28 February 2008

Outrage and a roll of the eyes

**UPDATED 3/1/08: See comments at the bottom of this post**

As someone who used to work for a nonprofit foundation, I am familiar with the rules of donations, and this not only shocked me, but also made me say "This is classic Planned Parenthood". It's a lengthy post, but I wanted to copy the entire article from http://www.idahostatesman.com/ in case it ever becomes unavailable. See the original here. As of this posting, there were 257 online comments on this article.

Response to caller 'a serious mistake,' says Planned Parenthood of Idaho
They also criticized The Advocate for trying to discredit employees with recorded phone calls

Autumn Kersey of Planned Parenthood in Boise: Good afternoon, this is Autumn.
Donor: Hello, Autumn, I'm interested in making a donation today.
Kersey: Fantastic!
Donor: What about abortions for the underprivileged minority groups?
Kersey: Oh, absolutely. We have, um, in fact, uh wonderful, fantastic news. We just received a very generous donation to our women in need fund.
Donor: Wonderful. I want to specify that abortion to help a minority group - would that be possible?
Kersey: Absolutely.
Donor: Like the black community for example?
Kersey: Certainly.
Donor: OK, so the abortionI can give money specifically for a black baby, that would be the purpose.
Kersey: Absolutely. If you wanted to designate that you wanted your gift to be used to help (an) African-American woman in need, then we would certainly make sure that that gift was earmarked specifically for that purpose.
Donor: Great. Because I really face trouble with affirmative action, and I don't want my kids being disadvantaged, you know, against black kids. I just had a baby; I want to put it in his name, you know.
Kersey: Mmhmm, absolutely.
Donor: So that's definitely possible.
Kersey: Oh, always, always.
Donor: So I just wanna - can I put this in the name of my son?
Kersey: Absolutely.
Donor: Yeah, he's trying to get into colleges, and he's going to be applying, you know, he's justwe're just really bighe's really faced troubles with affirmative action.
Kersey: Mmhmm.
Donor: And we don't, you know, we just think, you know, the less black kids out there the better.
Kersey: (Laughs) Understandable, understandable. ... Um David, let me, if I may, just get some sort of specific general information so we can set this up the right way. You said you wanted to put it in your son's name, and you would like this designated specifically to assist (an) African-American woman who's looking to terminate a pregnancy.
Donor: Exactly, and yeah, I wanna protect my son, so he can get into college.
Kersey: All right. Excuse my hesitation, um, um, this is the first time I've had a donor call and make this kind of request, so I'm excited, and I wanna make sure I don't leave anything out.
Transcript released by The Advocate


BY SANDRA FORESTER - sforester@idahostatesman.com
Edition Date: 02/28/08

Planned Parenthood of Idaho officials apologized Wednesday for what they called an employee's "serious mistake" in encouraging a donation aimed at aborting black babies.
They also criticized The Advocate, a right-to-life student magazine at the University of California-Los Angeles, for trying to discredit Planned Parenthood employees in seven states in a series of tape-recorded phone calls last summer.
The call to Idaho came in July to Autumn Kersey, vice president of development and marketing for Planned Parenthood of Idaho.
On the recording provided by The Advocate, an actor portraying a donor said he wanted his money used to eliminate black unborn children because "the less black kids out there the better."
Kersey laughed nervously and said: "Understandable, understandable. ... Excuse my hesitation, this is the first time I've had a donor call and make this kind of request, so I'm excited and want to make sure I don't leave anything out."
On Tuesday, The Advocate released transcripts and audio recordings of this phone call and another to fundraising representatives in Ohio.
The student editor-in-chief of The Advocate said she's not surprised by Planned Parenthood's response and that the unedited recordings speak for themselves. The activist students think Planned Parenthood targets minorities and minority neighborhoods.
On Wednesday, Planned Parenthood of Idaho "firmly and unequivocally" denounced racial bias, admitted making a mistake and said the group had taken corrective action.
"A fundraising employee violated the organization's principles and practices when she appeared to be willing to accept a racially motivated donation," said CEO Rebecca Poedy in a written statement. "We apologize for the manner in which this offensive call was handled. We take full responsibility for the actions of the fundraising staff member who created the impression that racism of any form would be tolerated at Planned Parenthood. We took swift action to ensure that each of our employees understands their responsibility to communicate clearly with donors about the fact that we believe in helping all individuals, regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation, make informed decisions about their reproductive health care."
A spokeswoman for the organization would not say whether further disciplinary action was taken against Kersey, saying that was a personnel matter.
A longtime anti-abortion activist and conservative lobbyist - Idaho Values Alliance Executive Director Bryan Fischer - called Kersey's response in July reprehensible and said she should have been fired.
"It turns out that blatant racism is alive and well in Idaho, but it's not coming from the Aryan Nation types - it's coming from way-left organizations like Idaho's own Planned Parenthood," Fischer said. "They should have stridently rebuked that donor for being a racist and a bigot and refused to take that money."
The national Planned Parenthood office did not return phone calls Wednesday, but local officials denounced the editor of The Advocate as "a known anti-choice extremist."
"While the actions of our staff member were unacceptable, it's also unacceptable for opponents of abortion to use racist, deceptive tactics to smear Planned Parenthood," Poedy said. "The race-baiting tactics on display in this case are not news 'exposes,' but rather the product of the most cynical form of politicking."
Lila Rose, the UCLA student who led the Planned Parenthood investigation as The Advocate's editor-in-chief, said it is sad that the organization would focus on what the students did.
"They do not change their ways," Rose said. "They attack the whistleblower."
Nationwide, Planned Parenthood received about $902 million in revenue in 2005-06, according to its annual report. Private donations made up about 24 percent, or $212 million.
"It is unacceptable for a nonprofit to accept donations that target specific races," Rose said.
The Advocate is waiting for responses from Idaho and Ohio before releasing recordings from Planned Parenthood organizations in several other states, she said. In the meantime, the magazine is calling for UCLA to cut its ties with Planned Parenthood.
It is legal in Idaho for someone who makes a phone call to secretly tape it.

I think you all can probably guess my main opposition to Planned Parenthood, but I should clarify what is so disturbing about PP's actions in this specific instance. Not only is it ludicrous that they would accept donations specified for the abortion of a baby of a certain race, but does it strike anyone else as odd that they would even have a fund specifically for African American women? We're so used to seeing things like this that we don't notice the irony. We don't notice how "racial inequality" is being perpetuated by the very act of pointing it out. Think about all the scholarship funds, tv shows, magazines, etc. specifically created for black people. Could we replace the word "black" in their titles with "white" or "indian" or "asian" and not create an uproar? I do *not* advocate ignoring racial differences, but rather recognizing that God made every man in his image, "red, yellow, black or white" and therefore every person is worthy of respect, equally.

100 Posts!

Well technically this makes 101, but a milestone nonetheless, no?

26 February 2008

What In The World Am I Eating?

My co-worker Angee recently introduced me to the joy of easy-lunch-making that is known as the snack pack. Not just any snack pack. A baked chips snack pack. My eyes eagerly sought out this remedy to all my lunch-making woes on the next trip to Winco. Aha! 20 neat little bags of baked Doritos, baked Cheetos, baked Ruffles, and pretzels. I know, pretzels are already baked to begin with, so they can't claim the fame that goes along with being labeled as a food that is a healthier version of its previous self. I digress. Notice that the bags say "naturally baked". What does that mean? Is there an unnatural way to bake something? Perhaps by leaving it out in the sun until it dries up and shrivels? Oh wait... that's how they used to do it...

I've never been a real huge Cheetos fan, mainly because they are messy and the cheese taste is overwhelming. I thought that the baked version might be better, lighter, you know... recognizable as actual food. I was wrong. That "cheese" on the Cheetos? The atomic orange? Yeah. It does supposedly contain cheddar cheese, according to the ingredient list, but it is closely followed by its friends maltodextrin, disodium phosphate, monosodium glutamate, lactic acid, citric acid, and "artificial flavorings". I've always wanted to know how an artificial flavoring is flavored. And which artificial substance tastes like cheese, if it's not in fact cheese?

The baked Ruffles? Definitely good. They taste like Pringles.

Quote of the Day

"Though the wicked are in prosperity and are not in trouble as other men, yet the godly, though in affliction, are in a state infinitely better because they have God for their portion."
~Jonathan Edwards

You Know You Need A Vacation When...

you're at work and instead of typing "mail", your fingers switch keys and come up with "Maui".

25 February 2008

Breaking and Entering

No I'm not a felon yet. I know you had your hopes up about sampling some of the prison food.

My friends and I were trying to check on an empty house owned by my parents, but we couldn't get inside. It went something like this:

Scene 1: Front door
Ri [trying to unlock the front door]: Well, I have two keys. But they're exactly the same. And they both fit the deadlock but not the door handle. What do we do now?
Meredith: [worried look] You don't have other keys?
Ri: No, the management company didn't send the others.
Meredith: Well that was nice of them.
Ri: Let's go around to the back yard. [Trying to get the fence unlocked, but it's very tall] Stacy, you're taller than me, and this gate is super-tall, can you reach this?
Stacy: Sure. [Tries to open gate. Meanwhile Ri calls her dad.]
Ri: Dad, the management company only gave me the keys for the deadbolt. So we can't get in the house, but we're trying to get through the gate.
Mom in the background: You're going through the people-gate, right?
Ri: What people-gate? There's a people-gate? Oh, it's on the OTHER side....
Scene 2: Backyard
[Stacy, Meredith and Ri peer through the windows of the house to check for damage from previous tenants, after getting over their shock at the number of missing roof shingles.]
Ri: Man, I wish we could get in there. I really want to see if things were cleaned up after the last time I was here.
Stacy: Where there's a will there's a way. Hey, which direction should the window latch be facing for it to be locked?
Meredith: Oh no.
Stacy: I think this window is open! [Tries to pry window screen off.]
Ri: Ummm.... Stacy..... if we break anything we have to pay for it.
Stacy: Oh I've done this SO many times...
Meredith: Uh-huh. She has.
Ri: Well there looks like there's a gap at the top of the screen, so let's push it up and maybe we can get it out without breaking it.
[Stacy successfully pulls the screen off and opens the window.]
Stacy: Ta-da!!
Ri: Who's going to climb in there and how?
[Stacy and Meredith both look at Ri, then offer to hold her feet so she can climb in. Ri shrugs her shoulders.]
Scene 3: Inside the house
Ri [On the phone with Dad]: Hey Dad, guess what? I just broke into your house!
Dad: Well that's just what I've always wanted to hear...

Religion & Politics

"...civil religion is the misidentification of the nation of the United States with the covenant people of God. It is the casual assumption that America enjoys a special role in redemptive history. It is the confusion of the office of the political leader with the office of the spiritual leader. It is the frequent presumption of divine blessings without submission to divine judgment. It is the sublimation of Christian distinctives to a generic amalgam that conflates many faiths into a common national identity. It is as old as America itself. And it is not biblical Christianity."
~William Inboden

Faith For The Man He'll Become

"How would you describe the man you want to marry? What would he be like as a husband, father, and provider?
If you've had numerous godly male role models in your life — your father, pastor, boss, family friend, uncle, small group leader — you may already have a mental picture based on the qualities you appreciate in these men. You may see some of the husbands and fathers in your church and think to yourself that you'd like to marry a man just like them. Those are great aspirations to have! But first you may need to talk to their wives."
~Carolyn McCulley, via Boundless, 2006.

Carolyn has a great blog of her own, Radical Womanhood (which you can find in my sidebar), but in this guest post for Boundless, she points out the fact that the Godly older men in our lives have years of learning and practice behind them, which could make younger guys appear immature in our eyes. This applies to women of course too, but her focus in the article is on single women choosing a husband based on his Godly character, and having the vision to see where God will take him.

"Like trees in springtime with an impressionistic haze of buds, the potential for growth is strongly evident but it's not yet fully realized.
So here's what I want to impart to you: There is a learning curve to a man's leadership as a husband and father. The qualities you can see in a 50-year-old man's life were developed over 50 years. There are 25 more years of growth ahead for the 25-year-old man before it's fair to compare them. While you are called to be discerning about the characters of the men you befriend or court/date, you also have a part in encouraging these men to grow. In fact, that's part of your learning curve as you prepare for being a wife."

Do You Like God?

"We don't always like what we love. And though we can act lovingly without heartfelt affection, we are fooling ourselves to think that a begrudging love is what we should settle for, or that it is, in fact, some kind of admirable 'martyr-love'. It may be the best we can do at times but it is not the best we can do.
So, given this love-like dilemma, I'm asking, do you like God? Odd question, eh? Perhaps that's part of what makes it worthwhile.
Asking 'Do you like God?' may help us see how restricted our view of God's love really is. 'Of course, I like God,' you say. 'How could I not? I love God.' Although this answer may very well represent a depth of commitment and affection that needs no challenge, it just might reveal a view of 'love' that looks a lot like 'duty'."
~Gregory Spencer, via Boundless, 2007

See the rest here.


Over the next few weeks (months?), I'll be cleaning out my email inbox and putting the contents here for all of you to enjoy. And you are saying, "What? I don't want to see that. It's probably all spam!" Actually... I have a habit of emailing myself the link when I find something I like. So welcome to my storage closet.

Bible Geocoding

Very cool website... someone has attempted to map all "identifiable" Biblical locations in modern-day Europe, via Google Earth. You can search by book and chapter, and (somewhat random) photos are available through Flickr. Check it out.

Quote(s) of the Day

I've got two for you today!

"At the historic space-time Fall, man refused to stand in the proper relationship with this infinite reference point which is the personal God. Therefore, people are now abnormal (emphasis mine)."
~Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live?

I love how Schaeffer says that--"people are now abnormal". Sometimes we forget that in our sinful nature, we aren't the people God means us to be; we are not normal.


"I wish that the young men might have something to rid them of their love ditties and wanton songs and might instead of these learn wholesome things and thus yield willingly to the good; also, because I am not of the opinion that all the arts shall be crushed to earth and perish through the Gospel, as some bigoted persons pretend, but would willingly see them all, and especially music, servants of Him who gave and created them."
~Martin Luther's foreword to the Wittenberg Gesangbuch, as quoted in Francis Schaeffer's How Should We Then Live?

Luther's reference to the arts being "crushed to the earth and perish[ing] through the Gospel" is a description of the way certain groups of people over-reacted in their disagreement with the Roman Catholic church in their enthusiasm for the Reformation. Many statues and other works of art were destroyed becuase of the implication of idolatry.
Luther never meant to divide the Church but rather to reform it.

24 February 2008

Words of Wisdom

"Never miss an opportunity to shut up."
~The Jacksons Stinker Station Skunk

17 February 2008

I love my job

I know tomorrow is President's Day. Which means we should spend the day recognizing the service of previous and current US Presidents.

But it means something else to me, in addition to the President-recognition thing.

To all of my dear friends and family who have to work tomorrow, BOO-YAH!

2008 Goals

Ok, I promised, or sort of promised, that I would post my New Year's resolutions. It's not exactly January 1st still, but they still apply right? And considering the likelihood of me reaching these goals based on the fact that most people give up on their resolutions by mid-February and I'm just starting them, it's looking pretty good for me.
In somewhat of an order:
1) Grow in godliness. This includes learning to pray in a more specific way, reading through and studying the 3 Forms of Unity (Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, and Canons of Dordt) and the Westminster Catechism, and reading the whole Bible this year.
2) Play through and become more familiar with the Psalter Hymnal. This item, along with my typical piano practice for congregational accompaniment, will be especially challenging since my piano is going into storage and I'll have to drive to church/BSU/etc. for access to the ivories.
3) Join a choir. Already accomplished! Woo-hoo! *ahem-cough* Tra-la-la....!
4) Have someone over once a month. Not just someone stopping by for half an hour before we head out the door, but bona fide dinner and/or dessert, and an evening of great conversation and fellowship. This might have to wait until May, when I move upstairs and I will have an official dining room area. Whether I have a table by then is still up for debate. Maybe another goal should be learning how to refinish old thrift-store furniture...
5) Run a 5K. This definitely won't happen until later in the year because of an upcoming foot surgery, but it will be done. "Do or do not, there is no try." ~Yoda. :-)
6) Put more time into creative pursuits, such as singing, drawing/painting, writing & reading, sewing, cooking for others. I would like to blog at least twice a week, and reading one book per month would be an ideal minimum.
8) Continue supporting the church through piano accompaniment, Sunday School assistance (through May 08), nursery help, refreshments, and Bible study participation. These aren't new goals, but they are things I already devote time to and I want to see them continue.
9) Pay off my credit card (April 08) and the smaller of my two student loans (June 08). Save up so I can visit family and friends in a financially comfortable way.

10) Buy or make new towels. Yes this is a silly goal to have on a list that's supposed to last all year. But you haven't seen my towels. They are about 10 years old. Which means I have been meaning to replace them for about the last 4 or 5 years. This is the year! Carpe Towel!

14 February 2008

Letters To Nobody...

Dear HVAC guy,

Could you please make the thermostat work in my office? I've been working here for over a year now, and I realize you are required to keep the temperature within a certain range to save on energy costs, but come on... I didn't plan on styling my outfits around the scarves I own.

The Girl In The Corner

Dear Co-worker,

Usually we get along really well and I enjoy being around you, but there's this one little thing that has been getting on my nerves. A few weeks ago you walked around to each of our desks, proudly showing off your shiny new phone and its catchy new ringtones, and informed us that you assigned a special song for your husband. Now every time your phone blares "Let's Get Naughty Naughty" at 30 decibels, I know who's calling.

I'm wearing earplugs from now on,
The Girl Who Would Rather Not Know

Valentine's Day

A hectic week at work made me extra thankful for these things...

An uber-sweet valentine from my Mom! She is pretty much the most creative person I know. The square card on the left is actually a large circle of cardstock-weight scrapbooking paper, folded so all the edges meet in the middle. The box on the right has a very cute Valentine's paperclip. I will be using it just as soon as I can get it unstuck from the box. What kind of glue did you use on there Mom? Maybe I'm not supposed to take it off...

Look at this cute pincushion! This will come in very handy when I start sewing. Which I know I've been saying I would do for the past year, but people you know what my apartment looks like. I'll set up the sewing machine once I move upstairs, ok? :-) I love little personalized things like this.

Tonight for dinner I made a teriyaki stir fry, which is apparently not the traditional way of doing teriyaki. I used Quon Yick noodles, famous in LA, and Soy Vay brand teriyaki sauce... I think the story behind Soy Vay is funny--a Jewish guy and a Chinese lady met as co-workers at Humboldt State University and started producing sauces together because everybody at their company potlucks liked her recipes so much. I've never tried Quon Yick before, but the noodles were really good; a bit firmer than a typical skinny noodle, which held up well to the stir fry.

Birthday Presents

My family and friends know me well...

Meredith got me a Starbucks gift card... oh yeah. :-) It has been put to good use this week, considering all the overtime at work.

Rich and Susan gave me a fondue cookbook and an ample supply of dipping chocolate for my next party. I'm already planning the menu.

Casey and Lisa got me this collection of 88 hymns. Susan Beisner recorded these on piano to provide accompaniment for those who do not have access to instruments, or simply want to listen to the instrumental version of the Trinity Hymnal. Since my piano will soon be going into storage (*sniff!*), this will be great to have. Casey and Lisa also got me a Starbucks gift card.

Jerry and Bernice sent two things I have always wanted and needed, but never bought. A sturdy wooden cutting board, and a sharp chef's knife. Finally I can cut things in less than half an hour. Ok, not quite that long, but... almost.

Mom and Dad sent 3 of my favorite things in the mail: vanilla, vanilla, and vanilla! A baker can never have enough good quality vanilla. On the left is a Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract. Madagascar is the world's largest producer of vanilla planifolia, the "vanilla orchid". Each flower on the plant produces one fruit (i.e. vanilla bean) and the flowers bloom just one day a year. The glass tube in front contains 5 beans from Papua New Guinea, and the jar to the right contains one Tahitian vanilla bean and 2 Madagascar beans. If you look closely at the label you will see that it is a vanilla infusion "kit"--you split the beans, add vodka, shake once a day for 2 months, and you have your own vanilla. I can't wait to get started. Look for homemade vanilla ice cream and cream puffs with vanilla bean pastry cream in about two months...

Birthday Weekend, Day 4

Day 4: Monday, February 4

Lisa was planning on packing up the kids and going home by now, but instead she woke up to find Casey in her parents' living room at 6 in the morning! He had driven up from Nevada to drive them home himself. But as you can see, the weather had other plans, so we made it into a snow day...

The cutest niece in the world. I'm allowed to say that because 1) she's awfully cute, and 2) she's my only niece. Here she is getting ready to pummel somebody with a big mean snowball.

We pulled off somewhere halfway up the mountain and started to make our own sled hill. The fun part of making your own hill is that.... it's your own. The not-so-fun..*ahem* challenging... part is actually making the sled hill. Which means trudging up in deep soft snow multiple times. About 20 times by the end of the day. Should have brought my snowshoes.

"Let's hear it from the top!"
Casey taking Kiddo 1 down the hill. Check out those great clouds.
Lisa and Kiddo 2.

Casey and his cargo. I gotta say the knee board was a great idea--way faster than tubes. Especially going down backwards. Which I never would have thought of if Casey hadn't told me to do it.

I had such a great birthday weekend!

13 February 2008

This little piggy had an accident

My toenail broke off for the third time. Apparently my case was brought before the Director of PATA (People Against Toenail Abuse) and I have been notified that I am now on observational probation for 2 months. Be thankful I am not allowed to present "Exhibit A" to you.

Trivial Pursuit

And speaking of Starbucks, I love reading the quotes on the side of the cup. I was getting tired of reading the same quote for the past week chastising humanity for not taking care of their young better than animals, who "after all do it by sheer instinct".

Today's quote: "Playing in an independent rock band will eventually make you equal parts truck driver, gladiator, and mule. Glamour is for those with trust funds." - Neko Case

I've known about Neko Case for about a year now but never took the time to look her up. She sounds like a harder version of Alison Krauss. And a more countrified version of Brandi Carlile. Very much home-grown and indie, in a good way.

The Futility of Foam

Standing at Starbucks (*$ for the abbreviation-minded such as myself). Normally I get a grande skinny hazelnut latte extra hot. Today, switchin' it up a bit, I'll try the tall irish cream... "Here's your tall skinny irish cream latte, Marie!" And my drink about hits the ceiling because the cup weighs exactly 0.00438 ounces. I open the lid and it's half foam. This is why I never get a tall.

10 February 2008

Birthday Weekend, Day 3 *continued*

Kudos to Lisa for all the great shots. Y'all know what I mean.

Starting out at my house...

Lisa, me, Anya, Meredith

Getting crazy and we haven't even left the house!

Then on to Pair for dinner....

Pair gave us white chocolate shots for our birthdays... mmm. And yes I will have everyone know that despite the rouge tint to my face, I only had 2 drinks the whole night. See the comments on Lisa's blog. :-)

Our waiter was hilarious, if not totally there. Maybe because he wasn't totally there...

The finishing touch at Melting Pot...

Balloons and a box of fondue chocolate were waiting for me at Melting Pot. There was also a little candle in the cheesecake on the dipping platter. They make sure you have an awesome birthday!

Yes, that is a bar we are sitting on. And yes, I am completely utterly embarrassed. Fun times! :-)

Birthday Weekend, Day 3

Day 3: Saturday, February 2

Snowshoeing at Bogus Basin...

It was Anya's first time going snowshoeing. After getting adjusted and tromping around the road area for a while, we decided to climb a hill "to see what was on the other side". We were actually looking for the trail.

We huffed and puffed our way up, falling only twice each in the hip-high soft snow...

and finally I reached the top with Anya close behind. We got a majestic view of.... cars.
Turns out it was another road-side parking lot on the way up to Pioneer Lodge. So much for finding a trail. So we just turned around and enjoyed the view instead.

Eventually we got down off the hill without sliding onto someone's hood. We drove up around the corner to the lodge, but by that time the wind had kicked up and it felt like frozen sand blasting your ears. Time to head home and get ready to go out to dinner with Lisa and Meredith.

Tonight's feature movie will be continued after a short commercial break...

The Green Chair

This is one of the coolest pieces of furniture I have seen in a long time. Look at it close and notice how the scrollwork pieces are actually shelf brackets.

Dad, can you make me one? I made you cookies... :-)

More cool McCall pics

"I have cell service up here!"
A mountain of snow. Literally.

Moxie will rule the world.

Icicles... from inside.

Sunset on the way home

McCall Ice Sculpture Festival

Umm.... yeah. I have to say I wasn't that impressed this year. But then again, I was the dork who forgot the sculpture map and made us miss half of it. So out of the *few* we saw, these were the good ones. Don't ask about the half-nude mermaid (as they usually are) or the Guns-n-Roses skull holding a rose between its teeth.

I think this was a Native American sun/moon/kharma/Ghandi thingamajig... pretty cool how the moon is perpendicular to the sun.

This was a rancher or some sort of Old West guy taking a bath in his cabin. Apparently we got pictures at a good time because I heard someone broke his arm later in the day. oops. But you wouldn't be able to tell if they put a cast on him.

Birthday Weekend, Day 2

Day 2: Friday, February 1 *my 27th birthday!*

Anya and I headed up to McCall, with the requisite pb&j sandwiches that she eats every day...

The Rainbow Bridge

A storm was coming in just as we got there, but the light made for great pictures.

Anya looking cute. When does she not look cute? The girl wears a beret for crying out loud.

The view from downtown McCall across the lake, just incredible.

See Tamarack slopes in the distance?

We spent more time driving than walking, but it was all fun. I love McCall.

Anya made me dinner when we got back to my apartment: spaghetti, garlic bread, and caprese salad. And leftover Mai Thai chocolate cake for dessert. Oh yes, and my favorite white--Ste. Chapelle Winemaker's Series Riesling.

Birthday Weekend, Day 1

... and yes, it really was a whole weekend of partying! :-)

Day 1: Thursday, January 31
Anya flew in from CA at 9am and was very grateful to have her luggage show up on the same flight she was on. The desk clerk in Fresno told her it might not make it because she was almost late for her flight. Are you surprised? :-) So we made it back to my house through a foot of new snow and more coming down, then made breakfast and visited for a while. We decided to go shopping for the afternoon and then go out for sushi.
Earlier in the week I had been cleaning my house and I decided to go through my box of "important papers". You know, old paystubs, tax info, health insurance info. I sorted through my car insurance info and found a copy of my last car registration... which expired September of 2007. *shoot* So the first order of business on Thursday was going to the courthouse downtown and renewing my registration. Which was convenient enough because the new Anthropologie just opened a few blocks from there. We are such girls. :-) I got my new stickers, licked my thumb and cleaned off the old stickers on my plates, put the new ones over top, and we were good to go. I was A.MA.ZED that I had not gotten a ticket in the last 5 months for overdue registration. This, after last year's incident when the cop was beside me in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the interstate and made me put the new stickers on in the pouring rain, in a skirt and heels, in front of all the other drivers. And no, the cop wasn't a man.
Ok. Back to our story. So we got my car registered, went to the always-so-incredibly-I'm-in-love-fabulous Anthro, then to the mall for a while... then back home and back downtown, where we proceeded to wait an hour to be seated at Mai Thai and then another half hour before our food came. Keep in mind folks, this was a snowy Thursday in Boise. No excuse for a wait. Meanwhile we overhear one of the waiters saying to the other, "Man I'm glad it's a slow night..." Um, excuse me? I'm so not one to stick up for herself, but fortunately Anya is much more bold than I. While I was in the restroom she complained to the waiter, who sent the manager over (whom I know because I'm there so often, usually with great service) and so he proceeded to apologize over and over, ad nauseum, for the rest of the night. At least we got free dessert. Woo-hoo Anya! :-)
We were just leaving to make a marathon trip through Winco, when I turned onto Capitol and suddenly saw those captivating red and blue lights in my mirror. Great. Was it the pedestrian standing on the corner who waved me on to go ahead and turn even though pedestrians have the right-of-way? Was it because I made a right turn onto a 4-lane one-way and immediately drove over to the far left lane? I did have my left blinker on.... hm. So we pull over, hello officer, yada yada... "Miss I pulled you over because I ran your plates and your registration is expired." Anya and I started laughing so hard I saw him pull out his ticket book right there. We both started talking at once and were trying not to laugh hysterically, while telling him "Seriously officer, we were just at the courthouse to renew it this morning!!" His face said it all... umm yeah. So we pulled out the registration papers and showed him and he was really nice about it. Apparently it takes a few days for your new registration to go through the computers. No ticket. Thank you Lord.

Ok, that's all the exciting stuff for Day 1. More pictures, less talk, coming up in Day 2!

Walnut Fudge... in a cookie

Yeah, what's up with all the food posts? Well if you know me you know I like to bake. Or should I say love to bake. Without baking, my life would be sad indeed. So. I present to you the Walnut Fudge cookie. Walnut fudge was one of my dad's favorite candies growing up, so this is a re-creation of the rich stuff with no candy thermometer necessary. The basic ingredient in this cookie is... umm... I'll let you guess. These aren't to be confused with the chocolate cookies I made on December 8.

Chocolate, walnuts, brown sugar, flour.... good stuff. And I can't make cookies without my trusty culinary scoops.

Sorry the picture is so dark but hey, it's chocolate.

And... the final result. So shiny, with that great crackled top that is so fun to bite.

Dad, these will be in the mail tomorrow! :-)

Raspberry Cheesecake

While Anya was here (yes I know, pictures coming soon!), we made some eclairs and this lovely little cheesecake. And wow was it good... thanks to the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. We both almost fainted when we took our first bites. Yeah... just. that. good.

Raspberry Cheesecake
2 c. chocolate wafer crumbs
1/3 c. butter, melted
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 c. fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed (1 cup reserved for garnish)
2/3 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. lemon juice
3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
2 egg whites
1 c. heavy cream
2 Tbsp. raspberry liqueur or orange juice
1. Crust: stir together chocolate crumbs, butter, and sugar. Press onto the bottom and 1 inch up the side of an ungreased 8- or 9-inch springform pan. Chill.
2. Raspberry sauce for filling: Blend 2 1/2 cups raspberries in a blender until smooth; add water to bring the volume to 1 cup. Stir together sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan; stir in blended raspberries. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 more minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Pour out 3/4 c. sauce and cool slightly; reserve and chill the rest for garnish.
3. Cheesecake: Combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla; beat until fluffy. Add egg whites and beat on low just until combined. Stir in heavy cream.
4. Assembly: Pour half the cheesecake mixture into the crust. Pour the 3/4 c. raspberry sauce over the cheesecake, and cover with the rest of the cheesecake mixture. Place in a shallow baking pan to catch drips and bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool in the springform pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Loosen sides of pan and cool 30 minutes more. Remove sides of pan; cool 1 hour. Chill at least 4 hours. Serve with remaining raspberry sauce mixed with the liqueur and whole raspberries.

Applesauce: a winter staple

In our house, Mom's applesauce was served at every meal. Because it was just that good. So for the past 2 years I've been trying to replicate it. I'm getting close, but not quite there. Chunky, not much sugar, lots of cinnamon. I will probably be walking this road for a long time... but at least the detours taste good!


My neighbor Kimberly is often out of town, and I get the pleasure of playing with little Beezus here... I miss having a dog around! Ok let me explain Beezus' name. Remember the Ramona books from Beverly Cleary that we read when we were about 10? Yeah, Ramona's sister was named Beezus. *ahh...*

Beezus' favorite activity (besides snuggling and begging for belly rubs) is running in circles at full speed around the yard. Snow or no snow, doesn't matter to this puppy.