Friday, February 26, 2010

Help: Food Processor or Blender

I'm all set to buy a food processor - for chopping onions, peppers, and nuts; puree-ing tomoatoes, squash, lentils; shredding cheese and cabbage. But I'm rethinking things because certain curry recipes call for a blender.

How essential is a blender? Do you think I should stick with a food processor? Which do you prefer? What do you like making in your food processor? Your blender?

Project: Chilkoot Trail

Passports: The Chilkoot pass crosses the US - Canadian border so we need passports.
The passport application process is fairly straightforward, though, I will say that some of their instructions are not sequential. Read the whole application and assembly instructions thoroughly.

Since we figured our marriage is worth at least $30, we opted to have our pictures taken by US Postal Service employees. Yes, after not talking to each other for a weekend, we determined we should just spend the money. Not the most frugal in the short term, but definitely cheaper in the long run. {For those in larger communities, many office supply stores will provide passport pictures for $7, or if you are more patient than me, check out the state department instructions here.}

Mr. X, unfortunately, has a typo on his driver’s license so we had to provide back-up ID and photocopies proving he is who he says he is. I also accompanied him to his interview in case the receiving agent required an “Identifying Witness” (form DS-71).

Because I was renewing my passport I was able to apply through the mail (and save $25).

My passport arrived after a 3 week wait. Mr. X's took 5 weeks.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A homestyle chicken curry

A couple weeks ago Mr. X walked into the kitchen with a quart bottle of ghee. His co-worker gave him the clarified butter with a blessing of good eating.

Finally, on Tuesday Mr. X pulled out his "50 Curries of India" book and selected a recipe to try. We bought garam masala and turmeric, tomatoes and cilantro and eagerly anticipated our dinner.... Let's just say it was worth the wait.

Mr. X now dreams of eating all 50 curries (ala Julie and Julia) and has committed his annual raise to the effort. I'm less excited; we'll see how long the ghee holds out.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Cremation of Sam McGee

I've been reflecting on why I've got this thing for the Chilkoot Pass Trail.
1) it's a historic trail and I love history; that's easy.
But then again, the description of the trail includes a bunch of old junk laying next to a trail that thousands of people hike each year; not exactly pristine Alaska and Yukon wilderness.
2) The trail represents a challenge.
Hmm. I've also heard some say the trail is for an "older, softer hiker", not the He-man march of pain I was envisioning. I guess we qualify as "softer" if not "older".

Perhaps there's a mystical explanation...

In the Fourth grade, my elementary school invited all the children to dress as their favorite character from a book for a day. Many girls came as Laura Ingalls Wilder (yes, my mother did stay up all night making my bonnet). I'm not sure what the boys came as. But my teacher was the best.

Mr. Van Epps dressed as a gold rush stampeder/sourdough. He wore a flannel shirt, work pants and a cap. That wasn't why he was the best; he was best because he recited, "The Cremation of Sam McGee" by Robert Service.

It's a grim tale. Sam McGee is from Tennesee and can't seem to get warm in the Arctic wind. Sam makes the poet promise that if he dies, they won't abandon his body in the snow but cremate Sam's last remains instead.

The first and the last stanzas of the poem are identical:

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights;
But the queerest thay ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

My interest in the Chilkoot? I guess I'm just a sucker for ghost stories...or something.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Oprah and Type 2 diabetes

Did you all hear that Oprah's show on February 5th will be devoted to type 2 diabetes? As a benefit to all of her viewers, Oprah is partnering with Walgreens to offer free diabetes testing over the next two weeks. Check out the Walgreen's website to find a location near you.

Why do I care about type 2 diabetes? Because as my doctor says, "birds of a feather flock together". With a brother with type 1 diabetes, I'm at increased risk for the 2nd version. Add to that the fact that my grandmother was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Why should you care about diabetes? Untreated diabetes can lead to:
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • blindness
  • kidney disease
  • amputation
  • e.d.
Diabetes care costs Americans $174 billion a year.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Marmot Day

It's Groundhog day, now dubbed Marmot day in Alaska. Don't worry, the marmot doesn't have weather prognosticating responsibilities, that job is still Phil's -by the way did he see his shadow?
In weather news, we've had an unseasonably warm January. We only had 20 inches of snow and the average temperature was 26 degrees last month. It's been a mild winter so far - thanks el nino - we can hope the trend continues for the next 3 months (i.e. no snow shoveling, no avalanches, etc.)

I suppose the one downside is that I haven't done any skiing.

The Talk

From what I remember, the first somewhat graphic chastity lesson I had was in college. Every year at BYU our Bishop gave a Relief Society lesson. We all felt bad for him; we knew it was uncomfortable for him. And it was uncomfortable for us.

Yesterday in Seminary, Mr. X had to give "the talk" to four young women.

For the first time perhaps ever Mr. X followed the lesson manual exactly, reading Alma 38 & 39 straight from the Book of Mormon and then reading a portion of a talk from Elder Scott called the Power of Righteousness.

Teen pregnancy was briefly mentioned. As was adoption and repentance.

It went pretty well, although, one of the girls blurted out, "uhh, this is really awkward!"

Ya think?

Honestly, it wasn't that big of a deal. But if you've got any tips for teaching this lesson to adopted teenagers I'm all ears.