Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy Friday

Get free chocolate (no strings, no kidding). Only on Fridays. :)

I'm outta town for the weekend, taking 30 high schoolers to a Catholic youth conference. Pray for us!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Paved with Thorns

This morning my husband and I walked to Mass. The air was sweet, the sky was bright, the company was grand...

the Mass was sacred and beautiful...

...the tackweed was sharp. Very sharp.

Next time I'll wear tennis shoes. Or army boots.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I'm beginning to feel like a 15 year old again. Not a kid, not an adult. Not even quite a "teenager" (because I wasn't rebellious and didn't have "the attitude").

Why am I feeling this way again, now? Because lately I haven't been feelin' the love :). I don't quite fit into any "group."
  • I'm married, so the "singles" and "young adults" don't chat as freely with me as they used to.
  • I'm not married long enough to hang with the married folk, 'cause they look down on me as a "newlywed" still in the "honeymoon stage." (I'm not seasoned in the art of husband-bashing, eye-rolling, wink-winking, and elbow-nudging, apparently... whatever that's all about), nor do we have children, yet (not for lack of wanting them, I assure you), so we don't know the "strain of marriage" enough to have anything to offer.
  • I'm not in the "in crowd" amongst my youth ministry peers, because I don't do Life Teen at our parish (certainly not against it, it's just not where our parish is right now).
  • I don't fit with the "conservatives" 'cause I don't wear a mantilla, nor with the "liberals" 'cause I love Tradition, tradition, and the Magisterium.
  • I'm not truly frugal because I buy Florida Orange Juice (not from concentrate, which costs 1/3 as much).
  • I'm not a big spender because I clip coupons.
  • I'm not a country person because we don't actually live on the farm (yet).
  • I'm not a townie because my husband is a farmer and we grow and preserve a lot of our food.
  • I'm not a real homeschooler because I school, at home, my nieces... not my own kids (apparently we're considered co-op or something).
  • I'm not a real housewife because I work outside the home.
  • I'm not a real working woman because it's only part-time.
So who am I?

I'm a young happily married Catholic youth minister who loves the Church, teaches her nieces, and loves the thrifty, natural, beautiful lifestyle of the country.

If that precludes me from all groups, so be it. I'm at home in the arms of my husband. I have a loving family and amazing in-laws. I'm a member of the Universal Church founded by Christ and established on the rock of Peter.

Yay for personal mid-week pep talks :).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Where's Sacagawea When You Need Her?

Tracking packages... it's a great service offered by UPS and other postal companies. But, quite frankly, it's just not good enough.

When I'm anxiously awaiting a package, it does no good to tell me "scheduled to arrive on the estimated delivery date" and then put a few teasers below:

MY TOWN, NW, US 07/28/20094:16 A.M. OUT FOR DELIVERY
BIG CITY , NW , US 07/27/2009 3:26 P.M. DEPARTURE SCAN

07/27/2009 1:04 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN
NEXT TOWN, MW , US 07/22/2009 3:01 P.M. DEPARTURE SCAN

07/22/2009 10:15 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN
SOME TOWN , NE , US 07/21/2009 11:29 P.M. ORIGIN SCAN

What, for pete's sake, was that package doing between the 22nd and the 27th?? That's a long time to go without an update. And despite the fact you can opt to receive "e-mail notifications" of any new activities, I still dutifully checked the site every morning (and mid-morning, and afternoon, and evening, and...) anyway to see if there was an update which they hadn't sent me by e-mail (never happened).

I want REAL TIME updates, baby! I want to follow every turn by satellite until that package arrives on my doorstep.

It's almost worse knowing it's going to arrive today. Every time I hear a truck my heart skips a beat. It would have to arrive on GARBAGE day!

It's times like this when I wish Summer were over and I didn't have time to obsess over packages.

In the future I'll just wait patiently and be happily surprised when it arrives, unexpectedly...

... or not.

Monday, July 27, 2009

No Small Potatoes

I thought my library fines were bad. They're nothing compared to cop fines!!

Not wearing a seatbelt, when driving 1/2 a mile, at 11pm, coming home from a HOLY HOUR... well, let's just say it costs just a few dollars less than this chef's knife I kinda want but could never justify.

It would've been a lot worse if the copper hadn't turned a blind eye to the fact that a certain someone was driving without a license (though who brings their license to adoration, really?), and with a car insurance card that expired the day before (kid you not).

By the way, it wasn't my ticket, which means I have bargaining power for the next few months... "Hm... fresh portabella mushrooms aren't in our budget? Even if I wear a seatbelt when I go to the grocery store?" Just kidding, of course. I don't play marriage blackmail games like that (no matter how sorely tempted), but it does give me teasing leverage for a few months.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Prayers, Please

The 15 year old friend of one of my former students is missing in TX.

Your fervent prayers are begged.

*Update*: As of 7/27/09, he has been found and is back with his family. No other details. Thank you for your prayers.


I love artichokes. I used to like them canned and marinated (and I guess I still do), but I didn't know what I was missing until... the FRESH artichoke.

I was afraid of the thing... it looked like a green armadillo. But, WOW! It's not hard at all. Now 3/4 of the fun of eating an artichoke (which canned purists are missing) is scraping the tender meaty flesh off the petals with your teeth!

I know there are a million delicious ways to prepare them (roast, steam, grill, fry, poach, etc.) and a million different sauces to serve with them, but I'm rather fond of this way right now:

1 or 2 fresh artichokes
1 lemon, sliced
1 bay leaf

4 Tbsp. mayonnaise (or more if you really like it)
1-2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (to taste, really... if you don't add enough you can't taste the vinegar, but if you add too much it's kinda runny)

1. Prepare the artichoke by cutting the top off, removing some of the tough bottom leaves, snipping the leaves, and rubbing it all over with one of the lemon slices.

2. Put the fresh artichokes, remainder of the sliced lemon and bay leaf in enough boiling salted water to cover.

3. Simmer on a medium boil until the artichokes are soft (like a boiled potato) and the petals can be removed easily (anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on size and toughness).

4. Remove the artichokes to cool slightly, and mix up the ridiculously easy balsamic mayonnaise (I suppose you could do this earlier and refrigerate the stuff so it sets up a bit, but you'd have to be a real foodie to do that).

5. Pull the petals off, one by one, dip them into the mayo, scrape the petals with your teeth, and enjoy one of the most delicious tastes Summer has to offer. Repeat often.

(By the way, when you get to the bristles, just scrape them off with a fork until you get to the "heart" which is the pièce de résistance).

Don't be afraid of the artichoke. Embrace it!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Livin' On the Edge

I'm a rebel, and a fugitive.

I have accounts with every movie rental place in town, and two library cards (don't ask). Every one of those accounts has overdue fines.

It's kind of exciting, really. It would be more exciting if there were a high-speed chase involved, but this is about as close to livin' on the edge as I can get without feeling morally decrepit.

This life of crime might have to stop, though. It's getting to the point where I have to budget in "fines" every month. I suppose I could use that money to subscribe to Netflix, but that wouldn't be as fun.

Today, out of necessity, I paid some library fines. Not all of them, mind you, just enough to be able to rent more movies.

Somebody remind me a week from today to return 'em, please.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back in Full Force

There were no survivors from round 1...

We wiped out the entire colony...

We killed the queen!!...

Or so we thought.

I hate ants.


I'm happy to report there were no ill effects from yesterday's poisoned omelet episode.

Considering the events of the recent past, however, this morning we had an interesting visitor. A Knights of Columbus insurance agent came over to upgrade my husband's life insurance policy.

A crack of lightning and ominous music would be appropriate about now.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Might Have Killed My Husband

I'm taking a little break from "fresh" eggs, 'cause the ones lately have been anything but.

This morning I arose at 5:00am to make coffee, blueberry muffins, sausage and an omelet for my husband before he left for the farm. Not wanting another episode like the one before, I tried to remember how to check (without cracking it) if an egg is rotten. I vaguely remembered something about putting them in a pan of cold water, but I couldn't remember if the bad eggs floated or sunk. So I put 5 eggs in; 3 floated and 2 sunk to the bottom. Because there were 3 floating, I thought "surely we don't have more bad eggs than good ones... the floaters must be the good ones."

I cracked the floaters and omeletted them up. Each one I cracked had something slightly off to it (not the smell, but just a certain "something"). Trying to justify the fact that I'd thrown the sinkers away, I attributed the "something" to the fact that REAL chickens laid them instead of the "fake" chickens in the factories, and, after all "this is what REAL eggs look like." My husband ate them up and liked them.

Just now I googled it and, "Fresh eggs will sink to the bottom of the bowl and lie on their sides. Eggs that float at the surface are bad and should not be consumed." (Never mind the fact I've made hard-boiled eggs a million times and never saw them float before... it was early in the morning!)

I don't think I'll warn him just yet...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Last One To Read This Is A...

I've been transplanted from city life for a year now (almost to the day), and I've learned many things. One of them is that Little House on the Prairie is dramatized, sensationalized, and romanticized.

While, yes, farm fresh eggs from chickens whose names you know are glorious things...

... you never get rotten eggs from a store!

I have refrained from posting a picture of the noxious thing because, quite frankly, it looks 1/2 as nasty as it smells and the fetid stench nearly caused me to wretch (I don't want a visual reminder of the putridness).

But never fear. Since I've removed the malodorous monster, disinfected my entire kitchen, and air-freshenered all remaining fumes from the foul beast, I am still going to make these decadent oatmeal fudge nut bars. (I think they're best served warm and gooey with ice cream, but they're also amazing after they've set up).

Friday, July 17, 2009

Back to Normalcy

Well, my family has returned to various parts of the country... to their city lives. I love them dearly and miss them sorely. I had a wonderful time while they were here and saw parts of the northwest I've never been to before. It's GORGEOUS (will post pictures soon). But, life on the farm has its benefits; not the least of which is my husband. This is my home now.

Not much is going on at the farm these days; cherry harvest is over and we're between hay cuttings. I've re-scrubbed my house from top to bottom so there's not much housework to be done, either. It's the perfect time to start a new project.


Let the games begin.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just Around the Corner

There's so much beauty to be found in the Northwest. This is just around the corner from the farm:

We took my family here to skip rocks into the river. It was insanely fun :).

Sunday, July 12, 2009

How Does It End!?

My husband and I have a new past-time. We don't have a TV, but we do have the ability to watch DVDs on our computer, so we've recently rented Season 5 (I've never seen any other season) of the TV show, "24." He smiles at me when I yell, "I HATE this show!! Put on the next episode!" It's thrilling and terrible; I can't stop watching.

I'm just wondering how it's gonna end. I've gotta get back to it...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Culture Shock

My family is here! Amen, alleluia!! What a glorious time we're having.

They're seeing tractors, picking cherries, driving through farmland... it's like me moving here all over again (seeing them amazed at the same things I now take for granted).

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mad Cleaning

My family is coming from all over the country (from ginormous cities 1982, 2268, 2596, and 3080 miles away!) to visit me for a week tomorrow!! As such, I'm cleaning parts of the house I didn't know we had. It's kinda fun, actually.

One room at a time, it will get done. I don't know why I'm feeling so light-headedly giddy about it... it's either the excitement of my family coming, the thrill of accomplishing lots of cleaning, or my new friend:

Saturday, July 4, 2009


It's Independence Day; the anniversary of our nation's birth. Our great nation was built on the blood and sweat of courageous and generous men and women; people of great character and solid principles.

Last week as I was helping a young man fill out a W-4 form to work on our farm, he said, "Wait... what do I put here? The only options are married or single. I'm living with a girl but we're not married, but I'm not exactly single. What am I?" I responded to him, "Exactly. What are you doing? Nothing. It's not anything, it's a lie. It's not good for you or for her. Why haven't you married her?" I was a little surprised with my response and not sure how he would take it (he was a perfect stranger), but he just said, in stride, "Dude, and lose my freedom? If I marry her, I won't have no freedom. We're just tryin' it out for a while, no risk no obligation." Wow. He calls that "freedom"? Sounds more like a late-night infomercial where you can get some cheap ware and return it after 30 days (less shipping and handling) if you're not completely satisfied. Hardly the way to think of a person.

My husband is at home working endless hours for the 2nd cutting of hay. I'm in the Palouse Hills with my sister-in-law, watching a Star Wars marathon, eating popcorn, drinking orange soda with peach schnapps, reclining on a micro-fiber ultra plush couch, sleeping in late, vacationing it up... no husband, just me and the life of utter "liberty." Yet oh how I wish I were back in the grind of home. The old gag about the ball and chain of marriage is such balogna. There's no place on earth I'd rather be than with my husband. Don't get me wrong, I love my sister-in-law and we're having a wonderful time. It's intensely relaxing. But I certainly don't miss my days of "independence" as a single woman. What I miss is my husband. I've only been here 24 hours, but at least a dozen times (maybe more) I've seen something my husband would enjoy or understand and found myself murmuring, "I wish he were here" or "oh he would enjoy this so much." Marriage has unleashed my field of vision to see the world no longer for myself alone, but through the eyes of another whom I love -- to get excited about things he would, or enjoy things I know he does. It has broadened and expanded my very personhood to include and become more than I ever was alone... and in a much deeper way than simple (though deep) friendships. It has given me the freedom to become more a more complete person than I could have been without these bonds of love.

So to all those commitment-phobes, those radical feminists, those live-ins, those wise-crackers who say marriage is a blight on liberty and a loss of freedom I say, "man cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself" (Theology of the Body, JP2), and I was never more liberated than when I became bound to my husband until death do us part.

True liberty is not license to do as we wish, but the freedom to do what we ought. Happy Independence Day!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Videos I Enjoyed

Hope you enjoy these two videos as much as I did:

(my sister is a Nashville Dominican, and is shown for about 1/2 a second in this video):

and this one I might use in a catechesis someday:

Enjoy your Friday! I'm off to my sister-in-law's in the beautiful Palouse Hills of Eastern Washington for the next few days to get a respite from payroll and house-sit (she has a TV so I'll bury myself in EWTN and the Food Network).