March 31, 2009

Run Far Away

Just an FYI for ya'll.

The Inkwell is under construction. What you see is not real. What you see is not a finished product. What you see is, well, a figment of your imagination.

I'd really appreciate it if you would go now and forget the horrendous clashing of colors you've witnessed here today. I don't want to be responsible for the nightmares that may follow.

Thank you.

March 29, 2009

A Week With my Sis-in-Law

I must confess, I'm a little loathe to leave this week behind. Even as Sunday draws to a close and I feel the new week calling, I close my eyes and wish it could last a little longer. Because this last week with Helen was just so. much. fun. I'm not gonna lie ;) It was absolutely a blast.
As much as it was her vacation (she came down on spring break in between quarters), it was also a respite for us. A break from the daily grind. A much-needed break, I might add. The weather cooperated, giving us sun and warm temperatures all week. Just what Helen was hoping for. We hiked, watched movies (Penelope, Wall-E, Twilight, and Oscar), visited SeaWorld and the beach, took Caleb to the park, talked tons and tons, and took lots of pictures. Lots.
On Tuesday, Helen opened a beauty parlor in our kitchen and cut my hair. We spent two hours chatting and snipping, while Caleb slept uncharacteristically long. I'm now sporting an oh-so-cute style that has been inversely bobbed. I love love love it!

Thursday, after ordering photos from her camera, we did some unplanned clothes shopping around Wal-Mart. We found some really pretty new dresses for spring, and found some other cute things on clearance as well. I don't buy new clothes very often, and my wardrobe was in need of a pick-me-up. I know some of you may snicker at the thought of finding fun, cute clothes in Wal-Mart, but honestly? I find some of the best stuff there. And you can't beat the price. :)
Sea World was probably the highlight of our week. Helen had her camera out constantly, and she was well rewarded for her diligence. She managed to get some really perfect pictures of the animals, and incidentally, her nephew. See?

Then, of course, there are the candid shots. Those that aren't, uh, photogenic or whatever. Caleb really didn't want to sit on the manatee. But Mean Mommy made him. He was much happier running around, throwing plastic penguins into shark tanks, and pointing at every fish he saw.

This picture turned out much better, probably because Caleb and I weren't in it. ;) Helen's ready for a piggy-back ride!

Caleb did decide, however, that bat rays were worth slowing down for. Or maybe it was just the lure of cold salt water. Either way, we all got a chance to touch the rays, and Caleb soaked his shirt from all the excited splashing.

See how happy he is completely drenched?

The rest of us waited until we were in the parking lot before dousing each other with water bottles. Helen started it. Jason responded. I finished it. :) 'Nuff said.

Friday morning came way too soon. Driving home from the airport, I realized how blessed I am to have such an awesome relationship with my inlaws. Especially Helen. We've been friends longer than Jason and I have known each other. And we still get along. We still enjoy each other's company. She calls me her sister, and having no siblings of my own, I love that. :)

I love you, Helen! We miss you already. Come back soon!

March 22, 2009


This post may seem random and disjointed. Allow me to apologize in advance, as I have no set "theme" for this post. Just a week in review, a snapshot in time of where I'm at and where I will be in the near future.

Time has changed since Jason was laid off. The days blur together, with no set boundary between week and weekend. Whereas our family schedule was clearly defined before by the five days Jason worked and the two days he was off, I now tell time by Caleb's speech group appointments, the nights I work, and church and the two bible studies I attend. Life is still busy. Oh yes, it is. But it's . . . different. And I'm not sure I like the change.

Jason has been out of work for four and a half weeks. No decent prospects hover on the horizon; just several unsavory scenarios of my husband working two jobs and one very long shot that could answer all our prayers and yet turn our life completely upside down at the same time. We're at that place now of uncomfortable-ness, that place where we are trusting God for the answers we cannot see. The place where faith ceases to be something I read about in Romans, Phillipians, and James, but instead is something I must actually live out.

I've been spending a good amount of time in WoW these last few weeks. Imara has had some grand adventures, which I hope to eventually write about here. I've ventured into the ancient, ruined troll kingdom of Zul 'Drak and now find myself happily employed gathering rare plants for Alliance alchemists and running quests for troll chieftains who have not yet succumbed to the Scourge. Good times. =)

I've also got my nose in two books that I am really enjoying. I'm reading through Cornelia Funke's Inkheart series, which I highly recommend to those of you who enjoy light-hearted (and clean!) fantasy fiction. Into the Wild is the other book on my nightstand; it's a non-fiction account of a young man who went totally Henry David Thoreau, left his home, his family, even his name behind and hitch-hiked throughout America for two years. He eventually ended up in Alaska, where he planned to live off the land. Hunters found him dead several months later, and this book chronicles his story, told through letters, journals, and the memories of the people he encountered on his trip.

Yeah, I know. I have weird tastes in literature. Jason looked at me with raised eyebrows when I told him about it, but honestly, I think the story is fascinating. I guess they're even making a movie out of it, although I probably won't go see it.

In other news, Jason's sister Helen is coming to stay with us this week!!! She's flying down from WA tomorrow, and we are sooooooooooooo excited to see her! For those of you who don't know, Helen was the first of the Neuhausers I ever met. She befriended me when I was the new girl at church back in high school, was totally thrilled when I started dating Jason, and was a bridesmaid in our wedding. :) Since I have no siblings of my own, you can imagine how blessed I am to have Helen for a sister. :)

Anywho, if I am somewhat absent this week, you can blame her. ;) We're planning a trip to Seaworld, the beach, and a movie night, too. And, of course, lots of time with The Nephew (aka, Caleb).

Hope ya'll have a good week!

March 18, 2009

The White Kitten Says Farewell

Waiting for three TY kitties I ordered from Ebay to come. Caleb adopted a pure white TY kitten about six months ago; only, it's not, uh, pure white anymore because our son loves to, erm, chew on his favorite stuffies. I've washed it and washed it, but now the tail and ears are permanently stained (please don't ask with what) and the poor thing smells. So a funeral will be held for the white kitten later in the week after it, ahem, meets with a tragic accident.

However, since the white kitten is one of Caleb's favorite little friends, I had to find replacements. And guess what?? I found three new TY kitties on Ebay for the same price that we originally paid for the white one. Ka-ching!

Hopefully Caleb won't care that these new friends aren't white. They are black and white, brown and white, and siamese. And hopefully, they'll be accepted as new favorite stuffies, because I couldn't find a new white kitten.

March 16, 2009

From Ireland With Love

Happy (early) St. Patrick's Day!!

I made these earlier today while Caleb was napping.

They're mint chocolate cookies. Mmmmmm! Mint and chocolate are a match made in heaven! They passed the husband test, too. ;) As sweet as they look, they are not overpowering, either in the mint or the chocolate department. Just the right amount of each, blended together for a green-minty-Irish-chocolatey-cloud-confection.

I found the recipe in an Irish Crafts and Cook book I saw at the grocery store the other day. You know, the ones that are only produced and sold for the holiday? I don't usually buy such items, but these cookies looked too good to be ignored. The book has some other interesting recipes (and a few crafts I may try my hand at), so I bought it.

The best part? These cookies are super easy! I'm sorta wishing I'd doubled the recipe now, so I could take some to class tonight. Oh well . . . I guess we'll just have to enjoy them here at home. We all have our burdens to bear . . . but I'm not bearing this one alone! Here's the recipe. Once you've tasted them, you'll dance an Irish jig and start believing in leprechauns. I promise!!

Mint Chocolate Cookie Recipe

  • 1 box Devil's Food cake mix
  • 5 tbs. butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. peppermint extract, divided
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 5-6 drops green food coloring
  • 1 container vanilla frosting (about 16 oz.)
  • Green sugar sprinkles
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheets lightly with nonstick spray.
  2. Beat cake mix, butter, eggs, and 1 tsp. peppermint extract in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed for 1-2 min until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Drop spoonfuls of dough on cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. Cool completely.
  4. Stir remaining 1 tsp. peppermint extract and food coloring with frosting, until well mixed. Frost cookies with desired amount of frosting and top with green sugar sprinkles.

See? I told you they were easy!! Now go forth and make much Irish minty chocolate goodness! Oh, and have a Happy St. Patties Day, too!!

March 14, 2009

From Korea With Love

My, but this week has been busy! I have half a dozen posts simmering in my brain, but have had nary a moment for writing them down. Until tonight. After an afternoon in Temecula meeting up with an old friend I haven't seen in ten years :), I find myself sitting in a quasi-clean livingroom with a son who went to bed early and a husband absorbed with killing bad guys in a place called Utgarde Pinnacle.

So I think I'll let this post out of my brain and onto the page. ;)

As promised, I finally have pictures of my Korean students! Well, sort of. I'm not sure if it's Korean custom to hide your face whenever a camera appears, or if I'm just blessed with seven of the shyest kids around. Either way, you'll have to forgive the faceless photos. I begged. I really did.

This is Chris. My oldest student and probably my least English-literate. How do you know this is Chris? Because I told you. When I asked, politely, for a photo, he simply pulled his hood on and hunched his shoulders even closer to the table. An-young, Chris!

This is April, one of my best writers and also my quietest student. She's new to the US; she just joined my class about a month ago.

And this lovely young lady is Mell. When I asked to take her photo, she said "No!" about a dozen times, then proceeded to cover her face with her hair. She is fiery and opinionated and always asking for help, but is one of the more English-proficient students in class. After she covered up her face, she said I could take a picture. So I did.

Finally! Some brave souls! Left to right: Yuri, Dean, JP, and David. They only agreed to a picture if they could do it together. Safety in numbers and all that. Because apparently, I'm trying to steal their souls. Honestly, by the end of the night, I felt like the pavarazzi.

If I were Robin Hood, these four would be my Merry Men. They love to laugh, love to tease and we do a good deal of both. My private joke with Yuri is that she'll laugh at anything. And it's true. I can look at her funny, and she'll giggle uncontrollably. The boys know this and take advantage of it every chance they get. Then Big Bad Teacher has to step in and say "Back to work, or it's the coal mines for you!" or some such other nonsense. Then Yuri laughs even harder.

Studying does actually occur around here. No, really! It does!

So there you have it, friends. A little taste of Korea, from me to you. Oh, and if you're wondering why Yuri and JP are making peace signs at the camera, that is an Asian custom. My Japanese students did it too. I never figured out why . . . maybe I could ask. And maybe between the laughter, the demands for "Star Bucks!", and the incorrect grammar, I might actually get an answer . . .

March 6, 2009

We Know Good-Bye is Not the End

"When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul."
-- Horatio Spafford 1873
Today we said good-bye to my Aunt Lisa.
She died last Friday night at the restaurant where she waitressed. She went to take an order and collapsed. Nothing could be done. At 39 years old, she was just gone.
She left behind my Uncle Dylan and two little cousins Alexandra and Jessie. They were the flower girls in my wedding almost five years ago. When my aunt and uncle married some sixteen years ago, I was a flower girl in their wedding.
Today was bittersweet as my family (all my dad's side) gathered together for the funeral. Aunts and Uncles and cousins. My grandparents. Some family I haven't seen since my wedding. Some, even longer than that. Reuniting with them, even under the circumstances, was sweet and precious to me. I miss my extended family. I've never been very close to any of them (save my grandparents), but I've always wished that was different.
Maybe that's because I'm an only child. Just a thought.
Today was also the first time most of my dad's family had seen my mom since their divorce six years ago. She drove out to the funeral with me while Jay stayed home with Caleb. Even though my mom's not technically part of "the family" anymore, she was still a part of it for many many years. And she knew my Aunt Lisa.
Everyone was very kind and polite; in six years, the Lord has done a lot of healing. Even so, I could tell my mom felt a bit . . . odd. Out of place. I couldn't blame her.
We all sang together during the service. We cried together as my Uncle Paul eloquently and brokenly shared his memories of "Auntie Dee-Dah." We milled around the church afterwards, catching up with each other. I met up with two of my cousins and met their significant others. I found out my Uncle Dan may be working for the FBI in the near future. I advised him to buy a "Get Fuzzy" comic book, since he loves cats so much.
A tiny part of me wished my parents were still together. A much bigger part of me wished that, even when my parents had been married, that they would have made more of an effort to connect with and be close to my Aunts and Uncles and cousins. I don't know most of them well, beyond the familiar faces, voices, jokes, and age-old stories. And yet I love them all dearly.
But what totally blessed me today was seeing my Grandpa (Dad's stepdad) and my Mom laughing together again. The two of them have always been good friends. They both share the same off-beat sense of humor. At family gatherings, they could often be found joking and giggling together at some random thing nobody else understood.
Oh how it blessed my heart to see them laughing and joking again today! Some things never change and some things never should.
One day I'll write a blog post dedicated entirely to my grandpa. He is truly one of my heroes and the picture of quiet selflessness. To him, my mom is still my mom. Not his son's Ex.
Anyway, if you could keep my family in your prayers over the next few days, I'd mightily appreciate it. Some of them are saved (my Aunt Lisa was, praise the Lord!), but most of them are not. And my Uncle Dylan must now raise two daughters on his own. Yes, prayers are needed.
But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!
It is well, with my soul
It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

March 2, 2009

Good Springs Come to Those Who Wait

The title of this post notwithstanding, I'm not sure I'm ready for spring. I mean, running the A/C on the first of March as the temperature reaches 86 degrees is a little, um, pre-Vernal Equinox. Just not convinced I'm emotionally prepared to handle spring showers and May flowers yet.
But whether I'm ready or not, spring seems to have sprung. Scroll down to see the proof.

Warning: I am fully aware that non-Southern-California people read this blog and I'm not, repeat, NOT trying to make you drool or beg or turn green with envy. Please be advised this is not an exercise in antagonism. Thank you.

My gerber daisy, which I thought I'd killed, has made an amazing recovery. All I did was stop watering it. Honestly.

This morning I took Caleb out for a hike in Santee (near our home).

Told you spring was here.

And here are those fuzzy caterpillars which are hatching everywhere.

"Fuzzy galloping caterpillars, Batman!"

Ready or not, I cannot deny the landscape is mighty pretty.

One of these years I'll remember where I live and that we only have two seasons here: hot and cool. One of these years, spring (aka, the three weeks leading up to summer) will cease to take me by surprise. One of these years, I'll just enjoy said three weeks of spring and try to forget how brown and ugly everything will be by June.

Yep, one of these years.