Sunday, April 7, 2013


Witness my impenetrable garden of awesomeness!  It's a 4' x 8' raised bed, surrounded by 1/2" wire fence, covered with bird netting.  Nothing planted yet since it might snow again this week.  But soon there will be beans, peas, lettuce, herbs, and even tomatoes and cukes if we get enough sun!

Whew.  Time for a nap.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Blessings

Today has been a remarkable day, and it's only 8:30 in the morning!

Tony and I went to the Easter Vigil at church last night, and so were not going to go to mass this morning.  However, I didn't want to just sleep in on Easter morning, so we had planned to hike up Quarry Hill and have our own little sunrise service.  The sunrise would occur at around 6:55 am, so we left the house by 6:30 and drove up there.  We were surprised along the way by how many cars seemed to be following us.  When we got to the parking lot, to our great surprise and amazement, there was a bagpiper, in full Scottish regalia, playing!  As we got out of the car, we realized that there must be some kind of organized service going on.  We joined some of the other folks who were gathering, and introduced ourselves.  They explained that they were from a Congregationalist church in Rochester, and that they do this every year.  Usually they hike up to the cemetery in the park, left from the state hospital days around the turn of the 20th century, but today, because of all the mud, ice, and snow, they decided it was too treacherous to attempt.  So we stayed in the parking lot.  Around 6:45 they handed out bulletins, and the simple service began.  There was the Gospel reading from John, several Easter hymns (some accompanied by bagpipe), and a prayer litany.  Tony and I felt that this was God surprising us with an Easter blessing that we could not have predicted or planned, and it was GOOD.  And very cold.

When we returned home, Tony took a hot shower to warm up while I made breakfast.  I had bought a tube of crescent rolls at Aldi the other day, and I decided to make cinnamon-sugar pastries out of them.  I unrolled the dough, spread each triangle with butter, then sprinkled on a cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Then I rolled each up into something that looked kind of like the Pope's hat, sprayed them with cooking spray, and sprinkled on some more sugar.  Into the oven at 350 for about 11 minutes, they were perfect.  The butter melted and sort of fried the bottoms, while the middles were buttery and just a little gooey and fluffy, while the tops were crusty with sugar.  I think they were even better than the Pillsbury Grands cinnamon rolls with frosting that my family eats at Christmas.  They were smaller, somewhat healthier without all that frosting, and much easier to eat.  I'm declaring them a win.

Friday, January 11, 2013

What's Up

I was recently asked why I don't blog anymore.  There's not really a good reason, except that I haven't felt like doing so.  I've been busy with two jobs, a fiance, and schoolwork, which is plenty for me.

Today a king-sized bed was delivered to and installed in my apartment, courtesy of Tony's grandparents and his aunt Stacy.  It is very large.  Fortunately, my bedroom has up until now been too big for me and my stuff, so now it all looks like it fits.  Photos to come, maybe.

Tonight, we are headed off to an "Engaged Encounter", a pre-marriage retreat designed to help prepare us for marriage and all that it entails.  The fact that we are attending it exactly one year after starting our official relationship is an irony that is not lost on us.

Last night, we started the process of registering for gifts, beginning with Bed Bath & Beyond.  (Tony kept asking where the Beyond section was.)  We managed to register for many kitchen-type items and towels, but we were too tired to deal with the bajillion kinds of sheets and bedding on offer, so we stuck to a few big quilts.  Did I mention we'll be starting our marriage with a king-sized bed?

We're also trying to figure out what "eating healthy" means for us, as we both love to cook and eat delicious food that is often not on any approved diet plan.  So we debate the merits of carbs vs. fats vs. yummyness, and try not to overdo it.  Sometimes (often) we fail.  Last night after registering, we came home to watch the last episode of White Collar Season 3 (alas, the last one currently available on Netflix!), during which I decided I wanted some molasses cookies.  So I made a dozen, and we ate them all.  Oops?  On the other hand, our dinner was delicious and relatively healthy: lemon-marinated cod with brown rice and Greek salad.

In summary, life is ticking along, with its usual ups and downs, although it seems we are in an up period at the moment.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Modest Proposal

On September 2, 2012, Tony H. Miller asked me to marry him.  I said yes.  Here is our story.

Lime-Coconut Marinade

In an attempt to eat healthier lately, I invented this marinade/sauce.  I used it on chicken breasts, but I think it would also be delicious on pork or shrimp.

Lime-Coconut Marinade

coconut water (you could also use coconut milk, but I couldn't find any that had no HFCS or other additives)
shredded coconut
juice and zest of one lime
soy sauce
cayenne pepper
coconut oil (for cooking)

Combine about a cup each of coconut water and shredded coconut.  Add the lime juice and zest; feel free to add more if it's too sweet.  Add a tablespoon or so of soy sauce, and cumin, cayenne and salt to taste.  Pour into a bag with the chicken (or other meat) and allow to marinate at least a few hours, but preferably overnight.

When you're ready to cook, heat coconut oil in a skillet on the stove until drops of water sizzle, but don't spit, when added.  Reserving the marinade, place the chicken breasts in the pan.  Cook a few minutes on each side, until the chicken is done and the outside is brown.  Remove to a plate to rest.  Then reduce the heat and add the rest of the marinade to the pan.  Cook down until the sauce has thickened and turned brown.  The coconut bits should be toasted a little.  Add a slurry of cornstarch and cold water if it's not thickening enough.  Remove the sauce from the heat and press through a mesh strainer, to remove the shredded coconut.  (I didn't do this, and the shredded coconut made a weird texture in the finished sauce.)

Serve the chicken over rice, finishing with the sauce on top.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Door County, Part Two: The Happy Birthday Edition

This morning dawned bright, clear, and cool.  LR and I went for a three mile walk while SB made French toast and bacon, which LR had requested in honor of her birthday.  While we were walking, we saw

Wet plants
 We returned to the suite and before we ate breakfast, we sang

Happy Birthday (number 1).

Friday, June 22, 2012

Door County, Part One: The Arrival

This weekend, to help celebrate LR's birthday, she, SB, and I went to Door County, WI.  I have never been here before, but they had, and my parents have, and my boyfriend has, and they all have said it is a beautiful place.  Having been here for about four hours, I can totally agree.

Friday, March 16, 2012

No, really, I'm alive.

Remember that time I was blogging a lot, and held a contest to see when my 100th post would be?  I had lots of interesting projects planned and I'm sure you're dying to know how they turned out.

Most of the projects didn't happen.  I didn't knit a sock, I haven't been running very much, and I haven't cooked anything spectacular lately.  I have, however, done the following:

1. acquired a fantastic, wonderful boyfriend named Tony.
2. got a part-time job shelving in a library near where Tony lives.
3. played tennis for the first time since gym class.  Tony is a tennis aficionado, and an excellent teacher.
4. started spring classes for my library degree: Reader's Advisory and Children's/YA Services.

So that's why I haven't been blogging.  I'll try to get back on the blogwagon (again), but no promises.  As for the "guess when the 100th post will happen" contest, let's say you're all winners!  Anyone who wants to write a guest post is welcome to submit content, and I'll put it on the blog!  Leave a comment here saying "I want to guest post!" and include your email address, and I'll get in touch with you.  Thanks!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Children Are People

"To be a "gifted" teacher is really just possessing the knowledge that children are people and then proceeding to treat them like people, loving them, and listening."

I have said things like this before; that the way teaching happens these days is not the way it should happen.  The best advice to teachers is to treat students like people.  This sounds like a "duh" kind of thing, but think back to your own school years.  How often were you treated like a cog in a machine, or a person of less value/standing/importance than the teacher, or simply one of the crowd of students?  I would bet that it happened, and still happens, more often than we like to admit.  Those stellar teachers who manage to break the mold end up being the most effective and the most loved.

The above quote is from Teacher Tom's blog, and I highly recommend reading more of his posts.  He teaches preschool in a play-based learning center.  I would love to explore how the ideals of play-based learning could apply to school-aged children and even higher education.  What do you think?  Leave your thoughts, ideas, and comments below.

[This is post #98.  We're getting close to 100!]

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Running update

Lots of fun new things in this department.  My brother (barefoot running aficionado) gave me a gift card to Dick's Sporting Goods for Christmas.  Although Dick's doesn't stock Vibrams, they did have the Adidas version, called Adipure.  I went and tried a few pairs on to determine the correct fit, and decided to get them.