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January 29, 2008

Salmon Caesar Salad à la Jason

SalmoncaesarsaladOn a roll with his Chicken Caesar Salad last week, this week 13-yr-old Jason made a delicious variation for the family: Baked Salmon Caesar Salad, with sweet cherry tomatoes, perfectly ripe avocado, cheesy croutons, and fresh slices of wholegrain baguette on the side. So now he knows how to sauté chicken and bake salmon. What a good start on life :-) I think his wife will appreciate this. I know I do. He's even learning how to spell Caesar (for the dressing on the shopping list), whilst enjoying the cash reward and the compliments to the chef. I can't wait to eat what he makes next.

January 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Deca-Lingual Colgate

Yesterday I bought a tube of Colgate Total Advanced Fresh Gel Toothpaste in my local UK Waitrose grocery store. Normally I much prefer Tom's of Maine Wintermint flavor (no saccharin), but I can't get that here, and I seem to be allergic somehow to Tom's of Maine Cinnamon-Clove (as fabulous as it tastes) and Cinnamint (why is this?), which we picked up in Colorado at Christmas (because the store we looked there at didn't have wintermint either).

In any case, this Colgate tube here expresses itself in English, German, French, Spanish, Greek, Italian, and four other languages I'm not sure about (possibly Dutch, Swedish, Polish and Portuguese). It has marked on its side addresses in Belgium, the UK, Italy, Poland and Sweden, and telephone numbers for 15 countries, including Ireland, Luxembourg, Austria, Denmark and Finland.

I am overwhelmed by the international nature of my little tube of fresh-smelling stuff. Maybe if I use enough of it on my teeth and tongue, I will start to be fluent in more languages.

January 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 28, 2008

Google, Email, Parenting

Look at the Google logo today. You can hover your mouse over the logo to see what the occasion is. Hat tip to my husband :-) Oh, and if you look at this post later than the day I published it, you may be able to find the logo I was referring to on the previous Google Holiday Logos page. You might want to take a peek anyway - I've missed a lot of them and they're fun to see.

UPDATE: seems like they don't show the minor fun logos, just the major holidays on that historical page. So here is what I was referring to: the 50th anniversary of the Lego Brick. I can't find where the non-major logos are kept in an orderly fashion anywhere. Let me know if you find a collection.

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Karen Hancock writes fascinatingly and with deep thoughts about the novel-writing and -editing process. I liked this post, Overcoming the Email Addiction.

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For some reason, this piece circulating the internet choked me up. Anyone want to claim authorship? I'd love to attribute it to the writer. Thanks to my friend Rose who emailed it to me:

PARENT: Job Description

POSITION: Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma, Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop

JOB DESCRIPTION: Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment.
Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call.
Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities!
Travel expenses not reimbursed.
Extensive courier duties also required.

RESPONSIBILITIES: The rest of your life.
Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5.
Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.
Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.
Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers.
Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects.
Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.
Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next.
Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.
Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION: None.
Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required unfortunately.
On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis..

WAGES AND COMPENSATION: Get this! You pay them!
Offering frequent raises and bonuses.
A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent.
When you die, you give them whatever is left.
The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

BENEFITS: While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love, and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right..

** AND A FOOTNOTE? THERE IS NO RETIREMENT -- EVER!!! **
If you are fortunate enough you will become grandparents!

January 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 27, 2008

Geocaching

GeocachingWe went geocaching for the first time ever yesterday. Ever tried it? We just used our TomTom - the GPS NavSat we use to find places driving around in our car. I guess there are more compact devices, but it worked fine. We got in a couple of hours of good family walking, fresh air and sunshine. It was cold and windy but there was blue sky.

Our first hunting choice was a nano-cache, meaning a really, really small container. This one was only about as big as my thumbnail. Maybe not too smart to start with one that hard, and we almost gave up, after 15 minutes of searching around the coordinates. But at the last moment, David spotted it. Then suddenly the decoded clue made perfect sense, of course. We gingerly opened up the tiny case and unrollled the miniscule scroll to add our initials and the date.

We embarked on our 2nd cache-hunt, and chose a much longer walk this time, through Chobham Common. It was a multi-step cache, and after some hiking we found the first "virtual" cache, which gave us clues to the final location. However, after a long walk, when we finally found ourselves at the proper coordinates, we could not find the large plastic container advertised. We had brought along some small gifts to leave in the box and everything, but it just did not appear. So that was pretty depressing. We went out for an early dinner.

David and I are keen on trying again elsewhere, but the kids were kind of non-plussed. Anti-climactic. Oh well. There are a ton of caches within a ten-minute drive of our house (plus some walking around). I am sure David and I (at least) will look for more. Maybe on a date.

If you want to try this outdoor hide and seek anywhere in the world, you can find the coordinates to caches near you online. Also, a list of what to bring:
- GPS device of some sort
- print-out of cache clues
- paper for decoding stuff
- pencil
- compass (I wish we'd had this so we didn't have to keep debating which direction was southwest)
- tweezers for magnetic microcaches
- small toys or books or knickknacks you don't need anymore, to leave behind
- snack & water especially if kids with you might need some fuel

January 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Simultaneous Seasons

All seen on our street Friday: Red, Yellow, and Green blazing at once. Looks like Autumn and Spring happening simultaneously.
RedleavesjanuaryGreenshoots
Yellowcroci

January 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 26, 2008

Sunset over the Thames in January

Sunsetoverthames_2

January 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 24, 2008

Jack Jack Attack

If you liked and remember the great animated movie The Incredibles, you'll love this 4.5 minute installment of what happened to the baby, Jack Jack, during the movie (which we didn't know much about at the time). Very funny and cute. My kids have watched it about ten times. If you haven't seen the Incredibles, don't bother with this, start with that!

January 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

God's Little Pink and Green Love Notes

RhodyfarRhodycloser
RhodybushRhodyblossom
While I'm washing, drying and folding my family's laundry in front of God, he encourages me with his pink and green love note outside the window in the back yard. Whoever planted this might not have known they were being used by God to bless a future tenant. You never know how God is going to use your today in the future, as you faithfully do whatever mundane task it may be.

P.S. If you want to see a REALLY good pink and green love note photo, check out the latest shot at my friend Susan's Short on Words photo blog.

January 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

World Map Game


brought to you by TravelPod, the Web's Original Travel Blog ( part of the TripAdvisor Media Network ) 

This game supposedly earns you a Travel I.Q. Score. Kind of fun, but timed and takes a while.

The first time I played, I broke it. It got stuck in some sort of loop (at level 10 on v. hard world capitals). The second time, I was finally given a traveller IQ and it was 113 (at level 10 again). The third time I tried, I flopped out at level 6, with traveller IQ 95. I guess I randomly got places I knew better at first. I got Easter Island majorly wrong...

Hat tip to Brant Hansen.

I personally like the Middle East map game which is UNTIMED and has no scoring, just learning where countries are (much more relaxing).

January 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 23, 2008

Adventures with the Shepherd

Imagine a woman so well-loved, so secure in her lover's admiration and attention, so cherished that all she wants to do is find ways to please and pleasure her lover. She is so filled with smiles inside all day long that she devises ways to give herself to her lover and cause him gladness.

Well-loved ---> well-loving ---> well-loved ---> very happy couple.

It's a picture of one facet of the relationship God proposes to me. I am so well-loved by Him, when I can just focus on that and get ahold of it in my depths, it is reason to want to find out what pleases Him and get seriously into That, to show my love back to Him. Sometimes I can see His love so clearly, it makes me cry tears of thankfulness. Other times it is hidden behind veils of distractions and worries and subtle lies creeping in to replace peace and grace with frustration and self-consumption. But He always breaks back in and makes His thoughts towards me clear again, through His written words, through worship lyrics and tunes, through His people, through Creation, through His Spirit in me. And majorly through my husband.

I love seeing and living real-life illustrations of God and His heart towards us. I am finding He has planted them here, there and everywhere, waiting for us to discover them, like a time-release medicine for our souls. Like virtual "Easter eggs" in computer programs, secret fun things lying dormant until one presses the right keys at the right time, and they are revealed.

Last week one of the kids told me that a certain cookbook had no main courses in it, only desserts. This was a cookbook I've been using for 15 years, and have cooked several main courses out of. I didn't answer, because it wasn't worth answering. The child kept looking, and found the main course section. The truth was self-evident, without me saying anything. It made me think that God must often wait out some of the ridiculous things we say about life, patiently letting us figure out the truth for ourselves, without correcting us, because whatever we said was so off-target it wasn't even worth answering! Furthermore, we might not believe Him until we see or experience it for ourselves.

I love Karen Hancock's post yesterday about the "Big Bad Shepherd". She talks about how fast and powerful lions are, and how scary it would be to be attacked by one while defending witlessly terrified sheep.

Shepherds of David's day and before were not wimps.

[...] When you went out with your sheep (your flock of brainless mutton on the move, the world's first mobile cafeteria) you knew that there would be predators that would come to seek what you were guarding and guiding.

[...] Shepherds were tough and fierce. David, writing of the Twenty-Third Psalm knew that as well as anyone, and was a demonstration of it.

[...] shepherds even of that day had none of the peace and placidness we see in the stereotypes of devotional renderings. They were more like warriors. Grim-faced and fierce eyes, armed with dagger, pistols, battleaxe, and club they went out prepared to do battle for their sheep.

"Don't confuse the Lamb with the Shepherd," said Pastor Farley. "If a shepherd is up to the task of guarding and keeping his sheep, he will be more like a lion."

I think that's wonderful imagery to help us see yet another facet of our Lord's person and character.

[...] The Lord is my Shepherd. My big, bad shepherd who is absolutely up to the task of handling all my needs, of bringing me to the place of choice grass and quiet, soul restoring waters, who will heal all my wounds, guard me from ravening beasts, and whack me over the head with his rod or haul me out of thickets with his staff when needed. With this guy leading me, taking care of me, providing for me, how can I possibly ever lack for anything?

It made me think of Jack Bauer, honestly. Do you think of shepherds that way? God my Shepherd is cooler, stronger, faster, and more tactically trained than Jack Bauer (of the TV show "24"). I'm in Super Really Good Hands.

God also knows when it is in our best interests not to be rescued right away. He knows how long we can hold out and learn something important in the process, usually something to do with trusting Him at all times! Another quote from Karen Hancock in her writing blog, which I find as interesting as her books:

Took me all morning to think and pray and confess the tangle of sins that had somehow begun to bind me. To recall who it is I serve and that He has guided all along, that He IS helping me, that He has not forsaken me. That His plan is bigger and better than anything I can imagine and I don't know what that is! I think I know what the plan is going to look like for me, how things are going to unfold. And that's nonsense.

God, my Tough and Capable, Studly Shepherd, is also the Lover of my soul and the Wise One who knows the plans He has for me, far deeper and more wonderful than I could possibly understand right now. It's all about trusting in the combination of His Goodness, Wisdom, Interest, and Supreme Ability combined. And keeping walking onwards in the adventure He gives.

January 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack