Monday, December 19, 2011

Illinois, you're letting me down...

Right, let's get one thing straight. I agreed to move here for a variety of reasons, but WAY up on the list was the promise of snow.

Not South Australian snow (AKA 'Imaginary Snow').

Not lame Tennessee snow that falls like dandruff and melts in minutes.

No, I'm talking about REAL snow like we got so much of last winter. Snow that sits around for days and gets the kids out of school (and consequently gets me a sleep-in).

So now it's December 19 and THERE IS NO SNOW!!!

So I'm putting you on notice, state of Illinois, I want snow... or I'm taking my bat and my ball and I'm GOING HOME*.










*any threat to leave the country is entirely tongue-in-cheek and should not be taken seriously

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

My 'Accidentally Tasty Chicken' Recipe

This post serves two purposes.

Firstly, I wanted to share my newly discovered recipe for 'Accidentally Tasty Chicken' (newcomers: this is NOT a cooking blog. Read on, you'll see why...).

Secondly, I wanted to shamelessly self-promote the new addiction of a facebook 'like' button to my (seldomly-read-let-alone-SHARED) blog.

I have no shame. But I DO have Accidentally Tasty Chicken. And so can you.

(And so can ALL YOUR FRIENDS if you were to... well... use the shiny new facebook button...)

Enjoy.

Accidentally Tasty Chicken

1. Buy two giant bags of chicken quarters (actually, these were just the leg/thigh quarters), split them into meal amounts and freeze them.

2. Next (several weeks later) realise that the two church committee meetings* fall right on suppertime and pull one bag out of the freezer with a vague plan to cook some sort of slow-cooker meal.

3. Forget to place anything at all in the slow cooker/crock pot when you get up in the morning.

4. Spend entire day incredibly busy.

5. Remember chicken half an hour before first meeting is due to start.

6. Tip bag of chicken pieces out onto a flat baking tray - push them around until there is space between all pieces. (Except for the one weeny piece that is much smaller - shove that one close to a larger piece in the hopes that the proximity will make it not be horribly over-cooked and shoe-leathery.)

7. Sprinkle generously (and frantically) with garlic salt.

8. Place into oven - 160C/325F degrees.

9. Yell at (vegetarian) daughter that if she wants mashed potatoes she'll need to cook them.

10. Leave house for an hour and a half.

11. Return in time to boil pot of potatoes and water (that daughter miraculously peeled and sliced in your absence).

12. 'Mash' potatoes in Kitchen Aid mixer with butter and milk. Microwave bag of frozen peas. (Preparation of veggies takes total chicken cooking time to about 2 hours.)

13. Cross fingers, pray, and open oven.

14. Remove baking tray from oven, place on stove, pull plates out of the cupboard, and yell "FOOD!".How's that recipe?





*For this step it helps if you actually WORK for the church in some sort of Pastoral role, so you can't - you know - just skip the two meetings...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Melancholy

It's not a special day.

It's not even an especially bad day.

On the drive home from Walmart (milk, cheese, lettuce...) my thoughts turn to Sam.

I hear his cheeky laughter. I see him - heat-less, life-less, motion-less.

A cold hand slips around my heart and squeezes and I hurt, I hurt, I hurt, I hurt, I hurt...

We're stopped at the road works - windows down, warm breeze, sun on our faces.

Laura leans over and wipes a couple tears off my cheek.

Inhale... Exhale...

Life continues, without him.

It doesn't stop hurting, we just learn better pain management.

Death sucks.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Self-Evaluation

I just posted the following status to my facebook -

"Filling out clergy self-assessment forms. For the uninitiated this is how it goes
Q How awesome were you last year?
A Super awesome.
Q How awesome are you now?
A Double super awesome.
Q How awesome are you gunna be?
A Triple super awesome, plus plus plus.
Consider me self-assessed. ;-p"


(Dear Person Reading This Blog in a Couple Decades Time,
back at the turn of the 21st Century we had this thing called 'facebook'.
It was kind of like that thing you use now to kill time and irritate people... only less amazing.)

I struggle with self-assessment - and I don't only mean the forms I fill out every year for the UMC. I find it difficult to walk the line between being unfairly critical and unrealistically flattering. Plus I have my Aussie culture hat on, which tells me that it's boastful to talk good about yourself - better to say less and let everyone around you (hopefully) chime in.

But I think one area where we all fail at self-assessment is when reporting back in answer to that Dreaded Question - 'How Are You?'

I reckon that's why facebook ask you 'What's On Your Mind?', and twitter* ask 'What's Happening?' It's pretty easy to report back on the intellectual stuff, and even more so on recounting current events. But, 'how are you?'... urgh!

That requires actual soul searching. And evaluating how much is too much or too little information - in the context of whichever cultural situation the question occurs.

It might even require VULNERABILITY.

We might need to one day decide to be honest with people and say -
"You know what? What's on my mind is pain. What's happening is all bad. And how I am is a work very much in progress."

But maybe if we could self-evaluate to that level it could change the grading curve for the people around us when they do their own self-evaluations.

So I'm gonna stop procrastinating (by updating a blog I haven't bothered to go near since November LAST YEAR - wait till you see how faithfully I blog when End of Year Reporting comes around!) and go fill out the forms. Because I have to. And because self-evaluation is a useful skill. And mostly because it's less frightening than the alternative... being evaluated by OTHERS!!!


But since I have to spend my afternoon at this activity, how about you join in too. So...

How are YOU?








(*We also had this thing called 'twitter'. It was like that thing you have now for communicating in short bursts... but you know, minus the dolphins.)