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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Back to your lives citizens!

Hello from Hilliard! Dang! It's been a while! We're here in Hilliard, Ohio. We live in the same town and ward as Jason's sister, Rachel. In fact, it's about a mile and a half door to door. Jason is working for an insurance company as a contractor right now, but we're hoping that he'll be able to find a salaried position soon. We're adjusting to life in Ohio, it has been a little easier for some of us than for others. Boo started school in October, yes, October is a bit late, but for the program that he is in, he had to go through quite a few tests and a home visit and such. But he's in preschool and he goes four days a week. It's been a wonderful change! He talks more so he doesn't get so frustrated, if you ask him a question, he will answer you most of the time. And his self control is getting better, he follows directions better than he used to, home life with him is so much better! In other news, I turned the big 3-0 just a week ago! I was jokingly calling it "the first anniversary of my 29th birthday". But it truly was a joke, since I don't really care if people know that I'm 30. I'm still younger than Jason and when I wear my glasses (and since I have braces), I look like I'm 15. Adjusting to life in Ohio has been a bit harder for me than I expected. It's hard being back east after living out west for the last ten years! I've had my own way of doing things and Jason and I had our way making our little family function (somewhat dysfuntionally from time to time, but then, whose life doesn't have a little dysfunction once in a while?) and now, we have to re-figure all of that out! Now that we're a little more settled, with our stuff instead of borrowing from Jason's sister and now having most of what we got rid of in the move replaced, things are calming down. Now on to other matters. I will remind you that I am a REGISTERED Democrat, however, I have not always been. I went through what I've decided amounted to an existential crisis, starting when I was about 20 years old...so back in the day! :) I went through a rather extensive period of intense soul searching, and that included spiritual and political opinions. I went through a period of time when I didn't want anything to do with the church that I had been raised in my entire life. I had decided I was going to be a Baptist, they just seemed more open minded than the Mormons that I was surrounded by at the time. I had even started meeting with the Pastor of a local Baptist church and getting ready to convert, I ended up not going through with it, because of various things but the whole experience led me to ask questions of myself and I needed to sort things out for myself instead of just be told what to believe. I asked quite a few questions and on a number of different levels, I already knew the answers. I needed to figure out who I was, why I'm here, and what my beliefs were and are. I knew that I'm a child of God and I'm here to be tested in order to return to the presence of Him again, but I also needed to decide who I was as a human being. That seemed to be harder than the spiritual part! Both of my parents are Republicans and so I just assumed that I was too! No. It took me a while and some studying to realize this, but I am a Democrat. I am for a small military, but anti-war. I am Pro-choice, I do think that those with more should help those with less and those who make more money should pay more in taxes. However, I will say that if you donate that money to help those who need it, and that allows for you to pay less in taxes, then good on ya! I am also for marriage equality and income equality. The issue that I had with realizing all of this was that, due to some of the opinions of the people I was surrounded by at the time, I had difficulty reconciling my political self with my spiritual self. Then I remembered that one of the teachings of the Mormon church is of Free Agency, I have to right and the ability to make choices for my life. I am not forced to believe or feel one way or another. This has been a great thing to remember over the years. You can rant and rave at me and I will listen but in the end, I will make my own choices. Now, that said, I have some potentially harsh words for the remainder of this post...brace yourselves...you ready? Okay, here we go! My issue with the recent election cycle (speaking as a voter in the great state of Ohio, and for at least this election, a key battleground state, thank HEAVENS that's over!) was that it seemed that there were some people who were really trying to force their religious beliefs down our collective throats. Things like supporting candidates who would like to see Roe v. Wade repealed and have no exceptions for cases of rape or incest, thus FORCING a woman to potentially carry her rapist's baby. Now, another bit of religious information. Something else we are taught in the Mormon church is that before we came to earth we were presented two plans. One by Christ in which we would be able to exercise our agency and be given CHOICE and hope that we would make the right choices, but if we made the wrong choice and did not repent, then we would have to live with the consequences of that wrong choice. The other plan was that of Satan in which we would be FORCED to choose the right...there would not be opposition and thus no need to have consequences since we would only have one direction to go. Now, while I would hope that a woman would carry a baby to term and place it for adoption no matter the circumstances, I am certainly not going to stop them from exercising their CHOICE, and I do not believe that anyone has that right to tell a person what to do with their own body. They have their agency and it should be respected! Also, the fact that the Majority stood up and made a CHOICE as to the President of this country should be respected and not belittled in any way! Something else that was bothering me, a few of my friends on FB were posting about their displeasure about the outcome of the election. I hate to break it to you but President Obama is our President and he is our duly elected leader TWICE, not appointed once and elected once. That's fine if you don't agree with the majority, but please do NOT tear down the decisions of the majority for making that choice. More religion coming at you: we, as Mormons have these things called "The Articles of Faith" which are really just short passages that summarize what we believe. One, the 12th one (there are 13)says this: "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law." So that's fine if you don't agree with him, but you still have to respect the office. And finally, just a little thing. Maybe some people just haven't studied other religions or maybe they have but only superficially, or maybe they went a little deeper and just didn't have the benefit of an awesome Seminary teacher (sorry, another Mormon thing!) like I did when my mom was my teacher. But I also grew very tired of people over this election cycle, and also the previous one, for that matter going on, and ooonnn, and ooooooonnnnnnn about "Obama's father was a Muslim so he's a Muslim." Or, "he quoted the Koran and he speaks of his Muslim relatives, so he must be Muslim..." Well, first things first. Traditionally, religion follows through the mother, whatever the mother is, the baby is. Mother is Christian, baby is Christian. Mother is Jewish, baby is Jewish. Mother is...well, you get the idea! And, as to quoting from a book other than the Bible therefore you must belong to that faith, well, then I must be a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Tibetan Buddhist, since I have quoted at least once from the texts used by the first three religions listed there, and I've read "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" and have quoted His Holiness the Dalai Lama (that is his proper title). I believe that to be a well-rounded person, you need to understand where other people are coming from and what has shaped who they are! Alright, I know that was a little all over the place and took on a decidedly political tone, and I'm not going to pretend that I am not THRILLED to bits and pieces that President Obama was re-elected, though I'm sorry so many seemed so depressed by Romney's loss. But, I hope that we will be able to find common ground once again and work together to heal the divisions in our nation, and hopefully, we'll remember that we are human beings and citizens of this country and we have a whole host of wonderful liberties that other governments do not allow their citizens! I'm looking forward to the Holiday season and celebrating with family and friends! I hope this finds everyone happy and healthy! We'll talk again soon! TTFN! Ta Ta For Now! --Meredith:)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Running, News, Politics and General Thoughts on Life!

Hello from Michigan! So, we've officially left Reno. We rolled out of town on July 16 and arrived at my parent's house on Friday July 20. That was a L...O...N...G drive across this surprisingly vast country (it doesn't look that big in a map book!)! Nebraska is NOT a fun state to drive across! Very flat and very boring! But we made it! As of right now, our house in Reno is in Escrow to close on August 24! Not much to say about that! Conventional sales go much faster than short sales! It's nice! Maybe that was why I got the distinct feeling that we were supposed to go through with buying the house in the first place, we were supposed to do the hard work of waiting for a short sale to go through so that we could turn around and provide someone else with an easy home buying experience! News events that I've been thinking about lately (since I'm done packing, unpacking and repacking for a long enough time that I can think about these things!!). First, the guy who opened fire on Sikh Temple during Sunday service. The police have started revealing some details about the gunman. He was in the military (I forget which branch) but was dishonorably discharged and used to front a "white supremacist heavy metal band"...Somehow, the latter bit of information didn't surprise me. I find it sad that there are still people out there who still think that because someone worships differently than you do means that they must be evil and need to be removed! This country is a melting pot, and it's what makes this country so wonderful! Sadly, there are still some people out there trying to sour the pot. Another news event that I've been thinking about...The Chick-Fil-A dust-up. I know I'm a little late to the game since the actual protests have come and gone. From what I understand, the owner of the company stated that he believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman. That's fine if he believes that the religious definition of marriage is that it is a union between one man and one woman. My issue is that there are quite a few people who are trying to outlaw same sex unions based on their religious beliefs, and that's fine if your religion doesn't allow same sex marriage, mine doesn't, and that's fine. But the thing with outlawing versus legalizing same sex unions is that people are NOT asking churches to recognize these Unions, they are asking the government, but many people don't understand that these two things have been/are/and should remain separate. The fact is, members of the LGBT community are NOT trying to "destroy the family" in fact, many of these wonderful people are trying to have a family of their own and in some states you can't do that without being in a legal union! All these people who are in love and want to be together want is A PIECE OF PAPER!! And with that piece of paper they want the rights afforded hetero couples when they get that same piece of paper! Things like parental rights, and survivor benefits! I don't fully understand why people have a problem with other people wanting the same rights as everyone else, purely based on just whom they choose to share their lives with! So, this is more of a news and politics post...I haven't done much running since moving, I've gone running twice, hopefully, tonight I can go out for a run again! The kids and I are heading down to Ohio on Wednesday to see Jason and so I can go to the Orthodontist, and we can start figuring out where we want to live! Anyway, still settling into life in Michigan, as best we can, anyway...since we're still in a state of what I've decided to call "locational upheaval"! I think that's all! TTFN! Ta Ta For Now! --MS:)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A shorter chapter than we thought...

Hello again from Reno! First things first...Running! I have now completed the two races that I had been training for! Ran in Odyssey, that was a lot of fun, I met some really cool people who are crazy in some of the same ways that I am crazy! (we all like to run distance, in case you were wondering!)...The conditions were certainly less than ideal, 90 degrees the last day during the last legs of the race for at least the last half (including myself) of the runners on my team! And I just finished running in the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Half Marathon! I got to run that with my dad, it was an awesome time! The hills on the Seattle course were pretty killer, but otherwise, it was a really good time. Now, my dad and I are planning to run another race together! Although, I don't know how "together" it will be since we supposedly ran Seattle together, and I lost him somewhere between miles one and two and didn't see him again until I saw him waiting at the finish line for me! Now onto news...For those of you who are my friends on FB, or are family members, or best friends who, for some crazy reason, won't get on FB, (KIMBERLY!!), you already know that we recently closed on and moved into a nice townhouse, with a gorgeous yard that is fully fenced that the kids can play in...well, due to circumstances beyond our control, we are now moving to Ohio in the coming weeks. Long story short, Jason got in the way of a new project manager at work who was looking for his first kill and Jason got in the way....So, he applied to all two of the jobs that would have kept him here in Reno, one with a gaming company that would have had him travelling about 50% of the time...that just won't work since we have no family here and I am unwilling to do this parenting thing completely alone! So he started looking and applying to jobs in the Columbus, OH area...he's currently there doing interviews, and he's already got 3 offers on the table with I'm sure a few more to come, so the official decision of which job will be made by Jason on Friday. So, that's what I meant by thinking we were done with change for a while and then life came and said, "oh, hey, about the change being done, yeah, just kidding!" I have a meeting with a sales agent on Friday, I would love to use the realtor who helped us find this perfect house, but she only represents buyers...So, we're going to go ahead and sell our house that we just closed on and move back east so Jason can work and I can be near family! I think that's all for now! We'll talk again soon! TTFN! Ta Ta For Now!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Clarification

In relation to my previous post about Ann Romney and the comments made about her.

Ms. Rosen was not saying that a stay at home mom doesn't work, or that somehow being a stay at home mom is less work. What she was saying is that Mrs. Romney has not had to make that decision of should she stay home and potentially have ends not meet or should she go to work and be able to guarantee that her children have a roof over their heads, food on the table, shoes on their feet and hopefully go to college, with the help of grants and loans...

Ms. Rosen's comments were really just highlighting the fact that (assumed) GOP Nominee Romney and Mrs. Romney are out of touch with the average, middle class American family, which is true. Both Mr. and Mrs. Romney come from money and (though I can't say for certain) probably weren't under a mountain of student debt after they both graduated from Harvard... While President Obama did graduate from Harvard Law School, he went to community college for two years before completing his undergrad work at a 4 year University, and STILL came out of school with a mountain of student debt.

Mrs. Romney however is the wife of a former executive and former governor...how many of them are struggling to put food on the table and how many have to tell their kids, "sorry, we'd like to help you with college, but we just don't have the money"?? So, in that respect, Ms. Rosen was dead on, Mr. and Mrs. Romney really have no idea what it's like to have to make these tough choices that the average American family makes every single day!

So, I understand how Ms. Rosen's comments could be misinterpreted by some people, I also agree with what she said in that Mr. Romney is not right for this country when he has no clue what it's like to be middle class.

Alright, NOW that's all!

TTFN! Ta Ta For Now!

Training, Kids, Politics and Feminism in the 21st century

Hello from Reno!

Alright, first things first, TRAINING. It's going pretty well, I'm currently taking a little break from the long distances, I've been feeling a little burned out, just feeling like I have to run instead of WANTING to run...I've found that taking a short break helps to alleviate that burned out feeling. I'm currently running at between an 8:30 and a 10 minute mile.

Next, KIDS. The kids are getting bigger, Scarlett is talking more and more, sadly, she's learned the word "No", happily, she doesn't use it very often...yet. We are still working on potty training with Boo, he goes potty on the toilet, but he hasn't made the leap to telling us when he needs to go. Practice is progress! Also, he went for an assessment at a local Montessori school to see what level he would be and if he's ready for school. It went pretty well, he ran around like a crazy person, but that was mostly due to it being a new place that needed exploring. He did get into a little trouble when he threw a box with latches on it, he wanted it opened and didn't understand how the latches worked, so he threw the box on the ground, since in the rest of his sphere of understanding, if you throw something on the ground, it opens!

Finally, POLITICS and Feminism in the 21st CENTURY. Again, I am a registered Democrat, I believe that President Obama is a good man and a good president, he has done a very good job with the giant crap sandwich that he was given and done well despite other politicians' insistence on putting a pickle on that giant crap sandwich!

I don't agree with ALL things Democrat, though. For example, the remarks made by Ms. Hilary Rosen regarding Ann Romney. She made remarks to the effect that Mrs. Romney "hasn't worked a day in her life". Well, as the mother of just one boy, (I can't begin/don't want to imagine what it's like with FIVE, I can tell you that it's WORK!! And I don't know if it's the same with all boys, but with mine, it's both intense physical work, and mental work! With all the bending and lifting and pulling and holding in bear hugs, I am physically exhausted at the end of the day! Mentally, it's a lot of work, having to stay ten steps ahead of a child whose mind is a sponge, and figures things out VERY quickly!

As for staying at home to raise her children, rather than go out in the work force, I will tell you that unlike women of just a couple of generations ago, Mrs. Romney most likely took the counsel of her church leaders and her own desire to be there for her children into consideration and made that decision on her own!

For a long time the Feminist movement was about women getting BACK out of the kitchen after getting sent back home after men came home from WWII, and saying, "I did it before! Why can't I do it now that the husbands have returned?!?" There were still a large portion of women who stayed home with their children, though not always by choice. Then, it seemed that the pendulum swung the other way when women who stayed home and maintained a house and cared for their children day in and day out were portrayed as not having a brain or as being lazy not doing any work all day. Now, it seems that, with the exception of Ms. Rosen, people understand that women generally choose their own paths in life. Although, there are women who don't have the luxury (and I recognize that I am very fortunate to have a husband who works so I don't HAVE to, and I'm sure Mrs. Romney recognizes that she too, is very fortunate to have the life she does) of being able to choose whether they work outside the home or not. I know several of these women and I'm sure a lot of them would give anything to be able to stay home with their children.

I'm sure there will be a correction/clarification will be coming shortly from Ms. Rosen, but understand that she is just a very loud, less evolved voice among millions of other Democratic voters who do not believe as she does. Just as we (Democratic voters) understand that the entire Republican party does not necessarily believe as the nuts in the Tea Party.

That's all! Hope everyone is well!

TTFN! Ta Ta For Now!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Favorite Things Recipes!!

I went to an activity for church on Tuesday night where the theme was "Our Favorite Things" so I chose the recipes that I usually make for my birthday or other very special occasions!

Chicken With Artichoke Hearts

3-4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/4 c. Butter
1 4oz can of whole mushrooms (button mushrooms)
2 medium onions-thinly sliced
2 cans quartered artichoke hearts (NOT marinated, just in brine)
1/2 tsp. thyme (ground or leaves, it doesn't matter)
1/2 tsp. sweet basil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 bouillon cube

Cut chicken into bite size pieces brown slowly in butter. Drain mushrooms and reserve liquid. Add onions, artichokes (with liquid), mushrooms and seasonings. Dissolve bouillon cube in mushroom liquid and pour over chicken mixture. Cook for 5 minutes serve over rice with Sour Cream Sauce

Sour Cream Sauce

1 c. Sour Cream
2 Tbls. Chopped Parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbls. Lemon Juice

Stir!

Some quick notes:

I don't reserve the mushroom liquid and dissolve the bouillon cube, I just put it all in the pot together and simmer it just a touch longer to dissolve the bouillon.

And I use Calrose rice, sticky rice, it's just a preference thing...and I have served it with a side Caesar salad.

Fettuccine with Chicken and Zucchini

Saute garlic with 2-3 chicken breasts (cut into bite-size pieces)and 2-3 small zucchini in real butter--about 4 Tbls. Saute until chicken is no longer pink and lightly browned. Set aside.

First you make a roux, which is equal parts flour and butter (I generally use 3 Tbls of each). Then add a pint (16oz) of sour cream and a pint of half and half (stir frequently to avoid curdling). Sprinkle with liberal amounts of Parmesan and Romano cheeses. Add chicken to sauce and pour over a 1 lb. package of cooked Fettuccine noodles. Toss together and ENJOY!

Korean Marinated Steak

1 Scored Flank Steak
3 T. Sesame seeds
2 T. Cooking oil
1/2 c. Soy Sauce
2 cloves of garlic, Crushed (I use minced)
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 bunch green onions, chopped

Place steak in a ziploc bag. Mix up remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour in bag with the steak and put in the refrigerator for 3 hours(minimum)-overnight. Broil about 5-7 minutes per side.

Apple Oatmeal Crisp
• 2 cups brown sugar
• 2 cups rolled oats
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup butter, melted
• 6 cups apples - peeled, cored and chopped
• 1 cup white sugar
• 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.) Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, oats, flour and butter. Mix until crumbly. Place half of crumb mixture in pan. Spread the apples evenly over crumb mixture. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and top with remaining crumb mixture.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

My Notes: If you don’t want quite so much, cut the recipe in half and use an 8 inch square pan. Also, with the mixture that you place at the bottom of the pan, lightly press it into the pan. As for what kind of apples to use, I like Fuji, because they are sweet and tart and they stay a little crunchy after baking.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Soap Box

Hello from Reno!

First, some very exciting news! The Reno-Tahoe Odyssey is coming up in June, and I am running in it! I will be part of a 12 member team that will be running a relay that totals 178 miles! YAY!! Second, Jason and I are buying a house, we just opened escrow a couple of days ago and we are set to close on March 29th! It's a perfect house for our family at this point in our lives! A nice (fully fenced) yard that the kids can go and play in, and lots of USABLE space...our last house was full of completely useless space!

Okay, now up onto my soap box I climb! Some things you need to know about me: I am a REGISTERED Democrat. I tried to believe what the Republican Party believes but it just didn't mesh with my own personal convictions. I believe it is the responsibility of those with more to help those with less, and to work to lift them up so that they can improve their circumstances, not just for themselves but for their children. Next, I am pro-choice, I firmly believe in a woman's right to choose what is right for her body and her family. However, if I get pregnant, I believe that that child is being sent by God to our family for a reason, so to terminate a pregnancy is not the choice that I would make for my body and my family, but if that is the choice you are making, I certainly won't stop you, however, I will talk to you and make sure you have considered other options.

Now, the final thing. There has been a big dust up in the news about the Susan G. Komen Foundation cutting its funding to Planned Parenthood. I cannot reasonably support an organization that is willing to play politics with the lives of women they are supposed to be protecting! The money the Komen Foundation provides to Planned Parenthood is used for a variety of different things. This includes breast exams (to detect breast cancer, you know, the disease that the Komen Foundation is working to cure!), but also, tests like PAP smears to detect other cancers, and I'm sure the money is also used to provide low income women with contraception and help (like counseling) when they have nowhere else to go!

And now, after the hellfire of public opinion has opened their eyes, the Komen Foundation has changed its mind and has decided to once again help in funding Planned Parenthood. This is not, as I saw one person phrase it, "caving to the liberals", it is DOING WHAT IS RIGHT! So if doing what is right is "caving to the liberals" then I'm glad they "caved"!

Now, if you read this and get offended, that's your right! I don't care if you agree with me, I do care that you do what you need to in order to come to your own conclusions and decide what you personally believe, don't just follow what you think people want you to follow!

TTFN! Ta Ta For Now

--MS:)--