Saturday, June 26, 2010

Traveling with the President and other stories

Well friends, I'm back from the UK, but am unable to post until I look through 1200 pictures (yes, between the 4 of us, we took over 1000 pics in 11 days) and edit those puppies up and also choose the best of them.

My friend Jessica discovered these awesome Presidential bobble-heads in Hawaii, and so I asked her to pick me one up and then came up with the idea of bringing "The President" with us on the trip and take photos of him with us.

Here are a couple to whet your whistle on the stories to come from this trip:

The President loves fresh coffee after camping at a barn in the Lake District in Northern England.

The President really enjoyed Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The President enjoying Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

First Popcorn! (POTD 6/9)

I met Liz Hehman in Greenville, IL, when her husband assumed the Head Football Coach position at Greenville College. Liz introduced me to stove-top popped corn. Well, that is a misnomer - I had made stove-top popcorn before, but not regularly; mostly for when we were going to a picnic or a drive-in movie. At the time, my regular popcorn consumption came in the form of, yes (*gasp*), microwave popcorn.

I know, I know. But that was before I started trying to eat less processed food and more healthy stuff.

So anyway, Liz made the BEST popcorn on the stove. And since then, I've not only made popcorn on the stove about a million times (that's my rough estimate) and taught about a thousand people (that's a gross exaggeration) about how much better it is than microwave. The legacy of "real popcorn" is now a legend that stretches across the United States.

(incidentally, Liz is really an excellent photographer and has her own business: Liz Hehman Photography - if you live in OH, you should check her out!)

So - wow, this was a long time in getting to..... tonight I made my first pot of popcorn in the new apartment. And now my house officially feels like home.

Here is what you need to make the world's best popcorn (my special "Margarita Popcorn"):

Its pretty simple. You need 5 ingredients, a heavy pot with a lid, and hot pads.

I put about 3 Tbsp on the bottom of the pot, turn the fire on high and then pour in about 1/2 C. of popcorn. Put the lid on and let it heat up. Once it starts to pop, then shake the pot a little bit every 15 seconds or so. You can lift the lid up a teeny-tiny bit  every once in a while to let out some of the steam, too.

While that's cooking, melt about 1 Tbsp of butter.

Once it stops popping or slows down a lot, then turn off the heat and pour it into a bowl. It will look like this. Mouthwateringly delicious.....

Pour on some butter - but as you are pouring, toss the popcorn so that you don't end up with 20 buttery kernels and the rest totally dry. The goal with the butter is to put on just enough and shake it up just good enough that the salt and lime stick to the popcorn.

Tada! Done. I know, it just looks like plain popcorn. But trust me. After the butter sprinkle on a little salt and then some lime sprinkles and toss it up. Then add a little more salt to taste. The lime works as a salt substitute, so if you aren't careful, you can put too much salt on it - add a little salt at a time, toss, taste, repeat.

Then eat so much you are almost embarrassed for yourself. But if you can't eat all of it (or if you are convicted about how you shouldn't eat all of it) then put some press and seal wax paper or saran wrap on the top. The next day if you put it in the microwave for 30 seconds - it will be SUPER delicious as leftover.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Interesting Facts about Shakespeare

I'll admit it - I didn't give you an official POTD yesterday. I do have a couple pics to share, hopefully I'll get them posted tonight.

Anyway, On my google reader is the Pioneer Woman blog. She is cool, funny, and writes about a wide variety of stuff. Recently, she's started doing this "20 facts about...." post fairly regularly. I thought these two facts about Shakespeare were particularly interesting. If you want to read all 20 facts, click here.

Otherwise, read on curious friends:

19. The following commonly used phrases are thought to be originally coined by William Shakespeare (many say these combinations of words did not appear in print before Shakespeare’s works):
All that glitters is not gold
All’s well that ends well
Bated breath
Dead as a doornail
Fool’s paradise
For goodness’ sake
Good riddance
Heart of gold
In a pickle
Knock knock! Who’s there?
Laughing stock
Love is blind
Naked truth
Neither rhyme nor reason
One fell swoop
Star-crossed lovers
Pomp and circumstance
Pound of flesh
Primrose path
Too much of a good thing
Wear my heart upon my sleeve
What’s in a name?
Wild goose chase
The world’s my oyster

20. Shakespeare’s was said to have an extensive vocabulary; his works contained more than 30,000 different words.

Schooled for the day, I proceed to my job where I will be working on creating course assessments. Enjoy YOUR day, friends.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Growing Kids! (POTD 6/6)

I like posting a day late and then dating it for the "right day". Seriously, though, I would have posted these yesterday, but I was working on making my powerpoint presentation for my class today. It was due at midnight so I had to get it done and between that and unpacking the kitchen I was up till almost midnight and did not get to post.

I have worked with "Kid City" at my church for about a year and a half. I volunteer as the teacher in the "Growing Kids" room, which takes place during the adult Sunday school hour (between services). The class I teach is K-5, so its a big mix of kids of different ages - and now that I've spent so many months with them, I'm really starting to learn their personalities and fall in love with them.

Here are some pictures of this week's class. In the month of June, "Kid City" is focusing on Responsibility (one who is trustworthy with little can be trusted with much - Luke 16, I think). Anyway, this week's focus was on the earth and how we can be responsible with God's creation. So the kids painted murals on big sheets of paper (which are now displayed in the classroom). After the service, there was a all-church bbq on the patio.

Oceans and Lakes (above)

 Forests and Fields (above)

 Sky and Mountains (above)

I loved this one - because its such a kid thing to do (peek over a wall, underneath a tree), and little Olivia's brother LOVES to do whatever she does, so here he is, hanging on the wall so that he can see, too!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Moving Day! (POTD 6/5/10)

I'm plumb exhausted. I'm so exhausted, I can barely keep my head up using my muscles; I have to prop it back on the loveseat and stare at the ceiling while I type. But I could NOT go to bed without briefly writing about what an amazing day today was.

It really starts with yesterday and how Jessica R gave up a whole day, basically, to help me pack so that I could go to Sex and the City 2 with some girls from small group and still be ready for today's "moving party." Jessica is an all-timer. She's in the hall of fame. Jessica is my Los Angeles Candice. I'm so grateful to have found someone like that, who will sacrifice her time just because she knows how important it is to get whatever it is done, and she can make it fun while she goes.

Today I woke up with a migraine, so I was nervous about the move. Then I walked down to the Corner Bakery for breakfast (since all my stuff was packed) and realized I forgot my book. That made me more nervous - what was going on with the day?! (no fear, I had 75 cents, so I bought an LA Times). But then I got to the Corner Bakery and it wasn't open yet. It wasn't going to be open for 50 more minutes. DARN this day! I ended up going to Denny's where I had a delicious breakfast. (turning point?) Then my headache started to dissipate... better and better... and then the amazingness of the day began.

Jessica S took me to get the UHaul truck. Even though it meant that she had to meet me two hours before everyone else. That was awesome.

Then Dustin, Jeremiah, and Tate showed up. These former neighbors of mine (they live in Westwood) are terrific guys who have golden hearts of service (they are always taking me to the airport). They started moving stuff right away, and Jeremiah volunteered for organizing the truck duty.

Aside from these four champs, Jessica and Ryan R, Jeff, and Chelsea and Zane, were all there too. Moving everything down to the truck, taking apart the bed, and loading the truck took only 80 minutes. It was amazing. Even more amazing was how positive and encouraging everyone was. People were just in great moods and that, as much even as the physical labor, blessed my socks off.

Meanwhile, at the new apartment, Jackie and Justin were doing yeoman's work. While we were loading, they were cleaning the entire kitchen so that it would be clean and disinfected when I unpacked food and dishes into the cupboards. They also worked with the cable guy to get my cable, DVR, and internet set up AND they took care of setting up the food and drinks and ordering the pizza. In fact, Jackie had such awesome foresight that the pizza arrived literally 2 minutes after someone said to me "we're all done. everything is unloaded."

The unloading only took 20 minutes.


It was amazing. Again with the great attitudes and relentless focus. I was so blessed.

Finally, and for me, it was the icing on the cake. After we all got fruit and veggies, pizza and beer, we sat - all 13 of us - in my living room and ate together. It was tight because of the boxes, but I have a living room that can seat 13 people. People, listen when I say this again - I could seat 13 people right now and there would be room for MORE! My cup overflows.

here are a few pics. even though the unpacking/organizing/decorating isn't totally complete, I thought you would enjoy some before and after pics. (captions below each pic)

 (living room - before)
 (kitchen and possible office area - before)
 (the bedroom - before)
 (the living room - half unpacked, but looking good!)
 (didn't get to the kitchen tonight)
(my new american style bed that is WAY more than 3 feet from the ceiling!)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Coach Wooden (POTD 6/5)

"The renowned Wooden Pyramid of Success encourages us all to value cooperation, loyalty and team spirit.  The Pyramid remains one of the most recognized blueprints for competitive excellence, in any pursuit." (Chancellor Block, UCLA)

Coach John Wooden passed away today. UCLA, and the athletic world, has lost one of its bright lights.

I don't know a lot about Coach John Wooden. Sure, I've read bits about him over the years. I even read a great interview in the Daily Bruin when he turned 99. But I don't know about his win/loss record. I can't recite great moments in his career.

But what I do know is this: he was a good leader who understood that athletics could be a gateway to something more. His principles of leadership (best exemplified in the 12 lessons and the pyramid above) are ones which any person can rely on to become a success and to do so in a way which values integrity and others above all else.

Greenville Football, through Coach Frosty Westering's leadership at PLU, also developed itself along those principles. The Champions Manifesto, written by former GC Head FB Coach Scotty Kessler, is build with Wooden's principles. Countless programs across the US - not just Basketball or Football, not just sports even, are build upon these principles.

I hope that as we look at our own paths, we'll consider how we can reach for success the Wooden way, and in doing so, demonstrate to the world that we don't have to hurt each other - that in fact, success for others means success for all.

Rest in Peace, Coach.

(I was going to post about my awesome day packing, my fun time with Jessica packing and at a movie, and a great dinner she made for me and a couple others, and also how the Lord is working on my heart about so many things - singleness, happiness, purpose, etc - but after reading about Coach Wooden's passing, I felt like that was the thing that needed to be noted today. Stay tuned for pictures tomorrow from moving day)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Packing (way less fun than unpacking) (POTD 6/3)

Its weird; I like loading the dishwasher, but I don't like packing. I don't like to unload the dishwasher, but I like to unpack. It seems like a contradiction and I realized that living in 400 square feet, I like packing even less than normal.

Its just that packing takes up a lot of space. When its unpacked, everything is in its place so all the open space is, well, open. But as you pack your apartment starts to get smaller and smaller.

Its not like I haven't moved before. I have. A lot. In fact, since my college graduation in 1996, I have lived in 10 locations:
Bothell, WA (3 mo)
Kent, WA (6 mo)
Auburn, Wa (6 mo)
Bremerton, Wa (13 mo)
Renton, Wa (5 year)
Greenville, IL(a) (1 yr)
Greenville, IL (b) (2 yrs)
Waco, TX (2 yrs)
Phoenix, AZ (3 mo)
Westwood, CA (2 yrs)

So its not like I'm a stranger to packing, but I still really, really don't like it. Perhaps I like it even less now than ever before. So I'm grinding away at packing and thought I'd share a few pics with you today. Now, tomorrow, I'm actually looking forward to the packing experience, because my friend Jessica R is coming over for basically the whole day to help me finish and to get my TV/electronics over to my new apartment. This is all in preparation for the moving crew (10 of my friends) coming on Saturday afternoon to load up and get me to the new apartment, and for the cable guy, who will arrive at my new apt on Saturday, in the midst of the packing party. I realized I needed to have my TV,etc over there for him, so that will be a part of tomorrow....

Anyway, now I'm rambling as a stalling/procrastination tactic. So, on to the photos, and onto more packing.

Peace friends.

The bottom shelf of the bookcase still is full, because I can't see it, so I forget about it. Then I see it again and think "dang it! don't forget about that shelf!" and then I forget it again.

I also used today to take down all the pictures off the walls and to remove my DVD holders. I'm trying to remember that when I'm settled in the "one-bedroom apartment of joy" that this will all be worth it.

Even the desk area (aka: Under the Bed) has gotten into the act. By tomorrow, I expect this area to be completely filled.

I predict that tomorrow night I may be sleeping on the loveseat.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Life on a College Campus (POTD 6/2)

Today after my dentist appointment, I headed back to campus for some lunch and homework time. The clouds of the morning had lifted and I decided to eat and study out on the patio between Moore Hall (where I have most of my classes) and Kerckoff Hall.

Trivia: You know that scene in "Legally Blonde" where Elle Woods arrives at Harvard and picks up her new student materials and she finds out that her social calendar is missing? That was filmed on the patio I was sitting on today. I love that movie. Anyway...

So I grabbed some food and sat down on the patio, ready to do some statistics homework. All around me were students and tour groups and it was one of those perfect college campus moments that I love. The best part was that there were groups of students in various stages of costume, practicing scenes from famous plays - there were guys practicing sword-fighting, who I could tell were doing lines from Camelot (kind of a depressing play, actually, as Matt, Candice and Collin would agree), and another group (picture at the bottom) who I think was doing The Odyssey.

Thought you would enjoy the story and some pics. Enjoy.

Delayed. (no POTD 6/1)

With the end of the Memorial Day weekend and going forward into packing/moving/finals, I just couldn't get it done yesterday.

I didn't take any photos and I didn't post any. But I hope to post one tonight.

Today I am headed to a meeting with my faculty advisor, another dentist appointment (so that she can tell me that there is nothing wrong with this tooth, even though I think there is) and then statistics class. Later today I have to read through a friend's paper (I'm the discussant) and then I have my last dollar dinner of the year.

Life in Westwood is winding down for me. I will miss this neighborhood, but I am super excited to be in the new apartment.

Photo to come later today. XOXO.