17 April 2014

Conjunctivitis and Holy Week

I guess it wouldn't be a proper Holy Week without a nice dose of suffering.

Somehow I ended up with conjunctivitis in not one, but both eyes. Ugh. I have a hard time with eye stuff. I don't wear contacts and the mere thought of eye drops makes me squirm. Luckily, I was offered the option of an ointment, but it still freaks me out. It turned out it wasn't just my eyes. Stuffy nose and ears too, which has also been causing me some lightheaded-ness and not-so-good feelings.
Check out the swell on the one on the right.
p.s. I will never apologize for my eyebrows. That's some half-Lebanese goodness right there.

We also woke up to snow two days ago, which was, well, it was fine. Sure, I complained a bit, but at least we didn't have to shovel it!

My husband has been absolutely awesome dealing with poor ol' me. It just so turns out that his 2 days off this week were Tuesday and Wednesday, the two days I felt the most absolutely miserable. He lived out his fantasy of being a SAHD while I woke up with my eyes sealed shut and then stayed quarantined in our room. Because the last thing we want is for anyone else to catch this crap.
My lovely cave. Blurry pic because, well, because I can't freakin' see.
I think if this had to happen, I'm kinda happy it's now. I can focus more clearly on how Jesus suffered so much more than I ever will--and all I can think of is that scene in The Passion of the Christ where a crow starts pecking out his eye after he dies on the cross. (Yuck.) So thank you, Jesus, for your suffering. And thank you, crows, for not pecking out my eyes. (I haven't seen that movie in 10 years, so I hope I didn't make that thing up about the crow. I don't remember mention of it in the Bible.)

I have so many reasons to look forward to Easter, the least of which is my optical issue.

11 April 2014

7 Quick Takes: Books, Brackets, Bunnies

I finished another book for the year, my third . . . and my 3rd conversion memoir. Those things suck me in! Girl At The End of the World just blew my mind. Elizabeth Esther (the author) blogs over yonder. I luckily never knew such abuse as a child. And some of the theology that she was brought up with--yeesh. (There was one thing about a woman's soul being subject to a man's soul that had me hollering, "Are you kidding me?!" over and over and over.)

I'm joining a Catholic women's book club soon, and I might be suggesting this one. There were even discussion questions in the back, so I guess that makes it book club material??

Also, it's kinda cool knowing you're the first person to read a library book! It was on order when I put it on hold.

I realized the reason I hardly finished any books last year.

It was because my 'fun reading' looks like this:

Yes, that's 5 books all at once. I did sorta make it through the potty-training one, and it was not for me. According to that book, my kid is already potty-trained. The author also made it sound like no one in their right mind would use cloth diapers, so that's just a no. I returned it to the library a few days ago. I think I'm going to focus on the Jesuit Guide and let the others just collect dust/overdue fines for a bit.

So how did everyone do with their March Madness brackets??

Here are ours:

Cora's brackets were done mostly with a very scientific coin-toss method. Needless, to say, she came in 3rd for both men's and women's. I won the women's bracket with a very nice score of 135. I really feel that if we had no ties to Notre Dame at all, I could have done even better. But we both picked ND to win over UConn because that's what we wanted. One year I did a 'fantasy bracket' where I had my team (Georgia) win the whole thing (it's never actually happened), and then did a more realistic bracket instead. Maybe that's what I need to do again.

I only caught parts of the men's final match (in all honestly, I never cared much for men's basketball), but I did watch almost all of the women's final game online. Since we don't have cable, the only way to [legally] view it was on ESPN's website. However, it was the 'multi-cam' view. It turns out that meant there were no announcers. It was just the sound of the game being played. It was sort of interesting, mostly in that I could hear a little bit of what the players were yelling to each other. And I didn't have to listen to the same things being said over and over again by the commentators.

Our Y had the Easter Bunny come last week, and Cora called him "Peter Rabbit" (we read that one a lot). But she wasn't too keen on getting a pic with him.

Why are the Easter Bunnies so odd-looking? I've never seen one I like.

Tonight (Friday), we had B's aunt, uncle, and grandma over for dinner. I'm trying to host dinner for someone at least once a month because it forces me to keep a clean house. It's also rather fun. I made macaroni and cheese using half gouda/half cheddar, and it was delicious. I also made my own fresh breadcrumbs for the first time ever. (Um, that was easy. Never buying those again.)

We finished off dinner with another first for me, monkey bread:

I made this completely from scratch, using the recipe from America's Test Kitchen. (Which, by the way, is a book I still do not own--I just keep checking it back out of the library.) There's another method out there that uses refrigerated biscuit dough, and honestly, I think I'll be using that from now on. Sure, this one was great, but it was a lengthy process that involved letting the dough rise 2 different times. If I had done the biscuit method, we might have actually gone outside and done something this morning.

I'm so glad it's finally warm and beautiful here. We even took our dinner guests on a walk around our street after filling our bellies. But flower names. Freakin' flower names, man. Every time I'm with older women, they look over yonder and ask me, "Oh, are those crocuses?" (Please tell me this happens to other females.) I recognize pansies and daffodils, but only after they've already bloomed, and that's all you'll get from me. I'm sure I learned other ones at some point, but it's been a long winter.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

09 April 2014

Meatless Meal: Spinach with Couscous and Pears

With one 'normal' meatless Friday left this Lent, I present to you a meatless recipe! Hey, some people do meatless Fridays throughout the year, so I guess this would be relevant any time. We've eaten this other times of year, too! We love it, and it's surprisingly filling.

Spinach With Couscous and Pears

Yield: about 6 servings

2 cups whole-wheat couscous
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cups water*
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 cups baby spinach
2 pears, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese

*If you want to make this non-veg, sub 2 of the cups of water with chicken broth and omit salt in step 2. I guess you could use vegetable broth, but I haven't tried it and can't vouch for it.

1. Toast couscous in a saucepan over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. 2. Pour the 3 cups of water and some salt to the saucepan and bring it to a boil. Stir in the toasted couscous, cover, remove from heat and let stand for 12 minutes.
3. Transfer couscous to a large bowl; fluff with a fork. Stir in oil, lemon juice and mustard. Season with salt. 4. Toss with spinach and pears, top with goat cheese and serve. You can leave it out to serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate.

I prefer this salad with warm couscous, so I only mix the amounts I need at the time and keep the couscous in its own container in the fridge so I can heat it up for leftovers.

Adapted from All You, November 2013