Monday, January 30, 2012


I wish I could say that I love to cook, but I don't. It doesn't excite me AT ALL. I love to bake, but dinner usually requires more then rolls, breads, and bars. I think part of the problem is that I need to be organized in what we plan to make. Since I am not organized in this way, we tend to eat the same thing over and over, thus reinforcing my lack of interest in cooking. Additionally, I don't cook meat. If there is to be meat at a meal, Husband has to make it. Therefore, any meal planning has to include a lot of input from him. One more hurdle to it not getting done. With me going back to school, it has added even more pressure to get my act together on this. One of my favorite websites, The Curriculum of Love, recommended the following site: Plan To Eat. I have seen that a lot of recipe sites let you start a recipe box within the site, but I like that this one allows you to import from all over the web and add your own. I am currently trying the free 30 day trial, and so far I am liking it. At first I thought $40.00 for the year was too much, but then when I thought about it; if it saves this family of five from eating out (and spending more then $40!), then it will have paid for itself. I am hoping it will keep me more organized and make planning easier (I especially love that it prints a shopping list and can help you cook from what you already have in your pantry!). If you end up trying it, let me know. It also has an option to share recipes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

First it was the Evangelicals,

then the Mormons and now the Catholics. I don't ever remember seeing so many ads on TV for church in my life. It is getting kind of crazy. Growing up in the 80s in northern Iowa, religion really wasn't a hot topic. Most of the area was Lutheran. So much so, that this Catholic girl had NO IDEA that Catholicism was so huge until I moved to St. Louis. There was only one Catholic church in the area, but several Lutheran ones. We were considered in the minority to be Catholic! (so different in St. Louis...). Not until I moved down here did I see my first "Jesus" billboard. Once again my limited worldview came into play and I thought, "how interesting that they would make a billboard out of the Iowa license plate with the word Jesus." Yes, when I was growing up the Iowa license plates were green and white. I totally missed that most highway signs were also that color. It is fascinating to see church marketing evolve from word of mouth/tradition, to billboards, TV, internet, and phone apps. Does this really work? It seems to me that even with all the new ways to reach out, the one that still really brings people in the door is face to face contact. To me, word of mouth will always be the best marketing tool. I have had people come up to me after seeing my UU paraphenalia, but actually talking to me is what gets them in the door. There is a place for all of it, but seeing a friendly face and welcoming smile will always be the best way. Afterall, church is about building real community and relationships.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Let Down

Today the quintet played at an area UU church. It was actually at my church, so I was pretty excited. I even PRACTICED this week! The first service went great and we sounded really good. Then came the second service. Why oh why must I always play worse the second time through?!?! It happens all the time. I don't know if it is because I am more tired, overly confident, more nervous (there are a lot more people at the second service) or what - but it never goes as well. It is so frustrating. I just feel really let down with myself.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Last night was the first night back for classes. As such, the Prof (quite correctly) thought we should end early. A group of us decided, then, to catch a drink at Humphreys (a local bar). As I had not eaten dinner yet, I wanted to get some food. Then, it hit me, "my kids aren't here!" So I ordered a Black & Tan and some fried green beans. Excellent dinner.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Two Year Quilt

I just finished this very basic quilt. From idea to finish, it took over two years! Why? Because I am not a quilter at heart. I love to sew, but quilting requires soooo much patience and I just don't have much of it. Two years ago, Daughter and I were at a quilt show. Often they have vendors and one of them was selling this charm pack of batiks. Daughter LOVES batiks. She sews a little herself and everything she has sewn is made with batiks. I got the pack for her with some sort of vague idea that I would make a quilt for her. I then put it aside. Eventually I found the fabric again and figured I should wash and iron it so when I was inspired I would be good to go. So I did. More time passed and I realized I wouldn't have enough fabric to make a quilt from just the charm pack and decided to "highlight" the batiks by using white in between the squares. More time passed. One day I got the urge to cut squares - so I did - 189 six by six inch squares. My neck really hurt after that, so I took another long break. We finally finished our basement and my sewing room returned and I was on break from class. In the dark recesses of my mind, I knew it was now or never. But, I had all these squares and no idea of what to do with them. Once again, inspiration just wasn't there. I don't know why, but one day, out of the blue, the word "spiral" hit me. I went with it and above is what happened. I am really pleased with how it turned out. It is backed in flannel (because, like me, daughter really loves soft things) and Daughter LOVES it.

That, my friends, is my quilt making process. I hope yours moves a little quicker!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I am not much of a planner. I can be obssesive about certain things, i.e. homework and being on time. After that, I am pretty open to where the day/life takes me. This philosophy has served me pretty well (with a few minor blips here and there), but I am not getting any younger and if I want to do certain things, I need to get moving. I have decided to actually set some goals. I am 38 1/2. By the time I am 40, I plan to:

1. Not get anymore speeding tickets (I tend to average one a year)
2. Start my own online business
3. Automatically give people the benefit of the doubt
4. Raise chickens
5. Sew daughter and I fancy dresses for a family wedding
6. Get a research paper published
7. Learn to play the banjo (I have started the ukulele, but it isn't the same)
8. See Billy Bragg play in London
9. See Frightened Rabbit play in Glasgow
10. Visit F. in Rome
11. Get comfortable speaking German (I do have a degree in it...)

Who am I kidding? If I am in London seeing Billy Bragg, then I will definitely:
12. Visit 221B Baker Street.

This is what I have for now. I realize that it pretty me-centered, but after the countless hours I have spent volunteering, I want to do some things just for me. And I don't feel guilty about it!

Friday, January 6, 2012

First Steps

I am taking the first steps on project that I have wanted to do for a long time. I feel like my life is finally enough in order that I can start a new venture. I am super excited. Whether it works out (and I certainly hope it does) or not, I am proud of myself for trying. Husband and I are super cautious people, but dream big. I am working towards one of those dreams and I can't wait!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Reading through a bunch of Facebook and blog posts, it appears that 2011 was a tough year for a lot of folks. It sounds like a lot of people are banking on 2012 to be a much better year. I can't say that 2011 was a spectacular year, but it wasn't bad either. We made it through and I look forward to the future. I don't want to put undo pressure on 2012, though! I have some big plans, but will let them develop with as much time as they need.