Sunday, December 5, 2010

i dare you

hello, little neglected blog. sorry i've been MIA for the past month. things have been a little crazy. i guess i'm due for a "life update." i have a pressing appointment to get to (well, really i'm just late for my Sunday afternoon nap), so i'm gonna stick with the short version for now.

first of all, i have a dare for anyone who might be reading this. i dare you to tell God you're not going to do something, to say to Him "no, never, not me." seriously, just try it. He has a wacky sense of humor. although i'm not in the habit of shaking my fist at the sky and saying no to God, i have definitely had the "not me, never, no way" attitude with some things before that is basically the same as saying no to God. when i make those decisions before even consulting with Him, without even praying about things, but then later try my hardest to get my life aligned with His will, i find that His will often takes me right back to the thing i had already decided against. and then i have no choice but to throw up my hands, laugh at myself, and go where He takes me. a few examples:

when i went to school out of state, i had no intention of returning to Texas, except on vacations to visit family. over the course of 4 years God changed my mind, and after graduation i wound up in Austin, Texas for 2 years.

from my very first anatomy & physiology class to the day i walked across that stage, i hated cardiology. i had to study the heart twice as much as anything else to understand it, and i vowed never to be a cardiology nurse. those 2 years i lived in Austin were spent as a nurse on a cardiology/telemetry floor.

when i first heard of the concept of travel nursing my senior year of college, i thought "that will never be me, it's a crazy idea, i would definitely hate that kind of life." i've been a travel nurse for over a year now.

in June, 2010 i took a job in Temple, Texas - it was the first job offer i got after 3 months of unemployment due to a broken ankle, and i was getting desperate for work. i arrived in Temple, took a look around, and immediately thought "yeah, i'll stick this out for my 13-week commitment, then i'm outta here. this is not the town for me." after a very hectic summer i didn't have the energy to look for another job, so i extended my contract, thinking "3 more months - i'll save up some money, then head to New Mexico or someplace." well, the 3 months have gone by very quickly, and i'm blown away by how much has happened in such a short amount of time. to an outsider looking in on my life it may not look like much has happened, but it really seems like it has - in my life, in my heart, in my relationship with God and with new friends He has given me. so...long story short, i'm staying in Temple...for another 3 months :)

"The Lord will accomplish what concerns me." ~Psalm 138:8

Thursday, November 4, 2010

comfort food

red curry and coconut milk is such a fabulous combination

also, dressing up like fruit is fun

Friday, October 22, 2010

waitin' on a woman

wherever there are women shopping, you will probably find men sitting outside the store waiting. the thing about texas is, the men are wearing boots, leather belts and cowboy hats, and they say "howdy" to the people who walk by. it makes me happy.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

a tribute to American women

a few weeks ago i decided to start cooking more, and went to the library to find some cookbooks and inspiration. first i was completely overwhelmed by the ridiculous amount of cookbooks there were to choose from. then i got distracted by this:

"A Thousand Years Over A Hot Stove: a history of American women told through food, recipes, and remembrances," by Laura Schenone not exactly a cookbook, but i thought it was very interesting. ever since i was old enough to read American Girl books, i've liked history. not the boring names, dates, battles and wars and presidents kind of history, but the clothes, food, lifestyles, culture kind. growing up, Oregon Trail was my favorite computer game. and after i read about Pocahontas, i wished with all my might that i had been born an Indian princess. i've always loved learning how people lived, what kind of clothes they wore, what kind of food they ate, what kinds of houses they lived in, etc. this book was definitely my kind of history. it begins in the ancient days of America, describing how the natives ate, what their culture was like, how closely their food tied in to their religion. the author moved on through history, describing gender roles and how they related to food, how food had an influence in changing culture, how African slaves changed southern cuisine. the author compared and contrasted the lives of Native American women, who were given autonomy in their freedom to leave their tribes to gather food, with those of Colonial women, who were confined to their kitchens with very little freedom whatsoever. she explains how hunger was a major driving force behind many immigrants coming to America, and how they kept their own cultures alive through food. the kinds of meals families enjoyed during times of plenty, and what they survived on during the poverty of the industrial age and the depression. what women's lives looked like when they were solely homemakers, and how they adapted during the world wars, when they had to go to work but also cook for their families at home. throughout all the information in the book are scattered old photographs, excerpts from diaries and recipes passed down from generation to generation. it might sound like a dull read to you, but i enjoyed it. just wanted to share.

"We can be ashamed of our wars and flaws, our capacity for evil as human beings. But cooking and caring for one another - this is our bright side. In cooking, we find our creativity, ingenuity. And I believe women want to embrace this connection because of our special history with food. If men want to join us in the kitchen, I think that's great. We need all the hospitality and caring we can get." ~Laura Schenone

Sunday, October 3, 2010

ten-second rule!

cooking spray makes things slippery.

don't worry, i only kept the ones that landed right-side up.

Friday, October 1, 2010

farewell to a faithful friend

i'd like to have a moment of silence for my faithful stethoscope, whose auscultating days have come to an end. this was my first stethoscope, the one i received from my nursing instructors in school. it's helped me listen to countless crackles, wheezes, S1's, S2's, murmurs, bowel sounds, and bruits. it even helped get me out of a speeding ticket once. about a month ago i felt a scratch on my neck where my stethoscope was hanging. to my dismay, i discovered that it was cracked. my response? medical tape!

but to no avail. tape was just a temporary fix. it's time to face the truth.

so sad!

so i finally bit the bullet and bought a new one. which is...exactly the same as the old one.

i shall now re-tape my old broken-down friend and station it in my car, to enjoy it's retirement as "decoration." ;)

Monday, September 27, 2010

how to study the Bible

i recently listened to this seminar on how to study the Bible, by Matt Chandler at the Village Church in Dallas. he teaches the same basic format i learned at the Austin Stone, but it was encouraging and motivating to hear a refresher.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

a satisfying investment

i recently made some muffins that called for cutting cold butter into the flour mixture. i've never been very good at this, mainly because it takes so long to do it with two knives that i would give up before the butter bits were small enough. these muffins didn't turn out so well either. i don't know if it's because of my bad butter-cutting technique or if it was just a dud recipe - anyway, i decided to buy a pastry blender. it was only $3.99 at Target, and i've already decided that it was money well spent. tonight i used it to make the most delightfully flaky buttermilk biscuits. here are some pictures.

pastry blender at work

well-blended dough

btw, that's not old nasty dr pepper in the background - it's olive oil

try not to drool

i like strawberry preserves. and butter.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

my eyes are bigger than my stomach

Lately I've been trying to do more reading and creative projects and less vegging out watching movies or tv shows. I've also been cooking more instead of buying frozen meals or fast food. It's much more satisfying to use my free time to work on my ever-growing reading list or make something new, and it's cheaper and healthier to make my food from scratch (usually). My only problem is, I get a little overly ambitious in my projects, which in the past has caused me to get overwhelmed and burnt-out and give up.

For example, I'm currently reading 4 books. One is my read-while-I'm-on-break-at-work book, one is my read-before-bed book, one is my read-while-eating-dinner book, and one is a book I started months and months ago that I can only read a little at a time of because it makes my brain hurt. I have this entire weekend off from work, and I've barely read at all. I spent today in Austin, visiting my sister and a friend, and shopping. And guess what I bought. 2 more books! AAAHHH!!! It's a disease! For fear of burning out to the point that I stop reading all together, I've decided to put my 2 new books away on my shelf, and I'm not allowed to start reading them until I finish one of the ones I'm reading now. We'll see how that goes.

As far as projects go, I have fabric draped over my ironing board in the living room, calling out to me to begin working on the messenger bag I want to make. I have been doing pretty well at "stash-busting" my collection of yarn. But on the way home from Austin, I almost stopped at Hobby Lobby to buy more yarn, when I had 2 unfinished knitting projects waiting for me at home! Thankfully, I stopped myself before it was too late. Once I see the rows and rows of beautiful yarn, it's all over for me.

I recently took a trip up to Arkansas to visit my brothers and new sister-in-law. After eating Janna's yummy homemade meals, I became more motivated to start trying out new recipes myself. The problem here is that I'm cooking for just one person. Most recipes make at least 4 servings, usually more - if they didn't make lots of servings, it wouldn't feel like they were worth making anyway. I've already found lots of recipes I want to try, but it takes me forever to finish eating just one of them, even if I freeze half. My freezer is quickly filling up, and I've had to stop cooking for awhile.

Well, all that to say, now that the craziness of summer is over, I can focus on other things. The list of things I want to do goes on and on, far beyond reading and cooking - like finally get involved in a church here in Temple, start exercising again, write letters to people more often, dust off my guitar and try to re-teach myself some cords....too much to do, too little time. And before I know it it'll be time for me to start looking for another travel assignment. *sigh*

I'm going to go read a book now.

random picture, just for fun

Friday, September 10, 2010


"They [metaphorical Christian doctrines] mean that in addition to the physical or psycho-physical universe known to the sciences, there exists an uncreated and unconditioned reality which causes the universe to be; that this reality has a positive structure or constitution which is usefully, though doubtless not completely, described in the doctrine of the Trinity; and that this reality, at a definite point in time, entered the universe we know by becoming one of its own creatures and there produced effects on the historical level which the normal workings of the natural universe do not produce; and that this has brought about a change in our relations to the unconditioned reality."

I love C.S. Lewis, but sometimes he makes my head hurt a little.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

sigh of relief

as i try to make my way in this grown-up world of being a responsible adult, i keep discovering that various things i believed as a child were actually lies. for instance, that my acne would clear up after adolescence. also, that after i finished school for good, summertime would just be like any other time of the year. summer was always a crazy time of campouts, vacations, swim team, random activities, and disrupted schedules when i was growing up. and although i loved it, it was always kind of nice to go back to school in the fall, and back to a normal routine. i guess i assumed that it would change after i finished college and entered the real world. i was sad that i wouldn't have the long breaks in the summers anymore, but also looked forward to having a somewhat normal schedule year-round. boy was i wrong. in actuality, adults get to deal with all the craziness of summer (trips, vacations, events, etc) AND continue going to work each week, paying bills, juggling life, etc. which is why i've been dead to the blogging world the past couple of months. i don't remember ever having such a full summer in my life. and although it was great, i'm welcoming the first cool breeze of fall with a sigh of relief.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

summer plans

so Temple isn't such an exciting place to live. i like my job so far though, and it's nice to be making money again, after 3 months of racking up medical bills. the hospital has been crazy busy, and i've been able to pick up some overtime. also, Temple is a convenient place to be for the summer, as it's sort of in-between the 3 cities my various family members live in: Houston, Dallas, and Austin. i won't have to buy a plane ticket to go to my little brother's wedding in 3 weeks (aaahh! 3 weeks! really??? trying not to hyperventilate...) and on my days off i can visit friends and family.

while i'm not working as much overtime as i can stomach or going on road trips around Texas, i have a few other things to do this summer. first, write a novel. 2 years ago i joined a writing group with some friends that takes the month of July to write a 50,000 word novel. crazy, but fun. it's based on this book:

there is actually an official writing group started by the author of the book, but they write their novels in November, while the group i'm in writes in July.

another summer goal: make a dent in my ever-growing stash of yarn. if i don't get a handle on it soon, it's going to come to life as a gigantic yarn monster and strangle me in my sleep.

any suggestions? here's the result of my first attempt at my summer stash-bust:

and here's my current project:

i found this gem of a book at the library yesterday. once i finish the above project, i'm going to start on one of these one-skein wonders.

Friday, June 11, 2010

thankful for my feet

after 2 air splints, 3 casts, 1 walking boot, 1 ankle brace, multiple x-rays, doctor's appointments, physical therapy and medical ankles are now back to normal. and my 3 months of unemployment are finally coming to an end! next stop: Temple, TX for travel assignment #3.

Monday, June 7, 2010

the color of coffee

what to do when you have 2 white sundresses? make one a different color!

i've always wanted to try tea staining, so i decided to experiment with a hand-me-down dress my cousin gave me. after staining it twice with tea it was a pretty, light-cream-with-a-hint-of-reddish-brown color. i forgot to take pictures of the tea staining process, but this is what i did:

1. wash and dry the dress as normal
2. boil enough water to submerge dress, add teabags, about 1 per cup of water
3. wet the dress with hot water, wring out
4. after steeping the tea for about 5 minutes, add the dampened dress. i left the teabags in the water when i soaked the dress, just to experiment. it ended up making one darker spot on the fabric, so i recommend taking the bags out before soaking the dress.
5. check the color every 5-10 minutes. i think i let it soak about 30 minutes total.
6. after soaking, rinse out dress with warm water and mild soap
7. hang dress to dry
8. soak in a fresh pot of tea if desired. the second time i took the teabags out of the water first.
9. after drying the dress again, soak in mixture of water and vinegar. i didn't measure it, but i just put enough water into a container to submerge the dress, then added a couple generous splashes of vinegar.
10. hang dress to dry
11. wash and dry as normal

after tea-staining the dress, i thought i'd experiment with coffee next. i set the sash aside so i'd be able to compare colors afterward. i did the same process as before, just with really strong coffee this time. and i remembered to take pictures:

big pot of coffee

soaking the dress

checking the color

rinsing with soapy water

drying on the porch

after the vinegar soak, final wash and dry. this shows the dress and the lighter-colored sash.

the ruffles around the hem look a little darker than the rest because of the double layers.

all done!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

my sister got hitched!

once upon a time, there was this beautiful girl

and a boy with an awesome mustache.

they fell in love,

and decided to get married.

so they rounded up their friends and family,

got all dolled up,

and had a party.

there were a few tears,

lots of smiles,

and smooching, of course!

some grandmas were there

and some pretty adorable babies.

everyone ate yummy food
and danced the night away.

now they're busy living happily ever after.
the end.