Sunday, January 31, 2010

The princess and the frog

I just spent 2 hours of my life I'll never get back.

Watching a lifetime movie.

I'm not really one of those people who think that everyminute should be spent doing something productive or life will not be worth living. I enjoy watching mindless TV, surfing the internet, shopping, and doing other pretty pointless things with my time. But this was the ultimate mind-numbing movie/waste of time I have watched in a long time (and I watch the Bachelor so that will give you a better indication of how bad this movie actually was...)

It was essentially a Cinderella story, only make Cinderella a fat magazine editor. Who loses weight/gets the guy/gets a book deal. Let me just say I am not necessarily opposed to any one of those scenarios in a movie/show (or in real life for that matter)--but this one was particularly painful to watch, in a

"Oooo, I'm 35 and don't know myself at all" way.

I grow weary of Cinderella propaganda, and just want to say: Hey girls/'re not a princess and that's okay. Life will still be good, and bad, and sad, and happy.

It's okay to walk barefoot if those glass slippers don't quite fit anymore.

Forgive me if you're thirty five and don't know yourself at all/happen to be overweight and single, own a cat and are a book editor. Which, by the way if you're a book editor and reading this you should email me. STAT.

Because I could find a date for you.

Or write a book for you.

Earlier today "daddy" (or DH as I affectionately refer to him) swore in the car while he was driving us through Lincoln (although now it escapes me as to why he was swearing) and our dear sweet child parroted it back...So my husband, quick thinker that he is, said:

"Yes, frog. Frog."

my dear boy walked up to me later this afternoon with a pencil and paper, shoved them into my hands and said, "fuck? fuck?"

Huh. Took me a minute, but then I drew like 10 frogs.

(And trains, and cats. Per the little guy's request.)

I love being a mother. Not a dull moment.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


You all know-if you read this regularly-that we don't carry any debt.

I was thinking about how I am averse to debt, generally speaking, and how it's often a difficult choice to make (let's see--drive 10 year old car and pray it starts when it's below freezing or finance a new car--for example). I choose the 10 year old car, by the way.

It's got me thinking about how you can pay off a car, or a house--but the debt you owe to those people who have loved you and cared for you throughout your life can never be repaid (not that they would want you to). In that way I will always be in debt to them, for what they have given me and what they have taught me.

These thoughts lead me to meditate on an even greater grace that we are offered freely.
"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us
alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you
have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the
heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show
the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ
Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from
yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which
God prepared in advance for us to do."

Ephesians 2: 4-10

And this grace is true freedom.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

House of the Dead II

Raise your hand if you have ever bought new clothing (such as socks) because you didn't have any to wear.

Note: I said didn't have any to wear, not any at all.

*raises hand*

I realized this morning that Holden's lack of clothing has less to do with the clothing we actually own and more to do with the fact that I don't do laundry much. Sometimes it's a wonder my husband puts up with me. I mean really. Even when I come to the realization that hey, maybe I should clean or something...I sit down and write about it in my blog instead of actually doing it.

This is why I so believe in commitment...because you're just stuck with the person, warts and all. I think that leaves a certain freedom (good and bad) within the relationship. See that? I used freedom and commitment within the same thought. I don't abuse my power that much though. I have lots of good qualities along with the bad.

Last night my husband and I had a great evening. We dropped our dear, sniffling, fussy (he doesn't feel very well) child off at grandma and grandpa's house and met up in Omaha. I've been wanting to try The Melting Pot because I've heard good things about it. My dear husband took a little more convincing on the whole

He got over it because he always tells me I don't like to try new things (which I don't) and I finally gave him a dinner suggestion that wasn't Applebees or something similar. I like chain restaurants because you always know what you are getting. I don't like surprises very much.

The appetizer-bread dipped in cheese, and the dessert-assorted strawberries, brownies, marshmallows, rice krispies, bananas, and apples-dipped in milk chocolate....these were my favorites. At the end of the meal I offered,

"This can be our Valentine's dinner."

I think that comment really pleased my husband.

We spent the next 2 hours killing zombies and riding motorcycles in exotic locales.

We went to Dave and Buster's. Tony's favorite part about this place is that you can drink beer while you play arcade and carnival games. My favorite part was the motorcycle game. The games weren't actually as expensive as I thought they were going to be.

My dear husband knows me so well, after we got there he leaned in and said,

"This is too much like a casino for you with all the lights and noise, isn't it?"

Yes. I hate casinos-not because I'm morally against them or even because I hate losing $20 for no reason, I hate them because of the lights and noise, and the sense of suspended time. But Dave and Buster's was more relaxed and kid friendly so I adjusted to the feeling quicker.

And I also really like killing zombies.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lesson I learned last weekend:

Don't ever, under any circumstances, go out drinking with your in-laws.

You'd think by 28 and almost 5 years of marriage I would know this is not a good idea but apparently I'm a slow learner. I'm not a drinker. I don't really like the taste of alcohol, or how it makes me feel when I drink, or how I feel when I wake up the next morning.

I never could quite understand people who go out drinking every weekend--my contact with these people has slowed down since I

a) hit the age of 23 and (lost its novelty)

b) had a child (seriously? I just want to sleep)

Not only did we close down the bar, because I'm a glutton for punishment*--we decided to go to breakfast on Sunday with the whole family...MIL, stepFIL, grandma, grandpa, aunt and uncle. Yes, I said breakfast--not brunch. It left me wondering why, why is 9:00 a.m. better than 11:00 a.m. for eating?

Luckily, I don't talk much when I've had too much to drink, I just smile. So I don't think I said anything (too) stupid.

Happy 60th birthday stepfather-in-law.

*because of the hangover, not the in-laws

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Damn it.

I white knuckled it all the way home in the rain and ice and fog. Picture this with me if you will: Me, driving my dark blue 1996 Cadillac which bears a striking resemblance to one of those funeral limos they pack the family into and drive them to the burial...sidetracked...anyway driving my Cadillac in the pouring rain at 10 p.m. after a clinical shift at the hospital 45 miles away with




And it was on the passenger side. I was practically sitting on the console praying I wouldn't die in some tragic accident. Luckily for me no one in their right mind was on the road. So I drove South on Highway 69 for 30 miles without encountering a single car.

I have to tell you I have never been so glad to see the seed corn plant/factory at the interchange close to my house as I was tonight. I could see it through pouring rain. It looked like a very large spaceship through the fog. Any other day it would just be light pollution but today it was a beacon in the night.

The long drive made me want to take a little trip down memory lane because the weather is so much nicer there than it is on Highway 69.

Let me take you back.

The first time my dear husband (then acquaintance) went to Iraq it was January 2003. He started emailing me once he got on ship. Just friendly, someone to email back and forth. It progressed into a daily, sometimes multi-daily email conversation over the next seven months, and I finally saw him when he arrived home on leave late July 2003. We saw each other for 3 days.
He emailed me immediately when he returned to California and I presumed we would continue our flirtation.

Then, the emails stopped. I would go check everyday, hoping I would hear from my friend(?). Nothing. I came down with mono and was sick for weeks, gargling lidocaine mouthwash and moping around the house. I even watched the Yankees in the World Series because it reminded me of him. My friends grew weary of hearing about him, and about how I *obviously* wasn't hung up on him.

I was breezy.

Finally, after (3) months of waiting I received an email, as if no time had elapsed at all. Did I forgive him, you ask? A stronger woman than I probably would have told him to go to hell after his unexplained absence.

But me? I emailed him right back.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for a man in uniform. The exact reason for his absence over email is still a matter of great debate. He did break his jaw and have it wired shut during those months. But like I tell him, his hands weren't broken...

Sometimes it's hard to believe all this started with one e-mail 7 years ago:

Hi Kara,

Sorry it has been so long, but I have plenty of time now on ship. So I hope to talk to you a lot. This is my new address so I would like to hear from you. Here are some pictures of my new home.
my lunchroom
my hallways
and my bed
Nice living space huh? I will talk to you later.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Did you know that pecan pie has no calories if you take it out of the fridge and eat it directly from the white ceramic pie plate?


Apparently this is the lie I tell myself everytime I open the fridge. I love/hate Paula Deen for creating such delicious recipes. The pound cake, and now this. Perhaps this is why when I stepped on the scale this morning I was 4 lbs. up from my weight in November. Either that or I just have no self-control.

But on a lighter note, I have been getting to the gym a few times a week. By a few times I mean a maximum of 2. But better than nothing I guess.

Okay, so it's not that bad. It's mostly water weight I'm sure. Maybe only 2 lbs are actual gain. But still 30 to go...

I dub 2010 The Year of The Celery. Yeah, lots to look forward to this year.

I should really stop obsessing about my weight publicly and try to have a (healthy) meal prepared and a clean house when my husband gets home. You wouldn't think it would be a hard task, but it is apparently beyond my grasp at the moment. Working on it.

I mean, I should actually go work on it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

This is what I do when I am stressed or sad. I bake.

Top is a homemade (crust and all!) pecan pie with pieces of white and milk chocolate. On the bottom are raspberry lemon tartlets.

Tony asked me for a small piece of pecan pie as he started watching the National championship game, rooting for Texas only because they are in the Big 12 and Nebraska almost beat them. So it should theoretically give a good gauge at how Nebraska will look in the standings next year. Or so my hubby says.

As I cut a sliver of the pecan pie, I told him how I don't even really like pecan pie. He said,

"Funny, I don't either."

"So neither of us like pecan pie? And we have a whole one here?"

It turned out so well that both of us liked it, but left me wishing my friend M lived closer because I know she likes pecan pie.

I'm seriously gonna have to stop watching the food network. This is getting ridiculous.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

For Auld Lang Syne

I thought the nightmare was over, but I woke up and don't feel much better.

I feel sort of like I ate something really garlicky with chocolate for dessert, took 2 tylenol PM, went to bed (because that combination of foods always gives me nightmares), and woke up with that hangover feeling (which I always do if I take 2 tylenol PM). Slight headache, sluggish. And please, just leave me alone attitude.

Of course, none of those things actually happened, I'm speaking purely in analogy. What did happen was a very long and terrible year last year that involved the loss of a child and a parent, among many other good and bad things.

I was hoping that the clock would turn to midnight and all would be new again.

Here I am again, right back where I started. That's the funny thing about grief. You think you're good, but then you're not.

The doctor said it wasn't my fault. There is nothing I could have done to change the outcome.

But still,

April 18, 2009

I wish I never would have ignored my intuition about how Ally wasn't moving around much, I wouldn't have worked so hard to get Holden's birthday party ready instead of going to the doctor when my dad asked,

"How are you feeling?"

Rushing around the kitchen of the rented hall, I replied,

"Tired, but okay. Ally's not been moving around much today. I'm a little worried."

Looking concerned, he said,

"Take it easy then, get some rest."

"I will dad, I will. I'm almost done here."

He looked sad that day. I couldn't put my finger on it, on why he seemed different. I found out later that he had had his first grand mal seizure the day before and left the hospital that morning so he could make it to his grandson's first birthday party. After the party was over and we were back at home, he took me into the bedroom and quietly explained what had happened, showing me the bruises on his tongue.

I just didn't know then what I was in for. I didn't know that by the end of the year both my father and my baby girl would be dead. Not that I could have or would have done anything differently.

And I'm still here, still wondering what good could possibly come from all this? I walk by the collage of pictures in an 8X10 frame in Holden's room of him with my dad. As I carry Holden by the picture, he says,

"Papa! Bye! Bye!"

I'm somewhat reserved and quiet. I don't smile enough. I am staying busy, but the only real joy I'm feeling right now is in watching my son. He is the bright spot in a somewhat dim and snow covered January.

I look forward to the spring.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Resolution Killer

Homemade caramel corn drizzled with chocolate. So good I almost don't want to send it with my dear husband to work tomorrow. But if I don't I will eat it all!

I made some crab cakes and some hummus today too. The food network is clearly having a positive influence on me.

Recipe courtesy of google search and:

Caramel Popcorn drizzled w/Chocolate

1 Cup Butter
2 Cups Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Karo/Corn Syrup
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Vanilla
5-6 quarts of Popcorn


Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees. Spray the inside of a brown paper grocery bag with cooking spray. Make sure it's well coated on the sides & bottom so the caramel doesn't stick to the inside of the bag. Pop the popcorn, remove any unpopped kernels & place popcorn inside the of the brown bag. In a medium sautee pan (or sauce pan) melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup & salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. ****This is the crucial part of the recipe. As soon as this mixture starts to boil, step away from the pan. Boil without stirring for 4 minutes. (Not a second more, not a second less). While it's boiling, get the baking soda & vanilla ready. As soon as it's done boiling, remove from heat and add the baking soda & vanilla. Stir well. Pour over the popcorn in the paper bag. Fold over the top of the bag and shake like crazy, turning upside-down and side to side. This is the best way I've learned to evenly get popcorn coated (Thank you Kimberly Taylor for teaching me this VERY cool trick!). Once coated, divide the mixture evenly and place onto 2 cookie sheets and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. This is what makes the caramel corn crunchy. It you don't want it too crunchy, bake for less time. Once cooked, allow to cool completely. Melt 1-2 cups of chocolate and drizzle onto the popcorn (still on the cookie sheets). The popcorn needs to be completely cooled or the chocolate won't harden. Once the chocolate is drizzled, you can always place the pan into the freezer for 10-15 minutes or in the fridge for 30 minutes, otherwise it will need to harden overnight if left out. Once cooled, break into pieces and try not to eat the whole thing at once!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hot Hot Hot

Did I ever tell you about the time my husband made chili? I took a bite and said,

"What, in the fiery depths of hell, did you put in this chili?!"

He shrugged,

"I don't know, just some little peppers."

I studied the peppers,

"How many did you put in there?"

"4 or 5."

Because of my recent sparked interest in cooking, and the many hours I spent watching the marathon of The Next Food Network Star, I now know that the peppers he put in my chili were habaneros. As in, the hottest pepper there is. Because I am a good wife and felt I should put a good effort into eating the chili my husband slaved over, I ate it.

We still speak fondly of the habanero chili day. And now we know better.

Totally different topic, but I just want you to know (and this isn't a paid advertisement like some bloggers get--purely personal opinion) you should try
I have had mine for about 4 months and love it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Georgia on My Mind

When my grandparents moved from their old house into a townhouse 4 years ago, I helped them clean out the basement and scored several pieces of family furniture.
Two of my favorites are currently in use in my house--my great grandmother's table/desk is currently in use as my kitchen table, and an old record player my biological grandfather bought brand new in the 50's is sitting in my living room.
For the first few years of our marriage it was still a working record player and we used to dance around our living room listening to Willie Nelson's album "Stardust" because for some reason when he sings Georgia On My Mind I just melt. Can you think of anything better to do on a hot summer night than put the kid(s) to bed, turn the lights down, and dance to that song with the crackle of a record player?
I can't.
Then some days he would come home from work and I would have our Jackson Browne record blaring while cooking dinner because I'm convinced that Running On Empty is hands down one of the best songs ever made. But I have a strange affinity for 70's music so take that for what it's worth.
Needless to say, I was sad when the turntable in our 50 year old record player finally took it's last spin. But ever looking for ways to decorate in 50's style on the cheap, I decided we should gut it, replace the worn and not so pretty panels of fabric, and continue using it as our TV stand. We (and by we I mean Tony) finally got around to taking the guts out of it and helping me with the fabric panels tonight, and I'm thrilled with the result.
...just an old, sweet song, keeps Georgia on my mind...