March 30, 2010
Veggie Tales, ME Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 13
I love broccoli – well, I used to love broccoli.
Actually, I’m sick of broccoli. Really, I’ve just had enough. How did this happen?
I originally set out on a search for frozen vegetables that would taste like real ones. Michigan winters are long, and “fresh” winter produce tends to taste like grey shadows of the real summertime deal.
Carrots didn’t work – didn’t like the weird grainy disintegrating texture.
Green beans didn’t work – didn’t appreciate the waxy squeaky sounds when chewing.
Corn – loved it, but the sugar content’s a bit high for a “healthy diet.”
Cauliflower – not in my vocabulary, so that nixed a lot of mixed veggie medleys.
Onions – way too smelly when defrosted from frozen.
Peppers – defrosted into unnaturally spongy browned muted colors.
Yams – ok, but frozen tubers melt down into mashed, no matter what the bag shows.
Squash –was a little bitter, but a little Splenda brown sugar works magic.
Broccoli was ok, pretty good in fact.
One can of pickled beets and four bags of steam-able frozen broccoli into the Weight Watchers at Work Program I became pointedly aware that I desperately needed a new sidekick. Broccoli wasn’t so palatable anymore. Then, the leader mentioned something about not eating the same things everyday lest your palate and metabolism become complacent. Oops.
I’d so been enjoying my diet regimen, thank you very much. It fit so nicely into my other established routines. But, it’s true that variety spices things up. And it’s true that routine is boring. I guess that’s why there’s so much fuss about wearing your watch on the opposite hand, driving a different route to and from work, rearranging your furniture, and now varying what you eat.
Ok, so I have a few frozen yellow options. Corn, Yams, Squash; maybe someday green broccoli will be re-included. Canned tomatoes, pickled cabbage, beets and beans suffice for the red spectrum, for now. I’ll continue to use the market’s over-marketed too brightly green peppers and celery until spring. I’ll suffer the almost tasteless onions, and buy expensive fresh spinach instead of watery lettuces.
I already know I’ll be way more thankful this year when farms stands start to pop open for business.
I think we should change Thanksgiving to spring time.
I think we should change Thanksgiving to monthly.
Come to think of it, I think we should change Thanksgiving to always.
In this issue: Healthy Foods You Thought Weren't, Wive's Tales, Carrot Tales, and VeggieTales.
Now posted: New Orleans, October 2009, Weekly Membership
March 22, 2010
Car Wash, ME Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 12
I keep a prayer pad next to my computer.
Sometimes more than prayers end up on there.
Sometimes I write down song titles or book titles.
Sometimes I write down questions or thoughts provoked by requests.
The other night a request came through from a few states away asking for prayers for the direction a life was taking.
I suppose that should have been easy enough, but I was stumped. Was I to focus on the continued direction or was I supposed to focus on a change of direction? Was the requestor hoping to be led back to GOD or for the necessary strength needed to continue to follow HIM? I wrote it down, knowing I’d ponder more, later.
I wasn’t really thinking about that dilemma when I decided to take advantage of an oxymoronic "nice" winter day and UofM’s free fleet vehicle wash bay. It’s pretty much a drive-thru at your own pace automatic experience. I’ve done it dozens of times. After the soap application there is a 3-4 second delay before the vehicle is engulfed in a high-pressure water storm. There is no way to see where you are going; no moving rails to guide you, just bumpers along both sides. Of course you can always look behind to see where you’ve been.
Out of habit, I checked the driver side mirror and realized – too late – that earlier I had cracked open the rear fin windows to enjoy a balmy breeze. In the few seconds it took to register the error and close the windows, an accumulation of about an inch of water filled every available crevice on either side of the third row seat. The bench ended up a little damp, but the center seat stayed dry. It was a good thing we only had 5 riders that day instead of 7. Otherwise, two sad someone(s) would have ended up with soggy bottoms.
One positive result of my oversight is that the cup holders and arm cubbies are now bereft of build-up. The harsh waters of the wash bay did exactly what they were supposed to do – clean away dirt and debris. Once the super jet air driers did their magic on the windshield, it was once again a clear marked path to the road ahead.
I still don’t know the specifics of the request, but I’ve decided that having that knowledge might just water down the prayer, anyway.
Emotional pain is a spiritual opportunity: a reminder we’ve been given ample space for messages to fill. Until we open up and give the cleansing messages a chance to soak in, our paths will remain unclear.
So that’s what I’ll be praying for: a spiritual carwash.
Here’s hoping your heart’s windows are open for the deluge.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5
In this issue: intercessory prayer, car washes, cleanliness & godliness, prayeronearth.com
Now posted: New Orleans, October 2009, Papering/Submission & Release.
March 16, 2010
Always Wear a Slip
As best I can recall, the true story went something like this:
My 1990’s prudish self was horrified to discover a friend had left home in flimsy, wispy skirt without a slip. To me, that was simply an unheard of and not wise thing to do. My friend argued that slips were archaic – it was the 90’s for Pete’s sake! I warned her, “Someday, you’re gonna regret it!”
Shortly thereafter, I decided to wear a cute blue dress. I had done laundry and knew for a fact that I had washed my blue slip. I was running late and couldn’t seem to find that slip anywhere, so I donned some recently laundered pantyhose and flew out the door.
Once at the office, I stopped in the restroom. That’s when the trouble started.
As I yanked up the hose, my pantyhose ripped to the point of near disintegration. There simply was no more rear panel, if you get my breezy drift. So, I removed them. That left me with no slip and no hose. I was also rather unfortunately and uncomfortably without underwear, due to the original omission of such. Hey, it was the 90’s after all – nobody wore pantyhose AND underwear! No worries, though. That’s what stores are for. So, I jumped into my car, and headed out in search of a nylon solution – hose or underwear. I really didn’t have a preference.
I arrived at my mega-store destination and was surprised to find the parking lot rather packed. I had to park a good deal away from the store entrance. I moved quickly into the middle of a late fall Tennessee bluster that threatened to expose a good deal more than just the lack of a slip. I began my trek cautiously. With my wallet in one hand, and the other gripping my dress hem, I realized I was about to slip up and potentially give a bunch of folks a real weird show. At this point, I began to hurry across the parking lot. I remember being distractedly curious as to who all those annoying close parking people were, and why on earth they were shopping so early in the morning.
Then, I completely lost my grip and dropped my wallet. Bent over to retrieve it, the back side of the dress deftly whipped itself into the lower part of my rear anatomy causing a rather severe blue wedge.
At this point, the front portion of the dress was about to take flight, because I was no longer hanging onto the hem with my fingers. I was reduced to using the elbow part of my arm because my hand was now reaching for the wallet. Trying to restrain the flapping fabric that way wasn’t very effective. Major slippage!
Somehow, I recovered enough to yank the material from its pleated state, pick up my wallet, and hope there were no witnesses.
Disappointingly, a quick look around confirmed that every shopper in the lot had stopped to focus on me. Hands stayed on carriages, but heads turned as they passed by. Bags stalled as groceries were being transferred to trunks. Those heading in, crossed over to the next aisle, children in tow, glancing back to be sure I wasn’t going to either follow them or flip my dress up once again.
And all because I wasn’t wearing a slip.
The moral of this story is, of course, to always wear a slip.
The submoral, of course, is to make sure that you always follow the advice you give.
March 15, 2010
Slipping Disks, ME Newletter Vol. 3, Issue 11
I found a forgotten tale while going through more office files last week: “Always Wear a Slip.”
I was so excited to have such an old piece reemerge, that I thought I might add it to this week’s blog message.
I quickly saved it to my desktop and continued on my shredding journey.
Tearing apart plastic disks and slipping the cute little true-to-name floppy-disky part into the shredder was fun, and somewhat therapeutic. Purposefully destroying something under the guise of spring cleaning, making garbage, and de-cluttering the office, translates into a pretty good time for me.
Quite a bit later, I had the remarkable luck to find myself in that precarious daylight savings time mythical hour.
Ironically, my phone woke me up with a text message politely reporting it had very considerately updated my phone clock so I wouldn’t have to lose any sleep over it.
Since deep sleep had already slipped away, I decided to get a jump on the newsletter.
I clicked on the cute desktop short-cut item only to have my nefarious computer insistently repeat “Insert a floppy disk into drive A.” Huh? I had checked the file to make sure it saved. I had closed it and opened it, and it was there. However, as I stared blankly at the no longer cute but rather taunting icon, I realized the sad truth. Of course it had been there, because I had checked it while the disk was still active. I hadn’t created a back-up file, just a shortcut requiring the disk.
“Always Wear a Slip” was lost. Slipped; from an over 15 year old floppy disk by way of my fingers through a very thorough grinding machine.
I can’t accurately recreate the exact wording even though I read it just a day ago.
But, the moral of that story was of course to always wear a slip, because badly embarrassing issues can result if you don’t take that precaution.
The sub-moral was to make sure that you always follow the advice you give.
The moral of the above story is to remind those few remaining folks who are still using archaic floppies to check your back up file after you remove the disc.
The sub-moral is to make sure that you always follow the advice you give.
In this issue: Disk vs. Disc; Slips, Slipped Disks,
Now Posted: New Orleans, Oct 2009: Action Plan: Papering/Liability
Humor, That’s Random: Always Wear a Slip
March 08, 2010
The Secret, ME Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 10
Who doesn’t dislike at least some part of their job, would rather not pay bills, wish they could just win that ridiculous battle of the stubborn 5 pound over bulge once and for all, frequently and easily find fault with their lives, surroundings and selves?
But sometimes, something else comes along.
Something with the potential to devastate you; something you just didn't see coming.
Then you have to decide: fall into it and let it swallow you whole, or say WTF and roll on.
It certainly takes an effort to stay on the brighter side of life.
And to my semi-sadistic delight, it really annoys some people as well.
Maybe that’s why I want to be more persistent about it –
if I can bring the cranky people around, my life would be easier.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” - Philippians 4:12-13 – NIV
What does that translate to in modern language?
How do we merge that into our everyday influential lives?
I like Uncle Kracker’s summer D-town semi-spiritual take on it:
“If you don’t like me brother, that’s ok
I ain’t gonna let it ruin my day
I’ll keep smilin’, stylin’
& handin’ out the sunshine.
I got it all figured out
I got no worries that I’m worried about
It’s like I caught some crazy happy disease,
Damn, it feels good to be me!”
Decide for yourself.
Like your life.
Use your energy to radiate warmth.
Devote your soul to happiness.
Catch that crazy happy disease; be purposely contagious.
In this issue: The GratiDudes, Webisodes, Emotional Atmosphere, Grateful Hearts.
Now posted: New Orleans, October 2009, Action Plan: Papering/Medical Release & Humor That's Random, Arrested Follow Up.
Arrested, Follow Up
For all of you who took part in last year’s popular “If You Saw Me In The Back of A Police Car What You Think I Was Being Arrested For” internet survey on my behalf, I am now able to provide you with an actual reasonable answer.
When I woke up Sunday morning, the new medication which it was hoped might stop my ears from ringing hadn’t done its part. I’d already taken it for a few days, stubbornly working my way through the nausea. I ate a bagel and had coffee, retrospectively both not good choices. I just couldn’t shake that icky feeling.
However, sibling support drove me on. My younger brother would be serving communion at his church.
So,that’s where I was headed... when the officer pulled me over.
Yep. I was supposedly clocked at a wicked 39 mph.
Unfortunately, I was within a 25 mph zone on MSU campus. I can't imagine why the officer set sites on me and my appallingly non-descript beige 2002 Buick Century, especially since I was being tailgated by a black SUV. Even more unfortunate was the discovery that invisible paper moths had completely passed over previous years’ staler versions in favor of devouring my obviously fresher and most current proof of insurance.
Reassurances that all would be ok from my nephew in the back seat did little to boost my morale. Up until that moment I had been a speeding ticket virgin. That we might be too late to support my brother’s efforts, bummed me out more. And none of that did anything for my already queasy stomach.
My sister-in-law’s explanation that I wasn’t from the area and she had just told me to slow down was answered with an explanation that there were 3 speed limit signs between where I turned and where I was pulled over.
My ticket included a warning citation regarding my lack of current proof. I wasn't aware that a new MI law states that being without proof of insurance is now a $250.00 fine to be paid for two years in a row to the state of Michigan.
All in all, we made it to the church almost on time.
However, I still missed communion due to the fact that the dizzying medication had finally wore me down to the point of bolting from the chapel. I had to ask directions to the nearest facility and then well... you know. That thing that I hate doing happened.
I haven't been able to draw a cute parallel GOD point to any of Sunday’s nonsense.
But I still thought I should point out that if you’re lucky enough to live in Michigan, make sure you have your up-to-date proof of insurance handy.
March 03, 2010
Moo Tube (part 2), ME Newsletter, Vol. 3, Issue 9
Blame it on anthropomorphism - the tendency to ascribe human attributes to inanimate objects. Anthropomorphism is a primary driving factor leading people to collect objects. It brings sentimentality and memories together in one place. For example, I could pretty much tell you where, when and who I was with for when I acquired each piece in my mostly Boyd glass hen flock.
Sometimes you have to let go of things to be healthier. Under stern self-direction, I faced a choice: cows or chickens. There was just as much (if not more) APMistic value in the flea market chicken treasures as there was with the store bought cow collection. I chose to keep chickens.
That meant 23 Cow Parade cow figurines, 4 Cow Parade magnets, and a Cow Parade book found themselves on the Home Care Services silent-auction block for Haiti Relief last week. At first, I suggested the herd be sold as a set, but then people began expressing interest in certain ones. There was some semi-bullish but mostly good-natured competition over some of the more unusual and amusingly named pieces.
Alas, when the bids were culled, the cattle competition left a few still fielded, without bids. I approved the overhead announcement that the remaining cows were free to good homes. On my way down the hall to my office as the offer came over the intercom, a mini-stampede formed for the free-roaming leftovers. All were adopted; some were later traded.
I’ll miss the bevy of bovines, but am certain that they will be loved and cherished in new homes. The cute critters helped reach the HCS silent auction goal of raising over $300.00 in relief funds. Judging by the enthusiastic reactions, they have probably already been anthropomorphized by new owners, who in years to come will view them in delight as they recall the means by which they were attained.
Interestingly, while it’s true I have 23 less cows, I still hold the essence of their cultivation.
Our hearts and minds are very capable of storing and guarding thirst quenching memories of loved ones. A revelation of comfort comes from knowing for certain that those we miss may be out of our sight, but they have been firmly bid on, and are loved and cherished - in a new home: GOD’s home.
(PS. I kept the Chicken Cow and the Nas-Cow, for what should be semi-obvious anthropomorphic reasons.)
In this issue: CowParade, Content, Automated Cow Milking, Happy Cows, and Anthropomorphism
Now Posted: New Orleans, Oct 2009, Action Plan: Skills Assessment
& Humor, That's Random, Distress Signals
March 02, 2010
I have to learn to interpret distress signals more accurately.
This one falls under that “drowning – not waving” category.
It also falls under the "5:55 am synapses aren't quite fired up enough to perform complex analysis yet" category.
Michigan had one of those warmed-up nights that turned into a froze-down morning.
Solid ice on the commuter van windshield meant a few extra minutes of defrost blasting and scraping as far toward the center of the vehicle as best a short gal can.
I followed through on the thought to text my first pick-up and let her know that the stairs on the side of the street where I usually pick her up might be icy. She has no railing – so it’s been an issue before.
I pulled up and waited a little before 6:00 am.
I bent down to retrieve another disc from the current Janet Evanovich novel on CD that we are listening to: Finger Lickin’ Fifteen. So far, it’s been very entertaining.
Anyway, when I looked up, my passenger was coming around the side of her house and down her driveway. She waved.
“Wow,” I thought, “She’s feeling mighty friendly this morning.” Not that she’s not always friendly, it’s just that five years of commuting with her, I am acutely aware that mornings aren’t her favorite time of day.
I popped the CD in, and selected track 9, where we had left off the previous evening.
When I looked up again, she had just passed her car and was double-waving with both hands kind of like Adriano Moraes after a good 8-second ride.
I waved back, again. Then I had a half thought. Maybe she’s telling me to go on without her?
By this time my unusually happy for so early in the morning friend was at the van door.
She opened it. I said, “Yes?” She said, “Yes?”
“Were you waving at me for any particular reason?” I asked.
“I wasn’t waving!” she snarled, sliding into the co-pilot seat.
“Huh,” I marveled. “I thought it was sort of weird that you were being so friendly...”
She turned her head to look at me and barked an astonished laugh. “I was trying not to bite it after sliding partially down my driveway sideways and slamming into my car. I was trying not to let my a** or my coffee become too friendly with the ground.”
“Oh,” I said.
Then, I couldn’t help it. I just started snickering, then giggling.
It took her a couple of gulps of coffee, but she finally saw the humor in the situation, too.
Then we turned on the CD and laughed a little more while listening to a few tracks. Gotta love frozen Michigan mornings.