Tuesday, December 29

48 Hours

After surviving the carnage that was Christmas week and unearthing myself from the chores and projects left undone while holiday preparations took priority, I looked at my calendar this morning to realize that we are 48 hours from the end of the year. (Well, technically 62 hours at this point, but my husband doesn't keep me for my math skills.)

Usually I have a list of New Year's Resolutions. I can't help it. I'm a type A personality and lists just come with the territory. Being a good business major, I always make sure they're clearly measureable as well. I know... in print, I look really OCD.

Somewhere in this past year I experienced a paradigm shift. For 2010, I will not impose on myself arbitrary standards or delusions of control. Instead, I am choosing to accept that I cannot foresee what this year will bring and to welcome that mystery. In the tumult of 2009, God has proven Himself faithful in every step. He has promised to do the same in 2010. So my promise, going forward, is to take each step one at a time with patience and the expectation of good things.

Remind me of that mid-year when you find me in melt-down mode, will you? :0)

Thursday, December 24

Heavy Metal

Merry Christmas! I would like to introduce my good friend, Ivan, the Terra Bus. He takes me to and from work almost every day along with 55 other workers. He's powered by a Detroit Diesel series 50 8.5 liter engine with a 27 liter oil capacity, 250 horsepower, 890 lb/ft of torque, and lugs around 144 gallons of diesel fuel to keep running strong. With over 2 feet of unresricted ground clearance, and another 18 inches to the base of the cabin, it takes an awful lot to get this guy stuck. So in conclusion, if any of you want to play "Who has the biggest SUV on the block," I win.

More "Cool" Pics

Hello Everyone! The weather subsided today, just in time for Christmas Eve. I decided to take a walk out to Hut Point, where the Discovery Hut is, and took some nice photos. To illustrate how clear the air is down here, those mountains that are forcing that warm South Pacific air to condense are almost 80 miles away!
That very ugly bird is called a Skua. It's the local version of a seagull. This guy is very fat off of leftover human food, and is a good thief to boot. Several people down here have had food stolen from their very hands by these crafty fowl.
When I got to the end of Hut Point, I was surprised to see that through a break in the frozen ice of McMurdo Sound, there was a Weddel Seal convention. These guys were popping out of the water, one by one, and laying out to soak up some rays on this wonderful tropical heatwave of a 30 degree day.

Sunday, December 20

Home At World's End

After 2 days of travelling, I have made it to McMurdo Station, Antarctica. This has been my home away from home since I graduated, and have been looking forward to this for the longest time!

The first pic shows the center of town, which in the middle of the summer months, November to January, is the happy home of 1000 scientists, engineers, and us NY Air National Guard guys, hopping from glacier to glacier in our ski-equipped LC-130 Hercules aircraft.

Ahh, you gotta love the 5 star accomodations down on the Ice, featuring a twin bed (my first twin bed since basic training), a wall locker, and a 13 inch TV that gets the base's local weather channel, transportation schedule channel, and a terrible movie channel. I have a US Army issue wool blanket tacked over the window, because the sun never sets down here in the summer months, and it's rather hard to sleep with that bright sun blazing through at 3:30 in the morning.

And finally, my work station, aka: Hut 25. Here us engine guys wait out storms and check our email when we're not out on the frozen icepack that is the Pegasus Runway, making sure our beloved Hercs are ready to fly anywhere on this continent.

The NY Air National Guard has been an awesome assignment. Only here was I able to trek to the Fjords of Greenland and to the bottom of the planet, where so very few people have ever been. Life is good.

Friday, December 18

Free Therapy

After working with people all day, I sometimes come home and seriously consider barricading myself away from the rest of the world. When your day has been full of the obnoxious, ludicrous, tedious or just general madness, where do you turn for relief, release and restored balance?

I personally turn to free therapy - online catalogues of proof that there are other sane people in the world as appalled and entertained as I am by the catastrophies that are our fellow human beings. If you have not checked out People of WalMart, you absolutely must - now.

Another fantastic option (especially for the observant or detail oriented) is PhotoShopDisasters. This one is new to me, but I literally laughed until I cried. (August 09 has my favorites so far.)

If you're like me and feel a tad bit guilty about spending time on entertainment, remember what the philosophers and poets say: "No mind is thoroughly well organized that is deficient in a sense of humor." (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Thursday, December 17

Healthy Options

As I keep being reminded, we're barely a week away from Christmas. In the midst of all the cold weather, busy days and festive events December brings, it's common to reach for high-calorie comfort foods and goodies we know we'll regret later. If you are perchance looking for a lighter option, check out this great recipe Kellie found yesterday for Sesame Broccoli. It's super fast and has almost no calories, fat or sugar. Throw it over some rice or quinoa (mmm.... quinoa!) and dinner is done in 5 minutes. I love experimenting with new recipes - especially when they turn out as well as this one! (P.S. - I stole this picture from recipezaar, since I was not talented enough to remember to take my own...)

Wednesday, December 16

Dust in the Wind

Yesterday was the final walk-through and turning in of keys for our Albany apartment. (All the pictures we have are on the camera that headed to The Ice with Eric, so we're using a floorplan pic instead - sorry.)

I couldn't help but think how much promise that apartment held when we first saw this simple picture online. How little of that promise actually unfolded!

Our time in Albany definitely caused us to grow - individually and as a couple. I can see already things that God taught us because he knew we would need to know them now.

That said, I am incredibly grateful that our time there has drawn to a close. It was a very hard two years; not in the prosiac man-against-the-world kind of hard either. Just ugly, drudging-through-the-desert kind of hard. I am thankful for the kindnesses of the people God sent to help us along the way, and for a puppy who never failed to lavish us with love and encouragement. I am blessed to have a wise husband whose determination saw us through to a respectable, clear-conscious parting from the area when I would have just told them all where to go and how.

With that chapter of our life closed, I turn my eyes this morning eagerly ahead. I don't know what the new year will bring, but I am praying and believing for good things and fresh joy!


Did you ever write an essay in school, only to find that after you'd completed it you were drastically short of the required length? It could be a perfect paper - flawless grammer, good vocabulary, concise and reasonable arguements... just not long enough. So you fluffed, right? Adjusted the margins, enlarged the font half a size, hopped online for some related (if unneccesary) quotes, etc. Then you stood back and prayed it would be long enough. I knew kids did this with essays, but I can honestly say I've never seen it blatantly done with a book.

Until now.

I picked up Ecological Intelligence at the library as an audio book, hoping it would make the drive back from Albany go faster. It's tag line "How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything" sounded like a lot of the food books I've known and loved. The first chapter was excellent. After that, we reverted to eigth grade got-to-meet-the-word-limit syndrome. I plan to finish it anyway - with the author's dilligent thesaus usage I should at least learn some new vocab words!

Sunday, December 6

Something Shiny

For most of my life, I've owned NIV translations of the Bible. I never really thought about it, it was just the most commonly used version in modern churches and therefore the most convenient. Like most people, I also assumed that the King James Version was the "original" English Bible. Then, a few years ago, I discovered that wasn't the case at all! Prior to the KJV was the Bible of the Protestant Reformation and the Pilgrims - the Geneva Bible. My curiousity was instantly piqued, but I was due to be disappointed. Completely out of print and available only in unwieldy, hard-to-read and prohibitively expensive copies of the original. So I tucked the idea away in my head and moved on.

Fast forward to this year. As I perused a Christian book catalog, I flipped randomly through the pages of Bibles and was astonished to find a fresh printing of the 1560 Geneva Bible!

Being a new printing, it was in the same cost range as regular Bibles, and I splurged. It is beautiful!

Scrolly letters like you see in really old documents ("s" and "f" especially), the ornate first letters like fairy tale collections, and the ancient versions of words and names vastly changed by interpretation to NIV verbiage.

Reading through this will be definitely be a slow process, but I am fascinated and enthralled. What will I learn? What will challenge me, or change how I look at verses I thought I knew? The original commentary and notes of the brilliant minds who first translated and compiled this edition from the original languages are printed in the margins. How humbling is it to know that these words are the same ones that inspired and encouraged the brave souls who founded our great nation?

Maybe that all sounds overly dramatic, but I am excited. So I share my excitement with you, and hope that in this busy, cluttered holiday season you find a few moments of peace and quiet with something unique to refresh and excite you. -Hugs-

Pretty in Pink

Did you know that the entire north-eastern corner of the U.S. is literally out of pink paper? Only a few reams already on the shelves in office supply stores remain. Where is all of this paper going, you ask? It’s been bought up by the American public and shipped to one place – The United States Congress.

Those faithful public servants, diligently working their three day work weeks, multi-tasking important state concerns - Freecell, Solitare, Facebook and baseball scores, as seen above – have been inundated with 8.25 MILLION pink slips! Each slip bears the name of an American citizen fed up with the lunacy and arrogance of our representatives, pointedly reminding them for whom they work and what we want.

The full story is available here if you’re interested: (http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=117885) What I find the most interesting about the whole thing is that no one is covering it. All that paper, stacked on top of each other, would rival the tallest buildings in the world for height… but no one wants to talk about it. I guess that's okay. We don't need their mindless blathering anyway. Either they shut up and vote with a little common sense and some basic morals or we'll do as the best new bumper stickers recommend:

Thursday, December 3

Small Amusements

So, I have a Jeep. (One that I love.) In this Jeep, I carry a tool kit. A tool kit that was given to me by my Dad years ago when he found out I was using butter knives and high heels to get things done because I lacked a hammer and screwdriver at college... which was somehow not okay with him.

There hasn't ever been a good place for the kit, since it's too big to be tucked under a seat or anything, so for years I've just been moving it around between the back seats and trunk based on what other cargo I was carrying. If it fell over or slid I just ignored the noise.

Then, I loaned my beloved Jeep to my even more beloved husband to move some heavy stuff. When he returned it to me, this is what the back looked like:

How awesome is that?! I would never in a million years have thought to do that. But it's so perfect! No more thumping, sliding or moving. Plus, a set of jumper cables that I had mentioned I wanted magically appeared.

This is why it's so wonderful to be married to a talented man. Little suprises in unexpected moments that totally brighten the week. I am blessed.

Saturday, November 28


Thanksgiving! My favorite holiday. Not only was it an excuse to spend the entire day in the kitchen, making all kinds of culinary creations, but a day to be thankful for all we have . . . and also an excuse to dress up. This was the first year we were ever in charge of the family celebration, and it was a smashing success. Everyone is now 5 pounds heavier, except for our furry companion, Arthas, who's still ailed with Starving Puppy Syndrome.

Wednesday, November 18

Unexpected Blessings

It never ceases to amaze me how God uses the things we least expect to bless us. Case in point - I found out just over a week ago that I was being transfered to a different cafe. I can't say I was thrilled at the prospect, since I was comfortable where I was (even if it was insane and stressful). But when I pointed out my opinion to God, I got an undeniable sense that this was His plan and I should go with it... Fast forward to today, day one at my new cafe. What a blessing! It's still Panera, with it's quirks and personalities, but there was an inexplicable yet undeniable undercurrent of peace there that has been missing from my work life for a very, very long time. So here I am: humbled, awed and with a fresh reason to be thankful just in time for my favorite holiday!

Tuesday, November 17

It Had to Happen

I've put off having an online presence for as long as possible. No Myspace, Facebook, blogs or personal websites. But it had to happen sooner or later, right?

So here it is. My best shot at keeping in touch with the people I love now that we're all across the far corners of the world. I ask forgiveness ahead of time for the rants and you're welcome ahead of time for the adorable Arthas pictures. :0)

Oh, and the title? It means "the stuff of everyday life" and I discovered it in the book Stoneheart. Fantastic word from an amazing book. If you haven't read it, you should. But since my everyday life includes a pretty long to-do list today, I'll keep this first post short.

More soon!