Monday, March 11, 2013

Wordy, Nerdy (And a Little Bit Dirty)

Thanks for dropping by Plumbing Demons!  I have now moved most of my writing to a new blog:  Wordy, Nerdy (And a little bit Dirty) with Patheos.  My old writings including recipes can be found on the new site as well.

Hope you can drop by!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Anger, Laughter and Grace with Smushed Spanakopita

I’m 6 months away from having 3 teenagers, and boy do I feel it.

Recently, an unnamed child threw a spanakopita triangle across the living room because this child didn’t want to give a sibling a crab Rangoon.  For New Year’s Eve I had copied my sister’s habit of buying up Trader Joe’s frozen appetizers and testing them all.  It was a failed experiment—Trader Joe’s appetizers just don’t stack up against homemade—but the kids were a lot less discriminating.

Anonymous child is not an infant--what's up with that?
Starting New Years Resolutions 2 days later, including a new diet, meant I couldn’t indulge in all my left over appetizers.  I can’t stand wasting food, so rather than increasing my own waistline, I feed all my delectable tidbits to others (selfishly, I don't care so much about increasing their waistlines)--hence spanakopita and crab Rangoons for after-school snack.

When I told the child that the consequence of throwing a spanakopita across the room was cleaning it up and not getting any crab Rangoons at all, instead of politely saying, “Yes ma’am,” and taking the punishment, this child took the whole plate of appetizers and squished them between 2 hands—spurting spinach, feta, and crab all over my just-cleaned countertop and floors.

I lost it. 

Not only did this child waste food, this child wasted food on CLEAN SURFACES.  For an hour after my house gets cleaned every 2 weeks I revel in true cleanliness.   This child just cut that hour to minutes.

I sent the child to isolation until a 6 pm class.

“What about piano?” came back the sassy taunt.

Shoot.  Forgot about that 3:45 lesson.  “Fine, until piano!”

20 minutes later, I peeked in on the child, who appeared to be lying on top of the loft bed taking a nap.  In light of all the homework and reading that could have been happening, I lost it again.

“What are you doing in bed when you have all this homework?” I screeched.

“Mom.”  A calm voice emanated from behind the door.  “I’m not in bed.”

I pushed open the door a few inches.  Sure enough, 2 feet away from me, the child sat in chair, reading. 

The child looked at me like I was an idiot, which of course I am.  We stared each other down until the child started laughing, which got me started too. 

So much for being mad forever.

Later, I overheard the child say to siblings, “But then Mom started laughing, and you know when you get her to laugh she can’t be mad anymore.”

Too true, I’m figured out.

I used to feel like this was just another of the huge injustices in my marriage—when Scott got me to laugh, I couldn’t stay angry, while I can’t shake him out of bad feelings.  After I complained about this multiple times, Scott finally said, “Why is that bad?  Isn’t it a grace for our marriage?”

In the moment, it doesn’t feel like grace.  I like being angry.  I feel powerful.  I feel justified.  I feel RIGHT.  Those feelings are so addictive that in the moment I don't care  that in the long run my anger also leaves me alone.  

So Scott’s right again.  Laughter transforming anger is a grace, a gift from God.  Even when I would rather be angry, justified, and right, God provides a way for those who love me to break through--a mercy that means in the long run I'm not alone.  My wise husband learned that about me early.

Apparently, so have my kids.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

New Years Resolutions--Don't Eat these Ginger Molasses Cookies

Happy New Year Everyone!

For those of you who read this blog regularly, you'll see I've fallen off the blog-wagon for the past couple months.  I'm supposed to move to a new blog on Patheos, but it's just taking time to set up which was the perfect excuse not to write.

But here we are in the first week of 2013, and it's time to make my resolutions, including those around writing. Now I don't know why I make New Years resolutions, because like 92% of other resolution-makers I always eventually fail.  But there's something about a new year, a new opportunity, that always makes me want to try.

Meanwhile, I found this cool website that has all these stats on New Years Resolutions including the Top 10 New Years resolutions for 2012

1.  Lose Weight
2.  Getting Organized
3.  Spend Less, Save More
4.  Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5.  Staying Fit and Healthy
6.  Learn Something Exciting
7.  Quit Smoking
8.  Help Others in Their Dreams
9.  Fall in Love
10.  Spend More Time with Family

The site also cites that 8% are successful in achieving their resolution, 49% have infrequent success and 24% never succeed!

75% are able to maintain their resolution past a week, 71% past 2 weeks, 64% past one month, and 46% past six months.  So as all the women's magazines say, you gotta make the resolution a habit.


Here goes:

Resolution 1:   Re-start the Instinct-diet, Diabetic style and lose 8-12 pounds.  Maintain that weight loss throughout the year, with the goal especially of keeping it off for my 30th Punahou high school reunion in June.  

Note:  As of yesterday, I started weighing myself on the Fitbit scale in the downstairs bathroom which always says I'm at least a pound heavier than the upstairs scale.  I'm going for the most stringent measurement with more accountability because it syncs online and tells me my body fat percentage--an especially depressing fact when I lose weight but gain fat (which means I'm actually losing lean muscle mass).  

Resolution 2:  Exercise 5 hours/week, do 10,000 steps/day 6 days/week with hope of 7 days/week. 

Note:  This is a cheat resolution because I already exercise about that much.  But you got to list something that makes you feel like you're accomplishing something!   And I'm putting numbers on it, and adding the steps piece--very difficult in winter with multiple injuries I must say.

Resolution 3:  Read the Bible in a year.  

Note:  This is actually Ling’s New Year’s Resolution, but I said I would do it with her.  ACK!  I've never been faithful at daily spiritual disciplines and so far we don't have a plan and TWO WHOLE DAYS have already gone by!  We're slipping behind!   So I just sent her 3 links to one year Bible reading plans and hope we'll commit soon.

Resolution 4:  Blog regularly, at least once/week, preferably more.  

Note:  It's time to get back on the proverbial horse.

And on a random other note, as a New Year's present to all of us who won't be able to make these cookies for another 6 months in order to keep our New Years Resolutions, I'm including my Ginger Molasses Cookie recipe.  This has been the most popular cookie of the season and Ling's friends have asked me to post it.   Happy New Years girls!
These are not my cookies, but what my cookies look like
when they're done!

Ginger Molasses Cookies
(adapted from Rosie’s Cookie book)

Mix together in bowl & set aside:
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbs. ground ginger
1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
¾  tsp. ground nutmeg
¾ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground allspice
¾ tsp. salt

12 Tbs. (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter @ room temp.
 ¾ cup white sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar

Add to butter mixture & mix together until blended:
¼ c. dark molasses

Add & mix until incorporated:
1 large egg

Add flour mixture and blend on low speed for 15 seconds.  Scrape the bowl and blend until the dough is smooth, about 5 seconds more.

Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a golfball sized ball, roll in: 
1/2-1 cup turbinado sugar

Bake cookies 2 inches apart @ 375 until they are still slightly soft and cracked on top, 15-16 minutes, a couple minutes more if you’re baking frozen dough.

I normally make a double recipe and freeze the balls of dough so I can always have fresh cookies on hand.  If you don't have turbinado sugar, you can roll the cookies in regular sugar, but the large crystals of turbinado are attractive, crunchy and tasty!

statistics on new years resolutions? what are the top ten news years resolutions of 2012 ? what is the success rate for new years resolutions ?