Sunday, August 29, 2010

I got my swim trunks and my flippy-floppys

What a week! Last Saturday Andy and I attended the wedding of Hong and Emily (congrats!) and enjoyed a unique dining experience at their reception. It was ten courses! Each table had a huge lazy susan and the food was served family-style. Most of the time we didn't know what we were eating, and when we would ask the waiters would look confused and hesitate before confidently declaring, "It fish!" I'm proud to say I tried it all. I found the menu online so now I know what I ate!

Deep-Fried Stuffed Crab Claws
Shredded Chicken with Jellyfish

Soup:Crabmeat with Fish Maw 
Sliced Fish Strips with Chinese Mushrooms
Golden Roast Chicken "Cantonese" Style
Seafood Treasure in Taro Nest
Stuffed Crispy Duck with Taro Purée
Pan-Fried Whole Fish "Cantonese" Style
Young Chow Fried Rice

Cold Almond Jelly with Mixed Fruits
our view
Last Sunday we drove to Corolla, NC with my immediate family. It is always a blessing to have my brother with us because he lives in Korea and we don't see him often. The house was right up against the beach and we saw beautiful sunrises, sunsets and summer storms. We brought Casey and my parents brought their dog Ellie, and they loooved the beach! It was the first time we had ever brought a pet to the beach with us (except for my sister's tiny turtle, Chompy), and it went better than I expected. Casey stayed out all day with us and kept cool by digging a hole in the sand behind someone's beach chair and resting in its shade. She chased sand crabs and fetched sticks in the water and behaved wonderfully off the leash. If you own a dog you understand how exciting this is. :)
Casey kept getting on my parents bed b/c they put the mattress on the floor.
on this day she was posing next to
my mom's crossword puzzle. 

The trip was simply perfect. We rode bikes, rented jet-skis, the boys golfed, the girls read, we ate fresh french toast bagels in the mornings (tradition), played games, watched movies and silly you-tube videos and enjoyed five star dinners every night. My mom and sister are such amazing cooks that I am usually too intimidated to cook for my family, but this trip I made penne with sausage and peppers, which is a super simple dish that my friend Amber once made for me. Each night one person in the family was asked to present a devotion. It was a special way to learn from one another and to keep the Lord on our hearts during our vacation. Andy discussed Philippians 2:3-4 and I discussed idols of the heart and how to counsel people who are struggling with putting God first. I thank God for providing me with such a special family and for allowing us to enjoy vacations together. We hope to have another person at our next family vacation, whether that is a wife for my brother or a baby from either Katie+Todd or Me+Andy. Eek! 
happy pup!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

chicken with it's head cut off

we're leaving for Springfield tomorrow to attend a wedding on Saturday before heading to the OBX on Sunday. so much to pack. so much to remember.
enjoy the end of August! I know I will.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

eat pray love

If you haven't read the book, "Eat Pray Love" is the true story of a woman (Elizabeth Gilbert) who spends four months each in Italy, India and Indonesia after a divorce and another relationship left her broken and unsure of herself.

I'm a different movie watcher than most people...or at least, many of the people I know. I get fully absorbed by the beauty of the actors, the costumes, the music, the scenery, everything. Here's a good example: I like the movie "Marie Antoinette." I think it's sad, funny, absolutely gorgeous and ironically, watching it feels like eating cake. I don't know many people who like the movie "Marie Antoinette."

That being said, "Eat Pray Love" was also sad, funny and gorgeous, though instead of making me feel like I was eating gelato and pizza and pasta, it just made me want to be eating them!  

Julia Roberts was beautiful, James Franco, Billy Crudup and Richard Jenkins were surprisingly tender and Javier Bardem was simply delicious. Every character was astounding. The soundtrack was glorious-- take note of the song that plays when Elizabeth (Julia R) is eating a plate of spaghetti. Genius. 

I think many women will be able to relate to the desire to know, to discover one's self. I think it's important to know who you are and to like that person. I think it's important to surround ourselves with people who enjoy who we are and who bring us up instead of down. I think it's important to not get caught up in the travel aspect of "Eat Pray Love." When I saw the movie "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" I ached for Greece. I thought that if I could only get away, then I would be able to discover myself. Granted, I did end up going away to Ireland for six weeks and I did end up discovering a lot about myself there. But the thing is, I'm still discovering myself. Most of my discovering has happened right here in Harrisonburg, Virginia. I'm thankful that I have moments to myself where I can just be me and just do "me" things and find comfort and beauty and pleasure in being in my skin. I like my thoughts, I like how I can make myself laugh, I like the way I eat cheesecake veeery slowly because I fork tiny slivers into my mouth and hold each bite on my tongue. I like that I like the movie Marie Antoinette, gosh darn it! 

Now, was it as good as the book? I wish I could remember the book better. In my opinion, if you read the book first, it's almost always better then the movie. If you see the movie first, though, it can be hard to pay attention to the book. So read it, watch it, whatever- I think you'll enjoy it either way.

Monday, August 16, 2010

no more break ups

I drove home tonight through a path of fireflies. It was breathtaking. I work out in the boonies, so it's all windy roads and scenic views. There was a fire in me tonight that I couldn't keep inside. I threw my hands up (driving with my knees) and sang at the top of my lungs and gave in to the flood of memories that immediately rushed in with each song that played.
It's weird listening to my old break up songs. I still love screaming out the lyrics, but the anger and frustration in my voice is all a show. What a relief to not have to deal with that anymore! It felt amazing to sing those songs and not be heartbroken.
"Sore Thumb" by The Format and "Over You" by Acceptance were my break up songs for Andy our freshman and part of our sophomore year. We were on and off and wanting to be back on but needing to be off until finally it all fell into place. We said "I love you" through shaking hands and tear stained cheeks and I told Andy that if we got back together I didn't ever want to break up again and there was a silence as the meaning of my words sunk in and he looked into my eyes and I knew, right in that moment, that he never wanted to break up again either.

This is a compilation of song lyrics I made freshman year. Can you feel the teenage angst?

I can't be losing sleep over this, no, I can't
I could still be ruthless if you let me.
but you left me here to count ten thousand questions to the answers
why can't you make up your mind
why don't you, why don't you say that to my face?
do you wanna leave or somethin?
It's thoughts like this that catch my troubled
but your lips when we speak 

are the valleys and peaks of a mountain range on fire.
So let me walk these coals till you believe
I can cut the mustard well enough.
But I won't make you,
I won't make you.
I'm under attack again, my dear,
I'm in the way.
If my mind would just stop racing...
Since then it's been a book you read in reverse,
So you understand less as the pages turn.
The rhythm of my footsteps crossing flood lands to your door have been silenced forever more.
The distance is quite simply much too far for me to row
it seems farther than ever before.
If i told you this was killing me,
 would you, would you stop?
'Cause something isn't right here.
How could I be so removed in the background waiting for you?

Friday, August 13, 2010

two dinners, a book review and a political debate

Last night I made linguine with spicy Italian sausage in a cream sauce. I cooked the sausage in one pot, the pasta in another, and in a final pot I sauteed peppers and onions in olive oil until done and then stirred in heavy cream, garlic, salt and pepper and a few pinches of cheese from a "fine Italian blend" bag. When the pasta and sausage were done I added them to the veggies and cream sauce and stirred until coated, then served. Rich, creamy, delicious.
Tonight I made what I'll call a southwestern chicken salad. I rubbed taco seasoning on three chicken breasts  and while they baked I heated black beans and corn. After the chicken was cooked I diced it and tossed it with more taco seasoning. To the lettuce I added the chicken, corn, beans, a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and a few crushed tortilla chips. We tried the salad without dressing but decided the lettuce tasted "dry" so we both added a small amount of dressing- he used parmesan peppercorn and I used three cheese ranch. I had intended to buy a chipotle dressing but forgot. It was delicious anyway, and we have plenty of leftovers! Note: if you are making a salad and know you'll have plenty leftover, store each ingredient separately so the lettuce won't get soggy. We had plenty of chicken, beans and corn left over.

Today I finished "The Poet of Baghdad" by Jo Tatchell. It's the true story of a famous Iraqi poet named Nabeel Yasin who became an Enemy of the State under Saddam and fled the country in 1979 with his wife and small son. I love books about the Middle East but had never read one that discussed Iraq during the rise of Saddam. It's a fascinating, shocking story that left me breathless. I absolutely recommend it, especially to those who fully believe in the importance of art and literature. "The Bookseller of Kabul" by Asne Seierstad is another powerful story about a man who is determined to keep culture alive in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. 

I never have the news on (oops), but I read about plans for a mosque to be built near Ground Zero in Newsweek. Apparently this issue has been in the news a lot lately, but today was the first I had heard about it. I've looked around online at more discussion on the topic and thought these opinion pieces from the Washington Post were interesting: Krauthammer and an opposing piece by Sargent. Read the comments left by readers. Also check out this pro-mosque piece written by two mothers who lost sons in 9/11.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

under the umbrella

I watch Little Women at least once a year. It's a favorite for many reasons, one being the spectacular soundtrack. This song, "Under the Umbrella," was played at the end of our wedding ceremony. I had the friend running the sound booth time the song so that the first 30 seconds happened when we were announced husband and wife and shared our first kiss as a married couple. Around 30 seconds in was when we turned to face our friends and family and walked up the aisle. I think of that moment every time I listen to this song.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

head above water

I don't think I have ever had to schedule time for myself. Time to take a breath. Time to not think about everything else. I've never had such a busy summer, either. I've gotten some great time with Andy, with family and with friends, but I don't count that as time for myself. My mind has been constantly racing with tasks that need completing, people I need to contact, events I can't forget just goes on and on and on and on. The commercial for Jello Mousse Temptations where the ad says "It's Me O'Clock" really annoys me, but I want a me o'clock! I would love to be able to think about all the things I have to do in a day and remind myself that at x time I had a date with an armchair at B&N. 

When I nanny I have time to read or watch television while the children sleep. It normally satisfies my need for "me time," but I've noticed lately that even when their house is quiet, I can't quiet myself! I write to do lists or meal plans or even silly notes like ways we can save money when we have children. My novel is littered with scribbled-on scraps of paper. I took a few minutes to read while waiting on my ride to Bible study and instead of reading my novel I was distracted by all of the tiny notes and I read them instead! Not so relaxing.

Thankfully I have this time right now. This doesn't feel particularly relaxing, but that's probably because I'm blogging about not being relaxed. So, I have eaten a bowl of Special K Chocolate Delight (amazing) and put on George Winston's "Summer" album and here I am, blogging away and attempting to keep my head above water. When I'm done with this post I will lay out my workout clothes so that I can sleep in as long as possible and then I will crawl under the covers, read some 1 Corinthians and maybe a chapter of my novel, snuggle with Andy and hopefully have a solid night's sleep. Aaaand that sounds so good that I'm going to stop right here.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

so me

you know how you can go into a store and find something that is I love how whimsical the tray and chandelier below are, and how the tray plays to my silly and youthful side while the chandelier plays to my more mature, lovely side.

"The pig always knows what makes him happy.
The elephant is on good terms with the dog.
The rabbit likes to wear the dotted t-shirt, and
has a lovely chair."
This tray is designed by Shinzi Katoh. I picked it up in Seoul, and it's been displayed
on my dresser ever since. It makes me laugh every time I look at it. 
this chandelier screamed TAKE ME HOME!
so I did.

from 17 E Beverly St. Staunton, VA

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

she's going to start a new life

Dear Becca,
Nine years have passed since we first met in Biology class freshman year! We've been through many milestones together: first kisses, prom night, high school graduation, beach week, first big break ups, going off to college, my wedding! We have giggled over boys, cried over boys, tried on each other's clothes and shoes, eaten a LOT of brownies and ice cream, complained about teachers (you and, laughed over embarrassing moments and most of all wondered aloud about the future and what God has in store for us.

You're moving to Boston at the end of the month to begin your Master's degree through the Boston University School of Medicine and I am SO PROUD OF YOU! You have worked crazy hard to get to this point. I know you will continue to give your all towards your work. I hope you make time to journal your thoughts, stroll through parks and museums and stuff your face with seafood. Well, I know you'll make time for seafood!

I love that I know you inside and out, and that you know me the same way. I love that I can come to you about everything and receive a listening ear and Godly advice. I can pick out zillions of memories of us together and each one makes me smile. My new favorite memory: our last day together before you leave. Going to Staunton Grocery and ordering fancy dishes and me trying to cut into my croquette and it FLYING off the table and landing with a splat on the floor and you practically falling out of your chair laughing. You chatting excitedly about starting a new life. Me looking at you and thinking of how far we've come. We never did toast our mochas...but here's to you, Becca!

I couldn't be more excited for you.
I thank God for you, and you will be in my prayers!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

2 years, 2 months, 24 days

There's something about the look in your eyes
Something I noticed when the light was just right
It reminded me twice that I was alive
And it reminded me that you're so worth the fight