>> Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Making a quiche used to sound so intimidating (just like custards). Then I realized that quiches are just scrambled egg pie with stuff in it. So I make quiche a lot now.

I made little bitty quiches last night and I think I'll eat some for lunch. I have probably shared this before, but I'm gonna do it again. So there. Um.

Note that these are crustless, all the better to avoid carbs. If you season it well, leaving out the crust does not avoid flavor.

Preheat oven to 300F.

Chop the following into little itty bitty tiny pieces.
green onion

Really, you could itty-bitty-tiny-piece any kind of veggie or meat you know you enjoy in omelette form. Just remember that these are small so what you put in must be chopped up small so it all fits. Next time I plan to use asparagus. Mmmm.

Anyway, so it's all chopped up. Get your mini-muffin tins out and spray em with your non-stick butter spray stuff. If you want to line them instead, use foil; the paper ones get too soggy. In each cup put a pinch of each of your lovely bits of stuff you just chopped up.

Top with shredded cheese of your choice. I used shredded Mexican blend from Kraft.

Note, I filled the cups nearly to the top with stuff. Cuz I like a lot of stuff in my food. It's okay. Really.

In a bowl, beat some eggs with some milk. Yes, this can be very violent. I was making 24 mini-quiches and ended up using 5 eggs with a little bit left over. I tend to eyeball the amount of milk, but it was much closer to "a splash" than anything actually substantial. I like my quiche to be very eggy, where there isn't other stuff.

In the beaten egg/milk mix kosher salt, pepper, garlic salt, and savory to taste. If I'd had the motivation to go out across the yard with scissors I'd have added fresh rosemary or marjoram. But I didn't. Using some sort of useful dipping and pouring device (I used a 1/4 cup measure but didn't actually measure with it) fill each little cup with egg stuff. Work slowly so it can soak itself down through all the stuff. You can fill it pretty full; these didn't really overflow.

Bake for half-an-hour-ish. I started with 10 minutes and then rotated them because my oven's uneven. I did another 10 and took them out, and really they should have been done more. I was fooled by the cheese browning on top. However, *note* that I do actually plan to reheat them in the microwave, which should take care of the extra cooking. Straight from the oven at 20 minutes they were cooked, but kind of damp... like some people might leave scrambled eggs looking just a little bit wet but not really. So they won't kill you if you eat them.

Unless they're ninja death eggs.

Just this minute someone gave me a wonderful egg baking idea! I don't think I understood it the way she meant it, but I might want to try it. This shall take some pondering. And perhaps some experimentation. And, definitely, another trip to the store. Details at... well... whenever I get around to it.

Ok. So the moral of this story is: Make and Eat Mini-Quiche. It's easy! And very tasty. With toast and jam and a big glass of milk. In fact, I'm going to go do that right now.


Childish bitterness

I have always wanted a tree house or a fort outside. It wasn't something that ever happened when I was a child, so I was thrilled when we found this house had a playset with an upper deck. Unfortunately, the upper deck was badly braced and unsafe and the adoption safety inspector said we had to either rebuild or take down the upper part. So, two weeks ago we (Lanse) demolished it, since we didn't have the tools to do the reconstruction work. It was a very hard decision to make and we were sad.

This weekend the neighbors behind us built a really tall, expensive, and perfect play fort with window screens and rope ladders and everything right across the fence from where our pathetic demolished playset stands.

It feels incredibly childish, but I can't pass a back window without wanting to cry.



>> Sunday, February 22, 2009

I'm working on writing my final paper for my final class of the term. For whatever reason, I keep accidentally typing '?' instead of '.'. There's apparently something very comforting when I hit the left shift and ? with both pinkies. No idea why. Maybe they're tired of being left out.

There's also the distinct possibility that '?' pretty much defines my state of being today. It's been one of those '?' days.


Egg (un)Salad Sandwich

>> Saturday, February 21, 2009

I like to experiment with making hard food easy, and I figured this would be one of the easiest things to modify for lunch. Everyone knows the egg salad sandwich. I eat them often. For some reason, actually preparing it drives me batty most times. So today I made an egg unsalad sandwich.

Hard cook some eggs. I prefer steaming them just long enough for the yolks to be not quite done, about 10 or 11 minutes. Alton Brown steams his for 12.
Take 2 slices of bread. On one side put Miracle Whip (or mayo, yuck!), on the other put mustard.
On the MW/mayo side put pepper and paprika
On the mustard side put kosher salt (you can see it on the mustard side so you know how much you have)
Slice an egg; put egg slices on one slice of bread. Today I sliced two eggs and only used the slices with yolk in it.
Slap the other slice on and eat it. (Also eat the white egg slices you didn't put in the sandwich. Don't be wasteful.)

Honestly? It wasn't all that tasty. If I do it again it'll need some serious tweaking. But I thought I'd share anyway.

Oooh, garlic. Yeah. I should have added garlic.



>> Thursday, February 19, 2009

I am currently planning this year's container veggie garden. I learned a lot last year about what not to do, so while this year will still be pathetic (as I'm a self-taught beginner) it'll hopefully not be quite as pathetic. I'm frustrated with the fact that despite living on the coast, all the online garden places keep telling me that I'm in Zone 8, along with most of inland and south of us. They claim that we shouldn't plant until the last frost in April, but the trees here are budding and it's only February. Planting in April would only give two months (or less) before we're living in the 90s temp range. So I may just go ahead with things. We'll see. Either way, it's making me hungry.

Things I Grew Somewhat Successfully Last Year

  • Tomato (2 varieties)
  • Green Pepper
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Marjoram
Things I Killed Dramatically Last Year
  • Cucumbers
  • Strawberries
Things I'm Contemplating for This Year
  • Tomato
  • Green Pepper
  • Dwarf French Beans
  • Basil (new plant, old plant died in winter; Rosemary and Marjoram are still good)
  • Dill (anti-bad-bug herb)
  • Green/Spring Onions
  • Strawberries (done right, none of this silly pre-packaged cute pot kit things)
I also intend to add some flowers around this year to keep the bad bugs away and the polinational bugs close. Some, but not all:
  • Geraniums (anti Japanese beetle)
  • Marigolds
  • Nasturiums
  • Zinnia
  • Asters
I also need some tall wire tomato holder-uppers, and I need to see if I can find a fine-mesh crate to put over the strawberries. Apparently they make fruit cages to keep birds away, but they're enormous and made for walk-in greenhouses. I also have to find a corner of the yard to dump out last year's old dirt. Also, our spray nozzle on the hose cracked because we were dumb and forgot to drain the water before it froze. Oops.

I hope the garden centers are ready for me!



>> Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Perspectives are interesting things. From my perspective, what I've done today is:

  • Caught up with my friends' news in Iowa
  • Talked with a friend in Texas
  • Checked in with a concern on a friend in Minnesota
  • Dream-journaled
  • Done some creative writing
  • Briefly met with other adopting moms to discuss a church program
  • Updated my family and friends on my week
  • Double checked with the bank about a money transfer
  • Attended a meeting regarding University advertising
  • Looked up recipes (and then cooked them)
  • Completed the rest of Winter term's assignments for EDUC 1012, which included some research
  • Investigated a preschool mentoring program

From my mother's perspective, if I were to ask... (and my backside would agree with her):
  • You've been frittering at that computer for six hours now... get up off your bum!


Harp and Flame (a dream)

I was standing in a football field and the stands were full, I was part of the organization for a game that was about to start. It felt like maybe high school or little league in a small town where everyone goes to the game. A very old man, maybe 80s or 90s was walking down the stairs toward the front row and everyone started yelling 'Nazi! Nazi!' and chanting 'Auschwitz!' He froze at the bottom of the stairs, looking really frail and hunched over, like he wanted to sink into the floor. Then a little girl came over to him and led him to his seat. Everyone knew this little girl was Jewish. He sat in his seat with his hands over his face until the yelling died away. Before the scene changed, I was aware that the community had decided to shun the little girl because of her forgiveness, and that this man was probably in danger from people.

Then I was walking along the street, which was an inaccurate version of Howard Street in front of Jenks in Wheaton. On the corner of University, there was a large old Victorian row-style house; it was kind of like well-maintained old downtown brownstone, beautiful, enormous bowing oak trees all around. Now I was the little Jewish girl, grown up a bit. Walking with my head slightly bent, but on high alert from anyone who might come at me. The man from the ball game lived in the Victorian house, and I wanted to go visit him.

I was in the drawing room with him and his daughter (in her 40s or 50s) who took care of him. It was all dim in gold tones, soft and old, vaguely like a British drawing room, but clean and orderly. The man showed me a large book that looked somewhat like a large history encyclopedia from home school suppliers. He was quietly but insistently showing me things of great importance. He showed me a symbol in the book; it was a very small medal plaque shape in bronze and red mottled fire colors, with a golden harp on the center right and a large red gold flame swooshing across the left corner. The image was worked into the illustration, in the way that an artist might work his name into a painting but make it visible only if you're looking for it. Then the man sat down across from me to talk.

I realized that the man was James Hong, and had trouble focusing for a while because I'd only ever seen him in Big Trouble in Little China as the scary bad guy. He said, "As an actor it's important - vital - to represent the history accurately." I remember being relieved that he really was being an actor and wasn't actually the Nazi man, and was thinking over and over about his role as Lo Pan and wondered if I ought to bring it up, but decided not to because it wasn't in the "Jewish Girl forgives Nazi Man" script.

Some period of time passed. It was overcast, as though it were about to rain but hadn't yet, and I approached the house again. This time I entered the door on the corner of the house into the store that looked out on University. It was a socks-and-shoes store, but also sold other things. Again, it was all slightly dim, in browns and golds, but neat. I browsed the sock rack and then turned to the man's daughter, who ran the store. I asked her if the socks had arrived yet with the specific details we had previously discussed. We were speaking in code, as there were other customers in the store. (Who had no interest in me, thankfully.)

She went into the stock room, and I could see the shelves with a library ladder through the door. She came back and handed me a pair of socks in swirling reds and golds with the harp and flame stitched into them. She also handed me a box, kind of like a cigar box or one of those yellow assorted chocolate boxes you see at drug stores. Inside the box was the man, who had passed away in his sleep quietly, happily, and forgiven. They had managed to reduce him in size so that he could fit comfortably in the cigar box. Beside him was something long and cylindrical wrapped in light blue flannel. The dream ended with a sense of sadness, but also some relief that he would no longer suffer from the past.

Harp and flame emblem in my dream.


Catching up... again

I seem to be taking long breaks in blogging now. (Long being, ya know, a few days... which some consider normal...) Anyway. That happens when I get so stressed out that depression slugs me upside the head, and I bury myself in some computer game (thanks Sarah) and convince myself that it's acceptable because there's Real People there! It's a social life.... right? RIGHT?? Ya, right.

Anyway, the financial problems of yesterweek have been mostly resolved. The property tax form was filed, though we haven't heard back yet. We received our home refinancing packet, I read every single word and wrote down questions, played phone tag, got my questions answered, and put it in the mail. Sallie Mae approved my new school loan even though I didn't finish my FAFSA (apparently the FAFSA is for the new loans in June, and I needed to just renew with Sallie for Spring Term.) FAFSA's waiting on our tax return. Our taxes are nearly done, but we have to wait for the revised property tax form. We made it to the end of our budget cycle without starving. (Well, we did let ourselves get really hungry, Dave would be mad, but only because we had $24 left in grocery for the final two days and didn't want to risk running over if we went to the store.) We realized that between our brick-and-mortar bank and ING we were getting confused and needed all our records in one place, so I spent yesterday uploading everything into Quicken online. Now we can see all our money, which is very nice, but the budget function on Quicken is quite incompatible with the way in which I budget, not to mention that we budget from the 15th and not the 1st because the mortgage takes most of the 1sts paycheck, so it's not transferring budgetary numbers properly for me. Gads, I'm such the nerd.

Other than that, school term's almost done. This is the last week of Winter term, and I have one short paper to write and a short list of web resources to submit by Sunday night. I'm still pulling a 4.0, but this CD class has been a pain in the behind due to the instructor's lack of presence. Then we have next week off. Yay! So if I finished homework today I could have a week and a half off! (I probably won't.) The following Monday starts Spring term and a course on Childhood Health and Safety, along with its Making Connections "lab" class. Rootin'-tootin' fun, lemme tell ya.

Spook has finished his meds and is acting much better, which is a huge relief. This was liquid amoxycilin, which I can't spell, but it meant as soon as Lanse squirted it in his mouth, Spook could spit and spray and shake and splatter everything within ten feet with it. While Lanse claims that pilling a cat is harder than this, it's certainly less messy. I'm glad that's done with.

Next Friday morning we have our Fire inspection and then I head off to our church's Women's Retreat at Camp St. Christopher on the beach. The weekend after that Lanse and I go to Woodlands for our anniversary weekend (which isn't until the end of May but we could get a good deal now because it's off season). So, school vacation + women's retreat + 10th anniversary bed & breakfast... sounds like I'm lined up for some relaxation and refocusing! The timing's definitely good. Also, maybe, all depends, the last chance for some time if God works the adoption stuff quickly.

Finally, I'm working with our clergy to develop an adoption resource for our church, since a lot of members have adopted or are currently or are somehow otherwise related to it. "We" is pretty much all me for the moment as I organize some resources. Now if only people would get back to me...


Valentine from God

>> Saturday, February 14, 2009

Through Matthew West, "I love you more"

Take a look at the mountain
Stretching a mile high
Take a look at the ocean
Far as your eye can see
And think of me

Take a look at the desert
Do you feel like a grain of sand?
I am with you wherever
Where you go is where I am
And I'm always thinking of you
Take a look around you
I'm spelling it out one by one

I love you more than the sun
And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine and you shine for me to
I love you
And today
And tomorrow
I'll say it again and again
I love you more


The last five days

>> Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Over the weekend we had some fun social times, as well as annoying homework times, and some migraine headache times. Also, while all the cats had been sleepy and sluggish during the cold snap, Spook decided to stay that way when it got warm again. Then he started limping. Anyway. Over all, we had no idea what was in store for us this week.

I'd scheduled to do some work at church on Monday morning, and I had to go at least to take back something I'd forgotten to take on Sunday. When I woke up we noticed that Spook was really not doing well, so we scheduled a vet appointment for 10:15; I poured coffee in my travel mug, drove to church, got distracted on a project, frantically drove home and got the cat and drove to the vet late, where we sat for an hour to get a diagnosis of a UTI and some medication and give them more money we didn't have.

Got home around noon having not eaten yet, sugar crashed, ate, napped, then zoned out playing stupid games for a while (thanks, Sarah!). Wasted the day, knowing that Tuesday was specially reserved for 1) homework and 2) quick budget transition for March.

Tuesday laughed in my face. Har de har. I decided to do the quick budget stuff and settle in. Found one tiny discrepancy, grabbed the stack of papers in filing to find one form. Found another form.

This would be the form that somehow went to the filing stack that said, "Oh, by the way, your property taxes have increased from 660 to 2947 and you either owe Escrow 2500 by March 1 or we're raising your monthly payments by 500."

Panic ensued, then a half hour phone call with the current mortgage people, and then a 2 hour call to refinance the house. Joy. Suffice it to say, I didn't get any homework done yesterday.

This morning, a meeting at church for VBS planning and a good long talk with my friend Cathy. Vented, prayed, cried. Got home, talked to my dad who calmed me down and told me to call our cousin-realtor who helped us buy the house. He told us what we forgot to do a year ago, (file a form that came with our closing papers) so we downloaded a form to take to the tax assessor's and hopefully they'll move us back into the 4% range instead of the 6% which should cut it back down by at least 1500. I'm nervous about the little clause that says if we didn't file within their time frame we forfeit the right to file, so that's our prayer right now. That they'll let us file and recalculate our taxes.

In the end I know it'll be okay; once we finish the refinance (if the house assesses where we need it to) the monthly payment will be back in the safe zone even if we can't get the tax office to change the percentage. If we do get it changed and get the refinance as well, we're golden.

So we'll be a bit crunched for the next couple months until the refinance closing, moreso than we were before. But we'll make it. Money's really freaking annoying.

And now that I've shared all of this, I really should finish the homework due tonight.


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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