Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thursday thoughts.

Is that an okay title? I mean, it is an alliteration, but I think I called yesterday's post "Wednesday thoughts" or something. Or maybe not. It's been a long day.

Today I want to make a public admission.

If I were not married, I would run the heat and pay $400 electric bills every month. This wood stove thing is just so hard and I am not a pioneer at heart. I need someone who loves to burn wood and get up at 4:30 a.m. and put more fuel on the fire because I am not that girl and all this flame-coaxing is getting old. Ben was away for one night and it was a reality-check for me. I am spoiled and I like it.

Here's another thought I had today: my kids have pretty awesome friends who are kind enough to "friend" me on facebook or Instagram or Twitter and let me enjoy the fun, adventurous lives they lead. It's so neat to watch young people, and obviously I am my grandmother because I'm talking about watching young people.

Anyway, one young lady in particular who I am "friends" with on Instagram (who, incidentally, I have never met, @ohhhchelsea, also www.chelsealainefrancis.com) (isn't it amazing how everyone is known by their online identity? As if we're not really people, just megabytes in cyberspace.) reminds me every week that it's Thankfulness Thursday, and I always love to read what she's thankful for. It's not a put-on either. She really is a thankful person.

Today I am extra thankful for Wawa coffee and the block heater in the big diesel truck. I'm thankful for kids who listen to the Spirit of God and for the Spirit of God who speaks to them. I'm thankful for the ability to run (and take walk breaks if we're being honest) and I'm super thankful for frozen cookie dough blobs and hot-out-of-the-oven cookies after a longer-than-normal day at work.



I'm SO thankful the next day is Friday.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wednesday things.

Well this Wednesday turned out to be quite Monday-ish.

After Ben got up at 4:30 I never could go back to sleep, so I got out of bed at 5:30 and got the day going. Started some laundry, let the dog out, made coffee, read my Bible, let the dog back in (by this time he freezeth) and fed him, shifted laundry in the machines, and ate some breakfast. I had already decided to go to work an hour late since we were supposed to have a social media seminar at 3 and I knew I would be there late.

When I got to work at 8, both of my bosses were already there and let me tell you, that is unheard of. Sometimes Clarisse comes around 9, but JP NEVER gets there before 10 or 11. There seemed to be a good bit of tension when I came through the kitchen where they were talking quietly but I didn't stik around to find out the cause. Whatever. I went to my desk and finished formatting a 200-page book for translation, which I have been working on for over a week. When Maria came in at 9, I found out what all the early-to-work and stress was about.

Apparently we are submitting a proposal to a certain UN agency for a big translation project, only everyone forgot about putting the proposal together until late last night. Last time we submitted one, it took three weeks to compile. It is due Friday.

If there was a machine that could measure stress in the air, that sucker would have been pegged.

But we all lived through the day and tomorrow is a new one with no mistakes in it (thank you, L.M. Montgomery).

Oh, and here are two random pictures I took tonight.

I call this one "Applesauce Bokeh."


And this one is "Pete Wants My Dinner."



Saturday, January 24, 2015

And also the roast chicken recipe.

Mix together in a small bowl:

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Rinse two whole roasting chickens. (Fryers work, but roasters are better. I don't know why.) Rub them inside and out with the dry rub and put them in a roasting pan with sides. This is important because they'll make a lot of juice. Stuff half a peeled onion in each one.

Bake at 250° for 5 hours, uncovered. I know it sounds like a long time, but trust me. These are even better if you have foresight and rub them the night before. When I do this, I put them in the roasting pan, all ready to put in the oven, and cover tightly with plastic wrap, and put them in the fridge overnight. 

If your family is like mine, they will stand around the bar in the kitchen and tear into the birds, thus saving yourself the trouble of setting the table and cleaning up a bunch of dishes. The leftovers (if there are any) make great enchiladas and all sorts of other casseroles. I always cook two at a time so I have some extra. Amen.

Just for you, Connie. :)

If there's one thing that is crucial in the world of blogs, it is faithful readers. At the height of my blog-writing career, I might have had twenty regular readers, those who were here every day, or at least every day I wrote, and left encouraging comments.

Then I walked away from the blog because of a full-time job and wrote fewer than ten times in a year and a half. And you know what? When there's nothing to read, readers leave. It's amazing how that works.

But there are those rare people in the world who stick by you, and—amazingly—still show up to read after an extremely long writing drought. Connie is one of them, and she even remembered about the pumpkin bread! And asked me to re-post the recipe. So here it is, Connie, just for you. Thanks for hanging around.

The famous pumpkin bread recipe:

Combine in a bowl:

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

In the bowl of a mixer, beat 2 sticks softened butter with 1 3/4 cups sugar until fluffy. Add 2 eggs and beat. Add 2 more eggs and beat well. Now add the dry ingredients alternately with 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (I usually use a whole small can, which is a little more than that, but it works.) At the end, stir in a cup of chocolate chips.

Divide batter between two 9x5 loaf pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for about an hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Try not to eat it all in one sitting.

Also, newer computers scroll backwards. I just thought you should know.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Update, update, update!

So I figured out (by accident) that my new computer includes a 30-day free trial of Office 365 which is what I use at work. So I downloaded it and *POOF* there's the Word I know and love! PowerPoint! Excel! Outlook! (What's OneNote? Clearly I still have learning to do.)

I'm so excited to be able to edit stuff at home and actually know where the line spacing and margin customizing and table inserting are! You just have no idea. I feel like I'm swooning over a long-lost friend!

Ahem. Sorry.

It's raining. It's going to rain all night and all day tomorrow and then snow on Monday, and that always makes me want to bake. What shall I make?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Adjustment is not easy.

So I'm sitting here typing on my new computer because that's all I can figure out how to do.

I've had an old-school MacBook—the white ones, remember those?—for the last five years, and it's been gasping and choking for a few months, so I decided I'd better replace it before disaster struck. And then I decided that I like MS Office programs for PC way better than the ones they write for Macs. There's no comparison really. And since I use Word on a PC at work every day, I've gotten used to where things are. Then I come home and try to do things on my Mac and I CAN'T FIND ANYTHING and oh my word it's the MOST frustrating thing.

So here I am with another PC. Also, it's a very big laptop with a 17" screen. I've gotten used to carrying around a twig and now it's like I have a log.

BUT . . . the biggest thing is Windows 8. Mercy, this is a hot mess. But my brother the techno-geek tells me Windows 10 is coming and it will be free and fix everything that is wrong with Windows 8, which is everything. He describes this as Windoze 8, good for people who only know how to swipe and stab at a screen . . . which now that I think about it, pretty accurately describes me. Except I want a start menu.

I've successfully found the Control Panel, but it was an accident and I can't seem to do it again. And what is up with Blogger not being compatible with Internet Explorer? I used to prefer Firefox, but I can't seem to figure out the bookmark thing there.

Sigh.

And I haven't even gotten to the Office programs yet.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I could write a hundred things here right now, but they all sound kind of whiney and complainy. So instead, I'll tell you a what I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful God doesn't always give me the things I ask for. He knows so much better than I do what I need, what I can handle, and what will turn into a curse pretty quickly. I mean, I can't be the only one who mentally spends $280 million every time I drive past the PowerBall billboard.

 And I'm thankful that even though I live sort of in the city, I still get to see pretty things every day.