be done about it, but never given the opportunity to put the plan into action. Yeah. Hopefully my current plans will break the cycle.


Changing cultures

>> Monday, September 15, 2008

I am currently angry at yogurt. (Yogurt is cultures, right?) Anyway, Way Back When I had bloodwork done and discovered a: pre-diabetes and b: a need for more calcium. I've never liked milk or cheese, even as a kid... at least the milk, I don't remember what I thought of cheese. Yogurt was okay, but we (Lanse and I) just never bought it. So anyway, being told that I really have to be more adult now and eat it anyway, we went comparison shopping for yogurt. Another important point here is that I don't consume Aspartame because of how badly it affected my mother. So for over a year we've been enjoying the only yogurt on the shelf that is low-fat and low-carb and aspartame-free.

Wouldn't you know, now it's got an ALL NEW IMPROVED FLAVOR! Created by... you got it... aspartame. So while I've tried to increase my intake of cheese in my dishes (though that screws with fat levels), and I do my best to choke down at least a glass or two of milk a week (icky, nasty stuff makes me queasy!), I now no longer get to have my one or two doses of yogurt daily.

Maybe I should increase my low-fat, low-carb ice cream intake....



>> Sunday, September 14, 2008

We found out this evening that a friend of ours is going in tomorrow for an MRI to check for a brain aneurysm. Apparently he's been having horrible headaches; he normally does get migraines, and says these are totally different and a hundred times worse. So the plan is that if they do the scan and find nothing, he'll go to a neurologist; if they do the scan and find something, they'll wheel him to an operating room.

I hate living so far away from our friends. At least he's got a sense of humor; we spent at least twenty minutes of comic relief with a variety of brain jokes. Seriously, the worst that could come out of this is that they don't find anything wrong... but they do manage to use the MRI to steal his secret plans for world domination. Or something.



>> Friday, September 12, 2008

Heidi did this and said she tagged anyone with a camera and a blog and some time. I had a camera and a blog, so I did it anyway.

I think the idea is giving you a peek into my life today.

Fridge (needs filling) and Sink (all the dirties are on the counter to the right)

Closet (my favorite) and Bathroom (Guest/Lanse's)

My favorite shoes (all sandals) and a self-portrait (by webcam)

My favorite room
I worked on this a lot trying to get the whole room in. It's a large room and with the window, taking the picture in sections screwed up the lighting a lot. I have another set of three pix that I patched together that gives a better idea of the room, but it looks horrible because the lighting and color was so different in each picture. So this is what you get.

Yes, we sleep in the library. We love it. No, it's not finished yet. The cabinet bit under the window will become a window seat when we find somewhere to get a cushion for it. We'll also add a small cafe table to the farthest left.

I don't tag people, but I'm curious about what you'll do if you do it...


Mupcake Update

>> Thursday, September 11, 2008

I have now eaten a Thin Mint Mupcake. I have two notes to make:

3 cookies was not enough. You get the smell of the mint, but not much taste. Either up the number of cookies, or add some mint flavoring.

20 minutes in my oven made the top crust exactly like brownies, but the inside of the Mupcake was sort of slightly undercooked cake. The rack in my oven is on the top, which I keep forgetting about when it's cool enough to move down again, so that might be part of the problem. But I'm personally more into brownies than cake, so I'm contemplating trying the batter in a thin layer in a square dish instead of Mupcakes and see what happens.

Another day though.


More-carb Mupcakes

This post is for Heidi, so if it's the end of the world, she has more chocolate.

I discovered a recipe for low-carb cupcakes in the Bon Appetite magazine about a year ago now. The recipe is for Sunken Orange-Chocolate Muffins, or something like that. You make them in a muffin tin, and the first time I made them was with a friend, and I kept getting confused and asked for the Cup... no... muffin... no MUPCAKE tin. Thus the Mupcake was born.

These weren't published to be low-carb, but they're flourless and I made them with Splenda as well, and at one point did all the math to discover they now have approximately 8g of carbs per regular-size cupcake. This is lovely, if you compare them to hostess. Plus, they're tasty!

Well, I ran out of Splenda this time, and instead of using orange rind to go with the chocolate, I ground up some Thin Mints that I hid in the back of my freezer last year.

Holy. Freaking. Cow. The batter was so tasty I'm confident that my lunch will not be responsible today.

So without further ado, here's the recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 and put liners (or spray butter) in a 12 cupcake/muffin tin.

Step 1. Melt 8 oz chocolate chips with 1 stick of butter and stir it up really well to make a lovely chocolate sauce. Set it aside.

Step 2. In a food processor (I have a Cuisinart for this), pulverize 1c. of a nut of some kind. The original recipe says slivered almonds, but I had chopped walnuts, which taste just as good. This creates a nut flour. Yay! This is also where I threw in three Thin Mint cookies and pulverized them with the nuts. If you choose to add something else instead, like orange rind (2 tsps.) or instant coffee or whatever else goes well with chocolate, now's the time.

Step 3. Separate 4 eggs, in two medium-large size bowls.

Step 4. In the yolks, stir in 3/4 c. of sugar. Then stir in the chocolate and the nut mixture.

Step 5. In the whites, power-mixer in 1/4 c. You're making a merengue, so whip it up until it makes stiff or kinda stiff peaks. I've run out of patience most times and it works fine if the peaks are droopy. I also used REAL sugar for this step today cuz I ran out of Splenda.

Step 6. Fold the merengue into the rest of the stuff by thirds until well blended but not smooshed.

Step 7. Scoop it into your prepared muffin tin and bake for 17 - 22 minutes depending on how cakey you like them.

Step 8. Wait until the timer goes off; take them out of the oven. Try desperately to wait before eating one.

Step 9. Get a cup of tea, and put your favorite version of whip cream on the mupcake.

Step 10. EAT IT.

They're called "Sunken" whatever, because when they cool, the tops cave in. This is supposed to happen. I don't know the chemistry for it. With the chocolate-orange version, they recommend filling this dent with orange preserves or something like that. I think mine will just have more whipped cream.

Don't forget to take them out of the tin and put them on a cooling rack. As we all know, no one likes a soggy bottom.


Analoged Confusion

>> Wednesday, September 10, 2008

For some odd reason I was so incredibly exhausted this morning. I slept until I got up, which is how I normally do things. My normal 'getting up' is typically instigated by the cats around 8:00 or, as a last resort, the 10:00 beepings of the coffee pot shutting off. So this morning I got up and carried out my normal routine. Happened to notice that Lanse had cleaned the coffee machine this morning, leaving the rest of the coffee for me to go cold. While getting that cold coffee, I discovered it was right around 11:00. Apparently neither the cats nor the coffee pot were helpful today!

I had breakfast, got online, and I've been waiting for Lanse to go to lunch. My stomach's starting to rumble, and I've been thinking my internal clock says it's been about long enough for me to start thinking about doing schoolwork, and thinking about lunch. But really, it's only got to be around noon.

It's quarter after 2:00. Lanse will be HOME in two and a half hours. Apparently the mail's already come, which is another of my audible time tellers.

So now I'm annoyed because I've wasted too much school time, and if I have a full lunch now (which I'm really hungry for), our dinner plans will be all messed up. Dagnabbit!


Pierce Family Dream 2

Once again I dreamed of the Pierce family! Apparently I'm thinking about them a lot. Hallo, Pierce family! *wave*

This time I was visiting, and unfortunately I was not wearing much. Obviously, they disapproved. So Moira and I went to her room, where Christopher and Bennett were asleep on her bed, and we went through her clothes to find me a pair of shorts. She only had one, though, and it was pink and she was wearing them, so we found a gray skirt that she was willing to share with me. It had zippers on opposite sides and we figured out we could zip them together and make shorts out of them. They were comfy. Sometime in there my cousin Kelly (at the age of about 10) snuck in and sat and watched us for a bit and then left again.

Mo and I sat on the second floor landing and painted miniatures for a little bit; hers was fantastic and I was so proud! Then Heidi called her for something, and I wandered down into the family room, where there were tan couches filled with tired gamers drinking soda. They had apparently had some run-ins with the GMs upstairs and were pouting.

I went up to the game room to set up for my game. There was a large group of people at rectangular tables all set around in a cube. Apparently we were all playing the same board game, but it was like the traveling D&D stuff where you join a club and you can use your character in any event across the country (unless it's dead). Whatever we were playing now started with a B. I was late, and received the most horrid glare from the DM, who stopped and said, "Well? Are we waiting for you?" And I was "Um... no, go ahead, I'll catch up" and he got pissy and asked again, and I said "Yes, I'll play," but they weren't willing to let me set up. At that point I got upset that it was one of THOSE games, and then said, "NO, I'm not playing," and cleaned up my game. (There was a fun jungle map on my game board, and I had little pieces like from Sorry, except they looked cool.)

From there I stalked out into the lobby hallway area and found some teenager gamer chick taking the minis that Mo and I had painted from the landing shelf. I didn't care about mine, she could have it... but I was all, "Are you taking that small pink girl mini? A 5 year old little girl painted that, and this is her house... YOU want to deal with a screaming 5 year old little girl's mommy? HUH???" and she gave it back to me.

Everything faded out after a while, though this time I didn't wake up right away.

One of the fun things about my dreams is that I always know exactly how the environment is constructed, even if it doesn't make sense. I have a folder stuffed with floor plans of buildings that my dreams took place in. So here's last night's Pierce Family Home (and no, apparently they had no bathroom):


US - Where I've Been

>> Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I want to visit all 50 states and at least every continent, as I probably won't get to every country. There's a lot of countries. But here's where I've been in the USA.

This is what the map website says about Hawaii:

"Where is Hawaii?

It is situated in the North Pacific Ocean, 2,300 miles (3,700 km) from the mainland.

The reason it is not included on the Visited States Map is because this map was originally designed for RVers to show where they have been, and it's kind of hard to drive an RV to Hawaii."


Dream Wedding

Last night I got married... again.

I was standing on the raised level at the front of the sanctuary with Lanse next to me. It was a very small church, it was very dark, there was a breeze, and apparently it was rather loud from the wind or some kind of white noise. There were just a few people in the audience, but I know my folks were there somewhere. The pastor was elderly, of the type who is generally fun to know but at that moment was rather bored. He kept giving me the lines of the vows to repeat, but I couldn't hear him. After saying "WHAT?" half a dozen times, I decided if I couldn't hear him, they couldn't hear me, and I mumbled through it. It was hard to finish, because Lanse kept hugging me. He put the ring on my finger, which was enormous (the ring, not the finger) and looked something like this:

Except that it had three slightly smaller black stones across, and the sides were smooth with more of a white gold look instead of a silver. So really nothing like that at all. Lanse put the ring on my finger, and we turned to be introduced to everyone; we forgot to kiss until the last second because he was still hugging me enthusiastically. As we kissed everyone clapped and got up and started to leave without waiting for us. So we wandered down to the first pew and stood around awkwardly. We followed the group toward the doors, and I showed the ring to my mother, who didn't like it because it was too big. I remember how much I really did like the ring, and it felt really good even if it was too big.

Outside the church it was very dim and everything was covered in wind-blown snow. We were in the middle of nowhere, in a 'Little House on the Prairie in the winter' sense, but we had the idea that there had been a catastrophe that left it that way, that there were things missing. To the left was a carport, where there was one guy running towards us. Everyone who had left the church ahead of us had vanished. Wouldn't you know it, there were zombies on the way.

We turned and went back into the church into a side room that was like the Fellowship Hall in our church in NY, except that it was also a convenience store. There were a few people in there, and everyone was panicking and buying up food and water to go into hiding. I looked around in there, realized Lanse wasn't with me, and went back to find him running back outside because he couldn't get cell reception in the church and he wanted to call people and warn them. I saw him running through the blinding snow towards the carport, and the other guy running towards him....

And I woke up. Never did see the zombies.


Everything's gonna be all right

>> Friday, September 5, 2008

Hanna's downgraded to a Tropical Storm, and moved Northwards to hit land in North Carolina near the state line. Basically, we're just in for a doozy of a thunderstorm, but without thunder. Or rain, for that matter. Apparently the scary bits like rain and tornados are on the East side of a hurricane system, something to do with its rotation I believe. So we're set for now, brought in the container garden this morning and cleared off the front porch so nothing ends up in the neighbor's yards.

So now we're watching Ike, who is currently in the same global location as Hanna was when we started watching her. At that point she was a Category 1, Ike is a Cat 3, and is right around the Bahamas. There's just as much chance he'll go across Florida into the Gulf as there is that he'd follow Hanna up the coastline, so we really don't know right now. City officials aren't stepping down the warnings and OPCON status (Operating Condition? Something like that... it's like DEFCON but for storms and more local). Anyway, they're not going to alter it between storms, just stay in a state of readiness until we know which way the wind - Ike - is blowing.

Although I've learned a lot of lessons so far this week, the most important one is this: Never live in the Bahamas. Or Cuba. Stupid noodling hurricanes.


Yankee's First Hurricane

>> Wednesday, September 3, 2008

This week is entitled "Eyes on Hanna." It had to happen sometime, so why not when life is already stressful? Emotionally it's been a roller coaster so far, and that's all in the anticipation. We really have NO idea what to expect, and no one telling us anything can really give us the correct impressions... not to mention that everyone's handling it in different ways, which adds to our stress. We ask people what to do, and one person says the world is ending and get out of town, the next person shrugs and says "Eh, it's rain. I plan to read a book." Flipping endlessly between panic and relief for days on end really unsettles the stomach!

Someone needs to come up with one of these:

but for hurricanes. Put a few tropical islands in there, maybe, and definitely some airborne livestock. Title it "Yankee's First Hurricane". I think it'd sell.

Lanse added some things to our calendar to help us prepare:

He also mentioned that at his office, which is a dotcom made of almost entirely recent Northern transplants, they're comparing notes on preparedness kits, how many gallons of water and batteries they have, what the evac routes are, and a guy was going around with a video camera recording all the company property for insurance purposes. It sounded rather like this:

On the other hand, this is basically what our neighbors, who have all grown up in the area, are doing to prepare:

On the third hand, (which I'd love to borrow if anyone's got extra third hands,) Walmart was entirely cleaned out of two aisles of water last night. And Spaghetti-Os, for whatever reason. I mean really, maybe you're just not a real Southerner if you're willing to sit out a hurricane without a can of Spaghetti-Os...


Tying it together

>> Monday, September 1, 2008

For the curious, my first attempt at putting two images together with Gimp:


Blowing wind

We might be in the line for Ms. Hurricane Hanna. Around 2:00 I checked the weather news and it said landfall on Friday, anywhere between Miami and the Outer Banks of NC, as a Cat 1. A straight line course puts it landing at Hilton Head, which is just a bit off from us. A bit later we saw our backyard neighbors scurrying around the yard, so Lanse went out to do the Yankee bit of "Is this dangerous? What do we need to do?", and they said they had just seen an updated report landing it on Wednesday... so if it sped up, it'd be stronger.

Needless to say, we're a bit in a panic. Per Michael's directions, we've taken down and stored the slide and swings, cleared all the stuff off the back porch, we'll bring the front garden in when the wind picks up. He said to expect power outages (that around here get fixed pretty quickly because most of it's underground), downed trees, and really scary sounds... for a Cat 1. He also said to have tarp to put on the roof if it leaks, some charcoal for the grill so we can eat, food (ice and a cooler for when the power goes out to save as much from the fridge as we can), and bottled water, and a few dollar store flashlights and batteries. He rides out all the storms, and said he'd totally help us with anything, just to signal across the yard with the flashlight if the phones are out. *heh*

It sounds like everything he suggested is for after the storm, though of course useful during it as well. But we haven't decided if we're going to ride it out or flee like Northern chickens to my parent's house... though Michael did say that if anything happened that's a small problem (like loosened shingles) if we weren't here it could become a BIG problem (leaking roof for a few days). So we may actually try to ride it out, though we haven't discussed it. I'm going to be a wreck though if we do.



Mom and Dad left about an hour ago. We are tired and ache all over. Dad and Lanse pressure washed the house, driveway, and sidewalk; cleaned/pressure washed the gutter; moved furniture; Dad ran the carpet shampooer on all the carpets, strung and painted our TV cable to the 15 ft livingroom ceiling, reinstalled the front windowsill and edgings, replaced (and taught us about, cuz we're kinda house-stoopid) our AC filter; climbed up into the attic to investigate air conditioning, fan venting, and beam supports; they went shopping for groceries three separate times, and made a run to Home Depot; Dad cooked us a burger dinner last night. We also fit in a movie!

Mom and I spent Saturday shopping and planning colors; found some carpets, and bought all our curtain supplies (and the carpets) on clearance at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Each panel/scarf was listed at $70 and we got them for $20 each, except the one panel that was marked at $10. We spent the weekend cutting them apart and putting them back together and making curtains. We also hung a couple of pictures that had been propped up and moved a lot of furniture.

The walls still need to be painted; we're aiming at a very light yellow. The red we currently have clashes with what we just did, but that'll be more incentive to get our paint groove on.

Pictures really don't do it justice; firstly, the curtains are crushed voile, floaty white stuff that don't photograph very well. Secondly, it's a 15 ft ceiling in a room where it's hard to stand back far enough for the camera to get it all in. So I've done my best. Enjoy!

Living Room Before

Living Room After

Dining Room Before

Dining Room After


About This Blog

Life is about changes; transitions from one place to another, from one purpose to another, from one being to another. They say that the person you are today is a completely different person from who you were ten years ago and who you'll be ten years from now. So far, at the age of 33, I've had four major transitions in my life which redefined who I am. Two years into the results of the most recent transition I am again - still - exploring how God is shaping me. Over the next few months I hope to review my past and set goals for the future, and embrace the next adventure of rediscovering me.

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