Sunday, November 29, 2009
I'm excited and happy for them, I feel a pang of regret for one of my youth leaders and hope she gets married sooooon...
Facebook is a double-edged sword, since I get to keep in touch with people from the past, but I also get to see beyond the church-facade they displayed at church. In one sense it makes me feel sick and again, grateful to have been saved from that church culture of hypocrisy, where you worship God on Sundays while working over the Saturday hangover.
And then, I feel incredibly superior and legalistic... like "how dare you get drunk." Of COURSE getting drunk is a sin, but my issue is that my attitude is incredibly hoity-toity... and I feel really low and let down by seeing old sunday school teachers with pictures like that, or even seeing captions like "girls .. blah blah blah". In my head I frown and thing "you're not a girl, you're an old woman, grow up."
It's rather all really mean in my head.
I guess, again, I need to take people off their pedestals.. and not expect them to be somebody just because they led things.. and I'm thankful for older teachers who were faithful to the Lord first and didn't just do an act for Sunday.
I'm thankful for a church now where people straightforwardly and unabashedly love the Lord and understand worldliness for what it is.. instead of explaining it away, they admit struggles and work to find the balance between liberty and edification.
Also.. the REAL reason for this post... (so random, I can't believe I got carried away with the abovE)........... it's sort of scary to see my sunday school teachers getting engaged now.. because.. PLEASE, I don't want to be getting engaged 10-15 years from now. :-( :-( :-(
i don't think i normally say things publicly about marriage etc, so that will be it. BUT surriously; maybe it will be some sort of humbling season God will put me through because i'm so chockfull of pride.. but... yagh. even if it means i'd have the means for some crazy extravagant wedding (like one of my teachers).. i'd rather not marry a guy who's pushing 40 when i'm in my mid 30s. That's all.
This week especially I saw a lot of pharisaism in my life (pharisaic-ism hehe) and it sucked. I'm really that pharisee that stands and says "Oh God, I'm SO glad I'm not like THAT sinner over THERE."
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
and when i helped add butter underneath its skin, i felt like i was touching a wrinkly old woman. but i liked that. :-)
i remember that's when i got chronicles of Narnia. I began reading The Magician's Nephew in fourth grade and grew so bored of it.. it was stinky and boring. I think I tried to reread it a few times.. maybe in 6th grade I really got into the chronicles... perhaps I began with the second book or something.
I remember the boxed set illustrations always intrigued me; it had a picture of the unicorn from the Last battle. there was a gold chain around its beautiful white neck with some blood on the tip of its horn. chilling and beautiful. at least to a child's eyes.
i remember alllll my boxcar children books from that.. i remember wanting to join the bookclub where if you paid 4.99 a month, you'd get a special book a month and some sort of special toy.
I think i got all the Dear America diaries thru Scholastic book Club. I LOVED those books. They were more expensive - 9.99 each I think. I remember once my sister and I surveyed our collection and realized we had over $100 worth of Dear America books!
we also had a buttload of American Girl books too. Addie. Samantha. Kirsten. and of course Felicity. Who could forget her? Forget all the rest of the American Girl books... these were the OG.
those yellowing, colored newsprint catalogues. <3 and then the book fairs, where when you were in 5th grade, you were allowed to "volunteer," I loved book club.
I loved my school library, and the librarian, Mrs. Kay Cook. her name was Kay Cook! When we went to the library, she would read to us a story, then we would pick a book to check out. my mom used to pick us up late, so my sister and I would wait in the library and read. I'd sit in the far left corner where all the mythology was. I think that's where most of my mythology knowledge is from (except for the weird specific stuff I got in college). I think that's also where chinese mythology was kept too.
I remember reading stories of oranges, of a girl whose asian mother and american father fell in love in Asia and the father learned how to use chopsticks and the woman made a nest of mashed potatoes and put peas on it like eggs in a nest, but found that was only a british custom.
Fun b/c we made four and we did everything together.
Went by really fast and it was good!
Got the recipe from smitten kitchen
i love smitten kitchen apple recipes.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I had mixed feelings about this year's top chef. Basically it was a yawn; especially compared to the drama and motely crew of personalities last season (come on, i still remember their names; Jamie, Carla, Stefan, the italian guy, leah and the meathead that actually won's fling, the older lady who i LOVED but obviously my love proved fickle since i can't remember her name... the older one.. i used her skate/cauliflower puree recipe once ... man her name is on the tip of my mind.. Dinah? no.. Dionne? something a little exotic i remember.. ARIANE!)
and this season, it was boring for a few reasons. To name the main reason, in my opinion it was way too technical. In the past part of the appeal was that you could see why chefs went home or stayed while also nursing the secret fantasy that maybe, just maybe if you got your act together, you could also go on to star and if not win, at least give Bravo a good run for its money. Not anymore. The culinary chemistry and gourmet chefs are no longer an exception but the rule. I mean we have Brian and his cocky brother (Michael! i forgot his name at first) who are both okay on the eyes, fabulous in technical skills and apparently whip it together to produce great food. The thing is, they never mess up; if they do, it's something lame like "oops, forgot my extra garnish"... nothing quite as cataclysmic as say, a dessert not setting or all your food going bad because the refrigerator was left open (i think this was last season too. WOW season 5! it was that wide-eyed indian girl i think). Sure Bravo tried to milk the whole sibling rivalry thing, but whatever; if we were interested in that sort of reality show, we'd go to MTV.
Not only is there Brian and Michael, there's also Jennifer. Perfect little Jennifer who is that girl in school that nobody likes. The focused one, who never smiles, who says all the right things, who does all the right things, who did all the right things, and who will probably continue to do so until she smoothly slides in and wins and nods and smiles. Lame. Yet perfect little Jennifer did throw us a twist; when she literally CRACKED. So glad there were so many incompetent chefs to eliminate before the judges got a chance to eliminate her. LOVED it during this episode when Padma smiles and coolly said, "Welcome back" after the quickfire. still, Jennifer's intense.
So not only do we have three super technically talented professionally trained chefs winning every quickfire and elimination challenge (i swear, in the beginning it was a pingpong match between the.. three), but everyone else is just... bumbling or boring. This season seemed to say, if you have no professional training, go home - you suck! which was pretty much the case for most of them.
Of course there were some interesting characters, and i'll get into the ones who stuck out.
Of course Mike: is cocky.. super cocky.. and annoying.. because he's so cocky. i can totally see him as a dad. a self-important dad of course.
then there's ooh what's that french dude. Martel? Milan? Jacque? hahahah whatever.. He was just cute. with zee fwench accent. too bad he couldn't cook for beans... or beans.
and also, just most of the people were just really self-deprecating, had self esteem issues, or tried to be really gay to stand out.. lame. Bravo should stop trying to be a platform for human-interest issues. it's about the cooking.
I think towards the end, though, Bravo wisened up and began trying to appeal to its average majority.. through the comfortable home cooking of Kevin.. gotta love him and his beard.. and then his little bald head that makes it look like he's wearing a yarmulke. Sort of reminds me of a dwarf! DUDE so wanna eat his meat though..... wow. hahaha. poor guy; he won't win.. unless others pull booboos. They also began focusing on Eli. The dreamer, aspiring chef, TV watchers can all empathize with Eli. trying new things, young to the scene. whee. Except.. peanut butter jelly .. .whatever monster concoction that was during last week's episode.. was horrific Eli ... good thing robin was still around.
Concerning Robin; was she there to appeal to the older demographic? Because they did an awful job of making her appealing. It was a little funny to see everyone sort of get irked by her, and i guess she is very talkative and a little too .. wannabe. BUT again, Bravo, this is a cooking show; not MTV.. not Disney. Come on, super petty. I think she was kept there to be the annoying factor to add fire to a collection of dull duds.
I like Brian though. He is just a likeable guy; especially in juxtaposition to his immature brother Michael... who probably seethes under the shadow of his perfect brother. Brian is so ... under-spoken about his talents, he's just very methodological, kind, has a sense of morals, humble.. he's a bore. I'm surprised he became a chef. but he's pretty dang good at it! and it's a fresh of breath air.. whoa there, breath of fresh air, to see a nice human being on TV. Poor Michael. Michael is a normal human being... and it must suck to not measure up to your older brother. Michael - you're a great chef too. Just stop acting spoiled or cocky.. but I guess that's applauded on Tv.. since you're sticking to your guns. Then in that case, stick to your guns.. not that you'd care about my blog post anyway...
Final comments: on the judges; every year I feel a pang of symapthy for the other girl judge.. the one who's not padma.... because HONESTLY, you know people are comparing you two, and Padma's beautiful. HA that's my sick, superficial side coming out. see i dont even know her name. if i didnt know any of the names it would be the bald judge, the hot judge, and the not as pretty judge. hahah actually no, it would be Tom, Padma and the other one. HAHAHAHAHA
And Toby isn't so caustic this year... glad that he left his weirdo analogies for.. whatever, not the dinner table.
In closing, the final four has been decided! You know, last season, the ending was pretty anticlimactic; and boy did i not like the winner.. and you know what's funny, nobody even sees him around anymore. ANYWAY it was kinda sad to see Eli go.. since Eli was pretty chills... but meh, didn't care much for him or anything.. ultimately despite the length of this rambling post, i didn't care much for most of them, really. i don't even remember half the ones who left.
the chefs in that stupid little top chef alumni reunion special they had (instead of a cooking episode that i wanted to see!) left more of an impression on me than this whole season. well, i'll always be interested in Jennifer's food........
Also location this season was pretty sweet. Las Vegas .. then Napa Valley? wooo!! The money themes were pretty crazy and man, M Resort was just showering the chefs with money.
I still haven't gotten to eat at Jamie's restaurant, Absinthe.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
"What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." - James 4:14
"Instead, you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.' " - James 4:15
"I waste away; I will not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are but a breath." - Job 7:16
""If I should wash myself with snow / And cleanse my hands with lye, / Yet You would plunge me into the pit, / And my own clothes would abhor me. / For He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him, / That we may go to court together. / There is no umpire between us, / Who may lay his hand upon us both. " - Job 9:30-33
""Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah." - Psalm 39:5
"And now, Lord, for what do I wait? / My hope is in You. / Deliver me from all my transgressions; / Make me not the reproach of the foolish. " - Psa 39:7-8
"Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow." - Psalm 144:4
"Stretch forth Your hand from on high; / Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters, / Out of the hand of aliens / ... / I will sing a new song to You, O God; / Upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You, / Who gives salvation to kings, / Who rescues David His servant from the evil sword. / Rescue me and deliver me out of the hand of aliens," Psalm 144:7, 9-11
Reuven's father comes to understand that life itself is short. That importance does not lie in life itself but the human being, the soul, that inhabits that life. Yet as a result of this premise, he assumes that he must DO.
It is true that life is transient and that it is the being that matters more than the life; the soul prevails over breath. And yet because of that we must praise Him who gave life; how can we repay; how can we earn; how can we MAKE our lives worthwhile when we had no hand in its creation in the first place? We cannot simply walk up to the giver of life, we cannot assume that we can make our lives worthy... and for that I am so very thankful and relieved.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
"Thanksgiving has lost its cultural muscle," writes Eric Felton in aWall Street Journal commentary today. He adds, "The early advent of the Santa season may have less to do with the red-and-green imperative than with the weakness of Turkey Day."
His assessment of the state of Thanksgiving in the 21st century is worth reading:
Could it be we've lost our capacity for gratitude? A successful harvest occasioned thanks back when it was all that stood between us and a long, cold, hungry winter. But now we're divorced from the seasonal rhythms of the farm, where the harvest is celebrated as the payoff of all the year's labors. Even in the midst of this Great Repression we enjoy perpetual plenty. What resonance does a cornucopia have to people who have come to expect ripe blackberries in February? If anything, we should be more grateful, but that's not our nature. Anything we struggle for, we hold dear; anything that comes easy, we take for granted.
He goes on to capture the awkwardness of trying to enjoy a family feast when some of those around the table just want to moralize about the food:
Not only don't we celebrate the astonishing abundance that is our good fortune, we whine and moan about how it makes us fat.... And if that weren't enough to squeeze the pleasure from the day, no modern Thanksgiving is complete without a college student home from school, lecturing the family on the cruelty of meat. (To which the only appropriate response is: "Does that mean you don't want the drumstick?")
He ends with an invitation to enjoy a little more of the goodness of autumn and Thanksgiving before diving into Christmas:
... before we break out the ornaments and dust off the Vince Guaraldi soundtrack, let's make the most of autumn and its particular pleasures. Jump in a pile of leaves. Savor the waning daylight. And go ahead. Week after next, eat that second slice of pumpkin pie—just be thankful for it."