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Archive for April, 2009

Well, I wouldn’t have believed it, but this school year has gone really fast.  Tomorrow is the first day of May, and I’m still relatively sane!  It hasn’t been a bad year; stressful and busy, but not bad.  I’m looking forward to a lot of good things this summer, but I’m not nearly as desperately depressed as I was last year.

Here’s something cool I found on a site called Wordle.  It takes random words from the front page of your blog (or any website) and arranges and colorizes them.  So of course I had to try it.
Wordle: April thoughts

I thought it was a good thing to do on the last day of a month.

Speaking of colors, I’ve been thinking of things I really like to do, and I’ve come to the conclusion that all the “crafty” ones have to do with colors.  I like nothing better than to walk into a yarn or cross-stitch or quilt or bead store and see all the swaths of color everywhere.

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It makes me happy for no reason I can explain.

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I want to buy lots of things without really knowing what I want to do with them.

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Or, I have grand plans that never really get carried out except in my mind’s eye.  Something to do with the lack of time.

But it’s not just “crafty” things, I like to go look at paint chips or pictures like this:

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So I’ve been thinking, what can I do to earn money that has to do with what makes me happy?

dreamcolor-1I’m not an artist.  I don’t have time to do my hobbies for myself, let alone to sell, and anyway, everyone and their alter ego is selling stuff on Etsy or wherever.

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I really don’t know.  But I do know that looking at colors really makes a difference to me.

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Rainy spring day

I have to say I am enjoying the coming of spring more the longer I live in Minnesota.  I never noticed it as much in Maine, maybe because I was younger, or maybe because we have so much mud!  Maine is actually pretty and not so cold in the winter, unlike my part of Minnesota, which gets very little snow and horrible temperatures with a biting wind.  Plus, living in the city in the winter really depresses this little country girl.

So as the grass gets green and a few brave trees start to leaf and flower, I soak it all up from my car.  Today’s gray rainy sky actually seemed to highlight the nearly neon green of the new leaves and made it seem like they were glowing.  I’m surprised some trees are flowering when others haven’t even leafed yet, but every day there’s something new growing on my daily route.  I’m a self-confessed tree lover anyway, and I can hardly wait until the rows of old crabapple trees on the street outside my school start to bloom.

I’ll take the camera tomorrow and get some pics for this post, but I don’t think it will be raining.  Too bad.  It was really pretty.

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I guess I’m a little behind the times on two counts: this is yesterday’s post (I didn’t get home in time to write one) and this happened last week.  I didn’t find out about it till last night.

So, if Miss California gives a polite and honest answer to a question that happens to be a loaded one and loses her chance at the crown, what should happen to the person who asked the (ill-advised) question and then, mad at the answer, called her a dumb b***h?   The question arises, did Hilton know her views and ask the question to sabotage her?  Why would he ask a question like that?  And why would he freak out at an honest answer he just didn’t happen to like?  If the hot potato gets tossed back to you, don’t cry because you got burned.

Prejean didn’t say she didn’t like gay people, or that gay people should die (like some of my students say); she just stated her beliefs, which happen to be Biblical, as a matter of fact.  The Bible actually does say homosexuality is wrong and gay people should die.  No one is advocating that now!  As many people have quite rightly pointed out, there are many other acts that are spoken against in the Bible and assigned the death penalty.

My question is not about whether gay marriage is right or wrong.  I believe it’s wrong, but I am not going to legislate morality.  My question is, who is more intolerant, a girl answering a question the way she was taught to believe, or a man who attacks her intelligence and humanity for being truthful?  I applaud Prejean for her courage and honesty, and for her patience in the face of Hilton’s attacks.  These are the values we should be teaching our children — to be truthful but courteous, honest but tactful, determined but kind.

Too many people are as intolerant, or more so, as those they call intolerant.  I was thinking about this yesterday even before I read this article.  People complain because they can’t understand how someone c0uld possibly disagree with them, why someone’s lifestyle is different from theirs, or any number of possible permutations within a large and varied society.  Anything from sexual orientation to eating habits to dress to ways to spend one’s spare time is only right if it’s done “my way”.  My students can’t understand how I don’t have a TV or eat meat.  They can’t fathom someone living in the country or waiting till marriage to have sex.  I honestly can’t say I understand where they’re coming from all the time myself; probably even less than I think I do.  But the key difference is tolerance.

Don’t condemn someone as a person for things they do, or think, or say, that you don’t agree with.  Agree to disagree.  Let there be differences.  And don’t expect people to sugarcoat their beliefs to suit you any more than you hide who you are to please the world.

And lose the curse words!

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I realize now why I didn’t really have the inclination to do much last week.  I’ve been running crazy since I got to school at 7:15 AM.  I made it home early — 8 PM.  But I have a stack of essays that really need to be graded by tomorrow.  I tried to do it during the day but it didn’t work well.  The thing is, today (apart from some kids being more painful than usual) was a normal day.  No wonder I’m always so tired!

No great thoughts for my blog today, sorry…I have some essays calling my name…and parent-teacher conferences tomorrow.

And I start a graduate class May 4.  What was I thinking?

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I didn’t have my church job this morning, since it’s their monthly “praise” Sunday.  I still get paid the same, so it’s nice for me.  🙂  I spent a good part of the morning doing grades and playing on Facebook.  And cooking a little for the cross-stitch GTG at my house in the afternoon.  I made roasted potato wedges, using a recipe from Pioneer Woman’s site, but it was pretty much what I’d done before.  They’re not complicated.  🙂

I promised you a picture of the stitching I’ve been working on this week.  Last weekend my wedding sampler looked pretty much like this:

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And now it looks like this:

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That’s a good portion of a “K”.  In the middle is a heart, which is already done:

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And on the other side will go an “R” in similar style and the same color.  Underneath, I’ll put our names and wedding date.  I’d like to get it finished by June 13, our 5th anniversary (I started it last year on our anniversary), but we’ll see.  Graduate school starts for me May 4, and school doesn’t get out until June 5, so for a good portion of that time I’ll be “double-dipping” my time.  Not that I don’t already.  Sigh. I figure, we’re married, we still love each other, and a sampler doesn’t have to be there to prove it.  But it will be nice.

It will also be the first major project I’ve finished in nearly two years.  I want to stitch more than I do, obviously.  I can’t read the combined libraries of Hennepin County, stitch everything I want to, cook like a gourmet chef, and start a quilting business as well as work full time at one job and part-time at two others.  Sigh. I have great dreams…but they don’t come to fruition.  I can’t blame it all on my jobs though; I did spend a good portion of my spring break on Facebook.   Looks like I need to be more self-motivated.

Back to school tomorrow.  And it rained all day today, after being gorgeous last week.  Need I say more?  (Although it was nice for stitching.)

Five weeks to go!

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“Let us press on to acknowledge [the Lord].  As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the…rains that water the earth.”  Hosea 6:3

Melissa read this verse last night at the Bible study.  To me it’s a promise I needed to hear.  I feel like it’s hard to get to know Jesus and have a personal relationship with Him like I’m supposed to.  I’ve realized in the past few months that I need God in my life in a real and immediate way.  We were talking about what satisfies us, and also about what it means to have life more abundantly.

I’ve been trying this past year to be satisfied with my life the way it is, and to find things that make me happy.  I came to the conclusion that nothing I usually like to do is enough to make me really happy and content if I am not spending time with God.  I know that sounds hokey, but I found it to be true, and I’ve been a Christian all my life.  Now, if my heart is at peace and my devotional life is there, the things I enjoy do make me “happy”, but in reality I’m content already.

So I know I need to have that relationship with God.  I just don’t always know how to go about it.  So it’s good news that as long as I keep trying to know God, He will come to me and fill my life like the sun or the rain.

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Today’s post is a cooking post.  You see, I can’t decide whether this blog is about my crafts, my cooking fetish, thoughts on life or religion, or a mix of all.  So…

May I introduce the Chocolate (Fallen) Cake!  drum roll…..

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I got this recipe off of Bakerella, who got it from a magazine.  I made it today for the Bible study group tonight and I hope they love it!

I was going to start making it yesterday, but I couldn’t find my springform pan.  I was sure I had one, because I had used it once to make a cake (that ran all over and made a HUGE mess in my oven).   Not being able to find one, I called Kent’s cousin Martha, who lives just down the road.  “Sure, no problem.  I’ll call you this evening when I get home and you can come pick it up.”  Come 10:30 this morning and still no call, and no answer to my voice mail.  Finally I get the call and race over to get the pan, stopping at the grocery store on the way to pick up 8 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate, 8 ounces of dark, and (another) pound of butter.  (I am going to be so fat, by the way, if I keep cooking.  Do you have ANY idea how much butter I’ve gone through this week?)

Right.  So I begin the recipe at 12:40, knowing the cake HAS to be in the oven by 1 PM in order to bake for an hour and cool on the counter for an hour before I put it in the fridge to finish cooling as I run out the door to teach piano lessons.  Commando mode!

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I melted the chocolate and butter.  My bowl is actually blue, so that gives you an idea of how washed-out that photo is.

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I had already separated six eggs while waiting for the phone call, so I happily mixed in 1 1/4 cup sugar and the six egg yolks to the melted chocolate.

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Action shots are a little tricky.  I proceeded to beat the six egg whites.

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When they were lovely stiff peaks, I folded them into the melted chocolate mixture with my wimpy plastic spoon (wimpy because its mate melted in the pot once when I was making fudge).

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While the chocolate was melting, I had put a piece of parchment paper inside a 9.5″ springform pan and greased it.

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Now the lovely chocolate-egg white mixture got poured right in.

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I tucked it into my preheated 325 F oven at precisely 1:03.  Victory!

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Here it is an hour later, fresh out of the oven and a little jiggly.

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And now, after cooling for another hour, very nicely fallen.  Hopefully fudgey and truffley, like the recipe said.

It has to chill in the fridge for four hours, so Kent will be bringing it to Patience’s house.  If he forgets, he’s in big trouble!  Let you know how it tastes.  🙂  I’m off to teach piano lessons!

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Well, the cake was very fudgey and truffley, and everyone loved it!  Patience mugged for a shot with her camera, so when she sends it to me, I’ll post it here.

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I really love the way the cake turned out, but it is SO rich!  I did hear one comment of “better than sex”…but the commenter shall remain anonymous. 😉

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