if the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…

…I’m going to end up as the crazy cat lady! šŸ™‚

That’s right, I did some baking today. It was a Sunday afternoon, the world had been covered in snow and quite frankly, there’s nothing I’d rather do than try to bake something new while listening to the Top 40 Mix on iTunes radio.

Whenever I get the urge, I always try to include my roommate, Melissa. It’s a challenge, but not an unpleasant one, because she’s allergic to flour and eggs and lots of other things. Luckily for me, she buys substitutes and is brave enough to let me use them to try and bake special treats for her.

Another challenge that has reared its ugly head is our oven. You can’t even really call it an oven in my opinion, because it sits on top of our counter. It looks like a giant, beeping, blue-light microwave that’s about to take off into outer space. It will only fit certain sizes of pans if you’re lucky enough to have them, and then you have to learn its language. Does your cookbook say 350 F for 30 minutes? Better make it 375 F for 40, or else.

So here I was, today, flipping through cookbooks. I decided to go with a simple chocolate chip cookie recipe for Melissa, made with rice flour instead. No problem. Except that rice flour is a looooooot different to bake with than white flour. It has a very grainy consistency which, while tasting good, makes for a very different kind of cookie. To make a long story short, I ended up throwing 2 trays out after I’d baked them because they turned rock hard after they cooled off. Melissa saw that they were “running into each other” in the oven, becoming one big cookie, and suggested that I add a bit more flour. So I tried that, and then also took the cookies out earlier. And voila! Instant cookie deliciousness. šŸ™‚

Since I had this experience without feeling completely defeated, I decided to continue on and make something totally new for myself – turtle squares. Months ago, I bought one can of sweetened condensed milk, just in case I ever decided I needed it. Well, that day was today.

But in the months that had gone by, someone had switched the label from “sweetened condensed milk” to “evaporated milk,” which I have now learned is not quite the same thing. It’s just like milk, only more the color of pablum. I thought I could redeem the thickness of the filling with my cornstarch.

I didn’t have any cornstarch, by the way. I googled “cornstarch replacements” and learned that if I boiled some sugar and water together, it was pretty much the same thing.

Not so.

I now have a perfectly good chocolate crust that has runny goopyness all over it; I am chilling it in the fridge and willing it to harden.

Whatever. This is where I eat my last Lindor chocolate of the Christmas season and start watching Spooks. Yes, rich milk chocolate and Richard Armitage – what better way to fulfill the typical stereotype?… and I just decided that I don’t care. *chomp*

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“What we have here is a failure to communicate…”

I have often been asked, “If you could choose any super power in the world, what would it be?”

Usually, my banner choices are flying and being invisible.

But right now, I wish I could read minds. It would save me a lot of aggravation. People say something to you, but what are they really thinking? I know, it’s a total invasion of privacy, but still. If I could read minds, I wouldn’t be tempted to Pandora all kinds of boxes.

You have people in your life. You treat them as well as you can, to your knowledge. And you hope that they’ll stick around. But then one day, a question comes up. A question you don’t want to ask but feel you must. If you ask it, you are making a statement that may or may not be true about that person, and the fact that you asked may or may not offend them and cause them to leave you. But if you don’t ask it, you’ll never know and you’re left wrestling with it because – let’s face it – they’re not mind readers either! They don’t know that you want to ask this question. And really, do you want to ask it? Is no news really good news? What if they’re actually waiting for you to ask this question because they hope you care enough about their life to ask, but you don’t know that because you’re not a mind reader?!

Communication, when done right, is awesome.
When you’re in your early 20’s and your cell phone/computer doesn’t convey voice inflections/tones through text yet, it sucks.

Today, a monster was lurking in the Pine Centre Mall. Its name? Carly’s Mexican/Irish temper. Have you heard of it? Sightings are rare, but after much provoking, it will render its owner tearful, spouting at everything in Spanish if possible, and generally just spiraling out of control.

I think it was a combination of multiple things I’d been only slightly pissed off about (with myself and others) in the past few days, but never had a chance to actually address them, and then I was made to work for 4 hours during a deeeeeeaaaaaaaaddddddd time of day with a co-worker who I like but is socially awkward, and then I started dropping valuable things that needed to not be dropped.

That’s when I started getting annoyed by every…little…thing.

There was our deaf-mute lady customer, who I normally do not have a problem with, but today her gargled laughter sent shivers down my spine and her smile made me feel like I was the next thing she wanted to eat.

And then I got sick of potatoes, down to the very sight and smell of them. Which is not helpful in my line of work.

And then my co-worker was either speaking in way that I couldn’t hear or understand her, so she had to repeat everything – until I could hear everything properly but she kept repeating everything. I felt like the dullest crayon in the box, the dimmest lightbulb; the, well, you get it. I wanted to scream.

Even though the monster never quite surfaced out loud, it was doing a Godzilla in my heart. I felt so gross. And I wondered, is this who I really am? I began to get discouraged that perhaps I was the master at putting on a grand “sweetheart” play for everyone to see, but in reality, I was the next Joan Crawford.

As time crawled by, my first co-worker left, and my second co-worker came on for her shift. She’s a lot better to work with, but I was still trying to hide what was going on inside of me. Then, somehow, we got onto the topic of church denominations. She said that she’d been with her boyfriend for the last 3 years and if they ever got married, she knew she’d never get divorced because he came from a Catholic background. She claims that she doesn’t believe anything, but it was still comforting for her to know that about him.

Then she asked me the Question:
“What do you believe?”

And it was like the storm had been spoken to: “Peace, be still.” I suddenly felt like I had a purpose for being there at that moment, and that perhaps God could even still use me and my words despite all my failings of the previous hours.

As I shared my faith with her, she didn’t make fun of me or say I was stupid. When I said that I was a Christian but that I tried not to be a hypocrite to it, and that I didn’t believe going to church made you any closer to God, she nodded her head respectfully. And then I offered to answer any questions about God or the Bible she may have at any time, and she didn’t scoff. She smiled.

And for me, it was like: Oh yeah. That’s why I’m here.

my own little Shining

You know the saying, “The insane ones never know that they’re insane, and if you think you’re insane, you’re probably not.” In my thinking, that’s a pretty ditty sheal. I mean, if you’re having to face the terror of slowly losing your mind, can’t you even get a courtesy signal saying, “Dude, you should probably do a u-turn riiiiiight now.” ?

And if you think you’re going insane, isn’t that because there’s pretty valid evidence pointing to that conclusion? Insanity is a pretty convenient scapegoat for some people. Just ask the court system.

I say this because I think, during the week that I was by myself in Prince
George, I was starting to lose my mind. The first few days were okay. I was sleep deprived until Thursday night. And Friday, I was on the bus, in the grocery store, in general civilization. But when I tried to lift my grocery basket up to the automatic grocery mover…thinger…I biffed it, requiring the neighbor to grab my basket for me and hold it while I emptied it out. And then I fumbled like a football rookie trying to get my wallet, my grocery bags, etc. It was pretty bad. I said to my neighbor, “I’m sorry, I’m not very well put together today,” and he, being a kindly old man, just gave me a pity smile and nod.

Saturday night, for some reason, I pulled a package of frozen hot dogs out to thaw on the counter. I think I wanted them for supper, even though I had just gone grocery shopping and had a perfectly good make-able supper in the fridge. But whatever, I guess I wanted hot dogs. (Right now, I just typed ” hot gods”, which only proves my point.) I went through my evening, went to bed, woke up in the morning, walked to the bathroom, did my business, walked back through the kitchen and something on the counter caught my eye. Yes indeed, they were the hot dogs, no longer frozen and no longer edible. I do not remember seeing them during the entire course of my evening.
Later that day, I decided to do some laundry. I gathered everything out of my suitcase from my Smithers visit and put it in the washer. I forgot it in there for an hour after it was done washing. I put it in the dryer (but really, there was almost no point) and forgot it in there for half an hour after it was done. I gathered it all, fresh and lukewarm and put it in the recliner to fold. And what’s in the recliner already? My work uniform, which I had adamantly wanted to be washed and dried as well. Adamantly, people! I was forgetting adamantly!

And then I almost cried with frustration when I folded my laundry and realized I had no clean underwear. I need those! Why are they in a pile near my bed, not able to be worn asap?

And then there was today, the day I went back to work after 3 days off. I had gotten lots of rest the 2 nights before, but for some reason, last night I tossed and turned for almost 2 hours before falling into a fitful sleep. I dragged myself out of bed to be at work by 10…and when I got there, I was told I wasn’t working till 12. Excuse me? What was that? NOON?! I clearly remember looking at the schedule last week and writing down my hours: Monday – 10am, Tuesday -12pm. Tuesday, not Monday!
But the schedule ratted me out and said I was a liar. Dirty schedule. So I kicked around at the mall for almost an hour when my boss texted me saying, “If you want to come in at 11, I’ll find something for you to do.” Better than wandering from store to store looking like a potential shoplifter. Oh, and don’t let me forget to add that while I was waiting, a muffin I was eating fell off my lap and hit the floor! And you can bet your $1.29 + tax that I picked it up and ate it! (After making sure no one was watching!)

As I got to work, I started talking to God in the back of mind. Okay. I am at work. Please let this little phase be over now. I do not need anything to happen to me at work. But God, having a sense of humor, decided it would be fun to have my left side doused with root beer before he answered my prayer. It’s all good, I still love him.

After that, I started seeing familiar faces…talking to them…discovering, wonder of wonders, that normal words were coming out. And then I received two checks adding up to $513 bucks, got them deposited (dang, that feels good), went grocery shopping with Alissa, and had an evening full of stirfry and laughter with Joanna. If I can sleep well tonight and get to work on time tomorrow, I will consider this blitz over.

Either I’m not insane at all…or I’m very good at hiding it.
What Would Jack Nicholson Say?

Besides “Heeeeeeeeeere’s Johnny!”, obviously.

Let me just say right off the bat, I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. I tried it once when I was a teenager, simply because it’s what you do, and after 3 days, I said *meh* and tossed the list in the garbage.
If you are the type who finds those kinds of lists motivating, then that’s awesome for you. I guess I’m just the kind of person who needs more than a resolution to change my life. Words are just words, no matter how valiantly you feel about them when you write them down – for true change, it requires a renovation in the heart and mind.

So instead of spending these last hours of New Year’s Day making a list of resolutions, I’m going to share some ideas of changes that I want to happen in my heart and life. I’m recognizing that it may not happen right away, but acknowledging that you need something is the first step, right? šŸ™‚

As 2011 begins and continues, I want to search for God’s will more than I ever have before. He’s been giving me some great blessings lately, and it’s about time that I returned the favor, but not out of servitude or “have-to.” I want to fall in love with my Saviour again, like I did when I first met him. To not be able to stop thinking about him, and want to tell everyone I know about his existence. To drink up everything he says, think he’s the most wonderful thing since before sliced bread, and not be able to sleep peacefully until I’ve heard from him.

I want to stop being too tired to do anything but eat, work, occasionally write and sleep. I want to look at myself in a full-length mirror and not automatically think “ewww.” I want to truly think before I open my mouth, and focus more on saying what would lift others up instead of finding the wittiest comeback.

I want to seek & find more of the good in people instead of the bad; to look at their heart instead of their outward appearance; to not just listen to the words their mouths are saying, but what their eyes are saying.

I want to slow down and eventually kill that tendency to be so introspective, so navel-gazing, so “woe-is-me-i’m-so-unworthy-compared-to-everyone-else.”

I want to stop caring what people think of me. And realize that they’re not really thinking of me as much as I think they’re thinking of me. I think.

I want to let go of my co-dependency on others to complete my happiness. Having fellowship with others is wonderful, but there’s no reason why my joy should be depleted if I find myself alone for a little while.

I want to really expand myself musically this year. For too long, I’ve let fear of failure hold me back, and although I may not be the next…whoever…I still have something I can bring.

I want to forgive everything that has been done or said to me in 2010 and even further back if necessary. It’s been said that “To deny forgiveness is to burn a bridge you must cross yourself.” So, so very true.

And finally, I want to get one step closer to making my own family, my own home, my own life. If I fall in love, I want it to be with the right person, not because I was feeling emotionally vulnerable and just wanted the attention. Where I’m living now is nice – I’m certainly blessed – but it’s not home. This basement suite is not home; Prince George is not home. When it comes right down to it, the Earth itself is not home, but everyone needs a dress rehearsal before they arrive at the real thing. And my job is great; I like my boss and my co-workers but I’m not fulfilled smelling like a starchy potato, covered with burns. Somewhere out there is something I’m meant to do, but I just haven’t figured out what it is yet.

I guess what I’m really saying, really hoping and praying for is that 2011 will be a year of growing up and becoming a real woman of God. A year of freedom from fear, anxiety, lack of motivation and courage…freedom from everything inside myself that has held me back thus far.

Freedom to run into the arms of the one who made me and can’t wait to show me what he’s really got planned.

Here’s to 2011! =)