Wednesday, May 25, 2011

You May Say I Have a Problem...

and my husband would probably agree with you.

Alas, this week has been full. of. baking.

I made our weekly cookies on Sunday (like normal). I did chocolate cookies with white chips. Not only are these Robert's favorite, by they are my nod to the Indy 500 - black and white cookies (like the flag. get it?!).

On Monday, Robert asked for some cookies to take to his friends at the car dealership that majorly helped him out with getting his truck fixed post-accident... so I made my peanut butter cookies, too! They turned out beautifully. Not to brag, but they were gorgeous.

Tuesday, I made a birthday cake for the doctor at my office. His birthday is on Thursday. I got up early on Wednesday to ice it and cut the strawberries for the top.The cake is a white cake with a light almond flavor topped with a simple vanilla icing. It is incredibly minimal work for how good it is.
The strawberries (his request) are simple, seasonal, fun way to make it special.

Wednesday, I got home from work and made 2 loafs of banana bread and a poppy seed cake. I fought all week to get these bananas to ripen. After days in a brown paper bag with an apple, in my car to get warm during the day, they finally made the cut to be over-ripe for bread.

They are baking away!

The cake will hopefully turn out. The eggs whites whipped to perfection, which is always a nice start. I always make the icing too thin, though, so we'll have to see. I guess the answer to that is more icing, right?

The cake is chillin' like a villain for it's turn to be baked... I really need double ovens.

And in case you were wondering (because you may have heard that I'm trying lose weight), I have still lost 5lbs in 2 weeks, so yes, I can live in a house of baked goods and exercise some form of self-control. Or eat nothing besides cookies for dinner.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Suicide Mice

This is not the zoo.
This is my house.
And I am in charge here.

I seem to have inherited both of my parents feelings towards animals. I hate pets. I HATE THEM. I hate the hair, the slobber, the food, the mess, the hassle. The throwing up. The smells. I get that from my mom. Animals should be in zoos or eaten. End of story.

Then I love my dog. I love being a doggie-momma. I've been begging Robert for a miniature dachshund for over a year. I loved playing with my brother and sister-in-law's little cats (they are adorable) and called them my "cat nieces". I get that from my dad.

It makes no sense. It is a total contradiction.

Well, as my mother would tell you, "Mice do not come alone." Yes, Mighty Mouse 1 was captured and killed. His friend drowned trying to drink anti-freeze in our garage. We found their third friend yesterday.

He somehow had fallen to his death in our downstairs bathroom sink. Don't ask me how or why or even what it was like. Robert discovered it and cleaned it up. I tease (and whine at) Robert about how I always have to clean up, he makes messes wherever he goes, he never puts anything away, his stuff is everywhere, etc.

I forgave it all in that one moment. He cleaned up after the suicide mouse. He bleached the sink. I never even saw it.

I have the best husband ever.

Maybe the mice got my mixed messages. They moved in on a day when I was loving Otis. Then they heard me confess my will to murder him when he threw-up in the middle of the night and thought, "This lady is crazy - we've got to get out."

Hopefully, that will be the end.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

This is my Saturday

We have been battling a mouse. I hope it is singular, a mouse, and not plural, mice.

We live in the middle of farm fields, so it's to be expected. For some reason, the mouse decided that burrowing under the bathroom vanity was a good location. Probably because it could use my fallen hairs to make a nest. We have been keeping the bathroom door shut so that we can trap it.

Around 8:30am I was reading in bed and start to hear it scampering around the bathroom. Avoiding the traps. Chewing at the door. Running around some more. So I wake up Robert.

If you know anything about my husband, you know that you DO NOT WAKE ROBERT up on Saturday mornings. But it was driving me nuts.

Robert went in after it to no avail. The mouse continued to eat away at the door frame. Robert decided to out smart it so that our landlord would not get mad when the bathroom door frame was missing when we moved out (whoops?).

After some pretty stealthy hunter moves, Robert trapped the mouse, stuck with a glue trap on it's back, in a spare trash can.

The mouse's head it peaking up toward the upper left corner of the trap here:


Then he decided to kill it. He went out to the porch to take care it like any good redneck person would, but the mouse could run away with the trap on it's back. Until it got stuck wedged between the gutter and the house. It was actually very comical scene to watch it running around with the trap until it stuck and to see Robert chasing after it with a bee-bee gun.

This is how the poor creature eventually met it's end...

By the way, Otis showed absolutely NO INTEREST in the mouse when we tried to show it to him. He was unhappy about the early commotion as well. He's sleeping now to make up for it.

Just another early Saturday morning. No big deal. Just another mess to clean up (and trust me, I scrubbed). I hope that's the end of them.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I don't get nervous...

...about so many things that would make most people terrified. I do not fear international travel. I do not fear bugs or diseases from the corners of the earth. I don't fear the water (or drinking it) in Mexico.
I love public speaking
.



But I woke up this morning with a pit in my stomach. A nasty, surly, dreaded feeling. The kind that almost took over and made me drive right now to Indianapolis to give hugs and hold people I love tightly and to share a bed with Abram for the next couple of weeks. Because I am so big. I am so in control. I can so magically protect and make things happen.


Yeah, right.


For someone who has as much as experience as I do with what is currently causing my distress, I should know two things.


1. Oh, come on. It'll be fine. You are more likely to get run over in Meijer's parking lot on a busy day then have something bad happen while traveling.


2. Nothing good comes from me. We all know where all the Good and Perfect Things come from and I am very, very small and powerless.


And so, we think about the same things we always think about during these times.
My friend, Jen, moved recently and as a housewarming gift, I made her a, uh, piece of art (?) with this very theme. Because moving is scary. Change is scary. Taking risks is scary.
Some times, getting out of bed and looking in the mirror is scary.


This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: [He] is light; in him there is no darkness at all.



There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.


That's right, y'all, I'm being made perfect.
By getting the fear dragged out of me.


Please do not reply to this post. You may email me with comments. Thank you.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Our favorite game

Our pastor preached today all about these things.
-The church is God's plan for local outreach (and therefore global)
-Life is a short term missions trip

This is something that my friend Lori and I have been going back and forth about since we were teenagers. This is something that comes up in every conversation I have with my friend Jen.

(btw you two, you may tell me to shut up if you are unable to have this conversation
ONE MORE TIME with me)


This is something I think is very easy to get wrong. This is why you never tell a missionary "you could never do what they do", because they would say the same thing to you. We are all supposed to be doing this all the time, and it's always hard. Right? Note: there is no way I have that down. And I'd much rather be "over there" than "here", but I must keep reminding myself that it is actually the same. With clean water.

It's the same when one more patient needs a "favor" because of their own neglect and you want to scream. When the church seems too self-serving and it disappoints you. When you are so stupidly bored and live in the boonies and want to go back to where your life had meaning. And you realize you better find a way to make being nice to that patient, joining your church, and washing the floor have some meaning.

It's like Rob Thomas said, "these small hours, these twists and turns of fate... still remain."

In honor of this concept, we shall play a game called...
Is it the 3rd world...
...or Tennessee?

- You drive by wild turkeys, turtles, farm cows, vultures, deer, dogs, but no other cars to get to the main road.
.... It's Tennessee!!! (if it were the 3rd world, you'd probably drive by more animals. and some naked people)

- Your power comes and goes more than once in the morning this week. There's a generator, but it's not being used. This lack of electricity makes you late for work.
... It's Tennessee!!! In the 3rd world, the generator would actually be hooked up, but no one would get why the Americans are so addicted to electricity and can't get out the door without it.

- Someone is driving up the wrong side of the road.
... It's Tennessee!!! In the 3rd world, there's only a wrong side of the road if there's traffic.

- You dry and straighten your hair to make it look nice, only to walk out the door and have it frizz in an instant.
... It's Tennessee! In the 3rd world, it's hot enough that my hair curls and there isn't a chance of stopping it.

- People claim to be speaking the same language you do, only when they talk, you have NO CLUE what they are saying.
... It's Tennessee! I've met people in the 3rd world who spoke English as their 9th language better than some the people around here.

- It's tough to find the diet soda you like. And forgot about it ever being on sale.
...It's Tennessee! We love our obesity down here. And in the 3rd world, there's always Diet Coke. And it's never THAT expensive.

I'll probably think of more of these and we can play this game again. It's fun. Until then, make your life your own missions trip.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sugar Cookies


Super Easy Sugar Cookies.

I made these cookies over Easter and they were devoured. This is, by far, one of the easiest sugar cookie recipes I have tried. Considering how easy they are, they are some of the best tasting. These aren't my fancy-smancy cut-out-to-die-for-ones. These are the tasty, quick, we've-got-to-get-going-ones. I also like these because, unlike my fancy cut-out ones, the bake/taste/function well with my cheap ingredients from Aldi and Kroger. If you want fancy desserts, seriously, check out my sister's blog.

I scoop them with my small cookie scoop to bake to approx. 2-2 1/2 inch wide cookies. I have also made big ones by rolling them with my hands. The one time I put this recipe in the fridge and rolled the dough for cut-outs, the cookies baked thin and didn't hold their shape very well. But they tasted great.

Easy Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (must be real, not imitation)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls (or use a small cookie scoop), and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.
My oven bakes them to "Robert's preference" at exactly 8 minutes. He likes them soft and gooey. I like them just a little more baked at 9 minutes. The small cookies made approx. 60 cookies.

Heart Attack Whipped Cream Frosting

This is not for the weak of heart. If you like a light glaze icing on your cookies, this is not the topping for you. This is serious frosting. Robert doesn't like frosting until it's so bad for you/good tasting that it threatens your life. This is a little sweeter, slightly rich, and fluffy. It coats the cookies in a thick layer.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions

1. Using a mixer and slowly increasing the speed, whip together the butter and 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Make sure you beat the butter well to create a lighter texture.

2. Add the vanilla and mix in.

3. Beat in, slowly, the whipping cream and a little more sugar beat. Beat well on a medium speed.

4. Slowly alternate in the milk and the remaining sugar. If mixture is too runny, add small amount of powdered sugar. If mixture is too thick, add small amount of milk.

5. Frost cookies as desired. If cookies fall apart while frosting or frosting is difficult to work with, add a little more milk and beat well.

ENJOY!!!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!

This is going to be a kind of sad post with a happy ending.

We have a patient who is very sweet. I really like her. Her husband is... a total asshole. You know he's bad if I'm willing to say that on a blog that my mother reads. He acts like he knows more than the doctor (he doesn't). He acts like his wife's opinion about her pregnancy does not matter (it does). And he hates women. He hates that some times they have to get instructions from the nurse and not the doctor, and that the doctor respects his nurse (and all female staff). He hates that I have to tell him what to do, when the appointments are, how much to pay. He threw a fit over copays and co-insurance today. As his wife was sobbing.

Why was she sobbing? They found out their baby most likely has down syndrome. And he was being a complete ass about it. Oh yeah, and he gave her herpes. She was really stressed out.

So as I'm explaining to him how it works between his insurance company and our office, he informs me he will only pay when the insurance company tells him he has to. WHAT?!?!?!?! Screw my research. And nevermind picking up the phone for yourself to check. Forget that this is the doctor's policy if you want him to be your OB. Oh no. None of that matters. Not to mention that all I asked you for was a frickin' $30 copay and your wife is having a mental breakdown in the background.

Btw, she understands how the payment and insurance coverage works. She has no problem with it. She is shoving her debit card in my face to take the copay and get the hell out of our office. So she can cry in peace. He keeps talking because he wants to be the one in control, the one telling me what to do instead of the other way around. As the doctor is telling me to "get him the %$#* out of my office, if he doesn't cooperate than she can come alone or they can find a new doctor."

I was inventing all sorts of cuss words in Spanish in my head. Then I looked over at the patient. I looked at how hurt, how devestated, how stressed out she was. I smiled sincerely and said, "Sir, I will be happy to do what you are asking and provide you with what you need at your next appointment. I understand your concerns and what you are asking and I will comply with your request."

It was really, really tough. Like the patient who told us we had to call her husband to explain why she couldn't have sex after delivering her baby (and needed to be on bed rest for complication), because he wouldn't believe her. I wanted to kill the guy.

So they finally left.
The happy ending?
We all had tequila shots afterward to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It was hilarious. Especially because only one person in the office is Mexican, and we all did, like, 1/4 shots. It was really, really funny and the only way for any of us to blow off any of that horrible feeling. Only, only in my life would I work somewhere where my boss, a doctor, is making us all tequila shots.


Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Matthew 5:9

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How good

Jamie the Very Worst Missionary spoke in her last post about how people say, "God is good" when things work out well.

[So Leah gets to keep her job, and we say, "God is good". And we rejoice greatly in the work God is doing through her and around her.]

Jamie then comments on how God is still good, when the report says it is cancer. When your child is sick. When the news is the job isn't there. When what you love is taken away from you.

Much of this blog is a joke - it's tongue-in-cheek. Because I think my life is really just too funny at times. These "exciting" moments are really a source of amusement. They don't really upset me or anything like that, a skill that apparently means that I was made to be a Brack (or so the Bracks tell me...)

I was made keenly aware of much goodness is in my life this week. And of how hard it would be to call it goodness if it were to change (oh, and we all know, it will change around here). So to those that have a lot of really, really hard things to face right now, my heart aches for you. Some of you have really wonderful things that are very, very challenging, and I rejoice as I think of you and those situations (as complicated as they are). And I wish I could be there, right next door, to all of you to help and to love. But apparently, I'm supposed to be hanging out in Tennessee right now.
You continue to be in our prayers.
Dom & Lianne
Mike & Lauri
Anne & Matt
Kendall & Matt
Rob & Leah
Rick & Kat
The Walkers
Kevin Johnson
The Wetzels
Mom & Dad
The Hamptons
Andrew & Sarah
Jen (that you have strength to endure as the friend to a never-dull person)
(btw, to those on this list, you all inspire me in some pretty big ways, so thanks for letting me participate in your life)
...and don't think that just because you aren't on the list, you aren't being prayed for or thought of or that we don't care. This is not all inclusive. This is just the big things we've added in the last week or two.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Just another Tuesday?

My office manager is in a mood today/this week/last week. It's not my fault she and her boyfriend broke up for the fifth time. He was a loser, anyway. That's why you broke up with him the previous 4 times.

Here are the great convos:
"Can't you move up any yearly exams to this week?"
(think about it -- they yearly-- which means that date is... yearly)
----------
Her: Where are the old collections boxes?
Me: With the other collections boxes?
Her: Can you check the other old files? And call and see if [the person that used to have your job] knows where they are?
Me: Sure. Are you sure they weren't with the boxes sent to storage? The ones from the closet?
Her: No. No charts where in there.
Later - after looking through all new and old charts...
Me: She said they were in a box with the other collections charts in your office.
Her: She is LYING. They are NOT THERE. Maybe she doesn't know where they are, but that isn't true. (starts slamming open and digging through cabinets that I had, just in front of her, dug through).
Me: She said the really old ones were in the extra closet. Are you sure they weren't sent to storage?
Her: Well, there is a chance. There were file boxes in there?
Me:Uh, you are the one who cleaned it out and sent the stuff to storage. I didn't see what you sent.
Her: I guess we'll check storage.
----------
Her: Why didn't you schedule [that one patient] for Thursday instead of next week?
Me: She couldn't come on Thursday?
----------
Her: Yeah, I probably only eat 1000 calories a day.
----------
Her: I wouldn't have broken up with him, but he said didn't want any more kids, for sure.
Me: Well, at least he was honest.
Her: Even if he said I could have a kid with a sperm donor, or maybe he'd re-visit the idea in a few years, I'd be willing to stay. But just no? Never?
Me: Do you really want to wait a few years for him to only tell you, again, he doesn't want more kids?
Her: It just killed all my hope for the relationship, you know? (this is like, the millionth time they have had that exact conversation)
----------
This was pre-break-up with the loser boyfriend...
Her: Guess what? I got [his son] to stop saying, "That's gay" and "Don't be gay".
Me: Well, that's good.
Her: Yeah, now [all the kids] just say, "don't be a pube" or "you're a pube".
Me: That's disgusting. And if my 13 or 16 year old said it, I'd kill them.
Her: It's just a joke. They all think it's funny. (she was obviously proud of this accomplishment)


So there you go.
And people think I'm crazy.