Amazing Grace

(I wrote this for a class a while back. I think there’s some editing that I can do to fill it out, make more connections. It was based off of a picture, and a wonderful exercise. I should definitely do more of these.)

He was searching for something.

With the metal detector in front of him, he scanned the beach, looking for the bits he knew were out there. How could he know? He hadn’t seen the people unknowingly drop their jewelry, or watched them lose their keys in the sand. But he knew that these items were out there, waiting to be found.

Sometimes, you just know.

He told her not to go out that night. When she asked him why, he said he didn’t know, just that he didn’t want her to go. She laughed him off and told him that he worried too much. She would be back before midnight.

Midnight came and went. He waited up for her, worrying too much. One o’clock and there was still no sign of her. He called her phone but there was no answer. At just after two, he got his answer, but not from her. It came from a police officer.

He had lost her.

The space between the beeping noises that came from the metal detector became shorter. He expertly waved the machine across the sand, the noise becoming more frantic until it ran together into one long beep. He turned it off, knelt down over the sand, rolled away a rock, and found a necklace. Hanging from the necklace was a cross.

He rescued the necklace from the sand and put it in his pocket. He found it. It was no longer lost.

He continued his search.


Catch Up!


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See, this is why I shouldn’t have another blog. But, there are things I want to post about that just don’t quite fit in my other venues of thoughts and processing. So this poor “left overs” blog gets what the others don’t.

I did make Christmas cookies. The Check-Slovak Black and White Pinwheels didn’t turn out quite like I was hoping… a bit too flour/powdery. But they will be repeated next year for sure with a few tweaks to the recipe I have.

Pinwheel cookies... the dough softened really quick, but it baked pretty evenly.

Pinwheel cookies… the dough softened really quick, but it baked pretty evenly.

The Hungarian Linzerteig cookies turned out well. Not quite as sweet as I remember them, they were definitely dense. I tried them as thumb print cookies and they were a little too dense to bake all the way through. Next time, I cut and shape like the recipe says. I also used the Hungarian Linzerteig dough for basic cookies to decorate. I made a thick icing in different colors for my Brilliance to paint them with, and he had a blast doing so. Total win there.

The artist at work.

The artist at work.

But the krumkakes… Oh, they were wonderful! The iron was a little tricky to figure out at first, as it kept expanding and getting stuck in the frame. The temp was incredibly finicky, and the timing took a few tries, but once I figured all that out, I was flying. The scariest thing was the steam and expansion against the iron after about 5 seconds in. I was ill prepared for that.

My learning curve in krumkake.

My learning curve in krumkake.

But after I figured out all of that, they were so tasty! Everyone in my family loved them. Total hit.

I’ve started baking my own bread for sandwiches, and it’s absolutely the best. Super tasty, and it kinda brings me to this zen place in my brain when I’m working the dough. Also, my house smells of fresh baked bread all the time now. It’s lovely.

The Dance


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I wrote this about 10 years ago. I’m usually a free-form poet. When I finish a free form poem, I feel drained after. Just plain wiped, like a person that’s been walking too long. But when I challenge myself to follow a structure, I feel a different kind of exhausted after. Like getting to the top of a hill. Maybe it’s the accomplishment of tackling something I’m not as familiar with, whereas the free form is more of a meditative endurance test.

Or I could just be making it all up in my head. 😀

He challenged me- the look he gave was steel.
It warned of strength and power in his hand;
And in that look the pit of me could feel
that everything was going as he planned.
And if I followed through on his ideal
the man would win- the lady would be damned.
The look was calculated to enhance
my insecurities before we’d dance.

He didn’t think his look would serve a dare
He automatically thought me weak.
So I looked back, a full and cutting glare;
This lady isn’t made of coy and meek!
It stopped him in his tracks- he turned to stare
but I would not provide him time to speak.
I push his look away with one small glance
And then in earnest we began to dance.

Christmas Cookies!


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I’m planning on making some Christmas cookies next week. My family went casein-free (dairy free) over a year ago, and last Christmas, I was very sad to be surrounded by cookies I couldn’t eat,

I don’t blame other people for not meeting my dietary restrictions. It just means I have to provide my own. We have so much in dairy substitutes that it seems silly not to try.

I’ve never made Christmas cookies, but I’m really excited to try a variety of them. For instance, I recently won a Krumkake iron on ebay..


I’ve wanted one for YEARS. I finally got one, and I’m going to learn how to use it.

In Minnesota, I can say krumkake and everyone knows what I’m talking about. For those of non-Scandinavian heritage, krumkake is Norwegian for “curved cake,”  which is very misleading. Basically, you make a waffle cookie on a krumkake iron, then, while it’s still warm, you roll it into a cone shape. So, it’s like a waffle cone only not nearly as durable and way lighter in taste. Almost buttery. Very tasty.

I’m not really a fan of most other Scandinavian cookies. Luckily, I’m pretty much a melting pot of European heritage, so now I have an excuse to make any type of Christmas cookie I want!

Like anyone needs an excuse for cookies.

My favorites tend to be the Eastern European ones, so I’m going to try out a couple  of recipes. First and foremost, Check-Slovak Black and White pinwheel cookies.


I love pinwheel cookies. It’s like the marble cake of the holiday cookie world.

I’m also planning to make Hungarian Linzerteig. I know the kids love their thumb cookies with a dollop of jam, but there’s something about the process in these jam cookies that are just tasty as hell.  Also, they’re made with all the egg yolks. Super rich cookies.


And what am I going to do with all those egg whites? Well, I’m going to make Cinnamon Curls!


It’s a variant of a Bulgarian recipe for carpenter curls. I’m ridiculously excited to try it.

Also, gingerbread. Cause what’s Christmas without gingerbread?

Mostly, you can just replace the butter with shortening to make a cookie dairy free. But a lot of these are known for their buttery flavor, so I’m going to try some “buttery spreads” to see if that will help.

I’m just frustrated I can’t try these for another week.

Poor Man’s Shepard Pie


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Yes, I’m copying over some of my favorite posts from previous blogs. Not all of them. Some of them are silly and dated. By some, I mean many. Anyway. I’ve posted this in every blog I’ve had since coming up with it ages ago. Enjoy the fruits of poverty past.

When I was on welfare, I gained an amazing skill of making tasty and filling food on pennies a serving. This is a favorite that’s carried over. It’s easy, it’s fast, it’s filling, and you can feed two people for little more than the cost of a can of soup.

You will need

  • one can of vegetable beef soup
  • instant mashed potato flakes
  • shredded cheese (optional)
  1. Heat can of soup until boiling
  2. strain water/broth from the rest of the soup into a bowl
  3. add instant mashed potato flakes until mashed potato-like
  4. add the rest of the soup on top of the mashed potatoes
  5. Sprinkle with shredded cheese

I made it in 5-10 minutes tops. And it is delicious.  In a very “this economy is busting my balls- what can I make from what I have in my cupboard” kind of way.

My Brilliance


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(this was originally posted to a different blog May 4th, 2008. I copied it here because I wanted it to exist here)

Brilliance: (n) the quality or state of being brilliant.

Brilliant: (adj) 1. very bright, 2. distinguished by unusual mental keenness or alertness.

I call my son My Brilliance  A part of that is because I love wordplay, and he is my son, and the sun in the sky is bright, or brilliant… No! Wait! Don’t walk away! It gets better, I promise.

The main reason I call him My Brilliance is because he is just that. Brilliant. And I don’t just mean the fact that he is a super genius. Though he is. They did standardized testing the other week, and it turns out my second grader has the math and reading aptitude of a jr. high school student.

That’s right; my 7 year old is puberty smart. I never thought I’d get to use the phrase “puberty smart.” No, YER and oxy-Moron…

So this has led to the school scrambling around to further assess him and place him correctly, making us parents fill out paperwork that doesn’t always make sense.

NOTE: The following conversation is a simplified one, paraphrased to better get the meaning and feel across. My son used much bigger words, and his parents aren’t quite as dumb as I make them out to be (or are we?)

(mark if often applies) “your child is very imaginative, and often loses touch with reality”
Me: This doesn’t make sense

Topher (my son’s father): This doesn’t make sense.

Me: That’s what I said.

My Brilliance: It’s a logic trap. One does not have to lead to the other; they are putting two separate points in that sentence  Since they are not both true, the statement is false.

Me: I knew that.

Topher: Me too.

The intelligence is certainly a part of what makes my son brilliant What really matters is not how smart he is, but who he is as a person.. the make up of his character. My Brilliance is a very thoughtful and playful person. He understands how to tease, he is sympathetic, he owns himself and his actions. He gets the meaning and intent of a situation seemingly by instinct, and he does not use this against people or for himself. Rather, he tries to find the best situation for everyone involved. He is loving and compassionate, and strong in himself.

He is my brightness on a dreary day. He is My Brilliance.

Writer’s Note: Now that he’s in jr high (ick), My Brilliance is at high school/college levels. But he’s balanced out right now with all that pre-teen puberty grossness. Ick.

On Building Faith In Your Beliefs


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This is a post I made a while ago, but felt it should go here.

“You’re lucky to have so much confidence in God.” -email argument with an evangelical friend of mine over “the gays” (and how I’m kind of sort of one).

Honey, I did not “luck” into confidence in my faith. I didn’t find it lying in the street, like a $20 bill with no owner. I worked my ass off for that shit. I hung out with the sinners, with atheists, with people of other religions, with people of my own faith with whom I disagreed. I built it up out of hopeless situations, of being told that part of my identity was wrong, that being an unmarried mother was wrong, that distancing myself from my abusive mother was wrong. I went outside the lines, and came back with a stronger faith.

You don’t luck into confidence in your beliefs. You work at it. You pit it against different beliefs. You don’t try to make the world conform to your viewpoint, but have faith that your beliefs will work within the world. You trust it. You believe in your beliefs.

Then you do it again. And again. And with repeated success in your beliefs holding up against various situations, you gain confidence.

And if your beliefs don’t hold up against the world, then maybe you need to take a look at why that is. I’m not saying you need to logic your faith. That’s not what faith is. That’s reasoning, which is also a wonderful thing. But don’t assume the world is wrong because it doesn’t fit pre-constructed beliefs. And don’t buy into pre-constructed (someone else’s, your church’s, or your society’s) beliefs because it’s easier. We take the easy way when we’re too lazy or too afraid to take another way.

Don’t let fear of how someone in your church will judge you control you. And don’t let others bully you into buying into their beliefs. We call that terrorism, and there’s a war out on that. 🙂

It’s not easy, and it’s not lucky. It’s hard work. But it’s totally worth it.

You know, a log kept on the web… like a web log…

Alright, Jena. You already have YoungNotions, you’ve done various blogs in the past, and and you have the opportunity to write for other sites. So why this blog?

This is is for journaling. For writing whatever’s going on in my life. Or whatever I feel like. I’ve done some of that for YoungNotions, but our focus there is comedy. This is free writing. Maybe not just writing. Maybe pictures. Maybe I make up a tutorial of some sort. I do craft, you know. Whatever I feel like typing up.

Sometimes it will be funny. Sometimes sad. Sometimes informational. Sometimes just for looks.

But it’s all me.

Why Pneumosprklyosis? It’s a condition made up by satirical rag “The Onion,” which is my favorite place to go for funny not-news (well, besides YoungNotions, of course). In their article “Cases Of Glitter Lung On The Rise Among Elementary-School Art Teachers,” The Onion talks about the rise of Pneumosparklyosis, or “glitter lung,” where a person gets sick and has trouble breathing because they have too much glitter in their lungs.

In the belly dance circles I run, in the cabaret circles I’ve danced in… heck, in the crafting circles I’ve participated in, there has been an abundance of glitter. If glitter lung were a real thing, I have no doubt that I would have cause to be tested for it.

Doesn’t that just sound awesome though? The sparkly lung disease? It’d be the prettiest disease ever.