1.31.2008

Not-So-Frequently Asked Questions

From one of those email forwards that you're supposed to send to all of your friends. I figured I'd just post the answers here :).

Were you named after anyone? My first name, Kimberly, is from a girl my mom used to babysit. My middle name, Dale, is from my mom’s best friend at the time.

When was the last time you cried? A few nights ago.

Do you like your handwriting? On paper, when it’s small, yes. On a big board like a dry erase board or chalkboard, not as much.

What is your favorite lunch meat? Turkey

Do you use sarcasm a lot? I tend to – trying to use it less.

Do you still have your tonsils? Yes.

Would you bungee jump? No. I did go on one of those things where you drop from a huge tower and you swing back and forth like a pendulum when I was 12.

What’s your favorite cereal? It WAS Weight Watchers Flakes & Fiber cereal mixed with Grape Nuts, until they stopped putting the cinnamon flavor in the Flakes & Fiber. Now, I’m in the market for a new fave.

Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? If they are the type that tie, yes.

Do you think you are strong? In a few ways.

What is your favorite ice cream? Ooohh…that’s so hard. Either mint chocolate chip or something toffee and chocolate.

What is your least favorite thing about yourself? Feeling apathetic

Who do you miss the most? Wade

What color pants & shoes are you wearing? Brown pants, brown boots

What was the last thing you ate? Turkey, provolone and tomato on whole wheat bread – warmed in the oven

What are you listening to right now? The quiet clicky sounds of the office

Favorite smells? Fresh bread, lavender

Who did you last talk to on the phone? Wade

Favorite sports to watch? Tennis, college basketball & football

Eye color? Greenish/blue/hazel – depends on what I’m wearing

Favorite food? Mom’s chicken pot pie

Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings

Last movie you watched? 27 Dresses last weekend

Summer or winter? Summer, by far

Hugs or kisses? Hugs

Favorite dessert? Yes.

What book are you reading now? I wish I were reading something.

What is on your mouse pad? A coffee cup and the words “Le CafĂ©”

What did you watch on TV last night? A show on TLC about the world’s smallest mother

Rolling Stones or Beatles? Beatles

What is the farthest you have been from home? Argentina I think…that’s farther than London, right?

Do you have a special talent? Saying the alphabet backwards

1.30.2008

Cool Political Analysis Tool

This is so cool...
http://www.electoralcompass.com/v/wsj

You answer a bunch of questions and it tells you which presidential candidate your views line up with best. And then you can compare individual issues with individual candidates too, all on a nifty little graph.

It said my views were closest to Giuliani and farthest from Obama. Surprisingly I was more moderate (closer to the middle of the graph, though still in the same quadrant) than most of the Republican candidates - but it was a little scary to see how FAR from the center Obama was, just because I thought I kinda liked his personality.

When I compared on individual issues, I lined up with a variety of candidates on different things (including Hillary Clinton on terrorism - my grandfather would be rolling over in his grave!).

I think I tend to fall on the economic left on education and national security, and am the most socially liberal on gun control. I'm the most socially conservative and on the economic right on health care and the economy (surprise surprise, I'm my father's daughter).

Overall, I think I need to read up on the issues a bit more, because I don't think I know all that is involved in a lot of them (like gun control, education, health care...yeah pretty much most of them).

I wish Bush was on here so I could see how much I lined up with him.

Any comments from the peanut gallery?

1.29.2008

Trusting

Last night, I was feeling contemplative, so I got out some of my old journals and read parts of them.  I love to do that, because even though I struggled (and still struggle) with the same things over and over, sometimes there's that momentary glimpse of truth when God seems more visible than other times.

I'm going to try to excerpt some of my inspired thoughts from October 22, 2003 (the fall of my senior year of college), hopefully without making things too awkward because part of what I was writing about was a boy who is now engaged to the sweetest girl in the world and I'm so happy for them :).  But a lot of what I was thinking about back then applies to where I am today when I look towards the future.

"Father, I need to pray right now for help with trusting you for my future.  I don't have a crystal ball, but I always want reassurance.  I want to know (he) likes me and I want a promise that we'll be together in the future.  But Lord, that is not a promise that can be made right now, and if I could depend on that promise I wouldn't need you every day.  

"It is hard to think about facing life with no clue as to what is going to happen.  I feel like I can deal with waiting if I have a concrete hope to wait for or I see some kind of end in sight.  But Father, I'm looking for the wrong goal.  The crown of eternal life is the prize at the end of the race.  All this stuff in my life really doesn't matter in view of eternity.  My life is a breath, but your Word stands forever.  

"You are forever - the exact same in the Old Testament, in Jesus' day, in the Middle Ages, in the Renaissance, in the 1960s and 70s, today, when I'm middle-aged, and long after I'm gone.  The exact same God.  One plan.  One will.  One Spirit.  From everlasting to everlasting.  Father, you are sovereign.  You know my future - and you designed it to fulfill your will and bring you glory.  

"I can't ask for anything else and I can't bypass the step of trusting you and walking by faith.  There's no way around the wait, the day-to-day journey that takes me to the end goal.  I can't reach the goal without learning what I need to along the way, and really I don't want to fast forward through time that I have to know you more and experience you.  You are so infinite, infinitely deep, beyond searching out.  But I don't want to not even start just because I can't finish.  

"'Blessed is the man who perseveres... because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him' (James 1:12).  'Perseverance MUST finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything' (James 1:4).  

"Father, every day I have the privilege of living as a daughter of the king and of getting to know an endless, limitless God, who also loves me.  That is enough!"

1.28.2008

Too many letters to remember

Wade and I decided to take the Myers-Briggs personality test that he had in a notebook from high school and compare our personality characteristics tonight.  What we found is that Wade is very moderate on everything and I am very imbalanced and lopsided.  Haha... 

But seriously, I was an ISFJ.  The S/N (sensing vs. intuiting) was the only pair that my scores were close on, and I think I can be either of the two depending on the test questions and how I feel at that moment.  But I am very I, very F and very J.  I got 18s out of 20 on I and F and 20/20 on J.  And on their counterparts, I got 4-6 out of 20.

I don't think anyone would argue with the ISFJ description for me:
"Quiet, friendly, responsible & conscientious.  Committed and steady in meeting their obligations.  Thorough, painstaking & accurate.  Loyal, considerate, notice & remember specifics about people who are important to them, concerned with how others feel.  Strive to create an orderly and harmonious environment at work & at home."

Wade is definitely E and definitely J by decent margins, but the middle two were a little hazy.  I think we decided the description of ENFJ fit him the best (or what he strives for the best):
"Warm, empathetic, responsive & responsible. Highly attuned to the emotions, needs & motivations of others. Find potential in everyone, want to help others fulfill their potential. May act as catalysts for individual & group growth. Loyal, responsive to praise and criticism.  Sociable, facilitate others in a group, and provide inspiring leadership."


So what did we learn from this?  I don't know... we're pretty different on a lot of things, but I think in a complementary sort of way.  I think it's hilarious that I'm the opposite of "quick, ingenious & stimulating and resourceful in solving new & challenging problems" (ENTP).  Wonderful, I'm sure my boss is thrilled to have me as an employee.

What do you think?

1.25.2008

Babysitting!

Last night I got to babysit for the 2-month-old baby of one of my college roommates!  How crazy is that?  Lindsay and I went to high school and college together, and lived in a house with 4 other girls our senior year.  She and Adam got married the summer after we graduated (2004) and now they're a family of 3 :).

I have to say, it's a little weird to get babysitting instructions from your friend who is the same age as you, but still so fun.  Caleigh comes with pretty extensive instructions - but I imagine most 2-month-olds do.  She was only awake for 1-1.5 hours of the time I was there, but it was still fun to play "mommy" since I'm surrounded by friends being fruitful and multiplying.

Caleigh wasn't super happy about much last night unfortunately, but I sang Jesus Loves Me and Rock-a-bye Baby to her over and over and that seemed to work for a while.  She really liked the diaper change, surprisingly, and then was very happy for about 30 minutes between eating and going back to her crib!

I can't wait to babysit again :).

Me attempting to hold a baby and take a picture of myself at the same time.  Pardon me if my expression is a little pained :).

Using the reflection of the mirror for a little help.

video
Ok, Lindsay, I hope it's ok that I'm posting pictures and video of your baby on my blog!  She's just so cute I can't help it :).  This is one minute of her happy time - lying on her back looking up at her mobile.  She also has little hiccups, which you can hear if you turn on the volume.

1.23.2008

Beef: It's What's For Dinner...

at least for the foreseeable future...

Tonight I continued on my 2008 goal of cooking and eating real meals twice a week.  I haven't done that well in the in-between times - let's just say there have been a lot of Girl Scout cookies, nuts and pretzels involved - but when I have made dinner, it's been yummy and healthy :).

Last night and today I defrosted 2 containers of London broil I had bought apparently in September (judging from the date on the package).  Some meat-safety sticklers would probably say that's too old, but I've never been a meat-safety stickler.  That may come back to bite me someday, but until then I'll keep eating 4-month-old meat from my freezer :).

Anyway, I figured I should defrost both containers while I was at it since they were pretty old, so beef will be the theme of many meals to come.  Luckily, I got all Robin Miller-esque and came up with 3 different recipes to make with said meat for some variety, since that's the point of my cooking goal.  (Robin Miller has a show on Food Network where she makes food for a week and she always reuses leftovers to turn into a different meal for the next night, etc.)

I prepped the meat for all 3 recipes and just made 1 dish for dinner tonight.  Using my food scale and my wonderful santoku knife, I weighed and cut 1 lb of meat into thin slices for Mongolian beef, 1.5 lbs into thicker slices for barbecued round steak, and cubed the rest for beef stroganoff.  

In making the stroganoff and prepping the sauces/marinades for the other 2, I used up 
> the rest of some about-to-expire sour cream
> part of an onion in the fridge leftover from my quesadillas
> the end of a bottle of soy sauce
> almost all the rest of my Worcestershire sauce
> and a half container of cherry tomatoes that were starting to get wrinkly

The tomatoes actually went in some tomato basil soup I made for quick weekday lunches - using my new immersion blender from Christmas - so fun!  I love using my kitchen gadgets and using ingredients up right before they go bad :).

Anyway, I decided to have the beef stroganoff tonight, and it is really really easy actually.  Just brown the meat with some onions, simmer that with beef broth, ketchup and garlic, and then add in flour/broth roux and sour cream at the end.  Here it is cooking in the pan:




And the complete meal: with whole wheat elbow macaroni and steamed green beans (also a use-up ingredient almost past their prime).  We always had egg noodles with stroganoff growing up, but this is what I had and I really liked the combo.  Plus it's a lot more nutritious.



And the chef, in the kitchen after all the dishes were done:



Now I not only have leftover stroganoff, but I also have:
> 4 servings of tomato soup
> Bread in the freezer and pepper jack/provolone cheeses in the fridge for grilled cheese
> The sauce mixed up and the meat & onions already browned for barbecued round steak
> And the marinade mixed up and meat sliced for Mongolian beef

Ah, I love feeling domestic and making things easier for myself for the coming week!

1.22.2008

NOT Snowed In :(

I so wanted to get snowed in this weekend on Lookout Mountain. Not a snowflake was to be seen, however. So here I am at work...blogging.

Despite the lack of snow, I had a great time visiting Wade over the long MLK weekend. I made the sudden decision Friday around lunchtime to drive up that night instead of Saturday like I had planned. I didn't want to get caught driving in the massive winter storm that was supposedly coming through early Saturday morning and all day Saturday. So I dropped Paisley off at the Tapps' (I love that they love her so much and want to keep her every time I go out of town!) and got on the road about 4:30. I think I'm actually getting a little used to the 6-hour drive, crazy as that is. It's broken up in about 2-hour segments - to Greenville, then to Atlanta, then to Chattanooga. The only thing I hate is driving at night when I feel like every set of headlights behind me is super bright and bearing down on me to go faster. It's probably just my imagination.

Saturday morning, Wade had to leave for an away game at 11:00, so we had a little breakfast and that's about it. Then he was gone for the rest of the day, so I did random stuff by myself. That was the day I was really hoping to be snowed in, and get all cozy on the couch and watch basketball and eat corn chowder and homemade bread from my mom. But since it was sunny and bone dry outside, I decided to clean the shower in Wade & Jonathan's apartment - just for my own peace of mind - so I went down the mountain to Bi-Lo to get cleaning supplies and scrubbed it up nice and pretty :).

I watched a little Australian Open and saw Federer going to a fifth set against Tipsarevic. He pulled it out 10-8 in the fifth, I found out later. I turned on the Carolina-Maryland game and fell asleep at halftime...then woke up to the announcer saying "and North Carolina has been beaten..." Ugh, go back to sleep. It was too cold to get out from under the blanket - despite Wade sweetly turning on the heat to 60 for me (as opposed to no heat at all, the way they normally live...in a drafty, old apartment with wood floors...on top of a mountain...boys...).

Wade and I went to a beautiful church on Sunday, one of those big stone churches with flagstone walkways and cathedral towers that looks like it should be somewhere in Europe. "The kind of church where you would have a wedding," Wade said. And I smiled :).

Sunday night we went on the first real date we've had the chance to go on in about half of our relationship. Wade took me to Outback, where we destroyed 2 loaves of bread in about a minute and then enjoyed our salmon, steak and asparagus, and our Sydney Sundae to top it all off. We rented the movie Waitress and went back home to watch it. That is a really good movie - weird sense of humor, but really funny. We laughed a lot and both really enjoyed it. It was a great night :).

Monday was a pretty lazy day of sleeping in, chatting in PJs, eating the rest of the corn chowder, etc.

Now, 3.5 weeks til my Valentine's/Wade's b'day visit in mid-February. And I better get back to work!

1.14.2008

Goal check

How did I do on my first week of 2008 goals? I would say ok.

I did make dinner 2 nights this week. You saw the quesadillas... I also made honey baked chicken, rice and peas for Jill and me on Saturday night. I finally figured out why my rice has been chewy and gross every time I make it - apparently that particular short-grain brown rice has different cooking instructions than what I remembered mom telling me growing up for regular rice. After I read the instructions on the bag, it was much better for the meal on Saturday.

Wade and I did do devotions two days. Sunday morning's was interrupted temporarily by Paisley jumping over the railing of my 2nd floor balcony! Yes, my dog is a moron sometimes. She was being really whimpery, pacing around my room and frustrating me, so I let her out the door in my room that goes to a little 3x4 foot balcony. She walked in circles a few times (because that's all the space there is out there), and then I saw her squatting down facing the back wall as if she was about to jump. Just as the thought crossed my mind, "she wouldn't jump" - she leaps up and disappears over the wall! I freaked out (as Wade was in the middle of praying) and ran out there. Luckily she had landed on the short piece of roof on the back of the house, and I was able to pull her back over and get her inside. Yikes, close call!

I hung out with lots of good friends this weekend... On Saturday, we gathered at Marcy's apartment to watch Carolina slaughter NC State at basketball. Lindsay and Adam brought baby Caleigh, and other UNC friends came too - Lee and Sara Williams, Michael Beavers, Shaynah Kleber and Greg Lanier. It was so fun to see all of them, and of course all the girls passed Caleigh around, taking turns with the little cutie pie :).

Saturday afternoon I got a surprise visit from my neighbor, Rebecca, who I really like. She and her husband got married this summer and moved in right across from me. He is a first-year resident at CMC, which means she spends a lot of time alone while he's working :(. So she came over to catch up and relieve her boredom, and I was glad she did, as we had a fun chat.

Saturday evening, Jill came over for dinner and catching up, and then we headed over to a birthday party for a guy named Sink. I had only met him once before, but he's a fun guy and good friends with Jill's boyfriend Matt.

I did not quite make the 8 hours of sleep goal. I think I got about 7 hours of sleep about 5 days last week... and I was still tired enough to take naps on Saturday and Sunday. And I didn't do any of the other goals either, but I've got another 350-some days to do those!

1.07.2008

Quesadillas

In keeping with my 2008 goals, I made dinner tonight - for just me, with no leftovers.  I've been in a crazy quesadilla-craving mood lately, so I figured I'd just go with it.


Here are the bottom halves of the quesadillas on my NEW griddle from the Tapps.  I love it!  I used a 4-cheese Mexican blend, and quartered some grape tomatoes and chopped up red onion to fill my quesadillas :).

The scene in my kitchen.


The finished meal, complete with spicy rice and carrots.  The spicy rice was not that great.  I used some of the taco seasoning, but the rice was not done or something - it was still chewy.  I think the rice I have is faulty, because it tastes chewy every time I make it, even though all the liquid is absorbed.

The quesadillas were yummy though.  Next time I'll have to have salsa or something to dip them in.

Now I must go to bed to salvage what's left of my sleep.  Blogging more AND cooking AND keeping in touch with friends AND getting 8 hours of sleep is going to be tricky.  But I did get to talk to my old roomie Jess on the phone tonight and catch up - fun :).

1.04.2008

8 Goals for 2008

I wouldn't say I'm a huge New Year's resolution person, but I feel a little bit like I'm having a quarter-life crisis right now, so I decided to make some goals for this next year to help me focus. I tried not to make them too broad or too ambitious, so I can concentrate on actually reaching them and doing them well, and not stress myself out over periodic failures in the process. And I tried to include specific numbers, instead of things like "at least xyz" because when I do that I feel like I should always be doing better than I am.

Goal #1 - Cook dinner 2 nights a week. That means a balanced meal - no leftovers - made from scratch at home. I want to gradually get myself out of the habit of making big recipes of something and then eating that one food, heated up in the microwave, for every lunch or dinner for a week. I'm going to make myself hate every food on the planet by doing that!

Goal #2 - Get 8 hours of sleep 5 nights a week. This is going to be really tough, but I have been living on a lack of sleep now for many months, and it affects everything else in my life. This will entail going to bed by 11 on weeknights when I get up in the morning by 7.

Goal #3 - Do devotions with Wade twice a week. We started this at some point this fall, and I think it means a lot to both of us. It fell off during December (exams, holiday parties, sleeping in on vacation, etc.), but it is so important to our spiritual growth, both individually and as a couple. For now we usually each read a Psalm out loud over the phone, and the person who didn't read prays through the Psalm (out loud) that the other one just read, and vice versa. We may change it up at some point, but I would highly recommend this, especially to long-distance couples :).

Goal #4 - Train Paisley to stay on "place" (her bed). When Paisley went through her training at 5-6 months old, the last command to be taught was "place" - in which she should immediately go to her designated place on command and stay there until I release her. This is great for dinner parties (so she's not all up in everyone's food) or other guests coming over, etc. She didn't get as much training with "place" though as she did with sit, stay, etc., because I was tired of drilling her all the time every day by that point.

Goal #5 - Get leather chair & ottoman repaired. This is pretty self-explanatory, but it requires calling the store and/or leather repair place and hauling the furniture wherever it needs to go to be fixed, and paying for it. But I'm tired of having gaping holes with stuffing coming out of both arms of my chair, and covering it with a blanket and not sitting in it!

Goal #6 - Put up curtains in my house. Another self-explanatory goal, but one that requires money and time to search out and put up curtains. I just think it would make things look so much more homey.

Goal #7 - Make dinner for 3-4 families with new babies. Our church has a new baby about every 3 weeks, and I have made a meal for all of one family ever. That is terrible, considering I would describe my spiritual gift as being behind-the-scenes, cooking and hospitality-type things. I also have a zillion friends having babies too, so I think one meal every 3-4 months should be doable.

Goal #8 - Keep in touch with good friends and hang out once or twice a month. This is the most nebulous goal, but I really want to be committed to staying involved in friends' lives - friends who have been with me through some of the best and worst times in my life, and have prayed with me, laughed with me, held me accountable, challenged me, and loved me. There are tons of people who fit those descriptions to some extent, but I have in mind 8 in particular (how fitting - 8 for 2008). Some of them live in different cities, so it'll be tougher to get together, but I want to make it a priority. But Jess, Susie, Marcy, Lindsay Dyer, Lindsay Hecht, Libba, Jill and Hillary - you guys are the best and I want to make sure you hear that from me often :). Bonus is my CG girls from church, but I know I'll hang out with them, so they don't count for the goal.

So there you have it...my 8 goals for 2008. Hopefully they'll provide some fodder for blogging too - from what I made for dinner (pictures and recipes included), to what I'm learning from God, to fun times with friends.

1.03.2008

Blog O'Dogs

I love the recent fad of combining words or names to show their status as a couple. Brangelina, Gyllenspoon, Vaughniston... It's ironic, actually, considering my distaste for alternate spellings. But I think the word combination craft intrigues my obsession with grammar, spelling and language, because you have to join words at points that make sense with traditional language conventions and make sure letters or sounds are paired with other letters and sounds that follow standard English protocol.

I got to thinking (way too much) this morning about labradoodles - the dog breed that's a cross between labrador retrievers and standard poodles. Wade's sister has one, which I met over Christmas, and my cousins also have one, which my parents met on New Year's. Mom was describing my cousins' dog to me, saying it was like a big mop of huge curly hair, which I thought was interesting because Angie's dog has relatively short hair, though still curly. Mom said that labradoodles can vary widely in looks, because they can be bred in a number of ways.

So I thought of even more names to capture the exact breed of dog, depending on the parents. There's the puppy of a lab and a poodle - your basic labradoodle. If you breed that labradoodle with another lab, you get a labradordle (more lab than poodle). If you breed the labradoodle with another poodle, you get a labroodle or maybe a poobradoodle (more poodle than lab).

If you bred a golden retriever and a collie, you'd end up with a litter of gollies. A Scottish terrier and a Great Dane? Painful as that would be, you would get a Great Scott!

Which other combinations can you think of?

1.02.2008

Christmas Break

I apologize that I'm about to combine a couple weeks and various unrelated activities in one post, but I've barely been to my house recently, so I'm just now getting the chance to upload Christmas pics, etc!


On Christmas Eve morning, we started an excellent new tradition of having a little Carolina reunion breakfast. Lindsay and Adam brought the newest little Tar Heel, Caleigh, and Jess and Marcy came, along with Wade (the adopted Tar Heel - right baby?). It was great to see everybody and Caleigh gave me baby fever - aaaah! Here are the girls, on the bench outside Original Pancake House.



Wade and Paisley had a little daddy-doggy time on the floor Christmas morning. Awww...



And here is Mr. Handsome himself, showing off the shirt and tie I gave him for Christmas.



And over at the Johns household, all the "kids" scrunched onto the couch for a picture with our stockings :). From this angle, Hillary looks super small and Wade looks super tall...not that that's entirely an optical illusion!



A goofy family shot of Wade, me and Paisley :). I love how his chin is pushing into her eye - haha!




The weekend after Christmas, we headed down to Atlanta to visit the Wrights and go to the Chick-fil-a Bowl on New Year's Eve. Here's the Tapp fam - maybe next year's Christmas card :) - before heading to the game.





Wade and I got to sit in a box above the Clemson end zone. Cushy seats, private bathrooms, a cash bar and free snacks - not a bad way to watch a bowl game on New Year's Eve! We also bought foot-long hot dogs for dinner. Wade got onions and mustard, and I got peppers and ketchup - we're just different like that ;-). The rest of the fam didn't make out so bad either... they sat on the 4th row, about the 47 yard line.




It turned out to be a really exciting game, with Auburn winning at the last second in overtime. War Eagle and Happy New Year!