Homemade Coconut Pecan Cupcakes

Monday, March 21, 2022

My sister had 2 baking tries tonight, one a super weird fail and then this one, a rousing success. She went with her old standby 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook, changed up the flavorings,  and yum, delicious cupcakes with homemade vanilla frosting. My favorite thing about historic cupcake recipes is that the crumb has an amazing spring to it, which you can kind of see in the second photo. 

I wish I could invite you in for a cupcake. Blessings!

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Woodworms, barking dogs, The Lord of the Rings, and more

Garfield and I have so much in common. 

It's a blustery day in Colorado so I'm praying that we don't have any trees blow over. That happened right before Christmas with a terrible windstorm. A neighbor of ours lost 3 of their gorgeous trees, part of their fence, and a bit off their roof, so it was some intense wind.

Just a couple more brief life updates.

1) Dad's surgery is going ahead as planned, so that's happening next Tuesday. I know it'll be a long road to recovery but he's pretty tough so I'm not too concerned. And he knows the Lord so whatever will be, will be. He has to have surgery. There is no chance of this healing on its own and he would just continue to decline without it.

2) I had woodworms in a ledge in my bedroom. The gentleman who flipped our house took out the wood paneling along that wall so he must have replaced the ledge as well, but I'm guessing he got a piece that somehow had woodworms. Anyway, that's finally been taken care of. I had to order woodworm killer all the way from England since the US doesn't carry it (at least not that I found). And then I spent about a month feeling guilty at the idea of killing them so my sister finally had to do it for me. Bless her.

3) We had this one set of neighbors who were nice enough but did next to nothing to rein in their bored, barking dog. And they were right along our long fence so being outside was never a fun prospect because he would just bark at whoever was out there. Anyway, they moved! This last week. We weren't close to them so we didn't even know until one day they were there and the next they were gone. It's been blissfully quiet. Lots of houses on our street have dogs, but none of them are as ill-behaved as that one was. So I'm happy they're gone, but also hoping that their move was for positive reasons instead of negative ones. And now we're praying for our new neighbors, whoever they will be, that they're quiet, unassuming sort of people who own either strictly indoor cats or fish.

4) I purchased a new phone. My iPhone has been on its last legs for at least 7 months now, and I've just been forcing it along. I did switch to a Samsung though, and I'm a lot happier with it. The battery lasts so much longer, and I really like the design and format, although it did take some getting used to. One thing I'm not thrilled with is that the 30 or so Itunes that I purchased can't be played on my new phone. I knew Apple was proprietary but this is ridiculous. I won't make the mistake of purchasing anything from Apple again.

5) And finally, I've begun re-reading The Lord of the Rings. With everything happening in Europe, it seems the thing to do. You can read my post that compares Ukraine with the people of Rohan at Helm's Deep if you're interested. But the invasion of Ukraine aside, re-reading The Lord of the Rings is very like coming home. I love the movies and I always will, but the books are superior and The Fellowship of the Ring is my favorite because we spend so much time with the hobbits in The Shire and I love that. There is something spectacular about Tolkien's work that can never be accurately translated to the silver screen. It's timeless in a way that only the best classics are, and with every director wanting to put their own spin on every classic story out there, I'm finding that it's just better to read the books if you want the true story.

And there you have it. Yes, I've been watching Asian dramas (including some Thai dramas so that's been fun), but I don't have the energy to review them right now. I even have some reviews written but haven't snagged screenshots for the reviews and that just seems like too much work. *sighs* I should at least post my review for Buzzer Beat. I need to have one Yamapi drama review on my blog or how can I call myself a fan? I've been watching his drama from 2006 called Kurosagi, which literally translated means The Black Swindler. He's a swindler who eats (or takes down) other swindlers, kind of like a Robin Hood character. And apart from the absurd love triangle thing that cropped up halfway through the series, it's really very, very good. And I can now say that I've seen Yamapi with facial hair (albeit fake) and I hope to never see that again. *internal shudder*

I hope all is well with all of you. May you be blessed this week. ♥

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Work Changes, family update, and overall restlessness

Thursday, March 10, 2022


I don't know about all of you, but exhaustion seems to be the order of the day for me. Part of it is the continued reality of Covid and how it is has changed the emotional landscape of all our lives. Now, a large portion of it is the invasion of Ukraine. As you already know, yes, I am in support of Ukraine in this conflict. I can't be anything else. I have an issue with unprovoked invasion. In the words of Captain America, "I don't like bullies." So you'll find sunflowers in a lot of pictures in my new blog posts, just because we can't be allowed to forget what is going on. I also just made a post on Ukraine using Rohan from The Lord of the Rings as an example of what's going on, so you can read that if you want.

But, both the war in Ukraine and the ongoing pandemic aside, a lot has happened in my personal life recently.

FIRST, my new supervisor of less than a year got a new job. I'm happy for her, but her new role came at a highly inconvenient time because of a software rollout we're undergoing. It just happened today, actually, the rollout, and so far, so good. But the last 10 days have been my team trying to ensure that all of the procedures, templates, knowledgebase articles, are all updated with this software change so the departments we serve are equipped. It's been one of the most tiring and stressful experiences I've had since I started this job.

Do I resent her job change? No, but I do resent the timing. 

Thankfully, we pulled through as a team and got everything done. I did work 10 hours yesterday, though, so that has compounded the exhaustion.

SECOND, my dad's having spine surgery at the end of March. It's actually a great thing because he's been having increasing weakness in his legs that are a result of pinched nerves and things in his lower spine. So they're going to go in and unpinch them. He's only 70 so he should have a good many years left in him, but he should have a good quality of life and he can't have that if he can barely walk due to this nerve issue.

So yeah, that's going to happen. I think it'll probably hit me that he's going in for major surgery as the date gets closer. I've been praying for him for weeks, now, as the symptoms worsened, and now it helps to have a solution to what's happening. His surgeon has a stellar reputation, so that's a bonus. But it's definitely been added anxiety.

THIRD, I'm kinda falling out of love with Colorado. That might seem like a minor thing, but it's really not. I'll have been here for 24 years this upcoming October. So it's pretty huge to not love the state where I live. I still love the location because it's beautiful. But, my biggest issue seems to be the people. Now, I don't know if that's more of a "me" issue, but I do know there's been a demographic shift in the last several years, an increase in crime to the point where my sister and I hate going out at night, and there's also street-racing. We had one come down our residential street several months ago, and we live 5 streets away from a main thoroughfare so that should not have happened.

We have to stay at least 5 years so my sister gets fully vested in her pension at her current workplace. But neither she nor I really want to stay here long-term anymore. What does that look like? No clue, but we'll see what happens. Fortunately, our new house is already accruing in value since it is Colorado so I suspect that when we go to sell, unless there's a huge downturn, we'll make a nice amount off it, enough to let us begin again in a less expensive place.

My job can go with me since I can work remotely. Or, maybe I'll find something new to do. Something with books again. Because I miss that.

Who knows, maybe this is just me hitting midlife crisis early. Do women even experience a midlife crisis? It's always seemed like more of a thing that men go through vs. women. All I know is that this restlessness I'm feeling doesn't seem to be going away. I look out the window at my job, right at the Rocky Mountains, and I wish I was on the other side of it. A different view, if that makes sense. The only problem with that mindset is that I'll always be taking "me" with me, so if the issue really is that I just need to deal with restlessness then moving somewhere else won't fix that. The restlessness will just follow me until I figure out why I've got it and deal with it.

So, yeah, there are just a few things going on and a lot in my head and in the world right now.

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Ukraine: How did it come to this?

Monday, March 7, 2022

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Never before has Theoden been more relevant than he is today. 

This is where Ukraine stands right now. A tiny kingdom in Europe with its people fighting back invaders.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Theoden King in our modern age. 

Some things never change. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings as a reflection of the wars in Europe that he miraculously lived through. His experiences, his fears, his anger, everything is reflected in this story. It is not an allegory, but a brutal truth.  

I never thought I would live to see this day come, that another war would threaten Europe. Freedom is at risk. The safety of all free countries is it risk. Sanctions. What good will sanctions do against a nation-eating monster? Do we, at the end of the day, let Ukraine stand alone (I'm talking about sending aid in the form of military might) even though they continue to call for aid and their people continue to die?

If it seems that I'm sensitive to this, I am. 

My ancestors fled from Russia, or rather, the Russian-held duchy that finally won its liberty and became the modern nation of Finland. I visited Finland with my family in 2017 on the 100 year anniversary of their becoming a sovereign nation on December 6th, 1917. I love my native homeland and I know they are next.

What is happening today is a real threat. There is reason to be afraid. And I am afraid. I have family in Finland. I know people with family in Ukraine, Romania, and Poland. I don't want Ukraine to fall. I want it to remain the beautiful, sovereign nation that it has been for decades. I want President Zelenskyy and his family to live. 

The people of Ukraine are brave, have been brave, and will continue to be brave. But it took physical aid in the shape of warriors to beat back the forces of Isengard in The Two Towers, and today is no different.

I get my invasion/war-related news from the UK news outlet Sky News. Which shows how little faith I have in my own media to present the news in a nonpartisan fashion. At the end of the day, the only people that the Russian government is fooling are its own.

Here are some ways to fund aid to Ukraine during this time: 

Project C.U.R.E. (much needed medical supplies and equipment)

Samaritan's Purse (to fund their disaster response team that is already on the ground in Lviv, Ukraine)

And, of course, pray. That's all I've been doing since February 24th. May God have mercy on Ukraine.
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