Thursday, January 29, 2009

25 Things about me...

I feel a little self-centered but, ahh well, who cares!

Here are 25 Things About Me

1. I am highly superstitious - I believe I jinx things all the time

2. I want to be a "runner" and really try to not practically pass out after 5 minutes max at a time of running. Shooting for a 10k in October or half marathon...i am out of breath just thinking about it!

3. I want so badly to be FLATCHESTED. As a teenager, I looked on enviously at ballerinas with their flat chests and was very covetous of them and their lack of jigglies on top.

4. I love the store Anthropologie, but I am far too anal to decorate my home that way...I would always be tidying up all the beautiful shabby vintage stuff...oh, and it is too expensive for me, so I just go in there to fantasize.

5. I have a going to bed ritual...I check all the doors to make sure they are locked, cabinet doors are all closed, and then go out in my jammies to look at the stars and get a breath of fresh air before going to sleep.

6. I HATE cats! We had a neighborhood cat who always slept under my car and I would cuss, yell at, and chase it - eventually it ended up dying behind a bush under our kitchen window...i only feel a little bad...wonder if my bad vibes killed it? My little granddaughter Madison saw the cat one day - while it was still among the living, and ran to me to let me know the "Damn Cat" was in the back yard! oops!!

7. I want to be a nurse.

8. I cry at the drop of a hat...frusterated, angry, sad, happy, laughing...let the floodgates open!!

9. We had a lot of animals growing up and my favorite were goats. The baby goats always seemed to be born around my birthday and I loved bringing them in from the cold to warm them by the fire...hated the chickens - ohhh how their poop stinks.

10. I have a Diet Coke ADDICTION...

11. I love snow and the quietness of the world after a snowfall.

12. Gardening brings me peace, love having my hands dirty!

13. Love the smell of an iron and spray starch.

14. I get REALLY EXCITED when a hurricane is pointing toward Florida, I go in emergency mode and double check batteries, water supply and canned food, ice, and house cleaning/laundry. I love to see the rain and wind. But the aftermath...'nother story.

15. I want to go back to Paris and see it again now as an adult - not a 17yr old...

16. I love cemeteries. I love to look at old gravestones, some are quite beautiful I like trying finding stones that tell stories of lives and loves. Savannah Georgia has the COOLEST cemetery.

17. I am adopted. No real desire to search out my birthparents. My parents did go to the courthouse a few years ago and brought me some really cool non-identifying info on mine and my siblings adoptions...that is all i needed.

18. I want to be a mom.

19. I am very in love with my husband...my best friend...confidant...travel buddy.... We have a banter that some think is fighting, it's not, just our way of communicating, mom. ;0

20. I am loyal - sometimes to a fault.

21. I am very forgiving/accepting. There is really only one person, who I can't let go of resentment towards. I am working on it though...

22. Staying in touch with friend is very hard for me. I don't feel like I have a lot to update people on. But I do love to hear from them.

23. I would rather have people over than going to their house...homebody.

24. I am afraid of a loved one dying in a car accident...main source of my nightmares.

25. Tired of talking about myself!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Change...it's a comin'

I love variety. I don't like to eat the same thing over and over, as opposed to my father who will eat oatmeal with one banana at 7:15 am every day. But me, I like different stuff for breakfast everyday - I like to find different ways to drive to work - different colors of eyeshadow - different lunch spots - different playlists depending on the day...













View outside my office
BUT - I am very comfortable with my job, been here for 9 years, it is a good place...well, with the current economic turmoil...it is not part of my reality anymore...and I am freaking out. I think i can find another job relatively soon - erruhhh, i hope. But new people, new politics, new boss, new procedures...agghhhh! This is one spot that I do not want variety. So, along with all my other resolutions, I am going to add new job. I am breathing and trying to visualize this...recrafting my resume and being creative. Too bad I don't have my prerequisites finished for nursing school.
Ahhh, Change.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bread wonderful Bread!

One of my goals/desires was to make some bread, so I started with a super easy loaf from my favorite Baking Site, King Arthur Flour. They have a blog that I stalk, and New Year's day I got busy.

My first loaf of the year is:

English Muffin Toasting Loaf

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan
12 3/4 ounces King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 ounce sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant yeast
8 ounces milk
2 ounces water
7/8 ounce vegetable oil or olive oil
cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan
Directions
1) Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl.
2) Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F. The liquid will feel very hot (hotter than lukewarm), but not so hot that it would scald you. As a reference point, the hottest water from your kitchen tap is probably around 120°F (unless your tap water is so hot that it burns you).
3) Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.
4) Beat at high speed for 1 minute. The dough will be very soft.
5) Lightly grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal.
6) Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.
7) Cover the pan, and let the dough rise till it's just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. When you look at the rim of the pan from eye level, you should see the dough, but it shouldn't be more than, say, 1/4" over the rim. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you heated the liquid to the correct temperature and your kitchen isn't very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
8) Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 20 to 22 minutes, till it's golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.
9) Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.


This was the simplest bread to make. I made my first loaf though with regular yeast (bread on the left) and it just didn't have the nooks and crannies that I wanted to melt all that butter and jam into...so Herb went to the store and bought "instant yeast" (I love this man!) and I increased the baking soda just a tich as well and wahoo! (bread on the right).















Nooks and Crannies for my butter and jam!




Taste Test - Not the tastiest bread, probably needed more salt and sugar for my overprocessed tastebuds. But it wasn't a brick. I'm easy.

December, Velsor-Style!!

This should be before the last post but I hadn't downloaded the pictures...so just pretend that this is first...

This year we kept it all lo-key. It was nice. Here are some of the highlights of December. Just a few...

First to kick off the Christmas Season, my "grand daughter" Autym (aka: Sizzy) had her Christmas Concert. Yes, I am a grandma-esque character. Herb has 3 children and the oldest has 3 beautiful little girls Madison, Autym and Jocelyn. I am "Mepaw". Something close to Grandma, but different...I am more immature!! She was over and practicing for her Christmas program one evening...with some unwanted help from her sister...

(Mute Blog music at bottom first)

video

Now, I am always trying to get a better shot, being the amateur videographer that I am (dramamine needed for most of my videos), and well I went for the BIG ONE this time. I went right over to the row of pews close to Autym and waited for her big moment, Her "trip" to the stage...

video
I felt awful, between laughing!!! I waited for someone from her school to help but I ended up helping her get her tinsel and sparkley shoes back on - she sang like an angel.

I have always wanted to make a gingerbread house, but too chicken, but this year I figured "what the heck". As I am rolling out the dough, Michael informed me that he wanted a gingerbread cookie, but refused to eat a gingerbread "boy" so I made him an anatomically correct "girl", Ginger. Side note for next time, when baking, dough SWELLS!!! hee hee















Lauren made a friend for Ginger, George. I don't know how they became mer-folks, but it just evolved...The house, needed windows so we crushed hard candy and made windows...















but oops! some were the roof! So, we have very pretty preppy skylights as well as windows!















Don't worry Martha, your job is secure!

I never finished the house completely, December in Florida, well, it is freakin' humid and my little windows started to run one day and it looked more like a haunted house so it found a new home, in my trash...try again next year. And December in Florida, we were able to be out in the yard A LOT over break...The girls came over one day and I bought them all their own balls (gotta avoid fighting) and it was a good day.
This is Jocie vs. ball:

video


Madi vs me

video

The Wonderful Auntie Lauren and Madi














Here is our anorexia Christmas Tree. Unlike my booty, anorexia tree doesn't increase in size as you progress lower, this is as wide as she gets!



















I got it at Old Time Pottery long long ago for super cheap one year - and well, cheap is the operative word this year - so out with the overpriced real tree from the lot, and in with tacky anorexia tree!

This is for everyone up north...Florida at Christmas...















December, very lo-key. Nice.
Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Reflections Resolution, Renewal

So the Holidays are officially over! Time for reflection, resolutions, and renewal...
REFLECTION:
Not unlike most, 2008 has been pretty trying. There was the always challenging income stream, mild-health scares, family "fun", wanting a to have a baby, etc... - the list could go on and on. BUT 2008 was a wonderful year in many ways...

  • I became Young Women's President - Love the Girls! They have such a vitality and fun spirit about them.
    Some of us saying bye to Sister Sackett in the front row middle















Service Project wearing our t-shirts that we made - they say "1heart"













Me with Heather, probably one of the few pictures i will post of me, cause you can't see too much of me. There is just too much...















  • Had a fantastic Garden and was able to can and preserve lots of stuff. Preserve more than canned...but 2009 is the year to conquer the Canner!















  • Celebrated 11 wonderful Years with Herb. I LOVE this guy.



















  • Herb's youngest Graduated High School and started at University of South Florida! Go Lauren!!
  • Took an amazing trip with Herb to Asheville.
  • Completed a sprint triathlon...swim 1/4 mile, bike 13 miles, run 3 miles.
  • Connected with some old friends and made some new.
  • Another year with my mom, 3 years post-liver transplant and she is still doing pretty well. This is a miracle considering they gave her 6 months without a transplant - I tear up contemplating the odds there. She is amazing and my inspiration.
  • Experienced what I consider a miracle with a breast cancer scare. GET YOUR TA TAs Checked regularly!!!
And now for some
RESOLUTIONS:

  • Record my parents personal history.
  • Re-do my personal progress - so much has changed since 19$%, that it wouldn't hurt to uhhh do a "re-do"
  • Another sprint Triathlon, and prepare for a half marathon in fall.
  • Conquer my fear of Home Canning and preserve more of my green beans and tomatoes. I have an irrational fear of the pressure canner.
  • Finish my prerequisites for Nursing School. just 3 classes
  • Attend the Temple at least once a month with my hubby.
  • Make more homemade meals...Thanks to the Economy this is a necessity AND one of my friends is making all of her bread...well, I could at least make 25% of the bread we consume - perhaps?
I better stop before I get overwhelmed...too late.
RENEWAL:
Ok, so I have a room that I refer to as the "pit of despair" well I have started "gutting" it and will be putting up shelving for Storage and Organizing my crafty-esque stuff. I just might post before and after pictures if i am brave enough. Truly the Albino from Princess Bride; his pit of despair, has NOTHING on me.
Enough of this...Here's to 2009!!!