MacKenzie on McCain's Pick

I am going to usurp Craig's territory for a moment and talk about politics. I'm sure he will still weigh in eventually with his opinion but I just have to tell you, I am super excited about McCain's VP pick.

Before yesterday, I was really tired of the election and was ready to be done with the whole thing. I was still planning on voting but mostly because I really really dislike Obama and the thought of him becoming our next president really gives me the heebie-jeebies. But now, I am pumped up again. (Obviously, when was the last time I wrote a political post?)

I didn't have high hopes for his pick either. I thought he would go with Romney and I have never liked him. I can't help but think "USED CAR SALESMAN!" every time I see old Mitt. So I'm happy about Palin simply because she isn't Romney.

I'm also happy she is conservative. I would have felt a little annoyed that he was taking his base for granted if he had gone the moderate route. And yes, election wise, he probably could have, I would still have voted for him over Obama, but I am glad he didn't. I don't know a lot about her yet, but everything about her record sounds good to me.

And, I can't not say it - I'm glad she is a woman. Mostly because it would just be great, not just to see it happen, but to be a part of it. But also because - how ridiculously awesome would it be if it was the Republicans who first got a woman elected? I often feel like Democrats have a holier-than-though attitude when it comes to women and minorities and as a woman, it annoys me.

I was actually talking to Craig a few days ago about how the Democrats would respond if we had a woman (in response to someone mentioning Kay Bailey Hutchinson). I didn't think it was a real possibility but I was trying to guess their response just for fun. Since black Republicans aren't "real" blacks, would they try and deny that a woman Republican wasn't a real woman? No, it seems like they are going to try and pass this off as an insult to women - "how dare McCain think that women will vote for him just because he has a woman as his running mate! How unintelligent does he think women are?" is something I have heard a few times on the major news networks in the last 24 hours.

I don't really think that is going to fly. Personally, I am left thinking how dare Democrats think that all women think like them just because they try and pass off their party as the one that stands for women and minorities. How unintelligent do they think I am?

I've heard a lot about this being a "hail mary pass." I couldn't disagree more, I think it is a bold move, but I can't be the only person excited about this and if I'm not, I think it will pay off.


Higher (and Higher) Education

With all the rage about rising costs in this country, there's one area that people seem to be under-angry about: college edumacation.
For more than two decades, colleges and universities across the country have been jacking up tuition at a faster rate than costs have risen on any other major product or service - four times faster than the overall inflation rate and faster even than increases in the price of gasoline or health care. The result: After adjusting for financial aid, the amount families pay for college has skyrocketed 439% since 1982.
Unfortunately, college presidents (and rubber-stamp regents) have no interest in cutting costs, or incentive to do so. Their performances are judged by the new buildings they build, new professors they hire, and diversity programs they create, not on how low they keep tuition. And as Money magazine points out in this article, some of the problem is spoiled students:
If colleges were spending most of their money on initiatives that improve the quality of education for students, you might regard price hikes running at two to four times the rate of inflation as a necessary evil. But spending on palatial dorms, state-of-the-art fitness centers and a panoply of gourmet dining options? Maybe not.

Sure, they're also putting funds into cutting class sizes and hiring top professors. But they're spending even more on building Hogwarts-style dorms with mahogany casement windows of leaded glass (Princeton's newest $136 million student residence); installing 35-foot climbing walls and hot tubs big enough for 15 people (Boston University); providing multiple eateries with varied cuisines and massive fitness and recreation centers (too many schools to name).
(On a semi-related note, I puke every time I see ads in the school newspaper for luxury student apartments.)

Tuition will keep rising like this until regents and parents start demanding some cost-cutting. Parents and students are going to have to pay closer attention to tuition rates when they college shop. And kids might have to give up having their own bathroom, or that climbing wall they never use.

Venturing Into the Swamp

Today I have my first substitute teaching job at the local high school. As you may know, I'm not a big fan of the public education system. However, I feel like I should help MacKenzie pay the bills, and this line of work fits well with my schedule. Plus, $60/day ain't bad. In addition, the experience I gain will bolster the credibility of my criticism of the system.

I'm rather nervous, because you know how kids are these days, but I am filling in for an advanced class, so there shouldn't be too many hooligans in the room. I'll let you know how it goes.


Undercover Hippie Files: OCM

I told you I had stopped washing my face. Yes, it’s true - kinda.

My beauty routine started out so well. I, unlike everyone else in the world, managed to escape the horrors of high school skin. Mine was fine, I never had any real problem with it. I’d get maybe one bad zit a month, and being a teenager, I thought my world was over, but looking back I had to sooo easy. Then I turned 21 and I don’t know what happened. I had been using the same oil of olay foaming face wash for 5 years and it had never failed me before but my skin was not having it anymore. I turned into a wanderer, roaming from one face soap to another until last spring when I got fed up. I knew there had to be another way. Since then, I haven’t put a single commercial soap or cleansing product on my face. I just rub a little oil on my face every night. Of course, there is a method to my madness. If you just rub random oil on your face you will probably end up looking like a pizza and have to wash your sheets all the time and that probably isn’t healthy or effective, although it might be cheap.

Technically, my routine is called the oil cleanse method (OCM) and if you Google it, I’m sure you will find lots of information but here is what I do:

The Recipe:

Castor Oil

  • Where I found it –with the Epsom salt and mineral oil in the medicine section of Walmart (did you know Walmart took the “–“ out of their name? Well, they did but apparently nobody has told spellchecker yet). You could ask a pharmacist but then he might loudly tell you it is located with all the other laxatives and then you might get all flushed and embarrassed. Not that that will happen, but it could.

  • Its purpose – Castor oil is the drying and cleansing oil. And for all you ladies out, it removes makeup too, so you don’t have to use a separate makeup remover.

A Nourishing Oil

  • Where I found it – You have options but they can all be found at the grocery store. I use olive oil although I’ve heard other people say they really like sunflower seed oil. I don’t because I don’t use sunflower seed oil in my kitchen and I like the way olive oil has worked for me. And, if you are like me and don’t like the real strong smell of some “olive oil products,” don’t worry, this mixture doesn’t have that same olive smell. It makes me wonder what they are putting in those products?

  • Its purpose – It thins the mixture, reduces the effect of the castor oil which by itself is quite strong and moisturizes.

Small Container –

  • Where I found it - I have been using one of those $0.50 travel size bottle from Walmart that you can put your own shampoo it. It works fine for everyday use but ironically, it isn’t good for traveling. The lid snaps shut and I think it would hold shampoo well but the oil leaks out. As soon as my castor oil bottle is empty, I will clean that out and use it since it is made to hold oil. And it is less ugly.If you come up with a better option, let me know.

  • Its purpose – To hold the mixture, duh.

The ratio: Basically, you just mix the castor oil and the olive oil (or other “nourishing oil”) together in your container. It’s the ratio of the two that allows you to adjust it to your specific skin type. I don’t ever measure it, just eyeball it.

I have pretty dry skin and I use about 20-25% castor oil, the rest is olive oil. The more oily your skin is, the more Castor Oil you should use. I’ve heard a 1:3 (castor to olive) ratio is good for oily skin. On my second batch, I ran out of olive oil and ended up with a ratio of 1:1 and after 2 or 3 days, I was really dry. But I just added some olive oil after my next grocery trip and I was okay. Just play around till you find what works well for your skin.

The routine:

It works best if you do it at night, and it takes a few more minutes than a regular face washing but that’s okay since you aren’t in a hurry! Pour a tablespoon or two of your mixture into your hands and rub it on your face, really working it into your skin all over. Think of it as a massage. Supposedly, this method works because the oil you made dissolves the oil in your pores (which technically I guess you made too :-). Then grab a washcloth and put it under hot running water. Hold it in front of your face. The steam will open up your pores. I do this a couple times. Then when the washcloth has cooled off for the final time, wipe off the oil. You don’t need to scrub it off but I do wipe forcefully (think toddler with non-dried on food on their face).

You might feel like you are still oily, at first I did. It took me a while to realize I was just moist and not dry and painfully tight like I was used to. When I used a regular face wash, I always had to use a moisturizer but not with this method. You can put a drop of olive oil on your hands, rub it around and pat it on your face if you are feeling dry though. In the morning, I just splash cold water on my face and sometimes by then I need a drop of oil. And after I go swimming, I typically rinse off my face and put on a drop then.

And that is all there is too it. It meets all three of my criteria. It’s cheap. It’s effective. And it is healthy (even if you haven’t had any problems with the chemicals in face soaps, it can’t hurt not to use them, can it?) Here are some other resources if you are unconvinced or what more info:

This is from the Natural Acne Magazine, which I do believe means that even young teenage boys who think this won’t work for them might be mistaken. Not that any young teenage boys will probably be reading this, but their mothers might, couch, cough.

This one has pictures, I love pictures.

This one I found on WFMW just a month or so after I started. It helped me fine tune my routine.


And the winner is...

Sorry for the delay. Our internet wasn’t working this morning but whenever I called the help number, I got the same recorded greeting telling me they were aware of the problem and that it should be fixed within 2 hours. After five hours, I stopped believing them.

It’s back now so it’s time to announce the winner. We got lots of great entries but the one that really seemed to capture the essence was:

Undercover Hippie Files

Congratulations, Rachel. I will be sending your prize shortly!

I will try, internet willing, to post the first real Undercover Hippie File tomorrow but I wanted to start out today by saying the why behind the posts. It most certainly isn’t to save the planet or ease my guilty conscience by being green. Whether I choose to do “green” things or not, I’m not going to feel guilty about using the resources of the world, as long as I know I am being a good steward. If you want to make these or other changes to feel like you are saving polar bears or prevent little coastal communities from being swallowed by the sea, go for it. I however, have three criteria I like to consider when deciding whether an idea is something I want to try or not. I would prefer to do things that meet all of the following but sometimes I will settle for two out of the three:

  1. Economical – And by that, I really mean cheap, but that doesn’t sound as good. This is where a lot of the green ideas fall flat on their tush. And if I just spent all my grocery money on organic fruit, milk and boxed macaroni and cheese and all my household money on “safe” cleaners, I would miss out on a lot of the fun of natural homemaking. Craig and I have a lot of fun being “economical” in all parts of our life and I don’t think “going natural” has to be any different.

  1. Healthy – This should be the easiest of the three seeing as it is one of the main components of the preaching green movement but there are also a lot of conflicting ideas about what is healthy. You’ll just have to wait to get my opinion.

  1. Effective – This is the dealbreaker. I don’t care how economical and healthy something is, if it doesn’t work – what’s the point? This is another area where a lot of “green” ideas fall short. Yes, I can make my own laundry detergent but if it doesn’t get my clothes clean, did I really “gain” anything? I just crack myself up. Now don’t all y’all email me about the wonderful results you have gotten from homemade laundry detergent, it was just an example, mostly picked so that I could use my awesome joke.

So that is my thought process all laid out for you. Hopefully you aren’t sick of this series already since I’m just getting started! Stay tuned.

A new clue?

Apparently I am behind the times since I am just now hearing about this, but it distresses me. I love Clue. I have so many memories of playing it, from family game night as a child to teaching Craig and his siblings how to play on one of my first visits to his family's ranch in North Dakota. I don't get to play it a lot because most of the time I play a game it is just Craig and I and despite what my brother and I tried to do in elementary school, playing with two people just doesn't work. But even so, it's one of my favorite board games.

Why do they would want to change it? Why, I ask you !?! In another article I read, it stated that this new version will allow people to relate to the characters more. First off, I don't think I can relate to a billionaire video game designer (Jack Mustard) or a famous actress often featured in tabloids (Kasandra Scarlet) any more than I can relate to someone from the 1930s, probably less so.

Secondly, do you think the point of murder mystery board games is really to relate to the possible suspects? It isn't to me. I think of Clue as being in the same realm as murder mystery dinner theater games. When Craig and I hosted a murder mystery a few years ago, it was set in the 1890s. (Except for M, who due to an unfortunate mix up in communication, came dressed a 1990s prostitute, oopsie).
And she even said that when she was finding an outfit that she kept thinking it was strange. Because nobody hosts those in the present, you set them in the past! Thinking of murder as relevant isn't fun, it's creepy.

The old clue was classic, yet whimsical. At least I got the old version off of my wedding registry so whatever they do to the new version in stores, I can survive. Whimsical murder, that is what I want.


1st day of school

Rants about church shopping

Disclaimer: I will be talking about different churches and offering my opinion on some of the things they do. I want to make it clear that while I may be stating my dislike for a particular component of a church, it doesn't mean I think they are not Christian. Sometimes it is purely preference (do you like traditional hymns or praise and worship songs) while other times I think it reflects a real difference in principles and priorities. And while obviously I think my opinion is correct, [if I didn't, it wouldn't be my opinion:-) ] I don't want to imply that some churches are above others. In fact, I often agree more with Catholics and Baptists on certain theological issues than I do with Lutherans (which technically is what I am). And all the churches we visited obviously love God.

We've been "church shopping" lately. I dislike the phrase "church shopping" but not as much as I dislike the activity. I hate the phrase because it seems like you just have to find a church that fits all your needs, but that isn't the point of church and it seems very self centered. But after the last few weeks, it does seem to be the most fitting phrase.

I hate the activity because I always feel so awkward at a new church. And I'm coming from a church that I loved and where I was comfortable. When you get really involved with a church, they end up feeling like your second family and it hurts to leave it. Then I search for a new one and hate them all because they are different and I just "know" that I will never find one I love as much as the one I left. Of course, I always do and then I leave that one and feel the same way about it. But it takes time to build those relationships and I don't always like the transition process.

The first week we went to a Baptist church and the second week we went to a Methodist church that thought it was Pentecostal. The first week was obviously a stretch for us but I knew people there and wanted to give it a try. The second week, I spent most of the service wondering if anyone knew they were supposed to be Methodists, included the pastor who spent the service with his hands in the air. There was laying on of hands, and extemporaneous congregational prayer and a complete lack of liturgy. Now none of those things are necessarily wrong, they just aren't very Methodist. This week we went to a Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod), we liked it much better and we will probably go back next week. I was worried because the church's website called it a "contemporary service" and I have been frustrated with a couple things I keep seeing at contemporary services including:
  • Length - Neither of the first two services were under a hour and a half. That is a long time. If there was any liturgy, I would understand a bit more but when the sermon lasts a hour, it gets hard to focus. I don't like to sit in church and not get anything out of it - I really do go to worship and learn. At one of the services, I really liked the topic he chose (it included a Oprah as a bad example, how could I not like that?) but after 30 minutes, I couldn't pay attention any more. It doesn't seem like they are covering more, they just seem repetitive or they give too many examples. I realize this is a complete personal preference thing but as long as it is biblically sound, I'd rather hear 20 minutes of sermonizing with a message I can carry with me and be done with it.
  • Stage - Why do so many churches nowadays seem to be set up more like a stage than a sanctuary? Wow, I just used the word "nowadays", I sound like I'm eighty but I am not at church to be entertained by your amazing band (complete with tambourine) or your stunning displays of A/V skills. To be fair, all three churches, including the last one we liked, used a PowerPoint presentation of some kind with the sermon and I did find it helpful but in the third it was still obviously a sanctuary while the first two had stages. When the music started the lights dimmed everywhere except the praise and worship band leaving me with the feeling like they were worshiping and we were supposed to be watching...I want to feel included in the worship. And the second church didn't even have a cross up there! Only some pretty candles and a metal word that said "Pray" and looked like it came from a Pottery Barn catalog.
  • Casualness - I think this is a trend in all churches but it seems some types of churches are more prone to it than others. Growing up, I hated dresses and anything fancy (and anything with a tag, and looking back at pictures it seems like anything that matched too) but my parents insisted I look nice on Sundays because I was going to worship God and He deserved my best. Now it seems like you're lucky if 50% of the church is wearing shoes not made of plastic. And I realize that you are always going to have teenagers who try and get away with baggy pants or short skirts and I don't think they should be shunned because of that but if you are going to have a stage, is it too much to ask that those on the stage at least be wearing khaki's, a belt and a non-t-shirt. But it isn't just clothing either, it is a total attitude and casual attitude. In the past three weeks, I have seen people bring in supersized 7-eleven cups of Coke into the sanctuary with them. (Maybe they need that much caffeine to make it through the hour long sermon) Yes, people should be comfortable, but I think real comfort is knowing you are worshiping God with a community of other believers who know you and care about are you and are worshiping God too, not the ability to show up Sunday morning in flip flops with a Coke by your side.
Now I realize these aren't the most important things when searching for a church but I do think, at least on the last two, they reflect an attitude about the purpose and importance of the church. And while writing that kinda made me feel like a senior citizen complaining about the young people of the world, at least I'm not alone.

Oh, and on a less grumpy note, make sure you submit an in idea for my giveaway contest! You only have one more day.


Making the Cut

There was a lot of talk during the just-completed Olympics about the removal of baseball and softball from the program. These sports have the chance to be re-admitted for 2016, along with potential new sports karate, squash, golf, rugby sevens and roller-skating. I will give you the list of current Olympic events, and tell you which I think should be added or removed. Wikipedia has the history of each sport's inclusion in the Games.

Athletics (track & field)
Beach Volleyball - obviously keep.
Canoe / kayak
Diving - get rid of the synchronized version.
Equestrian - we could replace this with rodeo :)
Football (soccer) - remove. Yeah, it's a big sport, but the World Cup is a much bigger deal.
Hockey (field)
Modern pentathlon - remove. This sport is a relic from a bygone era. See here.
Rhythmic Gymnastics
Sailing - remove.
Synchronized Swimming
Swimming - get rid of the open water version (the pool version is sufficient).
Table tennis - remove. This is a hobby more than a sport. Plus, it's dominated by one country, and that's why softball got kicked out.

Taekwondo - lots of trouble here with judging and referee-kicking. Maybe replace with karate?

Trampoline - remove. Seriously.
Water Polo

Now that we've removed 5 sports, and some subsports, what should we add? I say baseball and softball return, and we add squash. Golf? Heck no. What do you think?

Goodbye, My Friend

It is always sad when the Olympics end. The athletes that I welcomed into my home every morning and every night are going home themselves, and there will be a void in my TV that the networks will attempt to fill with inanity. I will miss not waking up in the morning to see what's happening in Beijing, or sitting up until 2 am watching events that were, in many cases, better than those which aired in prime time. It will be a couple of days until I have moved on. Football begins soon, but that sport doesn't hold the same allure for me. Plus, part of the joy of the Olympics is jumping from sport to sport as if I were at Golden Corral. A little badminton here, a helping of field hockey, and some water polo for dessert, as it were.

Citizens of Beijing should also be sad the Olympics are ending. Not only because the Games were a good time, but because, with the world's attention diverted, their government can resume blocking the Internet, polluting the air, and crushing dissent. Hopefully, China's contact with the outside world will spur some changes for the better. I am doubtful, however.


Dem Ticket Complete

It is ridiculous how long ago I called it that Senator Biden would be the VP pick. It must have been in June. I might be able to find proof somewhere on the Internet that this is the case, but I don't have time. Plus, I wouldn't lie (would I?).

By making this pick, Obama admits his lack of experience, especially in the foreign policy arena. However, Biden voted for the Iraq war, the same vote that Obama pounded Hillary on during the primaries. Presumably, Obama thinks that he made a better choice on Iraq than his supposedly knowledgeable-on-foreign-affairs running mate.

Nonetheless, this pick should boost Obama's experience factor. Some are saying that Biden will help Obama win white working-class voters, but I don't see that being true. Biden comes across as a Washington insider, not as a friend of the little guy, and he's not known as a fighter for the middle class.

Biden is known for being long-winded, and saying some impolitic things, which could create a campaign-trail kerfuffle this fall. Also, Biden can be kind of arrogant, which is a trait shared by Obama. Such a combination could be off-putting to the average voter.

In the end, though, VP choices don't usually make a whole lot of difference. It's just something fun to talk about and speculate on during the boring summer days of the election season. Now bring on the conventions!


The Gymnastics Saga Continues

Surprisingly, officials will look into this whole underage Chinese gymnastic brouhaha:
The International Olympic Committee is launching an investigation into Chinese gold-medal-winning gymnast He Kexin's age, the Times of London reported. Mounting allegations that Chinese authorities covered up her age triggered the IOC to act.
I guess the pressure, and the mounting evidence, were too much to ignore. However, I suspect this will go nowhere. As I heard someone on NBC say, the IOC (or the gymnastics federation) has no subpoena power, so they can't compel China to produce any information. And China has no incentive to do so. The most likely outcome would be that China would lose gold medals. By delaying and refusing to cooperate, China can deny the investigating body any evidence that would create such an outcome. Instead, the IOC will likely say, when this is all over, that they don't have enough evidence to strip the Chinese gymnasts of any medals. China, of course, will claim vindication from this result.

Of course, it could just be that the IOC is doing this to cover itself. By taking a cursory look at the issue, they can say that they did their due diligence, and refuse to talk about it further. I suspect that some sort of result like that mentioned above will be announced in a couple of months, when the world's attention has turned elsewhere. What more can we expect from an organization that awards the Games to dictatorships or whoever gives the biggest bribes?


New beginnings (and a giveaway!)

I'm still here. And I know with all my free time I should be writing more but I haven't been doing anything to write about. Craig started orientation this week so he has been gone and I have just been sitting around. And I'll continue to just sit around until I start my new job.

Yep, you heard me, I have a new job! But I'm still waiting for the University to get all the paperwork to me and get a hiring date so I'll be hanging around the house for a few more days.
I think I'm going to really like the job and I am ready to get out of this apartment. I am out of projects to work on, or at least projects that don't require a bunch of money. I went to the library and got myself a library card, checked out four books and read them all in the first 48 hours. I've watching the Olympics until badminton put me to sleep. And it has been rainy the last few days so I haven't even been able to swim. While Craig was still around, it was fun to have a week or two to spend time together and get stuff in order but now I am ready to work.

Since I don't have any outings to describe for your amusement, I thought I would start a new series. I use the word "series" loosely since I only have two posts in mind at the moment and I am not going to guarantee any new ones come to mind. While I won't have a posting schedule or anything that formal, I would like to have a title for the series to make it somewhat cohesive.

There is the problem, I'm really bad at coming up with titles. If you go back and read my post titles and one seems catchy, Craig probably thought it up. So help me out. Oh, but you might need to know what the series is about first...

I have mentioned in the past how I am an undercover hippie, so I thought I would share some of the weird things I do. I will probably go back and add my diva cup post (not safe for men) to the collection but other topics that might be included are:

-how I've stopped washing my face
-how I've stopped washing my hair
-maybe more on the fermenting foods subject (if I end up having any luck with it)

So that is the idea for my little "series," but I need a title for it. This is where you come in; I'm asking for your help. I'm sure you will rise to the challenge since every time I have turned to y'all you have done a great job giving me book recommendations, movie recommendations, etc. But for extra motivation, I have decided to make it a giveaway!

Who ever comes up with the winning title will get a $15 Amazon gift certificate! So put your thinking caps on. Oh, and since it isn't random but a selective process, feel free to post as many ideas as you have. I'll announce the winner Wednesday, August 27th.


Championships for the Taking

I learned this from Wikipedia yesterday:
While 1939 is the only national title that Texas A&M recognizes, retroactive polls have awarded Texas A&M national titles in 1917, 1919, and 1927. The 1917 team finished 8-0-0 and unscored upon, earning a retroactive national title by 1st-N-Goal and James Howell.[4] The 1919 team finished 10-0-0 and unscored upon, earning a retroactive national title by ten selectors, including the Billingsley Report and National Championship Foundation.[5]. The 1927 team finished 8-0-1, with a tie against TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, earning a retroactive national title by the Sagarin Rating and the Sagarin ELO-Chess.
I say A&M should go ahead and recognize those championships. Especially since USC has been interloping on our 1939 glory since 2004.
USC now will recognize its 1939 football team as a national champion, giving the Trojan program 10 national titles in the sport, Trojan athletic director Mike Garrett announced.


Just another back-to-school post

My blog list has a lot of "mom blogs" on it so I've been reading quite a few back-to-school posts lately. The moms sending their kids off to school talk about them growing up and becoming independent, the homeschooling moms talk about curriculum. I figured I would do a back-to-school post of my own. Don't think for second that my lack of children will stop me.

I've mentioned it before but if you didn't catch it, I was homeschooled growing up. I loved it and Craig and I are definitely planning on homeschooling our kids and I am already excited about it. Just thinking about curriculum makes me happy but then again, I'm weird, when I was just 12 or 13 years old, I would look at the new catalogs for hours. Sunlight, Timberdoodle, the huge Rainbow resource catalog - I loved them all (I still do). I even read The Well-Trained Mind when I was an young teen. Oh man, I was so dorky.

Anyhoo, when I was looking for a man to marry, I knew how he felt about homeschooling would be an important indicator for me. While he didn't necessarily need to be all gung-ho about it already, he at least needed to be open to the idea. And if he was, I knew God would lead him where we needed to be.

From the start, Craig was willing to think about it, and it wasn't too long into our "courtship" when we were talking about kids and how we thought they should be raised that we agreed that homeschooling was going to be our first choice. And now, it's pretty much just a given.

Whenever we hear something on the news, or I relate some story from back in my subbing days, and he replies with "I'm so glad you will be homeschooling our kids", my heart melts. Even so, when I get all excited about something I see, like these oh-so-cute Shakespeare for kids books, I wonder if Craig will be as "into homeschooling" as I am.

I got my answer when the opening ceremony for the Olympics came on and he ran to get our world map so we could race to find the countries as they marched. At that point, I knew he would manage just fine.

And here is the aforementioned world map, now comfortable situated on the wall by our dinner table.
Look out geography bee coaches, give us 15 years and we're gonna be your worst enemy.



I'm still here but getting a bit bored without a job. Hopefully that will change soon but I've tried to take advantage of the free time to be, as the title says, uber-productive, most in the kitchen.

I've been interested in foods with probiotics for a couple months now but didn't want to start something big right before we moved. As soon as that last box was unpacked though, I got to work.

I started by making homemade sauerkraut. After three days fermenting and one day chilling in the fridge it was ready for tasting last night. I was really worried about it being too "weird" to eat, especially for Craig as he is not sure about this whole fermented food thing.

It wasn't too bad but I'm not sure it is ready yet. It tasted like a mix of cabbage and sauerkraut so it might need a few days but I've gotten different time lines from different sources so that isn't surprising. It was also super salty and I don't think time will heal that wound. I'm not sure where I went wrong, maybe my cabbage was small and not medium so I should have adjusted for that? Or maybe homemade sauerkraut is just really salty but this was really salty. I think it will be okay if I just rinse it right before I serve it though. Hopefully that doesn't rinse away all the good bacteria.

I'm also trying a sourdough starter for the first time. This one is a bit of a "cheater" as it used yeast too but it's smelling pretty good and it's from a bread machine book so I can use it my machine. I'm crossing my fingers!

I also made a big batch of my famous spaghetti sauce and froze it in little BRC-sized portions (aka - 1.5 c). It is pretty easy to make a batch but I never seem to get around to it on the weekends so I'm glad I have a nice stash in the freezer.

Last night I made another batch of granola. And speaking of granola, my mom reminded me that I never went back and posted my recipe. Oops. I put it up as a separate post right below this for all two of you who wanted it.

I don't want to be misleading, not everything I made was healthy. A couple days ago Craig and I were both needing dessert. Sometimes you want dessert, sometimes you need dessert - this time it was a definite need. We found this recipe for peanut butter oatmeal cookies and it was amazing! The only thing I changed was the oatmeal, I used rolled instead of quick oats and upped it to 1 cup. And I used crunchy peanut butter but that isn't really a change, just a choice. They were so moist and chewy.

After a trip to the sad little gardener's market here in town, Craig decided he needed to get into the kitchen too and whipped up some zucchini bread and muffins with the veggies we got. They weren't too shabby either.

So basically, we have been sitting around the apartment, watching the Olympics and eating. It's a dangerous combination but it's too hot to do anything else.

Boring Granola...plus an extra

This is my recipe for "boring granola." I don't want to imply anything negative with the word boring since that is how I like my granola and it is easy enough to complicate it with lots of extras, I just wanted to be upfront about it. This is very loose recipe so it might take you a few batches to find out what you like best.

Boring Granola:
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cups oil - I use coconut
  • 1/2 cup sweetener - I typically go with 1/4 c. brown sugar and 1/4 c. honey. I like how the honey evenly coats the oats but I like the texture of the brown sugar. I've used 1/2 c. honey before and it works, but I prefer this mix.
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla - I know this sounds like a lot but I really love vanilla and it is spread over 4 cups of oats. But you could use less if you are a wimp. Just don't leave it out, please.
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon - I looked at a lot of recipes before coming up with this combination and only one had any spice in it but I think that is a shame. Don't worry about it being all spicy and weird, the flavors are really subtle. If you wanted a really cinnamon-y cereal, you would want to increase that even more
  • Extras: Nuts, raisins, craisins, dried apples, sunflower seeds, wheat germ - I've used dried fruits and nuts and really liked them, and I saw in our new grocery store unsweetened coconut which I am anxious to try, before I could only find sweetened which I didn't want.
Mix oil, honey and vanilla. Pour over oats, cinnamon and any extras you want to back and mix thoroughly. Personally, I like to add any extras other than nuts a bowl at a time since I not only eat this granola for breakfast but also on my ice cream and raisins in my ice cream doesn't sound appetizing. Also, if you add dried fruit, you are supposed to soak them before hand and it seems silly to soak something so you can dry it out. If I end up getting the coconut, I'll probably add that before hand.

Pour on cookie sheets or 9x13 pans. I use two pans so I can keep it a thin layer. Bake at 250 for 2-3 hours, stirring every 20-30 minutes. I stir frequently to break up any clumps. (Another reason this is boring is that it isn't clumpy.) I know some people like clumpy granola and I've heard that if you add about 1/2 cup of water and squeeze it before baking, you can form clumps. That's just a rumor though, I have no direct knowledge as I avoid clumps.

So that's what I do and I think it's tasty. I really like it with yogurt and fruit in the morning. Or with ice cream and my super easy berry sauce. Since I mentioned it, I will include that in this post but it barely qualifies as a recipe:

Berry Sauce:
  • Frozen berries (strawberry is my favorite but mixed is good too)
  • Sugar
  • Water
In a small saucepan, heat the berries and sugar (for the two of us, I probably use 1 or 2 tsp sugar and 1/2 cup berries). You may need to add a tablespoon of water to keep the berries from burning before they get soft and juicy. Reduce for about 5 minutes into to a sauce, smooshing the big berries down. It never gets syrupy thick like a store bought sauce, just nice and light and fruity. Cool for a few minutes so you don't melt your ice cream. Eat with a bowl of vanilla ice cream and a couple spoonfuls of granola - delish!

Try both and let me know what changes you make and what your results were. I would love to have any feedback.


Olympic Observations

Here are some random observations on the Olympics:
  • Michael Phelps, obviously, is awesome. However, I hear some refer to him as the greatest Olympian ever, because he's won the most gold medals. While that is the obvious measure to use to confer this title, it doesn't seem fair to athletes in sports that have less opportunity to win medals. A good wrestler, for example, can win one medal per Olympics (or two, if he does both Greco-Roman and freestyle, but I don't think that happens). Swimmers, on the other hand, can do 8-9 events in one Games, as we've seen. Track and gymnastics also present opportunity for multiple medals, as this list shows. Maybe percentage of possible Gold Medals won would be a good measure.
  • I wish announcers would give more technical information on sports. This is particularly true in gymnastics and swimming. Everyone who watches gymnastics knows that it is important to stick the landing. I was able to glean a couple of other things to look for (angle of handstands, keeping legs together on the bars), but otherwise it is not clear to me what judges look for when taking deductions (of course, it may not be clear to anyone, based on some of the judging in the womens' all-around). In swimming, I'd like to know more about the different strokes (not the TV show), and also be able to better identify who is who, and what race is taking place, if I tune in after the starting gun.
  • One of the best aspects of the Olympics is the chance to watch, and care about, sports that normally aren't broadcasted, such as handball, field hockey, or water polo (or even, gasp!, soccer). Other than on USA Network at 3 am, these don't get much airtime during the Games (although I could watch on the internet, I suppose). I realize that ratings are important, but really, how much synchronized diving do people want to see? Shake things up a bit, please.
  • Olympic basketball would be better with college players. Who wants to watch 30-point blowouts?



Being a military brat, I have lived moved to a lot of places, made a lot of memories, and left a lot of places. But I rarely get to go back. It's been interesting here because almost every street, building, and store reminds me of something.

And so on all our errands, poor Craig has had to listen to me reminisce as he drives. And while most of these memories are legitimately special:

"Craig, look, it's the church where we got marrriiieed"

"Craig, look, it's the place where you propoooosed"

"Craig, look, it's the conference center where we had our receeeption"

Others aren't so much:

"Craig, look, it's the store where I tried on wedding dresses but I didn't get mine there because all the ones they had were ugly"

"Craig, look, it's the building where I had one of my first classes, it was geography, I hated it."

"Craig, the last time I was in this HEB (grocery store) was when I went to pick up our wedding flowers"

"Craig, look, it's the parking lot where I first got on the bus to go to fish camp"

"Craig, this is the metal detector we had to go through to get to the marriage license office"
(this time we were on our way to register the car)

Ah, sweet memories of metal detectors. Don't worry Craig, this too shall pass.


Olympics in a Larger Context

I love the Olympics. And since I have no job at the moment, I have plenty of time to watch them. I am unable, however, to avoid viewing the Games through a geopolitical context. To me, these are the modern version of the 1936 Olympics, which Hitler attempted to use as a propaganda tool to showcase his regime. From the intimidating Opening Ceremony (in which an apparently unattractive singer was sidelined and fireworks were faked), to the goon squads and bussed-in supporters that followed the torch relay, to underage gymnasts, China is trying to use these Games to show that they're the new world power.

The gymnast issue is a good example. Obviously underage girls (the limit is 16) are used because they are lighter and feel less pressure, apparently. They are allowed to compete because their Chinese passports say they are 16, but a country that will abet genocide in Darfur is not above forging a couple of passports. Gymnastics seems to be a sport well-suited to a totalitarian regime; take selected children from their homes at the age of 3 and drill the sport into them for 12 years or so (NBC stated this was the case). This NY Times story chronicles the coercion to which China subjects its athletes:
For many athletes, playing through injuries is standard practice. Most of China’s Olympic-caliber competitors are tightly controlled by a system that manages almost every aspect of their lives, often from early childhood. This includes housing, education, medical care and interactions with the public and the news media. In this system, decisions about training regimens and the risks of injuries do not get much of a public airing.
Whenever I see an Opening Ceremony performer, and athlete, or a cab driver from China on TV during these Olympics, I can't help but wonder what consequences they face should they fail or misspeak. I recognize that the Chinese also feel national pride due to the Olympics, but in such a closed society we don't know how much their actions and statements are motivated by pride as opposed to fear of retribution.

China would love nothing more than to beat the US in the total medal count, and they're helped by the fact that the home country usually gets a medal boost. That would be a huge propaganda victory for them. That's why I'm cheering hard in hopes that it does not happen.

Interestingly enough, the 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in newly resurgent Russia. I'm sure they'll put on a good spectacle, although the status of things will be quite different by then. What with the IOC's predilection for giving the games to dictatorships, maybe Pyongyang should bid on the 2016 Games.

Home again, Home again, jiggity jig

Well, we have been here almost a week now and are beginning to get settled. Craig and I unpacked a ton of stuff on Thursday night and all day Friday; we were so eager to sleep in our own bed and eat off of our own plates.

We were done unpacking on Saturday but we didn't have to take the truck back until Monday. We took advantage of that and did a bit of garage sale and thrift store shopping where we found a couch and a dresser, and picked up a bookshelf from a friend that was moving out of town. What luck! I think the apartment is beginning to shape up and feel like home. Even Zeeba thinks so, she has finally come out from hiding under the bed all the time and has discovered the windowsill is big enough for her to sit on and look out at the birds.

Other than that it's been errand running, errand running and, you guess it, more errand running. I think we have been to Walmart every day for the last 4 days. And the DMV - oh what fun.

As we have been driving around, I have noted a few things:

1. There are sooo many churches around here. Now I know that there aren't really any more than when I lived here a year anda half ago but now I notice it. Everywhere you go, there's a church. I don't know if it's just the number or that they all look different (unlike LDS buildings which are all pretty similar) that's catching my eye.. Either way, it's cool.

2. It's humid! Again, this is something that I "knew" but my mind had somehow pushed out the memories of how awful it makes you feel. If I spend even 30 minutes outside, I start to feel sick. Gatorade is definitely my friend right now. I just hope I get acclimated quickly.

3. Texans are so friendly. Other states may be nice, but Texas friendly is just above and beyond. I love it. And being back just reminds me that no matter where I go, in my heart, I will always be a Texan. And now, I'm home.


Weather Dreams

I have written on here from time to time about the weather station project in which I am participating. Throughout this time, my dream has been to have one of "my" stations featured on the blog of project director Anthony Watts, under his "How not to measure temperature" feature. Well, my dream has been realized. The station I located in Milwaukee became part 68 of this feature back in late July. Photos can be found here.

Are You Qualified to Vote?

A subject line in my junk e-mail caught my attention today (I guess that's the purpose of subject lines). It said "Voters Should Pass a Minimal Civics Test." I read the linked article, and I completely agree with this, although it will never happen:
I have never been an advocate of the popular notion that "everyone should vote." Some people look at me as if I am somehow un-American when I say that I am not in favor of encouraging people to vote who would otherwise never darken the door of a polling place. I really don't want someone on the streets of Hollywood, who just failed to identify the vice president of the United States on one of Jay Leno's "Jay-Walking" segments, helping to select the person who will lead my government for the next four years.
That first statement especially resonates with me, because I absolutely hate when, around election day, people say, "I don't care who you vote for, everyone should just be sure to get out and vote." If people aren't motivated to vote without hearing pleas like that, they should maybe stay home.

Head over to that link and take the sample test the author provides. I think it's a little excessive, but it's got some good, basic questions on it.


The Ordeal or The Trip When I Was an Idiot.

Okay, the ordeal, I promised I would talk about it so I will, but don't blame me if you wish you didn't know after you read this.

It started last Sunday night. I began to feel a bit icky in a certain area which shall go unnamed for the sake of everyone involved. Now have I ever mentioned that I hate doctors, I mean really hate them. And hospitals. And clinics. And anything biomedical at all, except for the academic part, that I like (since it was my major and all) but if it is anything more hands-on than a textbook, I say it is bad, bad, bad. So, do I use my last day in town to make an appointment and get some drugs so that I am okay for my trip across the country?

No, I convince myself that I will be fine. My mom tells me I should go to the doctor. My husband tells me I should go to the doctor. I tell myself, "Oh, I think I am already feeling better on my own."

Flash forward to Tuesday, our first day of traveling. By now, I'm really not feeling very good and spend most of the day sleeping to escape the uncomfortableness. By Tuesday night, the only time I am not in excruciating pain is when my pee is neon orange for those of you who know what that means. Oh, it was not good. Not good at all.

Wednesday morning we go searching for my insurance card, hoping to find a clinic somewhere nearby. We can't find it. It should be in my purse, but it isn't there! My sweet husband opens up the "U-haul" and searches through box after box, eventually finding my insurance manual so I am able to call and get my information.

We find a urgent care clinic and look up directions. And it is sorta on the way. It looks like things are going to be okay but now there is a problem with the trailer. We had taken the car off the tow thingamabob and somehow it got all out of whack. So Craig calls the company, hoping for some verbal help and a quick fix but no, they want to send someone out to the hotel to fix it. Someone who should arrive "within an hour."

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and our hope of leaving at 8:30 is long gone. I was so desperate. All I wanted was to feel better and be on my way. And you know you must be in a desperate situation when your biggest wish is to be in Amarillo!

But we regroup and I leave with the car to find the clinic, crossing my fingers that when the Penske guy comes he can fix the truck without having the car. I finish my appointment, which apparently I got just in time as I was now, according to the doctor, "spilling glucose." So, I guess I should have gone to the doctor on Monday :-)

We meet at Wal-mart where I can pick up my antibiotics and Craig loads up the car on the now fixed truck. At 11:45am we finally start our day of driving. Our 9+ hours of driving! It was one very long day.

My one consolation is that I have heard from more than one person that this particular illness is often more painful than even childbirth. The amount of pain supposedly involved in childbirth kinda scares the heck outta me so this is actually a comforting thought as I made it through this. And by "make it through" I mean I didn't die although I did spend the whole time testing Craig's ability to be sympathetic and not say "I told you so" with my loud cries of pain. But that is entirely beside the point.


First Name in Moving

When people need to blow their nose, they don't ask for facial tissue, they ask for a Kleenex. Kleenex is one of those products that has come to define its category, kind of like Chapstick. U-haul is another example of this. When people learned that we were moving, they would often ask, "Are you going to rent a U-haul?" I'd answer yes, even though we actually rented a Penske truck. When I was truck-shopping, along with checking price, I did some internet searching to get the perspectives of previous customers. In general, I found that Penske trucks are newer, and thus get better gas mileage and are less likely to break down. A downside was that U-haul lets you tow a car behind a 10-foot truck, while with Penske you need to get at least a 16-footer to tow a car. I was a little nervous about driving such a long setup, but it went OK.

With my AAA discount, and the online booking discount, the price of these two truck sizes was about equal. I thought the 16-footer would be excessive, but we actually filled most of it up. Had it been necessary, we could have stacked stuff higher, but we only used about 3/5 of the vertical height of the storage space. Mileage wise, the predicted range offered by Penske was 6-13 mpg, I believe, and we got 9-10 mpg during our move.

Out on the road, I saw a lot of moving trucks during our 3-day journey. I would say that Penske equipment outnumbered U-haul equipment 10:1, and there were almost as many Budget trucks as there were U-hauls. All told, it seems like U-haul should no longer be the first name in moving. I'll stick with Kleenex, however.

P.S. Scroll down and read MacKenzie's post "Don't judge a game by its lame name" if you missed it. Blogger was being screwy, so I don't know when it actually got posted. It may have escaped your notice.


We made it!

Yes, we made it! But we are super busy trying to finish unpacking and get settles and such so you will have to wait to hear about "the ordeal" and oh, yes, there was an ordeal.

And unfortunately, Blogger is being annoying. Only half of my schedules posts actually posted and now it won't let me look at them at all or put them up manually so I can't even share what I have already written! Darn you Blogger.

Anyway, we will try to finish up and hurry back to you dear readers, don't despair.


I Noticed That

From John Edwards affair announcement today:
In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic.

Traveling Cat: Part 2

I'm a little worried about Zeeba and how she is dealing with the move. She has been really clingy and whiny lately. At first I wondered if maybe her last family before the shelter left here when they moved so maybe the boxes made her worry that we would abandon her but then I realized that might be a little more thinking that she is capable of. She is a smart cat, but she is still just a cat. She is probably just confused by all the changes.

I took a recent trip to PetSmart though and stocked up on some things to ease the moving experience. We wanted a harness and leash so that we can let her out to stretch her little kitty legs on the trip. Since it was just me at the store, I went with the pink sparkly set. Craig wasn't so happy with my choice but I don't see why he would feel stupid holding a cat on a pink sparkly leash, do you?

We tried the harness on her and at first she bucked to get it off but eventually she got tired and accepted it. She was not as accepting of the leash, especially when we took her out and put her down on the ground. Apparently frolicking through the grass was not on her to do list for the day. I don't know if we will end up using them on the trip but at least we have the option. Her carrier is so little and I can't image laying in one position for 8 hours is any more comfortable than sitting in a Penske truck will be.

We also bought a bottle of At Ease. It is supposed to mimic cat pheromones and keep kitties calm. I don't really get how that would work at all, but I had heard that type of product recommended by Dr. Eric, a real veterinarian, so I have faith.

And who wouldn't have faith in this guy?

When I sprayed some on her ledge bed it seemed to work so hopefully a few squirts in her carrier each morning will ease her fears. And for $14.99 for a little bottle, it had better.

My parents have moved my old kitty, Mr. Knightley, all over the world and he always handles it well but Zeeba seems so stressed already that I am worried. We'll give you an update when we get there.


100% Texan

We should be rolling into our final destination about right now. To mark the occasion, here's a little bit of Texas music. One of the things I most look forward to in Texas is a Kevin Fowler concert at the Texas Hall of Fame.


Don't judge a game by it's lame name.

Nope, we aren't there yet. We should be arriving tomorrow but I've scheduled this post so you would have a fun game to tide you over.

I don't even remember how I stumbled upon this, especially since I rarely play computer games but it is so addicting...and educational. The next day at lunch, I showed a engineering student I work with it and got him hooked as well. I have high hopes that it will spread through out the office and remind my old co-workers of me.

I have only made it to level 22 but I hear the end is in sight. I can't decide if that is a good thing or not - I don't want it to end but I do want to beat it. I guess once I do beat it, I can always go back and try to reduce my number of shapes. Don't you just love it?...and please say yes or I will feel like a total dork.


I Will Not Be Moved

Now don't get all confused, we are still moving to Texas. I just wanted to give an update from my last post. I wrote it last week and had it scheduled. It summarized my attitude until a few days ago when I went to pick up Craig from the airport. I wasn't even planning on picking him up, he was going to take the shuttle, but at the last minute plans changed. But there I was, driving down through the valley to the airport when I realized that Craig wasn't there so I could pick my radio station.

Craig doesn't particularly like contemporary christian music so I don't normally listen to it but I'm so glad I did this time since right when changed it they started playing this song. (As one of those people that skips posts that are just song lyrics, poems, haiku's or anything like that, I assume others are the same so I'll just put up the chorus.)

I will stumble, I will fall down
But I will not be moved
I will make mistakes, I will face heartache,
But I will not be moved

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
I will not be moved

And if you haven't heard it, you have to imagine it sung forcefully (or just go hear it). I think I'm ready to move now.



Saturday night the BRC headed to a performance of 1776 at the Utah Festival Opera. I'm not sure what we should be more excited about: seeing the one and only Michael Ballam portray John Adams (which he did quite well), or the fact that LDS President Thomas Monson was in attendance. We were unable to see him from our seats in row MM, but a friend of ours who splurged on 2nd row seats confirms that he was indeed there.

While it was a three-hour performance (including intermission), it was engaging throughout, except right before intermission when the soldier sings about his fallen comrades in the Continental Army. While I agree that it was good to include a tribute to the troops actually fighting the British while Congress debated in Philadelphia, this part was sleep-inducing. That could be, in part, a function of this part's placement in the show, however.

While John Adams is the star of the show, Ben Franklin inevitably steals the show with his wit and frankness. Richard Henry Lee also puts in a strong showing before he departs from the stage to return to Virginia. Here's a clip from the film version:

A humorous part of the production is the liberal does of sexual innuendo (mainly marital in nature) sprinkled throughout the script, as when Ben Franklin says, "At my age, the pen definitely is mightier than the sword." Sounds innocent, sure, but not if you hear it in context.

This was an overall excellent performance, full of humor, patriotism, and history. For you locals, there are only two performances of 1776 left, on August 7th and 9th. Go see it while you can.


Some Secrets

I'm reading a Max Lucado book called Just Like Jesus. The subtitle is "God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that." I could probably write a whole post about how awesome the thought behind that statement is, but I will refrain (everyone breath a sigh of relief now). The rest of the book is really good too.

The last chapter I read was about how about allowing God to be a part of every thought, not just every morning when you do a devotional and every night when you pray, but every moment and every thought and every decision. I will freely admit that I don't currently do that. I do know people that do, and I recognize the freedom that gives them and I've wanted it, desperately.

It was good realization though because here is my secret #1: I have a "blog crush" on Heather. It's been a little while since I recognized it but it wasn't till I was reading that chapter that I realized why I do - it's because even though I don't "know" her, I can see her relationship with God and how He is a part of her decisions. And that is what I want. It's not her plethora of insightful comments, her little green house with a front porch, or even her so-cute-I-want-to-eat-him-up new baby. It's her God.

What good news! He's my God too and unlike wanting other things, I'm not coveting when I want that. My having that relationship with Jesus doesn't take it away from her at all. He can be my best friend, and her best friend, and even your best friend - all at the same time.

And then I realized that I did have that, much more that I thought. These past few months, I've been really working on increasing my bible reading and memorization and prayer and all those "check off the list" things we Christians are supposed to do. But I knew that wouldn't be enough so maybe I wasn't really looking for a change, but suddenly, I do feel like Christ is sustaining me everyday and that He is a part of my everydays. Maybe not yet every moment, but definitely every day.

But I was right in that it wasn't because I was reading or praying or because I was doing anything at all, because I have done all that before. It was, and here is Secret #2, I asked Him to. For the last few months, I have been asking for an increase in my desire for God, my need to have fellowship with him, and overall my faith. I don't know why I didn't do that before because it seems so obvious but I didn't. (Don't even ask me what I was thinking, who knows?)

And he meet my need. And He used the bible and our conversations as a tube flowing with his Spirit flowing right into the vessel of my heart. And I love it. I don't think I have ever been more content than I have been these last few months.

But here is Secret #3, which is the biggest. I don't want to move.

Now, I loved Texas when I lived there before and I do think I will enjoy living there again. And I do think that is where God is calling us and I don't want to miss the plans He must have there. And I'm not worried about getting a job or finding new friends (or reconnecting with old ones) or anything like that. And right there, I should realize how God has changed my heart because my nature is to worry about all that stuff, and I'm not, at all, I promise.

I just don't like change and right now I don't want to rock the boat that is my life. My first few months of living in Logan and being married and being an adult were really hard. And I can will tell the truth and say that 82.5% of that was my fault (with perhaps 17% of that being the normal changes that come with first being married, and maybe 0.5% of that being Craig's fault). My attitude was not what it should have been and I was kinda selfish. But God has been patient and worked with me and now, things are great. Our marriage is great, my church community is great, my friendships are great, basically, my life is going great right now - emotionally, spiritually, physically, any other -ally that you can think of. And I am afraid that I will lose that, lose that closeness with God, that closeness with Craig, this life that I love.

I don't really need to worry about my faith or marriage because both God and Craig will be in Texas and I will be able to put my life back together there, I've done it a thousand times. I think somehow I have associated that great life with being in this apartment and attending this church and having this job, maybe even making this granola, I don't know. I know that it's not, it's a factor of letting God rule my life but somehow in my mind that all gets jumbled up.

I would like to say that now that I have realized that, I feel much better about moving. But I don't. I still feel all confused and worried and sulky. So right now, I am just going to keep going through the motions, believing God and knowing that, like it or not, I will be in Texas in less than a week.


My very first meme

Karen tagged me for this musical meme.

Here are the rules:

List seven songs that you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your Summer of 2008. Post these instructions in your blog, along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what their favorites are this year!

It's at this point that I wish I was cooler and had neat songs to share with y'all but for the most part, that is not the case. Okay, here they are in no particular order (despite the numbering):

1. Popular (from Wicked) - Eric, who shared a room with us this weekend, was reading the book and practically from the moment I saw it on the nightstand, this song has been in my head. Which is okay, it's a pretty good song.

2. The Aggie War Hymn - What? I'm an Aggie and when we all sang this at the wedding, I realized how much I love the community I had (and still have) because of A&M.

3. I'm Still a Guy by Brad Paisley

4. She Thinks my Tractor's Sexy by Kenny Chesney - Cause I do

5. Hungry (I'm falling on my knees)

6. That Song in my Head - Julianna Hough

7. Can I Live by Nick Cannon - This is not generally my type of music but the message of the song and video are amazing. Here, watch it yourself to see:

Now, who should I choose to keep this going? How about:



June Cleaver (aka - Mom)






20 Years of Rush

Today is, of course, Rush Limbaugh's 20th anniversary on the radio. I remember when I was a young boy who had been instilled with my parents' New-Deal remnant Democratism. I even cheered for Dukakis in 1988 (*shudder). But then, one summer in 1993 or 1994, I found Rush on the radio. It didn't take long for me to embrace conservatism, write letters to the paper, and challenge my parents politically. I remember sitting in the basement cheering during the 1994 election results, when the GOP revolution occurred (oh, the good days of conservatism). I have listened to Rush on and off since then, depending on what I'm doing during the middle part of the day when his show airs, and he is one of the highlights of my day (especially when I'm at work). Here's hoping he's around for 20 more years.

Wisconsin Adventure III: The Big Day

Three posts later and I have finally gotten to the actually wedding. I have no pictures of the ceremony but I did have a great view. I read so I had to sit on the grooms side so I could get to the pulpit during the ceremony without walking over everyone. It was perfect because we could actually see Rachel's face; all we could see of Neal was his back, not that it wasn't a nice back and all but, well, yeah.

Anyways, in all seriousness, it really is amazing to be at a wedding when you know both people are there with the knowledge that they are making not just a commitment but a covenant with God. It's awesome, in the true sense of the word, and it makes celebrating so easy.

And celebrate we did. Apparently, people from Tennessee and Kansas are not big dancers. They all seemed perfectly content to sit and chat with each other. The one exception was Rachel's granddad, that guy was amazing. He danced to almost everything and he danced well - although what else can you expect from a man who wore a different Texas themed tie every time I saw him.They did dance to a few of the slow romantic songs but they just didn't have the energy that we ( Craig, I and our college friends) did - we wanted to do some dancin'. He pretty much rocked.

We did the twist, some two-stepping and even a polka or two plus the classics like the chicken dance and of, course the aggie war hymn.

Okay, on to the pictures: (oh, and with some help from Photoshop, my massive sunburn was mostly eliminated from the pictures, but if you go back to the war hymn post, you can see my cancer causing blunder).

Cake eating - cute!
First dance - cute!

Craig with flowers- cute!
Marlis and I with our heads at the same tilt angle - cute!
Rachel and Craig dancing - cute! Although you could smile a bit Craig.
The lovely bride and I - cute!
Gig'em Aggies - cute!
Craig and I - cute!
The other happy couple - super cute!
I love weddings.