Saturday, March 31, 2007

There are still good people in the world

I posted this on Freecycle last week:
Wanted--breadmaker and crock pot. I cook and serve dinner for 14 members of our church worship teamevery Thursday before they rehearse. A breadmaker and crock pot would really help me out. If you have one just gathering dust, I would put it to good use. Thanks for your generosity. I live in Cascade area.
From Freecycler Barb:
Jenna, I have a bread maker that you can have. I can send it with a friend to pick up at her office in your area if you are interested.

From me:
I am so incredibly grateful for your willingness to give us your breadmaker and for thinking to send it to work with your friend--thank you so much! Just let me know when and where to pick it up and I will be there.

From Freecycler Barb:
I hope this is close enough for you to pick up. Here is the address, phone and contact of my friend. She will have the bread maker in her car tomorrow.

I will throw in the recipe books to help you out. I find it is faster to make a batch of 6 at a time and throw them in the freezer. If you want my "scratch recipe" email me back. Enjoy.

From me:
This is perfect--I can swing by after I drop my son off at pre-school today. I'll call Jamie when I'm on my way.Thank you for the cookbooks! I DEFINITELY want your scratch recipe if you're willing to share--personal recipes are always best when they're tried and true.

Freecyclers just blow me away with their generosity. Whenever we've listed items the most gracious people have come to pick them up. And the very few times I've posted a "wanted" item there's always been someone willing and able to freecycle the item I need--thank you again for being that person!

From Freecycler Barb:
Jenna, I agree about freecycle. I just arranged to pick up pond plants and kooi fish….all free! Do you realize what a savings this is to me? Not to mention how much I will enjoy them. I am thrilled. Now I need to post to see if I can find a food dehydrater. I know someone posted for one already but it was larger than I wanted. Also would really use an embroidery machine, but that’s a real stretch! Good to meet you, contact me any time you think you need a recipe!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Herbie's number = "the need to be against"

My mom’s life philosophy these days is “life is choices”. She utters it snippily anytime someone else says or does something that doesn’t fit into her own scheme or makes a decision she just plain doesn’t like.

Example-- my brother and sister-in-law e-mailed my parents to let them know they would be staying in the Dominican this summer rather than joining them at the beach in NJ for the family vacation/get-together.

Example--one of her friends decides to put their house up for sale and downsize to pay an errant child’s medical and/or credit card bills rather than crack down or cut off the adult child in order to show them "tough love" or teach them responsibility.

Example-- I mention that my brother is having car troubles and the cost of repairs is going to be high—she’ll say something like “all those video games…well, life is choices”.

One day, I had just had enough. I think we were chatting online and she typed that phrase. I wrote back that for the most part I do agree with that, but there are choices we don’t get to make or things out of our control that we can’t just write off, shrug off so easily, and still have to live with and react to gracefully (*cough*...or not).

For instance, I didn’t choose to have 3 children. That is a fact. I have wrestled and struggled with this reality-I-didn’t-choose to no end. And the incredible amount of guilt with being honest with my initial feelings. Especially in light of my belief in God and that as much as I know Him I believe that He advocates life and love. Finding myself sobbing in front of my closet admitting I was experiencing an unwanted pregnancy gave me a chance to be tested, to react to a choice I didn't make, a decision I didn't want, and prove I could indeed react gracefully by looking past the end of my own nose. Now that Addi is here, I realize that she was a choice God made for me knowing I needed her constant smiles and stable, steady temperament to help me get through each teeth-grinding day encumbered by the PPD-riddled waters attempting to drown out who I really am with a little more fight to attain the joy that comes so naturally out of her. But not everything is that simple or ends so “happily ever after”.

What about PPD—I didn’t choose to have PPD. I know Dan didn't choose to marry a girl who would bear children then morph into a vicious, hapless, helpless, paranoid, glassy-eyed stranger for the ensuing year. What about my grandmother’s lymphoma? She didn’t choose that. What about our families—we don’t get to choose them. What about all the crap going on in the world--do you think people choose to be murdered, taken advantage of, victims of disaster, maimed, riddled with agonizing pain or illnesses, have their children kidnapped? Take a minute—make a list of 3 things you don’t get to choose, things that are out of your hands. I could hardly stop once I got started, but put the brakes on as it’s not a very positive vein of thought.
The only choice we have in the matter most times is how we will react to decisions made for us and circumstances that are out of our control.

And sometimes we choose things that are best for us and not maybe necessarily the best for someone else, but we’re allowed to make those choices. We're allowed to screw up and make mistakes and learn and restore what we don't do well or fail at. My mom might not like the fact that we’re not having an all-family get together this summer, but maybe my brother and sister-in-law and their kids need to stay put and be a family this summer. Maybe there’s more to the story than we will ever know, and we need to allow for those things rather than just get all miffed and turn up our noses when someone doesn’t fall into the line that we’ve drawn. I'm writing in "we" because I include myself as the number one audience member to my soapbox spiel.

Mom and I had a bit of a chuckle about our interchange a few days later, but it’s interesting to note that she’s not sharing as much of the “stuff” that’s going on in her or anyone else’s life right now.

I’m glad I was honest, I’m glad she knows I think for myself, I’m glad she knows what I think, what I feel, where I stand, and that I am not a yes-man. I can imagine that it gives her a sense of pride while at the same time breaks a little piece of her heart as well, and I know these moments of realization that my children are coming into their own will happen for me too, my time is a comin’.

Now, my dad’s current life philosophy is “it is what it is”. More on that later. Maybe...

Friday, March 16, 2007

Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

I watched this in bed last night with a heating pad on my back and the fan blowing (I was trying to pretend I was on a warm beach...didn't quite make it) with a bowl of peanuts, a coffee mug of ice water, and a Snickers bar to keep me company.

I had balked at reading the book because I was afraid it might be "rough" reading. I assumed a geisha was a "high end" prostitute, but I was very wrong. I'm glad I had the clarity of mind and courage to find out what it REALLY was rather than just holding to my own ignorant assumption.

Not only was the movie spectacular in every way, but I'm surprised to find that I really love what the Geisha was trained to do and be. According to Wikipedia Geisha (芸者) are traditional, female Japanese entertainers, whose skills include performing various Japanese arts, such as music, singing and dancing. They also engage their clients with light conversation.

But I love how it was defined in the movie by the mentor Mameha: "Geisha is an artist of the floating world. She dances, she sings. She entertains you, whatever you want. The rest is shadows, the rest is secret."

If any of you have seen this movie, you have Sayuri's dance in a snow shower of rose petals that I think is one of the most compelling and passionate pieces of movement I have ever witnessed. For those of you who haven't, I'd highly recommend a window into another world we will never get to experience except vicariously through print or film.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

one sweet watch

Dan and I had fun collaborating on this awesome Swatch-esque birthday cake for his dad. Orange creamsicle cake made this cake taste just as good as it looked!

Monday, March 12, 2007

i groan

I am at the library typing this post. I came here to pay my excessive fine as well as request some book club books.
On the KDL website, this announcement was smack dab in the middle.

I closed my eyes, and silently groaned. Why, why, why, why, why?

This quote and the announcement it is advertising is so oxymoronic, I almost feel nautious. If we are "living an attitude of equal respect for all people", then why are we singling out women?

Oh, if I were braver I'd just grab my gut and roll around on the floor right here in the library groaning out loud--and not in a good way. But I won't do that, because I am a lady (hah--me being sexist against myself--that's funny).

Why, why, why, why, why?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I ethics

Dan's parents are here for a visit. They come bearing bags of gifts. We eat out 2 meals a day. We shop for fun. It's the same dance every time.

My ethical dilemmas and justifications (which I don't agree with, but pacify myself with):

dilemma: We would not spend this much of our own money to eat out nor eat out this often.
justification: Rather than spending time prepping and cleaning up, we are spending every precious moment together fully engaged in each other. (I don't even buy this one--some of my best conversations with my mother-in-law, whom I now call "mom", have happened in the kitchen--so this is sheer indulgence).

dilemma: We are expected to pick out things for them to buy us. Again, money we would not spend on ourselves, and the ugly "I want, I want, I want" monster rears its ugly head. Are we taking advantage? Do we and our kids only see them as wallets and expect them to gratify our "wants"?
justification: This is God's way of providing things like clothing for us and our kids, and gives them joy to be able to give us things that make us happy. In addition to frivolous things (in which there is indeed merit--my kids will think well of Grandma and Poppie each time they wear their new fireman and lotus flower raincoats, I try to pick out pragmatic items as well (pajamas, underwear, socks, jeans). I do get nearly sick thinking "will we ever be able to do this for our kids?". A real kick in the pants for us to work on being fiscally responsible in the now as well as being disciplined to plan, save, invest, and prepare for the future.

dilemma: We dress ourselves and our kids so properly when they are here--in essence putting on a bit of a facade.
justification: They love us no matter what we look like, but we feel like we have to wear or dress our kids in what they have bought for us (either now or in the past) so they can revel in their own generosity. They have such a high standard for their own appearance, that we feel like we have to reach the same level. How many week days are we ironing blouses to wear under a sweater that matches the socks and dress shoes, and this is one of the 4 times a year I break out the curling iron. I think the justification for this category is that it honors them. Am I "to my own self be[ing] true?" Maybe not, but it's about honoring your parents in a way that speaks to them, I guess!?!

OK, it's my window to hop in the shower....gotta scott...oops...I mean scoot...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Naan'n special

I have been on a relentless search for easily accessible Naan bread. A few weeks ago I found these Fabulous Flats Tandoori Naan breads at Meijer!

We DEVOURED them. I seriously fantasize about them. Like how I can run errands and have to get to Meijer to get another package.

I sent Dan grocery shopping last week and meticulously schooled him in exactly where in Meijer I found them (they were all the way on the left in the lower rack of the end-cap of the donut/bagel/rolls display case in front of the bakery--the end cap facing the store entrance, not the one facing the organic food fridge case...etc.) and there were none in that location. I think I had to go through the five stages of grief--shock, anger, denial, sadness, etc...

Yesternight's shopping trip, however, yielded a package of the precious bread, flour and ghee concoction. And I cannot wait for dinner tonight.

I am so excited about cooking and eating chicken masala with jasmine rice and a wonderful piece of warm naan with some melted butter brushed on top. Dan likes his drizzled with olive oil--he's so health conscious!

Let me just say, if you happen to be wandering Meijer and find these babies, for $1.99, you are in for a treat. You can use them to make sandwiches, pizzas, to dip in hummus, as a nice side to a salad, for soup, warmed up and drizzled with honey or agave nectar and some cinnamon for a dessert--the possibilities are endless!

Seriously folks, it is taking all of the self-control in the world right now not to rip this package open and binge right now. This post is my accountability.

p.s.-Brooke--do you have a naan recipe? I'd love to learn to make this, and incorporate some healthier ingredients than the unbleached enriched all purpose white flour this one is made with...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Itchy fingers

Man, I've been itching to write, but have not the time. Or when I do our (borrowed) Internet is down.

I don't know if it was the extra dose of sunshine I soaked up in Oklahoma, some awesome personal interactions I've had in the past few days, or the Starbucks I just drank or what, but I am pumped.

I'm so excited on my friend Heather's behalf that she quit her job to pursue a dream. I am not that brave. I have dreams, but not the imagination to make them reality.

I read a magazine a friend gave me that is solely written by its readers. The submissions aren't paid, but I'm excited at imagining myself at the library with Dan's laptop, a Bible, some yellow lined paper and a medium point blue pen scratching out something to submit.

I'm completely gung ho on some incredible ministry ideas and opportunities I've been squelching inside waiting for the time to make them happen, and I think that time is within reach. Thinking through the process, parameters, and the idea of writing up a proposal has me almost giddy.

I guess I'm finally starting to think that hope isn't just a four-letter-word that floats, but a verb that is real and active in my life. ME!

Next time I have a Debbie Downer moment (day, week, month, what-have-you) please either caffeinate me or remind me of this post.