Thursday, May 27, 2010

Heartburn, resentment, and milk.

Today my sister woke me up from my nap (yelling my name throughout the house as sisters often do,) to ask if I could go buy some milk from the store-which she'd just come from-because it was a necessary part of dinner and she'd forgotten it. Resentment bubbled up inside of me like heartburn. I thought about going off on her (everyone knows not to disturb my naps,) I thought about how she could've asked mom or dad who were both outside, I didn't say a word...I felt sure that in a few minutes I could still say many words if I still wanted to, and I was sure I would want to. I put on my shoes, grabbed my purse, her keys, the debit card, and I said nothing. I swallowed my words just like I would tums...and just like they work on heartburn, my resentment slowly disappeared. I thought about how small of a deal it was for me to drive a mile down the road to Kroger. Admittedly I thought about how dumb it was for her to leave the milk and how much more intelligent it made me since I was going back to get it--shhh don't tell anyone that one. I thought about how dinner would be almost ready when I got back.
When I arrived home with the milk my sister expected me to be upset. It felt good to walk in quite the opposite. She smiled her "I-owe-you" smile, y'know the one we all have to smile once in awhile? Well, I smiled right back, a genuine, no-longer-sleepy smile. 
I will try this more often, it felt better than looking back on what happened and getting angry all over again, and it felt better than looking back and realizing how petty I was. Dinner was great, and I had not a HINT of heartburn.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cuban rice recipe

Last night I made Cuban rice (a variation) for dinner for the very first time, and it was a such a huge success that I decided to put the recipe up here. Now, I have to tell you I'm a very vague cook, so bear with me as I don't give exact measurements most of the time. This is why I can't bake by the way, because when you bake a cake everything must be exact and that's not my way. Whew so lets get to it.

You will need these ingredients:
Canned black beans
Brown rice preferably (but you can use white)
Pineapple chunks (preferably fresh, but I used canned)
Fresh jalapeño peppers--definitely must be fresh
Sausage or ham

Even though the original recipe called for ham, I used sausage. First cook the rice, it's best if it's been cooked and has cooled by the time you start. Pour oil in the pan, and chop up your onion (I used only one) and sausage (I used a package and a half) and jalapeño (I used four because I love hot food) into the oil. Let them sauté and soften up then add in your rice. The longer you let the jalapeños cook, the less spicy they'll be. When you're ready, add in the rice, turn the heat down low here because the rice likes to stick and you may have to add a little oil. I cooked my black beans in a separate pot (about two cans) because they wouldn't fit in with the rice without spilling over when I stirred it.You're going to want to season the rice mixture in whichever way you choose--I used some seasoning salt and crushed fresh garlic. Add your pineapple (I used one can) just long enough for it to get nice and warm...And now that the rice mixture is nice and steamy, pour it into a big bowl and add in your black beans (which are seasoned too I hope--get the ones on the latino food aisle they taste best) and you're ready to eat. The pineapple adds a great little sweetness to an otherwise salty spicy dish. I made enough to feed seven people who gorged themselves in such a way that they had to take a walk after dinner lol. Here's what the bowl looked like when we were almost done eating :-) Make enough for leftovers! 

<3 Elisabeth

Sunday, May 23, 2010

To do...done? much to do and so little time! Do you ever feel like you're running running and never catching. Like my hamsters used to be. They'd get on their little wheels and run like someone was after them. I wonder if in their little hamster minds they realized that they weren't? Occasionally they would stop and look outside the wheel (almost as if they were expecting the scenery to be different-after all that running it should be!) I'm going to apply a verse to my life this week. "Let every man prove his own works and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone and not in another." Sometimes I'm not sure where I'm headed with all this sewing, I suppose to make some money, but in a way I believe it's also to prove something to myself and others. Really, I'll be okay when I prove to myself that I didn't go to college for nothing, that I can make money from what I love doing with a little hard work, and that other people do like what I make :-)

To-do list:

1. Go to Hancock Fabrics
snap tape
elastic thread
2. Go to the bank
3. Go to the post office
Be nice to the workers-would hate to work there (long lines alllll day with rude anxious people in them)
4. Check money and buy something fast food for lunch regardless.
5. Drop off application at schoolbox
6. Sewsewsewsew

What does your to do list look like?


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Southern Recipe: Fried Green Tomatoes

First of all, if you're in the south you can possibly go outside and pick a tomato, or run down to the vegetable, if you're not, you can possibly get a green tomato in the store or at a farmers market. If you want the tomatoes to be crispier (and less soft on the inside) get one that really green, if you want one with a crust but soft on the inside, go for a tomato starting to turn pink.
You will need:
A tomato
Enough flour to batter it in (a few tablespoons)
Salt and pepper/seasoning salt/preferred seasoning
Oil to fry them in
First, season the slices of tomato on both sides, then dip them in the flour until its covered, then give it a gentle shake (to get rid of excess) and place them in the pan of hot oil.

They'll look like this at first...

Almost done...

Let's EAT!

So far everyone I've gotten to try these have loved them (providing they actually liked tomatoes in the first place.) Hopefully if you've never had them you'll become addicted to this summer treat just as I have.

Elisabeth Arona

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hair is the issue: I'm black.


I am not my hair by India Arie

Little girl with the press and curl
Age eight I got a Jheri curl
Thirteen and I got a relaxer
I was a source of so much laughter
At fifteen when it all broke off
Eighteen and went all natural
February two thousand and two
I went on and did
What I had to do
Because it was time to change my life
To become the women that I am inside
Ninety-seven dreadlocks all gone
I looked in the mirror
For the first time and saw that HEY....

I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations no no
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am a soul that lives within

What'd she do to her hair? I don't know it look crazy
I like it. I might do that.
Umm I wouldn't go that far. I know .. ha ha ha ha

[Verse 2]
Good hair means curls and waves
Bad hair means you look like a slave
At the turn of the century
Its time for us to redefine who we be
You can shave it off
Like a South African beauty
Or get in on lock
Like Bob Marley
You can rock it straight
Like Oprah Winfrey
If its not what's on your head
Its what's underneath and say HEY....

Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person?

Does the way I wear my hair make me a better friend? Oh

Does the way I wear my hair determine my integrity?

I am expressing my creativity..

Breast Cancer and Chemotherapy
Took away her crown and glory
She promised God if she was to survive
She would enjoy everyday of her life ooh
On national television
Her diamond eyes are sparkling
Bald headed like a full moon shining
Singing out to the whole wide world like HEY...

I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am not your expectations no...

Robin the news anchor a few years ago when she took off her wig and walked the runway while battling cancer.

Although normally I don't listen to a lot of songs that aren't gospel, this one is one of my favorites. While listening to it today, I realized that this was my next blog post. You may or not realize it, but one of the biggest problems black girls have is their hair. You can get picked on if you can't grow it long enough, you get looked down on if you decide to wear it natural and it's too kinky, you get talked about for being ungrateful if your hair is long and you want it cut because "everyone wants it" and you don't. I believe that hair is one of the top causes of self-esteem issues in black girls. Since I'm not White, Latina, Middle Eastern, or any other ethnicity I don't know the top problems with their hair, complexion, or bodies, so I'll speak on what I know. 
If you are black, "good hair" and "bad hair" are well-known terms. The harder it is to run a comb through your hair, the worst your hair is. The kinkier your hair is, the more likely you are to get a relaxer at a younger age, the more likely it is that your hair will break off and be short, and the  more likely that you'll wear weave or hair you paid for. I won't even get into how the main reason hair breaks out is from incorrect hair care which women then pass down to their children and so on I'll go this route instead...

Being you is in. I love the song above (especially the verse in bold) because it celebrates the fact that being you isn't about hair. Yes, people comment and touch your hair when it's straight and long, but no it doesn't make friends for you, and yes it's generally more trouble than it's appears (which is why so many people cut their hair.) Your personality, confidence, kindness, empathy, and belief in God making everyone unique and special is what earns you friends. Look around you, a few years ago I could only name one person that I knew who was growing her relaxer out. Now? Oh um, including myself, I personally know eight, and there are others that I know of, but don't know personally. Girls don't have to grow out their relaxers to embrace their ethnicity, that's not what I'm saying, I'm simply saying that more black girls are realizing that their hair being kinky, curly, or bushy isn't a reason to be sad or ashamed...and that's worth celebrating. *Side note* Watch out straight-haired girls, curly girls are taking over the world! --ahem, what was I saying? Oh yeah, your hair doesn't make you who you are...
"I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am not your expectations no!" :-)


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Card-making day!

My rendition of a pregnant lady with a gathered ribbon "collar" and one that simply says It's a shower and has ribbon and a paper quilled ducky :-)

I thought this one was cute. It's of an old-fashioned baby carriage with button wheels. I free-handed it so it's not quite as perfect as I would've liked. 

On the left is just red scrapbook paper with "she's expecting" (a stamp I bought for like a dollar at michaels) and ribbon and polka dot paper at the top. On the right is a simple pregnant lady profile (free hand) and a square of cool stripey paper cut out with cool zigzaggy scissors with "she's expecting" stamped on it.

Feedback please! 


Monday, May 17, 2010

2 am and she calls me 'cus I'm still

So it's late at night. I make a Christian chat room on and start chatting away. While I was there yesterday someone told me I "really need more stuff" in my shop. I agree. I've always thought so too, so why not get to it? Tonight I was sketching while I chatted and someone said "You should do more illustrations, y'know some of your own, not just custom ones." It confirmed a few things for me. Maybe I'm just dense, but for me it was a lightbulb moment. Sooo feeling extra inspired I got off of chat and picked up a few nice-sized scraps from among my project fabric and first made a ring, and then a cuff/bracelet. It's late, and it's cooling down upstairs (where the A/C broke down) and the hum of the sewing machine made me sleepy, but being inspired kinda counteracted that. :-). Please let me know your honest opinions about what I whipped up. 


Friday, May 14, 2010

Random rambles, and lingering thoughts.

Staying up late isn't so much about not sleeping as about being awake. There is something about the quietness after a long rejoice in the gladness, or try to move beyond the sadness.

There is something special about a goodbye hug from someone whose stay you truly enjoyed. It's like closing a really good book after reading the last page, kind of a sigh and sadness that it's over, but at the same time an awe at how good it was.

I hate finding out a friend isn't a friend. Finding out someone you're close to (or thought you were) said something bad or untrue about you is an unexplainable pain. It's almost like skinning your knee. You see yourself falling, but you can't stop yourself, and then you know without looking that it's bleeding at least a little. A skinned heart.

I love my dad's hands. They are the standard by which I will judge my future husband's hands. When I was little I wanted to go everywhere he went, and he'd hold my hand and whistle as we walked. They were rough, with callouses and veryvery big. Even now his hands seem big. They woke us up on Saturday mornings, and they worked hard to provide for us. I need a guy with hands like my dad--or maybe just a heart like his.

There is something magical about a smile. If someone smiles at me at the grocery store, I'll think of it later and smile again. What did they smile at me for? Maybe they were just passing along something that was given to them!

There is something completely adorable about old couples holding hands in public. I want to be like that one day-if I ever find a man :-)

I believe one of the greatest foundations of any good relationship, (sisterhood, husband and wife, friendship whatever) is the ability-no, responsibility-to occasionally pretend you're interested in something you're not. There is not a person on the planet who will not ever bore you, but as a good ____________________(fill in the blank) you must be willing to genuinely fake interest. Listening even when you have to pinch yourself means that you care about a person past just when they benefit you--believe me, they do it for you too.

I firmly believe that eating is a source of bonding. Yes, I love to eat, but this isn't about me. Check it out, what did Jesus do with sinners and publicans? I gotcha! He ate with them. If you'll notice, it's nearly impossible to eat with someone and never get them to say a word. There is a sharing in eating a meal together that many people never even notice. This is why big happy families on movies eat together...I'm sure of it :-)

It is important to be comfortable as who you are. If you aren't, then no one else will be either. My mom comes off as quiet to some people, but she has a strong confidence and sense of self. She knows what her strengths are, and she knows what her weaknesses are...and when she's unsure of something, she just laughs at herself and asks for help.

There is never a need to feel like you're better than anyone else. God made you, and God made everyone else, and that's it. Yes, you may be better AT things than other people, but even that shouldn't be rubbed in because eventually everyone will know you're better at it and if you have already said it over and over they'll hate you. To add to this (just a thought) you being beautiful doesn't matter, there is someone more beautiful than you and I'll just throw it out there: God made you with your looks, you didn't create yourself.

I am so so thankful for people who love me. When I see people loving me unconditionally it is a credit to them, and not me. I can definitely say that I am a VERY blessed person. People see things in me that I don't always see in myself.

That being said, I'm going to close with this: Finding someone that loves you, knowing all about you is priceless. I can't even say it's like anything. It's a priceless gift we are given in life.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fixing the glare by changing the focus.

I adjusted the visor again in the car for the third time, before finally giving up, mumbling under my breathe. Why they don't make visors longer, when obviously the sun is glaring viciously off the windshield (and my eyeballs) constantly I don't know. Really maybe I was just grouchy, I decide to adjust my attitude, and in the meantime adjust my focus to out of the side window. After all the driver didn't seem to know how to drive with or without the sun, and was wearing sunglasses anyway...Focusing my eyes outside the front window wasn't helping anyone! 

In the same way lately I've been focusing so much on what isn't going right. I'm sick, I can't work on my projects and I'm always sleepy. I'm not sick and it's so hot that I'm a sweaty mess. I can't do organization and therefore can't find my scissors. I can't work fast enough to get anything made and on etsy or be in a craft show. I'm not making any sales. Well, yes, that's a lot of problems, which are all very valid points...and yet, if I can't do anything about them, I can't...maybe I should divert my time to something that will actually work. Here are a few places to divert your attention to:

1. Someone besides yourself
Trust me, this one really works. Find out problems that someone else has and you'll feel like a petty little fool when you finish praying for them/talking to them/caring for them. 
2. Hobby of choice
Why are people successful? Because they worry all the time? No, because they put forth time and effort and generally because they LOVE what they DO! Put in time that won't overwhelm you, the whole point of a hobby or craft is to enjoy doing it. If you're not enjoying what you're doing to make money on your own time, you might as well get a good-paying job and hate it while getting paid a decent salary...
3. Walk and take in the scenery
Perhaps you're looking out the wrong window. Try taking a walk and enjoying the scenery. You'll improve your heart health, and body appearance if nothing else, and even if it just makes you look better that's one less thing to complain about! Exercising get the happy bugs running in your body (I call them happy bugs because I can never remember what the happy feeling name is, but I promise this is true) and unless you're some major grouch it'll really improve your outlook on life. 

So, after teaching myself some valuable lessons--believe me, I was complaining as I sat down with the laptop to write this (the AC is broken and a body needs air especially in the SOUTH!)-I think that to fix the glare we must simply change the focus. This is true whether we are talking about taking pictures, sitting in the passenger side in direct sunlight, or a glare on a face when life is bad. 


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Family description

Family. My family and I are very close, since we traveled on deputation for awhile, and a lot of times didn't have anyone but each other at a church that we knew, we became even closer. We found out that if no one else has your back, one of your family does, even if that means standing up for you to someone else and then fussing at you about the same thing later in private. :-)
Our relationship works, and the older I get, the more I appreciate it. My dad's relationship with me is usually really good, we understand each other. Although he is strict, he's generally reasonable, but if we disagree it's not pretty because our personalities are very much alike. My mom and my relationship is close and comfortable, since my oldest sister got married I've become her right-hand daughter and generally I feel like I can talk to her about pretty much anything. Our main disagreement is cleaning (which she is good at and always doing, but I can only do in other's houses,) I generally have the messiest room which works for me and she can't understand.
My sisters and I are all as much friends as we are sisters. My oldest (Mary), as I said before is married. We text sometimes, and don't really ever argue, and rarely did when she was living at home. I love my BIL and feel like he is my real brother, I'm always grateful that she didn't marry someone I didn't practically hand-pick :-).
Julia is the second oldest. She and I get along usually, but while I'm impatient, she needs patience because she's indecisive and every day is a series of "what do you think about...?" from work outfits to what she should or should not eat for lunch. She's also unable to stand up for herself to people she's not close to, and tends to drive me nuts that way.
Sarah is the sister just under me. She and I are the closest among the sisters because we spend so much time together. While she's younger she's the dominant personality and tends to tell me what to do. People almost always just assume she's the oldest, occasionally I put my foot down just to show my independence. We may be the closest, but when we do argue they are generally violent (for us who have never hit each other lol) and usually we both leave the room a couple of times and come back again with something we thought of to say, and then eventually both state we're sorry by the end of the loud venting session.
Nece and Monnie are so close that they are almost one entity. They do everything together and when one is gone the other will pick someone to follow around and state how bored she is. Nece is the younger and the leader at eight years old, and Monnie at eleven only rarely disagrees vocally. Monnie is quieter and tends to just bother people with poking and giggling, following, questionnaires...and Nece is louder, more outgoing, and more confident.

This is my family in what I would say was a nutshell. For those who read it, it's not even nearly that, but hey, I'm awake at 6 am! What else do I have to talk about?


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Seams and seam-rippers.

When I was interning at a lingerie shop in June of last year, I started out mostly in the alterations room. Since I was a fashion design major, they decided to teach me how to alter bras. The secret of alteration is...(wait for it) change something and yet make it look as it was before or better. Usually when altering bras, we were just altering the size of the band; doing that required good eyes, a seam ripper, and patience. The sewing on the straps of bras is very overdone (in my opinion since I was taking the stitches apart.) A zigzag stitch would be used and would be sewn in such a way that it appeared to be one looong thick stitch almost like embroidery (check out a bra strap near where it fastens.)

Anyway, my job was to take apart the part of the bra where all of this stitching was. Because all of the stitches were so together, you had two ways, the slow way, or the fast way, of getting my job done. The slow way would be to pick at each stitch and rip them one by one; this could take forever since the stitches were tight and so close together. The fast way would be to slip the seam ripper underneath the stitches with some force, and rip them all apart together--if they were too tight you'd have to do it the slow way. If you want to keep the fabric intact you also had to be very very careful, and occasionally--alright at least once a week, I would rip my finger with the same tool I was using to rip the seams and start dripping blood everywhere, but that's beside the point. Bear with me, there is a point to this long monologue. 
As Christians we have many sisters and brothers in Christ, especially close to us are the ones in our church, or that we communicate with often, or most importantly, pray with. The bible tells us that where two or three are gathered in His name, there He is in the midst! Don't feel like I am being crude when I say that we are like those stitches on the bra, close-knit, and very dependent on each other for our spiritual well-being whether we realize it or not. Sometimes to break us apart a "seam-ripper" will come along and pick us off one by one, the seam-ripper can be in the form of a backbiter (gossiper,) an unbeliever out to have a good time, or even hobbies that are great when in it's proper place.
We have an advantage because unlike actual stitches we have the ability to be restored. As brothers and sisters in Christ we should stick close to one another, praying for each other, and treating each other as we would treat a part of ourselves. So often it's not the "seam ripper" that tears us apart so much as us allowing ourselves to "loosen up" and leave room to be drawn away and cut.
So cherish those of like faith, they are the ones who understand what you are going through, and the ones who intercede for you. Once you're snatched away from your fellow-believers it's so easy to get swept up and thrown away and it may be hard to get back to your original place, but together we are a part of a useful and often beautiful creation.