Sunday, August 31, 2008


Old stories and new dreams
arise from nowhere, from predictable rhythm,
from beneath the surface of predictable days,
Waking Me.

Things I used to say,
always wanted,
and never believed.

Old dreams and new characters.
The Champion of my heart,
of my dreams.
And I'm new, getting newer,
And More Awake.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Creamy Chicken Spinach Pasta

I made this tonight from stuff we had in the fridge and pantry. It's very similar to a recipe my sister, Holly, gave me. I hope you like it!

1.5 lb chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
8 oz pasta (penne, spaghetti, angel hair, whatever)
10 oz pkg frozen spinach, thawed and drained very well (squeeze in your hands)
8 oz sour cream or softened cream cheese
1 c milk
4-6 oz shredded monterey jack cheese
8 oz French's fried onions, divided use
.5 tsp garlic powder
.5 tsp salt
.5 tsp black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Cook and cube the chicken. You could use leftover chicken, or you could boil the chicken for 10 minutes, cool for 5 minutes, then cut into cubes.

3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions, less 2-3 minutes, and drain.

4. After chicken and pasta are ready, combine spinach, chicken, sour cream or cream cheese, milk, shredded cheese, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and half of the onions. Stir to combine. Add more milk if necessary to make this mixture very saucy. (If you're using cream cheese, make sure it is very soft or this step will be annoying. Heat in the microwave for 10 sec intervals, then stir, to soften.)

5. Stir in pasta, then dump into a big casserole dish that has been sprayed with Pam. Cook at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, top with remaining onions, then cook for 5 more minutes. Serve immediately.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


While I was in college, Caedmon's Call was the band I listened to if I felt a little melancholy or introspective. And given that I was usually melancholy and introspective during this time, I listened to lots of Caedmon's Call. Even now I return to their albums when I find myself in this mood. Kind of rainy and dreary and quiet. The weather matches my mood today.

It's a muggy night in Houston
And all the intersections are like full service stations
I'm on my way to a familiar place
It's cold in Kansas City
And you can no more hear me than I can see your face
How I wish it was just you and me

We wouldn't have to talk above the crowd
We wouldn't have to talk so loud

I give you my life and all I am
But what I have to give
So I hand you a candid photograph of this little boy
'Cause I have nothing to my name
But I can give you that

I don't miss the driving
Seems like forever
And I'm always driving in my mind
And wearing out the road that gets me there

And I'm driving till my eyes just can't see straight
But I suppose that it's getting late

I may never find the sleep
I've lost all feeling in my hands and
Feet may touch the ground but
My mind's somewhere north of here

Out on these Texas plains you can see for a million lives
And there's a thousand exits between here and the state line
About the last time that I saw you
You said call me Pandora, call me a fool

And I'm thinking this view it could do you some good
So drop these scales and take a look

There's 40 acres and redemption to be found
Just along down the way
There is a place where no plow blade has turned the ground
And you will turn it over, 'cause out here hope remains
'Cause out here hope remains...

Out here the Texas sky is as big as the sea
And you're alone in your room like an island floating free
Your spirit's hanging in a bottle out on a tree
You say that you're the black sheep, I say you're still family

So throw that bottle to the waves
They'll bring you in to me and from the shore you will see

Out here the Texas rain is the hardest I've ever seen
It'll wash your house away, but it'll also make you clean
Now these rocks they are crying too
And this whole land is calling out for you

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Baby In the House

One of the other questions I am sometimes asked is, "What's it like living with a baby, considering you have no children of your own?"

First off, let me just encourage you to look at this face, and tell me what could be bad about living with this beautiful treasure. I challenge you to think of something, anything, that would not be outweighed by the fabulous joy of witnessing and participating in her daily growth.

Logistically, one thing that is different about living with a baby is that sometimes the parent(s) will ask for occasional babysitting. This has worked fine for us, because we're glad to do it when we can, and when we can't, she's fine with us saying no. I'm sure discipline will become a more complex issue, but right now we're just collectively trying to keep her little fingers out of light sockets and such.

An amazing scene involving her struggle to do right: This house has a central vacuum, which means there are outlets on a few walls with a cover that pulls back to reveal the hole where the vacuum tube attaches. It's about 1.5 inches across, and it's kind of dusty, so we discourage her from pulling back the cover. It's right at eye level, though, so it's a big temptation for her. The other day, she was standing a couple feet from the outlet, staring intently at it...reaching for it...and saying, "Don't, don't." Then she turned and looked at Andrea, her mom, and started inching toward it, still saying, "Don't, don't." I felt a mixture of amusement and, well, sadness for her. Not even a year old, and already feeling the pull between obedience and disobedience.

Fortunately, as soon as Andrea said, "Yes, don't," that was enough for her and she walked away. :) She's such a little joy! I know it'll get tougher to convince her to obey, but we're just relishing every moment on this crazy ride.

Friday, August 1, 2008

How Do You Split Up Household Chores?

You may not believe it, but this hasn't been a huge issue for us. We have yet to organize a "chore chart" or make rules or anything. Everyone is just kind of responsible for their own spaces (bathrooms, bedrooms), and for the common areas we just do what we can when we can. We're all pretty interested in keeping a clean house, and this makes it easier I think.

TOTAL HONESTY: I have on a few occasions been tempted to complain about this aspect of living with other people. There are more dirty dishes, we have to share a washer and dryer, and there is NO END to the amount of mail we receive! But when I think about the whole "speck in your brother's eye, plank in your own" thing...the obvious answer is, "If it bothers you so much, do something about it!" If the kitchen is dirty, clean it. If there's mail everywhere, sort it and put it in people's bedrooms. After all, why would it bother me so much to clean up someone else's mess? Because I'm SELFISH. Because I have an over-developed sense of personal justice and may need to just suck it up a little and try to be a servant. Maybe. I'm just suggesting.

However, like I said, we do not live with slobs. I guess if we felt like we were always cleaning up after one person, it would be different. Not sure what we would do then.