Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I married Alex P. Keaton....

which is fitting for the girl who wanted to be Blair Warner, from Facts of Life.

Those are just some of Dan's ties. Six more were added to the box. With a collection like that, you might think he's throwing his hat into the run for the presidency. Not yet. ;)  Maybe a secretary of agriculture some day... Just one of the reasons I married him - one month ago today!

For our one month anniversary, we're moving! Okay, not on this actual day, but in two days! Hence, the ties in the box. :)

I'd hoped to do a whole blog shout-out to every one that helped with our wedding through pictures, but that is just too time-consuming. So, for all of those who helped, THANK YOU! Someday, I'll get a proper picture to recognize your efforts!

Monday, June 27, 2011

One year...

Toward the beginning of the book of Isaiah, he writes, "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord." In different Bible studies, it has been mentioned how dear and beloved King Uzziah was to the people of Israel. For much of his life, he walked with God, followed his statues and brought the people to back to the Lord. I always find it interesting, though, how the Israelites 'following God' is largely dependent on their leader. If the King followed God, so did the people. If he didn't, well...most of the time, they didn't either.

A year ago at this time, my family was preparing to say good-bye to our patriarch - my grandfather, Joe Kremer. He battled kidney failure for three years. He was a fighter and probably one of the toughest men I have known. A year ago about this time, he suffered a stroke on a Friday morning and on Wednesday afternoon, God called him home.

In the year since Grandpa passed, my life looks very different than a year ago, but with all changes, they came incrementally. I can say, though, that in this year without Grandpa, I have seen and tasted the Lord.  A year ago, God woke me up in the early hours of the morning with the words for Grandpa's eulogy. They just came to me, and I wrote them out. In so doing, I realized this great truth. I had often wondered why God hadn't allowed Grandpa to go earlier, before the suffering, before becoming confined to the house, then to a bed, and finally the nursing home.  Grandpa said he was ready.  Even if he was, we weren't. 

In the days before Grandpa died, I battled a range of emotions - knowing that he should go but not wanting him to be gone. Selfish as it may be, he was the rock of our family. He was a good man, of great integrity, strength and courage. His passing would leave a great chasm and leave our family forever changed.

Jesus said that in order for a kernel of wheat to grow, it must first be buried in the earth and die. For life to come, there must be death. Proverbs says that if you train a child in the way that he should go, when he is old he will not depart from it. For our family to see the true effects of my grandpa's life, he had to go. His passing left an emptiness, but also created an opportunity. Each of us has the chance to rise up and take our place around the family table. It has been so neat to see this happen. We are a diverse family and spread across this country, but we are united by love.

Yesterday, was the feast of the body and blood; the celebration of the Eucharist in the Catholic church calendar. I recalled what my aunt Mary said at Grandpa's wake; as she wrestled with questions about Catholicism, Grandpa would answer that yes, the church was not perfect, but we have the Eucharist, the cup of life. She found great comfort in his words. As I took my first communion earlier this year, those words rang in my head. I was reminded of them again, yesterday. Sharing in the Eucharist helps me feel connected to the Body of Christ, the Church - and all those past and present. I miss my Grandpa, but I find such comfort knowing that he is part of the 'great cloud of witnesses' - the communion of saints - cheering on, encouraging, and praying for his heirs running the race on earth.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fast Fact Friday

Yeah, I'm on an alliteration kick, so sue me!

It seems that in the blogging world the kick is to have a run-down of your week with the "Friday Five." Since I just *hate* following the crowd; only a little, really, I don't want to stand out too much, but I do want to be unique; you get a 'Fast Fact Friday.' The inspiration comes from one of my former students and my fount of endless, frivolous (not useless) knowledge. On our college tour trip last year, every time I mentioned something noteworthy, he would say, "Fast fact!" I loved it so much that I started saying it and then he said that I was ruining, 'Fast fact!' I digress...onto the fact!

First fact: The University of Arizona Cattle Growers Association sells meat processed at the U of A Meat Lab every Friday. In the summer the hours are 3-5; during the school year, the hours are 3-7 pm. I get to help with the sale because Dan is the club's advisor, they are short staffed, I don't have a job, I like helping and getting out of the house! It's a win-four-times-over situation.

Second fact: The highest priced cut of meat on any four-legged animal is the loin, whose scientific name is the longissimus dorsi. The tenderloin's scientific name is the psoas major. Correction: the tenderloin is the highest priced, which makes sense when you know it as filet mignon (lots of folks asking for these last week); loin is second.

Third fact: A T-bone and Iowa chop are a special cut of meat providing the loin and tenderloin (that's the smaller piece of meat). What are the scientific names, class? That's right! Longissimus dorsi and psoas major!

Fourth fact:  Canadian bacon, a popular choice among Canadians and pizza lovers, is actually cured tenderloin - not bacon or ham, though most pizza chains will try to pull a fast one on you. Here is a great link to the pork cuts of meat poster: (If you're yearning for a great education on ribs, then just go to the main page. I am hankerin' for some ribs, now!)

There you have it, folks! Fast-fact Friday! I'd like to thank F.C. Parrish for his fabulous instruction in Animal Science 270, Survey of Meat Science and 476C, Meat Judging. Even after ten-plus years, those facts still stick with me.

If you're in Tucson, come by some meat from 3-5!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Words of Wisdom Wednesday

Have you noticed that to be an official blog you need to have catchy titles that use alliteration and the day of the week? 'Member that time Monday; Tasty Tuesday; Watchu Talkin' 'Bout Wills Wednesday; Thankful Thursday; Fast Fact Friday; Sensual Saturday; Sinless Sunday - you get the picture. The trick of the catchy blog titles is that they require a consistent posting of that subject on that day of the week. My problem is not the catchy title - but that consistency. So, faithful followers of four, you may or may not get Words of Wisdom every Wednesday.

Without any further ado, here is the wisdom today:

"Stay hydrated!"

Today is a scorcher, even by Tucson standards. We are projected to reach 110...or higher. In fact, for the next week, we will by in the triple digits. Next Monday and Tuesday had 111 under them. Seriously. My favorite part of the weather report, though, is the anchors' commentary following.
Anchor 1: Geesh! That is going to be a warm one.
Anchor 2: That's right. Be safe out there.
Weatherman:  Yes, you all know what to do, though, you live here! Drink lots of water.
Anchor 1:  That's right: stay hydrated!

I love water. Ask my friends, I drink my share of water. Last week, though, I needed some variety.
It hit me: I live in ARIZONA: SUN TEA! 
Then, it hit me again: I married an amazing man who owns a sun tea jar!
Then, it hit me again: That same amazing man only has black tea, but my amazing Tucson aunt brought me some flavored tea when I was sick in February and my amazing friend gave me some random orange tea!

Last week, I made my first variety of sun tea: 3 large Lipton tea bags with one small Tazo sweet, wild orange tea bag and one small Trader Joe's mint tea bag. The result? Delicious and refreshing! A thirst quencher with a little zang!

Today, heeding the warnings from this morning's news crew, I made round 2: 3 large Liptons with two Trader Joe's organic pear/ginger. A little burst of sweetness in every swallow.

In summary, folks, it's a hot one out there: stay hydrated!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tucson Mantra

"I'm not here for a long time;
I'm here for a good time."

Time in this sense is a bit relative. No, we're not planning on leaving anytime soon, and we're not planning on staying forever... Then again, in this crazy world, who knows? Plans quickly change. So, Mom and Nicole - don't get your hopes up too high. I will still be in Arizona next week. :)

For those who don't know me well or haven't known me since elementary school, I get homesick. I know, it might surprise you. The three times I went to camp - second, fourth and seventh grade - I got homesick. It wasn't so bad as a seventh grader, but I still would have preferred to be home than at camp. I am an interesting extrovert. I do enjoy being by myself; I like alone time...but I like to be near people who know me. I find security in just being near others. So, leaving the people that I loved the most was always hard for me - even if it was for three days. I'm also an interesting cat in that if I can distract myself and focus my energy in the present, I can do quite well. But, if my mind starts to wander, being 'present' is very hard for me to do.

Not having a job has caused me to realize a few things. 1) I would like a job to pay some bills and save some money and feel more comfortable. That one is fairly obvious. 2) I would like a job to introduce me to people. 3) I would like to be part of a community. 4) I want to use my strengths and gifts to pour into others' lives. I didn't realize that I have relied on my jobs to provide me with so many of those opportunities.

Back to the mantra. This past weekend, the roughest bout of homesickness thus far, was pretty eye-opening for Dan. George Strait's new song uses my mantra for the refrain. On Sunday, Dan looked at me and said, "Jessica, how about just living by this? How about recognizing that we're here for a good time?" It really helped me put our life into perspective. Yes, there are so many unknowns; I am living in a new place and experience a lot of 'uncomfortableness' - so far from friends and family, so little exposure to people beside my husband, so much time spent applying and looking and reaping very little; but, it's not forever.

When we are in desert seasons of our lives, it is so easy to look around and see no hope and believe that our present circumstance is our future reality. The truth is, though, this is only passing. Yes, the moment may last longer than we expected or hoped or believed - but it is still passing! The truth is that I have been . given today, this moment and have been asked to be faithful with it - no matter the circumstance. Will I be bitter, forlorn, sad, anxious...or choose to walk by faith? My eyes may not see relief, but I can walk by faith and not by sight. That's what this mantra reminds me to do: walk by faith - and SMILE. Be a blessing...whether you feel like it or not...and you will be blessed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Life in the Great Southwest

As I write this, I sit beneath a set of trees (some look like ginko, some bamboo, a mesquite, and some palm trees) on the 'central campus' of the University of Arizona, east of Old Main and south of the student union. At this early hour, there is slight breeze and temps in the 70s. In the shade, this is delightful. Yes, married life in Arizona is not all homesickness and heat-stroke.  (Just to clarify, yes I have been homesick; no, I have not had heat-stroke.)

I really like the U of A campus. From my vantage point, I see a blend of southwest architecture and modern buildings. Not adobe, but beautiful red brick with terra cotta roofs.  Old Main resembles a ranch mansion, with a large wrap around veranda. The modern buildings try to incorporate this red brick, but maintain their modernity with square lines and glass fronts. You all really should visit sometime; hopefully, you'll be as taken with its beauty as me.

Today, I came with Dan into work. I need the distraction of being out of the house; it increases my productivity. In the house, I get sucked into goings-on on the Today Show & Rachael Ray. Facebook is the stealer of work-productivity and TV is the stealer of housework-productivity.  Oh, the evils of technology!

My goals for today are to apply for three-four jobs with the University, a part-time/pass-the-time job at some hotels, and work on reporting the results of my creative component. Dan and I have set some 'lofty' financial-freedom goals that can only be accomplished with me having a job. :) So, all of your petitions on behalf of my employment would be appreciated.

So far life as a wife has been pretty good to me. I have laid out a menu-plan for this week, gone grocery shopping and saved $25, and have been working on our household budget. And my husband? Well, he keeps me sane, encouraged (the seemingly 'lack of progress' in the job front gets hard on me; I am not used to so much rejection; it's not good for WOOing personality [winning others' over]), and he works hard to provide for that I have the means to be so awesome at grocery shopping and menu-planning.

That's a glimpse into my Tuesday morning!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Life in the West

Sorry for the hiatus faithful followers! (Who am I kidding? If you are my followers, you know what to expect!)

Late Friday, June 3, Dan and I made it home to Tucson! 

A description and picture of our 'honeymoon' will be sure to come!