Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Didn't Embarrass My Teacher

So we went to The Yoga Center in the Elizabeth neighborhood in uptown Charlotte last night. Phyllis Rollin teaches Iyengar style yoga, which is very precise and detailed. There's not really any room for making the poses your own in terms of style. But I think that's a good thing sometimes. You really learn about your own anatomy as she leads you through what you think is going to be simple forward bend. She starts pointing out parts of your body that haven't thought of before, and telling you to adjust each of them. I mean, when I bend forward over one leg, I usually don't think of the opposite side of my ribs collapsing.

Anyway, we did not do much sweating, which Liz had told me we would do, but she also said the class seemed easier last night than usual. We attributed that to the fact that Phyllis was a little under the weather.

There were two men in the class, which was kind of cool, and I ended up next to the wall by one of them, Tom. He had a lot of back issues going on and so was doing most of his poses rather gingerly and receiving some assistance from Phyllis. As we were working on a prep for handstands, I muttered to him, "So when do we get to the napping part?" And he really enjoyed that one. The woman on the other side of him said, "That's just a rumor we spread to get people to come to yoga." And then pretty much our entire wall of people started cracking up. Phyllis hadn't heard the conversation, so she walked along the line of us asking us what was so funny, which made us laugh even more. All in all, it was a challenging yet fun class. I think I'll go back whenever I can, although that will mean sacrificing my Monday night Jazz class. We'll see.

This morning it's Jazz and then yoga at The Gym in Fort Mill and then afternoon is free. I have some tidying up, bathrooms to clean, and laundry to do. And I imagine I should cook supper too.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Is that Utthita Hasta Padangustasana or Utthita Parsvakonasana?

My yoga teacher told me in an email last night that the class we are going to is fun. It will make you sweat and work hard. The teacher is funny. Then she said:

"I realized - she also says all poses in sanskrit! so we will just do as the other students do..."

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Church: The Whole Family

I couldn't be happier. Well, I imagine there are things that might make me happier, for right now? I'm delighted that Nate, Erin and Ryan are all coming to church with us. We'll be filling that second pew!


"I am familiar with Potato Gun safety," he said.

That was the end of the last conversation Mensa Boy had with the kids last night. All four of them (Nate, Taylor, Ryan and Erin) had disappeared around 8 o'clock. After asking me if they could "shoot my onions."

"No," I said. "I need my onions." I didn't even bother asking them to clarify.

We went to bed around 9:15 (yes, on a Saturday night) and shortly after that we started to hear sounds from the garage. Bear was also barking from his perch in Taylor's room.

Mensa Boy went down to investigate. He came back and said "At least there are no flames involved." Apparently they were building a potato gun with PVC pipe and cement. They had a can of hairspray and planned to use that as a propellant for potatoes.

"Three of them are adults now," MB said. "I hope they don't get in trouble with the police."

He said they were going to take it down to one of the stalled developments where there are no houses being built right now and shoot it off. He was tense. I reminded him that he and his friends had done a lot worse than that. "Yeah," he said. "We tended to use fire."

There are several videos of people making and using spud guns, or spudzookas on YouTube.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Game of Set

Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Julie likes to play games. Not in the negative sense of the word. She likes to play board games and card games. We played Sequence a couple of times while she was here.

And she played Set quite a bit. I get the hang of it, sort of. But don't have the patience to find the more complicated sets. Here she is showing Mensa Boy how it works.

This has always been one of his expressions that I find most endearing.

Mensa Boy's Dog Training School

Latest tip for housetraining:

Brainwashing. "It's FUN to not poop in the house."

He and Taylor talked about posting signs around the house to this effect. In bark language, of course.

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Last night we tried Kingklip. I'm glad it didn't look like this when I bought it. Kind of eel-y lookin', eh?

I was looking for salmon to make our favorite salads with and saw this. The meat was gorgeous-looking and the price was $8.99/lb. I asked the fishmonger about it. He told me it's a lot like grouper.

And it is, but it has a very firm, almost crabmeat quality to it too. It kind of strings like crabmeat, if you get what I'm saying. We grilled it. I put Jerk seasoning on it after brushing it with olive oil. I started with it on foil on top of the grill and then moved it to the grates to finish. We also had roasted corn on the cob and salad. Excellent meal! We had a little piece left over so today I've shredded it and added to pasta, fresh tomato and pesto for my lunch.

Last night we watched an episode of "Expedition Africa." I think it's on the History channel. Too lazy to stop and look it up. Anyway, these people are reinacting Stanley's journey when he ended up finding Livingston. Kind of cool.

Did Jazz and then yoga this morning. I have one month to do as much yoga as I can before school starts. I intend to do that. I also talked to the teacher about doing a couple of private sessions. I've told her what my goals are and she'll craft a home practice for me. Woot!

Mensa Boy is out fixing the sprinkler system. It got stuck on the last station the other day and sprayed for something like 90 before I noticed it. He says it was a bad solenoid...is that how you spell it? He's so cute when he fixes something he's never fixed before. Proud of himself. And he should be! His next couple of projects are the ice dispenser in the refrigerator and the carpet cleaner.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Beach Trip

Us at Blues
Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
BFF Julie and I, as you know, spent a few days in Cherry Grove last week. After we nearly wore ourselves out painting the first part of the week.

We did a lot of heavy duty relaxing while there, but did spend part of one day wandering through local bookshops, antique stores and thrift shops. Julie is into the latter two. For lack of any other ideas, we stopped at the House of Blues for lunch.

I tell you, traveling here in the south with a vegetarian can be a bit of a trick. It's easy for me to feed her, but it can be hard to find places that have anything worth eating for a vegephile. I thought for sure the House would have a few items.


And a stupid one at that. The lettuce was poor quality and there not really any "bits" in it to jazz it up. I felt badly for her, but she took it in stride. I, on the other hand, had an excellent gumbo. We shared a plate of sweet potato fries as well.

This is a meat-and-three state and now that I think of it, we probably should have just looked for places like that. She would have enjoyed the "three" part. Although she wasn't impressed with the roasted okra I made her Saturday night.

Maybe if we'd made dined out in Charlotte a couple times we would have a had a little better luck. But even the Billy Graham Library didn't have a decent veggie sandwich. Just a cold American Cheese sandwich on the kids' menu.

But we had a great time and I'm looking forward to doing this again.

Words about Birds

Well, I have this birdfeeder, you see, that no one...and I mean no one...has visited for a year. I don't know why. At least, I didn't know why until yesterday.

It's one of those feeders that's supposed to be squirrel-proof. If anything heavier than a bird sits one one of the perches, this sort of exterior cage slides down and closes all the feeder holes.

Yesterday I noticed that, despite brand-new food...and good quality stuff, I might add...STILL no one had visited. So I went over there to shake things up and see what the scoop was. Apparently the springs on the feeder have given out and the exterior cage has been leaving the little holes shut permanently. DUH. So I've rigged it to stay open and hopefully we'll get some visitors soon. There's a fresh bath for them too.

On the other side of the patio is the hummingbird feeder. The glass on the last year's feeder had cracked so I bought this adorable new one at Lowe's last week that looks like a hot air balloon. The hummers found it within 48 and have been draining it regularly since then. I usually don't fill with more than about 4 oz. of liquid at a time because when it's hot like this you have to change it every couple of days. But they are actually draining it dry now, so I just loaded it to 14 oz. now.

Things are supposed to cool off here a bit a few days...a "cold front" should be coming in that pushes temps down below 90. If that happens, I think I'm going to try to rig up my cameras on tripods and get some bird shots using my remote.


There's No Coffee in My House!

And I'm definitely feeling it this morning.

Last night I left Lancaster around 9 and got a text inviting me to a friend's house for wine. She knew she wouldn't be able to sleep and really just wanted to hang out.

By 11:30 we'd had 2 or 3 small glasses (I don't know we didn't just fill up on big one) of a pinot grigio, a bowl of potato chips and then decided we needed ice cream!

Needless to say I'm a little tired this morning and suffering from swollen fingers from the chips. But we had a great time.

Woke up around 6. Hung out in bed for a while, did a nice 30 minutes of yin and then took a deep, warm bath. So now I'm sitting in my robe on the back patio with TEA because there is NO COFFEE!

But all is quite good. Happy Friday!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Could He?

So. Sanford drops completely out of the spotlight the very moment Michael Jackson bites the dust.

I'm thinking he's a happy man.

Sanford, that is.

A friend mused "Maybe Sanford killed MJ."


Tour de France - 2009

Tour de France - 2009

Starts on July 4! WOOT!

My Summer Begins

And so begins my own personal summer. No I'm not talking about hot flashes! Sheesh!

Today will be largely a day of rest. I've got a hitch in my git-along that just doesn't seem to want to quit. It's the left hip. I'm going to yoga this morning to see if that helps and then consider stopping at the chiro this afternoon. Tonight I have Trustees dinner with the county. Other than that, the agenda is clear, and I intend to keep it that way.

My first order of non-business is going to be to finish "The Book Thief." That thing is like an albatross around my neck. I'm not really enjoying it, but am reading it because it's been so highly recommended.

At some point, but only if I feel like it, I'm going to play with my new Wacom Bamboo pen tablet. I took a photo of Julie and me next to the House of Blues police car and now I see I have a loudspeaker protruding from my left ear. So I'm going to try to remove that.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

May He Now Fade Into Oblivion

Well, let me begin with the snarky comment: Apparently our governor was rejecting part of the stimulus package because he had his own personal stimulus package going on. Wouldn't want to be over-stimulated now, would we?

By now Sanford's mysterious disappearance, reappearance and public confession of infidelity has made its' rounds through the news cycle. Not as big as the shot heard 'round the world, but certainly a shot that has been heard from coast to coast.

Here is the story.

Even if you just skim it, be sure to click the link that has his wife's statement. It is a wonderful one. Really.

So he was crying for 5 days in Argentina. Well, he's not getting a lot of sympathy from anyone around here. Most aren't too sure that there was much crying involved. This man states that he has been having this affair for a year, his wife found out 5 months ago, and they have been working on their marriage since then. So while he's working on the marriage he's off in Argentina with the gal pal? Lying to his office and the entire state concerning his whereabouts?

There has been much speculation that Sanford's stimulus stance was a method to position him for a run for the presidency. And when his disappearance was noticed and questioned, many further speculated that he was on the Appalachian Trail crafting his Presidential bid speech.

Well, buddy. That ain't gonna happen. You and John Edwards should build an East Coast Playboy mansion together and just get out of our politics. I'm very sorry I voted for him. Unlike my feelings about Dave Durenberger, I never suspected his crookedness.


How is this all going to play out?

Inspiration Network, a Christian cable network, owns 92 acres of prime property in Indian Land. As a nonprofit company, they expect to be exempt from taxes. They were also given $26 million in financial incentives by both the county and the state when they located here.
Recently the state Department of Revenue ruled that they are not going to be exempt from property taxes. This could amount to about $830,000 annually.
Inspiration Network, which calls its' campus the City of Light, has built two buildings and done some landscaping that includes a set of lighted spires.
So my question is this: if the City of Light has to pay taxes, an expense they were not planning to have, are we are in danger of becoming the home of an abandoned, undeveloped piece of property right in the middle of Indian Land, ala PTL in Fort Mill?


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Multimedia message

Found for $4 at used bookstore at the beach.

Father's Day, Julie Gone, Work Tomorrow

Today we celebrate Mensa Boy's career as a Father. Any my own Father's career as the same thing. They are both great dads.

And I mourn losing buddy Julie as she wings her way back to Minneapolis. This was the easiest visit for us. Just the right amount of work, rest and play.

And I dread going back to work tomorrow. I only owe 3 more days. 2.5, actually. But I'm in summer mode so those 3 days are going to seem like an eternity, I'm sure.

I'll write more. Soon. For now I plan to eat a late lunch, take a nap, and then do whatever comes to mind.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Work Done. Beach Time.

Julie and I painted for pretty much three solid days. Both bathrooms, mine and the boys, are done. Mine is a lighter shade of the brown I have in my bedroom. The boys is so yellow it almost burns your eyes!

We had trouble with the smaller bathroom. We figured it would only take 1/2 gallon to do the room, but of course you buy paint in quarts or gallons. So the lady at Lowe's suggested we buy a quarter of primer and tint it the same color as the paint and that way we'd save $$.

Well, the primer bled through the paint. So we ended up doing three coats altogether, buying a second quart of the paint yesterday when we realized the problem. So we ended up spending more than we wanted. But we are very happy with the results. I'll take some photos sometime.

The painting definitely took a toll on our bodies. We are tired and sore and looking forward to the beach. And apparently we are going to get plenty of very hot weather this weekend, so it should be a good time to go.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Shannon's Speech to Erin

Lauren, Erin, Shannon. Photo by Jennifer Kirby

Nate's girlfriend Erin has a sister who has autism. Shannon is not the autism. The autism is just an aspect of her personality that makes her unique. She has come a long way from the little girl I met years ago when I drove the drove the bus. That little girl cried loudly all the way home because I could not turn the bus around so she could go back and get a book she forgot. This Shannon is more mature and outgoing and self-assured.

On the morning of graduation...oh here. I'll let her mom, Jennifer, tell you. This is an email she sent out last week:

"For those of you who didn't know, Shannon secretly prepared this speech and planned to deliver it at the Indian Land High School graduation ceremony. I discovered her plans on the morning of graduation when I asked why she was carrying around her Hello Kitty tote bag all morning (which contained her secret speech). She was highly disappointed when I gently told her that she wouldn't be able to deliver it at the ceremony because Mrs. Faris wouldn't have time to add her to the agenda at the last minute. Things worked out all right and Shannon gave us this highly entertaining speech at our cookout later that evening."

And so, without further ado, here is Shannon's speech. I'm leaving it pink because that's how she typed it. But I've darkened the color so you can read it a little better:

Erin Leigh Kirby, my older sister and role model, I have many things to say about you and anything else that is related to you. But first, I have this introduction. I won’t be saying stuff like how much you mean to me or what a wonderful person you are because I find those such speeches so formal that they are tacky. Instead, I shall use a speech that is the most suitable for my tastes and therefore have decided to make one my own way. I don’t care if this gets criticized because it is my speech and I can do whatever I want with it. The only thing that will not change about this is that it is for you and you only. So to all those who may not find this speech appropriate for the occasion, I suggest you either shut up or pack your bags and get out of here because, again, it’s my speech and I can do whatever I want with it. Back to the subject, we all know you’re great and have made a big impact in our lives, Erin, but I have these things to say. You are, in fact, the greatest nitwit that I have ever known. Note that this is the first time that you have been called by a supposingly insulting name in public and it may be your last so enjoy that while you can. Also, I wish you and your current boyfriend good luck in your future relationship. Speaking of which, I know what sort of future you want but I remember one thing that, if I remember correctly, is on a pillow that Dad owns. “You never see a motorcycle parked outside a psychologist’s office.” In other words, should your dream of becoming a psychologist come true, you may as well be the first one to have their own motorcycle and hopefully still have some sanity left to function normally. Forgive me if I just happen to embarrass you in front of a lot of people especially those that you may not know very well, but it is part of my job as your big little sister. It is my speech, after all and I do not wish to change anything. Now, without any further ado, I shall start with the past, continue until I get to the present, and finally present the grand finale of the speech. No, I won’t give any of it away because you will have to sit there and listen just like everybody else. That means all the impatient little rugrats out there. I know you’d rather be playing your silly games than listen to what I had to say.
Let’s start with the time when we were little kids. As a little sister, I wanted to be just like you: social, easy to get along with, and have a lot of friends. Of course, the goal was extremely difficult for me because of my condition, which, for those of you who did not know already, is autism. But I never gave up. I overcame the difficulties even though it took a long time to become who I am today. By a long time, I mean many, many years of my life. I was able to fit in as a student of the schools we went to together from an elementary school in Jefferson County, Kentucky, to a middle school in Madison County, Alabama, and from there to this high school in Indian Land just because of that goal. However, I don’t want to spoil anything to our listeners now because I have yet to tell them about all the details. Back when I was the youngest of the family, I was learning how to communicate. You helped me use the power of communication by playing with me. Our favorite game is a pretending game inspired by one of our favorite movies, The Lion King. You remember how much fun that was and so do I. When our little sister Lauren was born, we were pleased to have another kid to play with. Soon, I started disliking her because I find her annoying and difficult to live with. Everything was fine with life in Kentucky because we were able to go to places that are fun such as the Louisville Zoo and Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. Then we moved to Alabama. At first, everything was exciting to us, but during the first few weeks of school I met someone who eventually became an enemy. You know who I am talking about, but I refuse to mention her name. I don’t want to upset anybody at an event that was supposed to be a happy one. I was barely able fit in because of my condition in which I knew nothing about until my curiosity found it. Another reason why I was barely able to fit in the school environment is because of the old hag I mentioned earlier. I would tell everyone the whole story, but I still don’t want to turn a happy event into a sad one so I decided not to say anymore about the horrors I’ve been though because that would ruin your day, would it? You probably remember that creek in the forest we sometimes went to, the beautiful tree that used to be next to our Alabama house, the ditch behind that same house, the giant pool area we used to go to every summer that had the concession stand, visiting your friend’s houses, and even that large place near where we used to live that belong to one of your friends. Man, he had his own lake and everything! I know it disappoints you a little when we had to move to Indian Land, but this place has benefitted me a lot. I was too miserable to stay in Alabama, anyway so we had to move for my own sake since Mom and Dad are very… no, EXTREMELY worried about me. It’s been a good few years since we first settled in this quant little town. Our school bus broke down on our first day of school, we got cable again, my vocabulary grew significantly, you got to drive, we got to go to the Renaissance Festival and an anime convention, I broke my pelvis, our little sister Lauren survived a car accident with a whiplash, we got ourselves an HDTV, we got Ginger, we experienced Smokey’s death, and Mom won a car of her own. Now, it is this.Look at you now, Erin. You are ready to go to college, and I could not figure out how I should feel. I was sad that you won’t be with me the next couple of years I’ll be in high school. I was proud that you got your high school diploma and get to go to a good college so you can get the career you wanted. I was disappointed that I didn’t get any awards this year because I tried my best this year. I was happy that we had fun together all these years. But unfortunately, I’m afraid I might burst into tears because of all these emotions and reasons for feeling that way. I just can’t decide how I truly feel and why. Lots of things you do have inspired me much more than anything else. I mean, look at me. Why else would I be wearing my hair like this? Or wear these glasses? Or read a lot of manga at the school library, play some video games, listening to rock music, and have fun on the Internet? WELL?! You helped me become who I am, for crying out loud and thanks to you, I’m one of the greatest people in this school! Now I have friends, good teachers, a great life, and a cat. As for the boyfriend part, I’ll have to work on that because I don’t have one right now. Anyway, congratulations on making me feel improved despite the fact that I have been living with autism my whole life. I sure appreciate it. By the way, I hope you’ve decided what to get for me for my birthday. If not, I’ll just have to take back everything I just said. PSYCHE! No, seriously, I do hope you got me something. Now, that’s it for the speech. I hope you and everyone else had enjoyed it. Thank you.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer "To Do" List

Today marks the beginning of my summer break. Sort of. I'll go back on June 22 for 2 or 3 more days. We will be ramping up our School Report Card report to the state, and it involves documentation and records. And I would be the Registrar. So that's MY STUFF everyone wants to paw through.

Between now and Saturday I'll begin my summer stuff and then my adorable bff Julie will come for an 8 day visit. During that time we will drink wine, play board games, watch movies, paint 2 bathrooms and probably more stuff, and then we'll go to the beach.

Then I work those few days and begin my summer in earnest. And so to be true to my nature I have made The List:

  1. Do yoga 3 times a week, Jazz 3 or 4 times a week.
  2. Back up and clean our two computers
  3. Work more on moving the old Gone to Carolina blog over to this one
  4. Work in Photoshop with my new Wacom Bamboo Fun Tablet(It arrives in a few days). It should enable me to improve my skills on selecting and deleting objects in photos and many other things that require more detail work. I'M EXCITED! But I'll have to try to contain myself while Julie is here...
So there you go. Now it's out there for the internet to see. You can ask me how I'm coming on it.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

What is Spanish for "Delayed?"

I announced via text message this morning that we would be having a Taco Fiesta tonight. Mensa Boy left a note on the counter for the guys (& Erin) saying, "Taco Feastesta at 7:00 tonight. vamos a comer!" (Sorry, don't know how to type the upside-down exclamation point before "vamos" on blogspot.

So I get home from my wonderful massage and commence cooking the meat for tacos. And I reach into the cupboard for the unopened jar of Herdez salsa that I've had in there for 2 months. When I placed the jar in there I put a note on it that said, "DO Not Eat!"

This worked for some time. I don't know for how long, but I kind of think the jar was still in there last week.

And now it's gone. And Taylor has drunk it. And Nate has gone to get another jar. "It's by the Mexican part by the deli, not in the 'international" aisle,' I told him.

"Yes," he said. "I know exactly where it is. I've been through this before."


Saturday, June 06, 2009

Les Miserables vs Less Miserable

We are back from a wedding and watching Les Miserables. The version with Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush, Uma Thurman and Claire Danes. Looking at the box, the pairing of Neeson and Rush was critically acclaimed. Not a word about ole Uma And Claire. Were they deadbeats in this movie, not pulling their own weight? We'll find out. Believe it or not, neither of us has seen the story.

On the "Less Miserable" front...I declared today my emancipation from the boys laundry. This came about as a result of having my note requesting that they do a couple of loads yesterday go ignored. As a result, I counted up something like 8 loads of laundry that needs to be done this weekend.

You might think I just snapped. But to be honest, my body is sore and, after bending down into the dryer to get article after article out and fold it, all of Nate's or Taylor's, I decided I'd just not fold it anymore. They never put it away anyway. I fold it and put it on their couches. They just pick stuff off there and put them on.

That morphed into "why not just have them do their own?" And so that is what I'll do.

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Mensa Boy's Resolution Passes SC UM Annual Conference

Today the South Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church affirmed a resolution regarding human trafficking. Mensa Boy has been on the Board of Church and Society for the past year and asked the board to consider this issue.

Here is the text of the resolution:

Whereas, Human trafficking is defined as a modern-day form of slavery, in which victims are subjected to force,
fraud, or coercion for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
“Human Trafficking Fact Sheet”); and
Whereas, Human trafficking generates $9.5 billion annually and is the fastest-growing type of criminal activity in
the world today (U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons; The Polaris Project);
Whereas, As many as 27 million people in the world today are victims of human trafficking (Sociologist Kevin
Bales, “Disposable People”); and
Whereas, Some 600,000 to 800,000 victims are trafficked annually across international borders worldwide, with
about 14,500 to 17,500 of those trafficked into the United States (U.S. Department of State); and
Whereas, An estimated 200,000 American children are at high risk for trafficking into the sex industry each year
(The Polaris Project); and
Whereas, All people are created by God and in the image of God (Genesis 1:27); and
Whereas, God is a God of justice (Isaiah 61:8), who calls on His people to work for justice and to defend the
oppressed(Isaiah 1:17), and blesses those who work for justice (Psalm 106:3); and
Whereas, God hears the cries of the oppressed(Psalm 10:17-18); and
Whereas, Jesus Christ defined His mission as ministering to the poor, the captive, the ill and the oppressed(Luke
4:18-19); and
Whereas, The General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church has studied the issue of
human trafficking while participating in the U.N. Commission on the Status and Role of Women; and has endorsed
and promoted the “Rescue and Restore” initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and has
publicized the Trafficking Information and Referral Hotline: 1-888-3737-888; and
Whereas, The United Methodist Church’s 2008 Book of Resolutions calls us to educate ourselves about this issue
and work for its eradication; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the South Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church encourage its members
and churches to join in fighting against all forms of human trafficking, in working to rescue and restore its victims, in
promoting vigorous laws and prosecution of perpetrators, and in working to reduce the demand for trafficked persons.
And be it further
Resolved, That the following action steps are suggested:
• Educate yourself and others. Resources include the following:
U.S. State Dept. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons: www.state.gov/g/tip
U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services: www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking/
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women: www.catwinternational.org/
The Polaris Project: www.polarisproject.org/ ECPAT International: www.ecpat.net
Not For Sale: www.notforsalecampaign.org/
• Pray for victims to be freed and restored, for demand to be reduced, and for perpetrators to stop
their evil deeds.
• Work with other churches and denominations in supporting the provision of safe houses for
victims of human trafficking.
• Call on all people to recognize their particular responsibility to raise awareness of the issues
involved in human trafficking.
• Observe the “National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness” on the Sunday before January 11
each year.
• Identify advocacy groups and consider contributing financially to the work of freeing victims of
human trafficking.
• Determine what services are available locally for runaway teens (who are particularly vulnerable
to traffickers) and how you can support these services.
Submitted by The Board of Church and Society
Mary Lynn Polk, Chairperson

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Steak Sandwiches

Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Simple enough. The recipe was in Cooking Light. Fresh fennel, dried fennel, cumin, 4 4-oz beef tenderloin steaks, ciabatta bread, arugula, homemade mayo. Serves 4

I ended up with two 9-oz angus tenderloin steaks, fennel, baby arugula. I bought the pasteurized eggs to make the mayo and when I put them in the fridge at home I found I had 3 jars of store-bought mayo in there already. I decided not to buy ciabatta, since I always have bread dough on hand anyway. I baked up half a batch in a loaf pan when I got home so I'd have nice, uniform slices for the sandwiches. I took the two thick steaks and sliced them in half height-wise to get 4 steaks. I was relieved to see that you slice the cooked steak to put on the sandwiches, because the recipe serves 4, but I was feeding 5. I was counting on the hearty bread to fill up my guys.

You mix together the dried ground fennel, cumin, salt and pepper and toss in a pan with thinly sliced fresh fennel and saute until it starts to brown. BUT if you don't have cumin ... there you are. I also didn't have ground fennel, but fennel seed, so I toasted that for a bit and ground it in my herb grinder.

There really is no substitute for cumin. So I decided to just go with an entirely different flavor profile. I tossed in garlic powder instead and sauteed thinly sliced onion with the fennel.

Mensa Boy sliced the bread and toasted it lightly.

I took the fennel/onion mixture out of the skillet and set it aside. Then I sprinkled the garlic/salt/pepper/ground fennel on the steaks, heated the skillet back up, and cooked them about 6 minutes on each side. Removed them from the pan.

While the steaks rested I spread mayo on the bread, doled out the fennel/onion mixture, and laid arugula across the whole thing. Then I sliced the steak thinly and doled that out among the 5 sandwiches.

I sprinkled fresh lime juice on mine.

The sandwiches were a big hit, but the guys felt cheated because we made them have salads too. They felt the measly bit of arugula on the sandwiches should have counted as the veggies.

Taylor also said that he'd like me to make this again when Nate and Erin go to school this fall so that he can have a second sandwich. So there you go!

Indian Land High Class of 2009

Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
I took this photo of our graduating class last Friday after awards day. We have 118 seniors, so it wasn't too hard to capture them all in the photo. I'd say we probably have right around 100 here.

This photo really demonstrates the miracle of modern technology. I shot this in the gym at ISO 1000. The students were standing on the floor of the gym and I was up on the top of the folded-up bleachers looking down at them. Behind them you can see the gym floor, a folded-back tarp, chairs and a speaker stand.

What? You can't see any of that? Can you see the kid over there on the right about a third of the way up that doesn't have his robe on? You can't see him either?

Yes folks. That's Photoshop. And I have no idea how to do all that. But my friend Robin Champion had her husband take out all the background stuff and put a robe on goofy guy. Then he sharpened and de-noised and we ended up with a pretty nice photo. I can do the sharpening ok, and I can filter noise and adjust lighting and color. But taking out all the background and stuff is just beyond my capabilities at this point. That's what I really need to spend my time doing this summer.

Anyway, I'm excited about this photo. I have the white background one on the school website. We are having 4x6 prints done at the drug store and we'll put them in their diploma covers for a gift. That's what I'm excited about.

They are adorable, aren't they?

Many thanks to Tim Champion for photo editing. You can see his photos here.