Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Blog, New Year, New Post

OK, so the blog isn't really new--I just finally got an option to upgrade to the new Google Blog. And it isn't the new year yet, as there's still another day to go. But this IS a new post, and that should count for something, right?

I've been tagged by Jenn, so I'll get this done now--I am supposed to:
1. Find the nearest book.
2. Name the book & the author.
3. Turn to page 123.
4. Go to the fifth sentence on the page. Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
5. Tag three more folks.

OK, I have bookshelves above my desk, so there are quite a few books. I'm selecting the one I can grab with the least effort, which happens to be Polgara the Sorceress by David and Leigh Eddings. Now, Polgara has been sitting where Belgarath the Sorcerer would normally sit, but Belgarath was lost some time ago and I've been waiting patiently for the old wolf to wander back. I'm guessing he got caught up with some drinking, or running with the golden eyed wolf in the Vale, so I'm not holding my breath.

Anyway, Polgara is a prequel, of sorts, telling of her life before the events in the Belgariad and the Mallorean. I got hooked on them a lifetime ago--and I don't think I ever properly said thank you, so thank you. Anyway, here's the selection:

"A very close examination of my reflection didn't reveal any wrinkles, though--at least, not yet.

The four of us spent about ten years--or maybe it was only nine--concentrating our full attention on the Darine Codex, and then the Master sent father to Tolnedra to see to the business of linking the Borune family with the Dryads. Father's use of chocolate to persuade the Dryad Princess Xoria to go along with the notion has always struck me as more than a little immoral."

There is a joke in there that's really funny if you have read the series before. Otherwise, that passage seems a bit strange. But no worries! If you want to understand, there are only five books in each series! Time to get cracking!

As for tagging someone else, I'll pass. If you're reading this, consider yourself tagged.

We're coming down from the holidays and vacation is nearing its end for Tom. We got the big boy furniture for CJ and the new sectional for the living room on Wednesday, and we're very pleased with everything. Tom and I have been cleaning the whole house to address our storage issues and toss out some junk. For a brief moment on Thursday, I had a completely clean kitchen--all dishes and counters clean. Then I blinked and the moment passed. Tonight we're staying home since Tom and I aren't fond of going out on "Amateur Night". I did give him a barware set for Christmas, so I may have him break it out and use it. CJ checks under the Christmas tree occasionally, looking for more presents. I think he'll understand things a bit better next year. All in all, it's been a great week and I've really enjoyed the time with my family.

Friday, December 22, 2006

CJ's Second Birthday

Christmas time is very busy for us this year, since CJ's birthday is a week before it (aw, my little tax break baby!). Tom's birthday is also close to the holidays, so we're making a concerted effort to make sure CJ has a separate birthday and separate Christmas, and not blend the two together.

Of course, I still get to shop the same sales, but that's beside the point.

So Tuesday was the big day for my big boy, and he got to stay home with Mommy because he had a cold. He's been home with my all week because of that cold, and now Mommy has it. Anyway, Tuesday morning we greeted him with Happy Birthday! He played on his own very well while I got some work done, then my friend Jay came over around 4, bearing grande mocha frapuccinos. Jay kept CJ entertained and chatted with me while I tidied my kitchen and began baking CJ's birthday cake. I made a spice cake with cream cheese icing from a recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens red plaid cookbook from 2000 (but I can post it for Jenn later). Jay finished the icing while I started dinner--spaghetti and meat sauce, one of CJ's favorites. Tom and Erik arrived shortly before dinner, and we all sat around the table.

CJ really likes Jay and Erik. I think he might have a crush on Jay, because he always grins at her and acts on his best behavior until she makes a funny face at him and then he cracks up. Erik is very tall, and CJ is fascinated by that--he leans his head way back to stare at Erik, then later will make faces to make Erik smile.

After dinner was singing and cake, and we had a brief moment of panic when CJ tried to put out the candle with his hand instead of by blowing. He was successful--but most importantly, no blisters or other injury. He was VERY surprised, though--I think touching the candle flame definitely did not feel good. After cake, Tom brought out the presents I wrapped earlier in the day.

I hope we're not spoiling him too much! He got lots of coloring stuff, a couple books, an art desk for keeping his crayons and papers, a little golf set, a new pirate playset, and his favorite gift from Jay and Erik--Pirate Potato Head! It's a giant Potato Head filled with 4 smaller potato heads and all the pieces are pirate/see themed. We all played with this one! Erik and created what we called the Pirates of Dr. Moreau while CJ clapped and approved or everyone. Then he took one and repeatedly held it up for Erik, made it dance, then giggled to himself before doing it again.

So, my little boy had a fantastic birthday and we've had a blast playing this week. I'm now on vacation starting today, so no more work for me until January! I'm really excited about Christmas--we have a naked tree we need to decorate (but it smells wonderful!) and I can't wait to see how much CJ will love Christmas morning after seeing how much he enjoyed his birthday!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christmas List

Alrighty, I guess it's my turn.

1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot Chocolate.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Tom and I wrap all the presents, but all the ones for Christopher are marked, "From Santa".

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Colored lights for both.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No, I get and give plenty of kisses.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
It varies. We've had a couple years where we didn't put any up. A few years ago, Tom had to work on Christmas Eve and we hadn't gotten a tree or anything, so while he was at work, I put up old Christmas cards and strung lights and hung stockings as a surprise. Last year, we didn't decorate the tree till Christmas Eve after putting CJ to bed--he loved it on Christmas morning.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
I don't have a whole lot of background on tradition. Some years, Tom and I open a bottle of wine and eat grapes, cheese, and crackers while listening to Christmas music. That's always good. I can't think of a specific dish.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
I don't have any. I used to enjoy going to church with the Clan. Opening it up to the whole Holiday season, I loved Granny;s New Year's Eve parties and I miss those greatly.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
When I was really young and from the Jehovah's Witnesses. I don't remember ever believing in Santa Claus.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Yes, one each. Previous years, our friend Candi has celebrated with us, and we've always made sure she had a present under the tree from us for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This is our first Christmas without her, and that makes me sad.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
A couple strings of lights, some glass balls, some painted decorations, and other ornaments we've received over the years.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love it, and miss it.

12. Can you ice skate?
Once upon a time before my center of gravity shifted.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
A mini-disc player I didn't even know I wanted or existed. I still use it almost every day at work.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
I don't really have one. I've started baking spice cakes for CJ's birthday (right before CHristmas) so I'll go with that.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
I like filling up the stockings--ones for me, Tom, each cat, and now CJ.

17. What tops your tree?
Previous years, nothing, or a Santa hat. This year, Tom got a color changing star for the top. Since CJ is currently obsessed with stars, I think he'll like it very much.

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving?
I'm uncomfortable with both since I haven't done it very long. I think I like them both equally, but they both stress me a bit--I'm never sure if I got the right gift to give someone, and I'm never sure I've properly thanked the giver when it's something I really like.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
O Holy Night--sung by David. I miss that a lot. I wish I could have it on CD to play every Christmas Eve.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?
Yum--but only the peppermint ones. Cherry ones are disgusting.

21. Favorite Christmas movie?
A Christmas Story, Elf, and Bad Santa.

22. What do you leave for Santa?
Nothing. I'm a bad girl.

Friday, December 01, 2006

In a Pickle

Yesterday, I talked to Jenn while I was upset about something. I won't be going into those details anytime soon, but suffice to say Jenn was the PERFECT person to talk to about it.

Anyway, in an attempt to cheer me up, Jenn asked me if I knew pickles were evil. I was puzzled--I love pickles, always have. During the first few months of my pregnancy I ate a gallon of pickles a week! So I got to thinking about it, and I think she's absolutely wrong.

See, pickles are cucumbers soaked in brine, and brine contains large volumes of salt. Salt was very important before refrigeration for preserving foods, including meats, and in Roman times, soldiers were paid in salt (hence the word "salary"). In modern times, salt was infused with iodine to keep people from developing goiters, and it's been shown that the complexity of salt's composition amplifies a variety of flavors, making the taste more intense than if the food is eaten unseasoned. Salt is used in many recipes, including baking, for this reason.

Cucumbers grow from tiny seeds sown in the earth and can be harvested in a short period of time—two months from planting. Cucumbers contain potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and prevent muscle cramps. They are rich in fiber and are useful in cooling and relieving tired eyes.

Matthew 5:13 refers to Christians as the "salt of the earth", inferring that their faith was necessary to "season" the world and make it a better place to live. The "salt" they provided through their faith and actions would turn their communities into havens of morality, goodwill, and worship, and without their faith, the earth would be worth nothing.

Going back to salt and its benefits, goiters were a big public health problem until it was determined that iodine helped thyroid health and improves thyroid function. Certain vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower, are cruciferous vegetables, and they impede the absorption of thyroid hormone within the body. Those who are hypothyroid (like me) cannot eat broccoli or cauliflower while taking synthetic thyroid hormone or else the synthetic hormone will not be absorbed and the thyroid will continue to malfunction. Eating foods with iodized salt, like pickles, helps preserve the malfunctioning thyroid while allowing the body to use the synthetic hormone as replacement for the hormone that the body does not produce. Proper thyroid function is critical for humans—the thyroid governs the body’s metabolism, determining mood, energy levels, hunger, calorie burning, digestion, and reproduction in women.

See, if the thyroid is imbalanced, a woman’s body chemistry will go awry, changing her estrogen production. Ovulation reduces and the natural cycle lengthens and becomes irregular, making it hard for the woman to conceive. So proper thyroid function is essential for women to be fruitful and multiply!

You can see now, absolutely clearly, that pickles are certainly NOT the evil fruit from the Tree of Knowledge to be avoided by all costs. Pickles are manna from Heaven, filled with potassium and iodine, giving us the essential building blocks we need to carry out good deeds, avoid gluttony, and produce new generations. Pickles are a tangible manifestation of “the salt of the earth”.

Because of its ability to impede thyroid function and reproduction, it is also clear that BROCCOLI is the true fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, and should be avoided at all costs.