Friday, February 25, 2011

Singing My Life With Her Words

Have you ever had one of those days when you feel like everything is falling apart. Not the catastrophic kind of days when you get a horrid phone call in the middle of the night to tell you something terrible has happened, but the kind where many little things seem to have conspired against you to ruin your general schedule. You know, those days when you stub your toe on the way to the bathroom when you get up, you realize the shirt you wanted to wear is still in the laundry basket, you can't find your keys anywhere, and then when everything finally comes together so you can actually leave the house (though later than you would have liked), you realize that you have maybe a half a bar of battery left on your cell phone.

Don't pretend. We all have those days. The kind of days The Shirelles sing about, just without Billy Jo and the chapel bell stuff. If you completely missed that last reference please immediately tune in to your local Oldies station and educate yourself. And yes, I am a 25 year old who likes Oldies songs. I can't help it that I have taste and sometimes Lady Gaga makes me want to gag gag.

Just for the record I also listen to other genres. My musical tastes are actually quite eclectic. But I digress.

So, like I was saying, we all have had those days. Those days when we are so agitated by every little thing that isn't going our way that we either want to scream or cry and it really doesn't matter if other people are around to see us fall apart.

Again, don't lie. You know you've been there. I have. Thankfully, I am not currently having one of those days, but I have certainly had my fair share. Trust me on that one.

And I know I'm not alone. Francesca Battistelli's new song "This is the Stuff" is all about having one of those days. In case you don't know, Francesca Battistelli is a Christian musical artist who is more than slightly amazing. Nobody is paying me to say that. I don't know Francesca Battistelli, I just like to listen to her music. Of course, if I did know Francesca Battistelli, she wouldn't have to pay me to say I like her music. But I don't know her, although if she is ever in my neck of the woods and wants to chat it up, I pretty sure I could pencil her in.

Anyway her new song is one of those that when I heard it for the first time I felt like someone had read my mind and put it to music, and every time I have heard it since I get in a "more of that please" state of mind. Allow me to share with you some of the lyrics of said song, so that you can jump on the bandwagon with me.

"I lost my keys in the great unkown,
And call me please, 'cause I can't find my phone.

This is the stuff that drives me crazy,
This is the stuff that's getting to me lately.
In the middle of my little mess,
I forget how big I'm blessed.

This is the stuff that gets under my skin,
But I've gotta trust, You know exactly what You're doin'.
Might not be what I would choose,
But this is the stuff You use."

Amen, sister. Even on those days, God will use all the little things that go wrong (or even that we do wrong) to teach us, to speak to us, to reach others, whatever it takes to get His message across. He gives us so many wonderful and grand blessings, but sometimes it is really easy to get hung up on the little things.

You know the old saying, "Into every life a little rain must fall." It's true, because if the little things didn't go wrong sometimes, we would never be able to appreciate those really big blessings. So what if you can't find your car keys, it still means that you have a car. So what if you are running late to work, at least you have a job. The laundry may be in large and still growing piles, but at least you still have something to wear. You get where I am going with this right? The things that we complain about the most are really little things. Don't let them drive you crazy.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Now We're Cooking!

For the majority of last week I went to visit my parents and spend a little quality time with them. I worked in the yard with my dad (manual labor may not be an exciting vacation, but it facilitates bonding better than many other activities), I hung out with my mom and did pretty much everything else except blog. I didn't take my computer with me and I have decided that I don't care for blogging by iPad. It's not at all conducive to my routine or process. So it is probably good that the iPad in question belongs to my dad and not to me, because I don't have much use for it.

ANYWAY, I'm back now. I'm back and still waiting for my grades to come in. They probably won't be here until at least next week, but hopefully my "to-do" list will keep me from obsessing over it all week. And, yes, I do often create an actual, sure enough, pen and paper list. A mental list won't suffice because I might forget something. An electronic list I have to have access to all the time, even away from home, and I don't feel like typing it out on my phone. It just seems silly. But a paper list? I can't really describe to you the feeling of accomplishment that I get each time I get to scratch off an item that I have completed and watch the rest of my list get shorter and shorter. And when I have finished everything, only then can I truly relax. And go back to waiting.

I know you are probably rolling your eyes right now, but come on. It's not like you haven't figured out that I'm quirky by now. This isn't even the weirdest attribute that I've admitted to having over the course of this blog.

One of the things on my list yesterday was to go to a Viking Cooking School class. My husband and I gave this experience to each other for Valentine's Day and the actual class was last night. We made tamales, black bean and avocado salad, Mexican rice, and pepitas. It was DELICIOUS, especially since we washed it all down with some Sangria. Also, I learned some very important things. Allow me to share.

1. Parsley and Cilantro look remarkably similar.

2. Parsley leaves have a Point, and Cilantro has Curves is how you are supposed to remember which one is which.

3. Tamales are really only worth making in really large batches, but they are super yummy.

4. I have been holding a knife wrong pretty much my entire life.

5. Our chef/teacher has been on Ultimate Recipe Showdown on the Food Network. She knows her stuff, but she admitted that before she started teaching this class (years ago) that she didn't know all that much about making tamales.

6. When they first set all the ingredients out in front of us, I thought to myself, "Oh, that's convenient that everything is all measure out and ready to go." However, when they set down all of our required utensils down in front of us, I thought, "I have NO IDEA what half of these are, or what it is that they do." And you know what? For some of them, I still don't, because I used the ones that I recognized.

7. Chili Pepper Grinders sound remarkably like pencil sharpeners.

8. I was relieved to know that I was actually not the least educated, at least in the culinary arts, person in the class. Not by a long shot. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't at the head of the class, but it was nice to know I wasn't at the back of it either.

9. People from Maine call a cast iron skillet a spider. I can't quite figure out why, and when I asked, the response I got was, "I don't know, we all just grew up calling it that."

10. The best part about cooking class is that someone else actually goes to the store to buy everything (although, trust me, you are still paying for it), then someone else measures everything out, you get to do the fun cooking part, and then someone else has to clean the kitchen. Good times.

Have a good week!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

And Now, I Wait

As an update, my nephew is doing better now. Thank you for your prayers!

I took my test yesterday. I was right, it was hard. I did the best I could though, and now it is in God's hands. Now all I can do is wait for my scores to come in.

Have I told ya'll before that I am impatient? I know that patience is a virtue. Yes, thanks, I've heard that a time or two million. Unfortunately, it's not a virtue I have. So the waiting gets to me. I worry. I try to forget about it by distracting myself in any possible way. And then I worry more.

Luckily, I got my scores back from my first sets of tests (yes, this whole career change thing involves quite a few tests) and I did quite well. It gives me hope. It makes me think that, even though it has been a few years since my last set of standardized tests, that these won't be the death of me.

Anyway, so here comes the self-distraction from the waiting part. And since I have been studying in mind numbing intervals, I am going to do that by getting out of my house and enjoying the wonderful weather and a little bit of free time. Starting tomorrow. Why the wait? After my test yesterday, I came home and began working on my to-do list in and around the house. As it turns out, I ended up aggravating my allergies and woke up with a sore throat this morning that was accompanied by a headache and a voice that sounded vaguely like I had steel wool in my throat.

Tomorrow, though, I will be all better. I just know it. And then? I'm going to get out in the sun. I'm going to enjoy the warmer weather. I'm going to interact with people, y'know, face to face. It's not that I don't love ya'll, it's just that I need to see people, too. It's not you, it's me.

Just kidding.

But I really do want to get back to the land of the living.

Oh, and Happy Late Valentine's Day. My wonderful husband made us reservations for the Viking Cooking School. Our class won't be until next week, though, because we didn't really care about knowing how to make their Valentine's meal. I'm pumped. I hope your significant other got you something just as wonderful. Or, if you are single, I hope you had fun with your friends, or watched your favorite movies, or did anything else that made your day/night completely awesome.

If not? There's always next year. Just you wait.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It's Not Random, It's My Life

So here is what is going on in my life right now.

1. Pray for my youngest nephew. He is sick and I will leave it at that, but he could really use some extra prayer right now. Thanks.

2. I have to take a very important, very difficult test on Monday morning. I have been studying hard, but I'm still nervous.

3. My dog looks like a drug addict every time he comes in from the snow because of the white stuff on his nose from where he buries his face in the snow. Every time. It's funny.

4. His actual addiction is chasing the light from a flashlight around the room. Most dogs chase a laser pointer (which he will also do), but my dog chases the flashlight. It is also funny. He will come and beg for it if you get within one room of the flashlight that he recognizes.

5. I watched a Disney movie in Spanish today (I watched more than one movie in Spanish, but the Disney movie is really the point here) and I must say that those songs I love so much lose a little something in translation. They are still cute, it just isn't the same.

6. With all the winter storms that have passed through my neck of the woods this winter, I am beginning to wonder if the sun still shines. I don't know. I haven't seen it in a while. To see it three days in a row would make me a super happy person right now. It is currently in the forecast for next week. I hope it actually happens.

7. I am still caffeine free. And I don't miss it anymore. No, really.

8. The most important thing on this list is to pray my nephew, but please also pray for his brothers and parents. Thanks to all!

The End.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Whole Disaster By The Half

It's a good thing last night's Super Bowl was a decent game, because the other entertainment was pretty much a let down.

Things started off on a high note. The recitation of the Declaration of Independence by current players, former players, servicemen, children, women, and men from all tax brackets and walks of life from all across the country was touching. Well done.

Next up, "America the Beautiful" was performed by Lea Michele. For those of you who live under a rock, she would be Rachel from Glee. That girl has a set of lungs on her and usually I enjoy her performances. However, I really thought she overdid it. And not in a good way. I hate to be so negative, but I love the song and it's a simple one. It's beautiful in its simplicity and should remain so.

"The Star-Spangled Banner" as performed by Christina Aguilera would surely save the day, right? Nope. It's the National Anthem. Know the words...in the right order. I understand this is a huge audience, but she is an entertainer and has been singing and performing for large audiences most of her life, so stage fright doesn't really hold up as an excuse. I also understand she is newly divorced and I'm sure that isn't easy, but divorced, married, or single she is still an American citizen. And it's not like she didn't know she was performing until the last minute and just had to run up on stage. She had time to practice, to rehearse, to learn the song.

I think I was extra disappointed because I had been so pumped when I heard she was going to sing. I have appreciated her vocal range since she performed the pop version of "Reflection" from Disney's Mulan back in the day. Girlfriend can belt it. Even during her skanky years (and there were some SKANKY years), she still had some pretty catchy tunes. But last night she tried a little too hard and fell short. I would have forgiven that, but the words should have at least been correct. Disgraceful.

I read in the news this morning that she was thoroughly embarrassed and flew back to L.A. almost immediately. She should be a little embarrassed. She'll survive. I mean, I do feel a little bad for her because she did embarrass herself in front of an astounding number of people. On the other hand, she messed up the NATIONAL ANTHEM. Is she kidding me with this?

And then the halftime show. Oh my gracious, the halftime show. I have nothing against the Black Eyed Peas. They have never been on my "change the station immediately" list. I even like a couple of their songs. So I wasn't opposed to them being the halftime entertainment. Until it actually happened. Again, I felt like it was all being overdone, and that was a large part of the problem. Dancers with boxes on their heads, lights that wouldn't turn on, a serious sound problem, and they seemed a little flustered from the beginning. And then, I heard the guitar.

The second I heard it, my eyes widened and I heard myself proclaiming, "No they did NOT!" And then it got better for a second. Slash came up through a trap door in the stage. Okay, maybe there is hope and this is just a temporary stunt while the do something crazy. But no. They were actually covering "Sweet Child O' Mine" and Fergie is no Axl. Why couldn't they just stick to their own stuff? That would have been better.

Shortly thereafter, Usher came into the mix. I haven't been an Usher fan since sometime around the sixth grade, so I have very little to say about that other than I thought it was overkill. Things were bad enough, no need to make it worse. But they did. Because then they broke into a strange and auto-tuned version of "Time of My Life" from Dirty Dancing. I was mildly horrified. Okay, more than mildly. I may have screamed aloud to voice my discontent.

Oh, well. Here's hoping that next year makes up for it!