Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy (belated) Birthday Doug!

OK, so I think my mom is the only one of us that looks decent in this picture, but I'm using it because 1 - It is the only digital picture I have of Doug, and 2 - It isn't every day you get to put a picture of a stone manatee on your blog. And for the record, I have no idea why I'm making the face I'm making. Or why I am hunched over like that. Moving on.

Doug's birthday was on Thanksgiving this year, so I missed out on writing this on his birthday. He doesn't read my blog (although he just got an email account, so maybe that will change!), but I'm taking this opportunity to wax poetic about my awesome older brother.

Doug has always been a fantastic brother to me. For years I've said the only mean thing that he's ever done to me was sometimes refusing to change my diapers when he babysat me, and I don't even remember that happening, so it doesn't count. Even though he is so much older than me, he always took time to sing "How much is that doggie in the window", take me sledding, and play ninja turtles with me, even though playing action figures with a six year old is the last thing most teenage boys want to do. After being the only child for so many years, many kids would have felt threatened having an attention-hogging baby around, but Doug was never that way - he showed me constant love and concern. I'm loving that now that we're older, we're able to communicate on more of the same level, and I've had a blast hanging out with him in San Diego.

Doug has a fantastic hands-on gift that I envy. Really envy. His garden is amazing - absolutely fascinating and interesting plants that flourish. He can fix machines and build buildings. His art is fascinating - I love his sense of pattern, color, texture, and geometry. Rob and I have spent big chunks of time just staring at the painting he stayed up all night doing for us for our wedding.

Doug has a gift with children. Children LOVE him. My cousin Patrick can't even hear Doug's name without getting really excited. He's so much fun with them, and he's very patient with them (even though he claims he isn't).

I love you, Doug. I'm so grateful that you are my brother.

Friday, November 16, 2007

How to cook like Erin...

Take a normal oven-based recipe. Chop it into little pieces. Cook on the stove top. Serve over pasta/rice/bread. :) Eat 30 minutes earlier than you would otherwise.

This is how I get dinner on the table. Hungry for meatloaf, but don't have an hour to let it bake? Shape the mixture into patties and cook them on the stove top (or bake in a muffin tin) to cut the cook time in thirds. Craving Chicken Parmesan, but it is too hot to turn on the oven? Dice the chicken, and cook it on the stovetop (I actually prefer it this way because there is more surface area for parmesany-goodness). Lasagna - break the noodles into pieces so they boil faster (or just use penne), and stir it and the rest of the ingredients into one big pot. It isn't pretty, but you get all of the flavor in a third of the time.

Hey, if it between ugly food and ramen, I pick ugly food any day!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

PJ Pants!

For those of you that don't know, I volunteer with the teenagers at my church. I absolutely LOVE it. They are smart, motivated, and fun girls, and I have a blast with them.

Over the past month, we've been working on sewing pajama pants. For fun, here are pictures of two of the finished products. I wish I had a picture of the two girls who used pink fabric covered in skulls - they were very, very cool pants. Oh, and I do know that their heads are cut off - I want to keep them anonymous. Given, they put themselves all over YouTube, but you know, I'm paranoid.

I'd always thought I was really sewing challenged. But I've discovered working on this project that I am sewing machine challenged - I have a very good sense of how pieces from a pattern should go together, and a good sense of how to modify patterns when problems arise. There were several occasions where the experienced sewers either had no idea how to resolve a problem, or were trying to do it wrong, and I was able to figure it out quickly. :) Maybe I will become a domestic goddess someday after all.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

McCormick's Creek State Park

More day-to-day adventures! A few weeks back, my friend Leslie, and Rob and I took a road trip to McCormick's Creek state park to get some quality Indiana hiking in. It did make me miss the mountains a little, but we had a great time.

This picture is of the three of us after we finished crawling through Wolf Cave. The pictures of the cave itself didn't really work out because it is dark. :) But I enjoyed getting to belly crawl my way through parts of it.

We took this one of me literally inside of a tree while we were hiking. I loved how green this park was.

You can't really see it, but we were hiking along a creek here, and there were all kinds of fun marine-animal fossils in the rock there.

For some reason, we didn't take a picture of the Indiana-big waterfall further up the trail, but here's a fun picture of the tiny falls further up the creek.

We really had a good time. I feel like being in the outdoors really recharges my batteries.

Halloween and pictures!

I just realized that I don't have any pictures of myself on my blog, or descriptions of what I've been up to in the past 6 months. :) So for those of you that have tired of my philosophical ramblings, enjoy a piece of Erin's day-to-day life.

Halloween is a big deal at my office because we host the campus-wide trick-or-treating for grad/professional students and their children. We got a little crazy this year and went all out decorating. This is a picture of Pat, our life-sized temporary secretary we gave life to Frankenstein-style. She had a great week with us at the office (perfect attendance), but sadly, she wasn't producing much work, so she is no longer with us. She also scared children. We didn't get any screams, but a lot of kids freezing at the door, wide-eyed, and not moving until their parents came and retrieved them. The funny thing was that some kids were more afraid of the owl than of the skeleton with a shrunken head.

For good measure, here is a picture of me with Pat. I'm not wearing my full surgeon gear (I also had the face mask, shower-cap for hair, and rubber gloves), but you get the idea.

We had a great time. There were a ton of little kids dressed up as monkeys. Not sure what the deal was with monkeys, but they were really cute.

Oh, and in response to my earlier post about skanky Halloween costumes, I have to add that at the party I went to that evening, there were more scantily clad men than women. Go figure.

More pictures soon!