Trek

>> Sunday, May 31, 2009

I remember sitting on my parent's bed when I was a child watching the original series Star Trek with my dad. I didn't really stop watching Trek until the third season of DS:9 and the second season of Voyager, (laying on the floor in the family room with my dad on the couch behind me) at which point it didn't hold enough interest for me to stay with it through college. While I have very vivid dreams at night, they're entirely of my own creation, the characters being people I know in my real life... except for the few that revolved around episodes of Doctor Who and Star Trek. I've had Star Trek cast dreams since High School. But over all, Star Trek is nostalgic happy memories with me and my dad, a half hour (or hour) every evening after the news when I knew that I got Dad Time no matter how bad a day it was for him at the office. Star Trek is a part of me.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm coming out. I hereby admit that I [may be] a closet Trekkie. Except that I've been smart enough to realize that being a Trekkie is kind of embarrassing, so I'm a Trekkie without the obsession. I'm not sure exactly what that makes me. Probably just a squeeing fangirl. Regardless, Lanse pointed out on our drive home tonight that I've probably seen more Star Trek episodes than he has, which has the potential of me having been a geek sooner than he became one. And that, my friends, creates quite a paradigm shift in my head. (I think it'll all come down to the date of my first Star Trek episode against the date of his first very own computer. We'll get back to you on that.)

Overall, the new Star Trek movie is very much like going to visit someone for the first time and discovering that their house has exactly the same layout as your own. You're very comfortable in their house - you know where the bathroom is without having to ask - but it feels completely different because it's someone else's house. (Yes, I did just compare Star Trek to a bathroom... but in a good way!)

I absolutely loved this movie. I had a very hard time driving home because I wanted to set a course at warp speed and not get a speeding ticket. For me, big screen power makes real world power-hungry. Instead I resorted to a great deal of maniacal laughter just for kicks and only a little (teensy!) speeding. Finally, as someone else on the internet said earlier (no idea who, but I read it somewhere), I really was expecting Spock to calmly point at someone and slice their head open. I feel concerned that Zachary Quinto has been typecast (he's much too good an actor and too cute for that), and suddenly realizing the similarities between Spock and Sylar's demeanors was quite unsettling. But I think they did a fantastic job of creating an updated redesign and staying true to the important things while becoming something entirely new at the same time.

Final verdict: Me + Star Trek = Happiness

Now we just have to figure out how to go back and rewatch the entire original and TNG series without any breaking laws. Wish us luck. Or long life and prosperity... that'll work too.

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I now pronounce you...

>> Friday, May 29, 2009

Ten years ago at this very moment we were doing this:


Thank you, Lansing my love, for sticking with me over the last decade, for supporting me, for sometimes making my coffee and doing my laundry, for working your tail off so we could have a good home, for holding me when I cry for no reason and being goofy with me and making me laugh until I cry. And also for not smearing the cake all over my face.

I love you.

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Writer's Block Unblocked

>> Thursday, May 28, 2009

There's been so much going on so quickly that I've suffered a bit of writer's block, which is really quite frustrating. Needless to say, we're home and simultaneously content and discontent. Overall content, I think... the discontent solely revolves around living so far from everyone we love.

My father explained this past weekend that the curse of my generation is that we think too much, evidenced by the blogging phenomenon, I would guess. His parent's generation and earlier had too much hard work to do just to survive; Dad's generation had a good work ethic but also recognized that their parents had worked so hard that they generally failed to build deeply solid relationships with their kids. So his generation got touchy-feeley but still productive, and produced all kinds of convenience things to leave my generation with just the touchy-feeley and loads of idle time on our hands. With as much mental agony I put myself through I'm wholeheartedly behind his theory.

Before our trip to Dallas, I frantically did my homework and submitted inquiries on 24 children (or sibling-groups), getting our adoption inquiry process organized and paperwork assembled and such. Then we flew off, and had a lovely time with our friends which I sort of posted about two entries ago. Came home, frantically finished my last week of homework for the term, put in more inquiries, cleaned the house a little bit, loved on the cats, and then we drove off to Ohio to see family.

We had a great time. Some folks had arrived on Wednesday; we arrived Friday, some arrived Saturday morning. Everyone was there for Saturday dinner, and then some Wednesday arrivers left after dinner and different families left at various times between then and Tuesday, which is when we left. I think everyone was gone by that evening. "Everyone" equals 46 (and #47 due next week), but Uncle David, cousins Kelly and Cara, and Cara's husband and kids weren't there. So Saturday dinner fed... 39. It was a lot of fun, but took everyone by unhappy surprise when people started leaving right away.

At least my family really embraced the idea of "vacation". We all sat around talking, eating, watching movies, and at most times of the day there was at least one person taking a nap. There was ping-pong and Rook and sports events and my uncle's gun room that the guys liked to poke around in, and an enormous yard backing up to a horse ranch, and lots of little kids running around. My brother, his wife, and my Kaylee were there, which was (of course) the best part. My uncle had put up a large canvas canopy on each level of the deck and one out in the yard, and at one point we had a sudden and enormous storm which deposited the upper canopy on the roof of the house. That was interesting. The canopy frame was damaged, but the roof and gutters were fine.

So we came home on Tuesday to three very insecure felines and a bit of the plague. Someone at the reunion shared some germs (the second youngest was feverish when we first arrived, so I assume it was her); but both my folks and my darling husband have had fever and sore throat and stuff. After talking to my recently plagued father on the phone, it sounds like Lanse got away with just a mild case, and he's been miserable. So far I'm unaffected, but we'll see how it goes.

So now I'm home and this is my week of vacation from school, so I'm really being wasteful with my time. I almost framed and hung some African art that I have, but the frame I was going to use isn't big enough. I have done three loads of laundry, so that's something. There's one left to do, which I shall do soon. We have no food in the house except for leftovers from pizza we ordered last night, because we finished it all before we left so it wouldn't go bad. At some point a trip to Walmart is in order. I also got my term grades and have maintained my happy G.P.A. Our social worker is working from home this week, which means that she's writing someone's homestudy and is hard to reach. This bothers me because she's failed to update me on what I should be doing this week while I have the free time. So I spent some of that free time getting tickets for our trip to New York over July 4. Time well spent, I think.

My final bit of exaltation is that last night I finally finished reading my Bible cover to cover. Well, really middle to middle, since I started in Matthew back in 2006. But this is the first time I've read the entire Book; I'm 32 (was 29 when I started) and before that my overall Bible knowledge was actually a lot deeper, but was kind of dipped... I knew specific areas really well and had never heard of others. Now I know that I've laid eyes on the whole thing, whether or not it made any sense. I start again tonight.

And that, as they say, is that.

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Travel

>> Saturday, May 23, 2009

We drove from Charleston to Zanesville, Ohio, yesterday. I really love driving, especially in good weather in the mountains. Lanse let me sleep about an hour and I did all the rest. We had good weather for the whole trip, the first time in a while. This is the same route we take when we drive from the Carolinas to New York, so we're pretty familiar with it, and normally we hit some nasty blinding precipitation, typically on the turnpike with semi-trucks behind us.

This time we had sunshine and a few clouds, and only one very aggressive truck on our bumper. Almost all of the CDs we have in the car have been scratched, so we went through them and switched them out when they started skipping. It was slightly annoying, but we managed. We arrived to find everyone having dinner. I hadn't realized that everyone actually managed to come to the reunion except one uncle, so that's pretty cool. My brother and fam arrive at noon, and Mom and I are meeting them at the hotel.

My favorite quote from the drive, while in the mountains: "Dude, this is the perfect music for this game... I mean driving..." (me) "Should I take over now?" (Lanse)

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Environmental Identity

>> Thursday, May 21, 2009

I was once again reminded of how the environment has the ability to begin defining who you are. Of course, I say "begin" because at some point you realize that you are being defined instead of defining yourself and put a kibosh on the whole thing. At least one would hope.

What I'm talking about is that phenomenon* where you act in one way say, at school, and another way at work and another way at home. It's not really a different "you", it's really more like different parts of you; you can be the controlling organizational one at work, the quiet studious one at school who sits in the back, the obnoxious baseball fan, and enjoy reading in front of the fire in the evenings, but friends who only know you in one situation may have a completely different picture of what defines "you" than someone in a different situation. That is what I'm talking about.

The next question then is why am I talking about it? We went to ReaperCon in Dallas** this last weekend, and I was surprised to find myself needing time to adjust to myself. There were a couple of people I'd never met (or forgot I met) with whom I found myself acting, or wanting to act, one way. I helped out running the registration desk, which brought out my repressed administrative skills and a little bit of my power-hungry side. I can be very power hungry, but simultaneously insecure, which makes for a very interesting and sometimes poorly-controled result. I don't know if it's greed or self-defense, honestly. Anyway, the strangest thing was that, even though the gaming world is something that I treasure because Lanse and I enjoy it together, in that specific setting I realized that I did not know how to interact with him. He went to his corner of the convention, I stayed in mine; and while I was very proud of him, I couldn't cognitively decide what was the best way to be around him there. The wife-me conflicted with the leader-me which conflicted with the artist-me and the socialite-flirty-me. It's been so long since I've defined myself as anything other than wife-me that I had to take actual moments to stop and make decisions about who I was.

In the end, though, I figured me out. Now that we're home, I kinda miss the me that found balance... again. ReaperCon was fantastic, seeing all the old friends and finding new friends who felt like old friends. The artist-me got some painting time, which turned out okay even without proper light. Lanse won two bronze medals for his painting, and I am so proud of him that it aches. Being one of Bryan's assistants was sort of like when you're a kid visiting your dad's office and being allowed to run errands; everyone knows you and lets you go into restricted areas but you don't really know the rules so you get away with more than you should... and you know it. There's a bit inside every kid who feels at home somewhere away from home where they're given freedom to run around, and that's what it was like. Home away from home. Except now that we're actually home, I feel like I'm not myself again.

We're having a family reunion this weekend at my uncle's house. I'm curious as to which parts of me will be the most obvious.

I also think that perhaps I think too much.


*doot doo-doot doot
** Pictures of the event are on my flickr account and I also did a set called Monkey Goes to ReaperCon that Reaper's webmaster, Kit, hosted for me.

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Crock pot balsamic chicken

>> Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This is a food post. If you are not hungry now, you will be. Don't hold it against me if you keep reading.

I needed something to make for supper. Yesterday I found chicken breasts in the freezer and brought them out but they didn't thaw in time to do anything useful with. So today I decided I'd crock pot em. But how? And with what flavors? We're leaving town for a couple of weeks, and have been wearing our pantry and fridge pretty thin, since we don't want to restock before we leave. After some Googling, I came across this stove top recipe, which seemed a good a place to start as any:
http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1739,154179-231197,00.html

First I opened the chicken package. Okay, when it says "Chicken breasts" with no quantity, but it's an armful for me, I figure 4 small or medium, like the size you get in a bag from Tysons. What I got were 2 enormous chicken breast fillets, half an inch thick, and the two didn't fit side by side in the 6 qt. crock. Fit in as best I could, just the chicken fills 1/2 the pot. Lanse and I could make a meal with leftovers from just one, but it's chicken... and we're leaving town.... and it's been thawed.... so it's gotta be cooked. It all went in.

As mentioned before, this is not a crock pot recipe. It takes the chef through the process of breading and frying the chicken. I prefer baked over fried, generally better for you anyway, so I just ignored the flour and oil and whatever else they had related to frying the chicken. Into the pot with the chicken I put a can of mushrooms (drained), and then the herbs and spices, and the ingredients for the sauce (chicken stock and balsamic vinegar). We get concerned about acidity levels around here, so I only put in half the balsamic, which smells like plenty. I also had a problem because it says to put in a bay leaf and then remove it later, but all I had was a jar of crushed up bay leaves. So I looked up the equivalences and threw it in there. I expect that will change the flavor from the original recipe. The other conversion I had to do was that I didn't have any fresh garlic, only garlic salt. So I figured out those numbers and made the change. There's a pretty good chance this'll be too salty, between the garlic salt, chicken stock, and the fact that habit found me with the kosher salt & peppering that I automatically do to all my meats. But if that's the case, we can forgo the sauce and just eat the chicken.

Now, here's where it got interesting. Crock pot rules are typically that "Low" = 6-7 hours, and "High" = 3-4 hours, so you can time it to eat when you want. I got everything in at 12:30, and Lanse has to be somewhere at 5:30, so I figured that High was the safest bet. So I set it on there, and let it go. Right around 2:00 I thought, "Ya know, this is chicken, and I got this new spiffy probe thermometer..." So I stuck it in the biggest chicken piece and set it for 161. (The guide on the back said Poultry is safe at 165 and there's always carryover to plan for.)

The timer went off 20 minutes ago. That'd be 2:40. Just a wee bit early.

So... I basted the tops to keep them moist, turned it down to Low, and here's praying it doesn't all dry out by the time dinner comes 'round. I gotta tell you all though, it's times like these when I pray for the invention of Smell-o-Vision. I could just sit and breathe this in all day long, and I'd love to be able to share it!

My final step will be to pour the juices into a pan and thicken it with a little corn starch for a good sauce. There was a similar step in the original recipe which relied on the flour from frying the chicken, so that's an acceptable replacement and goes more quickly than making a roux. I'm also leaving out the butter because the chicken fat will have contributed quite enough, thanks.

My final final step will be to make some noodles and a veggie to go with it.

I just finished lunch, but in writing this post I'm really hungry again! I guess I've only myself to blame...

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Setting examples

>> Sunday, May 10, 2009

I am SO PROUD of my baby brother.

As the eldest, it is my responsibility to set a good example; failing out of college really didn't help in that department. My brother tried college for a bit, then ran away to the Army. One side of our extended family wailed at the obvious loss of a successful future on our parts; the other side embraced us seemingly because of our failures. Strange world. So then he got married and went back to school while still in the military and working, had a baby. I've gone back to school too. But now... NOW...

Well, just LOOK what he did!!

He went and got himself a spiffy hat!

Way to let your big sister set a good example. *grin* I love you, bro. Well done.

(Oh, and for everyone else: any post-college employment prayers for him would be highly appreciated. Thanks!)

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Tribute to Moms

At least for me, this is when all the Mother's Day stuff started. I don't know if my mom's first Mother's Day had come yet or (having been born in January) if I was still too young. I'm the little one you can't see very well because everyone chose to wear white with the sun shining on them. My mom is holding me, her mother is behind her, and my grandpa's mom is in front. Four generations, three moms.

We all grew up, and then my brother and Rachel created generation 5. Way to go, Bro! Rachel is a fantastic mom, and we dote over Kaylee like... well, like you'd expect with the first Grandbaby. Some day soon we hope to expand Gen 5, though Mother's Day will most likely not be the best day of the year. But I'm looking forward to finding out!

We absolutely must not ever forget to mention this wonderful Mom, the mother of my husband. Aren't they all so cute? Thank you, Corky, for being such a wonderful Mom and for raising Lanse to be so wonderful as well.


There are many more photos I could share, and would, as well as many sappy "I did this with my Mom once" stories. However, I have no more time right now, but that doesn't make their morals any less true:



WE LOVE YOU, MOMS!!

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Crock Pot Quiche

>> Saturday, May 9, 2009

Although I located much encouragement on the internet about making quiche in my crock pot, I don't recommend it. I wouldn't have tried if Googleland screamed BAD, and it wasn't really horrible. It baked just fine and looked quite pretty in the pot, and didn't actually taste bad. (Didn't really taste good either.) But the consistency was just what you'd expect with a wet cooking method; kind of slimy and pocked like coral. It looked very... odd... once it was cut. My mouth didn't enjoy the experience.

Final verdict: Don't make quiche in a crock pot, even though you can.

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Hunny

>> Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Based upon the evidence at Heidi's post, I have just returned home with a jar of local honey from Bee City, which is somewhere around here, though I bought it at a produce stand on Central Avenue, but after Central turned into something else. The theory is that if I am allergic to South Carolina, after a few weeks of eating honey I won't be anymore.


Here are a few honey-related thoughts for your contemplation:

"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best -- " and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn
't know what it was called

"That buzzing-noise means something. If there's a buzzing noise, somebody's making a buzzing-noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you're a bee. ....
And the only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey.....
And the only reason for making honey is so as I can eat it."


Image linked to source

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Moving forward

>> Monday, May 4, 2009

WE'RE HOMESTUDY READY!!

Please take the time to read this post at our adoption blog. In order to find our child, we need to network ourselves and get our name known in the Social Worker fields. We desperately need your help in getting that done, and that link will clarify what we're hoping you can help with.

Thanks so much for all your prayers and support. The past two+ years were the busywork; now we're starting the truly emotional bit, and it could take a while. Please continue to pray!

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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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