Monday, March 23, 2009

List #16: List of Things I Can't Wait to Get Rid of When I Leave

This list was written on March 8, 1994, while I was serving a mission in England. At the time, I had recently transferred to a suburb of Birmingham called Sheldon. I had been on my mission for almost 15 months of my 18-month mission.

1. wax jackets [it's actually waxed jackets, as the outer canvas layer of the jacket is infused with wax to repel the incessant spitting rain of England; it is not a jacket made of wax.]

2. my bike

3. half my skirts

4. some blouses

5. tights

6. elders [I was a little bitter about some things at this point. Really, not all the elders bugged me. Just most of them.]

7. dinner appointments involving blancmange [a horrid, nasty pudding, pronounced "blah-mawnzh'", with that soft French zh sound.]

8. all the junk I've picked up

9. church music [not, of course, hymns or anything -- I was talking about the recorded church music that we were allowed to listen to, like Afterglow. I hate Afterglow with a passion but all my companions seemed to love it.]

10. white pepper

Sunday, March 22, 2009

List #15: Stuff I've Done in the Last 24 Hours

1. Did my final preparations for my Gospel Doctrine lesson ("The Field Is White, Already to Harvest")
2. While preparing, I started thinking about what it was like to get my mission call, so I got on YouTube and, lo and behold, there are dozens of videos of prospective missionaries opening their mission calls. It was a lot of fun to watch them, although I don't know any of those kids. Click here to see a typical example.
3. Struggled through Sacrament Meeting with the kids, who were all in a fighting mood today. Five spent the meeting (and the hour after I taught the Gospel Doctrine class) lying on my lap with a fever I hadn't known about before church.
4. Found some eggplant recipes online because Sunflower Farmers Market is having a sale (77 cents each!) and I wanted to try some different recipes.
5. Went to the Draper Utah Temple dedication ceremony at the Stake Center. It was a really good meeting, but as soon as the lights went down (so we could watch the live broadcast from the temple), I started involuntarily dropping off and having these odd little dreams. I caught most of the dedication, though.
6. Last night, Husband and I watched a couple of online episodes of "Legend of the Seeker," which is a fun little show. If you're a Terry Goodkind fan, this show merely gives a nod to the Sword of Truth series, but if you quit obsessing about the differences, it's a fun show.
7. Our hometeachers are here. Off I go.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

List #14: Funny Quotes From Movies or TV Shows

These are from movies and TV shows that I have watched. I didn't go to the internet for random quotes. You have to be impressed that I could recall as many of these as I have, as I can think of something and then wonder what that thing was about 5 seconds later.

1. "Radiation has made me an enemy to society, eh." (Strange Brew)
2. "That's what they all say. They all say d'oh." (Chief Wiggum of The Simpsons, when he is arresting Homer. The first time I heard that I think I laughed for half an hour straight. It just struck me as hilarious the way Chief Wiggum said it so calmly.)
3. "Phew! What smells like big business?" (Spongebob in the Spongebob Squarepants episode (I believe it's called "Jellyfish Jam" from Season 1) where the elusive blue jellyfish kidnaps Spongebob in order to expose Mr. Krabs' evil plan. In context, it's a riot.)
4. "I want my two dollars!!" (Classic line from Better Off Dead.)
5. Agent 23: We don't follow the rules then what are we?
The Chief: We're not people who jam staples into other peoples' heads. That's CIA crap. (From Get Smart, the movie)

Sorry, folks. That's all the time I have for now. Add your own favorite funny quotes in the comments.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

List #13: Reasons I Skipped a Couple Days of Lists

1. After four of the kids caught the prevailing chest cold, we had four separate asthma emergencies.
2. I spent the nights and days giving kids albuterol nebulizer treatments, forcing a couple of them (Three and Six) to take steroids, and cuddling with Six, who likes nothing better when sick than to make sure I do not leave his side.
3. After the emergency was over (and we didn't end up in the emergency room with anyone, fortunately), the house was in a mess. I couldn't make the kids exert themselves to do their chores while they were coughing and wheezing.
4. I did some necessary house maintainence. Things are now mopped, vacuumed, washed and folded enough to hold back the filth.
5. Because I had the Emergency Preparedness Committee coming over Wednesday night to help me put all the wheat in buckets, I had to wash 100 buckets. I calculated it took me 2 minutes per bucket, and with everything going on, I only managed to wash 40 buckets. In the end, no one showed up. I may have missed the cancellation memo, but it doesn't bother me 'cause I got 40 buckets washed. I wouldn't have taken the time otherwise if I wasn't under a deadline.

List #13A: Other Stuff That Happened
1. Husband wrote another chapter in his book. He's now written 25 chapters. 87,000 words. I'm impressed.
2. Husband found a great place to buy new mattresses, as all the girls have mattresses that are at least 10 years old. Three of them now have lovely new soft mattresses with pillow-tops -- or, in Oldest Child's case, a Tempurpedic -- and Child Two will get hers next week.
3. After talking with my parents, we have arranged to rearrange the household so that we'll only have two children per room. At the moment, we have 5 in one room and 1 in the other. My dad is giving up his office because it's another bedroom. We will re-establish his office in the family room, using the lovely large bookcases (of which we still have 9 in the garage) as walls. Then he has shelf space galore as well as a fairly quiet office. In order to get the bookcases in, we have to bucket and move the wheat, and in order to do that, I have to finish washing all the buckets. I don't need the Emergency Preparedness Committe to fill the buckets, of course, but I'll ask them if they still want to come. The point was to give people a hands-on experience so they know how easy it is to do. The kids are thrilled.
4. The Crispy Black Bean Tacos were such a hit I made them again tonight. So easy. Next time I'm using fish fillets either with or instead of the beans.
5. Child Two announced after she got home from school that her big concert was tonight. I had not received prior notification, of course. That announcement meant rounding up all the kids, washing faces, combing hair, shoes on, rush to the practice and then watch the concert. It went well, but I'm exhausted.
6. Good night.

Thanks, by the way, to Lyn for this idea. We're old friends who hardly ever get to see each other anymore, but today she came over and we talked and laughed while she knitted a sock and I did some half-hearted kitchen cleaning.

Monday, March 16, 2009

List #12: A Recipe

A recipe is a list, right? And since I just had to share the recipe I made tonight, that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it. I got this recipe off the internet yesterday while looking for a recipe for brown sugar fudge (I think this recipe was from It's fast, it's easy, and the ingredients are pretty inexpensive (the best price for the feta is at Costco, by the way). Husband made the brown sugar fudge, which was divine.

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw

Yields: 4
Time: 25 minutes

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
5 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 cups coleslaw mix (don't add the sauce!)
2 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
4 white or yellow corn tortillas
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Bottled chipotle hot sauce or other hot sauce

Place beans in a small bowl; partially mash. Mix 2 tsp olive oil and the lime juice in medium bowl; add coleslaw, green onions and cilantro and toss to coat. Season slaw with salt and pepper.

Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortillas in single layer. Spoon 1/4 of bean mixture onto half of each tortilla; cook 1 minute. fold tacos in half. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Fill tacos with feta and add slaw. Pass hot sauce alongside.

Here's how I changed it a little: Firstly, I tripled the recipe for my family. Then, since I hate tasteless beans, I added salt and pepper and more cumin to the mashed black beans until they tasted good. I put about 1 or 2 Tbsp of the bean mixture onto each tortilla before setting it in the hot oil, spreading the beans over one half of the tortilla with a spoon (this kept me from plopping spoonfuls of beans directly into the oil by accident, and it also stretched the beans so I could make about 30 tacos instead of 12). I didn't have any slaw mix, but since I had a cabbage, I just shredded six cups of cabbage. I also added extra cilantro, as I looooove cilantro, and I cheated and used bottled lime juice (I never have much luck juicing limes). Then, since a neighbor had just given me a jar of his special salsa fresca, I set that out to add to the cooked tacos along with the other fillings. Better than a restaurant!

This is great party fare. You could make the tacos ahead of time and keep them warm in a slow oven, covered with foil. Just be sure to make the slaw right before serving, as it will begin to wilt after about 30 minutes.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

List #11: Why I Loved Stake Conference Yesterday and Today

1. During both sessions I attended, I managed to snag one of the cushioned chairs in the overflow instead of the the surprisingly uncomfortable chapel pews or the obviously uncomfortable metal folding chairs behind the overflow in the gym. This allowed me to sit for the two two-hour sessions listening quietly and intently to the speakers instead of fighting the urge to stand up and jog in place just to relieve my aching muscles.
2. The Stake President, in a hilarious comparison of our stake to the City of Enoch, claimed that his wife could "post-up" the wife of Enoch. If you knew the Stake President's wife you would have to laugh, for although she is very, very fit and works as a personal trainer, she is the nicest and kindest person.
3. Child Two was pretty upset about having to attend the Youth Session alone on Saturday, as Oldest Child was ill and couldn't go with her. She was late because she didn't want to walk in, and kind of slunk to a row with no one in it. The Second Counselor in the Stake Presidency, seeing this, called her up to the front, introduced her to all the youth, and then made sure she sat next to his daughter, who is her age and in her class at school. It made her feel so welcomed and included.
4. We got to hear from one of the Jordan River Temple presidency (President Vassal) and one of the members of our mission presidency, the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission (President Molford). Both of them spoke powerfully and I felt the spirit very strongly. Pres. Vassal related a story of his family: his 6th great-grandfather had married a woman in France. They had 8 children, all of whom died hearbreakingly within the first two years of life. The eighth child died within just a few hours of birth, followed soon after by her mother. This man remarried and had three more children, the first of whom also died. The next two lived, the son becoming Pres. Vassal's 5th great-grandfather. Pres. Vassal told of going to the temple to seal this family to each other and the joy that he felt as he sat in proxy for his great-grandfathers as they became an eternal family after 200 years, no longer seperated by death. Pres. Molford spoke about the joy of watching others come to a knowledge of their Savior and enter the waters of baptism in order to go to the temple and receive all the saving ordinances.
5. I got to sit next to Husband. That doesn't happen on a Sunday because, as the bishop, he's up on the stand while I'm in the pews with six squirrely children. But today I got to sit next to him and hold his hand through the entire conference. That was reason enough to go. The rest was beautiful gravy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

List #10: Things of Strange Beauty

1. The red, wood-grainy look of beets when you're peeling them.

2. The raw sanding power of a new piece of 5 grit sandpaper on an oribital sander.

3. The first swipe of paint on the wall.

4. Hearing a familiar voice on the phone.

5. Watching a loose dog, happy in its unexpected freedom, sniffing its way down the street.

6. Coming home from work to the smell of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies (Husband's contribution. When I reminded him that these are things of strange beauty and not obvious beauty, he retorted that it happens so very rarely that it is strange. Touche'.)

7. That feeling of unity that happens in a sports stadium when the spectators all cooperate in crowd-entertaining games.

8. A made bed.

9. The subtle striations of a wasp nest.

10. An old man's bushy eyebrows.

Friday, March 13, 2009

List #9: Great Recipes I've Wowed the Family With In the Last Little While

Let me preface this by saying that I did not make up any of these recipes. Other, more creative, people came up with these and I merely followed their directions.

1. Greek Pitas with Cucumber Sauce. I made these with both beef and chicken (I prefer the chicken). I also add lots of feta cheese.

2. Fettucini Alfredo, restaurant style. This is so not a low-calorie dinner, as the sauce uses cream cheese, parmesan, butter and cream. The kids love it.

3. Pizza Hut Pan Pizza, homemade. A friend sent me an e-cookbook that has reverse-engineered recipes for many popular restuarant dishes. I use it so much I just printed it all out (all 400+ pages of it). This pizza recipe is so good I could eat it every day, and it tastes just like Pizza Hut.

4. Eggrolls. Okay, this I did make up. I've made them so many times that I just throw stuff together without measuring and add seasonings and spices, throw the mixture into eggroll wrappers and deep fry them. There is much rejoicing when I make eggrolls.

5. Firehouse Roasted Chicken Pasta. This has penne pasta mixed with chicken and a wonderful white sauce, topped with mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, green onions and lots of cheese, roasted in the oven until the cheese melts. Husband even had thirds, and he doesn't usually do that with anything.

6. Sweet and Spicy Sesame Noodles with Shredded Jerk Chicken. When you jerk the chicken yourself, using your own ingredients, it's fantastic.

7. Mock Cafe Rio Pork Salad. I love Cafe Rio's pork barbacoa, and now I can make it whenever I want. I put this filling into tortillas and topped them with sour cream and that yummy Creamy Tomatillo Dressing. This was one of Husband's favorites.

8. Cheesy Ranch Potato Bake. This is really a side dish, and it's a riff on the classic Funeral Potatoes that are so popular in Utah. I prefer this dish by far. I made two pans of this and it was gone in 24 hours after people had leftovers the next day.

Along with these wonderful-tasting, time-consuming meals, my family also had to endure my lack of ambition in such meals as spaghetti with canned sauce, pork tenderloin with nothing else but cooked frozen broccoli, and things along that line. I wouldn't want you to think the family eat like kings every night of the week.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

List #8: Instruments My Dad Can Play

It's my dad's birthday today, so in the spirit of my Month of Lists, I thought I would list one of his talents: music. My dad is pretty brilliant in the area of music. He's been playing and composing for a long time. One of my favorite CDs is one that he composed -- music that is relaxing, introspective and beautiful. He also composes music in many other styles, including using his computer as a co-composer, which produces some extremely interesting pieces. My favorite of those is one that sounds like a migraine feels. That sounds odd, but it so captures the intense pressing throb of a migraine that you almost get a migraine out of sympathy. Another of my favorites (this one composed without any extra help) is a piece -- or, rather, two pieces linked together -- called "Seattle Machine," inspired by a very large junk sculpture in the Seattle, Washington, airport. Because the entire sculpture was encased in glass to protect it, there were no sounds. Dad decided to provide the sounds. I absolutely love it. I am looking for a way to get his music onto the web somewhere so I can put a link to it so you can also hear it.

Child Six, who was a music lover from birth, often sits with my dad, listening intently to his music. They have a strong bond through music.

Without further ado, here's the list.

1. Piano
2. Organ (he's the church organist currently, and has been ever since I can remember, wherever we have lived)
3. Accordian (he took it downstairs into the basement and didn't come up until he had mastered it, which took about 12 hours)
4. Guitar
5. Cello
6. The computer. Dad writes programs that gives the computer parameters in which to compose, then gives it the sounds with which to create.
7. Keyboard/synthesizer
8. Learning the banjo

That's a pretty impressive list whoever you are. Happy Birthday, Dad! You're my hero and I love you.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

List #6: Smells I Like; List #7: Smells I Don't Like

List #6: Smells I Like

1. Baking bread
2. Cookies
3. Roses
4. Lilacs; in fact, someday I'm going to create a lilac "room," and during that time when the lilacs are blooming, I will sit out there on my bench on a warm evening and just breathe.
5. Infant poop. I know that's just weird, but there you go. And it has to be a breast-fed infant when they still have that yellow poop. They can't be eating food yet.
6. Asian grocery stores (although one of the smells I really don't like is Fish Sauce. Blech.)
7. Lavender
8. Damp dirt
9. That first whiff when you walk into an Indian restaurant and you just know the pilau rice and naan bread are going to be heavenly.
10. Drying laundry
11. Husband
12. Freshly washed kids' hair
13. The soap they use in the women's bathroom at the Jordan River Temple. Pure almond delight.
14. Pizza
15. Pickled onions

List #7: Smells I Don't Like

1. Wet dog
2. Fish Sauce (already mentioned)
3. Wet washcloths that are a little too ripe
4. The Great Salt Lake when the wind wafts in the wrong direction -- it's like sulphur
5. The poopy diapers of older children
6. Moth balls
7. Fresh perm
8. Food I forgot to clean out of the fridge in a timely fashion
9. I can't decide if I like or don't like that green, somewhat sickly sweet smell of the Jordan River Walkway when you're going through the swampy areas.
10. New car
11. Heavy, exotic perfumes, like Opium. They make me feel sick to my stomach.
12. Incense
13. Cooking rice, although it's fine once it's done
14. Heavy chlorine

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

List #5: Reasons I've Been to the Emergency Room

1. Appendicitis when I was 12.
2. Car accident when I was 18. My head cracked the windshield and dented the dashboard (that was the last time I didn't wear a seatbelt) and I had a horrific heachache when by brain swelled, but was amazingly okay other than that. I think. Just nod your head and smile.
3. Needed my eye washed out when I was 22 or 23. I was cleaning the bathroom and managed to squirt some of the toilet cleaner right into my right eye. They gave me an eye patch for the rest of the day. Arrr.
4. I took Child Two when she was five months. I was trying to move something while holding her and she suddenly kicked back, which caused me to lose hold of her. She flipped over and landed on her stomach, snapping her thigh bone in half. It was horrible. She was in traction for a week and then had a hip-spica cast (covering both legs) for the next six weeks. She still walked at 10 months, though.
5. Child Two again when she was about 18 months. She was climbing out of her playpen and fell out head-first, breaking the growth plate on her right elbow. Cast for six weeks.
6. Child Three also broke the same growth plate, but I can't remember why, and I don't think we took her to the ER, come to think of it. Sorry.
7. Oldest Child fell off the back of the couch at the age of five or six just after I warned her she was going to fall off and break something. She broke her left arm. Cast for six weeks. Of course, I was not happy to be proven right.
8. Husband when he had severe chest pains, which we thought was a heart attack. It wasn't. The problems stopped when he stopped working as a carpet cleaner.
9. Husband again when he was food poisoned at a buffet restaurant. They put him on a drip because of his severe dehydration and he felt relatively better after that.
10. Asthma attacks with both Child Three (who was admitted twice to the hospital for a week each time) and Child Four.
11. I took my nephew in when we got in a car accident with all the kids in the van. Although they all had seat belts and car seats, he still put his face through the window and got a lipfull of glass, which had to be removed. I have not gone through that particular intersection again.
12. Oldest Child when we thought she had appendicitis.
13. Child Six, just a couple weekends ago, for dehydration.It was probably the shortest ER visit I've ever had.

Monday, March 9, 2009

List #4: Things On My Shopping List

Bartender's Friend tub and sink cleaner
Washing soda
Italian sausage

Sunday, March 8, 2009

List #3: Ten Words That Are Fun To Say

1. Pipkin
2. Susurration
3. Obfuscate
4. Creatine
5. Conglomeration
6. Avuncular
7. Globular
8. Rural
9. Lollipop
10. Noodle

Saturday, March 7, 2009

List #2: Spices and Seasonings In My Spice Cupboard

1. Cinnamon (stick and ground)
2. Cloves (ground and whole)
3. Allspice
4. Poultry Seasoning
5. Dried juniper berries
6. Chinese 5 Spice powder
7. Curry powder (various kinds, from mild to hot)
8. Black mustard seeds
9. Whole white pepper berries
10. Black ground pepper (lots)
11. Bay leaves
12. Cumin
13. Oregano
14. Basil leaves
15. Sage (rubbed)
16. Rosemary
17. Thyme
18. Parsley (you knew it was coming)
19. Montreal Steak seasoning
20. Saffron
21. Fennel seed (several bottles. Not only is this a must for Italian tomato sauces, but a small palmful, when chewed and chewed without swallowing the seeds, will alleviate embarrassing intestinal gas. Ahem.)
22. Dill weed
23. Onion powder
24. Salt (cheap stuff and sea salt)
25. Marjoram (leaf)
26. Celery seed
27. Cream of tartar
28. Garlic powder
29. Ground mace
30. Coriander (whole and ground)
31. White ground pepper
32. Garam Masala
33. Root Beer concentrate
35. Liquid smoke
36. Mint leaves
37. Lemon grass
38. Meat tenderizer
39. Greek seasoning
40. Ground ginger
41. Crushed red pepper
42. Mustard powder
43. Paprika
44. Bouquet garnis
45. Almond extract
46. Lemon extract
47. Orange extract
48. Tarragon
49. Imitation Coconut extract
50. Roasting Rub -- French herb
51. Caraway seeds
52. Turmeric
53. Fines Herbes
54. Wasabi powder
55. Tamarind concentrate
56. Peppermint extract
57. Imitation rum extract
58. Nigella seeds
59. Asafoetida
60. Fenugreek (ground)
61. Whole cardamom pods (green)
62. New Mexico chili pods
63. Worcestershire sauce
64. Cantonese oyster flavoring sauce
65. Soy sauce
66. Teriyaki sauce
67. Olive oil (light and extra-virgin)
68. Canola oil
69. Sesame oil
70. Taco seasoning
71. Ginger oil

You see why I can't find anything in that cupboard.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Month of Lists Kick-off.

I have decided to publish a Month of Lists. Not only can I come up with a ton of things to list, I won't be trying (and failing) to be clever. Whatever I decide to list for the day will be my post. I know you're sitting there, agog, wondering how I come up with such brilliant ideas. I have to humbly admit I came up with it myself, after much thought, and with a great deal of enthusiasm. Maybe I'll get so enthused I'll post a couple lists at once some days. You just never know what I'm going to do next, do you? It keeps you on your toes trying to duck and weave with me, getting the feel for the spontaneous and highly creative mind processes that are just part of my everyday thinking. I know, I know. I'm just as amazed, and I live with it every day!

List #1: My Good Qualities

1. Humility

6th picture

My friend, Cynthia, tagged me in her blog to pick the 6th picture in my Pictures File and blog about it. Here is the 6th picture:

This is Child Two, her real self, her scheming best. When she isn't coming up with some plan to rule the world, she's coming up with a plan to go somewhere -- usually with her friend, M. She and M come to me on an almost daily basis, asking me to take them somewhere because they're so booooooored. Lately it's been ice-skating and bowling. This is the face she uses, I'm sure, to come up with her plans. As I can't just drop everything and drive them all over the place, her plan rarely works; I shudder to think how little I'll see her once she's old enough to afford her own car.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sick babies and yummy Chinese food.

I've now watched the movie, Ice Age, approximately 1 gazillion times in the last few days. It's a cute show and all, but I'm getting just a tad sick of it.

The reason why I've been lolling around watching movies (well, just the one, with the occasional break for Spongebob) is that last Friday, Child Six caught something. He vomited, he had diarhhea, he was miserable. By Saturday evening, he was a limp noodle, kind of going in and out of conciousness, pale and weak. I decided to take him to the urgent care clinic, but the triage nurse at the clinic immediately sent me up to the children's hospital emergency room. At the ER he had a lovely drip inserted in his hand (that's another post altogether, although he didn't have enough strength to fight as much as he felt he should) and was given Gatorade and crackers by the nurses. By the end of his bag of saline, he perked up enough to eat two crackers (his first food in 36 hours that stayed down) and have a couple sips of Gatorade. He also started yelling to go home, so I knew things were looking up. The doctors decided he was okay enough to send home (yay!) and he's been convalescing ever since, poor thing. All he's done is lie around weakly, demanding my constant presence and watching the above-mentioned movie when he wasn't asleep.

By Sunday evening, I knew he'd suddenly turned around and that his fever wasn't coming back. I don't know why. He was still weak and limp, but he did make the effort to bite one of his sisters. It just seemed like a good sign. He's now pretty much recovered today. He is up to his usual mischief and isn't so very grumpy. I'm so relieved.

Today is Child Two's 12th birthday, and as has become birthday tradition, I'm getting her out of school and taking her out to lunch. Gotta go. She has chosen Panda Express. I will be making a valiant effort not to eat 13,000 calories at lunch. Wish me luck.