08 December 2007

Sing with me! "This is iiiidahooo...."

9am this morning:

3pm this afternoon:

Completely surprised

So look at these cookies. The dough has melted chocolate in it, so it was really soft when I scooped it onto the cookie sheet. I thought, no way are these going to hold any kind of shape.

But they did!

Chocolate-oatmeal-walnut-butterscotch cookies:

02 December 2007

Hiking part II

I love this shot... reminds me of Robert Frost's "Two roads diverged in a wood...". Except that, well, there's only one road. But we won't tell him.

01 December 2007

Oh the speed capabilities... be still my heart

Back at the visitor's center at Starved Rock State Park. Look at this lineup of lovelies!!

Hiking Starved Rock SP

A short trail from the small parking lot leads to this canyon, full of sand on one side (seems like it's all sand) and shale on the other.
Every trail is built like a boardwalk.

Fall colors!
This was a cool old tree we saw on the trail with octopus arms.

30 November 2007

Illinois, James edition

This is the basinett B decorated with really pretty fabric left over from their wedding. She even made a cool overlay that hangs from the ceiling. Very sweet!
The little mister. Yelling at us. "Hey. HEY. HEY!!! Somebody get me outta here!"

"Oh fine. I give up. I'll just sleep. But I'm covering my ears to block out all the women-chatter."

James and his Dad. I think they sort of look alike.


Driving my lovely little flimsy Hyundai rental.... this was actually on the way back to Milwaukee, but you get the idea. Happy to see countryside at least. :-)

Bernice and I went to an apple farm where they had a big gift shop. We had hot chocolate and apple cider doughnuts, which did a great job of warming us up after being outside in the cold wind.
James and Tante Ri :-)
The apple farm had these cool swings cut from old tires into the shape of a horse. I had never seen anything like it. Creative!
Illinois is starting to get windmills just like CA. I never realized how huge these things are until Bernice and I drove past one pretty close to the road and it was about 5 times bigger than a power pole. We think they really need a paint job... green stems and yellow petals.

Chocolate Gelato!

I felt like making ice cream and I had some cream in the fridge, so this is what happens when I get inspired and I happen to have the right ingredients. :-)

Cooking the custard:

Melting the chocolate:

Nice and glossy! And no, the spoon isn't that close to the camera, that's Grandma's larger-than-life humongous trusty wooden spoon. I'm sure she didn't always use it for cooking, but let's not talk about that...

Next ice cream variation on the list: creme brulee

29 November 2007

It's a good thing I like pink

So, I thought that after say... 3 years... a shirt probably wouldn't let off color anymore. I was wrong.

Behold, the perpetrator and the victim:

Haaallloooooooooo *haallooo* (hallooo...)

Yes I know my blog has become a cavernous wasteland in blogdom, but I'm back now. So you can all rest easy.

And I'm back with pictures! What more could you ask for?

Yes, I know, some ice cream to savor while you browse might be nice.
Coming right up!

04 November 2007


Another topical sermon I heard this morning on the Christian radio station, but unfortunately I don't have any information about the pastor or where he's from. Also unfortunately, the way he presented his sermon felt more like a 9-step program than a gospel-focused sermon, but the point of it is still applicable and interesting to those of us who (like me) tend to feel defensive when disagreements arise.
How to deal with conflict in your relationships with others:
1) Keep a quiet spirit--don't allow yourself to retaliate with a sharp outburst, but respond calmly. "God didn't create you with a short fuse. If you think it's 'just part of your personality', get a different personality."
2) Don't defend yourself immediately. Let the other person have their say and give yourself time to think wisely about what will come out of your mouth.
3) Luke 12:12--Ask the Holy Spirit to guard your mouth.
4) Ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment. Ask, "What's going on here? What's the big picture?"
5) No matter the circumstance, view it as coming from God. Not in the sense of "God caused this", but rather knowing that everything that happens in our lives is allowed by God and He uses it for our spiritual good. This circumstance will prove some purpose in both people's lives.
6) Ask the Holy Spirit to show you if it's your fault. If so, admit it, ask for forgiveness from God and the other person, commit to never committing that sin again, and ask for suggestions for improvement from the other person.
7) Forgive the person no matter what. You have been fogiven all by God. This doesn't mean you "give up", but you don't have the right to withhold forgiveness from anyone, even if they don't verbally ask you for it.
8) Look beyond this instance to avoid a similar situation in the future. How can you help the other person and yourself avoid this same circumstance again?
9) Take advantage of the conflict to 1) learn from it about the other person and yourself, 2) use the opportunity to demonstrate Christ.


As all three (four?) of you my dear readers know, worry is one of my biggest vices. I hate worrying, but small issue or big, near or far, I usually find a way to worry about it. A prime example of doing things I don't want to do, but not doing those I want to do. It's also indicative of a lack of trust in God. I was listening to one of the local Christian radio stations, and I heard a sermon on worry by a Rev. Paul Shepherd from Palo Alto, CA. His sermon was really applicable:
Worry keeps the wrong company: doubt, loneliness, depression, bitterness, fear, envy, unforgiveness, and anger. Contrast that with the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Rev. Shepherd instructed believers to turn every worry into a prayer, by petition and thanksgiving, according to Phillipians 4. To petition someone means to ask for a very specific thing. Imagine a child asking their parent for a toy. They don't just ask for any toy--they want an mp3 player. Not the Samsung, but the Apple iPod. And not the 1 gig but the 2 gig. And not the green one but the purple one! So when we are worried about a specific thing, we should be specific when we pray about it to our Father. We should recognize at the same time that we have been blessed immeasurably by God and therefore we are grateful for the things He has already given us in the past. Rev. Shepherd pointed out that we should pray for things we know are inside God's will, namely what he has shown us in His word, because praying for something we know to be outside His will would be pointless. Not only pointless, but wrong. By bringing our worries to God in this way, He has promised to be a peacekeeper to us, to guard us against the pain and sin that worries bring.

Raisin Walnut Bread

Yummy raisin-whole-wheat-walnut-warm-homemade goodness. No kneading!

My black thumb is showing signs of green

Sister-in-law B introduced me to the Joys of Gardening. Similar to introducing me to the Joys of Cooking. You know, B, you should really write a few books.
Anyway, I still had $20 left on that ever-living Home Depot gift card that I won in a contest at my old job. Old, as in, I won this card 2 years ago. Thank goodness they don't have expiration dates. Seeing as how renting an apartment prevents you from fulfilling all those Home Depot dreams you have involving colorful paint and decorative tile and other typically permanent items, I decided to use it on plants. I bought rosemary, lemon verbena, and a huge terra cotta pot last summer. The herbs promptly died when I went on vacation for a week and then really died for good when it got cold outside. So I purchased a miniature rose to fill their spot. Still had $10 left over. I do not want this card taking up space in my wallet any more! Ok, these two are on sale, I'll give them a try.
On the left is a Japanese fern in a flower pot my Grandma used to own, and on the right is a Northern Lights grass in my pot.

New hat!

I first saw this hat at the 2007 Art in the Park at the Hatterdashery booth. Hatterdashery is a small company based out of Washington, owned by a guy named Michael who I believe makes all of the hats himself. He didn't have my size that day, so he measured my head and took an order. It arrived in the mail about 2 months later with a handwritten note apologizing for taking so long. Small business = personal service (usually). I love it.
Please excuse the slightly wacky expression. It's hard to keep a normal look on your face when you're focused on getting the camera just so, and taking the picture for the 4th time.

The view from my place

This was taken a week or two ago, right before a rainstorm. I love the Japanese Maple (the tree with the red leaves) in neighbor Bob's yard.


I have this theory that God is increasing my pain threshold little by little as I get older so that when the day comes to have a baby I have a (however small) chance of making it. Case in point:
2 months ago: stubbed my big toe, separated the nail from the bed
3 weeks ago: stubbed it again which took the nail completely off
1 day ago: dropped the corner of a heavy wooden dresser drawer full of clothes on... yes, my bare, nail-less toe.


I will now be buying stock in bandaids.

02 November 2007

Dear Mr. Squirrelybob Nopants:

Please stop destroying my newly planted rosebush. Or I will stomp on every acorn in my yard so you have nothing left to bury and you will have to move to Bob's yard.

With sincere thanks and determination,
Your friendly neighbor who used to think you were so cute.

20 October 2007

We're sorry, Marie's brain is having technical difficulties. Please try again later.

So. I was attempting to make caramel corn on my own. With only 1 person to stir. And 1 shelf in the oven. And a very small countertop. But two pans of CC. So the second pan of CC conveniently sat warming on top of the stove while the first pan was in the oven. And then I smell that distinctive odor of sugar burning. So I turn around, and the pan of CC on top of the stove is steaming. Oh yeah.... the burner is still on...

Ok, the CC issue gets worked out--I tossed the burnt half of the pan in the trash (after eating about half of it) and added the good half to the first pan to continue baking in the oven. So I go to check on my laundry, which I need to get done within the next hour, and wow! The dryer is done already! I just put those jeans in 15 minutes ago! Oh yeah... there's the matter of that little "start" button.

In other news: After months of whispering in its ear, promising to care for it until death do us part, my African Violet finally decided to say hello.

The full mile

I finally hit a mile today!! I jogged an entire mile, without stopping. This seems like a really small step to those in the fitness world, but to me it's a big deal. I haven't been running as much lately because I was so busy, but I am starting to see the cumulative effects kick in anyway. Sweet.
I've been doing a regular loop to Camel's Back--jog down there from home (1 mile), hike up Chickadee Ridge and down through the grove (2 miles) and try to jog back home (1 mile). I did jog most of the way home today, which was a huge improvement from previous efforts, but there were a few walking stops in the middle, so I don't really count it as jogging any sort of distance. It's cold outside, but if I wear layers, it's really nice. I don't overheat 5 seconds out the door.
I love fall. :-)

19 October 2007

Nevada, early October

Signs of Autumn

Caramel Corn
Cloudy skies
Beautiful sunsets
And a happy little guy

New bike!

But the back tire is flat... :-( Oh well, easily fixed, right? Can somebody tell me how to fix a flat bike tire?

07 October 2007


Mel came over to visit the other evening, and since she is moving soon, I wanted to make sure to get a picture of us together. A bit of cheesiness, like usual!

Grandma's Nut Chopper

One of the things I got to keep from Grandma's kitchen collection was this nut chopper. I chopped up some walnuts to go on top of the banana muffins I made today.

I didn't realize until after 15 minutes of grinding that the walnuts are supposed to go in the top, and grind down into the jar! Next time...