The Adventures of Zeb

Welcome to the adventures of Zeb. Zeb is, of course, the lobster I killed last night after lots of prayer and a glass of wine. Okay, two glasses of wine. I would have been able to do it minus the vino had Zeb been dead upon purchase. But if you buy a dead lobster, let’s be honest; there’s really no reason to name him.

After much research on the subject of boiling a lobster, I realized two things. One, I can do this. And two, researching anything online leads you to some pretty interesting websites. See below:

Some say that you can ‘hypnotize’ a lobster by rubbing the top of its head or its abdomen, thereby pacifying it before boiling. The theory is that the adrenaline produced by a frightened lobster adversely affects the texture and flavor of the meat. I have never seen or tasted any evidence of this, but if you want to cover all possible bases, go ahead and hypnotize your lobster.

I made fun of this guy in my head until I actually tried to boil Zeb. It was then that I realized that his lifeless little body wasn’t so lifeless, and hypnosis would have been my best friend. For when I put him in the boiling water, he began to squirm and proceeded to use his tail to grasp onto the side of my not-so-lobster-sized pot and pry himself out. Even writing this, I’m feeling squeamish. I gasped heartily, grabbed the tongs, and tried to maneuver him back into the water. There was lots of splashing and wrestling, and right before I passed out, Zeb relinquished. At this point I debated on a third glass of wine, but decided against it for the sake of my lemon butter. I set the timer for ten minutes (the standard time I gathered from about 15 different sites) and proceeded to wait.

After taking Zeb out of the water I started to dig the meat out. This would have been much easier had I owned a lobster cracker, but after multiple trips to several stores I settled on my kitchen knife and a pair of scissors from Hobby Lobby. It eventually yielded acceptable results, though I soon began to realize why no one bothers to cook lobster. It’s not because it’s difficult to prepare, but because it takes so much work to eat. I’m not sure who decided to make this a worldwide delicacy, but if he’s still alive I’d like to talk with him. It really was delicious with the amazing lemon butter and savory meat, but in the end, all you really have are bits of shell and a wine cork that smells strongly of lobster.

Rest in peace, Zeb.

Lobster Day

Today is “clean out the pile of crap in our bedroom that we meant to donate months ago” day. I have a love/hate relationship with these days. They’re so hard to get started, but once you’re on a roll, you want to get rid of EVERYTHING. Fortunately for us, we’re able to hand all of our goodies to a family that’s having a garage sale, they keep the money, and we never see our stuff again. (Thanks, Jen!)

Today is also “let’s learn how to cook a lobster” day. I don’t really know what happened- I think I read too many Martha Stewart Living articles on how to have the ideal summer party. Tonight’s party is just going to include the husband and I, but maybe if I perfect this lobsterness, we can have the ideal summer party too. As long as our lobsters don’t have us for the party first.

What are you learning today? Has anyone ever cooked a lobster?

Photo Attribution

Communal Living

Last night in small group there arose this discussion on community. How do we create a good one? How do we make ours better? Why is it important?

I’ll spare you the details because that’s not what I want to talk about. What I want to talk about is this idea put forth by one girl in our group in the midst of the discussion.

She said something along the lines of, “we should be grateful for the houses we live in and space we have for our families because millions of people in other countries aren’t afforded such things.”

I was instantaneously confounded, not by what she said (it’s true), but by this idea that all our lives we essentially work to buy bigger houses and more space for our families.

We get better jobs and purchase larger homes, even when we haven’t the slightest inkling with what to do with all our room.

I guess my question is, why do more American families not live communally? And do families in other countries (heck, other states) live communally because they have to, or because they want to?

I think it’s easy to assume they do it because they have to. That makes us feel better about our unnecessary square footage and mountainous mortgages we have piled up, but I’d like to know what the truth is.

Now we aren’t planning on buying a 12-bedroom home and inviting all the couples from our home group to move in (like these people). That would be madness. I just think the questions need to be asked.

I think it’s important to challenge the status quo even when nothing comes of it in the end. I think it’s important to question what we do and why we do it. I think Jesus thinks so too.

A New(ish) Space

I awoke this morning after 4 hours of sleep to a neighbor’s car alarm which went off for 8 minutes before they realized they had hit the panic button. I can only assume this to be the case, mostly because I’ve never seen any car bandits at 7:30am in Highland Park, and in looking for solace or distraction, I find that the Twitter world is trending the phrase #ifwebeinghonest. So many things in this world make me want to crawl back into bed.

This, however, does not make me want to crawl back into bed. Enter: our new computer armoire. Technically speaking, it’s not that new anymore. We purchased it off Craigslist, and it’s probably been at least 3 months since I helped Kyle bring it inside, my end dragging significantly, both praying that we wouldn’t have to take the whole thing apart to get it in the door. It has been the best solution to our tiny space issue, and it’s so nice to be able to shut the doors and hide our computer when friends come over. And also to hide all the things we throw in there to clean up before they get here.

I decided, based on this post by Jordan Ferney, that I would paint our little find. I initially regretted the use of semi-gloss paint, though it’s starting to stick less and wear better as time goes on. A few touchups will be necessary in the coming years unless we chalk up all the marks to “giving it character,” our immediate recovery phrase for anything that goes differently than we had initially hoped.

Have you done any projects in the past few weeks?


Where We’ll Live

In the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about the future, where we want to be in 2 or 3 years, and where we think we’ll live. It’s very difficult to see a long life in a city you’ve just moved to, though we try not to discount the Lord and all his plans for us. After much imagining, these are our options. I dream of each almost daily.

1. Use the tiny space we have to carve out more creative nooks and store small children.

We’re doing pretty well with the small space we have, but I love the idea of having at least two littles while we still live here, mostly because people think we couldn’t.

Jordan Ferney‘s little boys sleep in a closet. She gets reamed for it daily, but I just adore it.

I’m dying for a space like this, or anything that’s a tiny version of what’s seen below. Right now, the only option for a sewing nook is our bedroom or the dining room, which leaves Kyle without sleep or both of us without dinners like adults at a table. Dilemmas.

2. Buy a house somewhere and have lots of space for writing, running around, and creating.

I would have a whole room full of color and Kyle would have a man cave with many televisions and Blue Moon on tap. We’d hardly remember the other existed if we had walls between us, which, for a few hours a day, might be hugely beneficial to the state of our marriage.

3. Buy an Airstream and travel the country, living wherever the seasons take us.

This might be my favorite option so far, and I love the idea of living minimally while seeing the country as Kyle blogs and I sell crafties to whoever will buy them. I found a 23-foot long Airstream online yesterday and I almost bought it. Except that I have limited access to our funds and my craft budget simply wouldn’t cover it.

From The Room Vote

Would you ever live in an Airstream?


Things I’m Learning

1. My ability to be a good wife stems from what I’ve learned about how to be a good friend, a good sister, and a good stranger.

Some roles come easier than others depending on the day, but I’m finding that most things that apply to one apply to all the others. This theory gives credence to the fact that I feel sorry for only children who find themselves in the midst of marriage. They’ve had much less practice than the rest of us.

2. When we go to sleep at the same time, our marriage feels a lot more successful.

I write this after having fallen asleep at 8:30 last night while Kyle didn’t come to bed until the wee hours of the morning. It’s difficult to do most days (especially when running two blogs and requiring different amounts of sleep) but there’s nothing that compares with the half hour before sleep. We get to break down the day together, laugh about weird things that happened, talk about the future. And those times are our favorite part of any day.

3. When painting a piece of furniture, use a matte finish.

After spending countless hours painting a computer armoire that isn’t quite finished yet, we’re finding that all my work is useless when things stick to its semi-gloss finish and peel the paint off. I really think this can be helped with a matte finish, though I really wish I would have read more about it before I started. Chalk this one up to my stubborn self thinking I can conquer anything with a gallon of paint.

4. Keeping a house clean requires your constant attention.

I know my mom is laughing at this one because I’m finally getting to practice what she’s known for years, but if I want to have a clean house, I really can’t stop cleaning. Dishes are continually needing done. Things are always being left in the living room, laundry never stops piling up, and how does the bathroom sink look that dirty so quickly? Then there’s sweeping, mail, bed making, shoe pick ups, and the endless string of craft supplies throughout the house. And there are only two of us. Hug a mom today. They deserve it.


My Reminder

Right around this time last year, we were quietly engaged and thinking about our new life together when we found out we would be moving to Dallas. Coming from a town of 1,800 people into a “city” of 45,000 in Stillwater was a decent change for me. But coming to a city of over a million people? Let’s say I dragged my feet just a little.

Matt Chandler said a few weeks ago that we often think God doesn’t answer our prayers because we usually forget what we’ve prayed for. I think that’s probably true for me a lot of the time, but this one I remember very specifically. I think I had maybe visited Dallas a handful of times in my life- definitely not enough to know much about the city and certainly not enough to fall in love with it. The biggest thing on our plate, besides the surprise wedding, was trying to find a place to live in a city we knew nothing about. I remember right around this time a year ago praying for something that seemed so silly.

I asked God to help us find an old apartment that we could afford on a quiet street with lots of trees that was just up the road from Kyle’s work so he wouldn’t have to drive very far. I don’t know if I specifically asked for wood floors, but they were part of my prayer, even if only in the back of my mind.

One year later, I still think of the day we came to hunt for apartments- the one day we had to find a place to live and sign a lease. We researched a little online, asked a few friends, but nothing we found was what we were looking for. And so we started driving. I told Kyle to start at his work and just start driving until we found a neighborhood we liked. I remember pulling onto our street and thinking, “Holy cow. I knew places like this had to exist.” And so they do. We started calling numbers and touring apartments and we landed at the cottage with the little red door. A 1920’s era apartment with wood floors and amazing little details. A gorgeous street with trees abounding, ten minutes from Kyle’s work and now ten minutes from mine. And the price? Discounted because the landlord was having a hard time finding tenants.

We were talking about that day about a week ago and I had to stop and thank God again for his faithfulness. That even in something that seemed so silly, he was faithful to provide, even down to the tiniest detail. And even now, knowing all we know about Dallas, having had a year to explore the city, we wouldn’t be able to find a more perfect place or a more perfect location. And just when I think God isn’t listening, I remember this little apartment and all his faithfulness that rests quietly within it.


Mug Shot and Jug Shot

Last night zoomed by. Vroomed by? Went quickly. Mostly because I was engrossed in a documentary and a small project. Or a large project, depending on how you look at it. I’m pretty sure it could either be a very large coaster or a pot holder for a really tiny pot.

It’s quite lopsided, but it makes my mug feel really cozy.

Also, thanks to Whole Foods and their ability to steal our hearts with organic apple cider, we’ve recently acquired these two large jugs. While they’re fun to look at, I’ve got to find some use for them or I’m going to throw them away. Err… recycle them. Right.

I was hoping to find some brilliant ideas in my Crafts for Poor People book, but alas- Amy Sedaris has yet to make a craft out of a jug. So to you, my dear readers, what would you do with these works of art? They need your creativity; their lives are on the line! Save the jugs.


The First Snowfall and a First Baby

This was one of those weekends. It was one that starts out with so much free time ahead of you that you think it can never end, and then it does. And you look back and wonder why it had to go so fast. We shopped, we ate, we played tennis, we read books, and we gave the apartment the best deep cleaning it’s seen since we moved in. And then it snowed.

There’s something about the first snow of the winter. It somehow makes the cold more bearable, even when you’ve only had 1.5 days of air under 40 degrees. Yes, we’re really thankful that winters here are mild, and I kissed Kyle three times today for not moving us to Minnesota. Then we played the accent game and batted around different versions of “Minnesota… Minnesota… Minnesota…” I won of course, because I practice accents all the time when talking to the sister. When you can’t quite find the words to express how much you love someone, accents will often do the trick.

Aaaaand the baby isn’t ours (gotcha!), but a huge congrats to Jason and Angie who are having this little peanut today. Cheers to bitty munchkins and crossed fingers for short labors!

Has it snowed yet where you live?


A Countdown to Bed and Christmas

We usually schedule our posts to appear around 1:00 a.m., but today we’re actually posting at 1:00 a.m. We know we’re probably the only ones staying awake into the wee hours of the morning to finish up and wrap our Christmas gifties, and we’ve come to terms with the fact that our first Christmas has failed to see any gifts under our wee little tree. We don’t count it as a failure though, even if we forget the cookies and milk and have to leave Santa Chinese takeout.

The Christmas countdown is at 3 days. What are you most excited about counting down for?

PS – Another reason we were up so late is because we were reading all the awesome and hilarious comments from the TOMS giveaway. Enter here if you haven’t already! Giveaway ends tonight at midnight.