Thursday, September 23, 2010

2 Corinthians 1:2-5

I took that thing called "Grief" off my shelf again this evening.  It's funny how this always seems to happen on the nights when Tim is gone, and I don't have any work to do.  I just sit around, watching TV shows that inevitably contain something that triggers that feeling of melancholy.  I think I'm coming to realize that there's been a lot that's happened over the past four years, and now I'm finally finding the time and energy to deal with it.

My thoughts today turned this time to our first baby.  I'm finding my thoughts are turning in that direction a bit more lately, probably because we're coming up on four years since we lost our little one.  It was interesting to think about how we celebrated Reuben's third birthday today as a family, and how our little angel would have been three years old by now, but that if we hadn't lost that first child, we wouldn't have Reuben now.  It's funny, but that thought almost makes it more painful, to know that we couldn't possibly have both.  I can't imagine not having Reuben, but I still wish that we could have had a chance to know the one we never will in this life.

And it really sucks that we can't have both.

I think as time goes on, and as life adds more and more grief to my shelf, I'm coming to realize that it's something you can't ever get rid of.  Once it's on that shelf, it's there to stay.  Sure, with time, it gets easier to put it up there so it's not taking up so much of your life.  And day by day, year by year, those griefs become a bit smaller. 

But not smaller in importance.  Never that.  They will always remain on the shelf, never to be forgotten.  And even though they get smaller, and we feel like we can sometimes forget they're there, they never really cease to be painful.  Those moments when we can draw up the mental stamina to pull them off the shelf and look at them, they still hurt.  I don't think there's any way to change that.  It is in the very nature of grief to be painful.

But through it all, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." 2 Cor 1:2-5

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fresh Tomato Linguine

Two posts in one day, look at that!  So I tried a new recipe for supper, even though I didn't have anyone to share it with but the kids.  I'll admit, it is a little depressing that they don't really appreciate my cooking yet.

Anyway, we had fresh tomato linguine, and I got the recipe from a coffee break recipe book I've got.  It goes like this:
4 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

In a bowl, combine tomatoes, basil, oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper.  Let stand for approx. 1 hour.  Boil linguine noodles (about half a 900g pkg).  Drain well when cooked and toss with tomato mixture.

Apparently, it's optional to add cooked chicken strips or cubes to the mixture, but I didn't do this.  I also used slightly less than 1/2 tsp of pepper, and I found it to be just right.  All in all, quite tasty.  It made a lot, though.  This could probably have fed about 4 adults.  The kids and I did not really do justice to it I'm afraid.

So here's some shots of the dish pre-tossing, after tossing, and served up in a bowl:

This is also a picture of today's loaf of fresh bread.  This particular recipe was 5 cups white flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour.  It has turned out quite nicely, my best so far, I think.

I've also got some shots of the kids eating our supper, cuz they're cute, and I can.

Some pictures and the story of my lunch

I finally got around to uploading the pictures from our camera onto the computer, so I thought I'd share a few of the good ones I found.

Here's a picture of the steak skewers I made a few posts back:

This is the first loaf of bread I made:

This is Reuben being a goof:

Kaylee decided it would be fun to climb into the oven drawer one day.

Here's a neat shot of a couple birds that were sitting on our fence once when we came home from being out somewhere.

 And here's my lunch today:

I made this by toasting some bread, then buttering it and putting some mozzerella slices on it.  On top of that are two slices of tomatoes with the skins taken off.  (I discovered it is so much easier to eat them that way.)  Then I sprinkled on about a pinch of oregano for each sandwich, shook on a little salt and pepper, tossed them in the toaster oven for about six minutes, and voila, yummy lunch.  They were absolutely delicious.  I've decided that I have a thing for tomatoes, and next summer, I have every intention of growing some in our backyard so I can have fresh ones.  Mmmm...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A new skill

So I thought I'd share a new skill of mine that I've just learned over the past few weeks. It is -- barbecuing! Yes, believe it or not, until now, I have never actually barbecued anything myself. Tim has always been the one in the family to handle the grilling, and whenever he's been gone, I've been limited to stove-cooked meals.

Until now. I forget exactly how it happened, but one day, I had planned on Tim making sausages for supper, and then, he got stuck working late. (I think this was one of the days he was helping Jon at Artech.) Anyway, I didn't have any ideas for a good backup plan for supper, so I called Tim, and he convinced me that I would be able to handle the barbecuing on my own.

Truthfully, my main concern has always been how to light the darn thing. Tim had tried to teach me once, but at the time, we had a crummy tank (which we figured out when we swapped it out with a new one), and I could never get the barbecue to light. Anyway, with the new tank, it suddenly became much easier for me to get it started, and with a few simple instructions from Tim, voila, I now know how to use the barbecue. So far I have made sausages, hot dogs, hamburgers, and those chicken foil packs I posted about a while back. I definitely appreciate the increased options I now have for dinner while Tim is on the road.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Homemade Bread

Well, I did it. I made my own bread yesterday. The recipe I used was this:

1/4 c. warm water
1 tbsp yeast
2 cups scalded (and cooled) milk
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 c. white flour
3 c. whole wheat flour

To simplify the directions, you mix the warm water with the yeast and let it sit for a bit so the yeast dissolves and starts growing. Then you add in everything else except the flour and stir it up. Then you add the flour one cup at a time. After the fifth cup, you can start kneading the bread, and you knead in the last half cup or so of flour until you get a smooth ball of dough. Then you let it rise for about 2 hours. After the two hours is up, you punch it down and shape it into two loaves. I wrapped one loaf with plastic wrap and put it in the freezer. The other loaf went in a loaf pan to rise for another 45 minutes. Then, I baked it at 350 for about 40 minutes.

It turned out pretty darn tasty. I had to have a couple slices after it came out and was still warm. There is nothing tastier than fresh bread with a bit of butter. I think with the next loaf I won't keep it in the oven the full 40 minutes. The top crust ended up a little darker and crunchier than I'd like. I'm also considering trying it without milk; I've seen a couple bread recipes like that. I'm also planning to try just plain white bread, all whole wheat, some variations on the blended ratios, and also using the all-white dough to make buns. We'll see how that goes. I picked up a great cookbook of breads at the used bookstore in Chatham last weekend, and it's got some good recipes for cinnamon rolls, tarts, and other cool bread-like things. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Looking back...

I was going over some old posts of mine tonight, looking back over the past few years, seeing how infrequently I posted at times. It does make it easier to read back when there aren't that many posts to read. It's left me in a bit of a pensive mood, and I'm reminded of my blog's description, "In memory of feelings felt..." Tonight I've really done that.

A few months ago, I was seeing a therapist (that's a long blog post for another day), and she once told me that grief is one of those things that you can put on a shelf when you aren't able to deal with it, and now and then, you take it down, and you can look at it again. You can feel the pain of the loss again, you can regret the missed opportunities, maybe cry some of those tears that were leftover, and then, you can be thankful for the happy memories that take the sting out of it all. Every now and then, you'll have moments when life gives you a chance to deal with it a little bit more.

I looked back at one post where I was asking about the whole when does time actually heal the wounds, and how do we know when that is? Well, it's been interesting tonight to look back at the healing process that's happened over the last few months in my life and see where I'm at today compared to then. Gosh, does it ever feel good not to be in that pit anymore!

And the funny thing is, I don't really remember when it was that I started to feel like myself again. It's just been a gradual, slowly over time, bit by bit, little by little, life goes back to normal -- "whatever your normal is".

And this has been WAY more introspective than I intended. Funny how my fingers sometimes go running off on me, and I end up in a place far from where I started. There's a lot of untold stories in all of this, but as I said earlier, that's a long post for another day.

To end off on a completely unrelated and somewhat more update-like note, Tim has been promoted to having a steady run at Northland! It's a run to Iowa, leaving Thursday night, back Sunday or Monday. It's not ideal to be over the weekend, but we'll take it for now, and the consistent income/work schedule will be a nice change. So that's that.