Sunday, October 31, 2010

For Halloween

Enjoy this chilling, creepy, haunting poem discovered in The Threefold Cord: Peoms by Three Friends, edited by George MacDonald (a beloved favorite writer of mine). It's long but awesome, and strangely redemptive and beautiful if you stick with it through the end. It was apparently inspired by this image (below) by American painter Thomas Moran. Feel free to skip it if you're not really into this sort of thing (poems, Halloween, or both).


I. THIS must be the very night!
The moon knows it!–and the trees–
They stand straight upright,
Each a sentinel drawn up,
As if they dared not know
Which way the wind might blow!
The very pool, with dead gray eye,
Dully expectant, feels it nigh,
And begins to curdle and freeze!
And the dark night,
With its fringe of light,
Holds the secret in its cup!

II. What can it be, to make
The poplars cease to shiver and shake,
And up in the dismal air
Stand straight and stiff as the human hair
When the human soul is dizzy with dread–
All but those two that strain
Aside in a frenzy of speechless pain,
Though never a wind sends out a breath
To tunnel the foggy rheum of death?
What can it be has power to scare
The full-grown moon to the idiot stare
Of a blasted eye in the midnight air?
Something has gone wrong;
A scream will come tearing out ere long!

III. Still as death,
Although I listen with bated breath!
Yet something is coming, I know–is coming;
With an inward soundless humming,
Somewhere in me or in the air–
I cannot tell–but its foot is there!
Marching on to an unheard drumming,
Something is coming–coming–
Growing and coming;
And the moon is aware–
Aghast in the air
At the thing that is only coming
With an inward soundless humming,
And an unheard spectral drumming!

IV. Nothing to see and nothing to hear!
Only across the inner sky
The wing of a shadowy thought flits by,
Vague and featureless, faceless, drear–
Only a thinness to catch the eye:
Is it a dim foreboding unborn,
Or a buried memory, wasted and worn
As the fading frost of a wintry sigh?
Anon I shall have it!–anon!–it draws nigh!
A night when–a something it was took place
That drove the blood from that scared moon-face!
Hark! was that the cry of a goat,
Or the gurgle of water in a throat?
Hush! there is nothing to see or hear,
Only a silent something is near;
No knock, no footsteps three or four,
Only a presence outside the door!
See! the moon is remembering–what?
The wail of a mother-left, lie-alone brat?
Or a raven sharpening its beak to peck?
Or a cold blue knife and a warm white neck?
Or only a heart that burst and ceased
For a man that went away released?
I know not–know not, but something is coming
Somehow back with an inward humming.

V. Ha! Look there! Look at that house–
Forsaken of all things–beetle and mouse!
Mark how it looks! It must have a soul!
It looks, it looks, though it cannot stir;
See the ribs of it–how they stare!
Its blind eyes yet have a seeing air!
It knows it has a soul!
Haggard it hangs o’er the slimy pool,
And gapes wide open as corpses gape:
It is the very murderer!
The ghost has modelled himself to the shape
Of this drear house all sodden with woe,
Where the deed was done, long, long ago,
And filled with himself his new body full–
To haunt for ever his ghastly crime,
And see it come and go–
Brooding around it like motionless time,
With a mouth that gapes, and eyes that yawn
Blear and blintering and full of the moon,
Like one aghast at a hellish dawn.
–It is coming, coming soon!

VI. For, ever and always, when round the tune
Grinds on the barrel of organ-Time,
The deed is done;–and it comes anon–
True to the roll of the clock-faced moon,
True to the ring of the spheric chime,
True to the cosmic rhythm and rime;
Every point, as it first went on,
Will come and go till all is gone;
And palsied with horror from garret to core,
The house cannot shut its gaping door;
Its burst eye stares as if trying to see,
And it leans as if settling heavily,
Settling heavy with sickness dull:
It also is hearing the soundless humming
Of the wheel that is turning–the thing that is coming.
On the naked rafters of its brain,
Gaunt and wintred, see the train
Of gossiping, scandal-mongering crows,
That watch, all silent, with necks a-strain,
Wickedly knowing, with heads awry,
And the sharpened gleam of a cunning eye–
Watch, through the cracks of the ruined skull,
How the evil business goes!
–Beyond the eyes of the cherubim,
Beyond the ears of the seraphim,
Outside, forsaken, in the dim
Phantom-haunted chaos grim,
He stands with the deed going on in him!

VII. O winds, winds! that lurk and peep
Under the edge of the moony fringe!
O winds, winds! up and sweep;
Up, and blow and billow the air,
Billow the air with blow and swinge;
Rend me this ghastly house of groans;
Rend and scatter the skeleton’s bones
Over the deserts and mountains bare;
Blast and hurl and shiver aside
Nailed sticks and mortared stones;
Clear the phantom, with torrent and tide,
Out of the moon and out of my brain,
That the light may fall shadowless in again!

VIII. But alas! then the ghost
O’er mountain and coast
Would go roaming, roaming; and never was swine,
That, grubbing and talking with snork and whine
On Gadarene mountains, had taken him in,
But would rush to the lake to unhouse the sin
For any charnel
This ghost is too carnal;
There is no volcano, burnt out and cold,
Whose very ashes are gray and old,
But would cast him forth in reviving flame,
To blister the sky with a smudge of shame.

IX. Is there no help–none anywhere,
Under the earth, or above the air?
–Come, come, sad woman, whose tender throat
Has a red-lipped mouth that can sing no note!
Child, whose midwife, the third grim Fate,
Shears in hand, thy coming did wait!
Father, with blood-bedabbled hair!
Mother, all withered with love’s despair!
Come, broken heart, whatever thou be,
Hasten to help this misery!
Thou wast only murdered, or left forlorn;
He is a horror, a hate, a scorn!
Come, if out of the holiest blue
That the sapphire throne shines through;
For pity come, though thy fair feet stand
Next to the elder-band;
Fling thy harp on the hyaline,
Hurry thee down the spheres divine;
Come, and drive those ravens away;
Cover his eyes from the pitiless moon;
Shadow his brain from her stinging spray;
Droop around him, a tent of love,
An odour of grace, a fanning dove;
Walk through the house with the healing tune
Of gentle footsteps; banish the shape
Remorse calls up, thyself to ape;
Comfort him, dear, with pardon sweet;
Cool his heart from its burning heat
With the water of life that lakes the feet
Of the throne of God, and the holy street.

X. O God, he is but a living blot,
Yet he lives by thee–for if thou wast not,
They would vanish together, self-forgot,
He and his crime:–one breathing blown
From thy spirit on his would all atone,
Scatter the horror, and bring relief
In an amber dawn of holy grief:
God, give him sorrow; arise from within:
Art thou not in him, silence in din,
Stronger than anguish, deeper than sin?

XI. Why do I tremble, a creature at bay!
‘Tis but a dream–I drive it away.
Back comes my breath, and my heart again
Pumps the red blood to my fainting brain
Released from the nightmare’s nine-fold train;
God is in heaven–yes, everywhere;
And Love, the all-shining, will kill Despair.
To the wall’s blank eyeless space
I turn the picture’s face.

XII. But why is the moon so bare, up there?
And why is she so white?
And why does the moon so stare, up there–
Strangely stare, out of the night?
Why stand up the poplars
That still way?
And why do those two of them
Start astray?
And out of the black why hangs the gray?
Why does it hang down so, I say,
Over that house, like a fringed pall
Where the dead goes by in a funeral?
–Soul of mine,
Thou the reason canst divine:–
Into thee the moon doth stare
With pallid, terror-smitten air:
Thou, and the Horror lonely-stark,
Outcast of eternal dark,
Are in nature same and one,
And thy story is not done!
So let the picture face thee from the wall,
And let its white moon stare.

HT Andrew Peterson at The Rabbit Room

Friday, October 29, 2010

Is Starbucks Breaking Up With Me?

I've been making more trips to Starbucks lately. Whether it's due more to late nights, hard work and lack of sleep, or to the triumphant seasonal return of my favorite pumpkin spice latte, the result is the same: more $3.00 charges to my credit card, more caffeine in my system, and more time with my friendly, neighborhood baristas.

But I've been puzzled by something lately. Every single time I leave the Starbucks counter or drive-through window the perky baristas force coupons into my hands, "You can get $1 off our new Starbucks Via," they happily chirp. Or they're foisting samples down my throat, "Have you tried the new cinnamon spice flavored Via?" they ask. "You can make it at home for only about $1 per serving!" they crow. Via is suddenly everywhere, and it's being touted desperately by every Starbucks employee I cross paths with.

And every time I refuse the coupons, and every time I decline the free samples. Because here's the thing. This might be the easiest and cheapest way to make the best-tasting coffee I've ever swallowed. But if it is, I don't want to know about it. I really just don't even want to know. Because I don't want to make my Starbucks coffee at home. I have H.E.B. coffee for that. And I don't want to whip out a Via packet and stir it into my bottled water on a long road trip. Half the fun of a road trip is scouting out the next Starbucks stop. And I don't want to think that capturing the taste of Starbucks coffee is as simple as rip, dump, stir. I like thinking of Starbucks as an indulgence, as somewhat exclusive. I like getting away from the office and stopping at the corner Starbucks and being slightly weirded out yet oddly comforted by the overly-friendly young hipster taking my order. I like the smell of coffee filling my nostrils. I like the sound of the espresso machine and the steamer.

My love of and loyalty to Starbucks is based on the Starbucks experience as much as on Starbucks coffee. Maybe even more-so. And Starbucks used to understand this. They built a brand around being trendy and cool and costing more than everybody else but being totally worth it. A Starbucks was a place to come in, sit down, relax, and stay awhile. But more and more, I've seen Starbucks pulling away from alignment with that original brand image. And now, suddenly, I feel like they're trying to convince me to save my money and stay away.

Do you not want to take my hard-earned money in trade for delicious frothy creations? Do you not want me around anymore? Even at the drive through? You'd rather I sat at home all alone and stirred up my own one buck per pop brews? Are you breaking up with me, Starbucks? What did I do wrong?

I have to tell you, Starbucks, I'm not a girl to sit around and wallow. If Via is all you have to offer me, I can find steamy, hot, tantalizing coffee someplace else. Someplace that wants me. That truly appreciates me. You're not the only coffee in town.

But I'd rather stick with you, Starbucks. We have such a long history, such a real connection. Please love me again! And please stop insisting I try Via.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm Already Craving

It's a fight Keith and I have had every year of our marriage, and probably one we'll continue to have each year around this time. I'm already itching to buy a new calendar for the upcoming year, and he thinks I should wait until January when they all go on sale.

Is his point of view sensible, logical, practical? Well, yes, of course! When is he ever not? But should that practicality overrule all the emotional factors that lead to me wanting a new calendar now? I'm just not sure I can help myself.

I just love wordsy things, and papery things, and designy things, and inspriationy things, and changey things, and organizationy things. And a calendar manages to be all these things at once. It brightens the vanilla walls of my little office, it brightens my day. The patterns or photos or artwork or inspirational quotes change from month to month and imbue me with a little extra creativity. And I love filling in all those little blank numbered boxes with reminders and appointments and special occasions and then sitting back and looking at the neat, organized little grid that is now a road map to my life.

I love calendars. And choosing a new one each year has become a sort of ritual for me, as well. Who do I want to be this year? What do I want my calendar to say about me? Will I need bigger spaces because I'm going to have more to fill up my time? Should I choose one with inspirational sayings that will give me extra courage and fortitude throughout the day? Or do I want to get lost in beautiful colors and patterns? Do I feel more modern this year, or more vintage? Can I get away with a retro pin-up girl calendar at work?

I love pondering these questions. I love sorting through all the various options. It's a tiny bit of self-reinvention that I get to do every year. Here are a few of the options I'm loving today.

Found this whimsical little gem on Etsy.

And I love the faded colors and vintage style of this one!

I think the black and white simplicity of this one makes it perfect for my busy, black, white and red kitchen

How sweet are these lovely vintage images of girls with books?

Then there's my perennial favorite Mary Engelbreit calendar...
In the end, I'll probably end up getting for the kitchen and one for my office. But I'll take a little more time before I decide. I'm trying to compromise here. And I may not actually be able to wait until they go on sale . . . but I'll at least try!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Cream Cheese Icing

We had family and friends in town this past weekend for Baylor Homecoming, so I took the opportunity as an excuse to try this delicious-looking cookie recipe I've been salivating over. I made some slight modifications- substituting whole wheat pastry flour for the plain old white stuff and Splenda brown sugar blend for the the dark brown sugar the recipe called for. But there didn't seem to be any way around the three full cups of powdered sugar and real butter that made up the filling. Until mom stepped in. She suggested cutting the recipe in half and using it as a light icing on the cookies instead of a filling. There's still real butter and powdered sugar in there, but it's all about portion control, my friends. And we all deserve a little treat now and then.  Bonus:  These cookies leave your entire house smelling amazing for day!

Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Cream Cheese Icing

For the Cookies:
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tbs ground cinammon
1 Tbs ground ginger
1/2 Tbs ground cloves
2 cups firmly packed Splenda brown sugar blend
1 cup olive oil
3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
2 large eggs
1 running over* tsp vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Icing:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 running over* tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients and set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined, then add pumpkin puree, eggs, vanilla and whisk to combine. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture in increments and whisk until fully incorporated.

Use an ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake about 17 minutes each until tops are just beginning to crack. Let cool completely on pan.

To make the icing, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth, then add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until just smooth. You can ice the cookies once they're completely cool or serve plain with icing alongside and allow everyone to add as much or as little icing as they prefer.

* I'm a fan of the "running over" teaspoon or tablespoon, if you can't tell, especially when it comes to vanilla. I believe a recipe can almost always use a little extra hit of vanilla. But you can judge for yourself.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Baylor Homecoming Win

I think I've mentioned before that I've been a Baylor fan for as long as I can remember. And that being a Baylor fan can really have its ups and downs.

This is one of the "up" times. As of Saturday's six hour Homecoming game between Baylor and Kansas State, the Bears have managed to pull out six wins, make them bowl eligible for the first time since the mid-90's. As we sat through lightning delays, heavy wind, driving rain, even plummeting temperatures, it really felt like even the fundamental elements of the earth were acknowledging the mystical feeling surrounding the game. The Bears really battled it out for their win, and the fans really battled it out to stay put and see it through and after four nail-biting, anxiety-inducing quarters we gained the reward.

I've been to lots of Baylor games- some completely disheartening, some incredibly close losses, even one or two really exciting wins, but I've never been to a game that felt like this before. That felt like so much rested on it. That felt like we were on the cusp of greatness. That felt like I was just as much a participant from my seat in the stands as any of the players on the field. It felt like it mattered that I was there, like it was critical for me to stay there and cheer the team. I'm sure I wasn't the only Baylor fan to experience that feeling.

I'm so glad we were there. So glad we waited out the wind and rain. So glad we saw the victory. So glad that I've loved this school for so long. Maybe even a little glad that this has been so long in coming, like the waiting has made our success even sweeter. I'm so glad my parents raised me to love this school and this team. So glad to call it my alma mater. And so glad to have married a man who loves Baylor just as much as I do. It was a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Greek Style" Sloppy Joes

Our first foray into the new cookbook met with less than stellar results. However, we have cracked it open a time or two since then with relatively tasty success and even hit a couple of home runs with it. This recipe is one of our new favorites. It's a little strange to think of sloppy joes without buns, but the whole wheat orzo is a great substitute and the feta flavor really compliments the spices. I just have one cautionary note. Even though this is one of those rare dishes that tasted even better the next day when I heated the leftovers for lunch, I do not recommend trying to eat it while driving (as I was forced to do since my lunch hours are basically non-existent lately). Which, I know, should be obvious since the word Sloppy is in the title. Big. Old. Mess.

five oz. (about 3/4 cup) whole wheat orzo
two cups low sodium beef broth
one Tbs. olive oil
one large, sweet onion, finely chopped
three cloves garlic, finely chopped
one red bell pepper, finely chopped
one lb. ground sirloin
one tsp. ground cinnamon
one tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
one can chopped tomatoes
three Tbs. tomato paste
1/4 cup water
three scallions, thinly sliced
crumbled reduced fat feta cheese

Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add orzo and cook according to package directions. You can use lightly salted water instead of the broth, but I like the added hit of flavor.

While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, bell pepper and sauté until onion is soft and translucent (about five minutes). Add sirloin, sprinkle with spices and cook, using a metal spoon to break the meat up, until only a little pink remains (about three minutes). Add the canned tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, and water, lower heat to medium and simmer about ten minutes or until sauce is thick and flavorful.

Strain broth from orzo and divide evenly into four bowls, spoon meat-sauce over the orzo, then top with scallion and as much feta as you desire. Sit down at a table, tuck a napkin in your lap, and enjoy!

A Great Good

"A great good is coming - is coming - is coming . . .
I know that good is coming to me -
that good is always coming;
though few have at all times the simplicity and the courage 
to believe it."

-George MacDonald, Phantastes

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Middle

The reward you get from a story is always less than you thought it would be, and the work is harder than you imagined. The point of a story is never about the ending, remember. It's about your character getting molded in the hard work of the middle. At some point the shore behind you stops getting smaller, and you paddle and wonder why the same strokes that used to move you now only rock the boat. 
The shore you left is just as distant, and there is no going back; there is only the decision to paddle in place or stop, slide out of the hatch, and sink into the sea. Maybe there's another story at the bottom of the sea. Maybe you don't have to be in this story anymore.
I think this is when most people give up on their stories. They come out of college wanting to change the world, wanting to get married, wanting to have kids and change the way people buy office supplies. But they get into the middle and discover it was harder than they thought. They can't see the distant shore anymore, and they wonder if their paddling is moving them forward. None of the trees behind them are getting smaller and none of the trees ahead are getting bigger. They take it out on their spouses, and they go looking for an easier story.
It's like this with every crossing, and with nearly every story too. You paddle until you no longer believe you can go any farther. And then suddenly, well after you thought it would happen, the other shore starts to grow, and it grows fast. The trees get taller and you can make out the crags in the cliffs, and then the shore reaches out to you, to welcome you home, almost pulling your boat onto the sand.
-Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

We're in the middle, my love, of a great, big story. And it's probably just the beginning of the middle. But I love you, so much. And we both keep pulling, and keep reaching. And we are making each other better- sharpening some places, softening others- each and every day. And this is the important part, the most important work we have to do. The rest will come eventually. Those shores are waiting to welcome us home.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pure Words

"The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times."
-Psalm 12:6

I love words. But I sometime have a problem with mine. Sometimes the facility that I have with language- and a certain quick wit and the occasional bad mood and, let's face it, a penchant for snark -can all conspire together to result in incredibly sharp, unkind words that I instantly regret and brood over long after their echoes have diminished. 

I so want the words from my mouth to be kind, to be encouraging, to be true, to be pure. I want pure words, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times, to spill from my lips. I want the Lord's words to be the only sounds I utter. 

I fail in this endeavor daily, but I pray that I will continue to grow and that my words and even my thoughts will continue to be refined.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mid-South Trip

Three and a half days: Most of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

Five separate states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, then back to Texas

Twenty-five hours and thirty minutes: in the car, with three men that I work with, in uncomfortable seats and uncomfortable silences and no good radio stations

Four crossings of the Mississippi river: beautiful and wander-lust-inspiring every time

Four meetings: unload the car, set up the room, rearrange the room, conduct the meeting, tear down the room, load up the car

Three hotel rooms: bad beds, glaring streetlights, smoking floors, ice machines next door, lumpy pillows, yellow water, missing husband

Two days till the weekend: and a whole week's worth of work to cram into the hours between now and five o' clock tomorrow

Every day this week has felt like a Monday.

Did I mention the hay trailer that caught on fire on the side of the road and stopped traffic for an hour?

I don't want to leave Waco EVER again.

I'm so glad to be home.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Have You Ever Wondered . . .

What the world looked like before highways? Before farmland?

Whether animals have emotions?

What you ever did before Google? Or Wikipedia? Or the iPhone?

Where the phrase "for Pete's sake" comes from? And who is this Pete, anyway?

How cooking was discovered? Who thought up flour? Or butter?

How the eighties (clothes, hair, cars, music) can possibly keep coming back into fashion?

Why unhappy people insist on trying to make other people unhappy?

How sunshine can lift your spirits?

Why you just can't stop wondering?

Monday, October 11, 2010


“The North Americans’ sense of time is very special. They are short on patience. Everything must be quick, including food and sex, which the rest of the world treats ceremoniously. Gringos invented two terms that are untranslatable into most languages: 'snack' and 'quickie,' to refer to eating standing up and loving on the run … that, too, sometimes standing up. The most popular books are manuals: how to become a millionaire in ten easy lessons, how to lose fifteen pounds a week, how to recover from your divorce, and so on. People always go around looking for shortcuts and ways to escape anything they consider unpleasant: ugliness, old age, weight, illness, poverty, and failure in any of its aspects.”
- Isabel Allende, My Invented Country

"My friend Don Kuhl is one of the world’s leading experts on how change happens. A couple of weeks ago Don said something on the telephone that I hastily scribbled down: 'Change is not an event. It’s a tiny decision made over and over again. Change isn’t once. It’s daily.'"
- Roy Williams in a Monday Morning Memo

I'm spending some time in the Mid-South this week. Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas. It seems like time moves a little slower here. Maybe it's the heat. Maybe it's the lack of good 3G service. Maybe they just can't keep pace with the rest of us. Somethings's off, somethings's backwards.

Or maybe they remember something the rest of us have forgotten. That time moves quickly enough all on its own and we accomplish very little by our insistence on hurrying things. That patience is a virtue, and that waiting builds our character. That the things that take the longest- to do, to make, to become- are the most rewarding things in the end. That there is something to be gained, not lost, in slowing down. And that so much is really just out of our hands anyway.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I Love My iPad, But...

Having an iPad is wonderful, but it also means you're never really "off", never officially disconnected. Emails keep pinging, and work follows you home, and sorry not now I'm in my car is no longer an acceptable excuse when your iPad works perfectly well in the car and you can easily pull over, or even type on it while driving if you're really careful.

Which is how I ended up on my lunch break, huddled in the back booth at a restaurant, furiously scribbling on postcards in between scalding hot bites of a veggie burrito trying to finish notes to my Sunday School kids that I promised I'd get around to doing sometime back in August. Notes with frayed edges and slightly dog-eared corners, crinkled and a little worse for wear, because they've been banging around in my purse for six weeks, because I keep telling myself the next time I get a few free seconds I'm going to take care of those, but I just never did, because I just never do (have a few free seconds), and oh my gosh, I am one of those people who just needs to spend time being still and quiet and I don't really feel like I've been doing enough of that over the past few days. Or weeks. Or even months.

And it's really stressing me out.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mmm...Not Really, No

We've been in a bit of a food rut lately. We pretty much cook exclusively from one of our three South Beach Diet cookbooks, with an online recipe sprinkled in here and there. Which means that, delicious as all of our tried and true South Beach favorites are, we recently realized we're eating the same things over and over again. And, frankly, we're getting a little bored with them. So, being the super-amazing-wife that I am, I swoop in and save the day by ordering one more brand new South Beach Diet cookbook.

It's strange how much excitement the purchase of a cookbook can bring. The obsessive research on Amazon, reading every review of the three South Beach cookbooks we still have yet to purchase, weighing the benefits of each of them, determining which one to order. Then the anticipation begins. Each new day could be the day the cookbook will arrive. Then, when it finally comes, the first thing I want to do is sit right down on the couch and read it cover to cover, salivating wildly over all the delicious new flavors I'm going to experience.

And then the planning begins. Picking out recipes, making grocery lists. Revising selections. Taking into account which vegetables and fruits are in season to ensure maximum freshness. Then shopping, then unloading, then storing.

Finally, it's Tuesday night. We've decided to make Gazpacho Salad with Scallops. And finally, finally, we get to execution. Slicing and dicing and juicing and sautéing and sprinkling and grinding and tossing and serving. We sit down with our plates, take the first glorious bite . . .and realize we've ended up with a bowl full of tomatoes and onions and a few vaguely fish-flavored chewy chunks. Not terrible, just . . .So. Not. Appetizing. Keith is fairly utilitarian about his food. He can live happily off of pretzels and beef jerky, so we he was fine. But this girl needs flavor. I ended up having to supplement the meal with a heaping side of Flaming Hot Cheeto's. Which is tasty, but, kind of defeats the healthy purpose?

I'm still excited about our new cookbook. The next meals we have slated are Roasted Pork with Sweet & Sour Cucumbers, and Butternut Squash Gratin, both of which look amazing and yummy. So we're giving it another chance. But you can be sure we will not be making the gazpacho salad again.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Right Now I'm Celebrating

Double-tall low-fat pumpkin spice lattes (my first of the season).

Highs in the upper 70's.

Record-setting Baylor football games (more please).

Double-feature movie nights with my husband 
The Social Network (brilliant) and The Town (pretty good), back to back.


And Grace . . .

Upon Grace . . .

Upon Grace . . .