Sunday, March 28, 2010

When things go haywire

or, when life gets nuts.

One of the things that goes along with my Relief Society job at church is that if the regular teacher can't make it for any reason, it's my responsibility to either:
  1. find a substitute, or
  2. teach the lesson myself.

I'm basically in charge of the Sunday women's meeting. And not basically in charge. I am all the way in charge of it. If I blow it off someone else will be scrambling around to get things covered. Not that that's ever happened though. Of course not.

Today the unthinkable happened. About an hour before church started (in other words, way too little time to find a sub, and while I was still unshowered and wearing my jammies) I found out that the teacher unexpectedly had to work today. The good news is that it's the first time in about six months that this has happened. The bad news is that I wasn't prepared to teach the lesson.

I winged it. I'd at least read the lesson ahead of time, and although I like a good, solid three hours to prepare a lesson, I didn't have any time at all. I was flustered, I was nervous, I was unprepared, I was sweaty. I was thrown for a loop.

It went fine anyway. I was able to settle down and get my head clear and stop sweating (very important when you're standing in front of a large group of people!). I felt the Holy Spirit whispering to me that the principles I was teaching are true. I felt my testimony of the Gospel grow.

One of my friends gave me a Mormon Tabernacle cd on my birthday a couple of weeks ago and my favorite hymn, How Firm A Foundation, is one of the songs on the cd. My Little Prince and I have been listening to the cd every morning as I drive him to seminary and it has really made an impact on my days. The third verse goes like this:

Fear not, I am with thee, oh be not dismayed
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

My cup runneth over.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Spring in Houston is a "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" kind of thing. This last week in March we'll see temps in the mid-70's, and a month from now I'm betting we'll be well into the 80's.

When the daylilies look like this on a sunny weekday morning you know summer is on the way.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

dinner idea

I've tried a couple new things this past week: couscous and fennel. The verdict?

Fennel gets a big thumbs up, couscous gets a big thumbs down. I kind of thought it would be the other way around, but no.

I will try the couscous again (because I still have the rest of a fairly big container), with a different recipe, but I'm not hopeful. It tasted a really whole lot like fluffy cardboard particles. Even after increasingly desperate attempts to doctor it up a bit. (After it was all over I had ended up adding onion, garlic, chicken broth, chopped fresh spinach and crumbled feta cheese. And it was still boring and essentially tasteless.)

But ta-da! Here's what I did with the fennel:

Red Snapper with Carrot and Fennel
(from the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book)
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen skinless red snapper, grouper, or ocean perch fillets, about 1/2 inch thick. (I used frozen tilapia fillets because that is what I always have on hand)
  • 2 cups sliced fennel bulb (1 large)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
  • 1 cup chopped carrot (2 medium)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. snipped fresh dill or 1 1/2 tsp. dried dill
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • fresh dill sprigs, optional

Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fillets and pat dry. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside. In a large skillet cook fennel, onion, carrot, and garlic in hot oil over medium heat for 7 to 9 minutes or until vegetables are tender and light brown. Remove from heat. Stir in broth, dill, the 1/4 tsp. salt and the 1/4 tsp. pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup of vegetable mixture; spread remaining vegetable mixture into a 2-quart baking dish. Place fish fillets on top of vegetables. Spoon reserved vegetable mixture on top of fish. Bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees F for about 12 minutes or until fish begins to flake with a fork. (I covered the baking dish with foil after baking and let it sit for a few minutes just to make sure it was completely cooked and it turned out perfectly.) Serves 4.

It was different, but good. I haven't ever had fennel before so it was a new taste for me but after it was cooked it was very mild and not at all objectionable. I'll probably use a little less than 1/4 tsp. pepper next time I make this recipe.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I was offered a challenge yesterday. One that I'm not sure I can accomplish with any amount of gracefulness but oh well...

I will be fearless. I will be intrepid. I will be light-hearted.

(And I will work on being organized, steady, and compassionate.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Well, nuts

I was writing a post (it was going to be a series, actually) about all the people I don't like. All of them were going to be celebrities. Because I just wouldn't dare write about people in my real, everyday life that I don't like. Because stuff like that gets around and I'm too chicken to go all mano a mano against some of them.

I had a post all finished and everything. It was about a rich and famous but not very attractive or talented girl. I deleted it all. Because after I was done reading it I realized how superficial and snarky it was and I just don't want to go there in this space.

I've been feeling very lazy lately. I haven't been working on projects or ideas. I haven't taken any pictures of stuff that's happening around here. I've been laying around reading novels and contemplating the universe but not coming up with much. I thought about buying a new sofa, which we desperately need, but have I gone to a furniture store to look around? Nope. I've barely been keeping up with the most basic chores around the house although my family of Dubs might argue that point. Can you say "sandwiches for dinner, again"?

It's springtime in Texas. The trees are all bloomy and beautiful. I saw bluebonnets on a quick trip to Austin this week. My oaks and pines are pollinating. I've been taking two benadryl every four hours pretty much around the clock.

Which may explain why I can hardly get my carcass off my shabby, worn, and torn up couch.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sleeping beauty, revisited

What perfectly sweet rosy lips! What kissy cheeks! What long, luxurious lashes! What smooth, creamy, fresh skin!

Oh I could go on and on...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A thing of beauty

is a joy forever.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A thing of beauty

- like a dimpled chin on a silly goose - brings joy.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A thing of beauty

is a joyful reminder.

Avery has her "Warner face" on in this photo. This face could be:
  1. Jason
  2. Karie
  3. Taylor
  4. James or
  5. Jake

It's uncanny how I can see small glimpses of every single one of my beloveds in this sweet, beautiful face.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A thing of beauty

is a joy after dinner.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

mothers and their children

Will they ever understand one another?

This week, being the basic bummer that it was, sent me straight to the internet. For comfort. For refuge. For sanctuary. For relief. I didn't get much of any of that.

I was on Facebook, rummaging through the photo albums of my children. I found this:

There's nothing upsetting about that, right? This is Karie and Danielle making No-Bake Cookies in our kitchen back in the good ol' days. The disturbing part is Taylor's comment on this photo - "Our kitchen walls were lame".


Here's an example, from James this time. He was tagged in a photo that one of his friends took:

Is this what James always looks like at school? Should I withdraw him immediately, administer CPR, and homeschool him?

And then there's this. Mr. Dub uploaded some of Taylor's pics from Sweden to his Facebook page.

What is the meaning of this? Who made this, and why? Why did Taylor take a picture of it? Does it remind him of the lame-o kitchen walls of his childhood home?

I just want everyone to know that when this house was built back in 1995 fruity, flowery wallpaper was all the rage of the bourgeois. It was. I'll have you know it was considered so lovely and so perfect that the sales agent for our subdivision used to bring prospective buyers over to our house after it was finished as part of his sales routine. So they could see an example of the awesomeness.

Just so you know.

Friday, March 5, 2010


"Human urine is the worst, worse than dog urine" - Jose, from Dirt Free Cleaning Co.

Steam clean carpets, all of the downstairs - $120.00
Steam clean two chairs - $90.00
Sanitizer/urine treatment on carpet- $65.00
Sanitizer/spot cleaner on diet soda stains - $50.00
Tile floor cleaning with acetone treatment in downstairs bathroom - $75.00

Total (with tax) to Dirt Free Cleaning Co. - $441.00

Having a home that no longer smells like the men's room at the bus station - Priceless.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Have you ever noticed... one little seemingly innocent question can bring to the surface a lot of really negative feelings?

A tiny little question like "Where's my box of stuff from KBR?" can make a person so mad about so many different things that at first it boggles the mind.

And then it leads to insomnia.


(Being married to someone, even someone as normally wonderful as Mr. Dub, can be hard. A person can get SO mad about stuff she already forgave him for. And also stuff he probably didn't even realize he did.)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ain't no sunshine

when she's gone...

This is one lovable and sunshiny little buttercup. I can't wait till we get to see her again in a couple of weeks.

(Cheli, having lots more practice with a camera than I, captured lots of smiles last Saturday. I didn't. Not a single one. It looks like I was always just a fraction of a second too late. No matter. It's still a scrumptious face.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

still alive. barely.

I'm back from taking Grampy home to my Aunt Michele. I'm getting my house cleaned up. I'm taking a lot of naps. I've got a nasty cold and stomach cramps. I wonder if I'll live. I'm taking a lot of naps.

I think my blogging strike is over. And oh, I'm going to take a nap as soon as my Little Friend goes to school.