Thursday, December 31, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Though the setting was all wrong for a "real" Thanksgiving (80 + degrees, A/C on, no big table), it was still a great weekend.
I was overcome with thankfulness this year, for food, for friends, for family, for time, for quiet, and for my husband, who just happens to be a great preacher (he preached at church on Sunday).
Hopefully we'll make it back to Michigan for Thanksgiving one of these years, so that Thanksgiving can actually take place in the "right" setting, but for now, Thanksgiving has become more of a spirit to me and less of a setting.
And yes, I did love the pumpkin pie.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Well, I'm struggling getting these pictures in order, so you'll just have to start from the bottom.
Last weekend, Noel and I were able to get away for some r and r in Temecula. I've been wanting to make caramel apples for a couple of weeks, but haven't been able to find a spare moment! So, I brought all the supplies to Temecula and had a "kitchen craft time" with Marcia on Sunday. It was tons of fun and they tasted great! I ordered 15 lbs of organic apples from our CSA and wanted to try making many different apple dishes. So far, I've made apple/pear crisp, caramel apples, baked apples, and have eaten lots plain and on salad. I'm thinking about applesauce, apple dumplings, or maybe more caramel apples. They were so fun to give to friends!
Dipping them in caramel.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Let's hope they're right when they say we'll be moved in in 2 months! We're anxious to make the transition, but we're still waiting on paperwork from a couple of different departments.
Friday, November 6, 2009
So there I was, walking home from campus, minding my own business, when a big hawk flew right in front of me with a squirrel in its claw! It landed in a nearby tree about ten feet off the ground. As I cautiously approached to try and get a better look, the squirrel and hawk both fell/flew out at me. The hawk landed on a nearby minivan, then relocated to a higher branch to keep watch on the injured (but surprisingly not dead) squirrel. Thus began a half hour of Nature Channel on my block, which was especially unexpected since we live in the city. (There's a 12-lane highway at the end of our block.)
Several people from the nearby coffee shop came and got a better view of the action. We watched the bird watching the squirrel. We recreated the scene: "It had it in its claw!" We hoped the bird would not attack us. Some people felt bad for the squirrel, which was bleeding from the eye and not walking very well. I thought, "Well, that's what it means to be a carnivore," and wondered where they thought their own meat came from.
Then I ran home and grabbed the camera and snapped the above picture. But that's not all! I also grabbed my National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 4th edition, which Heidi just bought me for my birthday. I am not a birdwatcher; I just wanted to know more about birds. As best I could tell, it was some sort of red-tailed hawk (p. 116). But I'm not sure. Does anyone know anything about birds who could confirm or correct that ID?
Anyhow, that sure was a hoot. Actually, more of a "harsh, descending keeeeeer" (p. 116). I assume the hawk eventually got its dinner, but I didn't stay to see for sure. Thank God, I've got better things than squirrel to eat for dinner tonight. Mac 'n' cheese. Yum.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Click here to see this amazingness! Then click play on the time-lapse video.
Hope you all had a great Halloween and got more treats than tricks!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Since some of you may not know the story of the house, here's a summary:
Noel was reading a flier put out by the City of Pasadena last July. In it, there was a very small paragraph about a company called Heritage Housing Partners (HHP). They are a company that makes housing available to low and moderate income people in Pasadena by utilizing different governmental programs. We decided to apply right before we left for Hawaii (the end of July). The day we returned, we received a phone call saying that we were finalists in the process and we needed to come in for an interview. A few weeks later, we interviewed (late August). A couple of days after the interview, we learned that we were selected and offered the house! Everything happened so quickly and we were quite overwhelmed, but excited by the news! Since then, we have been waiting for a final version of the purchasing contract to be ready for signing. This was supposed to be ready mid-September, but there have been many hold-ups from the different agencies involved. When we were offered the house, HHP said they hope everyone will close by November 30. We are still aiming for that date, but we're starting to think it may not happen.
The house is a very small 2 bedroom bungalow in a fantastic neighborhood. We are still hoping that everything works out in terms of the final cost and that we are able to close in time for the tax rebate offered this year.
We'll let you know once things become more final!
(If you click on the HHP link, we are part of the "Haskett Court Project". It's a community of 6 historic bungalows that are being restored.)
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Oops! The delay of the camera missed the blowing out of the candles!
The cake: 4 layers of a light chocolate flavor with a thin cream/custard layer between each cake layer. Then the chantilly frosting.
I haven't celebrated my birthday with a group of friends in many, many years, so it was really fun to have people over. I felt celebrated, special, and loved and am so appreciative to Noel for inviting everyone! Thanks for a great birthday, friends!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Before my first lab, the professor told us that we'd need to have safety goggles to do our lab. I thought, "Great! Noel and I just purchased some for when we refinished our tub! I won't have to buy any!". So, I showed up to the first lab wearing my home improvement safety glasses. I was also not expecting to not fit in this way, but I was the only one who had wrap around glasses. Everyone else had purchased cool goggles from the lab store. This became one area where I decided it might be better to just try and fit in.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
He loved all of his gifts, but there was one in particular that was a huge surprise. My parents sent it in the mail and I could hardly wait for Noel to open it since I knew he'd love it so much.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
So, why am I telling you all this? Well, they have a bit of a crisis. I'm not sure that anyone we know can do anything about it, but I thought I might as well put the word out. They shipped their car here from Hawaii. Upon arrival, it was not running well. They took it to a mechanic and put over $800 into it. Not a very nice welcome back to CA for them! The day after they picked it up, it stopped working again. They took it back to the mechanic and found out that there is a lot of oil sludge build up. After much investigation and research, it does appear that the mechanic is being honest. They now have a huge choice to make. Pay $2000 for another engine flush to flush the sludge. However, this is not guaranteed to make the car run. Or, look for a new car. They are in no position to be looking for a car since they just moved and Dani hasn't found a job yet. So, if anyone has any southern California connections to a free or cheap car for them, please let us know! I know it's a shot in the dark. They've just done SO much for us, and I wish we could help them out in their time of need.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
We have lots going on in our lives right now and things will only get busier as Noel goes back to school next week. All are exciting things, but needless to say, updating the blog has not been made a priority as of late.
I started school at Pasadena City College 3 weeks ago. Up until yesterday, it was pretty easy and I was wondering if I was in college or elementary school. Not really....but it was very easy. It's starting to get more difficult and I'm starting to wonder when I'll get all my studying in. But, I REALLY LOVE it! I'm so glad I'm there and can't wait to start classes that will actually be a part of my program. I can't even imagine how much more I will love those! I'm currently taking General, Organic, and Biochemistry (one class) as well as Anatomy and Physiology. I really feel like this is a great fit for me!
As for the house....more on that later. :)
Monday, August 31, 2009
Mount Wilson is being threatened right now, which is where all of the TV antennas are located as well as antennas for the emergency system out here. The firefighters have cleared the area of brush and put lots of fire retardant down, but it still may not be enough.
We're doing fine. The air is a bit smokey, but could be worse. The wind isn't bad and is moving most of the smoke east, which helps us a lot. Pray for an end to these soon! Many people have been evacuated (some are staying within our community) and many of our community members have friends who have been taken to the hospital with respiratory problems. This area hasn't burned in about 60 years, so it's definitely overdue and is a nautral process, but it's still scary for a lot of people.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
John is transferring to a seminary in Toronto and is training to become an Episcopal priest. Since they are both from Alabama, they have never experienced a real winter. They're in for a real treat!
They stayed the last night at our apartment. Amanda's sister was able to join us for breakfast before John and Amanda headed out of town.
Noel and John are finalizing the packing. Lucky for us, John and Amanda will be driving through Michigan and will drop off the keyboard we borrowed from my grandparents for the past 4 years. It was only supposed to be a 3 year loan since we didn't know we'd be staying here longer than that. We're happy to have a way to return it!
Bye friends! We will really miss you!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
As large countries try to become "more like America", overall meat consumption is growing at a rate that can not be sustained on our earth.
A friend sent me the link to this Time article, which I encourage everyone to take the time to read: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1917458-1,00.html
Also, our friends, Andrew and Jen, recently posted this information on their blog (I hope they don't mind that I stole it!):
Last week, the Washington Post summarized a number of recent reports indicating that one of the best things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint or greenhouse gas pollution is to reduce your meat consumption. Here are some quick highlights:
-A Carnegie Melon study found that the average American would benefit the planet more by being vegetarian one day per week than by switching to a totally local diet (heck, why not do both?).
-A University of Chicago study found that switching to a vegan diet would have a bigger impact than trading your gas guzzler for a Prius.
-The head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recommended that people give up meat one day a week to take pressure off the atmosphere.
-According to a 2006 United Nations report, livestock accounts for 18 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
Although we've reported similar studies in Organic Bytes over the years, it's refreshing to see a mainstream media outlet finally bring attention to the topic. Americans seem okay being told they should recycle, drive less, and weatherize their homes, but something short-circuits when you ask them to reduce their meat consumption.
The OCA article
The Washington Post article
These facts are astounding and shouldn't be ignored. What if we all agreed to have just 1 day a week where we didn't eat meat? We could support each other, share recipes, start a movement, etc. I think a lot of people immediately wonder, "what would I eat?". Let me assure you, there are LOTS of good options starting with a very basic like grilled cheese and tomato soup!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Unfortunately, Michelle cut her hand pretty badly on a glass just before coming here. She probably should've gotten stitches, but made her own bandage instead.
We are also so excited that Dani and Michelle are moving back to Pasadena in less than a month! Michelle's coming back to Fuller to finish her PhD in psychology after taking a leave of absence. We are so excited to have them around again as they were great friends to us ever since we moved here.