Thursday, August 27, 2009


Today did not start out so great. It was DARK and COLD and WET when I woke up (at 6 am!), and the outfit I had planned to wear seemed like the absolute WRONG thing to wear. Then I spent half an hour throwing on, then off, the OTHER contents of my closet, frantically trying to find something that was clean, fit, and business casual. I didn't have time to eat my oatmeal and had to run out the door with an apple and no lunch.

Really? I mean, NOT ONLY am I eternally loved by God, He gives me so many, small, specific blessings every day. With that in mind, I would like to offer


I don't like driving in the rain, BUT I did NOT forget to turn off my lights today!

No time to pack lunch = Caramel Frappuccino from the Starbucks down the road from my office. YUM. That, my friends, is a definite WIN.

My husband SUGGESTED that we go shopping for work pants that actually fit. New clothes = yay! And even today -- SO much better than being too fat for my clothes!

Ashes Against the Grain. The perfect album to listen to in today's weather ... ON my iPOd ... AND I'm allowed to listen to said iPod while I'm in the filing rows at work!

FREE COFFEE at work. I availed myself.

Most of all, I am thankful for my Dear Husband, who was patient and kind to me this morning, lent me his umbrella, offered to do laundry AND go shopping, and most importantly, PRAYED with me that I would remember to enjoy God's good grace to me throughout the day.

I am very, very blessed.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How We Eat One Chicken All Week

This is very economical, since you can almost always find chicken for less than a dollar a pound. However, it is more interesting if you use your FREEZER and spread the chicken out over two or three weeks!

1 - BUY CHICKEN. The cheap kind -- either bone - in pieces or a whole chicken (buy the smaller "frying chicken" type since they are usually more tender than the big old "roasting chickens." That said, I usually go for the biggest chicken I can find in the bin!

The rest of this blog assumes you're using a whole chicken, since that's usually what's cheaper. If you find a good deal on bone-in pieces, you can get even more creative (I have a good slow cooker recipe for chicken curry, chicken cacciatore etc) -- I don't know about you, but I am NOT cutting up a whole raw chicken into serving pieces.

2 - ROAST CHICKEN. This is the easiest way to cook chicken, ever. But it does take longer than those super-convenient, pricey boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I usually do this for Saturday evening dinner, since I'm nervous about leaving the oven on while we're at church.

Basically, grease a roasting pan and stuff your chicken in it, in the same position as a tiny Thanksgiving turkey. If you like, smear the chicken with butter or olive oil and seasonings such as salt, pepper, dried herbs and/or lemon juice. The chicken also tastes better if you cut up an onion or some celery and stuff it inside the chicken (a good way to use up last week's wilting vegetables!). Shove that thing in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit and cook it till it's done all the way through. This will probably take at least an hour, and possibly much longer if your bird is big or if you want dinner done at a certain time. If you have guests over, it will DEFINITELY take longer.

This is dinner #1. Just cut off the pieces you want to eat and serve them with some vegetables. You can roast some potatoes in the oven while the chicken is baking if you like!

2 - CUT THE MEAT OFF THE BONES. This is the gross part. Pick the carcass clean. Put the cooked meat in storage containers and refrigerate or freeze until you can make a CASSEROLE, SOUP, CHICKEN AND RICE or something similar. Feeding two people (Dennis usually eats more than one serving, but I usually eat less, so it evens out), we usually have enough meat to stretch over at least three more meals. Favourite uses for the meat include Chicken Enchiladas (great for the freezer!), chicken tacos (like regular tacos, only with chicken instead of hamburger), etc.

3 - BOIL UP SOME CHICKEN STOCK. This is the fun part, and why it's worth paying 80 cents a pound for a bird that includes lots of bones and other inedible parts.

Once you've cut all the meat off the bones, dump the chicken skeleton and any other strange bits into a big pot. Add water to cover (for one chicken skeleton, I usually add about 6 to 8 cups liquid). Then, dump in anything else that you think will make the broth taste good. Celery, onion, peppercorns, thyme, and bay are a good starting point. I think coriander and whole cloves (just a couple!) add a subtle and delicious touch. Again, this is a good way to get your money's worth from the limp vegetables you have left over from last week (Who eats a whole huge stalk of celery in a week anyway? Speaking of celery, don't cut off the leaves if you add celery to your broth pot. They add nicely to the flavour). When you've got everything you want in there, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for at least 30 minutes (longer is better). If you lift up the lid it smells DELICIOUS. YUM.

Then, you have two quarts of high-quality chicken stock that you can use to make vegetable or chicken soup, chicken and rice, or whatever else strikes your fancy during the week. SO much tastier and healthier than those super-salty bouillon cubes and fake-tasting canned broth. Even those $3.00 boxes of chicken stock don't taste as good! I usually find a use for it all, but if you have extra, chicken stock freezes really well.

So there you are. Meals for a week for two people.

An example menu of how this might work out:

Meal One: Roast Chicken
Meal Two: Chicken Tacos
Meal Three: Casserole
Meal Four: Casserole (like I said, this works better if you use your freezer and spread the meals out)
Meal Five: Chicken and Rice (more exciting if you use cinnamon and turmeric!)
Meal Six: Vegetable or Bean Soup (using chicken broth)

OK, so that's six dinners, not seven, but I usually take leftovers to work for lunch!

Friday, August 21, 2009

In Which Emily Snarks ...

... and also talks about boobs. Be warned, dear reader: this is an indelicate post. Read at your discretion.

Fridays we are allowed to wear jeans to work. Apparently I missed the memo that this particular Friday was also Boob Day.

Yes, I just said "boob" all over the Internet.

The majority of people who work in my department at MFF are young - aspiring young professionals between twenty-five and thirty-five, and then several filing peons like myself, who are about my own age. I'd say 80% of the peons and about 50% of the cubiculites are female. And I can now say that I have a more than casual acquaintance with the boobs of over half of them (the female ones, that is).

Offending garments included, but were not limited to, close-fitting and nearly transparent t-shirts, a lacy cutout polyester thing, or plunging v-necks that should have been retired about 15 lb ago.

Really, people. When did Casual Friday become Boob Day? I just don't understand the reasoning behind such wardrobe choices. I mean, sure, some of the girls in question had really nice boobs. But anybody who actually WANTS to be looking at your boobs, is a creep who you really don't want looking at your boobs. And everybody else would appreciate a little more fabric, thank you very much.

Having expressed my frustration and bewilderment thus indelicately, I shall retire to sniff my smelling salts and sigh over the foolishness of modern times.

On a COMPLETELY unrelated note ... those grapes I was craving the other day? I'm sure they were sour anyway.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

That's What He Said

When I was young, I told myself, "You are beautiful and brilliant and amazing! Everyone will love you." But then I grew a little, and I found out that I wasn't, really ...

So when God told me, years later,
You are beautiful, my love -- there is no flaw in you,
I loved his words, but I was so frightened.

I said, "Lord, please make me beautiful. I am selfish, I am not just, I am not kind. All I want is to live a pure life. Surely that pleases you."

But still He said,
None is righteous -- no, not even you, little one.

So I said, "If I cannot be good, then let me at least be brilliant. Let me make some thing beautiful, to justify my existence here. Some word or song or image that will remain, that people will look at for years. Some thing that will make them cry for its beauty, so that if they cannot love me, they will at least love what I have made."

And He said,
Your flesh is grass, and all your beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely, you are grass. Only my Word remains forever.

And I said, "Yes, yes, Lord, but what can I do?"

He said,
Look -- here is my Son. In Him I am well pleased forever.

And oh, that Son! He was beautiful and terrible. He was like a pearl in his radiance; his great love pressed against me. You are altogether lovely, he told me again.
I felt like the world dropped from beneath my feet -- my stomach lurched with a sick, inevitable dread.
So I built a wall around myself with mirrors, so that all I could see wherever I looked was my own image. And I said, "I am not worthy of love, but I will become a tower. I have no breasts -- no doors. I shield myself with silver. I am all there is in my world, and I reject myself. Surely, now, I have nothing to fear."

But he said (and his voice was terrible)
I shatter doors of bronze; I break through walls of iron. You are mine, little one. No one shall deliver you out of my hand.

And I said, "No one?"

And He said,
Not even you, my hard proud little one.
He was so beautiful it hurt to look at him, but his eyes were so kind. He looked at me -- he saw me. He saw me, and he said again,

I will never leave you or forsake you.

He had been saying it all along.

Friday, August 14, 2009


After 2 weeks of employment (by Mon. or Tues. that should be gainful employment!), I figured it was time to tell the folks how said employment happened.

Most of you are aware that I was hoping to have a job before DH and I actually moved to Iowa. My search was made difficult by the fact that I graduated with a degree in English literature (specialising in Medieval literature, at that), am not licensed to teach in Iowa, and have almost NO previous work experience due to frantically acquiring said degree ... Still, my resume looked good, I was hopeful, I did everything right (I thought).

By the end of July, I was despondent. Turned down not only for "dream" positions that I really lacked the expertise for, but for secretarial and administrative jobs that, frankly, any high school graduate with a decent work ethic could do. I couldn't even get a temp job at the Monster Financial Firm that, I was assured, was the one company in town that was always hiring.

I was down to three options. Three bleak, bitter options.

Cafeteria worker in a high school. I could do that ... get up every morning at 4am to spend all day preparing bad, prepackaged food for unappreciative high schoolers. I could really do that. But I really didn't want to.

I could join the Army. At least then I would get great benefits. Health insurance for the first time in years sounds pretty good. Then again, I would have to spend time away from my dear husband. Lots of time away. And I would have to do pushups. Lots of pushups. I HATE pushups.


Really. I was desponding all right. I was in full out despond, on the floor by my laptop, staring at the ceiling and wailing in self-pity because I didn't want to work in a school cafeteria. It was bad, people. Bad. I am not the most mature human being, evidently.

Anyway, the story has a happy ending. After forcing me to deal with some major pride and trust issues (thanks so much, Lord), God finally, graciously provided a temp position at said Monster Financial Form--which has a good possibility of turning full time. If you're interested, I alternate between managing files (the system reminds me of working at the library), listening to insurance companies' hold music (I think they've been using the same songs since 1984. There are two of them -- one is peppy, and one is schloopy. Listening to either makes your brain turn to goo and slide out of your nostrils), barcoding, and other random office-y type stuff. Not terribly complicated, but enough variety and volume to keep me busy, and I really like all the people I work with.

Really, anyone could be doing my job. But I'm very, very glad it's me.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Difference Between Men and Women ...

My dear husband and I have had many conversations about directions. Specifically, my lack of any reasonable sense of direction. I am NOT proud to confess, I have gotten lost WITH a GPS. OK, I've gotten lost with a GPS TWICE. What my DH and I didn't realise, I think, was the fundamental difference in the way we navigate.

Skip to Friday. DH and I were catching up; I'd spent the day pushing files and being put on hold by insurance companies. (Did you know how many insurance companies have names that start with "American"? A LOT.) My husband had spent the day preparing to start classes at DMU -- which meant, among other things, getting his hair cut. Being the interested spouse that I am, I asked him where he'd gone. It took us about 5 minutes, but we finally established that there is a hair place beside Wal-Mart, across a road that runs next to Wal-Mart, but NOT, at least according to DH, "across from Wal-Mart."

So this is the amazing insight we discovered:

MEN (or at least my man) locate things by a fixed set of directions / standards / whatever. So a shop is only "across the street from Wal-Mart" if it is across the street that Wal-Mart is facing. WOMEN (or at least me) see things relative to their position to other things.

I probably shouldn't have been surprised, but it honestly didn't occur to me that there was any other way to define something ... We probably spent WAY too much time thinking about how to describe the location of a hair salon, but in my short experience, I can definitely see a pattern that extends to more than just how men and women find their way from point A to point B.

* * * *

The Difference Between Men and Women, Part II
(because no blog post of mine is complete until it takes three scroll-downs to read)

DH wanted me to share another example of the different way we navigate. We shop at Aldi (FANTASTIC store, I love it!), but since the machines there don't read my debit card, I have to stop at a bank and withdraw cash before shopping there. We like to go to Great Western Bank, because we can do ATM withdrawals free there. I told Dennis that there was a Great Western "right across the street from Aldi."

Apparently I should have been more specific. There is a Great Western across the street from Aldi, but not across the street Aldi faces--across the street we turn off of to GET to Aldi. Also, there are two or three shops in between the street and Aldi.

I still think that qualifies as "right across the street." Those other shops? Not important--we had no interest in fast food or dollar toys.

Well, at least I knew what I was talking about.

More Recipes

After 4 days of full-time employment (THANK YOU, Lord!), I have learned the value of a meal that comes together quickly. This recipe certainly fits the bill, and with some hearty, crusty bread makes a satisfying meal. The recipe is from a Weight Watchers cookbook, and if you prepare it as noted has just under 200 kcal/cup (the recipe made 4 cups, enough for Dennis for one night and me to have for supper and then lunch the next day). My soup probably had a bit more, since I used homemade chicken stock. I also substituted dried, soaked, and pre-cooked white beans for the canned white beans. You could probably also cheat on the fresh tomatoes, if you don't have any nice ripe ones. Fresh spinach might be a nice add-in.

Makes 4 cups - 15 minutes prep time!

2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 can (19 oz) cannelini beans (small white beans) - rinsed and drained
2 cups chicken broth
2 ripe plum or Roma tomatoes - seeded and chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves - shredded (or use 1 tsp dried, plus 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in a medium saucepan; saute garlic till fragrant (30 sec). Add beans and broth. Reserve 1/3 of the beans or so with enough broth to moisten and mash or puree (so the soup will be thicker). Add mashed beans to the pot and bring it all to a boil; simmer on low heat 4-5 minutes. Add tomatoes and basil and heat through (another 4 or 5 minutes). Serve with cheese!

* * * *

After that quick soup, I would also like to share a recipe for good old, basic, homemade spaghetti sauce. Perhaps you ask - WHO has time to simmer a pot of spaghetti sauce when perfectly decent varieties can be plopped from a jar, heated (perhaps with the addition of a few spices or meat), and served within minutes? Well, if YOU don't have time to simmer sauce for a couple hours, DON'T try this sauce, because after you do, you will never want the jarred stuff again.

PASTISSADA (or as I call it, "spaghetti sauce")
Sauce for 4-6 people; good on pasta, polenta, or gnocchi

Heat in a big pot:
3 T butter
2 T olive oil
(Hmm... no wonder this stuff is so delicious)

If you like, brown:
2 slices bacon (or if you can afford it, use pancetta!)
Then remove to paper towels. Otherwise, just go ahead and add:
1 large clove garlic - minced
1 onion - chopped
1 large carrot - peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, with leaves (a good use for the floppy ones left over at the end of the week) - chopped
1 bay leaf
Scant 1/2 tsp ground coriander (Yes, coriander. IT'S GOOD.)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Saute over low heat till soft, 12 to 15 minutes.

1 1/2 to 2 lb ground beef and/or deer
and cook 5 minutes or so to brown evenly.

Stir in
2/3 cup dry red or white wine
and cook 3 minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Then stir in
3 T tomato paste
and cook gently a few minutes more.

3 1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes (I used crushed or diced from a can!)
1/2 tsp salt (more if you really have to)
Cover partially and simmer over low heat for about 1 1/2 hours, or till the sauce is thick and smells WONDERFUL. Stir it every now and then. (You can add a bit of water if it gets too dry. This is also when you would add bacon back in, if you used it.)

Add pepper to taste and serve over polenta, pasta, or gnocchi (with cheese if you like - I certainly do!).

This is from Dennis's Venetian cookbook. Apparently this stuff was originally made with horsemeat and chicken giblets. Pretty gross, but TRY THIS RECIPE ANYWAY because it is AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Straight from Facebook ... The 15 Books

I like to think of myself as a discerning person ... someone who likes to reflect on life and its meaning, has intelligent conversations, and avoids inane TV shows. Really, though, the truth is that (while I don't watch TV) I have an unconquerable fondness for really fluffy books with no philosophical dimension whatever ... and I am a compulsive Facebook quizzer. If you tag me in a note, I will gladly reveal with my three greatest fears, describe my life according to my iPod, and tell you which Mr. Darcy I think is the real thing (Colin Firth, FTW). I know that my Japanese street fashion style is Gothic Lolita (didn't see that coming ... NOT), and have discovered that the colour of my soul is PURPLE (but my aura is GREEN).

So here you are ... straight from Facebook ... the 15 books quiz. In no particular order, 15 books from my childhood / Teen Angst years that have directed my thoughts, informed my imagination, or simply stuck with me through the years.

I seem to have read a lot of fantasy.

1. Best Loved Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, illustrated by Anastassija Archipowa.
This huge, gorgeous book has been part of my life for as long as I can remember ... it is practically falling out of the binding. Classic fairy tales are retold in simple language that is easy for a child to read ... the delicate, luminous watercolour illustrations are what make this book so breathtaking. I credit this book with inspiring my lifelong love affair with "pretty ladies." I would not change much about my childhood, but I WOULD like to go back and choose NOT to scribble vengefully all over Cinderella's stepsisters in angry pink marker.

2. Saint George and the Dragon, retold by Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.
A favourite version based on Spenser's Faery Queene. I still look in the library children's section for books illustrated by TSH -- she has done several Arthurian legends and fairy tales, always with the most beautiful earthy illustrations. I am a firm believer that picture books are not only for young children!

3. The Faery Queene, by Edmund Spenser.
This book is so full of brilliant images and adventures that it doesn't need illustrations -- it just fills your head with curls and colours. When I first read Book I, I missed most of the allegory -- I just fell in love with the knights and monsters and enchantments. Spenser creates a beautiful, dense landscape in which every detail is there for a reason. Most British literature classes offer a sampling of Books I and III, but do yourself a favour and read ALL of it ...

4. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis
Lewis loved Spenser! And it shows! This fantasy series is deceptively simple. I believe my first encounter with the books was at the age of 7 or 8. I have read them many, many times since then and they only get better. If you have not read these books, READ THEM NOW. Don't worry about trying to decipher the "Christian message." Just let Lewis's world -- which IS built on a beautiful and honest faith -- sink into your imagination.
It has been so much fun as an adult literature student to discover Lewis's literary criticism ... he liked the Middle Ages! Like me!

5. The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley
A determined heroine, a desert world, beautiful horses and swords ... this young adult fantasy has everything to make a young teen girl happy. Actually, I'm past the swords-and-horses phase, but I STILL love this book for its achingly true realisation of the world and characters -- you are THERE in the middle of the adventure. I have NEVER been able to read this book without reading straight through it. McKinley is a well-known author with lots of good books. She is not a Christian, so read with discernment ... but really an excellent, excellent writer.

6. "A Good Man is Hard to Find," by Flannery O'Connor.
Flannery O'Connor IS a Christian author, and a perplexing one. I read this short story as a young teenager. I'm sure most of you have read this in a high school class, and are familiar with the way it starts out wickedly funny and ends swiftly, brutally ... it made a vivid impression on my mind, but I couldn't figure out what it MEANT. After several years' more exposure to O'Connor's writing, I understand a bit better, and have the greatest respect for this author. I love the way that her Christian worldview infuses and fuels everything she writes, yet in such a startling way.

7. The Tricksters, by Margaret Mahy.
Another YA favourite, by a New Zealand author who has won (deservedly) many awards. This novel -- like many by Mahy -- features a large (as in numerous), vivid, intelligent, unorthodox family at the point of crisis. During a summer holiday, they encounter the ghost (literally) of another troubled family; secrets come to light, buried conflict ignites, but ultimately relationships are strengthened. Some of my Christian friends may hesitate to read this book because of the supernatural element, and some of the situations (tastefully) described within the book, but I would recommend it anyway. Mahy's books are always full of emotional truth--she never simplifies or shies away from things--described in intelligent and luminous prose.

8. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Once my Dad bought Mom a HUGE, thick, paperback edition of all of ED's poems, and over the years, I read through the volume many times. The great thing about this particular edition was that it includes all the mess-ups, failures, and experiments -- it gave me an insight into how a poet works. I had been used to reading Elizabethan poetry, and was intrigued by ED's spare, full lines. And I love Emily's vision of the world; the same kind of spiders live in her brain, I think, as live in mine.

9. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
OSC is one of my favourite fantasy/sci-fi writers, and this was the first book of his that I read. A very exciting adventure story -- brilliant child must defend Earth against alien invaders -- but so much more. Card is never afraid to ask the big questions -- about love and faith and the world and humanity as a whole -- at the same time that he creates realistic individuals in close relationships with one another. His more recent books reflect on current developments in society. Card is an ethical writer in a way that few authors are ...

10. King Lear, by William Shakespeare
I think Shakespeare is why I'm an English major. I've always loved to read, and to write, but when I first encountered Shakespeare it was like ... WOW ... I didn't know that the English language could DO that. King Lear was the first play I read -- I think we had watched a Masterpiece Theatre version at home, and it ripped my guts out. I was devastated. So naturally I had to go to the library and get the print version and go through it all again -- and it was even worse. And then I read pretty much the Complete Works. SHAKESPEARE IS AWESOME.
(Despite what some people assume, however, he is NOT the God of British Literature. Take my word for it, Titus Andronicus and the Rape of Lucrece SUCK. No, really. They do.)

11. Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White
I can't believe I only thought of this at #11! Charlotte's Web was the first chapter book I ever read ... I think I was 6. Small enough to still fit into the kitchen cabinet. I was sitting under the sink and then I got to the end and Charlotte DIED and I cried and cried and cried. I would like to believe that Charlotte's web skills (ha!) were some kind of metaphysical, metaphorical introduction to the power of words, inspiring me to my lifelong love of literature and writing, but really I think I was just sad because Charlotte died.

12. Matilda, by Roald Dahl.
Surely everyone has read this book. If not, READ THIS BOOK. It is all about the power of being smart and reading things! Plus it is completely hilarious. Roald Dahl totally remembers what it was like to be a kid in a world of adults. When I was 7, I thought I WAS Matilda. I even tried to move things with my eyeballs (it didn't work).

13. All those Poets in my British Lit Book
I know this is cheating, but they won't fit otherwise! I love the metaphysical poets -- George Herbert ("Love Bid Me Welcome" -- YES), John Donne (Holy Sonnets -- YES) and the modern ones (T.S. Eliot's complex buildup of images and allusions remains an inspiration to me) ... there are too many to list! If you aren't a big fan of poetry, buy an anthology that includes a lot of newer writers. Browse through ... if you take your time, I promise you will find something that just takes your breath away with its beauty or honesty or brilliance. WORDS ARE AWESOME, PEOPLE.

14. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkein
... yeah, I couldn't in all honesty leave this one off! I actually started in the middle of The Two Towers (found a lonely volume at my Grammy's house). I was probably 11, and at the age to adore Tolkein's sad, beautiful Elves. This series really captured my imagination ... Tolkein's world is so HUGE and EPIC and SHINING. It really touched some deep longing for adventure, to be a part of a Grand Story--and, perhaps, some sense of a lost world ... Epic is not so much my favourite genre anymore -- I like my world in smaller pieces -- and reading critically, Tolkein's writing is technically not all that great. But his vision can still wake up that huge deep longing ...

15. A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking
I figured I had better include at least ONE non-fantasy book, so here it is. I have never been a huge science/math person, but when I was thirteen or fourteen I checked this slim little book out from the library because I liked the pictures. AND IT MADE MY BRAIN EXPLODE ... in a good way. Hawking is not at all a Christian, but he really has a gift for explaining ENORMOUS ideas comprehensibly. I had such an expanded sense of God's sovereignty and power and general AWESOMENESS after reading this book. I was madly in love with SH for two years, and briefly considered a career as a theoretical physicist (I changed my mind after high school physics). I still don't understand string theory, though!

Well, there you are, folks. You may wonder at the number of FANTASTIC books I've left off -- the truth is, I read about 15 books a week for much of my childhood, so this list is sadly, sadly, sadly incomplete! There are SO MANY good books in the world, people. Don't let your kids veg out in front of other people's creations -- send 'em to the library and let 'em create their own worlds together with a good book. IT'S GOOD FOR THE BRAIN. At least I always made good grades!

That's all I've got for now -- some of the aforementioned "fluffy books" (an Agatha Christie and InuYasha) from the Altoona Public Library are calling my name :) Don't worry, I have plenty of "smart books" on my reading list as well!

Emily Pritzel
(or, if you prefer my Native American Indian Name, "Rain Pebble")

Should this cake happen?