Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Husbands say the darndest things

“Honey, I’m not trying to nag you. I’m just showing you this because you said that I have ruined all your underwear in the laundry – which, by the way, is SO not true.”

I hold up one of my new shirts, worn only a couple of times. It’s completely perfect, except for a big bleach stain below the elbow of its turquoise sleeve.

“I had this hanging up to dry and you must have brushed against it with that deer skull you were bleaching in the laundry room.”

“Oh man,” says Brian. “I’m sorry.” He picks up the damaged sleeve and examines it. “Do you want me to fix it?”

“You can’t get out bleach stains, babe.”

“No, I know. But I can cut off the bad part. I’ll do it on the other sleeve, too. I’ll make it one of those – you know – Capri shirts.”

Oh, you'd think three sisters would have taught him clothing terms. Thank goodness he's so gosh darn cute.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hide me in the shadow of your wings

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19)

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? … So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-34, abbreviated)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

My desire this morning is that when God chooses to bless me with a trial today, I will not shove away his hand like a spoiled child. “No, God. This is NOT in your will for me, and I just know it. So take away this momentary suffering and bring me back my happiness.” Anything that You can bring me to draw me nearer to you is the greatest blessing. Help me to accept, trust, and obey, and to do it with joy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

...And now it's got a stinking dent in it!

New Year’s Eve, 2009

Brian: “You straightened your hair.”

Me: “Yeah, I used Erin’s straightener. I thought it was kind of different.” (Flips hair around.) “You like it?”

Brian: “Well… um… I like it curly.” His voice lilts up at the end as though he is in trouble.

Me: (Offended) “Well, you don’t have to insult me. It’s just temporary.”

Brian: “Honey, it looks fine. I just think it’s really nice when it’s curly.”

Me: “Fine. I’ll never straighten it again.”

Brian: (Penitent) “Babe, you’re beautiful, no matter what.”

I graciously smile. All is forgiven.

Several days later, I am thinking about this brief conversation. I experience a change of heart. Brian is sweet, I think, to appreciate my hair curly, in its natural form. Usually I straighten my hair and then use a big curling iron to style it, but when I haven’t got the time, I scrunch it. It’s kind of messy and uneven, but hey! Brian says he LIKES it that way.

I don’t need to jazz up my hair for him to think I look nice. He prefers it natural. What a guy. What a sweetheart.

I am thinking this as I work mousse through my hair after my shower. Throughout the afternoon, I let it air dry. That night, I smile at him across the dinner table. “I’m wearing my hair like you said you like it,” I tell him. “It’s curly!”

He looks up at me and scrunches his face. “Not THAT kind of curly,” he whines. He takes another bite. "That’s FRIZZY curly.”

So, with a gentle smile, I get out my curling iron like the sweet wife that I am.

And I give him a nice bonk on the head!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wonderwife Recipe: Cheesy Breakfast Rolls

It’s 9:30 on a Saturday morning and Brian has been working in the yard since 7:00 AM. After sleeping in, having a leisurely cup of coffee, and getting myself somewhat dressed, I’ve realized that my hard-working husband might just want something to eat. “HEY!” I yell out the garage door. “WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR BREAKFAST?” From the edge of the yard I hear him call, “I don’t care!”

Normally, I’d fry up some potatoes and sausage – but we had that for dinner last night. So in brilliance, I decide to whip up some sausage breakfast rolls.

This recipe falls under the category of "Fun Things to Do with Bread Dough”. The recipe for the dough I use here is one of THE easiest things to make. I adapted it from the very famous “No Knead Bread” recipe, and I use it for a TON of things. It makes great pizza dough, focaccia bread, and bread bowls for soup. And depending on how much yeast you put in, you can make it as far in advance as twenty-four hours (a scant ¼ teaspoon), or as quickly as one hour ahead (a heaping teaspoon, as you’ll see here). And no KitchenAid mixer is necessary.

We’ve no time to waste! Who knows how much longer he’ll be out there?

DISCLAIMER: I have no idea how many people this will feed. If I were making it for eight, I’d triple it. The nice thing is that this is a “by feel” recipe, and it doubles/triples/etc. pretty well. I thought we might have leftovers, but, um, the two of us ate it all. I might consider it enough for a normal breakfast for me and three friends, along with some fruit and maybe some eggs, but you never know how much Brian will eat. Never.

Let’s start with two cups of flour. I use bread flour, which makes a crustier and chewier bread, but you can certainly substitute all-purpose.

Next, add a heaping teaspoon of yeast. We’re gonna give this bread a ROCKET RISE!

And do NOT forget the salt! A heaping teaspoon, please.

Mix these three ingredients, and start running your hot tap water. This bread dough has only four ingredients, including water, and I think that’s wonderful.

Pour in one cup of HOT water – tap hot, not microwaved or anything. See the ratio? One cup of water to two cups of flour. Half as much water as flour. Easy.

Now mix it all together. I recommend using a butter knife for this, which I’ve found is the easiest tool for the job.

Put a lid on it and let ‘er sit around for about an hour.

Now, go to the freezer to retrieve your sausage. And realize, to your horror, that you’re OUT OF SAUSAGE! Maybe because you used it up last night when you made sausage and potatoes!

So think of a backup plan.

How about ham? Ham and cheese are always good together. I guess if worse came to worst, you could just use cheese. Or blueberry jelly. Or maybe I just don’t know what I’m talking about.

Deli ham will be just fine. In fact, it will be downright delicious.

An hour or so later, your dough will be ready. And thankfully, Brian is still outside, so we’ve got some time.

Cover your surface with lots of flour. You’ll need to use a knife on this surface, so if you have any love for your kitchen counter, use a cutting board.

Scrape out the sticky mess - and keep your flour handy!

You’ll need to get out your ham and cheese – any cheese will do, but I wouldn’t recommend using any fancy, expensive cheese. In this case, cheaper actually TASTES BETTER, if you can believe it. And finally, collect these three very important ingredients:

Garlic powder, onion powder, and seasoned salt. This is the Axis of Flavor. Buy them if you lack them, because you need these if you’re going to be doing ANY cooking with bread dough.

Briefly knead the dough and pat it out a little bit. Keep your flour handy.

Grab a pan and liberally oil it. I’m using a 7” x 11” pan here.

Sprinkle it lightly with the Axis of Flavor.

Now, oil your hands and pat the dough into a rough rectangle.

Sprinkle it lightly with your three seasonings. GO EASY ON THE SALT, because ham and cheese are already salty things. Overall, keep it light, to be on the safe side.

You only want enough for a FLAVOR EXPLOSION!

Now, cheese it up. I’m using cheddar and – because I didn’t have enough of that – I’m also using plain old American cheese. Because I’m a patriot, and because it’s GOOD. Don’t hate.

Layer on your ham. I don’t have quite two layers here. Don’t go too heavy. Your dough rectangle is kind of thin.

Finally, more cheese never hurt anyone!

Except maybe people who are lactose intolerant.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 F.

Now oil your hands and roll ‘er up, starting on the LONG side. Where it sticks to the board, use your oiled fingers to gently loosen it. If it tears, that’s alright.

Now with a sharp knife, cut the roll into eight pieces. These are about 1 ½ inches thick. Place them in the prepared pan. At this point, you will think the dough looks AWFULLY thin and everything just looks generally weird, but TRUST it!

Bake for 40 minutes or until browned.

Oh. Baby.

DISCLAIMER: the dog did not eat this after this photo was taken. I DID.

DISCLAIMER: I had another one after that.

And then Brian, finally, came in.


P.S. If I had made this according to the original plan, I would have cooked up a pound of breakfast sausage and crumbled it over the cheese instead of using ham. It, too, would have been downright darn good.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Kathleen asked me earlier this month what my New Year’s resolutions were. I didn’t answer her, because I just hadn’t decided yet.

I’m very particular about my resolutions for the New Year. They must meet the following three criteria:

1. There must not be too many of them. Ideally, there should be between one and two.
2. They must be flexible to account for my inconstant nature. BAD: “I’ll read my Bible every day.” (After about thirteen days, I will miss a day, and then I will not crack it open again for two months.) GOOD: “I’m going to read more Scripture.”
3. They must be really noble and courageous-sounding. Otherwise, what will people think of me?

I gave myself until the end of January to decide on my resolutions, and after much careful thought, here they are. Don’t expect me to update you all on how I’m doing… unless, of course, I’m rocking it, and then I will totally brag.

(In all seriousness, here they are: )

1. Stop letting what I FEEL like doing keep me from what I WANT to be doing. For example, I WANT to use the Rosetta Stone software (that I convinced Brian to let me buy) to learn Spanish, but darn it, I never FEEL like it. I never FEEL like having my devotions, but I desperately WANT to be closer to the Lord. I REALLY WANT to finish my beach dress in time for our Bahamas trip, but whenever I have time to work on it, I only FEEL like spending time on Facebook. I WANT to be in shape, but I eat whatever I FEEL like eating and never FEEL like working out. I could go on and on. I know this will be a lifelong pursuit – developing discipline, that is – but when I look at things with this perspective, I’m encouraged. And it’s a new year.

2. Stop complaining. There’s nothing for me to complain about. Anything. Ever. I may get all venti-ish on this blog, but truly, I am so blessed. And I’m hoping that by stemming the flow of complaints that streams out of my mouth, God will do the work inside to change the attitude of my heart.

These may be my only two resolutions for the rest of my life, because I don’t see myself perfecting either of them in 2010. But that’s okay. There’s always 2011, and since we may not be around to witness 2013, what does it matter anyway?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Not necessarily money down the drain, just money draining through the nose.

I wanted so badly to take a video of Brian using the Neti pot for the first time. I wanted to post it here and let the world laugh along with me! Because after using the Neti pot, he didn’t clean the bathroom counter very well - and as you will certainly agree, that deserves the highest form of punishment and ridicule possible!

I bought a $14 NasaFlo Neti Pot at Walmart, which came with about twenty packets of "USP Grade Sodium Chloride & Sodium Bicarbonate in a pH Balanced & Isotonic Solution" to stir into the warm water before pouring it into your brain. In English, I have learned that that is "salt and baking soda". Anyway, this pot is especially effective because it supposedly uses a special “free-flow gravity method” to clear your sinuses – a significant improvement over those pots which have NOT thought to use the gravity method, and therefore cannot keep the saline solution from floating all over your bathroom.

Brian used the pot once and graciously let me watch him do it. While he hacked it up into the bathroom sink, I was everything a wife should be – cackling, obnoxious, and taunting. But he persevered, and eventually he was draining his nostrils like a pro. This should encourage you that YES, YOU TOO can go out and purchase a Neti pot TODAY and before bedtime can so perfect your technique that you could be a garden fountain!

Unfortunately, the Neti pot was not an instant cure for his cold. I suspect my hopes were a bit too high, though, so I’m not ready to write it off completely. The main problem is that he just doesn’t like using it, and though I haven’t tried it myself (and am too much of a wuss to think that I ever will), I DON’T CARE. We spent $14 of our grocery budget on that plastic teapot, and by golly, I won’t let him retire that thing until he’s gotten it down to about five cents per use.

(Really, though, it’s not a problem to get him to use it again. All I have to do is get tired of it sitting next to the sink, pack it up in its box, and put it away. Before I know it, it will find its way back all over the bathroom counter.)

(I love you, Brian. I’m just teasing you.)

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Soon I’ll update you on the (non)success of Brian’s Neti pot. I actually meant to do that today, but I just got back in the house from my afternoon walk with Bo and I wanted to talk about that. Seems like I write so rarely about Bo, and it’s because I just don’t ever think I can find words to describe what Brian and I find so cute and funny about him. I’m sure part of it is the typical owner-exclusive love one has for their pet, and of course the other part is just that Bo is the best dog on the planet.

Anyway, Bo and I were greeted by an unusual sight today as we made our mid-day trip to the lake. Twenty geese or so, who usually taunt Bo as they swim near the shore, stood on the edge of completely frozen water, looking unsure of themselves. The lake hasn’t frozen over in the years that we’ve lived here, and sure enough, Bo instantly recognized that it was now possible for him to chase those geese as far as he wanted.

He raced toward the edge of the ice and the geese, very much alarmed, took flight and landed with several clacks in the middle of the frozen lake. I could imagine Bo crashing through the ice and so I demanded he stop. He screeched to a halt and looked longingly at the group of birds just walking around out there. Dismayed, he gave me an angry pout and turned away. He bent his nose to the ground and examined a pile of fresh goose poop. He took a long, fervent sniff and then, like a woman pressing a love letter to her heart, passionately lowered his upper body and gave a great roll.

“Bo!” I cried. He looked up quickly and stopped, but across his face was an enormous smile. Across his neck was a large green smear.

This was the second time in two days that he had done this. I suppose he must realize that it’s the coldest winter in Raleigh since, oh, 1843, and that I just adore getting soaked with the hose when I have to wash him off. And as much as he despises bath time, he hasn’t yet made the connection between rolling in poop and getting sprayed off with 33 degree water.

I told him to leave it and he did, but the deed had been done and his fate had been sealed. I returned to the house grimly, and Bo trotted ahead like a boy who’d just applied some sweet camouflage face paint and was off to play soldiers in the woods.

Once home, I collected the shampoo, leash, and towel while he continued to frolic. It was then, when he heard the hose turn on, that his energy was instantly drained. He fell to the ground and rolled onto his back, ears back, praying desperately. His tongue nervously licked his nose. I couldn’t help laughing, and I crouched down to rub his belly. “I’m not mad at you, Bo,” I said gently. “I just can’t leave that poop on your face.”

Oh, but he was a dying soldier, a fearful martyr, an abused child at the hands of the Devil himself! He blinked his eyes very slowly before closing them completely. He was very still.

He was perfectly pathetic.

I slipped the leash around his neck. “Come on, Bo,” I said. He picked himself up and slunk over to meet me. In less than a minute, I was finished and he bounded up to the deck, once again the ball of energy I’m used to. I heard him scamper above me while I rinsed off my hands and turned off the hose. I walked up the stairs, grinning, while he waited happily for me to towel him off in the sunlight.

As I rubbed him down, he pressed his head into my stomach and gave me a look of great adoration – almost as lovingly as he’d looked at those geese from the shore. I smiled back at this crazy mass of dog, this baby I’ve got.

And it was just another adventure of Maegan and the Bo-Dog.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Because of Dwight Shrute, I thought these things were a JOKE.

I can understand now why Brian is such a bear when I spend the night tossing and turning. While it usually wouldn't be a problem for me to share a bed with, say, an operating printing press, last night was WAY BAD. I now know how he feels.

(One night, Brian dreamed he was kicking a barnyard pig back into its pen. He woke up and realized he was kicking me... as hard as he could. But I digress.)

Brian and I have come down with colds. His, I believe, is much worse than mine. And last night he was up every twenty minutes - I'm not kidding - clearing his throat, raucously expelling mucus, blowing his nose, sucking up nasal spray, and doing all kinds of walking around. I couldn't stay asleep at all. Can you believe it? The nerve. You bet I was annoyed. In my own NyQuil-induced drowsiness, I nearly cried, "Would you please start breathing through your NOSE and NOT WAKING UP ANYMORE?!"

As though he hadn't thought of doing that. What do I know? Maybe he'd even tried that.

Now I'm feeling sorry for my inward cruelty.

Anyway, Brian called me this morning and told me that a coworker had shared a magical remedy: the Neti pot. I'm off to buy one for my breathing- and sleep-challenged husband. I'll let you know how it works. And maybe - just maybe, if God doesn't judge me for last night's attitude - the Neti pot will be the remedy for MY sleep problem, too.