homemade pudding


Have you ever made pudding from scratch?

I haven't.  I have always been perfectly satisfied with the powdered stuff.  

But I keep seeing all these recipes in my favorite blogs, for puddings made from SCRATCH (I didn't even know you could do that!!) and they look AMAZING.  There are photos.  Of CHOCOLATE.  Pudding.  Go here and here and here and HERE if you don't believe me.

I want.

I also want those cute little pudding dishes.  I think we have one.

Tell me.  Have you ever made-made pudding?  Is it worth it?


Manic Monday #165

Play along here!

What's the best summer job you ever had?

The only summer job I ever had was hostessing at a 'fine dining' chain restaurant. I hated it. I hated it with a passion. It was so bad. The serving staff was annoying and whiny, the four (FOUR!) managers each had a different viewpoint on what I should be doing, how I should be doing it, how many people I should seat, whether or not to follow the new regulations...I would be obeying one, only to get chewed out by the other and while being chewed out, a third would come and seat another family with NO regard for what was going on in the restaurant. It was miserable. I cried. I occasionally made servers cry. I got yelled at a lot, and when I wasn't being yelled at, I was being ignored and/or talked about. Which did nothing to improve my sheer incompetence. How I could have been so bad at seating people at tables, I do not know, because I am a rather competent individual. But oh dear lord, was that a dreadful experience.

Y'all. It sucked. It was terrible.

I went on a family vacation sometime toward the end of July, for a week, and toward the end of the trip when I called to find out what my shifts were for the coming week, I was put on hold, transferred twice, and then finally informed that I had been taken off the roster. PEOPLE. They TOOK ME OFF THE ROSTER and never even bothered to TELL me! I was relieved, to say the least, once I was done being pissed off.

Tell me about the worst date you ever went on.

The worst date I ever went on happens to be the first time I ever got dumped. We were at Carowinds (like Six Flags or Busch Gardens minus the animals, for all you non-Paramount Parks people) and we were 17. It was the weekend after our 2 weeks of band camp, and senior year classes started at some point in the week ahead. I'd taken him to the park because I had a season pass and some guest tickets to use up. We were having what I thought was a pretty good day, but after a few hours we made our way out of the park, and I noticed he wouldn't hold my hand or look at me or anything.

Once we made it to the parking lot, he broke up with me. He told me that while we were waiting in line for concessions earlier that afternoon, 'The Holy Spirit' told him it was time to end our dating relationship.

The holy spirit, my foot. More like..well, nevermind.

We'd been dating for something like 7 months, and we'd been best friends for about 2 years previously. Our relationship was far from perfect and I'd been through the whole breakup debate myself, but I (being one to forgive too easily and be excessively hard on myself) decided I was being too sensitive to his 'flaws' and that I should stick with it. The fact that he had clearly taken an interest in someone else (a freshman, mind you) had sent me into an even fiercer inner debate in recent days. I had decided to break up with him, but my mom convinced me that doing so just before classes started was cruel or something like that, so I figured I'd wait it out a little longer and see what happened. Well, I got ditched for a 14 year old. That's what I got for caring, I guess.

Did I mention that we'd driven to the park together? In MY car? Which meant that I had to sob my way home, cooped up, with him right there next to me? And that it was a 45-ish minute drive? Mothers: teach your sons not to do this to a girl. Of all the memories I ever made with that person, the only one I remember is THAT one.

He was one of those weird cases who was a great friend - very loyal and dedicated and easy to get along with - but a terrible boyfriend - demanding and pushy and 'I am the MAN and you are the WOMAN and this is how it shall be.' AND, he really did not get why his dumping me for someone else and then making out with said other person all over school caused me to lose interest in our friendship.

From what I hear from our mutual friends, he did some major growing up in the years during/immediately after college. And he recently got married, so props to him!! I still can't pass a car of the same make/model that he drove without chuckling, though.

Do you think the age for a driver's license should be raised (currently 16 here in the U.S.)?

I go back and forth on this. On the one hand, I say YES, teenagers are stupid and reckless and 16 is so much younger these days than it was in decades past, and look at the accident rates and blah blah blah. On the other hand, I do realize that I have never yelled at a 'stupid kid' on the road. Most of the people who I see behaving badly behind the wheel are either in college or are middle-aged. And we do NOT need to raise the driving age to 50, I promise.

Ultimately, though, I think all the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of 'adulthood' need to be bestowed at the same time. This means everything from voting rights, to income tax, to driving, to substance acquisition, to eligibility for the draft and for marriage licenses, should hit at the same time. At age 16 you're old enough to drive, pay taxes, and get married, but not old enough to vote or drink a beer? Come on now.


43 things

I can't remember if I've ever told you guys about 43things.com.

I love it. Being a List People and all.

It's called 43 Things because your list can only be 43 things long. I say 'only' knowing that some people think that 43 is a lot!! And other people (like me) don't think it's nearly enough. Having the boundary is nice, though...we all know I love boundaries.

The list I made is haphazard and has no sense of order or ranking, because I love me some boundaries but you can be sure I'll be going crazy once I know the limits.

I'm going to take the next few days and go over the items on my list, because I feel like it's time to reevaluate some of the choices and I wouldn't mind some onlookers and inputters.

We'll start with the first 5, with my commentary in italics:

1. Meet Anne Lamott - she's one of my favorite authors and I want to experience her presence to augment my appreciation of her voice.

2. Write a book - I'm pretty sure almost every person in this country wants to write a book of some sort.

3. Get another dog - waiting for the right timing. It may happen as early as this August! Or maybe next August. We'll see. I'm getting to the point of ready, though.

4. Floss every day for a month - because I don't floss regularly, and I feel guilty about this. If I can do it every day for a month, then the habit is pretty much there....right??

5. Get another ear piercing - Brian and I want to do this together, left ear at the top. I'm guessing we'll do it in celebration of him finding a job...as a youth minister...because we are that kind of klassy.



Do you ever go through periods in which you feel a faint sense of being overwhelmed, for no particular reason?  There's a sense of busyness when you're not doing anything, and no motivation?

I'm there right now.  And I'm not sure why.


manic monday #162

Another edition of Manic Monday, this time on a Monday for realz!  You can play along here (and whenever you'd like).

Do you recycle? Why or why not?

We recycle.  It seems to be the responsible thing to do.  And we're fortunate to live in a city that makes it very easy on us.  I'd like to do more - ie composting - but for some reason it's very intimidating.  So for now, I throw food scraps out in the 'woodsy' area of the yard for the animals to munch....bizarre, I know.  But it makes me feel better.

Would you rather be a pirate or a prince/princess? 

I prefer the idea of being a pirate because they're more fun, but I think really I would rather be a princess.  I am quite fond of indoor plumbing and personal hygiene, thank you,

Are you into astrology? If yes, how does it affect your life?

Not into it at all.  Not even a little bit.


Death and Taxes

SO. It's tax day. Do you know where your Form 1040 is?

Confession: Mine isn't done yet.

They say that only two things are certain, death and taxes. I can guarantee you that if my taxes aren't done by noon today, there will be death.


booking through thursday, vintage and monday style!

Question from the BTT Archives:

Some people read one book at a time. Some people have a number of them on the go at any given time, perhaps a reading in bed book, a breakfast table book, a bathroom book, and so on, which leads me to…

  1. Are you currently reading more than one book?
  2. If so, how many books are you currently reading?
  3. Is this normal for you?
  4. Where do you keep your current reads?

1. I AM reading more than one at a time.  I find that when this is going on, my knitting suffers.
2. I'm reading 3: Cutting, The Richest Man in Babylon, and Marriage of True Minds.  The one that I'm most actively reading is Marriage because I want to toss it onto my PBS list (and also, it's an irresistibly hilarious little novel).  Richest is shortest but it's more tedious than I expected when I first started in, and I am close to done with Cutting but I can only take it one bit at a time.  So right now, I'm reading two heavy books and one light.  It feels very out of balance for me.
3. It's not normal for me to be reading more than one book at a time.  Usually this happens when one is too serious, or too practical, or too meaty, and I need a light novel or something else for periodic relief.  Really though, I only like to be reading one book at a time, so reading multiple is almost uncomfortable for me.
4. Current reads all go on my nightstand.  So do the 'on deck' reads.  And those deemed 'on deck' are changed out often, depending on my mood.  And I don't always read an on-deck book next.  So really, I'm not sure why I have this part of the system.

How about you?  Play along here.


Consistency and Inconsistency

Last Sunday morning we went to the Episcopal church down the street.  That denomination's worship service doesn't seem to have much of an impact on Brian other than his glee that it was half an hour long, and our guest is practically half-Catholic so she seemed naturally comfortable with the service.

For me, though...there's something I love about the Episcopal church - the physical structures, the worship spaces.  There's something about the real sacredness I feel in the sanctuaries.  There's an openness in (most of) these churches that - for me, at least - is warm, inviting, and secure.  I love the sense of holiness and reverence.  I love the emphasis on God, by way of Jesus, instead of "Jesus is my boyfriend" message I get at a lot of churches.  (Jesus and I have issues, you see, and I'm not quite as comfortable with that portion of the Trinity.)  

My early childhood was spent attending an Episcopal church.  Granted, we had folding chairs instead of pews, not much in the way of stained glass, and a 'live band' to accompany the choir instead of an organ.  But those Anglican practices were my first exposure to the faith.  When I was 8 or 9, we moved across town and started going to a Lutheran church.  Similar liturgies and whatnot, but with a much more 'PoMo' approach (that church was pomo way before it was hip to be pomo).  We danced, we skipped around the communion table (aka altar, except not), we waved flags and beat on tambourines.  It was lively, and we spent Sunday mornings Raisin Praises to the Lord Jesus.  When I went to college, I went way outside of the liturgical box, so when I married Brian, I was happy to be marrying back into a denomination.

But the Presbyterian church, for all its merits, is somewhat lacking, for me.  I understand more, yes, and can appreciate why we do things the way we do, but I find it all together too...formulaic.  Practiced.  Premeditated, maybe, is closer to the right word.  Everything studied, identified, labeled, and understood.  The motions are set out for us, and we go through them mindlessly.  Here we are, going to church every Sunday, where we say this prayer and sing that song and we hear a message in 14 minutes and 59 seconds or less, we shake hands, and we go about having another Presbyterian Sunday.  All of the thinking, feeling, and praying is set out for us, which - for me - strips the experience of faith down to mere words in the bulletin.

That's not to say that there isn't variance.  It's not boring.  It's very pleasant.  But for me, my faith as practiced in the Presbyterian churches I've visited way feels very self-focused.  There's no impetus to take my own faith into my own hands.  There's no direct challenge - everything is set up in advance, so that the weekly practice of faith is as impersonal as possible.  Presbyterians won't press you or question you.  They respect you, where you are, in your own walk.  They let you do your thing.  For some, this is wonderful.  This is exactly what some people need.  And for centuries, it has worked for millions and millions of Christians.

For me, though, I don't want to be on my own.  Sunday, at the Episcopal church, we prayed for specific members, bishops, regional and national leaders, other churches in the area, other Christian denominations, and other churches across the country.  One by one, we took moments to pray for our leaders and our brethren in the (broader) faith.  Every Sunday, Episcopalians join in these prayers, and are led by a calendar.  Over the period of a month or a year, every congregant, every leader, every Christian denomination, all area churches, and hundreds or maybe thousands of churches receive specific, focused, deliberate prayer.  I nearly cried. 

In that moment, I realized how much I've missed that kind of deliberate approach to my faith, joined in effort by my congregation and my fellow believers.


manic monday #162

The return of Manic Monday!  Play along here.

How often do you change your toothbrush?

every 6 months or so.  sometimes more 'so' than is probably recommended.  I've been somewhat misbehaving in the whole 'dental' arena the past couple of years...but I PROMISE I am going this year!

What is your favorite item of clothing to shop for?

I love dresses and skirts...and I loooove shoes.  Shoes are clothing, right?  This is the most fun time to shop for dresses, too, with the weather warming up and everything!

Do you use social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)? Which do you use most often?

I'm on Facebook just about every day.  I have an old myspace page, too.


booking through thursday, on friday

SO my BTT post got usurped by a fantastic April Fools prank.  Here's today's BTT a day late.  As always, play along here.

I saw that National Library week is coming up in April, and that led to some questions. How often do you use your public library and how do you use it? Has the coffeehouse/bookstore replaced the library? Did you go to the library as a child? Do you have any particular memories of the library? Do you like sleek, modern, active libraries or the older, darker, quiet, cozy libraries?

I love libraries.  I spent a lot of time in the library right down the street from my high school, seeing as I was an IBer and was always doing research.  That library was cute, sunny, and quiet - with a really ugly exterior paint job.

I love the neighborhood library here, too.  It's close enough to bike, and the staff are always so friendly.  It's an old, dark, tired little library and I love it. When I'm reading, I like to cozy up and get lost in the booky environment, not sit in an uncomfortable chair.  There's something special about libraries, about being in a place filled with volumes that have been fostered out through the community for so many years and then returned to their home, waiting to give their knowledge and experience to someone new.

That's why I don't like book stores.  Well, let me adjust that.  I LOVE book stores.  I love browsing for just the right title, trying to fine the ONE (or maybe the FEW) that will come home with me.  But reading there?  No way.  And since I'm trying to make it through the books I already have before buying new ones, I don't venture to the shops very often.


how i got pranked on april fool's day

I got pranked.  I got pranked like whoa. 

I spent the first half of this week trying to come up with a great prank to pull on Brian.  I came up with the pretty fabulous idea of setting all the clocks forward an hour.  When it came time to pull the trigger, though, I opted to go to sleep instead.

Brian needed the car today, so he was going to drive me to work.  When my alarm went off at 7:30, it was mighty hard to get up.  So I hit the snooze until 8.  Got up, got ready, blah blah blah.  I tried to wake Brian up at 8:30.  Within a few minutes he was in the shower.

He was STILL in the shower about 5 minutes after the time I needed to leave to be at work on time.  Not cool for being the guy who gives ME a hard time about running late.  But like a good little wifey, I didn't harp on him.

We're in the car...I am tense...  and he goes right past the exit for 64, moments after verifying that that's the way to get to my office.  I, being tense as previously mentioned, raised my voice and gesticulated fiercely until it was very clearly too late.  Oh well, I thought.  At least today isn't the day the BIG boss is in town.  Brian told me we were going a different way.  But I was already late, and there is no faster way to get to Parham and 64.

He does this thing, sometimes, when he won't tell me what's going on, and noodles me until I force myself to resign to his iron will.  I am convinced that he does this for no other reason than to keep me on my toes and out of my ruts.  Actually, that's not true, but we won't go there.

Anyway.  Shortly thereafter, he informs me that we actually have an hour until 9am happens, and that we are going for breakfast.

People, he had set EVERY clock in the house ahead.  Computers and everything.  And the car clock.  

It's like living in a time warp.

Could you imagine how much this morning would have burned if I'd set the clocks ahead another hour, like I'd planned?