35 Random Facts

35 Random Facts

In honor of my 35th birthday, I’m going to tell you, gentle reader, 35 random facts. After 35 years, my brain is full of them. So here they are, in no particular order. [A couple of these contain affiliate links.]

  1. The teddy bear was orginially inspired by and named after President Teddy Roosevelt.
  2. It’s “octopuses,” not “octopi,” because “octopus” comes from the Greek, not the Latin. #knowyourdeadlanguageroots (also per a friend who is rather obsessed with octopuses).
  3. Extra dry champagne is sweeter than brut champagne.
  4. The aardwolf of Australia eats insects.
  5. The book as we know it – the codex – was originally made popular by the early church, which published all four canonical Gospels together – they fit really well in codices.
  6. If you get a chemical burn from, say, cutting jalapenos, pour milk on it. (There are other palliative options.)
  7. “Rocky Mountain oysters” and “prairie orders” are “polite” ways to say “bull testicles.” They serve them at nice restaurants here in Colorado.
  8. Anyone who creates a Target Circle account can get 1% back for all Target purchases.
  9. The average number of arms possessed by a human on earth is < 2. Still, there are more human arms than people on the earth. (Just think about it.)
  10. Despite the fact that she won Oscars in 1969 and 1978, among MANY other appearances and awards across the years, Dame Maggie Smith blames Downton Abbey for a fame that makes going out in public tricky business for her.
  11. Sleep apnea can significantly impact your brain functioning. Get that snoring checked and get you an ASV or CPAP or something.
  12. Endometriosis occurs across race, ethnicity, and nationality, in an estimated 10% of women.
  13. It takes an average of 7-10 years from the onset of symptoms to accurate diagnosis of endometriosis.
  14. Surprising brands that now carry up to at least size 24:
  15. Purple is the opposite of yellow.
  16. Early on in WW2, the USSR trained dogs to be suicide bombers. The idea was that the dogs, strapped with bombs, would run under the German tanks and blow them up. But they trained the dogs using their own tanks, so guess which ones the dogs ran under in the canine unit’s first battle. (For more, check out this article.)
  17. The spy and mastermind behind Argo, Tony Mendez, was also an accomplished artist. (HT: Retropod)
  18. Edible gold flakes is a thing.
  19. Pink used to be the “boy” color and blue the “girl” color. (See?)
  20. Juan de Pareja started life in the early 1600s as a biracial slave. He was inherited by the acclaimed portraitist Diego Velazquez. He became a painter in his own right, and was eventually freed by Velazquez and became part of his paid studio staff. There is an excellent, Newberry Award-winning middle grade novel about Pareja.
  21. The name “Lauren” is from Latin and means “a crown of laurel leaves.”
  22. According to ancient Greek myth, the first laurel tree was originally a nymph named Daphne who had the unfortunate luck to catch the eye of Apollo in one of his rapacious moods. He chased her when she refused him, and as she ran through the woods, she called out to the river god who was her father for deliverance. His solution? Turn her into a tree. Apollo was a sore loser and made her leaves his symbol of triumph and victory, which is why Olympic and military victors were crowned with them in the Greek and Roman cultures. He would so have not survived the #MeToo era.
  23. The crust of a baguette is formed by evaporating water.
  24. Pan sauces are really quick and easy to make, and add SO much to a sauteed chicken main course.
  25. The name “Rosamund” means “horse protection.” Maybe that’s why I like it.
  26. There is a little bit of all three primary colors in every naturally-occurring color. (per an artist-cum-teacher friend of mine)
  27. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ran around with Marie Antoinette in her home, and he thought she was very nice because she was so kind to him when he slipped on the slick marble floors and fell.
  28. Michelle McNamara (Patton Oswald’s late wife) played a significant role in the catching of the Golden State Killer because she rebranded him as that. He’d previously been known by a variety of names: Visalia Ransacker, East Area Rapist, Original Night Stalker. By pulling all these different monikers together under one encapuslating (and catchy) title, she brought to public attention the full scope of his evil.
  29. Dr. Pepper predates Coca Cola.
  30. It is more likely that a sex trafficker in SE Asia will be struck by lightning than prosecuted for his or her crimes. (Noonday Collection)
  31. Sighthounds (e.g. greyhounds) do not have the smelling capabilities of the stereotypical dog, which is why if they get loose they cannot find their way home by smell, the way your lab or poodle could.
  32. 95% of diets fail, and most people gain more than they lost.
  33. Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself.
  34. Originally, I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, and I & II Chronicles were just Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. The I & II come from them being so long they didn’t each fit onto a single scroll.
  35. We all know about Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church, but there are currently three other reigning popes: Pope Tawadros II of the Oriental Orthodox Church (a.k.a. the Coptic Orthodox Church), Pope Peter III of the Palmarian Catholic Church, and His Divine Beatitude the Pope and Patriarch of the Great City of Alexandria Theodore II of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Podcast Top 5: New Faves

Podcast Top 5: New Faves

I love podcasts. It started with two heavy hitters: Serial and Sorta Awesome. Not too long after I found gems like the epic true crime comedy podcast My Favorite Murder and the enthralling fictional show Limetown (that strikethrough is part of the logo).

These are still favorites, and there are many more I’ve listened to and loved, but I thought I would share my favorite newer (at least to me) shows that I cannot get enough of:

Against Diet Culture

  • Food Psych Podcast – Christy Harrison is an an anti-diet dietician on a mission to help people develop a healthy relationship with food and their bodies through intuitive eating and body acceptance. This podcast really does go a long way to accomplishign that. Not every episode is going to be directly relevant to every listener – but the ideas of intuitive eating make a lot of sense, and seeing them applied across circumstances by different people is really helpful.

On Books

  • Currently Reading – This podcast has literally transformed my reading life. I used to read a LOT more 2-3 star books, but hosts Meredith and Kaytee have led me to better-fit books for me over and over again in the last few months, and that’s leading to more joy in my reading as well as a willingness to DNF books that aren’t working for me, for whatever reason. As I’m learning with intuitive eating, when you know you can have “the good stuff,” you are less likely to fill up on stuff that isn’t so great. (Don’t worry; there’ll be a post about books coming soon.) Their bookish moments of the week make me feel less crazy, too.

On True Crime

  • The Murder Squad: Jensen & Holes – Is there any doubt that the rising star of true crime podcasts is this collaboration between two men – one a writer, the other a detective – who were instrumental in the identification and apprehension of Joseph DeAngelo, the alleged (but come on, he clearly did it) Golden State Killer?

On the Enneagram

  • The Enneagram Journey with Suzanne Stabile – If you’ve heard of the Enneagram, odds are good someone has mentioned the book The Road Back to You and told you to read it. Suzanne coauthored this book which has introduced so many of us to the ideas behind the Enneagram and how it can be useful. This podcast is a delight. Suzanne usually interviews a Christian with a big platform (pastors, writers, musicians, podcasters, etc.) about how they are their type in the world and in relationships. She also does Q&A episodes with her producer-son that are really helpful and insightful.
  • Typology with Ian Morgan Cron – Ian was the other half of the authorial team that brought us The Road Back to You, and while his podcast is similar to Suzanne’s, it has a different feel and approach due to his 4-ness (vs. Suzanne’s 2-ness). I would say he is more exploratory, while she is more therapeutic. I really appreciate both of these shows as I learn more about what the Enneagram has to offer us – and myself specifically – in terms of self-knowledge and paths to growth.

On the Christian Life

  • Thirty Minutes with the Perrys – Preston and Jackie Hill Perry, a married pair of spoken word poets whom I admire greatly, come at the dilemmas of life with humor, thoughtfulness, and a whole lotta Gospel. They started their podcast with a two-part episode on how they navigated Preston’s recent addiction to pornography. They are raw, intense, and real, and their understanding of God’s grace as mighty and transformative is really helpful. I freaking love them, and this podcast is phenom.
My Favorite Cookbook

My Favorite Cookbook

Registering for cookbooks is a shrewd move if you know which ones to ask for. My favorite is The Bonne Femme Cookbook. I have never made a recipe out of this book that wasn’t excellent, which speaks both to the clarity of the instructions and the deliciousness of the results. I am a decent cook, but I’ve been known to holler for help when I am taking way too long to chop the onions or mince the garlic and get behind the cooking. This cookbook helps me get behind less – I am better at staying on top of things when I have a good sense of what is going on, and this certainly helps.

As you can see, we have many recipes left to try. It’s not a short cookbook, clocking in at 405 pages before the index. That’s one of the things that make it such a great investment. P1000004

Perhaps it’s really the effortlessness of the casual French cook that has rubbed off on me through this book. The writing is almost as delectable as the food. And look what I wrote about the Any-Day Chicken Saute. Just look. “Divine.” Because it really is so easy you could do it any day, and it really is so delicious you might want to.

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Trust me, people – this is wedding-registry worthy. 

In Which I Am Super-Jazzed About Life

In Which I Am Super-Jazzed About Life

This week is all about new things for me – I’m in the process of establishing new habits and routines with some inspiration from the Sorta Awesome podcast, which, more often than not, is also keeping me entertained while I do my thing. I’ve also binge-listened to Serial, knocking out the first season in the last three days, which has made all the laundry and dishes and cleaning and organizing and putting away and throwing away a LOT more bearable.

Other than podcasts, here are some of the things I’m excited about right now.

  • Bullet Journaling – This seems SO up my alley. I am actually over the moon about giving this a try. I may or may not have
  • Intuitive Eating – I’ve been able to look back on my college experience and identify some disordered eating for quite some time, but only recently have I realized that my issues with food have been evolving and persisting throughout my adult life. It kind of hit me over the head a few months ago – I am not able to stop eating those Hershey’s nuggets with the toffee and almonds. I am drinking obscene amounts of Dr Pepper when I’m in pain, because emotionally it’s like Linus’s blankie. That was not okay with me, and I’m trying to figure out how to heal that. Intuitive eating is something I’m exploring as a possible way of restoring a healthy relationship with food and my body. [Incidentally, I gave up DP in November – not the first time I’ve done so – and have pretty faithfully stuck to my guns, drinking the occasional beverage that’s fresh and real (like fresh-squeezed lemonade), tea, alcoholic beverages, and LOTS of water. And I feel fantastic. Better than I’ve felt in a long time. So even if I had a DP every now and then (which is honestly not even tempting at the moment), I think the water drinking is here to stay.]
  • I’m reading a brief biography of John Chrysostom (that someone mysteriously gave me, along with a couple other, less random books, as a wedding present), and I’m really fascinated and encouraged. I think the whole biographies of awesome people bandwagon might have something legit going on.
  • Waking up! I am not a morning person AT ALL. Except I’ve started to get up in the mornings with my husband – and if I need a nap, I need a nap, no harm done – and I’m LOVING IT. What on earth??
  • Tea – I got a tea kettle as a wedding gift – actually, we got several tea-making items, but I’m talking about the classic tea kettle I got from my sweet friend B – and I have been using it and LOVING it. When you’re drinking water, water, and more water – cucumber water, lemon-lime water, regular water, fizzy water – tea, even black tea without any additions, is so luscious. I’ve started drinking a cup or two a day. My go-to is peppermint tea, but sometimes I also will drink some decaf Earl Grey (I know, I know – it’s still got caffeine, but it’s Earl Grey, people! It’s worth it!)
  • My husband refused to buy me a Squatty Potty for Christmas, so I used the Amazon $$ his parents gave me to buy one for myself, and it arrived today, and I am actually beaming with excitement, which is super weird.

Well, that’s what’s floating my boat these days. What are y’all into? I’d love to know what’s making you buzz like a bee!

The Secret of Our Great Strength

The Secret of Our Great Strength

Yes, that was a Samson reference. As you may know, the secret of Samson’s great strength was God. But it was signified by his long hair, which was part of his keeping the Nazirite vow – which, frankly, he didn’t keep very well except for the hair.

My husband has amazing hair. The best I’ve ever seen, although his sister’s is a close second. But the secret to our great strength isn’t his hair – it’s brining.

Y’all, we have fallen head over heels for brining; we use it most often on chicken. It’s a game changer.

A year ago, I barely knew what a brine was; now I can make one without a recipe. I’ve used a number of different kinds spices and herbs in brines, but I love the classic sea salt dissolved in warm water option. It keeps the chicken moist and tender through cooking. It brings out the flavor. And it’s such an easy thing to do. If you can put your chicken in a brine for at least 15 minutes, you are golden.

Want a primer?

The Second Day of Christmas

The Second Day of Christmas

This Christmas was a first for me on many levels – first Christmas with jurisdiction over a Christmas tree, first Christmas away from my parents, first Christmas celebrated with my in-laws, first Christmas in Houston, first Christmas in truly balmy weather. It’s weird, especially the weather part, but it has been a really really fun Christmas. Maybe my favorite ever. (It helps that my side of the family keeps sending pictures of all the cute little kid happenings going on with them.)

So for my first Kraig Family Christmas, we spent all day Christmas Eve at my sister-in-law’s house. We played games, ate, opened presents, talked, and laughed a lot. It was so much fun. My in laws are a blast.

Whenever we get together, we always eat really well. This could have something to do with the fact that all the adults in the family are good cooks – so good that, from time to time, we have intense cooking competitions and bring in outside judges. I am, on most fronts, massively outskilled when it comes to kitcheny things in this family.

But for Christmas Eve, I made these amazing mushrooms that Ree Drummond swears by.* They are a special-occasion dish – I make them maybe once or twice a year – and they are phenomenal. And the Kraigs rejoiced.

And oh, the leftovers. Y’all should seriously hop over to The Pioneer Woman and see how easy it is to make the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted.

Just wait till I tell you about our Christmas Day adventures roasting duck!

 

*I have yet to find a Burgundy wine, so mine aren’t technicially “Burgundy Mushrooms.” But so far, Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, and Petit Shirazes have yielded to-die-for results.