spring break

So it’s spring break here at SPU, and I’m enjoying some time off.  Hanging out with my sister, going to LA…and I think breaking from the blog for a week.  I’m doing everything I can to stay off my computer, and signing on every night to blog about my day just sucks me in even further.  So I hope everyone has a lovely week, whatever you might be doing with it, and I’ll see you when I get back.

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Thursday, March 13

So at least 3 times now I’ve mentioned this Chicken Fajita Casserole recipe that I’m in love with right now, and I’ve had a couple of friends request it.  So, here it is, straight from “The New Holly Clegg Trim and Terrific Cookbook“.   

 

1 1/2 cups fat free chicken broth
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1-10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
1-4 oz can diced green chilies, drained
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, chopped
1 red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
10-6- to 8- inch flour tortillas, cut into quarters
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks and cooked
1 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a simmer.

In a small bowl, whisk the milk into the flour to make a smooth paste. Add to the chicken broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook until thickened and smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, and stir in the yogurt, tomatoes, and green chilies, diced green chilies, chili powder, and oregano. Season with the salt and pepper; set aside.

In a medium skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, sauté the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until tender. Line the bottom of a shallow 3-quart baking dish with half the tortillas. Sprinkle half the chicken and half the onion mixture over the tortillas. Spoon half the sauce evenly on the top. Repeat the layers, ending with the cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly. Serve.

Lost tonight was sad and touching and utterly confusing (although in sharper color than ever thanks to my new Sony Bravia).  If anyone has any ideas as to what is going on, please fill me in.

Wednesday, March 12

I’ve been keeping up fairly regularly with the dooce blog for several months now, since JJ introduced me.  She’s brilliant.  I wrote her an email to let her know that she’s my hero, because somewhere on her website it says that she reads every email she gets, even though she doesn’t always respond, so I’m clinging to that and assuming she now knows that a girl from Arkansas, living in Seattle, thinks she’s real neat.  She’s been writing lately about the South By Southwest Festivals being held in Austin, TX this month.  The music festival is probably the biggest and well known of the festivals, and it kicks off today, but for the last several days there has been an “interactive festival” highlighting the newest in media technology.  As one of the world’s premiere bloggers, the creator of dooce, Heather Armstrong, attended the festival both to present and accept awards at this year’s “Bloggies“.

Can you imagine winning awards for your blog?  Or making enough money from selling ads on the thing that you’re able to quit your job and live comfortably, merely uploading several pictures and telling a few witty stories each day?  Honestly, dream come true.  And that’s why she’s my hero.

On a side note, I ate two excellent meals today, both lunch and dinner.  And now I’m stuffed, and shouldn’t need to eat until next Tuesday.

And if you’ve emailed me lately and I haven’t responded, it’s not because I’m ignoring you.  The hall closes on Saturday (!), and things are a little hectic right now.  Julie, I’m editing that cover letter tomorrow, and Megan, I’m digging up that Chicken Fajita Casserole recipe for you.

Monday and Tuesday, March 10 and 11

Yesterday was rough, but then it got better.  End scene.

Today was a good day.  Good student meetings, good massage, good dinner with friends, good Bible study.

But the highlight of my day…was this:

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A few years ago my parents started purchasing HD TVs.  They now have a couple, which is smart, because in February 2009, according to a law passed in 2006, all television signals will switch from analog to High Def signals, and old TVs won’t work without a converter box that can be purchased from the government…sketchy.

Anyway, since my parents bought their first HD TV I’ve been thinking about making the purchase myself.  I mean, I could see Nemo’s scales.  And Mike Rowe’s ruggedly handsome wrinkles.  Unfortunately, the sets have been astronomically priced…until now.    Joel and I went browsing at Fry’s Electronics on Saturday night – we’re quite the party couple – and lo, and behold, there was the perfect set, on sale for about 2/3 the normal price.   I went home, did all my price comparisons, checked out Consumer Reports and cNet for the 152 time, and today we went back and made the purchase.  After two years of musing, and one solid year of intense thought, I am now the proud owner of a high-definition flat screen television, with only about 90 seconds of buyers remorse.  Hello, 21st century.

So my old TV, the one that I vaguely remember my parents buying at some point during my elementary schools years, is looking for a new home.  I’m looking at it right now, tucked against my living room wall, looking rather lifeless.  This TV, which weighs approximately 300 pounds, has been a loyal friend.  From my parents’ house to my grad school apartments in Fayetteville, and then all the way up to Seattle, the picture has never waivered, the sound has never gone out, and the wood trim has remained unscathed for somewhere between 15 and 20 years.  It has been my roommate, my therapist, my teacher, my link to the outside world.  It reminds me of home when I look at it.  I know it’s silly, but I think that, if I had the space for it, I’d store it away somewhere in my apartment and pull it out every now and then, when I’m feeling homesick or nostalgic.  It will be embarassingly hard to see it go.

But for now, I’ll finish up The West Wing, in surround sound and vivid color display, and eagerly await the arrival of free HD next February. 

Saturday and Sunday, March 8 and 9

Things that made me smile this weekend:

Visiting my adopted Seattle family – Chris’s big brother, sister-in-law, and their kids – in Puyallup this weekend.

Homemade quesadillas.

Violins. 

Trampolines.

Birthday cake.

Haircuts.

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Enchiladas in North Bend with Joel’s family.

Thoughtful surprises (but not spontaneity).

Shopping for new TVs.

Being able to be a chatterbox with someone who (claims to) like it. 

Shaolin Soccer.

Having a boyfriend who treats me really, really well.

Church.

Getting to hold the newest church baby, Vita.

Lunch with Michael.

Visiting Melissa at work.

Hanging out with Dana.

Being able to open my home to friends who need a place to study/eat/talk/sleep.

Spending the entire weekend eating myself and others out of house and home.

Friday, March 7

This evening my friends Melissa and Peggy came over.  We made Chicken Fajita Casserole, which is slowly becoming one of my favorite dishes, and we watched the movie Once.  Melissa had rented it a few days ago because she saw Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova give their acceptance speech for best original song on the Oscars.  She said that she watched it and immediately knew it would be a film I would enjoy.  I admit, I was skeptical.  I mean, I love a good indie film, and I enjoy a solid musical score, but I didn’t get her insistence that this was a “paula movie” until the end.  That’s when the screen went to credits and things ended and…it wasn’t perfect.  I was left to imagine what life brought to these people who had been so authentic and vulnerable throughout the entire film that it was almost like watching two of my friends negotiate their way through an awkward romance.

I don’t enjoy can’t stand to watch most romantic comedies because a) they tend to be based on series of events that are at best unlikely but even more typically unfathomable, and b) everything tends to get tied up with a nice bow at the end.  Real life doesn’t work that way, and I refuse to be fooled into thinking otherwise.  Life is hard.  Relationships are hard.  And there is infinite hope and beauty within that hardship.  I’d always much rather watch a film that recreates real beauty, rather than manufacturing false hope.

Having said that, here’s the song that won best Oscar. 

Watching this made me want to move to Dublin.  Or the Irish countryside.  To live in a castle.

Thursday, March 6

Today a student called me “dear”.  I’ve never met this student before in my life.  He came into my office, asked to borrow a pen, and when he returned it, he said, “Here you go, dear.”  I’ve been thinking for the better part of the day about what this means.  Maybe he’s from the South and is used to referring to everyone as “dear” and “darling”.  I’m fairly certain this isn’t true, because I think I have tabs on all the southerners on campus, and besides that southern men don’t use the phrase “dear” so much as they do “darling”.  Do I look so young that an adolescent feels the need to refer to me with this term of endearment?  Doubtful.  More likely I appear so much older that he used it in the same way he might if addressing his grandmother.  Or maybe the kid is just strange kind and polite.