Good food and shopping

We’ve been watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, where Jerry Seinfeld invites famous comedians to get coffee and a meal with him, and he drives them in a different incredible car each time. They talk, laugh, joke, and tell stories. Usually they go to unique places, but once they went to IHOP. Jerry took a look at the menu and said, “This is why healthcare costs so much in this country. We say, ‘Eat whatever you want. We’ll fix it later.’ Would you eat this?” The British actor he was with shook his head and grinned. The camera panned over to some people’s legs, wearing sweatpants and Ugg boots. The comedians did eat waffles, pancakes, and crepes. It reminded me of my favorite foods: sweet breads.

So I began thinking: of all the many things I should not eat, only two do not have a suitable substitute: cheese and chocolate. I can eat spelt instead of wheat, rice bran syrup instead of sugar, rice milk instead of cow’s milk, I can bake without eggs. But I will not eat fake cheese or carob, I’ll eat the real thing. Not too much—it will be like having one glass of wine, not ten, except with cheese and chocolate. I will also have the occasional Andy’s Frozen Custard, because that’s the best dessert in the world. It works as a meal, too.

You know that food guy who says we should “eat food, not too much, mostly plants”? And we should not eat “edible foodlike substances”? He also says something like, “All things in moderation, even moderation.” Smart guy.

So there’s good food, and there’s shopping. People love both. But here’s what makes me mad about shopping: when stores like Kohl’s raise their prices by 30 percent so they can send out 30 percent off coupons and women will obediently flock to their store to get a “deal.” Kohl’s only gives those coupons to people with their credit card. I used to charge things so I could use the coupon and then pay it off at the register, but for some reason, once I didn’t pay it off. And I was on paperless billing. And the bill got lost in the flurry of e-mails that come in every day. So I accidentally didn’t pay the bill. They slapped me with a hefty late charge plus interest. I called and said, “Please take off the late charge,” which they did. But I still had to pay interest. I paid the bill over the phone, and then asked them to close the account. (I can’t think of a bigger waste of money than interest and late fees.) The guy rudely said, “Just for that you want to close it?” I said, “Yes.”

So, yesterday I got a $15 off $50 purchase coupon and you can pay with cash. They reeled me in: I’ve been wanting new sheets and towels, because we literally cannot tell the difference between our cleaning rags and our good towels. I got what I wanted, and the total came to: $47.50. I looked all over the store for a $3 item, and finally, after a long time of circling the store getting more annoyed by the minute, I picked up a $4 dark chocolate with sea salt candy bar. I couldn’t wait to eat that chocolate. But when I got to the register, the candy did not count as an eligible purchase to use the coupon, so I had to go back in. I found a cheap shirt for Roman, and finally left the store. When I got home and saw Roman in his tight little t-shirt, I instantly knew: I have to go back for a bigger size. Yes. They have reeled me in again.

Why can’t stores just tell me their price and I can take it or leave it? Why all the games? Because, as JcPenney proved, that doesn’t work. Most women like the game. Marketing psychology.

But do they really have to look at the receipt and say, “You saved $91!” I didn’t! I spent $41!


Solar Eclipse 2017

Where we live, the moon eclipsed the sun by 96%. Originally, I wanted to travel to where the sun would be totally eclipsed, but when I heard about the crowds they were expecting, I thought about Proverbs 17:1: “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife,” and I chose to stay home. When I saw that it didn’t actually get as dark as I had hoped, I wondered if I made the right decision, but only briefly. I got to see what 4% sunpower looks like, and it’s powerful!

When I first looked at the sun, it looked like a tiny orange cookie with a bite out of it. It progressed, and my hosta flowers closed, ever so slightly. I decided to lay on the hammock, sweltering in the sun, thinking that at least I could even out my tan a little while I watched. After a while, the temperature dropped and a small breeze cooled the sweat on my belly. As I lay there watching, I heard crickets, then, what I was hoping for: cicadas! So cool!

The dog was oblivious to the eclipse. The cockatiel settled in on his perch like he does when he goes to bed. But he’s old—he always looks like he’s going to bed. Only the wildlife responded to the false nighttime cues, not the pets. That was an interesting observation.

I did catch NASA’s live feed of the eclipse, since it happened before ours. The excitement was contagious! I liked the “diamond ring.”

I decided to watch from my backyard because I know it, and I know what happens there. I wanted to be able to observe the changes that were out of the ordinary, to see and hear the living things’ reactions. It wasn’t dramatic, but if you listened and watched, it was there. It did not feel like the time of day that it was, and what a strange feeling!

I think everything in creation is amazing, but when something only happens once or twice in your life, it’s even more exciting!

La Navidad

I haven’t blogged in over a year, but tonight I suddenly feel like blogging because the guys are watching a movie in the “man cave” and I have the house to myself. There’s a fire in the fireplace and a chocolate cake in the oven.

It’s Christmas time, which in past years meant we set up a Christmas tree in the living room and after a few days, carried it to one of the bedrooms because of Tilly. She’s worse than a cat. She thinks it’s a snack tree. She doesn’t bother the plastic Hallmark ornaments, but she loves the wooden ones. There are teeth marks in the manger scene made of olive wood. She destroyed one of the ornaments Roman made when he was little. Last year, she even threw back a glass ornament, until she realized that was a bad idea.

So this year, we put the tree up in Roman’s bedroom for safekeeping because it’s the only room with any space left and we still wanted a tree. But that only works if you remember to keep the door closed. Which he doesn’t. Rick hates open doors anyway. (“How many times are you going to have the dog’s ass on your pillow before you learn to close the door?!”)

I love celebrating Christmas–it’s the beginning of the redemption story! So even though I cannot handle the crowded stores, I celebrate!

This weekend was Roman’s birthday celebrations, Julian’s baptism Sunday, and a family reunion. Therefore, my brain was running in all directions and I made some mistakes.

  1. I was trying to finish the decorating projects I’ve had going all summer that have bled into fall. Everything was great: The ceilings, walls, and doors look so much cleaner and prettier now. We got a new mirror and faucet for the bathroom, which looks good. But I had to take it a step further, and it was a step too far. I decided to spray paint all the doorknobs so they would match our light fixtures and ceiling fans that I spray painted before. I did just one inconspicuous doorknob to see if it would work, and it worked beautifully. So I began all the others. But some of those had stripped screws and were not coming off. So I had to tape them off and spray paint them on the door, which made an enormous mess. I frequently forgot which ones were wet and put my hand on wet paint. Some of the doorknobs would not go back on. And Rick was teasing me silently. I was laughing so hard I was on the floor, because at that point, what else can you do? I had company coming in days, and none of the doors had knobs on them. Well, one. The stupid first one. But now that the project is done, I’m glad I did it.
  2. When I invited the family to Julian’s baptism, I accidentally told them that church started at 11:45 instead of 10:45, and didn’t realize it until yesterday, so people were running late. We were going to see if we could delay the baptism until later in the service, but then Julian started to cry. He got nervous about the water and all the people. We believe baptism should be when the child is ready and they should want to do it, so while we tried to talk him into going through with it, we didn’t push him, and still he refused. Maybe when he’s older. Roman has always been an old soul, but not Julian.
  3. After church the whole family (20 people) were invited to our house for lunch. I ordered some pizzas from Domino’s on my phone, but sent the order to the wrong location, so when Rick went to pick up the pizza, they did not have the order; the other store did.

But some things went according to plan. Roman loved his laser tag birthday party. Put together his friends, his cousins, guns, and pizza, and he’s happy. I can’t believe my handsome boy is twelve years old now. It’s his last year before he becomes a teenager. And he is the most kind, intelligent, funny boy. I love him.DSC_0024[1] DSC_0016[1] DSC_0030[1]

Also, it’s been one year since we adopted Tilly. On her adoption day she had to be outside or in her crate because she’s the Tasmanian devil when people come over, and we didn’t want her to knock children over or steal food. By evening she was pretty offended. But she was happier when I gave her a present: a tug-of-war turtle toy. She immediately grabbed it and took it outside to play with it. Then she took it to bed with her and slept with it next to her head. This morning I gave her a sausage, and she forgives us for restraining her all of yesterday.

Nieces, Food, and God


Usually I wait until after a special weekend to blog about it, but today I’m doing it before. I’m excited because we’re going to St. Louis to visit lots of our siblings and little nieces–Ellen, Clara, and Lyla. And I hope tiny new Audrey is born the same weekend so I can meet her. It will be any day now. I can’t wait to hold her and kiss her! I love soft little baby hair (or soft little bald heads, whatever the case may be) and bitty little fingers with dimples in them.


Yesterday I had donuts for breakfast, and all day I felt tired and sad. Today I had an egg, a piece of Ezekiel toast, and half a banana, and I felt much better. I have to say the taste of the donuts was definitely worth it–we love St. George’s donuts. It’s our snow day tradition–Rick treats us to donuts. But I couldn’t do it every day.

Last night I dreamed about a feast–lasagna, pizza, sweet potatoes, etc.! I woke up happy and can’t wait for dinner.


I spent my morning at work reading about world religions. So interesting! I’m learning about the differences and similarities between my beliefs and those of people from other cultures. For me it boils down to one thing: From the beginning of time people have been searching for God and God has been looking for a relationship with people. It seems we can’t be satisfied until we find God.


I’m not one to micromanage my every step, and here’s why: When I timed myself today, I was disappointed to find that it took me nearly 12 minutes to run one mile. So I ran another one, and that one took 11 minutes. I guess it takes a while to oil up the muscles. I didn’t time the third mile because half of it was walking. I could have kept going, but I didn’t want to. So: I can run for a long time, but only very slowly. I can understand why because of my high school physics teacher. She did an experiment where she measured the students and timed us running up some steps, to show the relationship between size, power, and speed (or something like that). Then she compared me to one of the bigger students (pick any kid), and explained that my slow speed was due to my small size. At the time it hurt my feelings (because for some reason humans like to be average as well as special, and I wanted to be the same size as everyone else). Now, I don’t care about stuff like that. (Yay for the forties!) ALL that to say I’m probably not going to time my runs anymore. Exercise is supposed to be relaxing. What is your favorite way to exercise?

One Songwriter’s Explanation of John 3:16

Sometimes I get in one of my “Nobody cares about me; nobody likes me” moods. I know that isn’t true, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Sometimes it gets dark anyway. Well today I heard this song sung by Third Day:

I’ve heard it said that a man would climb a mountain
Just to be with the one He loves
How many times has He broken that promise
It has never been done
And I’ve never climbed the highest mountain
But I walked the hill of Calvary

Just to be with you, I’ll do anything
There’s no price I would not pay
And just to be with you, I’ll give everything
And I would give my life away

And I’ve heard it said that a man would swim the ocean
Just to be with the one He loves
All of those dreams are an empty emotion
It can never be done
I’ve never swam the deepest ocean
But I walked upon the raging sea

Just to be with you, I’ll do anything
There’s no price I would not pay
And just to be with you, I’ll give everything
And I would give my life away

And I know that you don’t understand
The fullness of My love
How I died upon the cross for your sins
And I know that you don’t realize
How much that I gave you
And I promise, I would do it all again

And just to be with You, I’ve done everything
There’s no price I did not pay no
Just to be with You, I gave everything
Yes, I gave my life away, I gave my life away

Just to be with You
Oh, just to be with You
Oh, just to be with You


And it helped!