Words: Chaos Walking

So one of Zach's friends got me the Chaos Walking series (well, the first two books) by Patrick Ness, for Christmas, and I have started the second book.
(I actually didn't realize there was a third book until I was looking for an image of Chaos Walking...eeek.)

While this is YA dystopic lit (which I love always), it's not in quite the same vein as what has been flooding the bookshelves and bookstores of late (as in the past five to ten years).  For one thing, it's told from the perspective of young man (named Todd Hewitt) when so many YA books seem to be about young ladies these days.  There's also an element of traditional children's classics for boys--as in Where the Red Fern Grows, Tom Sawyer, and such--because he is on an outdoorsy adventure and the folks he meets are rather plain folks and he just wants to be a boy.

I'm doing a terrible job of explaining this book because I'm sooooo tiiiiired (like it's me that's been on the run or something).

So since I'm jumping from thought to thought, I might as well say it's a bit stream-of-consciousness since the whole foundation of the story is the fact that all of the males' thoughts can be heard, but females' cannot (though they can hear the men's).  That means a lot of times the protagonist, who is speaking from first person, is overwhelmed by the Noise he hears, but he is also put off by the silence of others.  Religion has come to darken how this scientific effect is received in this world (and let's admit it--like religion is wont to do), so there's that, too, not to mention it's philosophical, seeming to examine the idea of cogito ergo sum ("I think; therefore, I am").  What happens when you can hear the thoughts of some but not of others?  Well, we get that dichotomy, more properly a binary opposition, with men being the dominant (their Noise defining their Selves) and women being the other (or Other--especially since they can be so secretive, not spilling their dark, Eveish thoughts).

(Looky at me using those lit theory terms I learned so many moons ago!  Blah blah blah...)

Anyway, THIS is what I wanted to share.  Absolutely beautiful.  Stunning.  My photography, not so much--I hope you can read it.  And now I'm giving away spoilery things, so if you do want to check this out (and YOU DO), don't read this page!

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Gratitude Journal: Neighborly Love

I'm thankful for kind landlords/neighbors who blessed us with some of their garden's bounty today.  (They also offered some potatoes, but just yesterday we bought 10 pounds for the first time in forever; and an eggplant, but Zach doesn't like them.  Last year, they kept us supplied in squashes and cukes.  :)  They are DOLLS.)  It only took a few minutes to blanch, package, and freeze twelve ears of corn!  Now we can have some of this vegetable/fruit/grain for a few more weeks.  Thanks, Becky and Tony!

In other news, I found out I'm allergic to cats (Class 1) and dogs (Class 2).  Everyone I told today panicked a bit as if we could ever get rid of our kitties.  Thankful for no major allergies--but my meds may suppress my immune system's response, so they may be higher up AND there may be others that didn't show up.  So I'm gonna start allergy shots in about two weeks.  The allergy nurse is also adding in ragweed, oak pollen, and dust mites to help with those as well.  :)

Are you allergic to anything that makes you sad?  I'm just thankful I'm not allergic to any of the foods I love!

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Menu Monday: C Is for Herbed Roasted Corn

C is for corn...and it's a fruit, vegetable, AND a grain!  (Riddle me that, folks.  Riddle me THAT.)

I almost called it just a grain, but then I decided to fact check my facts, and I learned some things.  I was right--it is a grain, and it's okay to call it a vegetable.  BUT I did not know it was a FRUIT.

A fruit, y'all.  It's like that time my roommate Rose told me a banana is biologically a berry.
(Actually, Rosey may have been the first person to inform me that corn is a grain...way back when she took that botany class.  And I totally had to Google "study of plants" to recall the word "botany.")

What????  If you are like me, you grew up calling corn a "vegetable," but then we read a lot of nutritionism junk, and saw the light--it's a "grain."

But it's also a "fruit!"

It's a fruit of the plant because it is formed from the reproductive parts of the plant (SCIENCE!), but it can be classified as a vegetable because it can be harvested fresh as a plant to eat (SCIENCE!!), and biologically, since it is a dried seed-like fruit, it is a grain (MORE SCIENCE!!!)

See, all grains are fruits, but not all fruits are grains.
Oh my goodness, that LOGIC class I took senior year is paying off...IN THE KITCHEN!

So let's get back in there.  :)


salt and pepper to taste
fresh herbs (5-6 sprigs per cob)
butter (1 T. per cob)

-Preheat oven to 410.  Shuck and clean corn of silk and debris if necessary.  Place each cob on a piece of foil or parchment.  Season to taste.  Top with butter and add fresh herbs at the side.  Seal corn in foil or parchment and roast for about 30 minutes.

You can choose to serve it with whatever.  We had ours with sweet-n-sour veggie stir fry and grilled peppers.  YUMMY!

EDIT:  I used thyme, and let me tell you, thyme and corn is amazing.  I've always liked thyme in green beans, but I wanted to try it with something else since some friends from work gave us a HUGE thyme plant.

What is your favorite veggie or fruit (or grain!) this time of year?

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Zach's Birthday and Weekend Update

Thursday was Zach's 29th birthday!  Every year, I cook him a birthday breakfast, and instead of surprising him this year, I asked him what he wanted.  He chose pancakes with berries and bananas, a poached egg, and bacon.  YUMMY!

At lunch, the Advising Center had a birthday celebration with a cake, and Roseann invited me over.  She said she wanted to put something that screamed, "Zach!" so she went with "It's Zach Day!"  It was a very relish marble cake with chocolate whipped frosting.

We got off early and headed to McAlister's for Free Tea Day!  Then we went to the carwash to vacuum the car out really well because that's what Zach wanted.  *haha*  After a nap at home, we headed to Fayetteville for dinner at the Greenhouse Grill.  We drank Ruby Roses (a gin-based drink), I had a bison burger, and Zach went with the quesadilla.  This was the first time in a long time that we had such a good conversation that I forgot to take any photos of our food!  *HA!*  Following dinner, we drove through the U of A campus, and Zach pointed out where he lived and places he remembered.  This was the honors hall, Pomfret, where he lived the first two years.

Zach got his birthday present last week--a Kindle Paperwhite!  But I did save this super funny card from Target for him.  (Inside, it says, "Haters gonna hate."  *lol*)

On Friday, I planned to get up super early and bake his Black Forest cake so it could cool with plenty of time.  But I wasn't feeling too well, so I got started late.  Then I started to frost it with the whipping cream before the cherry filling had completely cooled.  I didn't hollow out the top of each layer, so the layers weren't going on level because of the cherries in between.  Once I got the top layer on (which ended up being the thickest layer--total fail on my part for not noticing) and started to frost, it started to buckle and cracked in thirds.  That caused it to slide off.  Our friend Amy arrived by that time, and she tried to help piece it back together, but it was a no-go.  BUT IT TASTED GREAT!!  :)

I should have known then to get out of the kitchen!  Zach ordered a cast-iron griddle for me, and it came on HIS birthday.  So he gave me a reverse birthday present!  We had planned to have grilled cheese and tomato soup with Amy, so I was able to use my griddle for the first time.  BUT I ended up burning Zach's grilled cheese!  Then, when I went to blend the soup in the blender, somehow it was attached to the base correctly or I wasn't holding the lid on tight enough, but it EXPLODED!  It landed on my left wrist, my right big toe, and my right arm!  I had a cardigan on, but I ended up with a blister the size of my thumbnail with a smaller one next to it.  Thankfully, it's not third degree, but it was crazy.

Saturday, we had to work orientation, which threw a wrench into the day's plans because we slept ate, grabbed breakfast, and then had to work when we were hungry for lunch.  We grabbed Subway on the way home and watched Cloud Atlas, but I wasn't too into it because I was still feeling badly, I guess from the blister.

Today, we've been lazing about and cleaning the floor because someone (*cough* DINAH *cough*) is now in her terrible twos, and for some reason, has started pottying on the floor.  HELP!

Any ideas for how to stop our kitty?

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I'm back!

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Since I last wrote to you, we survived Zach's interim director position, hosted lots of fun and yummy dinner parties with friends, celebrated my 28th birthday, ended my third semester teaching at NWACC, and spent a MONTH traveling in England and Scotland.  :)

(So not much happened.)
(I kid, I kid.  :)

I've been trying to revive this baby since the semester ended.  I kept thinking that once I had free time, then I could be creative.  Lots of ideas have been floating around in my head, especially when I sat down and started a novel right before we left.  But other than that first week, I didn't touch my "novel" or write in the journal I brought.  I did keep up my posts on my personal Facebook page, which I've done now for over three and a half years (!!!!!!).  My creativity wasn't dried up--I was busy taking things in, so that they would imprint upon my soul.  And they did.  And I stayed creative, taking photos instead.  (I'll have to share some of the best ones soon.)

I've always been called to write, but I've lacked the discipline.

Lots of folks from work and lots of my friends follow my daily Facebook posts.  And a lot of them tell me, "Ashley, you should start a blog," and "You should write a book.  I would read it."

And I'm liiiiike:
...  (I have a blog.  But I don't keep up with it.  But I would like to, especially if folks will read it.  But what can I write about?  Oh, I guess the crap I already do.)  "That's a good idea."

So, I'm baaaaack.  :)
And I'm getting better about holding myself accountable.

I got some plans for this here space, and as I know that each time I've committed to blogging, I've done a bit better.  So I expect this round will be a bit better than the last, and maybe it will actually stick.

Hopefully, you notice the new design around these here parts.  I felt that was the best way to kick off tis fresh start, but I didn't want to reinvent the wheel.  I've been learning about HTML and all that jazz.  I'm pretty pleased with how it looks right now, but I'm sure, in a few months after I've learned even more, I will be like, "That's so embarrassing!"

For now, I'll rock this Pharr Side design.
What do you think about my new look?  And are you excited to have me back?

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