The Right Fit.

There’s not many things R obsesses over, but I do know of one: the right size of glasses for his face. That and blowing his nose. He’s always got a hankie nearby, which I found endearing the first couple years of marriage. But maybe that will change since his surgery?

At one point, though, he resorted to a facebook quiz to determine the correct fit.

Perfectly round, it said. And R was prepared to find them.

Um, no.

R’s family hates his glasses. So they’ll be happy that there might be a change in the spectacle department for Mister R.

Yes, this is what we get excited about nowadays.

Can’t wait to show you snippits from our trip! See you soon.

Icy with a dash of baking

Yes, it’s definitely white around here. And work has been cancelled.

This means that PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre has been watched, bread has risen (and is about to get punched down – my favorite part. Too much aggression?), apartment neighbors will be visited with freshly baked bread (Sara, my ESL friend, lives nearby!), those bananas will be turned into banana bread cupcakes, and flight tracker will be stalked.

R and I are set to leave tonight and visit my brother. I am refreshing the screen obsessively hoping everything stays the course.

Until then, I’ve got some baking to do.


What is my obsession with feet in photos? There’s no logical thought process since I don’t even take care of them, so why should I photograph them?

But I do.

And now you have to suffer.

Some of these I’ve blogged about (and have linked back to those posts) and others I haven’t, but wish I had.

Hot summer weekend trip in Iowa. Cool, sweet water.

Just prior to having a semi-heart attack on the Brew to Brew: 50 mile relay race from Boulevard Brewery in KC to FreeState brewery in Lawrence. The worst part was knowing that after your team drove past cheering you on, they immediately rolled up the window to say how sorry you looked. I know this, because we did it to every other person on our team. But I’m sure they didn’t do it to me. Right. RIGHT?

Hiking the Grand Canyon. What a glorious day, despite R almost dying.

Garage sale shopping with my mom. This was a terrifying flash forward of our lives when she literally parked in someone’s front lawn. Not on purpose.

What you don’t see above these feet is a girl dry heaving on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua. Apparently I don’t like heights?

After wearing heels for too long, asking R if I could borrow his shoes for a few minutes. No I wasn’t wearing socks either.

[collective groan / shrieks of horror]

Dancing the Thriller…in sneakers. If I saw a zombie coming towards me in white tennies, I’d either poke him in the eyes (and hope he doesn’t block me with the finger shark fin) or run my butt off. He might’ve died running, you know.

Do you see the steep stairs in this Irish castle ruin? And the rain water? You do the math.

Visiting our cousins in the Sunshine State. This is also a good reminder: Kids, always remember to put sunblock on your feet. Do not, I repeat, do not stop at your ankles.

Costume / Dance Parties. Oh, penny loafers.

Camping / Hiking – and facing my fear of the granddaddy spider of 2001.

And last but certainly not least… running through fields. I was apparently really excited to get to something…. probably food.

As I was looking around, I found even more feetsies photos. Oh yes, there will be a part two. Who sighed? I heard that.

Travel Map

This map haunts me. Because of that, it drives R nuts, even though it was his idea to copy this idea from his brother.

We’d mounted the map onto foam core and waited the appropriate number of days until Hobby Lobby’s frames came on sale. Then we framed it, hung it on the wall, and have been staring at it every day for the past six months.

It. is. torture.

If it had been just a plain ole framed map, it would’ve been no big deal. But we put pins in it. And those pins have meanings.

  • Orange: Where R has traveled
  • Yellow: Where I have gone
  • Purple (K-State pride): Where we both have traveled
  • and the clincher, White: Where we want to go

Sigh. If it were up to me, the entire map would’ve been a sea of white. But I edited my choices to a select few.

I’ve been staring at the Peru pin for the last few days because I found tickets to Lima round trip for $222. Can you believe that? But it falls during the school year (which equals no time off). Plus, logistically speaking, we could not have made it to the Inca Trail and back in just three days. And believe me, I researched every detail from every angle. Maybe four, if you were pushing it and ran on a tight schedule.

R even hung a carrot in front of me asking if the deal landed on a holiday (it could have been the pain killers talking). And of course it didn’t. So, I’m chalking this one up to patience. And boy do I need some.

I research trips probably once a day. Am I addicted? And I’ve seen the show, people, I know the drill. If any of you invite me to a hotel room to “talk”, I’m not coming.

Oh, you white pins. How you laugh at me.

Nose Job

R’s a snorer. A bad one. To the point that he can sleep 10 hours straight and still feel like he had a bad night’s rest. Me too. No, I’m not a snorer, but I sleep next to one. Therefore, I get all of the side effects, none of the drug.

So when his fellow snorer-friend told him he had had a nose procedure to have his air passages thinned out, R immediately tried to find a doctor.

Please, people. Calm down. I know how much you enjoy hospital photos, but you’ll just have to be patient. Or be a patient.

R was very well behaved until he put on his hospital gown…and then all bets were off. I asked him to do his best “I’m injured and sick, please help me nurse” pose. Not bad, but maybe a bit more leg next time. Yikes.

As he got comfortable in his bed, he hoped aloud that no one would take off his socks because he hadn’t clipped his toenails in a while and they may mangle someone. I asked him why he didn’t just whip them out like he did HERE. eeesh. He didn’t, luckily, because…

in came the nurse to take off, surprise!, his socks. We both watched her eyes intently for her reaction to his Frodo Feet. She held it together and walked away unscathed. What a professional.

As the minutes ticked away, we discussed what he should and should not say while waking up. I had an embarrassing experience where I woke up from surgery literally discussing the size of my breasts with the anesthesiologist. The conversation ended when he suggested I move to Europe where men don’t care as much about breast size.


But maybe that’s why I became a Spanish major? Discuss.

So I asked R to please not think about that as he went under. Instead, he wanted to sing a song and see if when he woke up he’d continue where he had left off. Yeah, go with that, R. But please not “My milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard…” which would invariably lead into him telling the doctor what his wife asked him not to talk about.

So when I walked in to see R post-op, what was the first thing he asked in a groggy voice?

Do you think my wife is flat-chested?


Are you freaking kidding me. I quickly looked around, but the nurses had already left and when I turned back to R, he was grinning and then immediately fell asleep. How can someone be quick after just having surgery?

Anyway, he’s doing fine. Sleeping the day away. And after all, good sleep is what we were going for.

A Day to Myself.

R is out of town for a few days, so guess what that means? Girly time … with myself!

Hello, my name is Carolyn and I’m an introvert.

There, I said it.

R and I had gone to some friends’ (T’s blog is here) house last weekend. We were sitting around talking about, well what else..ourselves, and T mentioned that his wife had said “Oh good! She’s an extrovert for me and you’re an introvert for R.” Immediately, my palms got sweaty and I started to tremble. Extrovert, extrovert… oh lord, does that mean I have to talk to people? After smelling salt was waved under my nose, I woke up to declare that R was more of an extrovert and to please not give me a debutante ball into extroversion society because I’ll be expected to reenact a scene from the Crucible where they pretend to see birds and my part is one of the girls that screams and cries and, really, I am just not prepared nor do I have the lines memorized even though it’s mostly screaming nor do I like to have people’s eyes on me and no one will clap and everyone will laugh even though it’s a drama and not a comedy, so please.. please!


Anyway, by the end of the discussion, it was decided that T and I were functioning introverts. I like to write, I observe and absorb, I don’t mind giving up the spotlight, I can interact with people despite my sometimes clumsy conversation, and maybe when I get comfortable with you, just maybe, you’ll mistake me for one of those extroverts.

So I took myself to a museum in the next town over. They were having a “Cabin Fever Reliever”, complete with three speakers and they’re normal museumy stuff. The presentations were of the historical trails that went through NW Arkansas: Trail of Tears, Butterfield Stagecoach Route, and a Civil War Troup. It was nice. So were the free cookies and cider.

I skipped the Civil War talk to look around the museum with no one else around (Introvert Alert!!). I wanted to shoot everything. Everything. But was worried I’d do a repeat of my trip to San Juan Capistrano, in which I took about 300 photos of various chairs and pottery. So I made an effort to include myself in photos, if only to make it more interesting to look back on.

My parents are recovering non-self-includers. Now, every time they come back from a trip, they like to point out to me where they are in each photo.

Hang on though, I’m not saying I don’t enjoy interesting pictures from a trip without people I know in them. But that’s the key word: Interesting. I mean, look at this: I could never do this.

Could you? You probably could, huh. Well, I can’t. So I might as well throw me in the scenery mix. What has it got to hurt? (I heard that.)

After gazing at my future dining room table, I turned the corner to a dress-up area and squeezed into a 12-year old’s hat….

…looked at old 3-D photos.

And then I saw it. An entire area devoted to cleanliness in the olden days, which included a replica of an outhouse, of course.

So I tried it out. What you don’t see is the lady standing behind the camera pretending not to watch me set the self-timer and run into the outhouse. Apparently this is the face I make when someone walks in unannounced and stands there staring at me. I mean, hello lady, I’m having a private moment with me and my 1905 Sears catalogue and you are breaking my concentration.

In the end, I outran her to the real deal outside, after which I took a tour of a small cabin and barn.

After a quick stop at a thrift store, I drove home, changed into pajamas, fixed myself a nice cocktail as well as a plate of cheese and crackers (Do you see any green on that plate? I was getting wild and crazy last night, people), and plopped down to my netflix account.

A good, quiet, introverted day.


I enjoy watching R and his brother’s relationship.

They look up to each other

and appreciate their (dis)similarities.

They are each other’s sounding boards.

They enjoy each other’s company.

When they don’t, they yell loudly, then quickly get over it…

and spend $20 worth of tokens on a

Star Wars arcade game to make up.

I like that.


We had a couple days off from school this past week due to weather, so I ice skated my way to some antique stores. I always try to have a game plan before entering these fun-filled edifices. If not, I’ll wander aimlessly and you’ll find me in the corner many days later overdosing on other people’s memories. It’s not good.

One of the items on my list was a crock. My co-worker gave me a recipe for biscuits and gravy, but she suggested I use leftover bacon grease.


You see, it’s these little things that I just never think of. This is just one more way to extend the food I eat. Another similar idea is the sourdough starter for bread. I’ll be trying that someday soon once I get some courage. I don’t know why it intimidates me so. But absolutely no yeast needed. Kneaded is needed. But not yeast, and the starter just grows and grows and grows. A new deliciously informative blog I found has already helped at least prepare my mind for this feat. Here’s her post on sourdough.

So, anyway, I found two crocks and immediately strained the grease into one of them through a cheesecloth.

And there she be. I know, I know.. you’re wondering why I just don’t wash my hair for a day and use that grease. That wouldn’t taste good on biscuits, silly.

My other crock I used on the side of the stove, where I store utensils and other frequently used ingredients. Remember, we live in a teeny apartment, so any space is crucial. Above is how it was before…

And here’s the after. The new crock just freed up an entire drawer in the kitchen. Sweet!

Oh, and guess what else I bought? A pressure cooker/canner. A co-worker owns 100 acres and has offered to set up a garden this summer.


Bath Soap

I’ve been on a mission for the past year now: to learn new skills and find out what I can make I on my own. It makes me feel connected to the past when I do this. Connected in a way that antique stores and period-piece movies can’t quite capture.

Besides, if Netflix’s movie suggestions for me continue to be Historical Drama featuring a Strong Female Lead, then I better act the part.

If I could be any super hero, it would be a farm woman wearing a floured apron, who kills bad people by spraying paralyzing liquid on them from a well-pump. I guess there’d have to be a well-pump every 10 feet in order for that to work. Unless I invent a portable well that I carry on my back, then flip the pump over my shoulder like a machine gun and pump… pump… pump.. (“just wait right there, bad person, I’m almost ready“) pump… pump..

But I’m not.

I do have their forearms though.

So my next task was making bath soap. I felt comfortable with bread and dry washing detergent, so why not bath soap?

Oh, I remember. LYE. The scary powder that can burn you in a millisecond as soon as water hits it.

I was scared. But I donned those blue gloves over my farm forearms anyway and let it rip. Hey, what did I have to lose? Except for maybe some skin burnt off? Big deal.

I didn’t realize how relatively easy soap making is. Time consuming, but simple. You basically heat up oils and cool the lye until they are the same temperature. Then mix! Are you surprised? I was.

The recipe I used were from these posts on Down To Earth. Ah, love that woman. Her calm writing has helped me through all my bread drama, so I knew I’d be in good hands.

You spend an hour or so mixing and waiting, as well as hoping that “a ventilated area” really means a dorm room with a barely working stove fan.

Neither of my batches came out correctly and I’ll tell you why. On the first batch, I was pretty lazy with the measurements. In cooking I sometimes just throw things in the pan (especially when it comes to adding oil). But with soap you need to be on the money.

And I wasn’t. So the oil to lye ratio was off and the soap dried extremely fast. Too fast for me to cut it, even. Instead I had to break it apart.

On the second batch, the timing of the temperature was wrong. Because I knew from the previous experience that lye cools relatively slowly, I put the oils on the backburner. Literally. To the point that when I realized the lye was getting close to the right temperature, I cranked that burner with the oils up high. They heated up too fast and too high and could never cool down to the same temp as the lye.

Before the lye got too cool, I combined them and the mixture never acheived “trace.” You’ll hear that word thrown around a lot. It’s just the point in mixing where you can see little ripples on the mixture…and they stay on top of the mixture.

Anyway, so this batch hasn’t completely hardened yet. And it has been two months. I’m just scooping it out in balls and using it in that manner.

Here are the two batches. The first is the browner-looking soap and the second is the cream-colored one. I added peppermint fragrance to the second one which is a nice shot of ‘wake up!!‘ in the morning. Can you see how smooth and hard the first batch is and how the second looks like you could mush it with your finger?

I’m sure I’ll get better each time and I can’t wait to try out different recipes.

Forearm Farm – signing off.

Black and White Play

Another interesting outing we had in Dallas was attending a black and white play, done in a 40s type style. The director (and main character) has made this his signature style.
Can you believe this? I was extremely impressed.

Thank you R for getting me interested in plays. Yes, you heard that right.. R did.

I used to require a song & dance to keep my attention, but R’s not too crazy about those broadway shows (although he will sit politely through one). He does like plays, however, so I’ve been mixing them in to appease his taste. And now I’m really enjoying them too.
At intermission, you could fill out who you think committed the murder, throw it into box, and hope to win a prize.
The director played a bumbly, rambling detective who shows up in all of his plays.
At the end, his wife brought out the forms to pick a winner… and the burst of red was such a nice surprise against the backdrop and other characters.

But the weird part was seeing them after the show. You’d think that after the lighting was taken away, the characters would look completely superficial.
It was like walking out to a row of dead people. And so I of course had to get a photo with them.

This is the tannest I’ll ever look. Let’s all savor it.

Thank you.

NYE in Dallas

S and I have a lot to talk about during our next ESL tutoring session, oh yes we do. We meet twice a week to review english grammar, conversational skills, etc. She was born in Korea, and has lived here for about 4 years, but just wanted freshening up. Her English is fabulous and I’m really hoping she doesn’t notice how little help she needs, because I’d like to befriend her.

During some sessions we just talk (while I become the English Nazi and point out improvements). I normally ask her what she did over the weekend and one time she mentioned a trip to dallas which included a spa. It is a korean style spa and would be a good experience for you, she said.

Well, who would pass up a spa opportunity? Not I.

So last minute, R & I decided we might as well go check it out. I’d never been to Dallas, and it’s not a bad drive.

Oh, poor unsuspecting Carolyn. She really should’ve asked S more questions. Instead, she be-bopped her way up the stairs, paid the $18 for a 24 hour period, parted ways with her husband into the women’s spa area, and stopped dead in her tracks.

I literally thought I had just joined the broadway show Hair.
Except I was only the make-up artist.
And who do you think would be more embarrassed? The entire cast walking around naked, or the lonely make-up artist fully clothed?

So I quickly turned around and side-shuffled my way to the assigned locker, all the while boring my eyes into the wood floor. Wow, was this real or laminate? If this is laminate, could’ve fooled me maybe we’ll have this type put in if we move out of the dorm room I wonder who to ask should I just walk out and ask the manager?… an internal conversation that went on for a good five minutes before I faced my fears.

Because you see, you are given no towels. And in order to obtain one you have to walk what feels like a city block and enter the spa, ahem, naked. And on each side of this gauntlet, there are girls chit-chatting, laughing hysterically, and I swore I saw someone crocheting.

What made matters worse, I started thinking of my friend K’s experience in Moracco. While studying in Spain, some girls in the school scheduled a trip there for a weekend. I signed up, then backed out last minute due to insufficient funds. At least that’s what the ATM told me. But really I think it was God sparing me from what K ended up having to endure. They went to a typical bathhouse, where clothes were left at the door and everyone was brought in for a “scrubbing session.” Are you picturing people going off to their own little rooms for this? Oh no, you stood in the middle of a semi-circle of girls and got scrubbed down in front of them. Talk about being left raw. Physically and emotionally.

So here I was in this spahands strategically placed and made a run for it, praying I wouldn’t slip (God, could you imagine that? Wait, don’t.) and took the appropriate shower before getting into the spas After reading a sign that said “If you are disturbed that a patron has not taken a shower with soap and has entered the spa, please tell an attendant…”, I made sure every other flippin person there saw me with soap in hand. No way was I going to hold a nude conversation with an attendant regarding the cleanliness of my bits and pieces..  because you know my luck. Oh, the horror of just thinking about it.

After I loosened up a bit and realized that absolutely no one gave two rats whether I was there or not, I started to feel (drum roll) relaxed!
You’re given a guide on how to use the pools: stay ten minutes in the hottest pool, then dip into the cold one. Sit in the steam room for ten mintues, then back to the cold pool, etc etc, and by golly it worked.
After you’ve had enough spa time, you are given a “uniform”: pink for girls, gray for boys to meet in the communal area with the men.
Men. Men? Oh my goodness… R!!!!! I had forgotten about him.
He had no expression on his face when I walked out to the lobby. I asked how it went while patting his hand.  He said he was thankful the locker key came with a wristband, for multiple reasons.

He did look relaxed though.

So for the next 90 minutes, we wandered in and out of various saunas. Some were more popular than others. At one point, we both almost fell asleep in one.

I can’t tell you how our bodies just caved in on itself. Wonderful.
We were absolute zombies. Just shuffling to and fro… from the spa to the saunas to what I like to call the Hall of Chairs. Limp noodles, we were.
And then.. then we found them. A magical place, full of lazy boy chairs situated in front of a movie screen. This was where we would end the night. Kiwi and Carrot drinks that look like our normal NYE spirited beverages, but had none of the regrets.

It. was. delightful.

Would you believe it if I said we’re game to go back again? Because we would… broadway productions and all.


I’m copying Ashley and listing my goals for this year as well. Already, I’ve broken one of them today when we got lost a couple hours ago, but am now hyper-sensitive to it.

1. Quit cussing. Especially when lost. Although a nice F-bomb really does make you feel better every once in while.

2. Do one round of Power 90. I have a good 1.75 hours before having to pick up R from work. Why can’t I squeeze this in?

3. By eliminating those almost 2 hours of free time, it will help me spend LESS TIME ON THE INTERNET. Because we watch TV on it, email through it, write my blog with it, ugh… too much time. Setting a reading goal every month will help as well. I can’t decide to set the goal by number of pages or number of books.

4. No Coke. And by coke, I mean all of those sweet carbonated beverages. Growing up, we never drank it, why am I addicted to it now? R gave it up for all of last year and spent the past two days getting refill after refill in celebration. My mouth was watering. It sucked.

Side Note: Is ‘sucked’ considered a cuss word? If not, I may add it anyway. Along with ‘crap’.

5. Use a wider vocabulary: That’s crap -> That’s rubbish.  This sucks -> This vexes me.

6. Spending an hour each morning praying and reading the One Year Bible. All I have to do is get up an hour earlier.