Friday, February 20, 2009

Filling my spare time

My spare time has shrunk quite a bit this year. Due to an increase in Deacon duties, many of my weeknights are spent prepping and databasing and printing and phone-calling. It's a joy to serve, and a blessing to many, but it's like another job. (Probably the most interesting thing about serving is how much I'm learning my heart had shrunk - a la the Grinch - a size or two smaller than I would like. But that's for another post. Maybe.) But I carve out time for my two favorite activities - reading and listening to music.

I just started a book by Diane Ackerman called The Zookeeper's Wife. A true story, it tells of Antonina Zabinski and her husband Jan, whose Warsaw zoo was bombed during WWII. They ended up saving people from the Nazis by hiding them in the zoo. I don't read a lot of history, as a general rule. But this book caught my eye for a number of reasons, and I find it engrossing so far.

I'm also enjoying India.Arie's new cd. I love (love, love, love) her Testimony: Volume 1 CD, so you can imagine how excited I got about her new one. Her voice is getting sweeter and her songs are still relevant. Good stuff.

Faith restored (sort of)

Thanks to the Sacramento citizen who turned in Lance's bike. He'll be riding it in part of the Tour of California. Props to Sacramento PD, too.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I'm just sayin'.

On behalf of all the good people in Sacramento, Lance, I apologize that your bike was stolen here. It does not display good hospitality, good manners, or grace. Sacramento, if we want the world to respect us, we should not be disrespecting world-class athletes.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Jenni and Dinger pose for the camera.

TH and I never do much for Valentine's Day, but this year we couldn't resist this fundraiser for the River Cats Foundation. Dinger, the mascot for the Sacramento River Cats (AAA Oakland A's affiliate) showed up at my work with a valentine and a goody bag which included two tickets to a game, a baseball cap, and a small box of chocolates from Ginger Elizabeth.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Whip-my-butt-into-shape Update

After several weeks (and a week-and-a-half vacation), I've stepped up the workout to week 5. So yesterday was the first day of this regimen:
  • 5 minutes run
  • 3 minutes walk
  • 5 minutes run
  • 3 minutes walk
  • 5 minutes run.

It went better than I imagined. It's amazing to me to think that last October, I could barely jog a minute without losing my breath. Now I'm at five minutes (about 1/2 mile). That's progress!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bake Night Bust?

Or, like grape nuts for oatmeal.

Or, or, everything I need to know about life I learned from baking.

Today I got to thinking about cookies my mom used to make, back in the day. They were peanut butter oatmeal. Yum. So, I looked up a recipe on the internet that looked about right. (Lesson #1: go to the primary source.)

I got home around 7 pm tonight and thought, hmmmm, do I really feel like baking? Only a little. I thought, well, I told a coworker I'd be making cookies, so I better follow through. But I didn't approach it with my usual relaxation, and anticipation and joy of process. (Lesson #2: if you're gonna do it, put your heart into it.)

So, partway in, I noticed I was 1/2 cup short of oatmeal. Desperate, I combed the cupboards and made a substitution. That may or may not improve the recipe. (Lesson #3: be bold with your choices.)

And the result? Well, you make the call.

Not my best effort. I'm hoping the second sheet turns out better. (Lesson #4: If at first you don't succeed....)
ADDENDUM: The cookies turned out sweet, chewy, and peanutty. (Lesson #5: Patience is a virtue. Or, things often turn out differently than you might expect at first.)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Three B's

Pumpkin muffins
Books, marvelous books!

Bach for solo violin. Man, I wish I was this good.

Baking, Books, and Bach. Happy Sunday!

More good news

I love good news. And in these tough times, I love it even more.

Here's the latest in my browsing:
  • Free music lessons for kids. A nonprofit organization gives lessons to kids who wouldn't otherwise have a chance to explore an instrument. Next, the founder is going to work with adults with disabilities. Awesome.
  • Rather than continuing to spread doom and gloom, a local columnist has suggested that furoughed state workers get involved in the community on their furlough days. Great idea!
  • Read this interesting story about Chad Gerlach, a promising cyclist who started abusing drugs, became homeless for 5 years, then went through rehab and is working himself back into the cycling circuit. Recovery from addiction is a long, hard process with multiple setbacks. He admits that he is still an addict. But my hat is off to this guy and I'm rooting for him.

Is that what you would call irony?

Did anyone notice my last two posts? One for delicious and probably unhealthy cookies, the next for taking care of your heart.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Heart Day

No, not that heart day.

Today is National Wear Red Day. It's a day to recognize the leading killer of American women: heart disease. It's not breast cancer, or ovarian cancer. It's heart disease. Many women don't know that they're at risk. And those who do know, may not realize they're having a heart attack because the symptoms are different than those felt by men, and traditionally recognized as the classics.

What are you doing to take care of your heart?

1. Stop smoking.

2. Exercise.

3. Eat healthy, low fat meals.

4. Check your blood pressure.

5. Check your blood sugars.

6. Reduce your stress.

Make a pledge to learn more about heart disease and how it manifests in women. For yourself, or for the women you love.