Thursday, December 31, 2015
- run a 10K and 2 other "races" - I ran two color runs and the distance of a 10K (though not a race) so we'll call this one good. 1 point
- reach my goal weight - I did reach it. Staying there...that's going to be my new challenge. But 1 point =)
- Buy stock/invest in a CD to better understand money - I made this one cause I didn't have any debt, and now I do have one (thanks to helping Ryan pay off his house) which gets to the spirit of the resolution, so 0.5 points
- Read the New Testament & journal my QTs. I did journal some this year, but mostly about cancer, and didn't touch the NT. 0 points.
- Try a new 'hard' recipe every month Yep! Read my last blog post for the success on this one! 1 point.
- Memorize a new scripture passage monthly Sort of? I only started this in November to memorize the verses for the basketball team I am coaching, so...we'll call it a 0.5 point, but it wasn't the whole year.
- Finally visit a gynecologist Yep. It wasn't weird. Just do it girls. 1 point
- Learn how to do makeup Ipsy and Birchbox were great! I cancelled for 2016 - I had so many products! 1 point.
- Attend Grace Hopper (professional conference) and Brick Fair (Lego fan conference) Yep It was great! 1 point
- Read the next 2 Song of Ice and Fire books with Ryan Yep. Caught up with the show, probably not going to keep reading since GRRM has not planned the next publication date. 1 point
So, 8/10. That's good!
My New Resolutions
01 - Build my own computer! This is about saving the money to buy the parts and about learning the inner workings of the computer
02 - Cook 12 dishes from non-US countries, one a month
03 - Reduce my running time to a 12 minute mile (for 3 miles, my standard)
04 - Read one non-fiction book every month (see my list here!) http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/2IORSKJ18J8LI/ref=topnav_lists_2
05 - Grow my own veggies! Herbs, Tomatoes, maybe some others but we'll start with those.
06 - Learn about car maintenance - want to be able to do my own oil change
07 - Listen to more podcasts. I think I can learn more from podcasts while running than TV
08 - Make a Project Linus Blanket. I'd like to learn how to knit and if not, I did learn how to use the sewing machine at work, and now I can quilt a little blanket! I'd like to try both but one is a good resolution for now. :)
09 - Learn to make my own pasta! I've got to get the pasta press for KitchenAide, but I want to try
Saturday, December 19, 2015
2) February - Saffron Lamb - I made this fancy dish for Valentine's day, and it was delicious but expensive! I have not used the saffron I bought for it since.
3) March - Checkerboard Cake - I made this for Ryan's birthday and learned that angelfood cake is a terrible choice for this - it's impossible to cut!
4) April - DIY Celery Pickles - this was surprisingly easy, and delicious in egg salad!
5) May - Broiled Hawaiian Chicken - I spent some time trying to learn the difference between bake and broil in order to make dinner on mother's day
6) June - DIY BBQ sauce - I followed a recipe for beer sauce and made some tweaks to the sodium content
7) July - Quiche - I totally burned this one. But it was tasty!
8) August - Fried Plantains - This was so outside of my comfort zone but ended up being super easy and now I make them all the time!
9) Sept - Spaghetti Squash - Definitely an experience to cook this veggie. It's SO yummy though! Don't get fooled - it doesn't sub for pasta, but is good all on it's own
10) Oct - Butternut Squash soup - Ryan didn't like this :( But I also did roasted squash which he liked better - the carrots in the soup was what he really didn't like!
11) November - Pecan Pie - this one was a special request from Ryan for thanksgiving...and I burned it. My reputation with pies is not so great right now!
12) December - for a co-worker who doesn't eat sugar, I learned some baking science in order to make sugar-free banana nut muffins. They were a big hit! :)
At the end of the farewell luncheon for my co-worker, there was a long line of people waiting to shake his hand and say their few words - and three women (one of them me) who got (*cough*, asked for) hugs instead of handshakes. And yes, that was special, and I'm glad I got my hug...but that was it.
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Saturday, October 24, 2015
Here is one quick retrospective note on those thoughts. I wrote those notes as a reaction to a book loaned to me by a good friend (the book is called "A Grace Disguised"). Before I picked up the book, I spent some time talking to my airplane seatmate, a young man who had graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and was on the plane for a weekend where he was planning to talk with his girlfriend's father about proposing (so he was understandably excited). He and I had talked for a while about his elaborate proposal plans and then had split off to our separate books to read. He had asked me what I was reading, and I said something like "A book about grief", which he remarked was, "an interesting choice", at which point I said, "well, my father is dying of cancer". That's a pretty good conversation killer, so he expressed his sympathies and left me to it. As I scribbled my above notes, he tapped my arm and asked if I wanted to talk about it - and I said no. At this point, he pulled out a rosary (he was Catholic) and told me he would just pray for us instead.
This airplane experience isn't the first time some stranger has expressed genuine concern for me and my family. About a year ago, I was interviewing for a job that would require me to move around the country. A year ago, my Dad still had to undergo leg surgery, and I was reluctant to take a job that would have moved me away from family. When I explained this situation to one of the interviewers, he immediately expressed his empathy (his mother had just died of cancer the previous summer) and volunteered to pray for us - and I know he meant it because he wrote down my father's first name and the type of cancer that he had. I recently saw this gentleman again at a professional networking event, where he remembered to ask for an update.
While these stories don't invalidate the feelings expressed in the notes above, I wanted to add a general positive note to the end of this otherwise emotionally draining post. I know you all hurt for and with us - it doesn't change how I feel, but I do know and notice. Even with two strangers, I know and notice and appreciate.
PS - to my airplane buddy, I hope your talks with your hopefully-future-father-in-law went well and that you and your lady have a wonderful, enriching marriage :)
Friday, October 9, 2015
Fast forward to Honors College Accepted Students day. I still have a crummy attitude, but we go to the event. I heard a panel of honors college students talking about their experiences in student leadership, their experiences with studying abroad, and their experiences in the Honors College freshman class, Honors Forum, and how Honors Forum helped them get into undergraduate research opportunities. I heard Dr. Simon Stacy, the then assistant director of the Honors College, say these words - "In the Honors College, we want you to be able to have conversations about things that interest you with people you can assume are also interested". Later, I heard a student address Dr. Stacey as "Simon", and I thought "Wow. I want this experience. I want this community of interested people, I want this comraderie with professors."
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
For a lot of my life, I've been told that I "have a big heart" and I "wear my heart on my sleeve".
I've never been totally sure what that means. I cry when characters die in movies or TV shows, and my husband tells me I have such a big soft heart, and has to remind me that it's all fictional, and that the little girl that just died in Game of Thrones is really just fine. Before I got married, I'd tell my Dad about this or that boy that I had a crush on in high school, and he'd warn me not to "wear my heart on my sleeve" (in fact, when my husband asked if we could date, my Dad warned him about me "wearing my heart on my sleeve" then as well!)
My friend Alec recently said the same thing to me, but for a very different reason. His dad just passed away, and my heart is breaking for their family. I offered my services, and my condolences, and Alec texted me thanking me for my "big heart".I'd always thought having a "big heart" was a bad thing - it made me particularly susceptible to emotions, prone to tears or hot, harsh anger. But I'm learning that having a big heart and wearing my heart on my sleeve is not a bad thing.It's what allows me to see injustice in the world, and want to do something about it. It's what allows me to feel empathy - while it might be stupid to cry for the little girl in Game of Thrones, feeling emotions is what lets me cry for others hurting, what lets me support my friends (like Alec) in their time of need.
And finally, having a big heart is what lets me be vulnerable. My "heart on my sleeve" is what let me vocalize the last post on this blog, about prayer and about my Dad's cancer. And it's what helps me see the love and genuine aching of other people's hearts for our family.
Thank you, to everyone who responded to my vulnerability with vulnerability of your own. Many of you reminded me that I am not the first to feel grief and emotional pain, and that I will not be the last. Those of you who have felt the shadow of death all had the same thing to say. None of you minimized my feelings or emotions - most of you said "yes, this is a painful place to be" - and that was enough.
For the rest of you, thanks for doing what I asked and telling me what you pray for, or telling me that you also don't know what to pray for and are crying out like I am, "Why, God, why?" Thank you for praying for my mother. I wrote some before how I am struggling with watching my Dad walk this path, but in fact, it's even more of a struggle to be watching my mom walk this - because when this trial is over, my Dad will be rejoicing with his Father in heaven, and my mom will just be starting a new trial, a new kind of sadness. Thank you for praying for our relationships with God and with one another, thank you for praying for relief from suffering. And my mother is living a life that reflects Christ in ways that I can't comprehend right now. I won't share her words cause they're not mine to share, but her prayers are so, so much better than mine.
For those of you who didn't know what to say - I know you love me and love my family, even without the words or if you feared you said the wrong words.
I didn't get any answers last week. I didn't want "answers", I didn't want platitudes about the Holy Spirit. Wearing my heart on my sleeve means you see all the good and bad parts, and see that I'm sad and angry all at the same time. But I think that wearing my heart on my sleeve in this situation is letting me allow you all to walk with me in this emotional mess. So thanks for being honest when I was honest. I will try to continue to be honest as this goes on - in this case, I want to be "wearing my heart on my sleeve". I want you all to see the things I'm feeling, and to not have to pretend things are always OK. This blog is not "the cancer place", but it is where I sometimes sort things out in public, and right now, these are the things I'm sorting out.
Friday, August 21, 2015
Fair warning: this post is probably going to be pure, raw emotional response. I don't plan to proof-read it or anything, so if I offend you, then I'm sorry in advance. Also please don't try to "fix" the emotion that you read it this post - that will make things worse. Thanks.
So, if you don't know, my Dad has some pretty serious cancer. People like to ask what kind, and my response to that in my head is usually something like, "who cares what kind, it's cancer and it's bad, OK?". When he was first diagnosed, so many people told me about various family members of theirs who had beaten cancer - which is great. But it isn't as encouraging as it sounds - what you're really doing in my head when you say that is downplaying the news that my family has recently gotten by saying "it's not that bad, we already got through it".
Anyways, that aside, my Dad got treated for cancer, then it came back, then he got treated again, (you can read about that on my blog here: http://inmyfathershands.blogspot.com/2014/11/lessons-from-cancer.html)
But then it came back again. And again. And again. AND AGAIN. Here's my Dad's most recent Facebook status update:
"I suppose it's time to add my cancer spread news to Jimmy Carter's. The chemo I have been on the last ~40 days has not been effective and my tumors continue to grow and sprout in new places in my body like dandelions in a yard. I have at least 10 active tumors now including the new one I discovered in my right forearm this morning. Like Jimmy, I am not without hope come what may and I remain grateful for daily grace over these last many months. Hopefully our experience of that daily provision has prepared us some for the harder days to come. With respect to attempts at treatment, my counts were too low for anything this week but perhaps I'll start on a different chemo regime next week."
All the comments from my Dad's Facebook friends are some variation of "we're praying for you". This drives me insane. I know most of those people personally, and I know their hearts are really hurting for us, so it's not that - I just don't know what they're praying for, and that drives me crazy, and it hurts me, and it feels trite.
Are they praying for my Dad to "get better"? Well, in that case, they're praying for a miracle, because this is not like those cancers that people come back from - this is the terrible horrible body-betrayed you kind of cancer.
Are they praying for our family to feel peace? Peace, when my Dad has a six year old child, when the unfairness of it all rests so strongly in our minds? Peace, when I can't even walk around the grocery store without crying because I see a Hallmark book "Messages and Memories from a Father" and think that books like that might be the only thing my kids (if I have any) will ever know about my Dad? Would you feel peaceful in the face of that massive upheaval to the life you always expected and took for granted? My family always joked about who would take care of Dad when he got old - we never thought he might not get the chance to grow old.
Are they praying for his treatments to buy him a bit more time, to start being successful? This one I understand the best, but I also see the bad things that chemo causes. I see my dad sitting on the beach for my sister's birthday with fruit flies buzzing around because his surgery site is attracting them. More time, while it has the potential to be great, also has the potential to be terrible. I want more time for him too - but I want it pain free, and that just isn't going to happen, and that makes me so, so angry.
Tell me what you pray for, because I don't know how to do that. I honestly don't know how to pray right now, or what to pray about. There are times where I can "forget" that my dad has cancer - I go to work and keep living my life - but there are also times where I just can't stop thinking about it. I want to be praying, I do, but all I can think is "this is not fair", "this is not how things are supposed to be", "I don't know what would make this better" and "I don't understand why".
I don't want to pray for peace of mind - you shouldn't have peace of mind when you're watching your Dad be so sick - so I don't pray for that. I don't want to pray for a miracle - I want to feel like I'm being realistic. I believe God can do that, but I don't want to be disappointed and even more upset if he doesn't.
So I mostly say the things that I just told you. I say "God, I don't know what to say. You know my Dad's situation, and you know how mixed up I feel about it, and that I think it's crazy and makes no sense. Please communicate with me how to feel and what to do and how to be the best daughter possible. Oh and also please help my angry little heart feel less mixed up about you right now for letting this happen. I still believe in you and want to have a relationship with you, I'm just confused and everything's complicated right now. And now I feel bad cause this started as praying about my Dad and turned selfish. You and Dad have this whole cancer thing figured out better than you and me, right? It seems that way watching him from the outside. Thanks for letting me have him as a Dad. Help me turn into a woman who reflects you like he does. Just fix everything, OK? Then tell me why the thing you do is a fix cause I might not understand why). k thanx bai. (little humor there). For reals though, Amen"
I started this post really sad and angry and ended it more peaceful (with love and encouragement and kisses from my husband to help along the way). Thanks for letting me be vulnerable, y'all.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
However, it has slipped my mind until now, when a co-worker asked me about why we were so excited about visiting Pluto, and what the point was of space exploration. So here's what my answer to that question would be, and you all can answer the "Why Space?" questions yourselves.
My Personal Interest: The summer between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college, I worked at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Not only was it my first paying job (err, internship), it was the first time I'd felt like my computer science knowledge was useful, efficient, and saving me time (They had planned a data entry task for me that I managed to automate, taking a task that was supposed to take me six weeks and turning it into a task that only took two). Anyways, when I worked at Goddard, I was working on a project called the "Virtual Wave Observatory" (http://vwo.gsfc.nasa.gov/). It collects wave data from many different missions and allows you to conveniently search it in one place. I was amazed to find spectroscopy data collected on the day I was born - though I couldn't interpret the picture, the rainbow peaks and valleys tied to my birthday were indelibly etched in my mind. While an intern at Goddard, I also heard from a number of great speakers (most memorably for me, astronaut Piers Sellers, who dazzled me with his two step career - starting as a computer modeling analysts, and ending as an astronaut). One that struck me the most was a scientist who talked about seeing the moon landing and dreaming of the day when men would walk on Mars. So I've been hooked on space for a while.
The History and Research: Pluto was the last of the original nine planets that we hadn't explored. We explored Neptune over 25 years ago. They've been campaigning for a mission to Pluto for a long time, and we finally made it. This is kind of the last chance we have for history making. Why wouldn't you be excited? Also, this mission took us from a fuzzy, pixelated image from the Hubble Space Telescope to a high resolution, high definition image that shows the cool heart shaped mountain plain! Now we know more about the universe than ever before. I think that's worth it!
So, it's up to you to decide, "why space?". My co-worker dramatically announces, "FOR SCIENCE", which may be true, but you have now learned why I find space so exciting. YAY PLUTO! (A month late)
Friday, July 24, 2015
At the end of our recent honeymoon, my husband took me to see the new Minions movie. I think he wasn't really all that excited about the prospect, but I dragged him to it because I really wanted to see Scarlett Overkill (the villianess that the Minions worked for before Gru). In the trailers, she just looked SO COOL and I couldn't wait to see her. After Lucy in Despicable Me 2, I was excited to see what DreamWorks would do to create another femal counter to Gru.
Oh DreamWorks. How you have disappointed me. Here is a list of all the things I didn't like (Some Movie spoilers to follow)
1. The princess Dream
Scarlett Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock, an actress I tend to favor - a trait I inherited from my father) is the definition of a spoiled, selfish, and insipid little girl. As seen in the trailer, she "really-really-really wants Queen Elizabeth's crown". Which is all well and good - nothing wrong with wanting to steal a crown, even the world's best villian, James Moriarty, wants England's crown. The question is, why does she want the crown?
Scarlett wants it so that she can look like the princess that she drew at age 5.
In fact, she has spent her entire life trying to be this princess. Her evil lair is a pink, purple and white castle, much like a five year old princess would want. She throws spoiled temper tantrums (because women who don't get what they want are angry!) and in general acts like an entitled brat - because that's how a baby princess would act. But that's not how a powerful woman would act. DreamWorks got it way way wrong.
2. The body image
As seen in the trailer, Scarlett adjusts her boobs mid-air while being the keynote speaker at Villain-Con. While this is a pretty common thing for women in strapless dresses to do, there is no reason to include it in a kids movie. Little kids will not understand, and animated boobs always stay perfectly in place. So why include it? To remind you that Scarlett is a woman, with all the curves in the right place.
There's another scene in the film where Scarlett is preparing to be crowned queen, and she is cinching herself into a corset. She declares "tighter!" until she can't breathe. This is something we freed women from AGES ago, long before queen Elizabeth the second started her reign. So why are we telling little girls that they should have boobs so big they need to adjust their strapless dresses, and waists so tiny and tight? Oh, "for comedy"? But you have two other movies that don't rely on portraying women this way that were funny and did just fine, so you should think again.
3. The Husband to build things
I have to start by saying that I found Herb the husband to be one of the best and most hilarious characters in the movie. He is incredibly supportive of his famous villain wife and is fairly cute and hilarious in other ways.
However, what annoyed me about Herb is that Scarlett doesn't build her own cool super villain tools. Herb builds them. As a female computer scientist and big advocate for girl engineers, I found the fact that Scarlett needed Herb to build her tools almost as annoying as that Barbie book "I can be a computer engineer" (look it up it you are confused by that reference). Thankfully, there are people like Debbie Sterling out there, putting toys like GoldieBlox on the shelves for little girls, but they have a long, LONG way to go with Mattel and DreamWorks both telling our little girls that a man has to build their tools and fix their computers.
The Minions movie overall is definitely meant for kids - after all, the plot focuses on three little yellow blobs that speak a combination of basic spanish, basic english, and gibberish - so maybe I'm over analyzing (I know my sister will say that I am).
But the portrayal of Scarlett was so, so far off the mark from Lucy (Gru's Wife), Margo, Edith, and Agnes (Gru's Daughters), that I felt like it was a different writer...oh wait, it was! (Brian Lynch wrote this film while Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio wrote the other two). Here's an idea - DreamWorks, next time you make a movie in this universe, bring back the old screenplay writers.
Sincerely, a disgruntled STEM female
Recently, a good friend of mine from high school asked me "is real life everything you thought it would be?"
I found this question to be a little confusing, so I answered her by saying (among other things) "just because my life is relatively straight and static doesn't make it more real than yours".
To understand this exchange, you have to understand where this friend and I both are in our lives. I have recently graduated a master's degree program, have a 9-5 desk job (that I love, but it's a "standard" job), and a husband (of-three-weeks). A year from now, I will (most likely) be in the same job, in the same house - "static". My friend is currently living in France, taking whatever cool opportunities come her way, and has no idea where she will be a year from now.
But that doesn't make my post-college life "more real" than hers. There's this false perception among college students that "this isn't my real life, this is school". And yes, it is different to be a summer intern and to know that at the end of August, if your job is boring, you'll be leaving. But at the same time, your summer internship is a real taste of what your full-time career will probably look like - if you don't like it, then you should change your major, or something.
Besides my adventurous friend in France, I have other friends doing other non-traditional things - running their own photography buisnesses, teaching in Texas when we grew up in Maryland, and working for a Maryland state delegate. All of those jobs don't follow the "traditional" time table, but we're all still living real life. We've all been grown up and out of our parents houses for a while.
In all honesty, my life is changing and will change just as much as theirs. Real Life is happening to everyone - to my little sister, who I just realized is starting in our church middle school youth group in the fall, or my other sister who just turned "sweet sixteen", and maybe most importantly to yet another sister headed off to college in the fall. Growing up as a child was not fake life. You'll keep growing up, and growing up, and facing new things. Even my mom and dad are still "growing up" as they learn how to handle my Dad's ever more complicated cancer.
If you have the attitude that "this is not real life" and "I'm just waiting until X", then you will look back with regret on that time you "wasted" thinking that it didn't count. Like the lyrics to the Chris Rice song, "Tick Tock", you gotta learn to live today.
And for those of you who are still wondering - yes, my "real life", from 1992 when I was born up until now - has been just as fulfilling and interesting as I would have wanted it to be. :)
Sunday, June 7, 2015
Dear Thirteen year old Emily -
Do I remember you? Of course, though not as clearly as I'd like to ("old age" will do that to a person). I agree with your opening statement - Hermione Granger is a pretty cool person, and Emma Watson (the actress who portrayed her that you say you want to write a fan letter) is very cool as well - check out this amazing speech she gave at the UN this past year! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-xqeTvD3as)
You ask a lot of questions about people - let me see if I can help answer some of them. First, yes, me and Ben are still thick as thieves when it comes to being cousins, though things like jobs and graduate school make our conversations probably something that you would say is "boring" as compared to the imaginative games we played in the basement when I was you. Yes, Emma, Chelsea and LA are still your friends - in fact, you ask about them being married - not yet, but you'll probably be surprised to hear that "little Tommy Belliveau" (you know, in Abigail's grade in Sunday School?) - well, Tommy and LA are getting married in just three weeks! I know, you think LA is destined for another (cough cough). Well, little Em, times change, and boys change, and they're not as important as you think they are. Besides, little Tommy turns into a pretty cool guy one you stop thinking of him as "Abigail's friend". Here's a secret: it's OK for you and Abigail to share friends. I know that's a hard concept, but I promise you, it's OK.
You say that you hope we go all the way to senior year in GCT, and ask me about all the boys in the class - like I said, those boys aren't as important as you think they are! Sure, you still know where some of them are thanks to Instagram and Facebook, but things changed. One of the biggest things, little Em, is that you're not going to stay in Granite - you're going to the big public school down the road. Now, before you gasp and cry (which I know is what you'd do if you could read this letter), please let me tell you that going to that high school was one of the BEST things you have ever done with your life. In high school, you'll be challenged a lot - you'll meet friends who help you learn how to share the gospel in love (yay, Dave, Julie, and my year's Tim Team girls!), who will challenge your thinking and encourage you to grow, and, with the help of one of the best teachers you'll ever have (thank you, Mrs. OC!), you'll discover something that you're passionate about (computers!) that you would never have found otherwise.
Little Em, I know you won't understand anything that I just said - and there's some things I don't know if I would tell you about, given your age. Things like what being lesbian means (don't ask!), what drinking is like and how to keep it in control (yeah, I know you hate the smell of beer - there's other drinks out there, Dad just doesn't like them), and other stories and adventures that will just come with age. But, little Em, here are some things that I will tell you:
- Mr. Rossell's class isn't your favorite class just because he's such a young, hip, cute teacher. You actually REALLY like Logic class, and the proofs that you're learning now will form the basis for the entire computer science degree that I have recently received (that, and the patience and encouragement from Mrs. OC for you to participate in a lot of engineering based after school activities when you get to high school!).
- You ask about all of those GCT tutors - while I don't know where they all are, I do remember and appreciate all the lessons they taught me! Some of those lessons were more painful than others - one thing, little Em, that you'll learn as you grow up, is that the grownups you love and admire are sinners too, and that sometimes, they can make mistakes. I won't explain more about that for now, but remember to give people the grace that's been extended to you.
- You WILL get a cell phone someday. Just be patient. :) And as for the iPod, eventually you'll learn that Apple is not your favorite tech. company - you only want an iPod now because everyone else has one. There are other MP3 players out there - in fact, the cellphones of today can play music JUST LIKE AN iPOD. I know, it's crazy. They're called "smart phones", and in our job at APL (by the way, we work at APL like Daddy, but not with Dad - APL is a lot bigger than we thought as kids!) anyways, in our job, we're writing a computer program to run on a smart phone as a side project. I know, it seems weird, but trust me, it's fun.
- You wanted to be prettier - here's a few hints. First, exercise! Being chubby turns into being outright fat, and makes you really miserable about your body for a long time! In fact, it's only now that I'm starting to go running and make up for those mistakes. Second, when you get to college, eat less tater tots - they're not as good as you think and they make you get zits. Finally, the things that make my fiancee (that's right, little Em, we're getting married!) - anyways, the things that make him think I'm pretty are things you already have. That crooked sunshine smile that got you named "Co-Yala", or "She who smiles/laughs a lot" at the visit to Historic Jamestown with Bestemor. That long brown hair that you hate that Daddy doesn't let you cut - turns out, Daddy's right, and lots of men like long brown hair - and finally, those almond shaped, dark Asian eyes that sometimes get you picked on by silly people who can't appreciate the beauty of ethnicity - those are all the things that matter.
- At the end of your letter, little Em, you give me a list of books that you like to read - the Harry Potter books, the Narnia series, the Anne of Green Gables books, and the little house on the Prairie books. Little Em, I read that list and I just think how happy Dad would be to see that you wrote that list, given how many of those books started as books he read out loud to you. One of the primary things I've tried to do as little sisters have come along (Oh yes, that's right, little Em, I almost forgot - after "baby" Nathaniel, mom and Dad have THREE MORE little sisters in store for you. It gets crazy, but you can't imagine life without them) - anyway, one of the things I've tried to do is share some of those books with them. So I've been re-reading them like you asked, don't worry.
Well, little Em, I've come to the end of your letter. It was SO much fun to read, and remember, and to see how far ten years has taken us. You have so much growing up to do, and I promise, it will be fun, but also hard work.
Older Emily (if you come back and read this at age 33), I'm sure you'll read this and have even more lessons for both me and for little Em. I'm both excited and scared for what the years ahead hold for me, for my immediate family, and my family (by that I mean my future family with my soon to be husband) - but you'll look back and already know, just like I look back and already know about college and high school. So that will be a fun adventure. See you in ten years!
- Emily (age 23)
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Thanks for listening me to process externally. To see some of my other friends process about their more interesting (Nancy) or more artistic (LA) lives, check out their blogs at: https://nancysexperientiallearning.wordpress.com and http://www.labirdiephotography.com/
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Here are the things that I've done so far, and some of the things I've learned about slow-cooking:
1. Sesame Chicken. This one was good, except that slow cooking relies on a long, simmering process. If you don't have enough sauce to simmer, then the bottom layer of chicken will burn and stick. The top layer was really good though. Also, I learned not to add broccoli to a crock pot all day - it got WAY soft. But the sesame sauce was really good, and I'd definitely make this again, just save the veggies for after I get home, and put more water in the bottom of the pan to keep it from burning.
2. Chicken Tortilla Soup. This one was absolutely amazing. No complaints. I plan to make it for the chili cook-off at work (even though it's not really chili). It's a Six Sister's recipe and can be found here: http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2013/11/slow-cooker-creamy-chicken-fajita-soup.html
3. Applesauce glazed Pork Tenderloin. This one is when I learned that just because a recipe in a magazine says slow-cook, it does not always mean crock-pot! So one night Ryan and I waited 2 hours and ate dinner really late, but it was delicious and I would definitely eat it again. I think it can be done in the crockpot, but it would have involved figuring out how to alter the recipe so that the glaze would be more simmer-y to prevent the meat from burning (see above).
4. Pea Soup. Ryan's second favorite meal (after the chicken tortilla). It's literally peas, onions, and broth, but it makes the house smell amazing and is really cheap and filling. I'd call it a hit.
5. Carrot Soup. After the successful pea soup, we thought a carrot recipe couldn't be that bad. We were wrong. It was primarily ginger-based, which Ryan didn't like, and since he doesn't have a blender, I used a food processor. They are not the same - food processor leads to a weird grainy texture where blender (I assume) should have been creamy and smooth.
6. Imtation Crab Chowder. This one turned into more of a gumbo, since I left the cream out of the soup and kicked up the cajun flavor with Tony Chachere's seasoning. Very hot, which made it a hit for Ryan. The recipe called for real crab but the imitation stuff held up better in the slow cooker.
7. Homemade Spaghetti Sauce. I've made this one for a while now. The slow cooker let me leave out the water and just stew the tomatoes until they were mushy. I don't use tomato paste, just fresh tomatoes, so the texture sometimes comes out too thin, but with the slow cooker, it was a lot better.
Stay tuned to see how I try to get fancy on Valentine's day, my next month of "hard' cooking.
Thursday, January 1, 2015
Total: 3.67 out of 5 (73%, far better than last year but still a low C)
My 2015 resolutions:
I am going to be vague with some of these, leaving out numbers, because I still don't want to put my weight on the internet!
- run a 10K and 2 other "races"
Not sure which 10K yet, the other two are the color run again and the dazzle dash (hence the quotation marks - they're not competitive races, but are lots of fun!)
- reach my goal weight
If I get to this one, the sub goal is to tell you all what it is at the end of the year, breaking the social stigma about girls and weight. Plus, I'll be in a more healthy weight range by that time, if it happens.
- Buy stock/invest in a CD to better understand money
I'm starting a job since I just graduated with a master's degree and want to understand money better. I don't have debts to pay off, so I thought I'd try this!
- Read the New Testament & journal my QTs
More attainable than the whole Bible in a year, and that leaves the old testament for 2016! :)
- Try a new 'hard' recipe every month
While in college I had fun learning to cook things (including pies, a previous year's resolution) and I want to keep that up post-grad! "Hard" means something that actually improves my cooking, not, "Oh, I've never made pasta salad with eggs before". Hard means risotto, lamb, etc. - something to make me a better cook at the end.
- Memorize a new scripture passage monthly
I fell out of this habit after high school and would like to return to it. We used to do a passage every Tim Team meeting in high school, so I thought I'd stick to that schedule.
- Finally visit a gynecologist
This one is silly, but I've been afraid of it for a while. In 2014, I got over my fear of wearing tampons, so this is the next thing to conquer! (Sorry boys if that got too gross for you. If it did, maybe you should resolve to be less squeamish about women's hygiene!)
- Learn how to do makeup
I don't really know when this one will qualify as "done", but I am subscribed to ipsy and birchbox!
- Attend Grace Hopper (professional conference) and Brick Fair (Lego fan conference)
Cons are everyone's new favorite things. I would like this to become a new year's resolution every year - one professional and one fun conference. Already planning to hit up the JASNA AGM in 2016 for Emma's 200 year anniversary! Eventually, I hope to be able to go to ComicCon and some of the other "big" ones. Maybe the Stratford Shakespeare Festival? =)
- Read the next 2 Song of Ice and Fire books with Ryan
It takes GRRM so long to writer them, I can take my time reading them!
Ten resolutions this year. :)
Let's see if I can do it, and see what surprises the year holds for me!