Friday, January 30, 2009

This is THE Burger

Some of you may know that I have recently become addicted to the Pioneer Woman website/blogs. I love reading her true life tale of how she went from city girl to rancher's wife; it's like a real life romance novel. At any rate, I've been perusing her recipes and they all make my mouth water. Tonight I tried her burger recipe and.... OH. MY. GOD. Heaven on a Kaiser roll. My husband said it was the best burger EVER (and something along the lines of, "This is IT. This is THE burger.") and I'm pretty sure we'll be making it again. I only wish I had taken a picture before we chowed down (you can, of course, view Pioneer Woman's photo, though). Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History is Made

"Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been
spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet,
every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At
these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision
of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the
ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents."

~President Barak Obama - Inaugural Address


Monday, January 19, 2009

Learning from Others

Especially during the early days of my post partum depression, I became very withdrawn. I didn't want to see anybody or talk to anybody because I didn't want to have to pretend everything was fine. While this is slowly changing, I still find myself often hiding behind my internet connection or dreading the ring of the phone. Forget actually making a call. I've begun to realize that this is normal and that, perhaps, what is most difficult about it is that others just don't understand. That's why I was relieved to see someone else write about this withdrawl in a way that sheds a new light on it; a way that makes it seem welcome and ok. In her blog, Live With Desire, Heidi writes about The Courage to Do Nothing and quotes some other writers who talk about the importance of sometimes doing nothing and withdrawing a bit from life around you. I think taking the time to be alone is crucial in recharging our spirits and I'm learning it's ok.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

History


As we get closer to this year's inauguration of President Elect Obama, I can't help but reflect on a few things.

It just so happens that, currently, I am reading Living History, the autobiography of Hillary Rodham Clinton. I've never before read an autobiography of a former First Lady, or President, and have found it much more enlightening than I expected. Sure, the political aspect is somewhat interesting but it's the personal notes that have really caught my attention. I had never before thought about the excitment that a family experiences upon moving to the White House for the first time. I suppose I had always assumed that seasoned politicians were somewhat immune to that kind of thing. Clinton describes their complete awe at moving to such a historic home and being such an important part of history. So now, as I watch the Obama family begin to take the same journey, I'm filled with excitment (especially for the two young girls) almost as though I could feel theirs myself (which I'm sure I can't).

Adding to my new perspective is a special about the White House that I happened to catch on C-Span last night (The White House: Inside America's Most Famous House). It wasn't anything fancy. It included some interviews with historians, preservation committee members, the First Lady and President but it also showed video and photos of more than just the public rooms of the house. It was an enlightening history of how the house became a home and all the work that former first families put into making it the grand estate it is now. I highly recommend you try and catch it if you can.

Of course, there is the obvious reflection: this is one of the most historic inaugurations we have ever witnessed. Whether or not one likes Obama and his ideas I could only hope that everyone realizes the significance of his presidency. As the first African-American to ever be elected president he is fufullling the dreams of the ancestors of so many. Could the historic train ride on Lincoln's route and using Lincoln's bible for his inauguration have ever held so much meaning? I doubt it. At the end of the C-Span special, one of the historians commented (and I quote loosely) that Obama is "not only moving into a house built for him but he is moving into a house built by his ancestors." (I wish I could remember the exact quote because I'm sure I haven't effectively communicated the feeling it evoked when I heard it.)

This year, without a doubt, I will be watching the inauguration and I'm very excited about it.

*Photo titled "Mr. Lincoln, we have a new president..." by Tony the Misfit (on Flickr)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cervical Health Awareness Month

The department of health recognizes January as Cervical Health Awareness Month. I feel strongly about helping to get the message out to women for two reasons: 1. annual exams are the reason that my doctor caught and removed pre-cancerous cells in 2003 and 2. annual exams are the reason my friend, Turtle, is a strong cancer survivor. I encourage all women to see their doctor regularly, get educated, and vaccinate if you can.*

*This post and its links are in no way intended to give medical advice or endorse any medical/pharmaceutical product. Talk to your doctor about what is best for you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pound For Pound Challenge Widget

Snow Day

The Snow Storm
by
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farmhouse at the garden's end.
The sled and traveler stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.
Come see the north wind's masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry evermore
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
For number or proportion. Mockingly,
On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall,
Maugre the farmer's sighs; and, at the gate,
A tapering turret overtops the work.
And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work,
The frolic architecture of the snow.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

It's What's For Dinner

I LOVE this turkey loaf and I'm not a big fan of meatloaf. The house smells so good while it's cooking. It's delicious and healthy. Most often I will 1/2 the recipe (usually done in 45 min.). I've used white onions and brown onions and find the brown cook better. I prefer the fat free (99%) ground turkey but the 97% also tends to work well.

Mom's Turkey Meatloaf
Recipe Credit: Copyright 2005 by Ellie Krieger

3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup skim milk
1 medium onion, peeled
2 lbs. ground turkey breast
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsps. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, stir together the oats and milk. Thinly slice 1/4 of the onion and set aside. Finely chop the remaining onion. IN a large bowl combine the turkey, oat mixture, chopped onion, bell pepper, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mix just until well combined.

Transfer the mixture to a 9x13 inch baking dish and shape into a loaf about 5 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches high. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatloaf and sprinkle with the sliced onions. Bake for about 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

Click here to view this recipe on the Food Network site which also includes a photo and nutrition information.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Show Your Support

I blogged once before that I wished I had more funds to support all the worthy causes out there and that, perhaps, buying gifts through sites that support a charity might be a way to do this. I'm now on a mission to start doing just that. I've begun compiling a list of sites in my right sidebar. Let me know if you are aware of any others and I'll add them.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I Love Coffee! Do you?

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After a While

While cleaning out my dresser the other day I found an envelope that a friend had sent to me back in 1999. The envelope was creatively made from a magazine ad and I thought, at first, that perhaps that was the reason I had kept it (with the thought of someday being "crafty" and duplicating it). I decided to take a look inside and found a printed card with the poem "After a While" printed on it. I think, maybe, that it was sent to me after some sort of break-up or relationship that wasn't but I think that it might apply to general life in some respects, too. As we say goodbye to 2008, and start anew in 2009, I thought it might be relevant.

Here's how I think it might apply to me: I don't make resolutions but I think it's time to say goodbye to "stuff." I need to learn that holding on to material things, because I attribute some sort of memory to them, is not going to make me happy (nor will getting rid of the object mean I must get rid of the memory). I need to let go and live in the present going forward. I seem to have a way of staying stuck in the past. I need to make my own happiniess and share it with those around me. I need to just live life and stop waiting for life to happen. I know there are other ways I can apply it but I need to go live life (away from the computer).

Here's the poem (my copy says "Author Unknown" but my internet research shows that it was likely written by Veronica Shoffstall in 1971):


After a While
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open,
With all the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And learn to build all your roads
On today because tomorrow's ground
Is too uncertain for plans, and futures have
A way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much.
So you plan your own garden and decorate
Your own soul, instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure...
That you really are strong
And you really have worth.
And you learn and learn...
With every goodbye you learn.