Sunday, January 30, 2011

Traveling Ritual

Can you guess where he went this time?
Brian arrived home safely this weekend from his third trip in a month. The past several years he has been traveling A LOT due largely in part to his Virtual Labs.
Another clue to his location
Lately I have noticed a ritual we have acquired each time he flies away from me.

Long hug and final kiss
I stand at the door and wait as he gets into his car.
"Be happy when I get back," he says.
"Come home safely to me," I respond.
"Love you!"
"Love you!"
This one definitely gives it away
The ritual continues at the airport via text messaging. Often Brian texts me either that he is through security, at the gate, or boarding. But always, right before take-off, I receive:

"They are closing the door. Love you. Bye."
and I respond
"Love you more! Be safe."

I probably shouldn't be so anxious when he travels, but I am. My brother is a pilot and reminds me that it is much safer to travel by plane than by car. Still . . . I am very good at worrying.

For now, I need our traveling ritual because I really do love this man and I really do want to grow old TOGETHER.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's For Lunch?

It's Wordless Wednesday here and here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fixed Up for February

The shelf in my front entry is great fun to change with the seasons. I don't have much Valentine's decor, but I do love red as evidenced in my living room. After taking stock of what I already had and moving things around, I came up with this vignette:
I found this plate a while ago for only a few dollars at either T.J. Maxx or Ross. (They are near each other and when I walk through one, I usually walk through the other.)
 The photo of the Newlyweds spoke romance to me.
The wooden box belonged to my Dad--a gift from a coworker's trip to South America.
I also hung up my Amish quilt purchased several years ago in Lancaster, PA. The colors worked just right.

Click here for more February decorating ideas.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Our Winter Sports

Rather than frequent ice and snow venues this time of year, I patronize futsal arenas and high school gyms. Winter sports in our family means basketball, indoor soccer, and futsal.
The seating is less than desirable on the back and bum, and often I find myself squirming to get comfortable, but cheering on my kids is recreation at its finest.
Capturing these moments for posterity is DIFFICULT. Being indoors means little light. Sports by definition means speed and movement. Stopping the action in low light is hard. Obviously, I have not mastered this photographic technique yet, but at least my kids will know I was there and I tried and they are awesome no matter what the outcome of the game.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Marinated Broccoli

One of our family's favorite side dishes is marinated broccoli. It is simply raw broccoli cut into bite-size pieces and marinated over night in a vinaigrette. Quick, easy, and healthy. We always fall back to this recipe for company and family dinners alike.

Marinated Broccoli

1 lb. fresh broccoli--wash, cut into bite-size pieces

Mix together:
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. dry dill weed
1 1/2 tsp. garlic salt

Pour over broccoli and marinate 24 hours in refrigerator. Turn a few times. Enjoy!

Julie's notes: Add grape or cherry tomatoes just before serving, if desired. Always use cider vinegar. Marinating this in a ziplock bag works really well.


I had a few requests for the stuffed onions recipe Rachel made for Abby's birthday dinner. It is from Julia Child's The Way to Cook. I found a link here. Rachel omits the wine, and adds more cream to the stuffing. Stuffed onions take time to prepare, but they are fabulous.

Linking to Tasty Tuesdays.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Beauty in the Brrr

My cousin inspired me yesterday. Hoping to cheer herself up, she decided to search outdoors for something beautiful. I understand that wintry need so I took her exercise to heart. This is what I found:

Climbing Rose
Burning Bush
Rose of Sharon
Apple Tree
It was gratifying to see that there really was beauty to be found in the deep midwinter.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Out His Window

This was the view from Brian's hotel room earlier this week. He is in Amsterdam. Eight hours difference and so very far away.
Often when he travels, Brian doesn't have time to take in the local sites, but this trip he was able to tour the Anne Frank house.
Tomorrow, he will take in the Van Gogh Museum, and the next day he is off to Cardiff, Wales. *Sigh* Such adventures.

Out MY window I see crusty old snow and frigid temperatures.

However. . . to survive my lackluster January I am trying to focus on the "savory moments" (thanks to Marianne). The moments I am savoring reflect my healing knee:
  • I have been driving again for over a week now.
  • I am basically knee-pain free, just discomfort until I overdo it, of course.
  • I can walk without a limp (for a little while).
  • I rode a stationary bike for 20 minutes today.
I may not be exploring Europe this week, but I AM able to manage my home again and care for my family. That is definitely something to relish.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

How We Met

January in Utah is cold, dark, and often dreary. Beating the winter blues is a constant challenge. This week, however, as classes resume at BYU I am remembering one particularly fortuitous January here many years ago.
January 1984
I returned to BYU after Christmas vacation my sophomore year resolved to focus hard on school, get fabulous grades, and ignore guys completely. Right before Christmas my then boyfriend caught me completely off guard and broke up with me days before I flew home to Virginia. My holidays were spent healing a broken heart, but by the time I returned to school I was on the mend armed with determination to be whole and happy. (I knew that relationship was never meant to be, so its demise was a very good thing.)

I had a full semester ahead of me: Calculus, Computer Science 143, Statistics 336, Greek and Roman Mythology, Teachings of the Living Prophets, and Ballroom Dance. Despite my resolve to take no notice of men, my 19-year-old instincts kicked in. As I settled into each new classroom I just couldn't help scanning the room for male prospects and basically "check them out" one by one.

When I first saw HIM in his brown leather jacket (made to fit while on his LDS mission to Argentina), I dismissed him as "taken". Too good to be true. Fate had it that he was in my Calculus class AND my Computer Science class. How providential. Eventually, he dropped Calculus, but he also began to sit near me (or did I sit near him?) in the Computer Science class.

This was an assembly language class and after one particularly confusing lecture, I surprised my rather reserved self by exclaiming to no one in particular, "I just don't get the hexadecimal system." HE (who was sitting right in front of me) turned around and said something like, "I can help. Why don't you come to my office and I can explain it to you?"

"Your OFFICE?" I thought, duly impressed. I consented.

That was our genesis as we talked and walked across campus to the Eyring Science Center. Brian's "office" turned out to be a mere desk in Dr. Ott's chemistry research lab, but "we" had begun.
Suddenly CS 143 was my favorite class. A few weeks later, as we sat side by side in the computer lab working on our programming, out of the blue, Brian asked me if I would like to go skiing with him on Saturday. It was said in such a nonchalant manner that I was certain my response would be met with indifference. Of course, I said, "yes," despite the fact that I had only been skiing one other time in my life. Later I learned that he had wanted to ask me out for weeks--just waited for the perfect moment. He wanted to sound/act casual so that if he was rejected, his pride would remain intact.

Brian picked me up and we drove to Sundance. I fell down A LOT. He was a natural. He was patient. I was frustrated, but I was on extra good behavior because I wanted to impress. Despite me being me, he didn't want the date to end. I didn't either. He picked me up later that night and we took in a movie--Terms of Endearment, to be exact.
That's how we met--one cold, dark, dreary January day.
I must remember that there is always a Spring.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Iris Folding

Have you ever done iris folding? My sister-in-law, Susan, taught me how to make these cards a few years ago. I use the heart pattern for wedding cards, but it would be ideal for Valentine's Day too.

You can download the free heart pattern here. The instructions are no longer available on the Circle of Crafters site, but there are several online tutorials if you do a search.

This pattern fits perfectly on a 5" square card and then in a 5 1/2" square envelope.

Here are the basics:
First, print out two of the patterns--one to cut up and one to use as a reference.
You will also need three different papers cut into approximately 1 1/2" strips.
Cut a piece of  white cardstock to 10 x 5 inches and a piece of black cardstock into a 4 3/4 inch square.
Trace the heart cut from one of the patterns onto the black cardstock. This is the side you will be working with.
 Cut out the traced heart and tape the square to the second pattern with masking tape.
Decide which paper will be Color A, Color B, etc.
Fold the strips in half.
Keeping the folded edges towards the center of the heart, tape the first piece along line #1. (I used Scotch tape.) Continue this process using the Pattern Guide. The papers will overlap and an "iris" will form.
Trim the overhanging edges. Turn it over and be amazed. Use double-sided tape to attach the finished product to the white card.
I made four different cards today. I like the black and white ones best.