30 November 2011


Okay, for what it's worth, I've started looking at my blog stats out of curiosity. I don't get a lot of traffic, but it's at least fairly consistent. I've been mostly amused by the Google search terms that have led people to click on my blog, such as:
"black people hipster meme" (Huh?)
"uo on the rocks" (Huh?!)
"happy days potpourri" (If this is a product, I should get the manufacturer to sponsor my blog.)
"darkwing duck cartoon" (Aw, yeah)
"maternity clothes for skinny women" (So rude. Lol.)

However, I'm also quite confused and disturbed by the fact that the primary traffic source for my blog is a Russian site (domar [dot] ru, seeming more than a little shady as a money-making site). What is going on, Russia? Why me? Weird. Maybe I need to reevaluate my security measures.

MIA Again

Well, I really did fail again on my NaBloPoMo posting. I actually didn't even crack open my laptop last night. =(

Okay, so I've been baking quite a bit lately. I've made a few batches of some really good rolls. I've also been on a cookie-baking streak. Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and snickerdoodles have been on the menu. One thing that I've known before but not always put into practice is the fact that cookies (snickerdoodles in particular) actually turn out noticeably better (if you like them moist and chewy, that is) if you chill the dough before dropping it onto the cookie sheet and baking.

I remain convinced that The TMF Cookbook remains the best all-around cookbook ever. The recipes in there are fairly simple but effective. For example, the snickerdoodle recipe is a lot less complicated than ones I found in foodie blogs online, yet every time I use the TMF recipe my tasters declare the result to be the best snickerdoodle cookie they've ever tasted. Also, the pie dough recipe is so utterly foolproof that even I can make pies and pastries that are rich and flakey and utterly delicious, and all my family know that I'm actually not very good at the whole pie thing.

Hope my waistline can survive this holiday season!

28 November 2011

Hey, everybody!

I'm not dead, or even unconscious. Sorry for being MIA these past two days. I went to a football-related party (I know, shocking, right?!) on Saturday, which I'd already committed to, so I felt obligated to go even though I wasn't really in a party mood. In the end, I'm glad I went because I had a good time, but you know how it is when you have to go be social when you don't really want to (or that just me?). Anyway, then on Sunday, I did a lot of productive stuff around the house. None of my activities made for particularly good reading material, and I couldn't think of anything to write.

26 November 2011

Busy Weekend

Yesterday was Thanksgiving holiday; today was a day that I didn't have to work, but I was able to get some chores and errands done. It's never enough time, and I'm hoping I'll still be able to do cleaning and organization of my house. I also need to mow my lawn. And bake some pastries. And go to a party.

I'm kind of exhausted just thinking about everything I need to do, actually.

24 November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I join with so many others in wishing the blogosphere (blogverse?) a day of gratitude and thanksgiving.

I'm grateful that my lovely friends Jill and Erica opened their home so that the Little Bug and I were not left at home, hungry and lonely, for the holiday. It's difficult to live so far away from family, but God has blessed us with friends that shower us with kindness and fellowship.

23 November 2011

The Bears Are Back Again

Actually, I just wanted to highlight the fact that if you read the Wall Street Journal article posted yesterday (below), you should not fail to also click on the comments, which are officially FULL OF WIN. I captured a few humorous ones.

22 November 2011

The Bears Are Back

People laughed when I was terrified about the possibility of bears in my neighborhood, but IT'S A REAL PROBLEM, YOU GUYS! Black bears may be less dangerous than grizzlies, but they are still dangerous.

21 November 2011

Best Quote of the Day

From someone at work:
"If your life was a movie, it might get bad reviews for being too far fetched."

It's funny only because it started me wondering. I never think of my life as being far-fetched or unusual. I have strong ideas about how my past cultural experiences have informed my worldview in a manner that differs from many of my peers, but aside from that, I wouldn't think my life is particularly interesting, unless you want to hear funny stories about when I was a TA for the biology department at university and got paid slightly more than minimum wage to haul dead bodies back and forth through the building. THAT was a good time, people. But an interesting person with a far-fetched life? I would refer you to either (or rather, both) of my parents, definitely.
Not only do they have amazing tales regarding tropical jungle treks and narrow escapes of a variety of natures, but they also spent several years in the concrete jungle of inner-city Los Angeles, and even now they are fascinating and fabulous people who retain their good humor as sensible SoCal hippies with a passion for simplicity, Jesus, church history, fiber arts, UCLA basketball, and so much more! They've never stopped having adventures. Basically, I think my parents are the coolest. But here, let me just show you a little bit:

20 November 2011

Coffee People Are Pretty Nice

We are very fond of our local purveyor of caffeinated beverages. We go there all the time. They give $0.50 off if you bring your own reusable cup, and they also have a daily trivia question that can net you another $0.10. Awesome, right?!

Today, the trivia question was "Would you rather be a pilgrim or an indian?" (sic) I stared, wrinkling my nose in perplexity.
Me: I don't understand the question. It doesn't specify what kind of pilgrim or Indian.
Barista: *stares at me*
Me: Do I get to pick which century I'd get to be a pilgrim or Indian in?
Barista: No. I can just give you the ten cents, okay?

18 November 2011

Trying Hard

Well, yesterday's Hipster Lord of the Rings find had me laughing, so I thought I'd track down something related to Harry Potter next. Surely, I thought, there must be a Tumblr site dedicated to Hipster Harry Potter. However, to my great disappointment, no such Tumblr truly existed. A Google search for "hipster harry potter" brought up some funny stuff, but nothing concentrated in one cool blog/site. I tried "emo harry potter" next, and again, there was not a dedicated space on the web for that particular niche of humor. I don't know why all the internet people are falling down on the job like this, but at any rate, here's one of the best memes that's been going around lately: Hipster Sirius Black.

17 November 2011

LOTR Makes Anything Better

And now, to lighten the mood, I offer you:
Lord of the Rings Hipster Humor!

You're welcome.

PSA: Human Trafficking Reminder

Long-time readers of this blog may remember that, among other things, I occasionally mention the work that is being done to fight slavery locally and around the world. There are many horrible situations that exists, so many that it seems almost hopeless to think of fighting the evil and changing the world for good. But we remember that the Lord is greater than any circumstance, and He has conquered sin and death. Our light shines brightest in the darkest moments. And once in a while, stories come to the front that confirm that rescue CAN happen and evil-doers can be brought to justice.

Nick Kristof just wrote a column detailing the prostitution of young girls in Southeast Asia. Thought it's not always the case, the stories he shares in this particular article have the beginnings of happy endings. [Note: For the most part, I don't promote articles from New York Times, considering it to be a rag of rapidly-fading journalistic integrity, and I don't always agree with what Kristof himself writes, but I will make an exception when he writes about human trafficking, because he is one of the few opinion columnists who consistently draws attention to this difficult human rights issue that many would prefer to avoid and sweep under the rug. In other words, we as people don't have to always agree on everything in order to work together to fight for something that we both believe in.]

I don't intend for this blog to become "grisly human trafficking stories central", but I might occasionally share a few ways that I'm finding to fight slavery and support truth, justice, and mercy in small steps.

16 November 2011

Downward Spiral

Has anyone else ever noticed that when you start to make mistakes, then things seem to just pile one upon the other till you have a whole heap of failure in front of you? That's how I feel about my life all the time. I try really hard to do the right things, and do them well, but so often, I feel as if I'm the most horrible, useless, irresponsible person on the planet.

I try so hard. I can do the basics. I keep my child fed and clothes, and we have a roof over our head and our living space is generally safe and warm. My cats are well-fed and healthy. We're all pretty well-adjusted. I haven't committed any crimes; I even drive the speed limit. I'm a productive member of society. I work full-time, and my supervisor and coworkers have had few complaints about what I do. I vote regularly. I support my church and my local public library.

Why can't that be enough?

But no, our society doesn't work that way. As evidenced by my to-do posts below, I always have so much to do, to stuff into those all-too-few moments in between working, commuting, mothering, cooking, cleaning... There are phone calls to make, papers to organize and file, best-sellers to be written. I have to provide snacks for the daycare or another activity. I'm the sole provider for my family, and I'm also the parent, the homeowner, the CEO and general manager of the household. And God help us if I don't serve 100% organic, locally sourced food, and if I don't exercise daily in order to keep myself looking like a bikini model. It's overwhelming. If I let one thing slip, everything else starts to go as well. How does anyone actually managing to hold a modern life together without spinning like a whirling dervish and then imploding from the craziness?

It's days like this that I want to crawl back into bed, pull the covers over my head, and wish the entire outside world far far away.

15 November 2011

Film Review: Prince Caspian

Better late than never, I suppose.

I watched The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian in 2009, when my parents obtained it from Netflix. Initially, I was not too sure what I thought and felt about it. This is a movie that deviates significantly from the source material, and rather to its detriment, I believe. I'm pretty picky about that--I like films to stay faithful to the books from which they are adapted. But to my astonishment, there was something about Prince Caspian that I found very affecting, and it really grew on me.

It was only after I saw a video clip of an interview with director Andrew Adamson that it began to make sense. I can't find the clip now--I thought that it was one of the special features on the DVD but it isn't there, so I must have seen it online somewhere. However, I did find some print interviews that said the same thing as the filmed interview, including one in Christianity Today. Here is the relevant portion of the text:

Before Lion/Witch, a USA Today story referred to you as the son of "associate missionaries" in Papua New Guinea. Can you tell me more about that?

It's a difficult thing to get into. I'm sort of in the public eye, and I don't think it's fair to drag my family into it. So I don't talk about it a lot. But yes, we did move to Papua New Guinea when I was 11. My father worked at the university there, and my parents were involved in the church there as well.
Living in Papua New Guinea is an important part of my story in another way. When I tried to understand the Narnia stories from a kid's point of view, I realized that the Pevensie kids were going through something I'd gone through. I went to this country when I was 11, and Papua New Guinea has changed significantly since then. When I was there, I'd ride my cycle all around, a huge amount of freedom. Now there's a lot of violence and corruption. Basically, the place that I grew up in doesn't exist anymore, and for me, there's a sense of loss. I realized that's something the kids go through in returning to Narnia [in Prince Caspian]. They try to go back to a place they spent 15 years in, and now the place they knew is gone. And ultimately at the end of the story, for the older Pevensies, they have to let go.

It's something we all go through in our passage from childhood to adulthood, when we realize we can't go back to the innocence of our childhood. We can't get back to the house being as big as we thought it was when we grew up. And at some point you have to say I accept that—and move on and become an adult. To me, that was the heart of this story from Peter and Susan's point of view. And my own experience provided this sort of bittersweet, nostalgic framework for that.

How many years were you in Papua New Guinea?

From 11 till I was 18. So I still consider it kind of my home, because those years are so formative.

So, the person behind The Chronicles of Narnia movies, as well as the very successful Shrek franchise, is a TCK/MK from Papua New Guinea! He's just from the other side of the island, you guys! Suddenly, everything was clear. Prince Caspian had struck a chord deep within me, because it was like speaking to like. The person who made it has had the same struggles and changes that I've had, going from New Guinea to the modern Western world and realizing, with the advent of maturity, there is no way to really go back. Everybody may feel that way about childhood, but for jungle MKs, I think there's an extra sense of loss, because when the civilization of your home moves from the stone age to the 21st century in the span of a decade or two, it's different than anything anyone else can understand.

Just to be clear, the movie that Andrew Adamson made is actually only tenuously related to the book that C.S. Lewis wrote. But while I might have approved mentally of a film that closely paralleled Prince Caspian the book in terms of both plot and theme, it probably would not have wound its way into my heart the way that Adamson's version did.

Well played, Andrew Adamson. Well played. If I ever meet you (and I hope I do), I want to give you a hug and say, "What you tried to say with Prince Caspian? I get it. And I appreciate that you found a way, in your own medium, to communicate to the rest of the world a little bit of what it means to see the world through our eyes. We New Guinea jungle kids have to stick together, you know."

14 November 2011

Update on To-Do List (aka I'm So Boring)

True to form, I've accomplished some of the items on my to-do list, but they've been replaced by multiple other items, so I'm never going to come out ahead till I die, I think.

Things to do today and tomorrow:
Make dinner
Make lunches for tomorrow
Grocery store (again)
Call plumber
Home inspection to home warranty company
Call home warranty company
Call Dor-Mar
Call Dolores
Financial aid forms
Call school (again)
Aetna paperwork
Compost bins
Recycling (again)
Scoop cat litter
Clean floors
Clean bathrooms
Clean car
Install booster seat
Empty vacuum cleaner
Best Buy – bill and card
Home Depot – receipt
Microwave warranty
Black & Decker – blender
Sort/file paperwork
Thank you cards

Bake bread
Bake cookies
Pay daycare
School paperwork
Call school
Grocery story

13 November 2011

Some stuff done

The thing is, it seems as if I do a lot of work almost every day, and yet despite that, my to-do never shrinks. It grows. What is up with that?!

Anyway, in keeping with my tradition of being late for almost everything, I'll finally post a picture of my Halloween costume. I don't usually dress up for Halloween, but I had an arrangement with my beloved BFF Elizabeth--she was going to dress up as Rapunzel in Tangled, I was going to dress up as Astrid from How to Train Your Dragon, we were going to have a whole "kids' movies" theme going on... Elizabeth got the Rapunzel costume pretty well, but I discovered that there are very few items available for Astrid costumes, and absolutely NONE for a fully grown woman. I did some quick thinking, and decided that I could probably make do with a costume based on another beloved character from a popular series of films: Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter!

I think I didn't do too badly. I was able to pull together the outfit from clothes that I had on hand, and then ordered an authentic Ravenclaw tie (as well as hat and scarf, but they're not pictured here) from Amazon, as well as some spectre-specs. I hand-made radish earrings and a cork necklace, a wand, and a copy of the Quibbler. I actually really loved how most of it turned out, and I hope I have many reasons to wear the costume in the future. It helps that I think I share a lot of characteristics with Luna, including long blonde hair, an surprisingly analytical mind, and an otherworldly perspective. And of course, I'm a Ravenclaw!

12 November 2011

To-Do, mostly still undone

I was going to clean today, but some things came up that were essentially low-level emergencies. So my to-do list is mostly undone, and I'm not sure how it will get all done by Monday. Lots of interesting, important, maybe fun stuff coming down the pipeline, but it does tire me out just thinking about it. It's hard being a grown-up sometimes.

To-Do This Weekend - Updated

Things to do this weekend:
School paperwork
Aetna paperwork
Clean floors
Clean bathrooms
Clean car
Install booster seat
Bake bread
Bake cookies
Home Depot
Black & Decker
Call plumber
Grocery store
Sort/file paperwork

Pay daycare
Call school

Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me

A friend posted on Facebook several weeks back, asking for people's input on "things we wish someone had told us when we were in high school", as she'd been asked to speak at a high school retreat and wanted to make the message as meaningful and practical as possible. I gave her some input, and didn't think much about it for a while, but then I thought more about it tonight. Here are a few things that I wish I'd known (or just understood better) when I was in high school.
  • Embrace being a late bloomer. Early bloomers fade fast.
  • Respect and obey your parents. It's not just a pragmatically good idea; it's commanded by God, who doesn't take it lightly. Look at Romans 1:28-32 and notice that disobedience to parents is grouped with "every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity".
  • Things get better. College is a huge step up from high school.
  • Stand up for people, especially underdogs.
  • Learn to be a good follower, so that in the future, you can be a good leader.
  • Know what it means to really be a leader. Leadership isn't a popularity contest; it's a series of decisions founded in integrity.
  • Pray daily. Petition the Lord for many good things that He lays on your heart, but don't forget to also ask Him to (1) ready you for His service and (2) reveal step by step the path He has laid out for you.
  • You are braver, smarter, and more capable than you realize.

10 November 2011

Boring: To-Do

Things to do this weekend:
Pay daycare
Aetna paperwork
Clean floors
Clean bathrooms
Clean car
Install booster seat
Bake bread
Bake cookies
Home Depot
Black & Decker
Call plumber
Call school
Grocery store
Sort/file paperwork

09 November 2011


My dishwasher did finally get installed, and it works wonderfully. It's nice to not have to do all the dishes by hand and everything goes a lot faster in the kitchen. It's amazing how much we in developed countries can take for granted the labor-saving devices that are commonplace. Trust me, I will never again take a dishwasher for granted!

And as a bonus, a rehash of some thoughts that I may express on occasion: The secret to a fulfilled and fulfilling life is not in getting more but rather is in wanting less.

08 November 2011

More on TV

I was hoping to be able to watch a TV show and recap it for you here, dear readers, but as it so happens, this evening has not been conducive to such activities. I did a lot of useful things, like pick up my child from daycare, go home, make dinner, do some dishes, clean the cat litter box, talk to my SO on the phone, etc. But I didn't watch a recommended TV show and blog about it yet. I'll try to do better in the future (goodness, in what universe do I live, in which promising to watch more TV is considered a positive thing?).

One Week In - I FAIL

Hello, dear readers! I'm so sorry that I already failed to post on at least one day of NaBloPoMo. You see, I intended to post on my blog last night, but I fell asleep while putting my Little Bug to bed, and so that was what happened. That's life when you're a single parent with a preschooler.

This week has marked a few adventures already.
  • On Sunday, the Little Bug spent several hours in a pair of undies without any accidents. This is a huge milestone in our one-step-forward-two-steps-back journey through potty training.
  • On Monday, I started my low-key fitness routine that I hope to incorporate into our lifestyle. I've been doing some simple yoga in the mornings to build up my strength, balance, and flexibility. I haven't exercised regularly for a few years (since I was pregnant, in fact), so I'm very out of shape. Once I've achieved a basic level of fitness, I'll add more challenging routines and increase my cardiovascular workout. I'm doing exercises that can be done in my home, because it's really close to impossible to do outside workouts without a jogging stroller (plus winter is coming, which will preclude any outside stuff for 5 or so months) and joining a gym is too daunting (especially with having to put the Bug in yet another childcare situation while I do classes or a circuit, because I would hate just shuffling him from one caretaker to another when I just want to spend time being a real parent) and too expensive. My sister gave me a Jillian Michaels DVD that looks as if it will be incredible in a few weeks, when I finally will be able to do the workout all the way through instead of dying in the middle.
  • I've cooked and baked, and I'm pleased to report that the new stove is just magnificent so far.

06 November 2011


I may have mentioned before (or maybe I haven't) but when I watch a TV series, I become slightly obsessive about it. I prefer to start from the beginning, and watch to the end, which means that overall, I prefer to watch series that have already run their course. I've been burned before. I've started watching, gotten emotionally invested in a series, only to have it canceled mid-season or at the end of a season but with poor closure (see: Firefly, Angel, Veronica Mars). Other shows may as well have been canceled, having become so lousy that I didn't even follow through to any kind of closure (see: Bones). Still others I tried but I couldn't get into them (see: Lost). I've recently realized that while it may be on the verge of unhealthy, I need some TV in which to invest. I enjoy being able to lose myself in another world for just a little while, particularly when there are also cute clothes to be observed.

When in California last month, a few friends made recommendations:
Dr. Who
Downton Abbey
Warehouse 13

I've also gotten recommendations for:
Dead Like Me
The Vampire Diaries (the GFY girls like it, which is close to a recommendation)

I'm looking for other recommendations. Let me know in the comments.


I was reflecting recently on how many kinds of soap there are. Not just brands of soap, or scents, but the actual forms that the soap may take. For example, most people are familiar with bar soap, and then there's shower gel, and liquid soap, and foaming liquid soap, and the granular soap that is usually dispensed in less-well-kept public bathrooms. I've found, however, that most people in the US are not at all familiar with a certain sort of soap that is an opaque jelly that comes in plastic tubs. In fact, I've only ever seen it in developing countries. When I questioned some coworkers about it, none of them had even heard of the soap that comes in a tub or jar. Does anyone know why? Is it considered somehow a sort of lower-class or "third world" soap? Just wondering.

04 November 2011

More singing

You can imagine how proud I am that, in addition to sometimes singing "When He Cometh", the Little Bug now sings along to the theme song for Daria.


03 November 2011

Precious Children

I put my Little Bug to bed nearly every night, and he always asks me to sing him a song. He specifically requests a song he has termed "the precious children song". And I always comply. Sometimes I ask him if he wants to sing too, and he just shakes his head. So imagine my surprise when, night before last, he suddenly piped up and sang with me on the choruses (with almost all the words being correct!):
Like the stars of the morning
His bright crown adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty:
Bright gems for His crown.

The song is one that my parents sang to me when I myself was a tiny tot, under the title of "When He Cometh". It was one of the first songs I taught myself to play by ear on the piano. I don't know how widely it is sung in the general population, however. Here are the lyrics as I learned them.

When He cometh, when He cometh
To take up His jewels,
All His jewels, precious jewels,
His loved and His own.

Like the stars of the morning
His bright crown adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty:
Bright gems for His crown.

Little children, little children
Who love their Redeemer
Are His jewels, precious jewels,
His loved and His own.

Like the stars of the morning
His bright crown adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty:
Bright gems for His crown.

The Cyber Hymnal has a MIDI of the tune and slightly different words for the lyrics. I have to pull out my keyboard to play it, and learn it on the guitar as well. I want to pass on to my Little Bug all the sweet, simple songs that my parents gave to me, because they are a part of our heritage as a family and as believers. I've never forgotten the hymns that I learned as a child and consider them to have played a tremendous role in the development and sustainment of my faith. I have reason to think that my Little Bug is responding to the words, and though he does not yet understand the full import of what Jesus has done and is for him, he knows that somehow, somewhere, there is a Redeemer who loves him and holds him as His own precious child.

02 November 2011

True Thoughts About Greatness


Some mornings, when there's just a hint of chill in the air, I emerge slowly into the world of wakefulness under my pile of blankets and realize that all three of my boys are snuggled up with me in a jumble of coziness, and it's a moment of perfection that I want to somehow preserve and remember forever.

01 November 2011

November already

Can you believe it? November is upon us already, and with it, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the bold and National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) for the rest of us.

Today, November 1, is also Tuesday, so perhaps the time is ripe for a Tackle-It Tuesday assignment (even though it's already 4 pm in my time zone). For today, I guess I'll set up eye doctor appointments. [Hey, the key to succeeding is setting small, easily attainable goals... or so I've been told.]

In other news, I've been trying to get my little family on a healthier diet, and I'm still getting back into the rhythm of being able to create tasty, filling, but still healthful bag lunches. The end result is that I end up starving by mid-afternoon and have insatiable cravings for burgers and fries. Yikes. I need to make time to cook this weekend.

Oh! Speaking of cooking, I have big news! I've made a major purchase that will, I think, vastly improve my quality of life. I am now the proud owner of a new stove, a new refrigerator, and a dishwasher. When I bought my little cottage, it came with some appliances, including a washer and dryer (replaced a few months ago), a stove (30-40 years old, by my best estimation), and a fridge (20-30 years old). There was no dishwasher. I muddled along as best I could, because appliances are expensive, but while the fridge was at least functional, the stove was dying by inches. The oven never really worked, and then one of the four burners quit. I could still cook, but when the second burner went out, I said, "Enough!" I'm a frugal person, but when I'm down to a creaky old fridge, no oven, and only two working range burners, and I'm STILL having to do all of my dishes by hand, I will scrape together cash to bring my kitchen up to the 21st century. The fridge is great, and is rated at the highest level of energy efficiency. My nice new stove has worked well so far, and I've tested the oven with some excellent chocolate chip cookies. And the dishwasher is due to be installed this week (it's a more complicated process in an old kitchen than just plugging in a fridge or stove).

Well, I'm off to call the eye doctor. Cheerio, all!