Adventures on a cookie sheet

Thai Chicken Pizza
Spicy, savory, and sweet. Starting with your crust, layer on in this order:
~2 tbsp. each crunchy peanut butter (warmed up so it spreads nicely) and thai chili paste
- Diced cooked chicken (I use a can of the stuff from Costco)
~1 cup grated carrot
~2 tsp. dried cilantro
~2 cups shredded mozza
~1 cup chopped broccoli florets
Bake. For my oven this meant 20 minutes at 450.

Spinach Alfredo Pizza
Serious comfort food, loosely based on a recipe from pizzamaniac.com. Make your alfredo sauce:
1-1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated/crumbled)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 cloves minced garlic (I'm a big fan of the stuff in a jar)
1 tsp. dried rosemary
2 or 3 handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped (or more; I kept adding and adding)
Bring the milk to a boil (I used my double boiler to avoid tragic accidents), then let it simmer while you add the rest; remove from heat and let it stand to thicken. Spread the alfredo sauce onto your crust and add the rest:
-Sliced tomatoes/mushrooms*
-Diced chicken (again, I used the canned, but the original recipe says to sliver and saute it with garlic.)
~2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese

*I didn't have tomatoes or mushrooms around when I made this, but if I had, they'd have been involved.
** To tell you the truth, I don't measure unless I have to, so aside from the alfredo sauce, all these are approximated.

Goodbye, February. It's been fun.


waiting for the bus

Scene: Friendship Square. Claire and a strange-looking 30ish short man await the coming of the West Bus at 2:55.

Short man: Nice skirt.
Claire: Uh, thanks.
[Awkward silence. The bus is a block away, so Claire decides 30 seconds of polite small talk won't hurt anyone.]
Claire: Yeah, it's kinda tough finding skirts when you're a six-foot-tall woman.
Short man: Oh I know. I have some friends who are drag queens who wear a size 16 mens, so they have a really hard time finding shoes.
Claire [wondering how that train of thought happened]: Well, I don't have any problems there, at least. I'm an 8.
Short man: Really! Even I'm bigger than that.
Claire [glad to have changed the subject]: Yeah, sometimes I wonder how I stay standing.
Short man: Haha. I wish I was six feet tall.
Claire [wondering if the bus could be any slower]: It has its ups and downs.
Short man: Well, I'm 5'5'', and it's tough going to drag shows, because you get these drag queens who are 6'5'' and then they put on six inch heels and they're a foot and a half taller than me.
Claire: Oh, I'm sorry.
[The bus arrives and Claire flees to safety.]


"I love you."

Last week at CRF, Pastor Wilson emphasized the fact that love is active and selfless; for the average teenagers making out at the movies, "I love you" is a statement on par with that of a three-year-old exclaiming "I love ice cream." Loving someone is not about feeling happy because of them; it's being filled with and acting upon a desire to give yourself up for them.

Now, apply this to your average teenage (or adult) breakup, where one person says to the other: "I just don't feel that way about you anymore." Once upon a time, someone somewhere got the idea that the fact that people and emotions change is a bad thing and a sign from on high that the relationship is worn out and due for replacement. Listen to that statement again. "I don't feel that way about you anymore." In other words, "I've been eating this kind of ice cream for a while now, and I'm tired of it. You aren't making me as happy as I want to be."

When I was 10 or so, I was watching TV with my mom. I forget what the show was. 20-Something Girl confessed her feelings for 20-Something Guy, who responded, "You're my friend. I love you, but I'm not in love with you." My mom snorted, and my romantic sensibilities were outraged. Surely, being in love with someone is something completely different from all other emotions? But hindsight, as usual, is clearer. What 20-Something Guy is saying is, "You make me happy, but not that happy." Even as a friend, love would have a better response than that. All he cares about is finding himself some really good ice cream.

This is why wedding vows are so important. Husband and wife vow to love one another in sickness and health, sorrow and joy, poverty and wealth, for the rest of their lives, not to doodle hearts around each others' names on the nearest piece of paper. Love is hard work. Listen to the conditions it happens in: we are called to love the other when they are sick and needy and smelly; we are called to love them when we are poor and hungry and tired and irritable; we're called to love them in sorrow, when we lose jobs and friends and parents and children and don't know how to go on. How many marriages have you heard of that ended "because of" some tragedy or other? Too many. But these are the times when a husband and wife who genuinely know how to love each other will be the ones most able and most obligated to hold each other up.

So, to return to Pastor Wilson's message, don't say "I love you" lightly. It's a promise about how you intend to spend the rest of your life. People talk about love as if it's something you start out with a lot of and slowly use up over the course of time, but it's the opposite that's true. Love is made out of actions, and as we love someone day in and day out, year after year, that love is going to grow. It's inevitable.

I guess this means I support Valentine's Day. In a sea of romance movies about finding your new favorite ice cream flavor, I think Valentine's Day is one of the last vestiges of genuine love that our culture endorses: to go out of your way to show your love for someone, to write them cards, to give them gifts, to sit down with them for dinner, to give up your time and your money and yourself.


On Time

Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race;
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace;
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more than what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross;
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain.
For when, as each thing bad thou hast entomb'd
And last of all thy greedy self consumed,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss,
With an individual kiss;
And Joy shall overtake us, as a flood,
When every thing that is sincerely good,
And perfectly divine,
With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine,
About the supreme throne
Of Him, to whose happy-making sight, alone,
When once our heavenly-guided soul shall climb,
Then all this earthly grossness quit,
Attired with stars, we shall for ever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O Time.

- John Milton