Friday, April 26, 2013

Seven Quick Takes with aesthetically pleasing pork chops

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I didn't post last week mostly because my internet was mostly dead for about 3 days but also because last week was something else, you guys. The kind of something else where I go to the doctor's office twice and the hospital another twice. (I know that's not grammatical, but I don't care.) It was just the outpatient part of the hospital, but still. Also, the second time I got a bracelet with my name on it. I'm still not sure why, considering nobody ever scanned it or anything and I left 45 minutes later.

Anyway, I'm doing okay now but prayers for my vague medical-related intentions would be appreciated.

--- 2 ---

My friend Grace is coming today! I hope she doesn't mind that the apartment is really messy and I haven't vacuumed in forever. (At least I have a good excuse this time, though honestly? My apartment is always messy and inhabited primarily by dust bunnies.) I can always distract her with chocolate, since I did succeed in going grocery shopping yesterday.

--- 3 ---

We visited Scott's family briefly the other evening and ended up taking home a bin of books that they found in the basement. (The bin is labeled "Scott's books," which is why they belong to us now.) It's mostly classics--for instance, now we have second copies of Don Quixote and Gulliver's Travels, and first copies of Les Miserables and The Count of Monte Cristo, both of which have been on my vague to-read list for a while. (I had to take a break from thick books for a while after college, but I think I might be able to tackle one or two now that it's been nearly two years since graduation.) (Two years!)

Now we just need to actually assemble the bookcase we bought back in January.

--- 4 ---

I also got to see my mother and siblings this week (Andrea had a follow-up appointment with the neurosurgeon). At one point, Teresa was being a little rough with Matthew and I gave her a scolding about "gentle touch!" Matthew heard this and automatically reached over and started gently stroking Teresa on the arm. He's heard the gentle touch lecture before. :)

(Teresa gave him a hug and kiss to prove that she knows how to do gentle touch too.)

--- 5 ---

At 17 months, Matthew doesn't use many words at all (at least not in front of me), but he sure can communicate. For example, when I asked if he could say "Andrea" he didn't say anything, but he did point to her. Then he pointed to me and asked "Whazat?" I told him my name is Megan. A good hour later, Mom mentioned me by name and Matthew pointed to me. I was very surprised that he remembered.

"Whazat?" is his favorite word; it can be a question but most of the time it seems to mean, "Hey, look at the cool thing!" (He spent half the visit pointing to the ceiling fan and saying "Whazat!")

He also knows the sign for "more" (which in Matthew-ese means "I'm hungry") and does a modified version of "milk" (which means that he's tired and wants to take a nap--with a bottle of milk, of course).

Apparently his receptive language is also very good, but my only experience of that was with the "gentle touch" story above.

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Pinterest recipe of the week: Garlic-Lemon Pork Chops. We pretty much followed the directions for these and they turned out awesome. Also, they're not as hard to make as they might seem when you first read the recipe. Scott made them with very minimal help and direction from me, because I was feeling particularly unwell the night that they came up on the menu. (That maybe should have been a sign to ditch the plan and make something easier, but we didn't and it turned out fine.)

Here is a picture! Scott is, of course, responsible for the aesthetically pleasing arrangement.

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I planted peas again this year, like a month ago, which was apparently too early because of the 60-ish that I planted, only three came up. Here they are:

We'll see if I can keep them alive any better than I did last year.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Have no anxiety at all

One of the things about OCD is that it makes you think the tiniest things have massive import. Your child falls and breaks their arm on the playground and the thought leaps unbidden to your mind, "It's because I didn't fold the towels right yesterday." Of course, in your rational mind you know that this isn't true, but you are extra-careful with the towels for weeks afterwards, because you can't shake the thought that bad things will happen if you aren't.

The thing about having obsessive-compulsive tendencies and being a Christian, at least for me, is that it becomes harder to convince myself that the little things I do don't have a profound effect on the entire universe. Your small thoughts and actions and so forth can have a profound effect on your own soul and on the body of Christ in general. Your prayers do make things happen.

Knowing that can make it so easy to get caught up in doing prayers exactly right. Say the right words, make the right gestures, feel the right feelings. Because of course if you've been a Christian for more than 16 seconds you've heard that Bible verse that starts with "Have no anxiety at all" and ends with something about making your petitions known to God. I can't remember exactly how it goes, because the imperative "Have no anxiety" instantly triggers massive anxiety. After all, it means that if I'm anxious God won't hear me because I'm doing it wrong. 

Then one day I figured something out. It didn't instantly solve all my problems the way revelations usually do in these moral tales, but it did make the problem bearable. The realization was this: Prayers don't make things happen because they're yet another ritual in the unending cycle of rituals. They work because God loves you.

Because God loves you, he isn't going to ignore your prayers because you accidentally said nine Hail Marys on the third decade, or because you genuflected on your left knee, or because you felt anxious.

He loves you even when you mess everything up, even when you're a horrible person, even when you don't pray at all, much less pray "the right way."

He loves you even when you're so paralyzed by anxiety that you can't believe in his love.

He's God. He has time to keep telling you until you believe it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Seven Quick Spring Cleaning Takes

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First, prayer requests! Today is apparently Neurosurgeon Day in my extended family. My sister is having minor surgery today (Yeah, minor neurosurgery. It's a thing.) and my father-in-law has a consult with a neurosurgeon to figure out how to deal with some herniated discs in his neck. Prayers for both of them would be appreciated.

(Updated later in the day: My sister's surgery went well. No word on FIL's consult yet.)

--- 2 ---

The Only Sister's Confirmation last night went well (at least I thought so). Mrs. YEB was her sponsor, so both she and Younger Elder Brother were there. (Elder Elder Brother lives too far away to visit much, unfortunately.) Scott and I arrived about 25 minutes before the ceremony started and were still only able to get a seat because we squeezed in with his family. There were apparently 170 confirmandi. (I still want to know, incidentally, why an event for school-aged children was held at 7 p.m. on a school night.) Yet, somehow the whole thing only took an hour and a half. And afterwards there were cookies and lemonade and stuff. (And wine, actually. Eldest Younger Brother, who turned 21 a few months ago, took a cup, drank a few sips, and then gave the rest to his mother--which is pretty much how I acted with wine when I was 21.)

Then we went back to the Cobbler homestead for cake and ice cream and presents. TOS got all the essential St. Therese loot (a statue and a medal, anyway) and some other presents, and we all had plenty of sugar, and then the party broke up by 11 p.m., which is very rare in the Cobbler family. I am nonetheless very tired today.

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Some funny conversations:

(The boys are rearranging furniture so that Mr. Cobbler can sit and ice his neck while still watching the present-opening process.)

Me: "This is why you have so many children, so they can take care of you when you're old."

Mrs. YEB: "Aww, you just called him old!"

Me: "I think he knows he's old. I mean, he's got his arthritic foot and his neck... I think he knows."

Mr. Cobbler: "Yeah, I know."


(We are discussing/judging the fashion choices of the other Confirmation attendees. I comment on how I thought it was cool that one of the sponsors was wearing a military dress uniform.)

Mrs. Cobbler: "[Youngest Younger Brother], what rank was he?"

YYB: "Private."

(It's funny because YYB answered without even having to think about it. And because he's not-quite-16 and yet everybody in the family defers to him as the expert in just about everything. I seriously fear for him when he goes to college; he's going to be so bored.)

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I have lately been having some kind of misplaced spring cleaning urge. I say "misplaced" because I do not actually want to do any vacuuming or dusting or the like. I want to do things like make a slipcover for our old and battered couch (I have a giant piece of fabric in my stash, so it would even be FREE) and print wedding photos (which would not be free, but we've been married nearly a year and a half and everything is still digital...) and do all the other little projects that have accumulated on my mental to-do list since we moved here.

I might or might not update on if I succeed in executing any of these projects. "Blogging more often" should probably go on the to-do list as well, shouldn't it? :)

--- 5 ---

Scott fell asleep in the recliner after dinner twice this week, and as I write this (at 9:30 on Friday) he's been asleep in bed since 7:00. I hope it's just his allergies or something and not that he's getting sick.

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Random food-related take: When I was little, deviled eggs were this super-special treat that we had about twice a year if we were lucky. Now that I am old and married, I make them almost every Friday.

They really aren't that hard to make (easier than tuna salad) and they're cheap and easy protein. Scott eats them happily as long as I sprinkle a little paprika on his.

I still can't get over the idea that they're a special treat rather than something appropriate for Friday abstinence, though.

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Teresa has this stuffed animal named Mr. Monkey. The other day, inspired by Silly Songs With Larry, she declared that Mr. Monkey is in fact NOT a monkey--he has no tail, so he must be an ape! 

No word yet on whether Mr. Monkey is getting a name change.

For more Quick Takes, visit Camp Patton, but also visit Conversion Diary and pray for Jen and her new baby.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Seven Quick Easter Takes

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I am in a bit of a sugar-induced jittery fog right now, so if these takes are even more random and incoherent than normal, that's why.

Also, it's APRIL, which means EXCITING THINGS ARE HAPPENING SOON. The Only Sister is getting confirmed in less than a week (yes, on a weeknight; no, I have no idea why they do that), and then on April 26 Grace is coming to visit me. *happydance*

Also, last night I actually managed to catch Emily on Skype and we had a lovely chat and got caught up on each other's lives. I still need to drag her out here for a visit sometime, but progress!

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Here is a picture of my dark chocolate bunny:

And here is a picture of The Ugliest Carrot cake ever (cake and frosting recipes from Danielle Bean; mediocre frosting job from yours truly):

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Here are pictures of our real food (ham, mashed red potatoes, green beans with bacon, crescent rolls, and sparkling cider):

--- 4 ---

Here is a picture of my brother wearing a sweater-vest:

And here he is being excited about candy:

And playing on the slide:

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Here is my sister holding a giant bunny she got from our uncle several years ago:

And here she is playing with a new bubble wand thingy:

--- 6 ---

I do not have any pictures of it, but Mari sent me a new chapel veil. (She won a whole lot of them on eBay and didn't want this one.) I like it and it is very pretty and it arrived just in time to debut at the Triduum. I will have to convince my husband to take pictures of me at some point.

--- 7 ---

A couple of days ago, Scott brought home a mini-Snickers from work. He took it out of his laptop bag (or his jacket pocket or wherever) and gently tossed it across the room at me, hitting me lightly on my well-padded leg. 

I affected great offense and told him sternly that he was not allowed to throw chocolate at me under any circumstances.

Now I'm thinking I might regret that rule someday. 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!