Friday, November 22, 2013

Mature Love Redeux

As I was preparing to write my husband a letter commemorating my love this sixth anniversary, I was reminded of a blog I posted many moons ago.

Mature Love was inspired by a book written by Robin L. Smith regarding the lies we believe about marriage.

I was new to the idea of true, real, healthy, responsible and respectful love. (And honestly, so was Chris.) But we wanted it.

It took many, many looooooooooooooong discussions, a lot of heartache, some knock-down, drag-out fights, some aging, and some experience, but I think, we've got it.

"[Mature Love is] day-to-day love. It's going to work everyday, cleaning the house every weekend and paying bills every month love. It's real love - with frustrations and conflict and real experiences."

This year, as I look to celebrate (tomorrow) the day I agreed to join TeamBroussard, I know that I have found true love. The kind of love that brings joy to the depths of your soul. The kind of love that lasts for a lifetime.

"Hey, Sailor!"

Friday, November 15, 2013

I'm From...

I’m from Fall colors and Spring tulips and 10,000 lakes.

I'm from the outskirts, never a neighborhood, rarely a sidewalk.

I’m from bright yellow dandelions turned into wishes.

I’m from Christmas decorating on Black Friday, flocked Christmas trees and nutcrackers.

I'm from MGD and Home Interiors and Tupperware and Harley Davidson.

I’m from Barbies and “The Babysitters’ Club” books.

I’m from Cub Foods and White Castle.

I’m from tuna salad.

I’m from Kemps’ Tin Roof Sundae in a gallon bucket.

I'm from Gedney pickles, Pronto Pups, tater tots and Old Dutch potato chips.

I’m from roller rinks and week-long vacations at rented cabins.

I’m from a purple paddleboat on Lake Magda.

I’m from over-the-top motorcycle rallies in Sturgis, South Dakota.

I'm from Lutherans and hotdishes and bitter cold.

I'm from sledding and ice skating.

I’m from camping and fishing and RVs and canoeing and road trips.

I’m from visits to the one-Hardee’s town in Iowa called Waukon.

I'm from Nintendo and VHS and cassette tapes and IBM.

I'm from snow days and three months of summer vacation.

I'm from Valleyfair and the Great Minnesota Get-Together, and the Mall of America.

I’m from “Duck, Duck, Grey Duck” and tubing down the river.

I’m from “Red” and "The Boat Killer."

I’m from mechanics, bartenders, bikers and secretaries.

I'm from mutt dogs and stray cats.

I’m from broken families and shattered dreams and unrealized potential.

I’m from family without blood relation.

I’m from Minneapolis, and wasn’t proud of that until I moved away.

I'm from a place I chose not to dwell.

I'm from the place that made me the beautiful creature I am.

Stolen so lovingly from Stacy May.

Awhile back I read an I'm From blog post and decided to take a crack at it myself. If you're interested in writing your own I'm From, you can use the following template to get started (if you write your own, please leave a comment and link so I can read it!): Adapted by Levi Romero Inspired by “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon I am from ________________________ (an everyday item in your home) from ________________ and _______________ (products or everyday items in your home) I am from the ___________________________ (description of your home) _________________________________ (a detail about your home – a smell, taste, or feel) I am from the____________________ (plant, flower, natural item) The __________________________ (plant or tree near your home) whose long gone limbs I remember as if they were my own. I’m from _______________ and ________________ (a family tradition and family trait) from ______________and ______________________ (family members) I’m from _________________and _________________ (family habits) and from_____________________. (family habit) I’m from _______________ and _______________ (things you were told as a child) and ____________________________________ (a song or saying you learned as a child) I’m from_________________________ (a family tradition) I’m from ____________ (place of birth) and ___________ (family ancestry, nationality or place) _______________and _________________ (family foods) From ___________________________________ (a story about a family member) ___________________________ (detail about the story or person) _____________________________ (description of family momentos, pictures or treasures.) _________________________ (location of momentos – under my bed, on the wall, in my heart) ______________________________________________ (more description if needed) _______________________________________________ By

Thursday, November 14, 2013

"Lazy Word Choice"

I received this email from "Daily Writing Tips," and thought my writing blog was a perfect place to share it.

Thanks to today’s instant communication, words used by one blogger or celebrity catch on at an astounding rate, spilling over into advertising, entertainment, and website comments.

One evening I became aware of two television ads airing back to back. One was for a telephone service; the other for a car. Both hammered the word crazy to describe features of their products: “crazy, crazy generous, crazy efficient, crazy protection.”

This mindless kind of usage strips words of meaning. It wastes the power of words that have more appropriate uses.

Take this headline, for example: Daylight Saving Time Is America’s Greatest Shame

Shame can be used in more than one sense, including a fairly meaningless social convention: “It’s a shame you couldn’t join us for dinner.” Used as it is in the headline, however, shame is a strong word, calling up images of the Indian removals known as the Trail of Tears, the WWII internment camps for U.S. citizens of Japanese descent, and the Tuskegee syphilis experiments that used untreated black Americans as a control group.

Daylight Saving Time may be a fraud. It may be annoying, unnecessary, disruptive or any number of disagreeable things, but is it really “America’s Greatest Shame”?

Sometimes the intended purpose of a piece of writing calls for deliberate misuse of words. Advertising and political speeches come to mind.

We live under a constant verbal barrage. It’s impossible to ignore the catch phrases of our culture. They enter our minds and speech. If we are writers, they creep into our first drafts. Happily, we can replace poorly chosen words as we revise.

Very. "Very" is the word I most despise using.

"Amazing" is the word I am guilty of overusing the most. I know it, and I have tried to work on it. Unfortunately, that meant on our recent trip to Bernheim for fall color enjoyment, I said, "remarkable" at least 32 times.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Unfortunately, like most American holidays, today it is known as a day for commercialism, for great sale prices and especially for free meals for veterans. Though all of the price breaks are greatly appreciated, I can't help but feel like they miss the point++.

"...filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died...and with graditude for the victory..."

My husband often doesn't like the idea of being thanked for doing his job or being regarded a hero for his sacrifices, but he is an important cog in a huge machine .I am oh so proud of his path, his accomplishments and his dedication. I am very thankful that I've had the opportunity to be his MilSpouse for over half of his Navy career (thus far).

November is my most favoritest time of year. It is full of so many important days to me - my birthday, my anniversary, Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) and also Veterans Day. Veterans Day doesn't celebrate war, but it instead actually honors those who fight to end it.

Thank you to all those past, present and future who have served, continue to serve and will serve. It is a very noble profession and I appreciate that you allow us one day to honor you.

++But the most important question to me is actually "with or without apostrophe?"
According to the VA website, Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe but does include an "s" at the end of "veterans" because it is not a day that "belongs" to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Top 10 Reasons the Navy is the BEST Service

L-O-V-E LOVE Love love this blog post by a MilSpouse. LOVE IT! Made me laugh, cry, thank God, get excited and worry about the future all in ten bullets.

"Top 10 Reasons the Navy is the Best Service" by Jacey Eckhart (Air Force brat, Navy wife and Army mom)

1. Oceanfront property. Be it ever so humble, the Navy forces you — just forces you, Dear — to live near an ocean. You have to walk on beaches in the sunset — there is a law. You simply must learn to pick crab or lobster while drinking local beer and listening to Buffett. Porpoises and dolphins are such an every day thing that you don’t even bother to look up when they flash by. Once in a while you get a weirdo billet (NAS Fallon we’re talkin’ to you) where you can’t even remember what the ocean looks like, but most of the time you get to live near the sea.

2. White uniforms. Not only do our own sailors develop miraculously good superstar looks when they don the spanky white version of their uniforms, this trick works for actors, too. Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Richard Gere in Officer and a Gentleman. Cuba Gooding Jr. looking his cutie best in Men of Honor. John Wayne and Cary Grant also quite delightful in Navy garb. Makes you wanna wake up and smell the polyester! Please note: Putting on the “blueberry” uniform does not work the same way, Liam Neeson.

3. New Chief season. The Navy is a service surrounded by history and traditions and customs. One of our favorites happens in August when they do the CPO induction and you see all these ridiculously cheerful people out doing car washes to raise money. We like when good things happen to good people. Now get out there and be the backbone of the Navy.

4. The Big Turnaround. All the services do this in one way or another, but we love when kids join the Navy out of high school. Then they kind of look around and figure out who they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to be doing. My own nephew enlisted in the Navy (and recently reenlisted) and found a place in the world to do good work. Gotta love it.

5. Huge support group. In Navy towns like Norfolk, San Diego, Jacksonville, and Bremerton you can’t walk a block without running into someone with connections to the Navy. Not only have these neighbors walked the walk, but they have really good advice about getting up to speed on all you need to do…along with a nice plate of brownies.

6. Never say goodbye. In Navy life, the limited number of bases means that you never really say goodbye to the people you meet. Instead we say, “Fair winds and following seas.” Translated I think this means, “Bye for now and we’ll catch up at the commissary two duty stations from now.” Or it could also be like that Far Side comic where the sea captain is trailed into a dark alley by a following sea … one of the two.

7. Ships slipping over the horizon. One of the most beautiful moments of a Navy homecoming is that instant when the ship slips over the horizon and into view. One minute there is nothing but some ugly oiler jacking up the horizon. The next moment there is this huge, grey vessel slipping across the ocean like a mist. The whole thing makes you choke up with the joy of it. Really.

8. Homecoming on a pier — not in a gym. For the majesty of the event, nothing beats a Navy homecoming where the sailors line the rails of the ship and then descend onto the pier into the arms of their loved ones. This is a little less picturesque in the rain. Or the snow. Or that unfortunate sleet storm that pummeled all the balloons. But it is really, really pretty most of the time.

9. Land, sea and air — we fight everywhere. Unlike the other services, the Navy is equipment driven. We may rib each other about whether surface, air, subs, SEALs, supply, etc. are the best part of the Navy, but in the moment of crisis we got it all.

10. Sailors have more fun. Trust us. They just do.

Friday, August 23, 2013

NOT a Food Blogger!

I could NEVER be a food blogger.

I make fabulous meals. I cook very tasty food. My family devours most things I put on their plates. However, I do not follow a recipe.

I recently made my first ever homemade lasagna. In this instance, I had THREE recipes I was working with and random substitutions of vegetables. It was honestly one of the most delicious foods I have ever baked.

I shared a picture on Facebook and was met with requests for the recipe. Here is what my wonderfully patient and loving friends received:

*DISCLAIMER: I don’t follow recipes well. I don’t ever make the exact same dish twice, because I don’t write down what I did…This is the best I can do from memory.
I used a 9x13 glass pan.
I set the oven at 350.
Bottom of pan was just tomato sauce -- pureed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, garlic pepper, and tomato paste. I used three fresh tomatoes, a can of diced tomatoes and a small can of tomato paste.
Then a layer of oven-ready lasagna noodles.

Veggie mix:
So separately, in a frying pan, I heated a capful of olive oil and sautéed a small onion (minced) and minced garlic plus liquid from the garlic jar. Once onions were clear, I added minced sweet orange pepper, white eggplant and a whole head of minced rainbow chard. (I minced all the veggies so they wouldn't really be so noticeable.) Then I added pureed tomatoes until the veggies actually looked like a spaghetti sauce - one can, two fresh and then a can of tomato paste and water.

I brought sauce to a boil then simmered while I made cheese sauce.

If you started with a spaghetti sauce you liked and just added minced veggies, the recipe might be easier. LOL I just had tomatoes I needed to use up. The original recipe called for squash and mushrooms and pepper, but I seem to have developed an allergy to squash and/or mushrooms, so I used veggies I had on hand (eggplant and chard). You could use spinach or broccoli or whatever. I think any veggie would suffice, because they are minced.

Cheese sauce:
1 tub (15 oz) of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup or so of parmesan (I used that green can stuff, but actually cheese would probably be better).
1 egg
Mix in bowl with fork until smooth.
Turn off veggies.

So, back to the lasagna making...

On top of the layer of noodles, I put a layer of cheese sauce and then sprinkling of mozzarella cheese. Then a layer of veggie mix. Then a made a layer of noodles. Then a layer of cheese, then sauce, then noodles. I topped with veggies that were left and baked for about 50 minutes.

I then doused with mozzarella cheese and baked until melted.

Remove pan from oven and let sit at least five minutes before cutting.

My kids each ate two bowls!!