Monday, December 28, 2009

a dilemma, a choice, and two challenges

I was torn about what to blog about tonight, not because I feel obligated to blog, but because I have so many thoughts swirling in my head. There's my glorious Christmas weekend to record, and my 2009 Review is still stewing (If you did one, please link me so I can see!), among other things.

Then a series of events happened and my choice was clear. I am going to blog about two challenges I'm making to myself, as if I didn't have enough resolutions on my plate.

First, let me start with a story. One of my family's longtime friends came over Thanksgiving weekend to watch a big football game. Since my mom was busy in the kitchen, I talked a lot with her friend. This friend told me a story about how she'd discovered that her college roommate's daughter went to college with me. When she made the connection, my college friend and classmate revealed that I had played an integral role in rededicating her life to Christ.

I couldn't remember this encounter for the life of me. We'd never prayed together, that I could remember. And I'm not a particularly proselytizing kind of girl -- nothing against it, just not my cup of tea, unless God makes it abundantly clear that I'm supposed to talk to someone. It's happened before, but as far as I could recall, He didn't strike a lightning bolt out of the sky to prompt me to set this girl straight. All I could remember is us cutting up in class, talking about her shoe obsession, favorite books, boys, her horse, etc.

As it turns out, it was an offhand comment I made in class, maybe even (dare I say?) a sarcastic quip, that challenged her and sparked a tiny flame inside of her heart. I had no idea. And it wasn't even my intention, as bad as that sounds. But hearing about it, learning that I had impacted someone's life in such a way, in turn, inspired me. Yet another aspect of God's power has been revealed to me, that he can take words and shape them in a way that fits what some needs to hear perfectly -- in a way that we could never fathom doing.

My first challenge is to be more vocal about telling people when they have influenced me: spiritually, physically, emotionally -- in whatever way.

I have received lots of encouragement this week (Like you, Michelle Meisner!), some from good friends, some from people I've never met in person. I'm greatly appreciative and know for certain that those words are God becoming tangible on this earth.

What would happen if for every person who made my day, I continued that act of kindness and didn't let it only live in my admiration and gratefulness and benefit, but carried it on to give another that incomparable sense of loveliness, worthiness, talent, or value?

My second challenge is to pay tokens of love and kindness forward and to continue to pray that God will use my words and actions to uplift and accomplish. I Corinthian 13 says that love keeps no record of wrongs. But what if it kept a record of rights, not with the motivation that every act of kindness has to be repaid OR ELSE...

but with the
simple motivation
of spreading 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Highlights of 2009:
  1. Seeing my enthusiastic husband on The Today Show in February. Click here. You gotta see it! Pay attention to the woman next to him when she pushes him.
  2. Giving up sugar and white flour for Lent
  3. Our one year anniversary and this awesome cake I made to celebrate it and the end of Lent.
  4. Solo trips to NWA/Southlake/Dallas and Kansas City to see my dear friends I love so much.
  5. Midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince with great friends.
  6. South Padre with JT and my family in late July
  7. Joining my pilates studio in August. It's been great!
  8. Hillsong United concert in August
  9. The fall leaves, maybe the prettiest they've ever been.
  10. Longhorns football! My Texas team went undefeated in the regular season and will play Alabama in the national championship in less than two weeks!
  11. Our awesome ten-day cruise in November
  12. Not Me Mondays! on the blog
  13. Going to see Wicked!! (September, I think!)
  14. Taking evening walks in the neighborhood with JT when the weather is right
  15. My brother's miracle on December 8.
Music that will forever remind me of this year:
  1. With Everything - Hillsong United (My song of year 24 and 2009!)
  2. My Running Mix
  3. I Am Yours - Enter the Worship Circle
  4. Doubting Thomas - Stephen Speaks
  5. Only You - Joshua Radin
  6. One Time - Justin Bieber
  7. Broken - Lifehouse
  8. If I Can't Love Her - Beauty and the Beast soundtrack
  9. Should You Return - Copeland
  10. Revelation Song - Kari Jobe
  11. Tear Down the Walls - Hillsong United
  12. The Fox - Nickel Creek
  13. Fireflies - Owl City
  14. Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun - Debussy
  15. Flightless Bird, American Mouth - Iron & Wine
Favorite Movies of 2009:
  1. Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince 
  2. Julie & Julia
  3. The Blind Side
  4. The Time Traveler's Wife
  5. Avatar
  6. The Proposal
  7. Sherlock Holmes
  8. Star Trek
  9. Wolverine
  10. UP!!!!!!!!
Favorite Books I Read in 2009:
  1. The Soul-Mate Marriage - Dr. David and Lisa Frisbie
  2. Sacred Influence - Foster
  3. Wicked - Maguire
  4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Shaffer/Barrows
  5. The Time Traveler's Wife - Niffenegger
  6. My Sister's Keeper - Picoult
  7. A Little Help from My Friends - Dayton/Vanderbilt (LOVE YOU, ANNE AND MAY!)
  8. The Whitney Chronicles - Baer
  9. Twilight Series - Meyer
  10. The Four Loves - C.S. Lewis (still in progress, but I do love it!)
  11. The Importance of Being Foolish - Manning
  12. Miss Invisible - Walker
  13. Reconstructing Natalie - Walker
  14. Perfecting Kate - Leigh
Favorite Eats:
  1. Breakfast Croissant - The Crusty Croissant - Tulsa, OK
  2. Salsa - Christina's - Southlake, TX
  3. Sushi Nirvana - In the Raw - Tulsa, OK
  4. Berry Limeade - The Crusty Croissant - Tulsa, OK
  5. Chicken Soup - Carabba's - Tulsa, OK
  6. White chocolate raspberry cheesecake - Olive Garden
  7. Firecracker Shrimp - Fish Daddy's - Tulsa, OK
  8. Chicken Soup and Spring Rolls - Ri Le's - Tulsa, OK
  9. Soy with Strawberry - Ri Le's
  10. French onion soup - Stonehorse Cafe - Utica Square
  11. Everything on our cruise - Celebrity Millennium - South Caribbean
  12. Rachael Ray's Lemon Chicken
  13. Chocolate shake - Chic-fil-A - It's that good!
Favorite Websites of 2009:

10 Resolutions to make 2010 the best year yet...

  1. Write a letter everyday. Send a letter (in the mail) every week.
  2. Be more intentional about how I spend my time
  3. Start each morning off with the Word.
  4. Keep my house clean
  5. Get back into running. 2009 was a weird year for it, but I'm ready to be back!
  6. Drink more water
  7. Have people over more
  8. One of my resolutions last year was to keep a writing journal, and I want to do that more this year!
  9. Exercise my creative bug, especially to benefit other people
  10. Plan and keep a budget
Here's to 2010!!
(and the last couple days to celebrate 2009!)

White Chocolate Cherry Granola

(Inspired by this Barefoot Contessa recipe)


4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
2 cups sliced almonds
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup good honey
1 t vanilla
2 t ground cinnamon
a dash nutmeg
1&1/2 cups dried cherries, chopped
1/2 cup cherry flavored craisins
11 oz white chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Toss the oats, coconut and almonds together in a large bowl.

Add in cinnamon and a dash nutmeg. Stir to combine.

Combine the vegetable oil , honey and vanilla in a separate bowl. Pour over oat mixture. Stir until the oats and nuts are coated with the honey mixture.

Pour onto a large sheetpan (*or 2 smaller sheet pans) and bake in a 300 degree oven for 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Coconut should be toasted and almonds lightly caramelized on the outside.

Remove from oven and allow granola to cool. When cool, add in chopped cherries, craisins and white chips. Mix to combine.

Texas Caviar

This is an easy peasy salsa/dip to serve with some blue corn tortilla chips or alongside some chicken or fish. I adapted this recipe from Mckmama, originally found here. The sweetness complements the salty chips so well, though. In as much time as it takes to open a few cans and rinse, you can get this ready in the morning, refrigerate overnight or during the day, drain the salsa and serve.


1 can black beans (drained/rinsed)
1 can garbanzo beans (drained/rinsed)
2 cans corn (drained/rinsed)
1 small carton of cherry or grape tomatoes (halved)
1 small white or yellow onion (diced)
1 bunch cilantro (shredded or finely chopped)
1/3 bottle of Italian dressing
lime juice (1-2 limes' worth)
sugar to taste (I start with 2 T and add more if needed)
salt to taste (I start with 2 T, but remember the salt from the chips)


Drain canned ingredients and rinse well (especially the beans). Combine all ingredients, unless you're worried about the tomatoes or cilantro going bad, in which case you can add those right before serving, but I love the cilantro infusion as it marinates and have never gotten sick since it's refrigerated. Mix well and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 6-8 hours, though I'm sure it would still taste great if you did at least one hour. Excess liquids will accumulate during the marinating process, so drain before serving.

I would recommend serving with Tostidos corn chips or blue corn chips. Mckmama also adds kidney beans and avocado to her recipe, but I don't like either. If you do work with avocado, add it at the end or squirt it with a little lime juice to keep it from browning. Enjoy this easy hit!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

post-Christmas pesto pasta

I threw this recipe together for lunch while JT was shoveling our White Christmas out of our driveway. He asked for a warm meal and I couldn't think of anything to put together since Christmas cooking has preoccupied me and all of our leftovers were at my parents' house. Luckily, I had leftover pasta from a soup I'd made (check out that AWESOME Cavatappi -- corkscrew-shaped macaroni), and some homemade pesto, which was a little harsh and garlicky by itself, but calmed down considerably with some creamy Laughing Cow cheese wedges.


Pesto sauce (practice with ingredients and portions YOU like!)
--> Your favorite greens and herbs (about a cup to a cup and a half)
--> 1-2 garlic cloves
--> eyeball about 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
--> the juice of half a lemon
--> drizzle in EVOO while blending/food processing until it forms a sauce
2-3 Laughing Cow cheese wedges, depending on how much pesto you have, how strong it is, and how creamy you want your pasta to be.


Cook pasta according to package directions. In the meantime, prepare your pesto sauce and dice Laughing Cow cheese wedges. Drain pasta and return to pan, removing from the heat. Add pesto and diced cheese while the pasta is still hot, stirring consistently until the noodles are coated and the cheese is completely melted and incorporated into the pasta.

If I'd had parmesan pita chips, I'd have served with that for some crunch, and JT recommended some diced, cooked chicken for protein.

mom and me

mom & me
making a hearty pot of turkey soup
Christmas Evening 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

for dad

A Christmas Poem

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

it's beginning to look a lot like...

Coming to a (my) blog near ME!!

I am coming out of my blogger hiatus and promise more posts in the near future.

Just wanted to give you a heads-up!

 I have pictures, updates, and random thoughts galore
Inside my head, waiting to be explored!

Oh, and just in case I don't make it back before....

 Here's a little something to tide you over in the meantime (heh heh). I have found the exact replica of our future daughter. Her name is Ella, and anyone who knows me will know why. Here she is!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

a story of five miracles (and counting)

Late Monday night, or early Tuesday morning, my little brother finished his final project late and traveled back to Tulsa from his college to get a jump start on sleeping in his own, warm bed. About 20 minutes outside of Tulsa, he hit black ice on the Lake Keystone bridge. He spun around, missed hitting the wall that would have taken him into the water (Miracle #1), and totaled his car on the construction median.

He got out of his totaled car through the window without a scratch (Miracle #2), and called my dad, a little disoriented. As soon as he figured out where he was, my dad urged him to get off the road because it wasn't safe. Pretty much simultaneously, a semi comes barreling toward him, hits the same patch of black ice, and jackknifes.

All my dad hears is my brother yelling and then the phone goes dead as it smashes. The semi did not hit my brother (Miracle #3), but he had nowhere to go but over the bridge and onto the steep boulders that line the lake and keep it in its spot. He lands on his knee and not his head (Miracle #4) and shatters it.

The pictures are so disgusting I don't dare to post them, yet adrenaline somehow carries my brother to sprint up the hill to the semi driver where he asks if he's okay and then begs to use his cell phone. Remember, where we last left my dad, all he heard was that there was a semi, and then a scream, and the phone went dead. My brother assures him he's alive, and by that time, the fire truck had arrived.

It's only then that he realizes he is bleeding, and my dad takes him to the ER where my brother is diagnosed with a torn tendon and a shattered kneecap -- no ligament damage (Miracle #5) -- and has surgery that morning to fix it. He also gets stitches in his side where he has some deep lacerations and road rash.

I took off work that day to stay with him and keep my mom calm, and he had so many friends come to see him! Someone even brought him a Snuggie (see picture), and we joked and laughed a lot. He was completely himself, not super groggy or anything. He even got up and took a few steps even though he'd just had major surgery in his knee and got a screw put in.

I am so grateful for these Five Miracles (and counting) because it means my brother is here with us to stay. So many things could have gone wrong, but we believe that God had His hands in the entire situation. Mike would appreciate your prayers for his continued healing. He should be getting out of the hospital today!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

to iPhone?

My beautiful phone Angus** has served me well since I got married. But an upgrade is mighty enticing right now. I am being courted by this smarter, wiser, technologically-savvy gentleman called the iPhone. iPhone can take really attractive pictures and post them to the internet in seconds. My blogs can be prettier, I can capture more of life, and when babies come along, I'd only have to drag along ONE device to capture their every spitup, giggle, and gurgle. Plus, and this drives JT crazy, when I can't figure out what movie someone has been in, I will have instant access to IMDB.

I've been asking around, reading reviews, and the scoop is unanimous: for now, the iPhone is the best phone out there. It's changing communication, convenience, and life. So I have my answer, but I have a new question: do I want my life to be changed? Do I want technology, communication, and people to be at my disposal every waking minute? I don't trust myself with that power, because I feel I'm already too dependent on the internet as it is. I'm not as strong as you. I don't have enough willpower. I can picture myself dropping my iPhone into a pot of stew because I want to find out who married whom on Facebook or missing the birth of my child because I wanted to find out the Texas Longhorns' score.

Yesterday, I got in my first car crash ever. I'll have to admit, I was distracted by my phone (not texting), but it probably would have happened anyway because I thought the guy in front of me had gone. Either way, I have resolved to limit my cell phone use to very important phone calls in the car, and only on speaker phone. We'll see how long that will last. I went almost 9 years using my phone and driving safely, but it's kind of like my invincibility is gone now, a little.

So the decision is made for me: my iPhone fund will be going towards the $1200 bumper cover the guy in front of me needs (and his OSU trailer hitch that got destroyed). One tiny crack and the entire thing is ruined, apparently. For now, my iPhone decision is put off, but I might rethink my plan after Christmas if I can prove it wouldn't become a hindrance.

**Angus my phone got his name because of his color and because of my favorite movie by the same name. In the movie, the title character, a disgruntled big kid, needs a tux for his winter formal, but they don't carry a black one in his size. All they have left is a purple suit. "It's plum," the salesman corrects him. 

"Angus" wasn't my first thought for a name: in the movie, when Angus tries on the suit, he looks in the mirror, and says, "I look like Moby Grape." However, since my phone is rather slender, Moby Grape just wouldn't do. So there you have it!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Praise God List

Do you ever get in a funk of sorts? I haven't been blogging because I've been in a bit of a haze lately. I don't know if it's because coming back to reality can bite, but in the spirit of a belated Thanksgiving, here is my top ten Praise God list.

  1. Praise God for a house to clean and money that enables me to put food in our stomachs.
  2. Praise God for blessing me with a fantastic husband and that we get along most of the time.
  3. Praise God that my family is so close and that we got to spend a lot of time together over this break.
  4. Praise God's name for mental, emotional, and physical health, His healing power, and His protective barrier.
  5. Praise God that my first car accident this morning wasn't more serious than a few scratches in the paint and a ruined trailer hitch. In His name I believe He will keep it from escalating into anything more serious financially, legally, or physically.
  6. Praise God for close friendships that keep us laughing until our sides hurt, grounded and accountable, and provide fun, safe, and wholesome forms of entertainment.
  7. Praise God for the talents He provides, like writing, cooking, and singing, and so much more. I want to use them for Him.
  8. Praise God for fun distractions like good books, awesome cruises, and chocolate chip cookies.
  9. Praise God for a church that might be struggling financially, but is far from struggling where it counts: serving others in the name of Christ as we draw closer to Him.
  10. Praise God for his provision and plan for the future.
 No funk can stand up to the God who is for me! What are you praising Him for today?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

on impossible quotas:

Today, my firm completed the unimaginable. The short story: we have this goal every month, and this was our first month to have a about a 25% increased workload for which to fill a quota. Somehow, the awesome people filled this seemingly impossible quota with an hour to spare. I am so proud of them today!

Speaking of impossible quotas, tonight, I accomplished something in typical Undomestic fashion. Since it had been awhile since we saw my parents, when we got home on Wednesday, I invited them over for dinner tonight. While I'd planned to use my slow cooker to whip up a healthy, gourmet meal from scratch to simmer while I worked, life had other plans. Pretty much since the minute we've got home, my waking hours have been spent wiping dust and paint sludge from every surface in the rooms that got painted, and then putting things back in their proper place.

So today, I worked from about 7 to 5 with no lunch break, completed my 45-minute drive home, and went to the store, arriving at my home about 10-15 minutes before my parents. I only had time to preheat the oven, put the chairs back in their proper places, and scrub my bathroom.

"Dinner isn't started?" my mom remarked, a trace of panic in her voice. It was 6:00, over an hour past my parents' typical dinnertime.

But in less than 15 minutes, I set out a ham and cheese tray I'd bought for that very reason, put some dinner rolls in the oven to heat, put two cans of corn to simmer on the stove, opened and tossed a bag of the best salad kit I've ever eaten, and asked my dad to carve my two beautiful rotisserie chickens.

I may not have cooked a single thing -- except for an attempt at a cumin lemon sauce for the chicken, which no one touched -- but I'm proud of my compromise. With the help of the grocery store, my parents, husband, and I enjoyed a healthy, inexpensive dinner together without eating in a restaurant. I didn't have to make everything gourmet and from scratch. There is an alternative, a middle ground there's no crime in taking.

Sometimes, I think God moves mountains for us and then lets us take the credit and think it was our idea. He is definitely hand laying every step and stone in my path.

And I'm so glad I don't have to do it alone.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

quiet conversations

I'm back from the cruise. It was SO nice and needed.

Will post pictures later once they're organized and edited, but let me first tell you about our days:

We woke up, and JT wandered around the ship, reading and taking pictures while he let me sleep in a little longer. We breakfasted (omelet bar and homemade waffles everyday) and then played gin rummy or chess in this special cabin with cute yellow wingback chairs. When someone got tired of winning (ahem, me), we changed and went into town wherever our ship was ported, and then after lunch, we'd lay in chairs by the pool and read or nap or swim until we were so full of sun and sweat. We tried to work out at least every other day to ease our consciences, because after we cleaned up, we had dinners with so much butter and all-out dessert every night. After dinner festivities included anything from the ship's fine nightlife entertainment, but most of the time, we kicked off our heels in our room and watched movies on TNT.

It was rough, let me tell you.

Last night, we arrived around midnight, and I had grand plans of taking off my makeup, brushing my teeth, and falling into bed. After I checked my email, that is. When I got home, I discovered a freshly painted house with custom crown molding by Andrea Cherie's fantastic husband. Oh my goodness my house looks completely different, updated, and wonderful! It was 51 degrees inside and still smelled like mothballs because a skunk got under our house just before we left, but it looked wonderful!

But hours later, I found myself awake with so many words running through my head -- and I mean just that. They weren't normal thoughts, they were words arranged how I would write them in my journal or blog. I was tempted to sneak away to another room with my laptop to blog about it, but instead, I had a little conversation with God.

One by one, I gave him all of the things that were running through my mind, from the mountain of cleaning I have to do, to missing my best friend who is leaving for China tomorrow, to my anxiety of returning to work and finding that I was in trouble like last time (I wasn't), to wishing I was in North Carolina to help my dear heartbroken friend whose husband's hip was broken in an accident during military training, which means he will be leaving for overseas in a few months instead of staying home and starting a family as they'd planned.

My mom's dog even crept his way into my thoughts, even though he's pretty much the world's worst dog. She gave him away while I was gone, and even though he was the worst dog ever (he was mean to everyone but her), I teared up when I pictured him living with his new family, waiting for her to come back for him. But she never will.

I asked God to give me peace and sleep like only he can. I forced my breathing into a restful rhythm and snuggled into a comfortable position, finally warm in our 51-degree house. I listened to my husband sleeping peacefully next to me like a blissful papa bear. But I still couldn't sleep, so I kept shifting, praying, pleading, and the next morning, when I realized what had happened, I knew a peace and restoration blogging never could have given me.

Here's to quiet conversations with a Maker who understands things in a way we'll never be able to and communicates to us in a language that transcends words.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

the storm before the calm

I'd hoped to update you on my exciting week and weekend, but it looks like I won't get the chance.

This has nothing to do with my post, it's just cute!

If I don't get the chance to say goodbye, we are leaving for our cruise tomorrow straight after work. I'm super excited, working on getting packed, and also working to get ahead at work pretty much nonstop. Between writing three weeks' worth of press releases in three days among my other work duties, and last minute shopping and packing, I will be going going going going until Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.

I've broken my Don't Bring Work Home rule every night this week, but fortunately JT is very understanding.

This is what I call the storm before the calm: three days of riotous frenzy followed by ten days of nothing. I'd say it's a more than fair exchange.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

wordless wednesday

Saturday, October 24, 2009

project LGN

Two weeks ago, I made a goal to revive my Project LGN blog, and I'm 90% there. It's under construction right now, but I hope to have it up very soon.

Basically, it's a healthy lifestyle blog. (I refuse to call it a weight loss blog) I will put progress pictures, workout plans, healthy recipes, and track good decisions I've made.

Here's the catch: I start Monday, and I'm 90% sure I'm going to make this blog open to invited readers only. So if you'd like to read this, what promises to be my most candid, possibly TMI blog ever, leave a comment and I will add you!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

this is not a happy post.

Original Post

I am never making paella again.

This is what I get for having Delusions of Domesticity, I call them.

A friend of mine, a newlywed, called me from the store to get my advice about basil. I should change the name of my blog, I thought. WRONG.

I was so out of sorts today that I cut my onion wrong and had to dice it the long way. And why has no one ever told me how long it takes to peel the casing off of chorizo? It took me so long that I burned my chicken stock. I decided to make new, flavorful chicken stock out of burnt chicken stock, and scraped off the little bits to incorporate them.

Then, I finally got my casings peeled. (Most of them. I hope JT doesn't die from a little casing that might have slipped in there.) I added the chicken stock, and it absorbed nicely, but when it was finished cooking, I peeled back the layer of aluminum foil and was bit by a shark.

"Easy Paella," Ingrid Hoffman told me in her adorable little accent as she picked up her thongs (she can't say it right).

Easy Paella never burnt someone's thumb so much she wanted to cry.

The next morning...

The paella turned out great, so I forgive it. A little. I served it with a makeshift version of MckMama's Texas Caviar and some red wine JT picked up. We're house sitting for my parents, who are in Italy, (I know! Not fair!) and they didn't have anything for salad, so I rinsed and tossed a can each of diced tomatoes, garbanzo beans, black beans, and two cans of corn into a bowl with some salt and Italian dressing, and we ate it with organic corn chips. YUM!

I have an angry red welt on my thumb that might blister. Note to self (and you): even if the foil isn't hot, the steam beneath is scorching! My skark was at home, so all I had were some flimsy cloth potholders. Lesson learned.

So maybe I will make paella again, give it a second chance. But does anyone have any tips on peeling sausage casings to prevent a 20-minute fiasco?

Thursday Thirteen

Because JT had a big day,
here he is as a kid

13 Manners and Rules My Mother Taught Me:

1) Always say "please" and "thank you."

2) When someone else answers the phone, say, "May I please speak with..." instead of, "Can I talk to..."

3) Three words: "It's 'Yes, Ma'am!'"

4) No calling people's houses after 8:00.

5) Say "bottom" and "poot" instead of "butt" and other unacceptable alternatives.

6) Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, always, and if you're coughing incessantly, leave the room lest you become the victim of a passive aggressive glare.

7) Never call boys. Under any circumstances.

8) Never ask if someone can come over or spend the night in front of that person.

9) Only 2 Oreos at a time. (That really set me up for failure haha)

10) (This isn't really a rule, but I got in trouble several times for continuing to talk and ignoring her minivan when she came to pick me up.)

11) Send thank you notes and other tokens of appreciation. (I wish I was better about this.)

12) Respond "Doing well," when someone asks how I'm doing instead of "Doing good." You don't know how much fun I had explaining that that was grammatically incorrect, though she didn't believe me until I had an English degree.

13) Always serve my husband's dinner plate and beverage. I only always do this at her house :)

What about you? Did you have any crazy rules or manners growing up? Are there rules or manners you wish would become laws?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

eye candy

As your token favorite Undomestic, I have never had an eye for decorating or what things should look like in my home. As manly as he is, JT is also blessed with a great eye for design, and he comes up with all of the great ideas to make our home cozy and cute. But right now, I'm obsessed with berries and blossoms of all kinds and fake fruit used in unconventional ways. Somehow, I think he disagrees with my tastes. My mom has the cutest orange and yellow fall berry spray framing her front door and I love it. Since everyone is starting to think about Christmas decor, I think I'm going to try to make a berry and lime wreath for our door before Christmastime. For my house, I'm not a fan of the conventional pointsettia/pine needle look. So I'm going to see what we can do differently!

JT and I want a furry friend so badly, preferably of this variety (Weimaraner). We even have him named and have big plans of taking him running and hiking with us. Of course, I've counted my puppies before they've hatched and want a second dog, too, so he can have a friend. I also want a big sweet Yorkie because I had one briefly growing up and she was the only dog we had who liked me more than my mother. My mother gave her away before I could say goodbye.

Longhorns in celebration is always eye candy to me. Even though the games have been ugly, it's been a fun season!

Is it too early to be thinking about Christmas presents? I think I'd be mad if JT spent $299 on my Christmas present, but I've been eyeing this super cute stand mixer every time I see it in Giada's kitchen. It's my favorite color, and my mom told me not to register for one for our wedding because she was going to buy it, but then she ended up buying something else, so I didn't get it.

If I could have any room in any house, this would be it. If money, time, energy, and space wasn't an issue, I'd transplant the simplicity of this room into my entire house. These are my ideal Christmas decorations: splashes of color I can interchange, not too flashy, hidden storage, and big plush comfort inviting me and guests in to curl up (feet and socks allowed on the sofa) for a cup of cocoa and sink into the cushions for some good conversation -- TV not required.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


outside my office this morning
yes, we're behind tacky gold bars!

Since I didn't have time to do a Not Me! Monday this week (I know, I know!), I will do a Tuesday weekly update.

JT and I are going on vacation in 2 and 1/2 weeks for a cruise. I am only 60% sure where we are going but I'm VERY excited for 8 days off of work, the ocean, great seafood, the warm sun, and quality time with my main man.

So I didn't get everything done from last week's list, EVEN the haircut part. I know. It's pathetic. Luckily, I have an incentive. I HAVE to get my haircut before the cruise. I think that's reasonable. I definitely waited until Sunday and Monday of THIS WEEK to get most of what I did get done done, including cleaning my house and running 3 miles last night and doing Pilates this morning. My body can take it. No big deal. I DID make enchiladas the very next day after I posted the list, and JT and I had them for leftovers a few nights, too.

I won a contest! I will be the proud owner of an autographed copy of Anne & May's brand new release, "A Little Help from My Friends." (Remember? The one with the AWESOME cover?) I'm super excited because 1) I've never won anything before, and 2) I ordered it from, yet somehow, UPS has sent it from Mississippi to Missouri to West Virginia? They must be directionally challenged?

On Monday, I learned a lesson the hard way. You see, I work in an Office Divided, which is an Oklahoma term for houses, families, friends, etc that pledge allegiance to rival football teams. So I placed a bet with my boss and some people in the office last Friday about last weekend's OU/Texas game. The terms were that if Texas beat OU by seven or more, my boss would wear burnt orange apparel and/or take us to lunch, or else we'd have to wear an OU shirt all day on Monday. Well, Texas won by three, but my boss walked in Monday morning and said he thought it was unfair for us to have to wear Sooner garb all day when we did, in fact, win. So I was left with nothing else to wear except for JT's white jersey.

Don and Sammy

Both of my brothers are NEVER in town at the same time, but we got to watch the game together this weekend and laugh our faces off at the brand of humor only we understand from being raised together. It was Don's birthday and much fun!

So I put up a link to my blog on Facebook, and even posted a link on Twitter. I guess that means I'm going public? Not necessary taking the plunge, but maybe sticking a toe in the water.

Since I'm "going public," will you? I blog stalk some people -- and comment them shamelessly. So do feel free to do the same, whether I know you in real life or not! No need to be bashful in this neck of the woods!

Monday, October 19, 2009


One of my favorite parts of marriage is when I stir in my warm sleep

and awaken to my husband, gently taking my glasses off my face

putting my book on the bedside table (even if he doesn't remember to save my spot)

and covering me up to make sure I am warm and snuggled tightly in the covers.

It happens often, but makes me smile every time. I call it

pure bliss

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Traditions I Want to Save/Uphold/Begin for My Family*:

*Disclaimer: This is not an announcement that JT and my little family is growing anytime soon.
Good, now that that's settled, we can continue on with the list.

1) The importance of family: being close to, confiding in, supporting, praying for, and showing love for family. I didn't live close to my grandparents or cousins and regret not seeing them as much.

2) The Cosby Show. Thinking of buying the series on DVD. I want to be exactly like Mrs. Huxtable and solve everyone's problems with witty humor and perfectly timed cake. I won't give JT too much grief for licking the frosting before it's served, either.

3) Eating dinner together as a family. Not every night, because that's pretty much impossible, but much as humanly possible. Hopefully, they will prefer to be there!

4) I want to be able to teach my kids (at least the girls) how to sew and play the piano, two domestic essentials I don't have in my arsenal.

5) Love of playing outside: I once spent an entire afternoon tracking an ant from one side of my backyard to the other. I was always in a tree, jumping on the trampoline, and used to beg my mom to let me eat my pop-tarts on the driveway on summer mornings. I know life happens, but hopefully my kids will spend more time getting dirty than in front of a screen. Then again, look what happened when this mother let her kid play outside for too long :)

6) Christy Miller books. Everything I learned about growing up was from Christy and Todd.

7) Going to church together every week. JT and I have never skipped church unless we were sick or out of town. That aspect of family is important, too!

8 & 9) Music and Laughter: two important essentials I want to always be floating through my home. It will keep JT and me young and our kids worry-free as long as possible.

10) Bayton. I have a quilt named Bayton (I could not say "blanket") made by an old great aunt when I was born. It's pink and has all kinds of vintage fabric squares. It's the softest thing I've ever touched, even a baby's bottom. It's somehow the perfect size for my full-grown height -- I can tuck it under my toes and pull it under my chin. Even though I'm married, I still sleep with it. I want to make my kids one, because they sure as anything cannot have mine :)

11) Boy Meets World. Three words: Corey+and+Topanga.

12) Curiosity. I hope beyond all hope that I will not stifle my kids' curiosity by getting annoyed at their questions, but hope, explore, and believe with them and be inspired by them. I think my mom was great at that!

13) Not just before meals PRAYER, but a constant life of it. Something we depend on. I pray for him/her/them already, but I hope my kids will knock my socks off in this department as it's such an important part of life and I haven't been the best at it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I came across this video today and love it so much!
"What would you have done if this was your little girl and that was you?" I asked JT.
"I would have been scared," he said. "I would have thought she was possessed."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not Me! Monday

It's that time of week again! Time for us to take down our hair and 'fess up, courtesy of MckMama's brilliant mind!

As a productive wife who makes the best use of my time possible, I did NOT blow off housework Saturday after Pilates. And if I did, surely I would make up for it on Sunday, right?

I did NOT make three trips to Lowe's and one trip to Home Depot this weekend at my husband's bidding.

It was NOT me who spent hours obsessing this weekend over my company's Christmas party skit, and rewrite an entire 80s song to fit a cheesy topic.

As a mature adult, I would never confide my deathly fear of bees to two complete strangers on two separate occasions -- all in the five minute walk to my car. NOT me!

I did NOT go to every bookstore in town to see if they had the latest Anne and May release -- MULTIPLE times, sometimes within the same day. NOPE, NOT me!!

Last but not least, I did not buy fake UGG boots this weekend. I am about ten years too old for those, right? And I definitely did NOT tuck them into my pants even though I made fun of a mom for doing it just hours before.

JT and I did NOT go see Whip It and love it! And I did NOT just discover the band Owl City, who is kind of NOT growing on me.

Well that's what I have NOT been up to. Kind of boring, huh? Your turn!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

weekly goals

1) clean my house

2) make enchiladas

3) revive my Project LGN blog

4) run 3-4 times (get back to medium distances, over 3 miles)

5) write 5 nights this week
6) get TONS done at work
7) get Anne and May's new book, A Little Help from My Friends. By the way, best cover art ever. See?

8) If I don't post pictures of a new haircut or tweet about it or something by the end of this week, find me, tie me up, and take me to the salon. It is absolutely necessary!

9) Cheer on the Texas Longhorns in the Red River Shootout on Saturday. It's gonna be a great game, as usual!

Must get some sleep!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday, the liberating blog carnival that all started with MckMama! Kids or no kids, there are some things people just feel better about owning up to doing -- or NOT doing!

Like last week, when I stayed home from work sick, there's NO way on earth I'd watch ten episodes of One Tree Hill while I worked. There's no way I would indulge in guilty pleasures like that, much less waste several hours halfway watching a show while getting some serious work done.

Or while driving, I would NEVER honk at the Chic-Fil-A cow dancing on the corner of the street, only to realize it was inflatable and there wasn't an actual person inside. NOT Me!

I have NOT allowed six months to pass without a haircut for three consecutive times. Nope, NOT me! I have NOT resorted to wearing my hair in a ponytail almost everyday because my layers are unmanageable. I do NOT need my good friend Sarah T's help.

In Pilates class, I am NOT ALWAYS the fattest, slowest, and most embarrassing, often the youngest person there. Certainly I can keep up with the best of the 40 and 50 year-old women, and my body is definitely in the best shape since I am probably the only one who has not had children! And after a month of doing it, there's NO way I am still so sore after all of my classes. Surely I can handle them by now.

I would NEVER leave a full minute of grammar instruction on my friend's VOICEMAIL, even if it was asked for. Who would be that pompous?

If you noticed my post below, I did NOT stop on the side of a busy street as I picked up my Pei Wei and hide behind my car so I could take a self-portrait in the pretty flowers. I definitely have the sense not to do that.

I did NOT tear up when I saw the preview for next week's "Office." My life is NOT that vested in fictional characters!

Wow, that's a lot of things I did NOT do this week, but it sure feels good. What about you? Did you waste an entire day NOT looking at blogs? Surely you would NOT spend tons of money on to-die-for boots. Let me have it!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Hi, friends. I know I have been neglectful of my blog. I've had lots on my mind, but whenever I have time to post, it means my mind is unoccupied and I can't remember for the life of me what was SO important I had to say.

First thing first, God is SO good! In case you could tell from my subtle hints, I have been having some health issues due to my ulcerative colitis. When my uc is bad, my life is drastically altered, not only physically but mentally and emotionally, too. Since I was seeing no signs of improvement, we were looking at prednisone, which is a kind of steroid that makes me retain water, increases my appetite, and makes me in a perpetual bad mood.

I said if my symptoms didn't improve by the end of this weekend, I'd go on it, and I asked God to pleasepleaseplease work on my behalf and help me get better even though what I'd been doing for about a month wasn't doing much to help. I am happy to admit I am filled with hope because I have had ZERO symptoms today and believe wholeheartedly that it was all God!

My church just celebrated its one year anniversary. We had an amazing service today to commemorate and all got cool new shirts. I am on the worship team, and I have really felt a community of love and worship during our gatherings. My favorite thing about my church is that nobody pretends to be perfect, not even our pastor (whom I watched check a guy hard into the wall in his indoor soccer game last night), and I think the verse about God's grace being sufficient and His power being made perfect by weakness has never been more real.

Today, I wore what I've decided will be my favorite fall outfit, this super cute gray dress with a long sleeve black shirt under it and dark jeans and canary yellow flats. Also, my hair is long enough to do a cute little side braid now!

Other than that, I've been enjoying my absolute favorite month of the year, Texas Longhorns still undefeated football season, and pilates torture classes. Still, I think I'm going to have to do a long Not Me! Monday! post tomorrow because I have lots and lots of embarrassing things to come clean about. Until then!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Vices:

1) Laziness and procrastination: they go hand-in-hand. The bigger the to-do list, the more interesting things I need "to do" before I start. My goal in life is to make the most out of my time and to pack lots of meaning into every moment.
2) Pride. In some areas of life, it's definitely my way or the highway, and if you cross me by taking the side road, it's hard for me to let it go. Yes, I know it's totally futile to act like this with God, especially. I was watching the movie "Fireproof" last night and this quote captured me: "Before I was a Christian I was so concentrated on what was unfair and what I deserved..." My goal is to be less like this and more mindful of love.
3) Emotional eating and/or eating mindlessly whilst occupied with something else. Nailbiter would fall into this category, too, I think.
4) Cleaning: I have to go over a surface 4-5 times before it's presentable. I complain about cleaning, too.
5) Sometimes it's hard to put myself in others' shoes. I feel for you, I'm just really bad at showing it.
6) Texting while driving
7) Avoiding conflict and confrontation and shutting down in the face of it.
8) My husband has to remind me to send thank you notes. I am not good at showing appreciation sometimes. I feel it, but don't show it well sometimes.
9) Word vomit, gossip, not thinking before I speak = no power over my mouth.
10) My humor often involves "laughing WITH" others, which is basically another way of saying I laugh at their expense. I feel like I'm good at letting people know it's good natured, and I will stop if someone is offended, but I'd rather make someone laugh over something with positive value.
11) Assuming things. You know what they say about people who ass | u | me things! Without realizing it, I fill in the holes of conversations and then sometimes present this new knowledge as fact in later conversation.
12) Curiosity. A healthy amount of curiosity is a good thing, but sometimes, if I can't remember a lyric or something, I cannot rest until I have figured it out by OCD googling it, or asking everyone in my phone book.
13) Ulcerative colitis. I can't help this one, but it's still a flaw and something I'd rather not be associated with.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (New American Standard Bible)

And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

on my soapbox

Have you seen this video? You know, the one of the kids singing a praise song to President Obama?

To me, schools and their teachers should stick with the who, what, where, when, why, and how and leave the propaganda and influence to the parents' and guardians' discretion. They do not allow public school teachers to influence religious beliefs, and that's how I think it should be across the board with science, politics, and even history, too.

If you want to glorify the country and promote patriotism, that's fine, but if kids aren't allowed to worship Jesus, they shouldn't be allowed to worship any other person, either.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

blast from the past

April 26, 2006 Xanga entry. I am finishing my junior year of college.

Hi Xang.

My day's not going so hot. I think the Unknown Evil Entity might be winning today... Let's see:

Ruff Ruff

+ This is the POWERWEEK list and everything I've accomplished this week. Yesterday, I was a machine.
+ My Edith Wharton/American Lit semester project got pushed back to Monday, so that was a major relief.
- My Grammar project is stressing me out. I have to diagram a Frost poem and present it in an attractive manner, but some of his sentences are just awful and complex.
- I didn't get the internship with The Oklahoman. In fact, I have no idea what to do for a summer job in Tulsa. Any ideas?
+/- My intramural basketball team lost our last game last night. Still, it was a lot of fun playing.
+/- They were passing out this free lotion-type stuff in the caf and apparently it had sunless tanner in it. My hands are a sight today:
Sunless tanner mishap
This picture doesn't do it justice. We're taking streaks, here. Luckily, my good friend Patrick and my hands are matching. See, he didn't know it had any bronzing agents in it and used it as regular hand lotion. I love him. He can sit next to me.
+ I actually got dressed this morning. I'm wearing a pretty spring floral skirt:
Pretty Spring skirt
+ I walked into American Lit class and jaws dropped. "It's true," I told them. I never wear skirts. Not even to church. I think that warrants another plus. My friend Robyn, who is by far the most fashionable person I know, gave me advice about my tanning predicament.
- The biggest thing that's bothering me today, I guess, is the fact that probably the most well-liked girl in our school doesn't seem to like me very much. My good friend Jessy did a phenomenal job speaking in chapel today and I was trying to catch her eye while standing in line for coffee. I guess this girl, who happens to be one of Jessy's good friends, thought I was staring because she kind of said, "HI LAURIE" like she was annoyed that I was staring. This may or may not be imagined, and it may or may not be because she happens to be dating the brother of the boy that I was "honest" with very recently. (I haven't really talked about that on here, but if you want to know how that went down, just ask me) Oh well. Not everyone's going to like me. I just wish people had good reasons.
Total: Laurie-4, Unknown Evil Entity-3
Yessssss! Close, but I am still winning!

* []_ *

Sunday, September 13, 2009

frisky find


This morning I looked out my bathroom and saw this furry friend sleeping on a bag of mulch on our back porch, keeping dry from the rain. As cute as it was, I immediately thought about the extra work he caused me last Sunday. I tapped on the glass, and he did not stir.

I took a picture of him and then hurried to the glass door and tapped on it, and then made a shocking discovery:


He was actually THEY.

Ultimate optical illusion? I think so.

PS: When I saw them, the colors and patterns of their fur brought me back to a few months ago when JT and I got into the car to go somewhere and we stumbled across a FELINE SCANDAL in our backyard, right in plain sight. Were these beautiful kitty babies the result of this act?

JT was mortified, but I maintain that the shock (and a desire to share with my BFF) compelled me to take a picture of "the act" when it occurred months ago. My original post contained a link to the picture, but I removed it in case anyone doesn't share my humor/fascination with this discovery.

I, for one, am glad I took the picture because curiosity would have killed this cat.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

labor day weekend

Oh, the plans we make.

Our cell group came over to help JT with the fence, which meant the men slaved in the backyard and I got to hang out with the women and children.
My plan was to pick up Papa Murphy's pizza in a flash, and entertain the kids by teaching them how to bake cookies. Then 15 people ended up showing up, including Andrea Cherie's sweet husband, who helped JT in the yard all afternoon. So the womenfolk and kids went to the splash park while the men worked.

On a separate note, you know it's never good when minutes before guests are to arrive, husband says:

"I tracked in some mud from the yard...and some of it is cat poop."

Some of it turned in to most of it, but my floors were cleaned when our friends arrived. And though I had to run to the sink more than once because I was sure I was going to hurl from the smell, I was safe and sound.

We rewarded ourselves with a nice hot plate of homemade waffles

...and it exploded into every crevice of my George Foreman. Yes!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza

I got this crust recipe from Nie Nie here, and I was excited because her recipe leaves room for lots of creativity.

Crust Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (whole wheat pastry flour is also ok, I learned)
1 envelop active dry yeast***
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil (since I was using pesto sauce, I chose basil olive oil)
1/4 teaspoons sugar

***Using yeast was VERY intimidating for me as I prepared for this recipe. I watched Anne Burrell make pizza on her show the other week, and she recommended adding a pinch of sugar to the mixture and making sure the water is just warm enough to cultivate, not too hot. I wasn't sure what to look for to indicate it was ready, but by the time I'd mixed the dry ingredients and added the olive oil in a bowl, I could smell it and it turned out well.

Directions: Add yeast to one cup of warm water (not too hot), let sit. Mix dry ingredients together, then add olive oil. Add yeast mixture (including water) and combine kneading for about 5 minutes. Let rise for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and roll out the dough. I had to do this twice because I didn't flour my rolling pin or my pizza stone well enough. Oh yeah, I cooked mine on a pizza stone, but I'm sure it would turn out just as well in a pizza pan or a rectangular cookie sheet. Make sure the dough is even or else it won't cook evenly. I pressed uneven spots down gently with my fingers. You can either make the crust thin or thick, depending on the circumference of your rolling.

Add your toppings. I spread pesto sauce for a garlicy punch, crumbled feta cheese, pre-cooked chicken and bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, and mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. It would be a great thing to make sure toppings aren't piled too high, they're chopped into bite-sized pieces so they cook evenly, and if you are using raw ingredients, make sure they are cooked ahead of time in case 15 minutes isn't enough to do the job!

Bake for 15-18 minutes in a 450-degree oven. Mine baked for 16 minutes. Next time, I might try baking the crust with the sauce for about 6 minutes, adding the toppings, and then baking the rest for 12 minutes. Not sure if that would work. I counted one spot in one slice that wasn't "doughy," but wasn't as crunchy as the rest of the crust.

Now that I've accomplished this, and it's pretty easy to do, I am excited about all of the variations I can do. Here are few of my ideas:
  • To sweeten the dough for fruit or dessert pizza, add a little honey
  • Pineapple, canadian bacon, spinach and mozzarella pizza
  • Cinnamon apple pizza (a little cheddar sounds good, too!)
  • Leftover fruit pizza
  • Taco pizza: cheddar, seasoned ground beef, tomato and avocado
The possibilities are endless!

Parmesan Chicken

Parmesan Chicken
copyright Food Network

Original Recipe

At first glance, this recipe had two strikes. One, I'm a huge traditional Chicken Parmesan fan and was skeptical about a tomato-less dish. Secondly, I don't normally use Ina Garten aka Barefoot Contessa recipes, but my mom made this one and JT insisted that I reproduce it the next week. He says it tastes a lot like Wiener schnitzel and it's one of his favorites I have made. But I can guarantee you, it's A LOT easier to make, it just uses a lot of dishes! No big deal. Andrea and Jason also said they liked this recipe.

This is fast, easy, and good for hosting guests. Just make it ahead of time, clean your kitchen, and reheat (just the chicken) in the oven while you're preparing the greens just before serving. I serve the chicken atop the greens and lemon vinaigrette. The lemon cuts the hearty, crunchy chicken nicely.


  • 4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • Unsalted butter
  • Good olive oil
  • Salad greens for 6, washed and spun dry (buy the bag; makes life easier!)
  • 1 recipe Lemon Vinaigrette, recipe follows


Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4-inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly. (Make sure they are completely coated with each. Also, use one hand to dip in dry ingredients and the other for the eggs and you won't have breadcrumb paste to peel off your fingers.)

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts. Toss the salad greens with lemon vinaigrette. Place a mound of salad on each hot chicken breast. Serve with extra grated Parmesan.

Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. (I did not measure, just combined this to taste. My mom used these measurements and I thought it was too lemony and not thick enough. Just me, though!)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...