The Second-Best Guacamole Ever

Just so you know, on Saturday I made the second-best guacamole I’ve ever made.

It was a delightful surprise.  Avocados were on sale at Food Lion, so I got four of them.  The first one I cut open was just gorgeous.  Not too soft, not too hard–just right.  It was one of those one-in-a-million avocados where the whole thing is just perfect–no bad spots at all.  It was at just the right stage of ripeness.  The peeling came off easily, and both halves fell away with no resistance from the seed in the middle.  Yet even at this point I didn’t realize the potential I was dealing with in this particular avocado.

After adding all the ingredients, which I won’t disclose in such a public forum as this, I took a bite just to see if anything more needed to be added.  I was totally unprepared for the amazing taste experience I was about to have.  Suddenly this joyful emotion welled up within me.  I wanted to share it with someone, but Carolyn detests guacamole (she calls it “yuckamole”).  But my frustration at being unable to share the experience was unable to dampen my delight.  It was everything guacamole was intended to be.  This rare avocado had perfectly fulfilled its purpose for existence.

I wasn’t even that hungry, but I ate a whole plate of nachos just to have something to eat the guacamole on.

Sorry you all had to miss it.  Guacamole like that comes around as often as a comet.

In case you’re wondering, the reason this was the second-best guacamole I’ve made was because in 1994 I made some that was perfect.  Not just great.  Perfect.  It still brings tears to my eyes and saliva to my taste buds to think about it.

Published in: on June 10, 2008 at 4:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Misspelled Food

I forgot to share the other day that Carolyn made some totally delicious chicken cordon bleu on pasta for supper.  I have no idea why the word “blue” has to be misspelled whenever you’re talking about food.  Maybe it’s so you can give it a weird French-sounding twist at the end, as in “bloouh,” so it sounds all fancy and stuff.

She was in the kitchen doing something–I didn’t know what–while I was in the living room.  I had no idea what she was doing, so I was very pleasantly surprised when I ventured in there after a while and found this amazing meal just now being set on the table!

Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of it, due to the combination of my hunger and its wonderful scent.  If it ever has a sequel, I’ll try to remember to snap a shot.

Published in: on June 2, 2008 at 5:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Parents All Over the Place

This past weekend was fun but went by in a blur.  My parents finally made it to our house after driving five hours through heavy rain.  When they finally got here, we stopped by the Training Station so they could meet the teachers there and some of the kids, then we went to Carolyn’s classroom.

The kids loved my parents.  It was so cute!  The children just swarmed around them and played with them the whole time.

For dinner on Friday night we went to Cottage Cafe in Bethany Beach, Delaware with all four of my parents.  The food was really good and it was nice having a chance to hang out with all of them.

We capped off the night at our house with ice cream and coffee.

On Saturday we had a late breakfast/early lunch at the General’s Kitchen in Ocean City.  Their cream chipped beef is insanely good!  And the waitress kept the coffee flowing, which was especially nice on a chilly, windy, drizzly morning.

Then we headed south to the Inlet and visited the Life-Saving Station Museum.  It was really interesting!  I’d never been before.  Definitely worth the four bucks for admission.

The museum was followed by a cherry & mango Misto Shake at Rita’s.  We headed back to the house, where everyone except Carolyn took a nap.  We had dinner at Station 7 in Pittsville, then my parents headed back home.  It was a really quick visit, but a really good one too.

On Sunday, Mother’s Day, we had a quick meeting after church to talk about Vacation Bible School.  Then we went to Fratelli’s in Salisbury with Carolyn’s parents, Michael & Kristen, and Michael’s parents.  Their stuffed shells are so good!  Even better than their baked manicotti, which is one of my favorite dishes there.  After lunch we went to the Dohertys’ house where we hung out and had a really delicious cake.

I think I put on about eight pounds last weekend.

Published in: on May 13, 2008 at 5:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Oooohhhhh Yeahhh

Carolyn’s really been cooking some great stuff the past couple days! Last night she made some delicious Chesapeake Chicken. It totally rocked. Tonight it was chicken enchiladas, followed by a yummy strawberry dessert.

The picture below was taken with my phone in bad lighting–the enchiladas were not actually green:

I wonder what’s up for tomorrow night…. (Carolyn just saw this and said, “Leftovers.”)

[Update: Carolyn saw this picture and is now embarrassed.  But I assure you that the enchiladas looked wonderful and tasted even more wonderful.  Actually, this picture makes me drool….]

Published in: on May 6, 2008 at 7:21 pm  Comments (2)  

Hey, Old People Like Cake Too!

This past weekend Carolyn and I went to Pennsylvania and stayed with Kristen & Michael.  Both of them greatly enjoy the fact that I’m three years older than them, so I’m really excited that they have now entered the 30 club.  Unfortunately my birthday falls close enough to theirs to enable them each year to comment on the fact that even though they’re another year older, I’ve still got three years on them.

Anyway, Kristen made a totally delicious chocolate cake for me, and I wonder if she did it just so she could put this decoration on it:

As you can see, she clearly tampered with this decorative headstone to make it say “33” instead of “30.”  Just in case you can’t read it, right above the “33” it says “Here Lies My Youth.”

Gotta love those in-laws!

Published in: on May 5, 2008 at 11:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Another Panera Moment

It’s always great to have an excuse for breakfast at Panera Bread.  I don’t think I could ever get tired of their sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches!

Yesterday I met a friend there for breakfast.  It’s always nice when you can hang out at Panera Bread and talk religion, politics, philosophy, and art while eating a totally delicious sandwich and drinking Costa Rican coffee.

Published in: on May 1, 2008 at 5:38 am  Comments (2)  

So What’s Growing In Your Office?

Cool things happen to a used coffee filter when you leave it sitting in the coffee maker for about three weeks.  The proof is in the pudding, or whatever this substance is:

It looks kind of like a galaxy or something.  I guess the Coffee Galaxy would probably go nicely with the Milky Way Galaxy.

This picture was taken from the coffee maker in my office, which I don’t use that often… as you can see.  If you look closely enough, it looks like some of the ground coffee has reformed into whole coffee beans!

I wonder what it would’ve tasted like if I’d poured in some water and brewed it through this stuff.  Unfortunately I’ve already tossed it so it’s too late to find out.  Might’ve been the next big thang at Starbucks.

Published in: on April 29, 2008 at 10:07 am  Comments (2)  

Bible, Baseball, Ballet, and Birch Beer

Last night I went to Greenwood, Delaware to speak to a youth group there.  It’s been a little while since I’ve been involved in youth ministry, and it sure did bring back a lot of memories!  The message was from Daniel 1-3, about Azariah, Mishael, and Hananiah–better known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

We looked at their story as it might be presented in a movie.  It opens at the climax of the action, in Daniel 3, with a powerful king threatening to kill them if they refuse to worship an idol he’s set up.  Then we move to their response, and flashback to the events in their lives that led up that point and how they developed a faith that was strong enough to withstand such a difficult test.

Bottom line: their passion for God burned hotter than the flames of Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace.  The king could only see Jesus in the flames, but the other three men saw Him at work throughout their lives as they fanned the flames of devotion day by day.  If we nurture our devotion to God in the little moments, we’ll have the strength to remain devoted to Him in the big moments.

After youth group Carolyn and I drove to Grotto Pizza in Seaford.  Grotto’s has such excellent pizza.  And the birch beer is good, too.  There’s just something about birch beer that perfectly complements that kind of pizza that has wide, thin slices with cheese oozing off of it.  Not only was the pizza delicious, but they had basketball and baseball games showing on TVs all over the place, including a practically life size screen behind the bar!  They even had a basketball game playing on a TV in the bathroom.  How cool is that?!?  I was curious about whether or not they had a TV in the women’s room.  Carolyn said there was.  It was set to Animal Planet.

As I watched the Orioles-White Sox game on the TV behind Carolyn (while trying not to look too much like I was watching it), she was watching the Red Sox-Yankees game on the TV behind me.  I didn’t even know that game was on (or I would’ve switched seats), and I had no idea she was watching it until she told me later on.  She never ceases to amaze me.  Coming into the top of the fifth inning, New York was up on Boston 7-3.  The Red Sox tallied up six runs in a fifth-inning explosion to take a 9-7 lead.  Meanwhile Carolyn was watching all this behind me, and never let on!  She remained perfectly expressionless as she watched the tables turn in a matchup between the two teams with the oldest and greatest rivalry in the American League!  She didn’t even let out a “Whoa!” or “Dude!”  or “Aww!” or anything!  After we left, the Yanks came back and won.  Not that Carolyn would care.

Carolyn’s assistant is a huge baseball fan.  Her husband got her into it.  I need to talk with that guy and get some advice about how to do that.  I once met another guy who got his wife into football.  Now there’s a how-to manual that would fly off the bookshelves!

To be fair, Carolyn does occasionally watch sports with me.  We went to the Shorebirds game last Saturday and had a great time.  Tippy Martinez, a pitcher for the Orioles when I was a kid, was there.  It was an exciting game!  The score was tied at one apiece in the top of the ninth with two outs.  Lakewood tried to score the go-ahead run on a shot to deep center, but their baserunner was thrown out on a close play at the plate.  In the bottom of the ninth, the Shorebirds moved a guy over to third and won the game on a passed ball.  It was cool!  Carolyn was just glad the game didn’t go into extra innings–or “overtime” as she calls it.

Anyway, last night at Grotto’s we worked out an arrangement that she’ll go to ballgames with me if I go to ballets with her.  That’s a pretty good deal.  Ballets are pretty funny, especially when the guys in tights come out and start jumping around.

Published in: on April 17, 2008 at 9:38 am  Comments (4)  

Nice to Have a Breakfast Sandwich with No “Mc” Attached to It

This morning I decided to try out the sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich from Panera Bread.  Trust me, you can’t go wrong with this one!  Add a little Texas Pete and you’re all set.

I’m afraid that having this new Panera Bread here in West Ocean City might take a toll on my finances.

Published in: on April 1, 2008 at 10:32 am  Leave a Comment  

Easter Weekend Review

(Warning to reader: I haven’t blogged much these past few days, but I’m more than making up for it today!)

Work hard.  Play hard.  That’s the way to live, and that’s how it’s been this past week.

A review of events since last week’s Maundy Thursday service:

On Friday morning I got a call from Terri, the director of the Training Station Preschool, informing me that the fierce winds that’d hit the area had knocked over our sign.  So Carolyn and I went to check it out.  The two beams holding the sign had snapped right in half and the whole shebang had fallen right on top of the wooden shell that some CrossWay guys had built for pouring the concrete for the new sign.  Fortunately it didn’t seem to damage anything.

From there we went to the zoo in Salisbury.  Every time we go there we see something weird and funny.  This time it was a peacock that kept following a goose in the bison habitat.  The goose kept calmly walking in various patterns, and the peacock hung with him, staying a couple feet behind.  No matter where the goose went, the peacock followed.  When the goose stopped, the peacock stopped.  When the goose got going again, so did the peacock.  It was pretty funny to watch.  People were coming up with various theories to try to explain the peacock’s behavior.  The most plausible explanation I heard was that the goose was the peacock’s personal trainer.

It was nice to see that the zoo is making significant progress with the red wolves exhibit.  They’ve built a nice walkway with a kind of observatory building.  Hopefully the wolves will be here soon!  They’re keeping them right next to the deer, which seems a little bit odd.  It’s like the cheetahs at the National Zoo in D.C., which are right next to the zebras.  Carolyn took a great picture one time of a cheetah standing a few feet away from a zebra, hungrily staring at it.  I’ll try to find it to post on here.
On the way back from the zoo we stopped at Station 7.  Bring on the nachos!  Oh yeah!

Saturday was our Easter outreach at church.  We had an egg hunt for kids, along with games and a creative telling of the Easter story.  There was a pretty decent turnout, especially considering that our sign which was promoting the event had been blown over the day before.  I found it impossible to try to count the people, but I’m pretty sure it was somewhere between 50 and 100.  Probably somewhere in the middle, about 75.  There were nearly as many adults as children!  It was a short event, but a lot of fun.  I was very proud of the CrossWay team that pulled it off!

After the Easter egg hunt our praise band practiced.  Oh yeah, I don’t think I’ve mentioned on here that the Timmons family very generously bought a new drum set for the church last week.  When the worship team practiced on Saturday, they wanted me to try playing along on the drums.  That was fine with me, even though I was reluctant at first, because I was sure I’d be horrible and they’d excuse me from further participation until I’d practiced for a looooooooong time.  But it didn’t quite go that way.

On Easter morning I got up at 4:35 a.m., got ready, and headed to North Division Street (where Rt. 50 ends at the boardwalk) for the Ocean City Easter Sunrise Service.  The wind was blowing and it was about 25 degrees–without the wind.  It was really surprising to me that several hundred people still turned out at that time and in that kind of weather!  Only the miraculous grace of God can explain how the instrumentalists played their guitars and keyboard and sax, and how Diana from CrossWay signed the whole service.  I was afraid her bare hands would get frostbite!  She and her daughter Anna were such troopers to come out for that!

Right before I got up to preach, I was shivering badly.  I had no idea how I could preach when I was trembling–more like shaking–so much.  But it worked.  It also ensured a brief sermon!  It’s kind of funny how sometimes when I’m preaching, I can prepare a message well ahead of time but feel like God’s leading me to make changes right before I preach or even while I’m preaching.  I’d written this sermon two or three weeks ahead of time, but at 5:59 (the service started at 6:00), new ideas popped into my head for the opening and the closing.  I’ll podcast the message this week.

After the sunrise service, which to my surprise I really enjoyed, I went home to take a short nap.  When I woke up an hour later, I hadn’t yet thawed out!  But I had unfrozen by the time we got to CrossWay.

Josh, our worship leader, had talked me into playing drums during the service.  I still couldn’t believe that was happening.  I was as nervous, if not more nervous, about playing the drums at CrossWay as I was about preaching to hundreds of strangers at the sunrise service!  I just can’t believe that he and the others in the band thought my drumming was unbad enough to actually be a part of the service on Easter, of all days.  But Josh takes his ministry seriously so I decided to trust his judgment.  However, I still can’t believe I made my drumming debut on Easter Sunday, and with one day’s notice.  But hey–God can use anybody to do anything.

Actually, the music overall was great yesterday!  Josh’s wife Christi helped with the vocals and played that little shaky egg thing.  Terri’s sister played the keys and Diana was on the bass.  Terri’s daughter, Kelsy, played the flute in one of the songs and that was a great touch.  At Saturday’s practice we’d had John playing guitar, but he wasn’t there yesterday.  If he had been, we’d have had a seven-member band!  For all I know there might have even been more people doing stuff.  Not only was I off to the side where I couldn’t see, but I was also scared!

The attendance at church yesterday was by far the largest we’ve had the past year.  It was twice our average attendance!  Carolyn taught Children’s Church and planned for three times as many as she usually had–and she had as many kids as she planned for!

Something in the service that was planned last minute and really blew me away was Josh signing the Ray Boltz song “Watch the Lamb.”  It was an interpretive signing–not just sign language, but also drama.  It was excellent!  When I got up to preach after he finished, I saw tears in people’s eyes.  Very moving.

It’s been almost a year since I came to CrossWay.  In all that time we’ve never had the fire alarm go off.  Naturally that would happen on Easter Sunday during the sermon with a packed house and a bunch of first-time guests.  You’ll be able to hear it on the podcast.  As I was transitioning out of the sermon intro, the alarm started screaming.  Fortunately no one panicked or anything.  In fact, they were all kind of staring at me, almost as if they were wondering: Is that part of the message or something?  Terri got it turned off pretty quickly, and the building burned down.  Sike.  Something I learned this Easter Sunday: our fire alarm goes off by itself sometimes.  Nice.  At least Carolyn had the kids all lined up and ready to evacuate!

After church we went to Carolyn’s parents’ house.  Her whole family was there.  On the way I called my parents’ house, where all my family was gathered.  I got to talk with my little niece, Jazlyn, which was awesome!  She’s the best kid ever.  Everybody should have the privilege and joy of knowing Jazlyn.

At the Dohertys’ house we ate some delicious lasagna and the most unbelievable strawberry shortcake.  Linda makes the best cake, but she added a special touch to this one: it was a two-layer cake with frosting in the middle (normal for regular cake, but not strawberry shortcake).  And the strawberries were fresh ones that she’d grown.  If the second-best strawberry shortcake in the history of humanity registered a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10, this cake would register about 28.  It awakened senses in taste buds that I didn’t even know I had.  An amazing experience.

The cake was in honor of Michael turning 30.  Michael and Kristen (Carolyn’s sister and her husband) are turning 30 soon–Michael in April and Kristen in May.  It’s very exciting for me because they always make old man jokes about me because I’m in my thirties.  Ordinarily, over-the-hill parties are reserved for 40th birthdays.  But when Kristen’s 30th rolls around in a few weeks, I think we’ll need to throw a major over-the-hill bash and target both Michael and Kristen!

Steve and Linda are a lot of fun to hang out with, so we hung around and talked with them for awhile after Michael and Kristen left.  (Her brother Christopher, of course, was camped out at the computer, only leaving long enough to prepare various dishes buried in whipped cream.)  He leaves for college today and we didn’t even get to have lunch at La Tolteca!  Oh well, we’ll have to make up for it in the summer.

On the drive back from their house we saw an albino deer.  That was so cool!  We really wished we had Carolyn’s camera in the car.

After a busy and tiring week, and an especially exhausting weekend, I slept 9 hours and 20 minutes last night.  It was great!!!!

If you’ve read this far, thanks… but don’t you have stuff to do?

Published in: on March 24, 2008 at 11:38 am  Comments (2)