Wednesday, March 4, 2015

In which I ran out of emotion over this eternal winter.

6:31 pm, March 4, 2015. Happy Grammar Day.

It's going to snow again.

I left work today, bought two rotisserie chickens at Food Lion, and then drove out to the farm for milk and eggs. I will bake bread tomorrow, and I have enough toilet paper. I think that covers everything you're supposed to have for a storm, doesn't it?

I am, at the moment, quite over winter.  I am, however, trying not to join the ranks of "darn complainers" (long story), so I'll post a few things that made me happy today.

1. Rotisserie chickens. God bless the person who first thought of slathering that goodness all over a raw bird and cooking it slowly. And in most cases, they are no more expensive than buying a fresh bird and roasting it yourself, and way more satisfying because no cooking!

2. A woodstove when it's cold and rainy out.

3. Abbey's ability to get a flight out of Nashville a day early, before the snow and ice hit.

4. An honest translator who corrected my too-high word count on her PO. Yay honest people.

5. A sick co-worker who has stayed home the last three days instead of bringing her germs to the office.

6. Hail Merry macaroons. The chocolate ones. (Except I just went to their website to grab the link and found out they also have caramel sea salt? How did I not know this?)

7. Reading an article that says cardio is not the way to lose weight. I'm glad to get out from under THAT load of guilt.

8. A hot bath at the end of the day.

(Insert break here while Ben comes home, eats dinner, and we talk about living in a tiny house.)

(What?)

9. A husband who knows when I need a proverbial kick in the pants to get myself to the gym. He has laid down the law: Starting Monday, we don't eat dinner until we have both worked out. Hello, diet. Oh, I kid. I'm looking forward to it.

10. When great songs get stuck in my head and I'm forced to go look up the lyrics. The latest is His Robes for Mine.

Snow day tomorrow. Woot.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

More on crowns.

So remember the temporary crown? The one that covered two teeth right next to each other? Well last week while I was eating a black bean burger—the soft kind, nothing hard, crunchy, or sticky—part of it broke off. I knew because it was the only crunchy thing in my burger. It was only a tiny piece so I didn't worry too much about it, but then yesterday morning a bigger chunk broke off while I was eating cottage cheese and bananas, and no I'm not even kidding. I wasn't in any pain so I figured I'd just deal with it.

Confession time: I am normally very tolerant of pain, but going to the dentist makes me ill with anxiety. I hate tooth pain more than anything in life. Give me natural childbirth any day—at least you get a baby out of it. And because I have somewhat sensitive teeth, every visit is an occasion for dread.

So yes, I was going to spend the next 3 1/2 weeks with a gigantic hole in a temporary crown.

Then it started aching.

Just shoot me.

So I did the sensible, adult thing and called the dentist. They got me in this morning at 7 am and without too much drama, replaced the one big double-crown with two separate ones. Almost no pain, 30 minutes, in and out. I was so relieved I went next door to celebrate with a Wawa coffee on the way to work.

Then this afternoon I felt one of the crowns move so I bit down hard, panic-stricken that it would fall right out and I would be trying to jam it back in there. So far it is staying in place, but right after that happened, the dentist's office called to tell me my permanent crowns were in and when would I like to come have them installed?

Um, right now?

I had to settle for Thursday, at which time I hope all this mouth drama is over for good. It's exhausting.



Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday update.

We are home this morning because of the freezing rain and icy roads. Ben is using the time to finish painting the living room, and then all that's left to paint is the kitchen. It will look lovely when I leave.

Every time we buy a house, we vow that we will paint and fix-up while we live in it so we can enjoy it looking nice, and not wait until we need to sell it. And every time, we fail.

I am using this extra time wisely, trolling on Twitter and reading articles posted on LinkedIn. (I am also trying to figure out how to use LinkedIn. What is its purpose? What am I supposed to get out of it? It's all so unclear.) I could be paying bills or cleaning windows or the bathroom, but where's the fun in that?

So, a few things I found interesting or funny this week:

1. I found this article on linked Twitter and thoroughly enjoyed it. Apparently I am geriatric.

2. I follow a person on Twitter (can't remember who) whose bio says he is engaged daily in "deskly arts." I just love that and told him so, and he replied that I could use that phrase but I would have to say it in my Harry Potter voice. I have no idea what that means. Is "deskly arts" a reference to HP? I have no idea. On that note, I tried once to read the first book in that series, and after 50 or so pages, I gave up. Just couldn't get into it. Please don't throw rotten tomatoes. Also, I am currently trying to read Persuasion by Jane Austen for a book club and would rather have my toenails plucked out. What on EARTH are they saying?

3. Since I started my self-imposed Facebook fast, I have popped in just a couple of times to answer direct messages and the more I pop in, the less I miss it. There really is not much of substance; very little, really.

4. I did a little binge-watching of Word Sneak with Jimmy Kimmel on YouTube the other day. So funny.

And now suddenly I find myself the possessor of a terrible headache, so I'm going to drink more coffee and take some Tylenol.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Thoughts on a Facebook fast.

A short while ago, I saw something on Facebook that was horrific to me. So much, that I turned away looking for something to throw up in. It affected me profoundly and I instantly vowed to stay off Facebook until I knew certain family members were safely home (which will be a few months). I pray for them many times a day, and every time I wonder what I'm "missing" on Facebook, I am reminded of the brutal reality of the world today, and to pray for them more. Kind of a fast.

In the beginning, I found myself picking up my phone and looking at the familiar icon before I remembered not to touch it. I was surprised at how many times each day I did it. It has gradually happened less and less.

But I've made some other discoveries too. I've discovered that, although I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 350-400 "friends" on Facebook, I probably couldn't name 75 of them. And outside of Facebook, I would have no contact with them. People come and go in our lives, we move, they move, and I believe that's by design. God gives us the people we need—or those that need us—in certain seasons of life, and that's okay. We don't have to hang on to every thread of the past. Sometimes we need to let our memories be enough.

I've discovered that I do not lack for encouragement in my life, which indicates my encouragement was not coming from Facebook. So what am I there for? I've always said it's to keep in touch with old friends, see my kids' photos, things like that. And while I think those are valid reasons, the good I get from Facebook is not equal in value to the amount of time I let it suck from my life. (At first I wrote "the amount of time it sucks from my life" but the honest truth is that it only gets the time I give it.)

I've discovered I have forgotten how to communicate. "Like" is not communication. I once read the headline of a post that challenged users to actually leave comments rather than just hit the "like" button, and I think that's a great idea. If we're going to make ourselves slaves to social media, let's at least remember there's a human on the other end who wants to hear words, not just count clicks. What if, instead of giving us his Word, God had just sent a giant, cosmic thumbs-up sign? It's words that give hope and help and comfort. Words that make us laugh and cry and think deeply and express love and worship and admiration. We've forgotten all this in our haste to keep scrolling. When I read the headline of that article, I did not stop to read it through. I didn't have time to stop and be challenged to be a better human, a better "friend."

Ben told me today that tomorrow is his sister Dawn's birthday and my first thought was, "How am I going to wish her a happy birthday?"

Really? I'm embarrassed that I have fallen so far I can't even figure out how to communicate a simple message to my sister-in-law. Before Facebook we had texting. Before that we had cell phones on our person every moment of the day. And before that we had this miraculous contraption that was connected to the wall with wires that carried our voices around the earth, and long ago the handset was connected to that with the curly cord we used to sit and wind around our finger while we talked. Remember that? Sitting still while you talked to someone? Giving them your undivided attention? Not splitting your time between them and the grocery shopping? I kind of miss those days. My mother (80 years old) and my aunt (76) still write letters to each other every week. Nothing earth-shaking or pressing, just sharing their lives and some laughs, but connecting over the miles in a tangible way.

My time away from Facebook will last at least another month or so, and I'm trying to decide what to do about it when I pick it up again. I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Twelve days.

People. I have so much to say.

In our last episode, the new PC was packed up and ready to be shipped back from whence it came. It has since then been returned and credit has been received for that errant purchase. A few days later, I went to Best Buy and bought another Mac and can I just say how amazingly awesome it is? I can operate it. I can find things. I can back it up. It took me under two hours to transfer all my photos, music, and Firefox bookmarks. And dang, but that retina display is some kind of beautiful!

I also had to get MS Office for Mac and this newer version is much closer to what I have on my PC at work, so it's all going to work out and I don't have to complain about it any more. Aren't you glad?

I had a conversation with my brother about this whole evolution, and he asked how much more, percentage-wise, did it cost me to buy the Mac. The answer is 74% more. And it's worth every penny. I've drunk the Apple kool-aid and I'll never go back. They just make a vastly superior product.

In other news, I had two teeth prepped for crowns this week, and if that's not as bad as a root canal, I hope I never need one. Once you're numb you (obviously) don't feel anything, but the SOUND is horrific and I'm an anxious wreck the whole time. And once the novocaine wears off, your mouth feels like an army of tanks has plowed through. I'm still recovering. The one good thing about it is that you don't feel like eating much.

And speaking of eating, Ben and I are in a food rut. You know how you suddenly realize you hate everything you cook, nothing tastes good, and let's go out to eat? We are SO there. This morning I went to the commissary (which I do only once a month now since we have no kids at home), and what did they have on sale but huge, beautiful briskets! Have you ever cooked a brisket? Do it the way my Jewish grandmother did—easy, peasy and it will make a party in your mouth (better than an army of tanks).

Put the brisket in a 13x9 pan, fat side up (I trim some of the fat off, but leave enough to make it tender). Put uncovered in a preheated 500° oven for about 20 minutes to brown. Reduce oven heat to 300°. Mix half a bottle of chili sauce with half a bottle of water and pour that over the meat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, throw in a bay leaf and two quartered onions, cover tightly with foil, and put back in the oven. For a small brisket (or a half), bake it about 2.5–3 hours; for a big one, 4 hours. Cut in thin slices across the grain (that's important) and serve with mashed potatoes and fresh green beans. Amazing. I would show you a picture but I was too busy eating to take one.

Last weekend we went to New Jersey for my mother-in-law's 80th birthday party. In addition to the best pizza ever, we had more than our share of Wawa coffee and I made a startling discovery: New Jersey Wawa coffee is not as good as Virginia Wawa coffee. I was so surprised! We figured it must be the different water, but how sad is that? Those poor New Jerseyans!

Now I'm going to jump off here and go watch a movie with the hubs. Valentine's Day and all that.

Au revoir!


Friday, February 6, 2015

Un-update!

Remember when I said I bought a PC? Remember how I was so excited at the PC version of Word and Excel?

I'm sending it back. It is at this very moment all packed up in its original container waiting to be taken to the FedEx store and shipped back to its maker. Two and a half weeks was all I could handle, and now I can't wait to get another Mac. I will never complain about Word for Mac again, ever. I promise.

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.