Cheesecake Flop

For Jonathan's 26th birthday I decided to make him his favorite--turtle cheesecake. I baked it, took it out of the springfoam pan and placed it in the refrigerator to chill. A few hours later Jonathan opened up the fridge door to get some milk for his tea and found chunks of cheesecake goo everywhere. Everywhere! And this is what was left of it. Notice that there's a portion of fully formed cheesecake that will feed two of us perfectly. The rest of it, well, I figure we can still eat it and call it Cheesecake Pudding. I'm beginning to wonder how many new recipes are old recipes gone flop.

Later I'll post a picture of the cake-pudding with toppings and all. Hopefully then it will look more edible.


the Light stepped in

Seven people, two bedrooms, one bathroom equals merry Christmas (and short showers)

Talking to a friend tonight about the crazy snow in the midwest I realized that I haven't seen snow in over a year. London had one Easter fling with Mr. Jack Frost, but there wasn't even enough to dust the streets and by the time I looked out my window to see the snow, it was gone. Now I'm in Lodi, and it's hard for me to imagine below zero temps when it feels like a brisk autumn day every time I wander outside (I hear that although rare, it does occasionally snow. And I did have to scrape ice off of my windshield the other day, so freezing temps happen.)

But this Christmas won't be entirely without snow. My parents and three younger brothers are flying in to celebrate with us, and a few days later we'll go skiing/snowboarding in Tahoe. Until then, we plan to make the most of our time together and similate Christmas all over again after they arrive on Christmas Day. We'll enjoy appetizers around a warm fire and the Christmas tree, open gifts and play games--Christmas Eve all over again. "Christmas Day" (which will be the day after Christmas) we'll go to Target for our annual Stocking Shopping Extravaganza which consists of seven people employing military strategies to dodge each other around store corners and protect our cart's contents from being seen by gift receivers. Then we'll come home, open stockings and enjoy a hearty Christmas dinner of h** (censored for readers sensitive to certain hoofed and curly-tailed barn animals). I'm also hoping to watch the Nativity Story which is quite a good version of the original Luke manuscript, except for the Prince look-alike angel who circles Mary like a sexual predator (and how disappointing that the "host of angels" that appears to the shepherds is not a host, but the same Prince guy. The ONLY angel that appears! What happened to all of our modern graphical technology and why isn't it good enough for shepherds?)

Never mind. In the spirit of English tradition, I made mince pies and we're going to drink mulled wine and pop Christmas crackers and really, I'm just excited to see my family. All seven of us will be under one roof for the first time in a year and four months!


The Man With the Can

Sauntering out of Staples and trying to juggle bag and handbag and newly bought goods. Ready to cross the street. Pause. Tilt head, rotate ear toward the increasing sound of guttural yelling and pavement pounding closer, closer, closer--

just missed by a running dashing baggy man dodging people and store columns and carts and gripping a large white can. Open-mouthed and wide-eyed he races forward fast forward eyes straining--

just missed by two men racing forward fast forward flash of white, Navy white-- the bell man who said: "Feed my can! Feed my can!" now blazing by, in Spanish screaming: "Give me can! Give me can!" hopeless, fighting, mad.

A crowd gathers, rallies.

Two teens run to catch up with the mess.

A clerk from Staples runs out to help.

We watch and wait.

A sour taste on our tongues, for the man who steals small coins, for the man who steals from Christmas, for the man who steals from troops.

Jingle Bells cracking from the speakers.


Maturity Takes a Beating

The townhouse complex we live in only has a limited amounted of parking. Jonathan parks his car in the garage and I park mine in one of two spaces closest to where we live. This is how it went down a few days ago:

Driving into our car park, I noticed that a truck had parked in my spot. Because the owner wasn't around, I pulled into an open spot across from mine, opened my door halfway and heard:

"I hope you don't plan on staying there long." I opened my door wider and saw an older woman sticking her head out of her door, scowling at me. "That's my husband's space."

"I'm sorry, but someone parked in my space, too. That's it over there." I pointed to the spot behind me.

"Well I've lived here for fifteen years and you better go find the person who parked there and tell them to move. Because you're parked in my husband's space and he's getting back in a little while."

I almost laughed, imagining myself knocking on every door in the complex and asking for the truck owner who had parked in my spot. Instead I just got peeved. It really wasn't a big deal, I knew, but she was making it one. Who immediately yells at strangers/quasi-neighbors for something so minor? I asserted, a little too loudly, "I'm leaving in a little bit, but we can switch places if you want," hoping she would see that I was the more mature one and that she was the overreacting one. I noticed the driver of the car was wisely making herself inconspicuous and staying out of the brawl.

"No." She glared at me and repeated herself menacingly. "But he'll be home in a little while."

"I'll switch places with you, I really will."

"It's fine."

We both got out of our cars, shutting the doors a little too hard. She wandered to the end of the parking lot, her back turned to me, waiting for her friend/daughter/someone to gather her things. And I stormed to my apartment. I unpacked my groceries and wondered how many years I had digressed in five minutes of cat fighting. This is what happens when I settle myself into a new "big kids" life and start calling myself an adult.


A Response to Chain Emails

I'm not an LOLer. Sometimes this bothers people I hang out with because they assume I'm not getting their joke or that I'm mad at them. Really, it's not either of those things. Let me say that again: When I don't laugh, it's NOT because I'm mad. It's just that I naturally take the inaudible approach (maybe because I've been burned by a few loud laughers, I don't know).

Anyway, when I read this post on Stuff Christians Like, I really did lol. That tells you something. Hopefully you will too.



Jonathan loves the movie Miracle. He played hockey most of his childhood and teenage life, so there is an obvious connection to a movie about an Olympic hockey team. But it's more than that. As he was reminding me today, there's an interesting scene towards the beginning when the hockey coach shows up to tryouts to pick his team. After only fifteen minutes, the coach announces that he's already got the guys he wants. People are shocked. One coach reminds him that some of the prospective players haven't even showed up. But the coach is convinced he has his team. Why? Fifteen minutes was all he needed to see how teachable each player would be, and how they would work together as a team.

I always knew it was important to be a learner. But now, more than ever, I'm realizing how much more important it is that someone be willingly teachable, flexible, and pliable, rather than naturally gifted. Of course both are preferred, but here's the thing: even if a child has the potential to be an amazing basketball player, even if he has the natural gifts, he still needs someone to tell him how to shoot a basketball correctly. Or, let's say a basketball team has been playing with each other for three years, beginning their freshman year and working their way up to senior varsity team. A new coach comes on the scene. Partly because he's new and partly because he just has different ideas of how things are done, he starts introducing new drills, plays and techniques. Now, if the team isn't willing to accept his new ideas as good and implement them, if they aren't willing to give up ownership, they won't go very far. Some of them will probably listen to the coach and come of them won't. It'll be difficult to communicate. If they're not willing to learn, it'll be like trying to shoot a ball into a brick wall. Not only does it not go in a hoop and score a point, but it bounces right back atcha for a bruiser face. Not so much fun.

And sometimes that's how I feel.