Saturday, February 26, 2011

I Am

[cute getting-to-know-me post inspired by M.R.C. Just Me]

I am...Carrie Kindred -- baker, blogger, brunette, world traveler, short order cook (to a picky husband) and sometimes cleaning lady.  You know, when I'm not too busy ranting to you people.

I want...American 110V outlets in my apartment.  Do you know how many of my appliances have been rendered useless by the crazy 220V European ones?  Do you?  More than ten.  My kitchen weeps in despair.  (My hair, however, loves it's new flat iron.  So I can't complain.  Too much.)

I have...five more hours until husband is home and the weekend (an actual weekend!) begins.  Husband is hardly ever home on actual weekends.  Mostly we have weekends on Tuesdays.  It's terribly inconvenient.

I wish...Bobby Franklin would grow a brain.  Or resign.  Or be attacked by a honey badger.  (It's the night-shift induced sleep deprivation talking on the last one, I'm afraid.)

I hate...APO mail.  I also wish we had a normal address.  Even if it did mean we'd have to pay international shipping.

I fear...three words that start with the letter "d."  Bonus points to whoever guesses them first.

I hear...that everyone in blogland has a new baby.  Seriously.  Like, everybody.  (i.e. Megan, Naomi, Natalie, Steph)  So many tiny fingers, tiny toes and adorable nurseries!  It's like baby-palooza exploded on my reading list.  In a good-ish way.

I search...for teapots.  At every opportunity.

I wonder...if anyone has actually calculated the number of licks needed to reach the center of a Tootsie-Pop.  What with all the commercials, you'd think it would have been done somewhere.  Like maybe by Russian scientists.  Maybe?

I regret...  I really don't regret. 

I love...when my silly husband sings along to Ke$ha/Katy Perry/Pink while we're becoming hopelessly lost trying to find some castle I googled.  (He's going to murder me for this.  If I don't post for a while, you'll know why.)

I ache...for more adventures.  There is still so much of the world I haven't seen, so many things I haven't done, and so many restaraunts that need to be sampled.  Wait, what?  How did food make it in that list?  Alas, my true colors emerge.

I always...check my facebook, blogger, and goodreads accounts as soon as I wake up.  In that order.

I usually...brush my bottom teeth before the top.  But sometimes I get a little crazy and switch it up.

I am not...a patient person.

I a fool.  Seriously.  It's bad.

I sing...along to Glee.

I never...fall asleep in the pitchblackdark.

I rarely...get truly angry.

I cry...infrequently these days.  But when I'm sleepy, I'm a big baby.  Just FYI.

I am not always...organized.  My normally color-coded closet is in disarray, and the laundry I put in the dryer 24 hours ago has yet to be taken out and folded.  Oh, procrastination, my old friend.

I glasses, house key, camera, and ID on a daily basis.  Husband gets annoyed, but he shouldn't, becasue he does it too.  And 99% of the time, I'm the one who knows where his stuff is.  (But not my own.)

I am any form of math.  It's a miracle when I efficiently balance a checkbook.

I need...a cat.  For lonely stuck-in-the-apartment-on-night-shift purposes.

I should...go get the laundry from the basement.  But chances are I won't.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Post #307: In Which carrotspeak Breaks onto the Facebook Scene

carrotspeak has joined facebook!  How's about you wander on over and become a fan?  Pretty please?

In other exciting news, carrotspeak also has pretty new buttons.  Want to post them?  Take 'em away!  Which ever you'd like, where ever you'd like.  Post, post, post.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Thirteenth Tale: A Review

image source
Once upon a time, prolific fictional author Vida Winter wrote a book of thirteen tales.  Curiously, only twelve made it into print. Ever since that slip, the world at large has beat upon the door to Miss Winter's seemingly non-existant past, trying to discern the meaning of the missing thirteenth tale. Over the long years, she has successfully rebuffed every attempt. However, as Miss Winter slides into old age she is aware that the truth must out. Readers are ushered through the deep mystery surrounding her life by a similary haunted writer, the biographer Margaret Lea.

Raised in a book shop, Margaret is above all a lover of stories. So when the famed Vida Winter writes her a compelling letter offering to expose her mystery-shrouded life for the first time, Margaret cannot resist the temptation. Miss Winter's craftily worded narratives pull Margaret back through the decades to the older woman's previous identity.  Margaret is sucked into an investigation that will bring forth a harrowing revelation indeed. The devestating realities of the two writers demonstrates that the truth of our own lives, which we so often run away from, can be the greatest and most important story we'll ever tell.

Setterfield writes, "There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic," and through her own brilliant novel she proves this to be true.  We are gripped from the first line and held captive until the last. Setterfield's characters are impatient guides pulling us through an intricate maze of ghost stories and misleading truths, only allowing us to gather our bearings when we have arrived at the bittersweet end of her tale. The book is magnificently penned. Phrases are so well turned and words so carefully chosen that we cannot help but take pause to admire their beauty; scenes are cut and reopened with such skill that we cannot help but rush ahead to discover the ever illusive truth. The Thirteenth Tale, pulsing with so many years of repressed pain and memory, refuses to be easily forgotten, haunting us like the many ghosts of her heroines' pasts.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Burg Nanstein; Landstuhl, Germany

Today we somehow managed to wake up at a decent time and took advantage of the sunlit hours.  We went to Landstuhl to see the not-so-ruinous ruins of Burg Nanstein.  There's finally some more snow in our area, too, which made for some nice winter photos.

View of Landstuhl from in front of the castle, which, of course, sat high on a hill top.

View from inside one of the towers.

View from top of staircase pictured in last photo.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Facebook 30-day Challenge

Anyone and everyone with a facebook profile has been posting photos for the 30-day Challenge.  There's no way I'd dedicate thirty days to a facebook challenge, but I will totally dedicate thirty photos for my readers.

1.  A picture of yourself with fifteen facts:

August 9, 2010; Mannheim, Germany
  • I am almost always that pale.  I actually don't mind so much anymore.
  • I read more than your librarian.
  • Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday.
  • I could win an herb-roasted potato eating contest, if they existed.
  • I have no sense of balance whatsoever.  Our Wii Fit is exasperated with me.
  • I'm a proud subscriber of Good Housekeeping Magazine.
  • There are only three pages left in my current journal.  This is a miracle, as I NEVER completely fill a journal.
  • I named our new truck Napoleon.
  • I prefer Scrabble Upwords to the original Scrabble.
  • Audrey Hepburn is my role model.
  • Dandelions are my favorite flowers.  The puffy white kind.  Yes, the one's you think are weeds.
  • My signature is never going to be as pretty as it was before I was married.  I had nineteen years invested in the perfect "y" loop.  
  • I have so many pairs of gorgeous high heels.  Most of them have never been worn.  (Refer to fact #5.)
  • I desperately need to find a craft store in Germany.
  • I'm one of the .01% of American girls who cannot stand the sight/sound of Justin Bieber. 

2.  A picture of you and a person you have been close with for a while:

October 7, 2009; AFI Concert, Cincinnati, Ohio
Fact:  I'm pretty sure Courtney introduced me as her sister-in-law once before her brother proposed.

3.  A picture of the cast from your favorite show:

Cast of Glee -- image source

4.  A picture of a habit you wish you didn't have:

If only hair twirling were an olympic sport. -- image source
According to my mom, I've been a hair twirler since birth. Only back then, when I was practically bald, I twirled hers.

5.  A picture of your favorite memory:

August 8, 2010; Mannheim, Germany
The day we saved the slugs on our trip to Viernheim was one of the best days I spent in Germany last summer.  Nothing monumental happened, but it is one of the few times I can remember that Kyle and I were just happy together -- not worrying about the move or getting married or how complicated it was to start our life together.  We were just happy. 

6.  A picture of a person you'd love to trade places with for a day:

Sue Sylvester
Some may wonder, "Why would I like to spend a day as Sue Sylvester?"  I'll tell you why.  So that when challenged, I could quickly retort with statements like this one:  "I will go to the animal shelter and I will buy you a kitty cat.  I will let you fall in love with that kitty cat.  And then, one dark cold night, I will steal into your house and punch you in the face." 

Beyond witty criticism and clever threats, Sue Sylvester is the only creature on the planet that can rock a track suit 24/7/365 without a single raised brow.  The fear of Sue Sylvester is that awe inspiring.

7.  A picture of your most treasured item:

This is the quilt my great-grandmother made for my wedding gift.  She completed it years ago, and gave it to grandmother to give me, fearing that she wouldn't live long enough to do it herself.  (She only missed it by an inch.)  The pattern is called "around the world."  Every square (each about two square inches) is handstitched.

8.  A picture that makes you laugh:

June 2010; Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Germany
This is my {I am trying to be mad at you.  Make a good show of being concerned for your well being.}  face.  This ineffective expression is further reason to change places with Sue Sylvester.

9.  A picture of the person that has gotten you through the most:

June/July 2007; Thank God We're Seniors Now Party, Irvine, Kentucky
Kyile (left) and Christina (middle)
Kylie has been my friend since the fourth grade.  I think that entitles her to a place in this category.  She's been around  for everything.  (Which, she'll tell you, involves some very ugly t-shirts on my part.  And which, I'll tell you, also includes some American flag themed capri pants on her part.)

Christina doesn't even count as my friend.  Chris has been like my sister since we met in sixth grade.  (Back when she had a perm and I had no idea what a hair straightener was.)  She was and is my support system.  She was the first (and only for a while) person I confided in when my mom discovered she had cancer, and the morning Kyle left for basic training I found myself crying like a baby on her doorstep with only a vague recollection of driving there.  Her house was my second home during middle/high school, and to this day we've never had an arguement.  (Or at least not one important enough that I can remember it.)

10.  A picture of the person you do the most messed up things with:

Brianne (left) and Hannah (right); August 15, 2009, at my engagement party
Brianne:  Sometimes when I'm driving really fast on the interstate, I get the urge to pull the emergency brake and see what happens.
Carrie:  Me too! 
Brianne:  Let's make a pact. If we're still alive when were eighty, we'll try it and find out.
Carrie:  Agreed.

Hannah:  Want to go stalking with me?
Carrie:  Stalking is like, our thing now.

11.  A picture of something you hate:

image source
Ew. Ew. Ew. Ewwwwwwwwwwww.  This Post Secret card makes me SO happy I didn't have a dorm with community showers.

12.  A picture of something you love:

teapot collection as of January 2011

13.  A picture of your favorite band or artist:

image source
What?  Not the kind of artist you were thinking of?

14.  A picture of someone you could never imagine your life without:

August 13, 2009; en route Kentucky after Kyle's BCT/AIT Graduation

15.  A picture of something you want to do before you die:

image source
I must see a sunset over the ocean.  Actually, I must see the ocean.

16.  A picture of someone who inspires you:

Laura Hillenbrand -- image source
The subtitles of Hillenbrand's newest novel Unbroken say it is story of "survival" and "resilience," but another example of those traits lies in her own experiences.  The obstacles she has overcome in her career, and life in general for that matter, are enormous, and her perserverence and success are inspirational.
Hillenbrand suffered a relapse of the chronic fatigue syndrome that has ruled her life for more than two decades. From 2007 through the summer of 2009, she never left her house; for some of those months, she never left her room. Her relationship with Flanagan was pushed to its limits.

But all the while, she was calling people she was too weak to visit, and e-mailing the people she was too weak to call. She was requesting newspapers from archives and scanning forgotten POW lists. She was finding a guy who owned a clunky Norden bombsight and persuading him to set the contraption up on her kitchen table so she could understand how soldiers accurately dropped bombs during World War II. "We spent a while," she says delightedly, "bombing Phoenix."

Last week, after nearly a decade of laboring, Hillenbrand's second book was released - a biography of the Olympic runner whose dreams of breaking the four-minute mile were smashed by a plane crash and an unspeakable stay in a Japanese war camp. It is called "Unbroken."  -Monica Hesse for The Washington Post
 17.  A picture of someone who has made an impact on your life recently:

Jacey Eckhardt -- image source
Jacey Eckhardt is the author of The Homefront Club, a sort of guide-book for the overwhelmed but persistant military wife.  I read it last summer while I was going through the hellish process of getting married in Germany.  Her book had a huge (positive) impact on my attitude toward military life, and I recommend it to new military spouses practically every chance I get.  Recently, after a series of coincidences, she ran across my blog and sent me a lovely email, which made me feel a little bit like a rock star.

18.  A picture of your biggest insecurity:

image source
Fact:  Even though my jeans are a single-digit size for the first time since my freshman year of high school, and I generally feel pretty darn good about myself, I still have days when I look in the mirror and see an extremely distorted image of myself as the fat lady at a circus.  I think we all have these illogical insecurities though, about one thing or another. 

19.  A picture of you when you were little:

Summer 1992?; Irvine, Kentucky
Yes, those are dandelions.  They were even my favorites way, way, back in the day.

20.  A picture of somewhere you'd love to travel:

Reading As Always, Julia, a collection of letters between Julia Child and Avis DeVoto, isn't helping me get over my infatuation.

21.  A picture of something you wish you could forget:

September 28, 2009; St. Louis, Missouri
Watching Kyle leave at the St. Louis airport has been the single most miserable moment of my life so far.  That whole last morning together was bittersweet.  Still, I don't know if I would really want to forget it.  I don't think I want to forget anything about our journey. 

22.  A picture of something you wish you were better at:

Summer 2009; en route Gatlinburg, Tennessee
I desperately need to be a better driver.  Three serious accidents in four years is not a good record.  But speaking of the record, it does show that one of those accidents was not my fault.  Proof:

Summer 2008
Kylie (who gets extra gotten-you-through-the-most points for this incident) and I were stopped at a traffic light when some moron slammed into us, nearly pushing my poor car (named Clara) into the line of traffic.  He didn't even tap his breaks.  We were very lucky.  The moron was lucky, as I refrained from scratching out his eyes.  This incident happened approximately two days after I got my car back from being repaired from another accident that was completely my fault (in which I hit an inanimate object, and endangered no one but myself).  Poor Clara did not recover.

23.  A picture of your favorite book:

image source

24.  A picture of something you wish you could change:

image source
There's a little too much color in that map, wouldn't you say?

25.  A picture of your day:

image source
Fact:  That is not me in the picture.  But it's crazy how much that looks like my bed/bedroom.

Thanks to Kyle's night shift schedule, this is how I spend my days.

26.  A picture of something that means a lot to you:

August 15, 2009; Engagement Party, Irvine, Kentucky
Mine and Kyle's engagement party meant the world to me.  It's the only time in my entire life that nearly everyone I love was in the same place.  Plus, you know, we got engaged

27.  A picture of yourself and a family member:

Thanksgiving 2010; Maternal Grandparents' home, Cob Hill, Kentucky

Thanksgiving 2009; Paternal Grandparents' home, Wagersville, Kentucky

28.  A picture of something you're afraid of:

image source
Fact:  If I didn't have to be pregnant, I wouldn't mind having a dozen children.  I think motherhood really is a wonderful gift.  But!  I absolutely dread the thought of being pregnant.  Maybe that will change later.  I hope so, but I'm not so sure it will.  I've wanted to adopt my babies since I was practically a baby myself.  Both because I would cherish the opportunity to give a child in need a home, and because I have no desire to gain 20 pounds, stretch marks, back pain, insane cravings, a new wardrobe and battle labor scars.

29.  A picture that can always make you smile:

Summer 2009; outside Kylie's old house, Ravenna, Kentucky
Reason 1:  Location.  Half my favorite high school memories happened here, at Kylie's old house.
Reason 2:  Wardrobe.  Gotta love the Team Jacob pride.
Reason 3:  Timing:  This was taken as we were leaving for our Gatlinburg vacation.  Going to Gatlinburg in the summer of '09 is my favorite trip anywhere to date.  Mostly because of the company.  But also because it was the first time any of us had been out on our own.

30.  A picture of someone you miss:

September 26, 2010: Kylie & Brianne's apartment (affectionately called "Big Daddy"), Richmond, Kentucky
I miss my best girl friends!  Though I've made a plenty of new acquaintances, and even a few new friends, nothing replaces a best friend.  There is no one I can be more honest with, and no one who understands me more.
What would we do without our women friends, who often hold it together for us when we can't hold it together on our own?  ...However happily married you are (or aren't), whatever satisfaction you get from work (or don't), however fulfilling (and frustrating) parenting is -- you need good friends.  They fill a role in life that nothing and no one else does.  -Rosemary Ellis, Editor-in-cheif of Good Housekeeping Magazine; August 2010

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My All-Time Favorite Pepperoni Spaghetti

This Pepperoni Spaghetti is my absolute favorite dish.  The recipe was originally taken from a book called Pasta, but I've tweeked it so much since that it has gradually become my own.  It is a great recipe for substitutions.  You can add almost anything you like.  I hardly ever make it the exact same way twice.

Pepperoni Spaghetti
(serves 2 with a large appetite)

1/3 package spaghetti or spaghettini 
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 red bell pepper, chopped into bite size pieces
1/3 green bell pepper, chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 small white onion, chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional, provides an extra kick of heat)
1 can diced tomatoes (I prefer unspiced, but any kind will do.  Fire roasted are excellent as well.) 
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 oz. pepperoni slices, cut in half
freshly grated parmesan cheese and parsley to top

Substitutions/Alternate Ingredients:

Any kind of pasta will work in this recipe.  Penne is a wonderful option (and was used in the original recipe), and farfalle (bowties) are also great.  Olive oil can be substituted for butter if you wish.  Feel free to play around with the spices to see what you like.  It's also a good idea to try adding a different type of meat.  I've used both Italian and Polish sausages before with success, but the pepperoni is still my favorite.

1.  Begin boiling water for pasta.  Add a pinch of salt.

2.  Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. 

3.  Add chopped peppers, onions, and spices.  Cook until onions begin to brown and peppers start to soften.  At this point, add your pasta to the water and cook as directed on packaging.

4.  Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste and pepperoni to skillet.  Stir until well mixed.  Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat.  Continue to simmer on low heat until pasta is fully cooked.  (About ten minutes.  The longer you cook the sauce, the softer the peppers will be.  You can adjust cooking time at your disgretion.)

5.  Drain cooked pasta and add to skillet of sauce.  Toss to combine.  Transfer to serving dish.

6.  Garnish with parmesan and parsley.  Add as much or as little as you like.  Provide extra parmesan for topping.

NOTE:  If you're adverse to the sometimes large chunks of tomato, toss the tomatoes into a food processor (or if you don't have one of those, try using an electric hand mixer) beforehand for a smoother tomato base.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Post #302: Valentine's Day Special Edition

Special treat for readers this Valentine's Day -- a few of my old journal entries:

November 15, 2006; 6:25PM

I love

I love

I write those words and never have a name to complete the sentence with.  My 16th birthday was exactly 2 months ago.  When I blew out my candles I wished for the same thing I've always wished for.  I wish it on birthdays, on Christmas, on shooting stars, on wish bones, when I find 4-leaf clovers, and everytime I pray it's in the back of my mind.  All that I want, I mean really want, is to find love.  The kind of love you die for, and live for. 

That is what all little girls really want when they wish to be a princess.  Because doesn't love make you feel like one?  It's what teenagers like me want desperately.  It's even what middle-aged women like my mother want, having fought to keep it all her adult life.  Honestly?  There are days when I wonder why all of us try so hard.  We risk everything for what could turn out to be only a few brief moments of bliss before our hearts are broken.  But there is a reason we do it...

We observe the reality of this love, sometimes, and it reminds us of the endpoint.  It reminds us that this love is worth every bit of suffering and pain and worry and doubt and anxiety that we go through to get it.  We see that it exists, in all it's perfection, and that is enough incentive.
Fast forwarding through two years of entries about friends and parties and being green with envy that every other one of my girl friends have someone's name to doodle in their notebooks.  I remember at one point, I think it was in April of 2008, my best friend Kylie said I'd never find someone mature enough for me in our high school.  She predicted I'd end up in an affair with one of our college professors.  Oh, the sillly things we say.
July 5th, 2008

I feel like I am a completely different person from the one who began this diary.  I have faced down two of my greatest fears, and I'm okay. 

On May 30th I graduated.  I took a deep breath and strode confidently across that stage...and here I am standing on the other side, still me, but not the same girl who entered high school as the timid freshman. 

I became bold.  Machaela named the change first, and it's appropriate.  The last bit of senior year I finally let go of my inhibitions and let people see who I really am.  I finally feel like I'm living. ... I am reaching for my goals, and lately, I've been too busy living my life to write it down.

July 9, 2008; 9:47PM

...The number one thing on my mind is Kyle.  I hate that this is true.  ... I have been proud of how well I'd been doing on my own. 

I mean of course it's hard sometimes -- not having someone to call at the end of athe day; not having someone's hand to hold; always being a third or fifth wheel at the movies...but I'd been doing well.  I finally...gained a bit of self-esteem.  And then along comes Kyle.

He made me weak again, with his kindness and strength.  We he's sad my world falls apart and when he smiles I feel like everything will be okay.  I think I just might love him. 

The good news is that for once I actually took the advice I always give and never take.  I didn't shy away and hide my feelings.  ...[W]hen he finally realized how I felt, I admitted to him that he was right.  I put my heart out there.  I made myself vulnerable.  I'm proud, really.  Or stupid. One of the two.
July 29, 2008  [three days after our dating anniversary]

...Every time we're together I'm melting.  I fall apart and then reform just a little bit differently than I was before.  I'm changing from myself, the old Carrie, into another version of me:  his Carrie.  I'm suddenly aching for the type of future I didn't think I wanted or needed.  It scares me...
July 30, 2008

Kyle called me at 9:30 this morning.   We were together until 2AM last night, and he, apparently, didn't sleep at all after he left.  He's asleep on the couch now...

I'm pathetic.  I love that he's asleep here, in my house.  I love...that it feels normal.  I love that he was the one to wake me up.

I'm slipping into that place I'm afraid of.  But I'm liking it far too much, and I need to slow down.
Journal ends rather abruptly here.  My first semester of college at Eastern Kentucky University began in August.  Most of my time was absorbed by class and friends. 

I turned eighteen at midnight between September 14th and 15th, sitting outside on a sidewalk bench with Kyle.  This first semester was our only one on campus together.  It was, for me, a blissful few months.  When we went home for Christmas break, Kyle opted not to go back.  Instead he met with an Army recruiter.  At the time, I had no idea how much that one decision of his would affect my life.

In December 2008 I started this blog.  I was clueless for a while, but slowly I learned my way around the blogosphere.  When Kyle left for training my blog became my life raft.  Since then it has remained a refuge.  The rest of our story has already been laid before you in the carrotspeak archives. 

The photographic summary: