The Perks of Being Married

Getting married was the best thing I ever did…









for my gums.

I cannot lie to my partner when they ask if I’ve flossed. So, I floss. We ask each other. We keep each other accountable for our flossing.

Once I did lie, and I was caught, because he had used the last of the floss earlier. Busted. Also, don’t lie to your spouse. Unless it’s about a surprise party. And if it is, the theme probably should not be oral care.

Crisis and Suicide Help

If you are thinking about suicide, please ask for help. 

If someone you know is suicidal, please reach out and help them. If you feel overwhelmed or don’t know what to do, you can also call the hotline. Even if you have promised them otherwise, please get help. Tell someone.

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a toll-free number that works in both the U.S. and Canada. Their number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

You can find information on Canadian crisis centers at this link.

Please, please ask a counselor, your parents, your friends, a teacher, or a spiritual leader for help. You are loved.

Game Show Idea

It’s like Instragram meets a game show. Picture:

Announcer: “It’s time to play….”

Audience, all together: “WHAT’S ON YOUR PLATE?”

And then there`s square, poorly lit pictures of people`s food, and you have to guess what`s on their plate, using as many adjectives and hyphens as possible. 

See, sometimes I just want to tell you what I’m making for dinner, but I don’t want to be a navel-gazer. I’m bored of everyone going ON and ON about how hyper-local and grass-fed they all are. Having the energy and resources to worry so precociously about our food is a weird form of privilege. There are people who worry about ‘where did my food come from? pastures? slaughter farms? fairy labor?’ and then there are people who worry about ‘where will my food come from? the food bank? my tiny paycheck?’. Let’s try to not worry so much about our own plates, strictly, and also worry about our neighbor’s plates.

Hmmm, so this took a radical turn from where I was going. I was going to tell you about the pot roast I have in the oven, the pot roast with red onion and fennel and carrot and tomatoes and preserved lemon, to which I will add tiny potatoes.

There, I told you. Now let`s move on. Invite your neighbors over for dinner! Plant a row, grow a row. Give someone cookies. Let`s just look up, past our own plates, to the needs of others. Your love makes a world of difference to the shut-in, the hungry, the hurt, the lonely — basically, everyone. 

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’     Matthew 25 (ESV)

Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” Matthew 15 (ESV)




So I managed to hemorrhage both of my eyeballs (and no, not from extreme flatulance, thankyouverymuch) (also, that link has pics of bleeding eyes, fyi). It’s really special and romantic, and great for making friends. Won’t you come and play with me?

I wanted to do this post before Christmas, because Christmas is when you buy THINGS for those you love. But, well, I finally got my lazy butt into gear and we mailed off our PR paperwork. On Christmas Eve.

So then, without further ado, I present: My List of Suggestions for What to Buy your Sweetheart for Valentine’s Day.

Sometimes it’s okay if your sweetheart likes to look at other men. Doctors, for example. Or actors. You should be okay with this too. May I suggest this matted and framed picture of Doctor B.J. Hunnicutt?


Sometimes your sweetheart just wants to carry fruit around without it getting squished.


Sometimes the best things in life are free. For example, I found this fabulous, perfectly functional frying pan at the dump.

Bringing home

And looks, it’s right on trend!


Nothing says “I love you” like saving money. This calender was on sale for only FORTY-FOUR CENTS! That’s right!


And finally, I should probably warn you that this last item is great for Valentine’s Day, although technically NSFW. I’ll let the fine craftsmanship speak for itself.

True love


The new header is a photo of a mural I painted at church. At the beginning of the year, we started redoing some of the rooms, and turned one unused area into a nursery and cry room. The kids really like the animals! I tried to get animals from all over the world. Can you name the countries represented?

Navy Bean, Melon, and Sweet Potato Salad — UPDATED

(UPDATE 7/19/12– The funny thing about entering a small fair is that your entry may be the only one in it’s category, meaning you win a lot of prizes.

However, there was more than just my entry in the bean salad category, and I still took first. It’s the ribbon second from right, being shy behind my mixed herb display ribbon.)

I just got back home (muggy, humid home) from entering the local Country Fair. My entries include items from my garden (herb bunches, lettuce — ran out of time to scrub beets, but boy do we have a lot of beets!) as well as some original creations.

Chocolate Coconut Curry Caramel Corn, easily adapted from Molly’s post, David Guas’ recipe.

Gardening has been really rewarding so far. I’ve never been successful (really never, not just hyperbole there) at gardening, so to have things sprout up! and blossom! and produce edibles! is wildly exhilarating. I’ll post some pictures soon. I’ve been so ashamed of my weeds, but much like body shaming, I realize I can choose to ignore the shamings of others and embrace the weeds. Or attack them with a hoe. Whatever. Either way, we’ve been up to our ears in lettuce, the beets are crazy, and everything else just needs another week or two of sunshine to start blushing ripe at me.

You may not be aware of this, but I now live in the Bean Capital of the West. This great honor means that in our local country fair, there are entire sections of bean categories. I did not have the time to make some Bean Art, or Bean Muffins, so I settled on making Bean Salad. Obviously the first thing that comes to mind is some sort of Mexican-influenced dish, or perhaps hints of Mediterranean flavors*. I wanted to go somewhere else, ethnically speaking, with my Bean offering. Recalling that the Japanese sometimes use beans in their desserts, I went slightly sweet, and used other vaguely Japanese flavors.

*try black bean, feta, and oregano, or white bean and tuna with garlicky olives.


Navy Bean, Melon, and Sweet Potato Salad

½ cup dry Navy beans

3 cups water

Bring the water and beans to a boil in a medium pot. Reduce to low, cover, and let simmer until beans are just tender, about 90 minutes. Drain and cool.

1 ½ cups diced melon (about half a melon)

1 cup diced boiled sweet potato, peeled

1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons coconut oil or sesame oil

2 teaspoons olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar

Soy sauce (I used Ponzu shōyu), to taste

Combine beans, melon, sweet potato, sesame seeds, and oils. Stir gently to combine. Stir in salt and vinegar.

Before serving, taste for seasonings. Add more vinegar, salt, oil, or a pinch of sugar as desired. Sprinkle with soy sauce.

That video you may have seen showing how to easily peel a potato? Works on sweet potatoes too. May not really be worth it (besides the chance to scream out “It works! Magic!” and then force your partner to come look at a sweet potato at eleven o’clock at night) for just one potato, but would be for more.

Holy Hold Times!

The good news is that I am allowed to stay in Canada longer than my visitor record (June 14th), at least until they make a decision on my extension application. The bad news is that it took three hours worth of phone calls to find that out. Also, please don’t insult my intelligence by saying you are working 29 days behind the current date, then tell me you are working on applications from April 25th. I can do math.

Three Thistles

A post on Offbeat Home got me thinking about going without a car. When I moved up here, I left my fantastic Subaru station wagon back home. I’d only owned the car for seven months, but it was really my favorite car out of my previous four. The versatility of the station wagon turned out to be a real boon. I hauled all sorts of things — glass-top table, someone else’s shelves at value village, loads of branches and log — without ever putting the seat down.

I bought the car because I needed a car of my own for a job, but before that I had gone without a car for two years. This worked out well for me, for a variety of reasons.First, I lived and worked in the boonies, where I used a work vehicle for transportation. Then, I worked a job where mass transit was clearly the better option. I was able to borrow people’s cars (or “car-share”, which sounds less freeloader-esque and more sharing-our-communal-resources-responsible.) Finally, it came to the point where I clearly needed a vehicle that I had control over it’s scheduling. Thus, the subey.

Once I arrived up north here, I had use of a gas-guzzling truck for a while, until my father-in-law fixed up a car for me. Then, the car broke. Did you know that AAA tows in Canada, too? So nice. Then, my bike broke. We live in town, albeit a small town, but I pretty much exclusively bike or walk around town. It’s not far, or hard, to get anywhere, but the bike cut my time way down. It just seems that much harder to get out when it takes three times as long to walk anywhere. Maybe I should get some heelys. Then I can complete the trifecta of brokenness by breaking my legs, too.

That bike, the broken bike, is the titular inspiration for this post. Seventeen years ago, my partner entered a local contest. The objective of the contest was to win said bike, and the method of accomplishing said objective was to collect three thistles. I will pause while you try to understand this. I myself do not.

Okay, enough time? So, my partner entered the contest. I should note, as a classic first-born who likes everything to be fair and who will totally tattle on you, that he did not, himself, collect the thistles. His father did. So, using these questionably-gained thistles, he then won a bike. This seems like a wildly unfair effort-to-reward situation. (Note: After review, my partner would like to point out that the contest was sponsored by a chemical company. He believes the company would be testing the thistles for chemical levels. I tell him this is both highly suspect and still seems like a disproportional work-to-prize contest. He tells me I am weird.)

However, when I entered the picture, many years later, I capitalized on the situation by reclaiming the bike from my now mother-in-law, who no longer rides bikes. This worked out well for everyone, until the bike needed $220 in repairs. The bike shop sells new, comparable bikes for $300. Yesterday, we bought a bike. Technically, it’s an early birthday present for me. Hooray!

google nonsense

Gmail ads are trying to sell me “Baby Rabbit Complement Tissue — Culture Grade, Low Endotoxin.” Best I can tell, this would be used for “bacteriocidal, cytotoxicity and depletion/purging assays especially in cancer, transplantation studies, and vaccine quality control and manufacturing.” What casual gmail user decides, Oh! Perfect! I’ve been looking for a new supplier for my vaccine manufacturing supplies?! And if the answer to that last question is you, then we are no longer friends.

Quick Update

Heeeey everybody! I know I keep telling some of you “I really need to blog more!” and then I never do. For those of you whom I don’t talk with often, here’s a quick-and-dirty of some parts of my life.

I’m in the process of applying for permanent residency here in Canada. It’s a long, boring process, with tons of paperwork and fees. Several weeks ago I made the gut-churning discovery that my passport is missing. So that was fun. I made a trip to the nearest US Consulate to obtain a replacement, and let me tell you, security there is no joke. I had to throw away my lip gloss. The Consulate is in Calgary, 4 hours from here, which seemed like a big deal until I realized that it’s the Consulate that serves all of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Northwest Territories. So, I could have had to drive upwards of 25 hours (and that’s just from Yellowknife to Calgary), if we lived much farther north. Brian’s sister lives in Calgary, so I was able to drive up the night before and stay with her. The Consulate was efficient and quick; I had my replacement passport mailed to me within a week of my appointment.

Had a car, but it broke. On the side of the highway at night. When I was alone. Now I have a big fuel-sucking truck. Around town I almost exclusively bike or walk (it’s a 6 minute bike ride from our house to the main street). Then my bike broke, but now it’s sort-of fixed. As long as my legs don’t break…

Last week I mailed off some forms for immigration purposes. Included were credit card payment forms. Two days later the bank called Brian to tell him his credit card had been stolen. The subsequent cancelling of that credit card set off a flurry of faxes and phone calls to the places I’d mailed those forms to, letting them know about the updated payment information. I cannot speak highly enough of the courtesy and helpfulness of the various people I spoke to at the FBI. Short wait times (or none at all — if you call FBI headquarters, someone picks up on the first ring. Every time. They may also tell you “Oh, bless you heart, child!” when you pour out your sad story.).

I’m working on several creative projects — a large mural in the nursery at Brian’s church, spiffing up the guest bedroom/art room (it wasn’t an art room until I moved in :-), some gardening, and of course the perpetual rearranging of the house.

The Centennial Celebration for our town is coming up at the end of June. I’m involved with the ecumenical service, and am excited for the weekend in general. If you’ll be in town, let us know!

Until my permanent residency application is approved (which could take up to 18 months) I won’t be leaving Canada. Leaving would be fine, but getting back in might not be so easy, so that’s not a risk I’m willing to take. I miss Seattle, and my bio family, and my church family, like crazy. Our town is small, and the population leans towards baby boomers and older. Most people my age work (something else I can’t do while I’m in this immigration holding pattern), and many have kids as well. Those factors make it that much harder to meet new friends.

Please ask any questions you have in the comments, and I promise I’ll answer!