Monday, January 31, 2011

"I'm not dead yet!"

This post has nothing to do with the Monty Python movie I just quoted, but yes, I am not dead. Not yet. All of you might be by the lack of commentation going on but... I'm still here.

I spent all of last week with a large (empty, except for me) house and a Portuguese Water Dog. A good portion of that time I spent snowed in with the dog. (Long story short, the house I was sitting for has a lllooooooooooonnng, curvy, extreme hill-type driveway and when we got over a foot of snow all at once-on top of a layer of ice- it took the hired plow guys 2 days, total of about 8 hours to get me out. Oh. MY.) Needless to say that puppy, Madison, and I had a lot of bonding time.

Here she be...

 And here is a video of Madison and I that pretty much summarizes both our feelings on being snowed in. She had grabbed a squeaky toy and wanted me to play with her. But each time she bit down on it and heard its sound she would go into a fit of howling and other unidentifiable noise. I'm not sure if it was out of joy or agony but...? It was funny. Watch.
video

Anyway, I am now home again and am back to normal life of work and school. Now excuse me I need to go brace myself for another snowstorm. Tomorrow. And Wednesday. I am so over winter right now...





ps: I am not "awesomecooking" this week (and last week I wasn't home) due to the fact my mom wants to eat up a bunch of left overs. But next week I plan on tackling a mega super complicated meal to make up for it. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kyle MacDonald had a paperclip...

Ever heard of him? Kyle MacDonald? No, he does not live on a farm and there is no catchy chorus of vowels sung about him. Kyle MacDonald is a young guy with a creative mind. I like creative, out of the box thinkers, so I was intrigued by him. Let me tell you more.

I walked out of English class today with a deeper understanding of paperclip uses (the Prof -who might be THE MOST eccentric woman I've ever met-made us write for ten minutes about uses for the paperclips she "gifted" us at the beginning of the class, to expand our boxed in minds) and an assignment to google "ONE RED PAPERCLIP."

I went home (or to the house I am babysitting actually) and jumped on that assignment. She hadn't explained what this red paperclip was at all about (all she said was to google that, and not just "red paperclip" or we'd end up on a porn site. Great...) It was an ambiguous sounding name and I was curious to know more. I was thinking it was an art project or something...

Wrong. It was a project, but not of art.

Now, I am not sure how I had never heard of this. It all went on in 2005 (yes, I'm a little behind).  Regardless of all that I still want to blog about it so I will. Freedom of press...

Kyle MacDonald had one red paperclip. And over craigslist he proposed a bartering game (e-i-e-i-oooo?). He wanted to trade that paperclip for something and he planned on continuing the trading until he got "a house. Or an island. Or a house on an island."

And he did! That crazy boy, he did it! First he traded his paperclip for a fish pen, then a doorknob, and on he went for a year, making a series of 14 trades, until he traded for a HOUSE!

He blogged his whole journey, complete with a huge sense of humor (the guy is funny, let me tell you) and pictures. I like blogs. I like humor. I like creative thinkers. So this guy's project was a win for me. And he got famous for his silly idea. Not only did he get to meet some incredible (and famous) people, but he now tours speaking, he has been on commercials, he is in the Guinness Book of World Records for both "Most Successful Internet Trade" and "World's Largest Red Paperclip"(a giant one was made in his honor), and he wrote a book which can be bought in 14 different languages! Wow. Just with a paperclip? I guess that is a good place to get started.

If you, like me, hadn't heard of this guy I would encourage you to go check him out. You'll at least get a couple legitimate "LOL's" out of it, and you might get inspired to think a little more creatively. Maybe not about office supplies but...something.

What could you do? "Small is the new big," I have been told. Start imagining. In the words of Kyle himself "I [you] need to think outside the paperclip."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Quoteables (and more snow...)

I'm snowed in.

If you remember I am house sitting this week, and currently it is snowing. AGAIN. So here I am, sitting in a nice house, up atop a hill. A hill covered in snow. I can't really go anywhere until the plow guy comes, so my Portuguese water dog friend Madison and I are hanging out, reading, blogging and doing homework.

In my snowed in boredum I realized I sort of let the weekly "Quoteables" post die out (again), so I figured while I am sitting here, captive in a house that is not mine (and I don't want to go to mine as my family is all puking apparently?), I could do a post.

Saturday night I was at a Bible Study. We were looking at the life of the prophet Elijah and how God used him and other people in unusual ways to accomplish His will. In the passage we looked at (1 Kings 17) Elijah was living in a time of famine, but God had him where he was for a purpose. God was using Elijah to bring his word. There was no food and no water, but God kept him alive in miraclous (and actually weird) ways. He sustsained him by...having ravens bring him food. (whut wuuuut?) As we talked about this the leader of the study shared a quote that I liked and I immediately knew it was going in a blog post. It is by George Whitefield, a well known minister who was involved in the Great Awakening, and it talks about God working through us.

If you've ever read any of my other quote posts(or any post with more words than pictures) you know how I am about being passionate and living for a purpose.  Whitefield seemed like minded and I really like the way that he worded it.

“So long as the work God calls us to do is not complete, he will see to it that we are sustained. We are immortal until our work is finished.” - George Whitefield

You were created for a purpose. As long as you are breathing in air, there is a reason why you are here. And no one can stop you but you. You are immortal until you're not. I really, really, really liked that.

I know I was put here to live for God and bring Him glory. All of heaven has my back. There is no reason for me not live my life to its fullest, " to the hilt," and with much ardency as I can, and no one is going to stop me.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Male Offspring of a Lemur...

 What is wrong with this picture?
 See that fluffy thing? That is the back side of Tobin James, our cat.
He is quite the rogue. I tell him on a regular basis that his mother was a lemur (I mean, just look at that tail!). Sometimes I remark that his father smelled of elderberries.

What is wrong with the picture is not only that my cat is half lemur but that he is on top of our refrigerator.
Please take note.
 Why is lemur boy on the fridge???
Please also take note that the cabinet is held shut by 4 rubber bands.
Why? Well it isn't just so we can keep the children out of the candy jar.
My sisters put those there because little son of a lemur was opening the cabinet.
 Again, why?
That is where we keep the cat treats and he was feeling as though he deserved some...
Oh Tobin...you rascal...

Friday, January 21, 2011

This, that, and other things...

Today was supposed to be a big, at least minorly exciting day but instead it is another snow day. And by "another" I mean like probably the 6th in the last month?

This morning my alarm went off earlier than normal.6:20. Today was SUPPOSED to be my first day at "real life college" (aka not in the computer. I did an online career school for a year, finished, and declared I was done with online learning por siempre). I was supposed to have English class at 8:00. English class in and of itself if not a big deal at all (especially Basic Composition. Been there, done that, but still have to take the class.) but the experience was new. May I remind you the last time I was in a formal classroom was more or less kindergarten. Yes, I was homeschooled (which I liked as I struggle to focus amongst other people and do better by myself). Anyway, here I am, almost 20 years old, and pretty unfamiliar with classrooms. So I was excited (/nervous) to get started.

But...when I woke up snow was falling from the sky. Again. In mass quantity. We knew yesterday that we would getting six inches. School knew. I knew. But yet that selfishsmelfish school didn't want to cancel morning classes last night. So I got up this morning at dawn's buttcrack, saw that they finally had decided to cancel, and went back to bed. No English class for me today. Bummer.

Instead of class today I am going to work on my never-ending synopsis project, clean my room, do some laundry, blare music on repeat (Current song: Shekinah, off the IHOP Joy worship album. SO GOOD!) and pack up my life in a suitcase and move out.

Move out? Well, not really. Just for a week. I have a habit of making extra money by sitting in people's houses, babysitting their pets and furniture while they go on vacation. This week I am house sitting for some friends headed to FL. Imma chill in their house with their bouncy black dog Madison and 2 cats Tigger and Digger.

(Sorry this post is all over the place. Trying to cover a lot as I don't know how much I will be posting next week.)

In other news, I have a lot of new yarn in my life. My gma is the biggest encourager enabler of my yarn addiction. Last week she gave me a white trash bag full of yarn. Only thing is that I had no place to put it other than in a big, ugly blue storage bin. Unacceptable. So I went out to my barn (which is a magical place), hoping to find an old suitcase or something to store my goods in. But I found something better. It had my name all over it- literally!

 My vintage toy chest from when I was a wee person, hand painted by my mom (yeah, I'm not the only ridiculously artsy one around here).
 I put it on a medal pedestal from another chest/trunk thing I had. Doubles as a couch side table!
 Are you ready to see this?
 Yup. I put it all in rainbow order. Maybe I am insane, but it makes me incredibly happy.

Now I am all organized and ready to make as many wee squares and animal hats (There are more coming! Customs! You just wait!) as I can stand! Right after I do all that other productive, educational stuff I mentioned...

Sigh. Overall today is not going anything like I thought it would. I wish it would just be spring already. Snow is really inconvenient...

Psychology class on Monday, if the snow doesn't ruin it!

Until then, I will be cleaning, writing and babysitting couches.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

AviPanda and BellaFox

...you know those moments when sometimes you just have to put on matching hats with your little sister and do a webcam photoshoot?

we had such a moment.

  my little sister is the worlds best "esimesimo" (aka Eskimo) kisser

 Break to apply chap stick...


OH MY. 

Have I told you how much a love this kid?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Awesomebella Cooks-(CHICKEN) FAJITAS!

Yup. Fajitas. Chicken Fajitas.

I had high hopes for them. In a perfect world, in a perfect place, with perfect ingredients it probably would have been perfect but... it was not.

Let me tell you a little bit about me and my relationship with fajitas. As you may know I have been to several places in the world besides the USA and included in those places are missions trips to Chile, Mexico, and 2 to Costa Rica. So it is fair to say I have met a good deal of proper (aka "non-gringo") fajitas. I have met all sorts of good foods and I know that in the USA we pretty much butcher the foods of other cultures. ("Mexican" food? WHAT is that stuff?! I've been to Mexico other Central/South American countries and it ain't like Taco Bell Hell at all!). I've eaten some good (non-chicken or steak) fajitas. I've eaten them with handmade, to order tortillas. Good tortillas. And let me just tell you, what I used last night were NOT good tortillas. 'Dem were some of dose Gringofied tor-till-as.

Here is how the story goes...



About a week ago my mom bought (in bulk) some packages of what she thought were flour tortillas, only smaller. But they were CORN (or so they said...) tortillas. In a bag. (Moral: NEVER BUY A TORTILLA IN A BAG!) I looked at those buggers and thought, "hey, easy FAJITASSSS!!!!". They were made by a recognizable maker of (knock off) mexican-type food. The package was in Spanish. I gave a shot at rough translation and double checked online on proper preparation for them.  I THOUGHT it would all be good...
Nope. It was not. I should have made homemade, REAL tortillas. Big, big, big, big, big mistake. Those wound up being nasty and rubbery and didn't taste a thing like a corn tortilla. I fed mine to the dog...


BUT! The rest of the meal was tasty, I promise. I didn't follow any particular recipe (once again I did my scan and combine method) but all the fixin' were delicious...we just mostly ate them with a fork rather than wrapped in a rubberized corn disk...


There was chicken (in that perfect world I mentioned earlier they would have used chicken breast cut into thin strips. But I had drumsticks so that is what I used! Actually I made my sister de-drumstick them. She gets the credit there...)
 A whole flock of chicken drumsticks, marinating in oil, lime juice, garlic powder, corn starch, chili powder, salt, and pepper.

Peppers, peppers, peppers (and a little onion)
A yellow, green and orange pepper. A red onion. 1/2 a jalapeno. Tons of cilantro (we are addicts). 
Cooked up in some oil, red pepper flakes, chili powder, garlic powder, corn starch and lime juice.
  
Guacamole...
 4 avocados (yes, I know you see only 2...). Other half of jalapeno. 6 tomatoes. Cilantro. Lime juice. Salt. Red onion optional...

Refried beans...
 Yes...I cheated. But I jazzed them up with more spices and of course CILANTRO!
The cats were all pretty sure that the can of beans I opened was secretly soft cat food and they didn't want me to hog it to myself. Tobin James was up in the sink beside me and Hope and KissBaba were meowing around my ankles.
"Dear Cats, look. Read the label. It is beans! Smell with your kitty noses. YOU'RE WRONG! Now GO AWAY!"


There was also (not pictured) shredded iceberg lettuce, sour cream and cheddar cheese.

 So... I was a little disappointed last night. I so wanted to be (fake) Costa Rican! But...nope. I am still white and American as ever. An impostor! But I have learned my lesson. I am never again eating (or making my family eat) tortilla out of a bag again.

I think the one upside to this all is I got to do a lot of talking to myself in Spanish. My communication skills are minimal, but I am quite strong on food (and how to pray for people. Decent at that too). Specifically how to order food in restaurants. It is a necessary skill when in a Spanish speaking country and I have gotten quite good at it over the years. So I spent most of my cooking time last night rambling on to myself about frijoles, lechuga, and everything con cilantro...

*sigh.

Oh well. I suppose I am bound to fail sometimes. But I'm still awesome. And I am still cooking and earning from my failures! Next week WILL be better! Check it out and see what I make then!

Monday, January 17, 2011

QUOTEABLES to honor my man MLK...

*brace yourself for a word/quote/passion heavy post. If you like looking at pictures and ignoring what I say, then I suggest you skip right along here and wait for something cuter and more artsy on another day.. I am a writer, so I cannot be crafts and photos all the time. Sometimes I have to WRITE. But, fair warning, this post may be unpleasant to you.*

I don't know if you have noticed (see here, here, and here), but I am quite the fan of Martin Luther King Jr.

I mean, look up a couple inches at that blog header. King? Yeah, as in the Reverend Martin Luther.

A familiar name, yes? He gets a holiday for his stand against racism and his fight towards racial equality (which by the way is something I believe in), but there is a lot more to the Rev. King than that. People often take this day, "Martin Luther King Day," as just another reason to get out of school/work, and maybe just maybe they think for a moment about his famous "I have a dream" speech and are briefly grateful for one of the men who changed our country's history. (But most of the time people don't have a clue about anything  and just want a day off...)

Though it is what he is most remembered for, during his life King didn't only stand for racial equality. His faith in God made him see the great wrong that was going on in his world and he did something to fix it. He stood for things that challenged what was seen as normal. He took a bold stand against many things, including but not limited to racism, which were not only socially tolerated in his time, but socially and morally accepted.

I don't know if you have look around your world lately, but he didn't entirely eliminate racism, or create a world in which everyone loves each other and gets along. Those problems still exist today. But he was bold enough to see the problem and do SOMETHING, and that is why I like him so much.

There is a verse in the Old Testament of the Bible, found in Micah chapter 6, verse 8 that every time I read it I think of Martin Luther King Jr. I don't know if he considered that a life verse of his or what, but he very clearly lived it out. 
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God.

Now, as you keep all of what I just said, particularly that verse, in mind, I want to share some of my favorite King quotes (outside of "I have a dream...") with you.  I love quotes, you know that, and King is in the top two people that I quote most (Winston Churchill, another history changer, would be the other).  

**And I want you to know, all the quotes I am about to put in aren't just some nice words I pulled up in google just today so I could have a fitting post for this holiday. They are quotes which I have written in notebooks and scribbled on sticky notes and stuck in various places in my room.**

Here now, on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, are some of the amazing things he both said and lived for;

He had great, PASSIONATE faith in God;
"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
"To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing."
He had great, PASSIONATE love for others;
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?"
"The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?"
"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."
"There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love."
He had great PASSION for justice
"The time is always right to do what is right."
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
"Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal."
"The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict."
"When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative."
 And because he so strongly believed in those things, he had a great PASSION for living his life to its greatest potential and to the glory of His God;
"The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important."
"Whatever your life's work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better."
"The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be... The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists."
King was a man who was strong in what he believed. Not only did he believe in it, or dream about it, he stood for it. He stood for it so boldly that he got killed for it. He wouldn't be ignored, or shut up. He wouldn't back down. King was a radical. An passionate extremist. He knew why he was put on this earth, and nothing/no one, even assassination wouldn't stop him from standing for it.

My all time favorite quote by him is THIS...
"If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live."-MLK (1963)
 The best part about the above quote is that he meant it. He said that some 5 years before he was assassinated. He wasn't just some face in the public eye, saying pretty things to win favor, smooth talking people into liking him, but living a life contrary to his words. He said that and then he LIVED IT! And not only did he live it, but then he DIED FOR IT!

King knew what he was made for. He had a dream, a big dream, and they assassinated him for it.  He died for that dream, because dreaming always cost you something.  

I challenge you, on this day we remember the revolutionary dreamer MLK, to think about what your dreams are.  I've often been told  (by my 3rd most quoted person, my youth pastor "Rev" Eric Peoples) that "the thing that bothers you most is probably the thing you were put on this earth to fix." Maybe you aren't going to get assassinated for it, but what would you be willing to give *everything* thing for? What are you passionate about? God put you on this earth; what for? If you still wake up every morning with breath in your lungs, there is most assuredly a reason. If you are alive, you have a purpose! You were not created to just get by living a life of mediocrity. What were you made for? What are you dreams? And what are you willing to give for them?

I have a dream. Do you?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"I'm not a big, fat panda, I'm THE big fat panda!"

*anyone else love that movie-Kung Fu Panda- as much as I do?

After I made my foxy fox hat I mentioned I was working on making a similar hat for my little sister. Only she wanted a bear, more specifically a PANDA bear. She is only two, but she made it clear that a Panda Bear was just what she wanted and a panda bear was just what she got. I'm finished and I have to say... IT IS A ADORABLE!

 She is clearly happy. I'm happy as well. Ear-ed animal hats might be my new obsession. Not sure what I'll make next, or for whom I shall make it, but I assure you, I WILL.

*all of my adorable panda sister photos stolen from my mom.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

BENEDICT! You're a BEAST!

Remember this morning when I thought 17 inches of snow was a big deal (see post from earlier today)? Well...I was more naive then than I am now. 17 inches is NOTHING.

Look, look with your special eyes upon this!
Yeah. Exactly.
I kid you not, there is 26 inches of snow outside my house. 26! TWENTY SIX! My mind cannot even comprehend fluffy, white precipitation at such a number!

AND it is STILL snowing!? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE!? Storm Benedict! You are a monstrous fellow!


 Snow up against glass door.
 Boys in a snow cave.

 My dad and his trust snow blower (mostly) cleared out our driveway. The jobs looks like it might never end though.

Well...there was a BMW in our driveway...dunno where it is now...?

 *kids in snow photos stolen from my mom...

This is all very unbelievable. I know I live in New England but this is excessive for our little state. It has been snowing since midnight and is still showing no signs of letting up. We might need to live in igloos and get a dog team soon. This is just getting CRAZY.

I'll keep you updated. Assuming I am not covered over in snow soon...

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