Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Last Great Bake of 2009

I volunteered to bring the snack to church this week, but I wanted to do something different. I went out and bought a bag of small pretzel twists, some parmesean cheese crackers, one box each of wheat, cinnamon, and chocolate Chex, and a packet of ranch dressing. With everything else that I had in the house I was able to make SIX batches of Chex Mix!

As you can tell by the title, I baked my mixes. I'll take a small tangent here to let you know that I avoid the microwave as much as possible. Something to consider about microwaves: they can't be thrown away at the dump because they are considered toxic waste. That's why I avoid it now.

Back to the point - I basically used two bowls, two spatulas, two flat spatulas (for turning) and two baking sheets all morning. I dedicated one set to salty mixes and the other set to sweet mixes. And with my trust two-quart sauce pan (which received more baths this morning that it has for the last two months), I melted 33 tablespoons of butter to make my assorted flavorings.

Here's the first batch:

By the time I finished, I had Caramel Corn, Cheesy Ranch, Puppy Chow, Buffalo-Style, Snickerdoodle, and Original!

It looks like a lot now, but I don't think it's going to last long. I've already had "the talk" with Matt. Let's see if he can keep his hands off until Friday night! (And let's hope there are plenty of leftovers!)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'll be packin'...

It's here - the busiest week of the recycling season. Normally this week is 14 hour days for five days (they'll have Jan. 1st off, but have to go in Saturday to make up for it). In case you hadn't figured it out - it's because everyone is recycling their post-Christmas wrappings and food containers. It makes for a busy week.

In past years this week was a welcome change for the winter. Matt's hours are usually down to 45-50 per week, so it's a nice week to catch up on some serious overtime. But not this year. This year it's just as long as the other weeks, but it means that next week will be just as busy (as they try to catch up). I miss seeing Matt, but we've been ridiculously blessed because of this job.

Since Matt's never worked so many hours for so many consecutive months, we're starting to see new things happen. First was the frequent appearance of Slap-Happy Matty - that's entertaining. Usually SHM turns into Cranky-Sleep-Deprived-Matt (CSDM), but we sort of jumped right over that and into an entirely new personality - ADD-Matt.

If you had been behind up is Meijer the other day, you would have thought I was there with a five year-old:

"Matt, where are you going?"
"Matt, I'm over here!"
"Matt, we don't need that, put that down."
"Matt, where are you?"
"Matt, we were just over there!"
"Matt, pull up your pants." (Seriously, the man forgot his belt...)

I tell ya, I haven't been that entertained while shopping together since I took him after surgery and he was driving an Amigo while looped out on Vicadin.

ADD-Matt is so stinking funny, but it'st not conversational (like SHM), so it doesn't translate well onto my blog. That's why I'm going to try to remember to start packin' - my video recorder. My first preference would be that Matt's hours cut back a little so he can get some rest, but since I can't control that I might as well take advantage of his silliness and share the laughs with everyone.

I'll see what I can do...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Hollywood Challenge

DISCLAIMER: This post will spoil the ending of the movie "Avatar" for you. If you don't want to know what happens, stop now!!!

Today Matt and I saw "Avatar". I was hesitant. I'm quite the sci-fi fan, and I've never actually seen a 3D movie in the theater, but I was concerned. I was concerned that it would have great special effects and a predictable plot.

Without having seen or read anything beyond one trailer, I had this movie pegged: nature is god, everyone is connected, capitalists are heartless, and soldiers are murders.

So what happens? Read my prediction - that's the story (I read a comment on Facebook recently which hits the nail on the head. Someone said he wasn't going to see the movie because, "I saw it when it was Ferngully.")

That's the problem with it. This storyline has played out over and over and over again.

Hollywood - we get it. You love nature, you hate capitalism, and you spit on the men and women who have (and do) keep this country free. Got it. Now...could you PLEASE come up with an original plot? Honestly, the special effects were amazing, but the story was boring. We've seen it before. We GET your politics, so please get back to work and entertain us!

That's my challenge to Hollywood. Put politics aside and just make a good movie...please? And if you can't, then how about adapting the classics (and no, James Cameron, Ferngully was not a classic). Or, if you REALLY wanted to get crazy, you could try a plot from someone else's point of view (I won't hold my breath).

Could I please just escape for two hours and enjoy an entertaining plot WITHOUT having your opinion and politics forced upon me? Please? I challenge you...

Monday, December 21, 2009

More SHM (Slap-Happy Matty)

Matt: I should work there (pointing at the dental lab two buildings away from our house).

Karin: Why?

Matt: So I could walk to work.

Karin: You have experience in a dental lab?

Matt: No, but I have a Dremel.

Fabulous Ideas from OP, KS

If you don't receive my annual Christmas letter, then you can't participate (sorry). But just so you don't feel left out, here's the deal:

This year I sent out a Mad-Lib. That's write - pick your own adverbs and nouns, and see what kind of story you create.

A friend of mine asked if I was collecting answers and picking a winner. Nope - too time consuming. But... that I've thought about it, why not? Sitting around reading silly stories and deciding which one makes me have to pee the hardest? Game on!!!

So if you got the Blessed Beery Mad-Lib, email me your story. I'll post a winner sometime next month (and you make even make it on to my writing blog - dual coverage!!)

Thanks for participating - have fun!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Slap-Happy Matty

Karin: Now there are six couple pregnant. What happens if we drink the water?

Matt: There'll be a little one running around.

Karin: Well, then my parents will stick around for Thanksgiving next year. (contemplative pause) How do you feel about that?

Matt: That's fine. I like your parents.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Creating Our Own Problems

I was a bit offended this week when some of my non-Christian friends started comparing Christmas to Solstice. I am passionate about my God, and I don't ever want anyone to assume that I am celebrating this season for any reason other than Him, but they're right. It's not non-Christians who have taken Jesus out of Christmas - it's the Christians.

Over the years I've been learning more and more about what the Bible says about things and what tradition says about them. I'm still studying, still learning, but December 25th was chosen to celebrate Jesus' birth BECAUSE it coincides with pagan holy days. The same is true about about Easter. These dates have nothing to do with Jesus and His life - my understanding is that they were selected to detract from the pagan rituals.

Now, you can say that this doesn't matter, but look at what these holidays have become. How many people, even non-Christians, are sick of the commercialism? Do parents take their kids to church on these days for photos at the nativity and cross, or to the mall to sit on the laps of two make-believe characters? Does going to church on these two days inspire you to attend more regularly, or does it make you feel satisfied that you made it twice that year?

Like I said, I'm still learning, so I'm still deciding what to do with all of this information. I do know that I'll tell my children the truth about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny - that they have nothing to do with God or the celebration of Jesus' love and sacrifice. But am I ready and willing to make the jump to celebrate the REAL days of birth and resurrection? Am I going to set myself apart and start following scripture, despite what the world does?

I honestly don't know.

What I do know, however, is that I want to learn more. I want to make sure my motives are pure, that my heart is focused on God. I don't want to follow blindly, just doing what I've always done because there ARE things that Christians do during the holidays that have no real Biblical significance. It was just a desire to fit in with the world, but to try to sanctify it by calling it "Christian".

So I don't have any answers right now, but I'm looking. In the meantime, please know this - all of my lights, my gifts, and my decorations are about one thing - God. He loves us, He always has. While people fail daily at demonstrating that to each other, He has never failed us. He sent Jesus as proof of that love and devotion to save us. THAT is why I celebrate Christmas.

I pray that each one of you will know God's love, that He will touch your hearts and eyes so that you can see Him today.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Watching it Spin Out of Control?

There was a HUGE article in the paper today about Tiger Woods - it literally took up the whole page. I didn't read it. I couldn't get past the big, bold attention grabbing (paraphrased) "Tiger Woods is watching his life unravel in front of him".

No, he isn't.

Tiger Woods is watching his mistakes catch up with him. He is suffering the consequences of his actions. The fallout from this is his fault.

This upsets me because that sentence, highlighted and set apart to grab my attention, categorizes Woods' drama with someone like Jennifer Hudson. Her family was brutally murdered. She didn't do anything wrong, but she suffered horribly. Woods and his family are suffering horribly because of his selfish decisions. Hudson watched her life unravel...Woods watches as truth catches up with him.

Don't get me wrong - I hope he and his wife can put their lives back together. I hope they can cling to love and forgiveness and that there can be reconciliation. But don't treat this like it's something that is happening TO Woods...this is happening BECAUSE of him. There's a big difference.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Don't Be Lazy - Do Your Research

I'm really sick of hearing about global warming and "going green". And I'm really sick of people wanting to regulate what I can and can't do - BECAUSE THEY ARE HYPOCRITES!

I had to write an article on CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs) a while ago. If you go to the EPA site you will hear about how much money they can save you! If used properly you can save up to $15/month! But here's the catch...

- They really shouldn't be used in bathrooms (the steam gets to them...shortens the life span)
- You can't but them in enclosed light fixtures...shortens the lift span (check your house - I'll bet your ceiling fans, bathroom and external fixtures are all'll have to replace those)

Okay, so maybe you won't have to replace the fixture. If you don't, however, you'll be changing your CFL every year, instead of every 5-10 years (like they promise).

Let's take my house as an example: 12 enclosed light fixtures with incandescent bulbs ($0.84 each) would cost $10.08 per year for light bulbs. If I don't change those fixtures, then the new 'more efficient' CFL's ($4-14 each) will cost me at least $48 per year.

And what about the environmental impact?

According to the EPA, the maximum contamination level (MCL) of mercury a human can have in water is 0.002 mg/L. SOME CFLs have 1 mg of mercury...most have 3-5 mg. While that may not seem like a lot, lets say I replace 12 light bulbs a year - that's 36-60 mg of mercury in the local landfill. And that's just one house.

In 2000 the population of Elk Rapids was 2700. Let's play it safe: there are 2,000 people here. They only have five enclosed light fixtures in their homes - they have to replace those every year. That's 10,000 light bulbs, and and anywhere from 10,000 - 50,000 mg of mercury going into our landfills.

Okay, let's go a step further and say that EVERYONE in Elk Rapids disposes of the light bulbs properly (which isn't easy to do - the easiest way is to save them up and mail them to a disposal company, because most landfills won't accept them). So you get this box, you fill it with CFLs so you aren't dropping mercury in your own backyard.

So where does it go? Is it miraculously converted into something safe and useful?'s shipped overseas. They just dump the poison in someone else's yard.

Why does it make these people hypocrites?

Because as environmentalists talk about "green" standards for third world countries (because we need to save them!) they are dumping our toxic waste there at the same time. I can't even tell you how disturbed I was to read this.

Do your research (and that means opening your minds past what the government says and past what Fox News says). Start looking into these things - find out what's really happening. Because you aren't going to save yourself that much money, and while you may delay your own mercury poisoning for a while, you ARE poisoning someone else.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Scariest Driver

I know we've all experienced some pretty crazy drivers. I had a couple of friends in high school who tried to reach 100 mph on US 31 (yikes!). One of those guys also tried to take a corner at 40 mph...on a dirt road. Surprisingly, he's still alive today. There are so many different types of drivers that I thought I'd list my "favorite" bad drivers.

- The Big Bertha...wrong driver. Sorry! Really, here I go:

- The Multi-tasker: she eats, smokes, talks on the phone, and drives.
- The Big Truck: he tailgates during ANY weather because he has a supercharged engine and four wheel drive.
- The Blue Hair: they can barely see over the dashboard, they're in no hurry, and they drive in the passing lane.
- The Teenager: do I really need to elaborate?

Today I got stuck behind the scariest driver I've met in a while: The Wacko.

It was overcast...she was wearing sunglasses. There was no rain, snow, or sleet...her windshield wipers were going at warp speed. The light was green...she sat there. I honked THREE times and she never moved. As soon as the light turned red she looked at me in the rear view mirror before going forward. Thankfully her brain returned to her body in time to avoid driving into on coming traffic.

I'll take one of those other drivers any least I know what motivates them. I have no idea what was wrong with this lady or why she was driving like that, but I breathed a sigh of relief when she pulled into a parking lot.

Sure, I'm all about stopping drunk driving. K.A.D.D.! (Karin Against Driving Drunk) But I'm also a founding member of K.A.R.I.N. - Karin Against Raving Idiots Nearly-killing-people-because-they're-too-zoned-to-drive

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Three years ain't what they used to be...

I remember when I was 21...then 22, 23, wasn't that big of a deal. I graduated college, moved, got a job, moved...then moved a couple of more times. It was no big deal. Moving in and out of my dorm when I was 21 was no better or worse then moving into a new house when I was 24.

Fast forward a few years...

In 2006 my newly-married self moved again. No problems. But a couple of days later my hip hurt, so I went to visit a chiropractor. I brushed it off. No biggie.

Three and half years later, at the ripe-ol'-age of 31, I am moving again (the last time for at least three years - we bought a house!). It's been a long, slow process (I won't go into the details), but instead of taking a weekend to move, we've had to haul a few boxes here and there. It should be easier, because there's not one big "do-it-all" day, right?

Heck to the no.

I'm tired. I ache. My legs are sore. My back is sore. I feel so OLD! Moving never felt like this before. I packed, I moved - done. Oh, hoh, hoh! Not this time. I'm so tired of packing and moving and re-packing and moving that I'm considering letting the landlords keep everything that's left in the house. Then I can just order new stuff and some nice man will ship it right to my door. Ahhhh :)

Seriously though, I'd love to tell you more, but I can barely keep my eyes open. I mean, it's already 7:10. After the Wheel I might stay up to catch Alex, but then I'm off to bed!