Monday, August 13, 2012
The tempting invitation shows up decennially.
Its latest iteration is here in front of me:
"Come back and see your hometown!
Meet up with those you know.
Have dinner with your classmates from not-all-that-long ago.
The fee's not high -- I spend as much on many
The trip is relatively short; I ought to go, by rights,
But I am very different now, and maybe they are too...
Do you think you could come along?
At least I would know you!
Question: What's the worst that could happen?
For some reason this set of prompts made me think of Dorothy Sayers' character Harriet Vane, when she is deciding whether or not to revisit Oxford in Gaudy Night. The poem didn't come out with her solution, but at least it gave me a place to start!
Monday, July 09, 2012
Outside my window... green, sunshine, trees -- and cool air. Finally.
I am thinking... that life is full of ups and downs and ins and outs, and sometimes it's a lot to keep up with.
I am thankful for... the productive day I had today. Nothing out of the ordinary, but it all went smoothly.
From the kitchen... let the deep-fryer do it! Popcorn chicken and shrimp, tater tots, and a veggie tray as our nod to healthy. Tomorrow: grilled chicken salads and blueberry pie.
I am wearing... navy cotton pants, a light blue cotton tee, and flip-flops. I NEVER used to wear flip-flops, and these actually belong to Tirienne, but having something between my toes seem to help with my weird foot problems. So as long as I'm just sitting around, flip-flops it is.
I am creating... well, I worked a little bit on a dishcloth after supper, but mostly, I am FINISHED with Miriel's scarf, and I am so excited I can hardly stand it!
I am going... to the grocery store tomorrow to buy more blueberries for the pie. I've frozen 11 pints, and they're still on sale, so fresh pie it is. Roger will be happy.
I am reading... a variety of things, fiction and non-fiction. My current non-fiction is Coming Apart by Charles Murray, and as I have only finished the preface, I don't feel like I know much about it yet. But on Wednesday I am going to pick up Intruder, which is the newest Foreigner book. I can't wait.
I am hoping... that "the plan" for the next few weeks will go smoothly. There's a possible (BIG) wrinkle, but hopefully it can be ironed out. (Did you see my completed figure of speech? I'm awesome!)
I am hearing... fans, and Miriel entertaining her BFF's baby in the living room while his Mama washes her hands.
Around the house... nothing much new. It does stay tidier when none of the kids are here. And Miriel is naturally tidier than I am, so having her home is no different.
A few plans for the rest of the week: On Friday we're going to Arwen's, and from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon Roger, Miriel, Tirienne, and I are going to watch ALL FOUR children so that Arwen and Bryan can get away -- and probably sleep the whole time. ;-D
Words I'm pondering :
"This is my Father's world:
O let me ne'er forget,
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet!"
Part of an old hymn that I'd forgotten about till about ten days ago.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing... never mind. I can't get the one I want. This is annoying...
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Friday, June 15, 2012
The Journalist's Mother's Lament
Where are you now, my darling child?
In Marrakech, or Rome,
Or Zanzibar, or Nhulunbuy??
I wish you were at home!
Question: Are you lonesome tonight?
I had a much longer (and rather maudlin, probably because I find the song, of which the question is the title, so) idea in mind, but when I sat down to actually write it -- and I have to use paper; brain to keyboard doesn't work for poems for me -- this is what came out, and declared itself done. So be it!
Monday, May 14, 2012
Outside my window... blue sky, a lot of green -- trees and grass and bushes and (sadly) weeds -- and sunshine on the tops of the trees. If I were on the other side of the house it would still look like daytime, but here it's definitely evening.
I am thinking... that this last six weeks have been wonderful, but tiring. So much going on!
I am thankful for... the so much that was going on! In order: Holy Week/ Easter (with 25 people for breakfast and 15 for dinner). Keeping Branwen and Larry's kids for the weekend so that they could go to Stratford. Singing with the choir for Confirmation. "Reading Camp" with Daniel and Camilla, to help them get more ready for first grade at a new school. Brandon coming home on leave. Kelson's graduation from boot camp, and the 1300+ miles in 48 hours of driving that went with it. Kelson and Brandon at home for a few days; lovely! Singing with the choir for First Communion. Miriel coming home from her first year of grad school. Linus' and Ambrose's first birthday party. A visit from Roger's mom and sister. Deep breath/sigh. Done!
From the kitchen... leftovers tonight AND tomorrow. I sort of forgot again how to cook for just two...
I am wearing... tan cotton pants, a pink cotton tee, and a crocheted ecru short-sleeved sweater. And my fuzzy slippers.
I am creating... knitted dresses for Camilla and Lauren, dishcloths for Brandon, and a scarf for Miriel. Which is one of her presents from last Christmas, but it's lace-weight yarn and very slow going. I have made a commitment to knit at least one pattern repeat on it every day, so it should be finished before she starts school again in August.
I am going... nowhere before knitting group tomorrow night. This is awesome!
I am reading... Turn Not Pale, Beloved Snail which is "a book about writing among other things" by Jacqueline Jackson. My roommate when I lived in Ohio in the late seventies had a copy, and I got the urge to read it again. It is still delightful! I got this copy on inter-library loan, because the last time I checked Amazon the only copies were running close to $50. When I checked the page to give the link, it appears that one can buy used copies for considerably less. I think that's what I do when I finish this post. It's definitely worth owning if it's in your budget.
I am hoping... to sleep well tonight. I've had less-than-stellar sleep the last few nights, but it's cooling off, and I have no pressing reason to get up early tomorrow. Wish me luck.
I am hearing... Roger puttering about the kitchen. The clink of ice cubes, and a blurbling that means carbonation. Probably soda water, because I also heard the door to the cabinet where he keeps the Scotch.
(I just asked him, and he says it's cranberry juice and pineapple rum. Apparently I was mistaken about the carbonation.)
Around the house... we now have an actual guest room. Kelson took pretty much everything he owns to his new duty station in Duluth, which is where Brandon was stationed before he went to Alaska. Lose a son, gain a guest room. My emotions on this one are very mixed.
A few plans for the rest of the week: Knitting group. Grocery shopping. Choir practice. Blessed, blessed routine.
Words I'm pondering : Americans have a range of moral concerns: caring for the weak, fairness, liberty, loyalty, respect for authority, and sanctity. Studies suggest that hard-core liberals are animated only by the first three. (From The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt, via First Things.)
Here is a picture thought I am sharing.... actually, I'm not. I had a nice cartoon all picked out, but I can't make it work in the new Blogger set-up. Fooey!!
Sunday, May 06, 2012
Here, ma'am, try this tasty wine sample.
The portion, you'll find, is quite ample.
Do you like... Holy smokes,
Here come dozens of folks!
For free wine upon you they may trample!
Question: Should I tell someone about this?
I am entirely late with this one (marvelously hosted by Enbrethiliel at Shredded Cheddar), and it's all my own fault for trying to play at all in the kind of month I knew I was going to have. And even now, I'm only good for a limeric...
The scene, for those of you who may not have such things where you live, is a table or small kiosk set up inside a supermarket or warehouse store where customers are offered samples to induce them to buy products they might otherwise ignore. (Although I'm pretty sure that free wine isn't legal.)
The first time I published this, I forgot to also apologize to my (two) readers for not posting anything for a month. Mea Culpa!
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Completely truthful, I don't even know
Quite where this is, but I am fairly sure
It isn't Dune, or Pluto, or Barsoom
Or anywhere on Earth I've read about...
Why am I in this cage? If you ask me
This whole thing must be some psychotic joke!
The last thing I remember from before
Was feeling "punk", and sitting on the couch
Watching some crazy preacher on TV.
You want to know how nuts he was? He said
Smart folk like me, who don't believe his myths,
Were in for trouble here (I guess that's "there")
And afterward. But I maintain that I
Know more than he did: "after" can't exist.
And how do I know that? My textbooks state
That "mind" is just a function of the brain,
So when the body dies, the mind goes too.
I don't expect to live on after death.
That's just a fairytale for foolish folk.
Say, do you think it's getting hot in here?...
Question: Have i been reading all the wrong books?
Monday, March 19, 2012
Outside my window... it is still daylight! I hate changing over to DST, but once it's here I appreciate the long evenings. AND it's warm. I don't believe in "global warming" (at least not man-made), but I kind of like this "local warming" thing.
I am thinking... about how long it's been since I posted. Over a month. Shame on me.
I am thankful for... the fact that I am at home. I spent last week helping Arwen with the kids while Bryan traveled for work, and I love them all, but I'm not as young as I used to be, and being home again is relaxing.
From the kitchen... "real" reubens, made with the corned beef leftovers from St. Patrick's Day.
I am wearing... blue cotton pants, and a pink cotton tee and socks (which don't quite match each other.) Earlier I had on a sweatshirt that matched the socks, but I got too warm.
I am creating... the VERY last knitted cotton dishcloth for Roger's stepmother. Before Christmas she gave me a commission and sent me a check, and I have been working at this quite regularly. But I'm on the last one, and the next dishcloth I knit will be for me. Which is good, because mine are wearing out...
I am going... to go and do my exercises in a little while. With any luck I will be done with both this post and the exercises before Roger gets home from leading his Bible study.
I am reading... well, I'm finishing a non-memorable libray book, but one that's done I'll be starting on Dune, because I've been telling Kelson for years that I'd get around to it someday. So no more library (or other) books until I finish it.
I am hoping... for good weather this weekend. Branwen and Larry and their kids are coming up, and there is a LOT of outdoor work that needs to be done, especially burning the brush piles, which is a big thrill for Daniel and Matthew.
I am hearing... all the outdoor noises much more clearly since we took the plastic film off the windows. Of course, every time we've done that in March before, we've had a good solid snowstorm later...
Around the house...everything now stays relatively tidy. Kelson is at Coast Guard boot camp, and I never realized just HOW MUCH STUFF he would regularly move around and/or abandon somewhere. I'm betting that he's learning tidier habits!
A few plans for the rest of the week: just the usual, which unfortunately means that either Roger or I (or both) has a meeting every night. But on Friday a friend is coming to dinner, and then Branwen and her family arrive. That will be nice!
Words I'm pondering : "For the fate of Lothlórien you are not answerable, but only for the doing of your own task."--Galadriel. My brother-in-law tweeted this today, and I know that I can learn from it. It doesn't ALL depend on me...
Here is a picture thought I am sharing.... this picture is from several years ago, but Kelson's boot camp graduation will look a lot like this. Assuming it's a sunny day, of course.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Government Pork, by Karina Fabian
Once there was a wonderful town full of people who loved to eat, and many wonderful and varied restaurants that served excellent food: Italian and French, Japanese and Mongolian, Middle Eastern and even a kosher delicatessen. Not everyone liked every restaurant, of course, and some people even thought particular restaurants were odd, but they appreciated the variety available to all.
There were also a lot of pig farmers in the area, and people enjoyed the fresh pork. One year, they had a mayor who loved fresh pork. He thought it was the right of everyone in the town to have pork at any meal they wanted. “Why,” he’d say,” if there was only one meal I could give my kids, it’d be pork chops!” Of course, lots of the people loved pork as well, and they applauded his enthusiasm.
One day he sat in his office, thinking about how much he and others liked pork, and he decided that every restaurant should serve pork, at every meal. Oh, maybe not every individual would want to eat pork, but they deserved the right to have it on their plate so they could choose! And so, he set out a decree that all restaurants would serve some form of pork in every meal.
Well, the delicatessen and the Middle Eastern restaurant were upset by this. They couldn’t serve pork—it was against their religions. So they went to the Mayor and asked to be excused from this rule. “After all,” they said, “people know we never serve pork.”
“But you should. People have the right to pork. Some of you customers eat pork. Even some of your employees enjoy a good ham!”
“And if they wish to, they may–but not in our restaurants,” the owners said. “It’s against the kind of restaurants we are to serve pork. And we have customers who do not want pork, who would be offended and do not want to pay for pork.”
“Well, I’m offended that you won’t serve it—and I’m sure other pork lovers agree that your attitude is most disagreeable.”
“Our customers and our employees know where we stand, and they continue to frequent our restaurants and work for us. We serve them well, but we do not serve them pork. We have the right to our own menus. We should not be forced.”
But the mayor stood firm. “No,” he said. “Everyone has the right to have pork, and it’s my duty to make sure it’s always available, whether you agree or not. It’s healthier than beef anyway. If you don’t like it, you can pay a fine and stop serving food—or you can close down.”
The restaurant managers refused to change their menus. Many people stood by them—because they, too, would not eat pork and didn’t want to pay for it; or because they agreed that restaurants should choose their own menus; or because they didn’t like the mayor telling people how to run their own businesses. The movie theaters stood by him, because they were afraid if the Mayor could change menus, he might also start dictating what shows would be played.
The pork lovers, however, were incensed. How dare the restaurants not give them pork if they wanted it?
“I can’t eat beef; what should I do then?” one demanded. “Do you just want to send me away to starve?”
“We have other dishes,” they said. “Our menu and service would be no different than before. We can feed you many things; just not pork.”
Nonetheless, the press, too, said that the two restaurants would rather let people starve rather than eat pork.
Despite the outcry of the pork lovers, more and more people said, “Let them choose their own menu!”
One day, the Mayor called the restaurant owners into his office. He had a compromise, he said.
“I won’t make you buy pork. You don’t have to prepare it, or touch it. Instead, all restaurant suppliers will have to supply pork to every restaurant, free of charge, and for those that don’t want to serve the pork, suppliers will cook it and put it on every plate themselves.”
“But there would still be pork in our restaurant!” the owners cried. “Besides, they will increase the price of meat to cover their new expenses.”
“Oh, they wouldn’t do that. I’d tell them not to. Besides, the point is you wouldn’t be actually serving pork. See how well that works? Everyone gets pork and you can say you never provided it. And if your patrons don’t want to eat it, they don’t have to; it’s enough that it’s there for them.”
So, problem solved?
A note from Karina: The HHS compromise is no compromise—it’s an escalation, making it impossible not only for the Catholic Church to live according to its beliefs, but any small business that may also believe as the Church does. I wrote this parable to try to put the debate out of the “contraception/women’s health” light and show the other issues at stake. Feel free to copy this story and use it on your own blogs. If you do, please include this link to sign a petition to stop the HHS mandate (or if you know of another petition, include it)
Karina Fabian is the author of a number of books, including non-fiction and horror genres. She came to my attention as the co-editor of Leaps of Faith, an anthology of Christian science fiction.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Outside my window... sunshine, blue skies, and SNOW. We've had snow on the ground for three days now, which is the longest it's lasted all winter so far. Of course, it's supposed to be 40 degrees on Wednesday...
I am thankful for... a "normal" week, for a change. No major events until Saturday.
From the kitchen... Meatloaf, boiled red potatoes, and broccoli. Tomorrow I will bake a cherry pie as part of Roger's Valentine present.
I am wearing... tan cotton pants, a red/rust long-sleeved Tshirt with more-or-less-matching cotton socks, black loafers, and a tan/navy/green/rust shawl/scarf that I got in Stratford many years ago. I'll change into hiking boots when Roger gets back and we go to walk the dog.
I am creating... flannel blankets for a baby-shower gift. Nice, big, ones (45 inches square) because the ones you can buy are only useful for about three weeks.
I am going... to a workshop on Saturday "Celebrating the Triduum with the New Roman Missal." I hope to learn something useful.
I am reading... Behind the Seams, by Betty Hechtman. It's a crochet mystery, pure fluff, but fun.
I am hoping... that the weather report is wrong, and the snow stays around. But I'm not optimistic.
I am hearing... the refrigerator running, and the cat scratching in the litter box. I need to deal with that tomorrow: trash day, and the litter definitely needs to be changed. With only one cat, I get away with leaving it just that little bit too long. :-(
Around the house... things are calm and tidy. Did I mention it's a NORMAL week? I actually just washed all the cookie-storage cans from Christmas, and will pack them away as soon as they're totally dry.
A few plans for the rest of the week... NORMAL! Enjoy normal!
Words I'm pondering : "You fear too much." Roger tells me this quite regularly. I am convinced that it's true, but I need to work out a plan to change it. Hopefully before I'm 80.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing... Nerd humor. Because I can. (Click on the image if it's too small for you to see.)
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
A. Age: 61, minus three weeks. Well, 20 days, if you have to be exact.
B. Bed size: King. When we got married our bedroom only had room for a double, and Roger -- who is taller and larger than I am -- tended to take his half out of the middle. We are on our third king.
C. Chore that you hate: Mopping the floor. I've done it less than 50 times in 30+ years of marriage. But that is because Roger, who is AWESOME, does it himself/trained the kids to do it.
D. Dogs: My family has had two. I tolerate them.
E. Essential start to your day: Tea. From loose leaves, in a preheated pot, with freshly boiled water. Or from a bag, if I can't pull that off.
F. Favorite color: Blue, or possibly pink..
G. Gold or silver: Gold. I wear silver, but gold.
H. Height: 5'6"ish. I always thought I was 5'8", but when my daughters hit that, I wasn't anymore. Only Branwen is still shorter than I am.
I. Instruments that you play: Flute and guitar. But not very often anymore.
J. Job title: Organizer-in-chief. Otherwise known as Mom/Grandma.
K. Kids: Arwen: 29. Branwen: 27. Miriel: almost 25.
Brandon: 23. Tirienne: 21. Kelson:19
L. Live: Fort Gratiot MI
M. Mother's name: was Mildred/Millie.
N. Nicknames: Hon. (My dad used to call me McClee. I miss it.)
O. Overnight hospital stays: Tonsillectomy in third grade, and Arwen and Branwen's births. (The other four kids were born at home.)
P. Pet peeves: Misplaced apostrophes. Grammar and vocabulary sloppiness, such as using "phased" for "fazed" or "mantle" for "mantel."
Q. Quote from a movie: "Nobody is as handsome as David. Even David."
Sabrina;1995 (Actually, pretty much anything from this or You've Got Mail. My family are memorization nerds.)
S: Siblings: My brother Patrick.
T: Travel favorite: Stratford Ontario.
U. Underwear: Yes, I wear it.
V. Vegetable(s) you hate: Beets. If I had $10 for every time my dad tried to persuade me that Harvard beets were good, I could put all my grandchildren through college. And don't even get me started on "redbeet eggs!" (hardboiled eggs pickled in beet juice and vinegar.)
W. What makes you run late: It would have to be a disaster. I am perpetually, habitually early.
X. X-rays you've had: Teeth. The time I didn't break my elbow. The time I DID break my elbow. The time I broke my nose. I'm a klutz.
Y. Yummy food that you make: Check the "tasty Tuesday" labeled posts.
Z. Zoo animal: The neurotic polar bear in the Louisville zoo. (My kids had better get this reference...!)
Monday, January 23, 2012
Outside my window... Warm and wet and squishy. OK, 45 degrees isn't WARM warm. But it is for January in Michigan. Yesterday there was more than an inch of snow on the ground. Tomorrow ... who knows? This IS Michigan.
I am thankful for... our upcoming long weekend in Stratford. We weren't sure the budget would go there this year, but it did, so we are. Four days of pure relaxation!
From the kitchen... Pork Sausage Casserole. Tomorrow will be leftovers, and Wednesday tacos. I am going for easy for our dinners, because for most of those two days Roger and I will be in a large church kitchen making 300+ servings of chili for the local Pregnancy Care Center fundraiser in February. He's the chili chef; I just chop whatever he tells me to.
I am wearing... tan cotton pants, an amethyst-colored ribbed cotton sweater with more-or-less-matching cotton socks, black loafers, and a fuzzy rabbit-angora shawl to keep my shoulders warm. Inside our house, the only difference between a 45 degree day and a zero degree day is how often the furnace runs. The thermostat stays at 70 in the daytime and 55 at night.
I am creating... Christmas presents for Miriel and Tirienne. I didn't have time to knit ahead before Christmas, so I gave them each a certificate good for one item, with a trip to the yarn shop for pattern and yarn. Tirienne's beret is done. Next is Miriel's scarf.
I am going... well, aside from the previously mentioned chili-making, this week I have knitting group and choir practice. I thought I was going to need to read for another Quiz Bowl meet, but the organizing teacher found enough readers closer to home (about 45 min. from here.) In this case, I really don't mind not "getting" to go and read.
I am reading... Twelve Drummers Drumming, by C.C. Benison -- a pen name of Douglas Whiteway. This is a mystery featuring British Anglican vicar Tom Christmas. It's not a bad read, at least so far, but it's fairly obvious that the author chose his character's profession so that he could be called "Father Christmas." The book is full of similarly punnish ideas and names, and apparently is the projected first volume in a series (Eleven Pipers Piping, and so on.) But although the protagonist is likeable as a detective and a man, he's not very believable as an Anglican priest. Jan Karon fans shouldn't bother.
I am hoping... to finish this post fairly quickly, since I have a couple of other things to do before bedtime. Which needs to be relatively early, since the chili-cooking begins at 8:30AM.
I am hearing... Bruce Springsteen singing Glory Days. Kelson has discovered the joys of vinyl recordings, and Born in the USA is spinning away on the newly dusted turntable.
Around the house... my weekly schedule is all jumbled up, because the church kitchen is only available to us for two days, and which two days they are has changed a couple of times. My day planner is full of scratchouts and arrows, but with any luck all the laundry and cleaning will get done at some point.
A few plans for the rest of the week... um, I think I've mentioned them all.
Words I'm pondering : "Sanctity of Human Life is about trusting God." This quote is from a blog I read regularly, and really sparked me to think more deeply about the root causes and solutions of this country's romance with killing our unborn children.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing... Not a picture this time, but a link. You won't see this on the news, but go here to see Twitter's photo gallery with the hashtag #marchforlife. I went two years ago, and will go back as soon as I can afford something more than the red-eye bus. I can do the bus or the March, but not both.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Number of times I have thought about blogging in the past month: at least a dozen.
Number of times I have actually blogged in the past month: zero.
(I don't count that naggy little thing about Word and Question, which I probably needn't have bothered with...)
Topics I have considered for blog posts in the last month : Seven Quick Takes, Daybook, Seven Quick Takes, Daybook, Seven Quick Takes, Daybook,.........
Lather, rinse, repeat. As you can see, Quick Takes finally won. Because I don't even have to answer any questions.
Oh, wait. I lied in the last take. Because I also considered doing the "2011 in recap" meme. For about 17 seconds.
I am very tired today. On Wednesday we drove 5 hours each way to a family funeral (RIP, Dick...) Yesterday I changed beds and cleaned bathrooms, drove to a not-so-nearby town to serve as a reader for a Quiz Bowl meet, and went to choir practice. Today it all caught up with me.
Fortunately, I can say "Nine!" Which is counting down days until our Stratford visit. I intend to alternate reading in the jacuzzi with sitting in a booth sipping Strongbow. Bliss.
In preparation for Stratford, I just requested eight books from the library. I suspect that if they all come in, that might have been a little over-ambitious. But I couldn't whittle the 20+ books on my list down to a readable-in-a-long-weekend number. I'll just have to renew some of them.
Since I have now put together a (very rudimentary) semblance of a post, I think I'll go and take a nap. See you!
Thursday, December 29, 2011
There were only three participants for December, and all the poems are now in. Antiaphrodite's is in the comments to this post, Enbrethiliel's is here, and mine is two posts down if you want to scroll there. Whew, done!
And sorry for neglecting this blog for the start of 2012...
Your poems are due by midnight Saturday.........
Friday, December 23, 2011
I am flabbergasted and astounded: I have time to blog two days before Christmas! Actually, it's even better than that; except for minor meal-preparation tasks, all the work is DONE. Presents wrapped, decorations done, food for various meals marinating or whatever. Oh, I need to hang the string on which we hang the stockings. I really miss our fireplace...
The pessimist part of me is almost afraid that my unwarranted preparedness means that "something will go wrong." Such things are not unknown; last year our water heater died the day before the whole family descended for the holiday. But I'm trying to regard this as a marvelous unmerited gift from God -- time to BE at Christmas, instead of my usual DOing.
My only brother and his wife are coming for Christmas, arriving this evening. We saw them regularly at Christmas when my parents were alive, since we traveled to my hometown at least every other year. But we haven't gone at Christmas since, and my brother and sister-in-law have only come once before. Having them here will be a special treat.
Maybe next year Roger and I will go to visit them for Christmas. This year is our first stab at letting each married child and their family establish their own Christmas traditions. Christmas eve and Christmas morning will be in three separate places. Christmas afternoon we will travel to their town, and on Monday, the second day of Christmas, we will have brunch, presents and dinner all over again. Only Brandon will be missing, and we'll probably video-chat with him in Alaska. (We've been incredibly blessed to have him with us the past several years; this is his sixth Christmas in the Coast Guard, and the first one where he hasn't been able to get leave.) Next year, when Christmas Day isn't on Sunday, we may need to put "whole family Christmas" on the following weekend, which would allow for travel around the day itself. We'll see.
One of the advantages of this multi-site Christmas schedule is that those of us here will be able to go to Midnight Mass! We've never gone to one since Roger and I were newly-weds. We did make a point of going to the earliest possible Christmas morning mass with the kids -- which often meant going to a neighboring parish -- and for a number of years midnight wasn't even an option in our area, since the latest masses tended to be at 10 PM. I'm glad our diocese is pushing for more "Christmas Christmas" masses and fewer vigils. And (whisper, whisper) I'm glad there will be no small children waking up at 6AM. I'm not as young as I used to be, and four hours of sleep doesn't cut it anymore...
Apparently Roger also has all his "gottas" done. While I was typing the previous take, he came into the kitchen and announced that he was going to make sugar cookies. Over the last (probably quite a) few years, our Christmas baking has been done between Christmas and New Year's Day, the better to be devoured at our New Year's Eve party. (Note to local people: if you've ever been invited, you are again! The more the merrier!) Baking on Christmas Eve eve is a sure sign of pleasant preparedness. Yum!
I just glanced out the window and heaved a sigh. The one thing it would take to make this Christmas beyond perfect would be snow. There is a TINY bit here and there on the ground, but no real accumulation is predicted. Yet my father-in-law in New Mexico got a foot last night. What was that about moving to avoid Michigan winters?? But now I will stop complaining, go sit on the couch with my feet up, and try my hardest to just BE.
Wish me luck, as I wish all of you
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I made a pot of soup today -- chopped onion, sauteed meat,
Added tomatoes and some broth and set it on the heat.
I tossed a pinch of pepper in, a little bit of thyme,
Some salt, a bay leaf, lentils, rice. It really smelled sublime.
I let it simmer for a while. Supper was coming, so
I tasted it, a heaping spoon, and realized oh, no,
I'd been too heavy with the salt! How could I fix it now??
I thought of pending suppertime, and furrowed up my brow:
Would sugar help? Or vinegar? Or something bitter? Or
Something with that "umami" taste I read of once before?
Then I remembered "Oh, that's right -- throw a potato in!"
I washed and chunked one quickly, didn't bother with the skin.
I added it, then, frankly, prayed "Let this come out OK;
My family will be home soon, and they've worked hard all day.
They really need a tasty meal." And then I set the table.
Put lots of bread and butter out, in case I wasn't able
To save the soup. But when they came and I fished the potato out --
(My daughter, watching, asked me just what THAT was all about!) --
The taste was fine! The soup was great! The saltiness was gone!
(But I resolved to always undersalt things from now on...)
Word : umami
Question: What is required to renew that which was almost ruined?
There weren't many participants this month, but I'll link to their poems as they post them...
Have a Merry and Blessed Christmas!
Monday, December 12, 2011
Or should I have used this one? (Of course I took several; why waste the tidying?)
Have a blessed remainder of Advent!
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
WORD & QUESTION 18
Updated: Wow, that is NOT what the title looked like in preview mode (since I did this as a scheduled post.) I'm not adept enough with HTML to make it beautiful, so I'm just moving it sort of out of the way.....
Well, the title looked a lot fancier when I drew it up in Word, but apparently it didn't all translate to Blogger...
Anyway, this month I am again hosting the Word and Question poetry game, with a slight wrinkle -- because December is so busy, my poem will be due on the 21st instead of the 14th. Prompts are due to me by the end of Saturday the 10th, and I will send them to participants on Sunday the 11th. (All of this is US Eastern Standard Time.)
If somehow you have wandered by here for the first time and wonder what the heck this is all about, look here for the rules, and search my archives for the "word and question" label to see related posts.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
My friend Marie can sing quite well. She has
A deep and rich contralto voice that fills
A room with sound. You'd think that she,
With such a voice, would sing the deeper stuff
Like arias -- those songs from operas where
The girl tells off the hero just before
She kills herself. But no. Marie prefers
The stuff I like: the silly parodies
That Allan Sherman wrote, or nursery rhymes,
Or things we learned at campfires long ago.
When she lived here, she tried out for a choir.
When the director heard her sing, he said
"A luscious voice; like chocolate!" (Once or twice
Marie and I have sung together for
A "talent show" or something of that ilk.
I like to think that my -- much weaker -- voice
Sounded a little bit like caramel
Or soft vanilla, or something like that,
That didn't make the chocolate "seize.") And now
Marie lives far away. We stay in touch.
I see her pictures, and she reads my blog.
But oh, I'd like to sing with her again!
Question: What color is a voice?
I had fun with this, although I wasted some time trying to make a pun of coloratura. But I wound up, as is usual for me, writing more-or-less about something from my life. I really did enjoy the pairing of colors and flavors to make this work. And Marie (although that is not her name) is a real person who really reads this blog. My favorite thing we ever sang together is this, (although the video part of the link LONG postdates our performance..)
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Obviously the other top things on this list are my family. The order I've listed them in is simply the one I use when I'm trying to count heads for Easter baskets, or buy Christmas presents. They are all equally wonderful.
17) My brother P and his wife A. I am regularly thankful that he brought her into the family.
18) The good parents I had. They had their less-wonderful points, but then so do I
19) Roger's extended family. They welcomed me, the first in-law, most warmly, and I love 'em all.
20) Bryan's and Larry's parents/siblings/etc. The two families are as different as chalk and cheese, but good people all. My daughters have been blessed.
21) My own extended family of origin. I have no blood aunts or uncles left, but what a lovely mess of cousins.
22) The town in Pennsylvania where I grew up. I still enjoy going "home".
23) The mountains of Pennsylvania and Maryland
24) The Michigan town where I live now
25) The Great Lake you can practically see from here. It almost makes up for no mountains
26) The Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I want to go back!
27) My car. It's been "on its last legs" for years, but it still gets me around town.
28) My house. Having to move for the "public works project" has been such a blessing. This house is roomier, prettier, more functional.
29) All the work my family has put into this house to make it beautiful.
30) Sunshine through my beautiful big picture windows.
32) Free lending libraries
33) Online library access. This has save me SO much time, and some money in overdue fines. I renew online.
34) MelCat -- the Michigan elibrary access. If my library doesn't have a book, it's probably available from somewhere else in the state.
35) The computer that lets me do all this
36) All the technology -- cell phones, iPhones, computers, the internet -- that makes it so easy to keep in touch with my family
37) My knitting group
38) The member of the knitting group who moved across the state in August, but who still "attends" via Skype
39) All the people who developed all this technology
40) My "new" (Brandon's old) Kindle.
41) My friend Julia who has always lent me books, just now in eformat.
42) Brandon's old iPhone, no longer attached to a call plan, on which I play Hanging with Friends and Angry Birds.
44) Blogger Because I couldn't be doing this if it wasn't free.
47) Filling. Which is almost like stuffing, but not in my kids' opinions. But it's what I grew up with, and I love it.
48) Sauerkraut with turkey. What can I say, I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch country?
49) The fact that Arwen bought sauerkraut for me -- my favorite brand, too -- even though the rest of my family could have a happy Thanksgiving without it.
50) Pumpkin pie
51) Pecan pie
52) Whipped cream for both of the above
54) Chocolate, especially DARK chocolate (70 % and higher)
55) Caramel covered with chocolate
56) Good tea. It only costs a little more than "OK" tea, but it makes my days brighter.
57) Almonds. I eat lots of them.
58) Homemade bread
59) The fact that Roger makes almost all of the bread we eat. (12 to 18 loaves at a time, and freezes it.)
60) Roger's spaghetti sauce in the freezer
61) Ditto his chili
62) The awesome meat bundle we bought last January, which has lasted us most of a year.
63) The enormous chest freezer I keep all of this in
64) Electricity! My life "runs" on electricity.
65) My washer and dryer. We didn't have a dryer when I was a kid, and I used to help my grandmother with her tubs and wringer washer.
66) The proximity of excellent food shopping options. Everything from the locally-owned specialty shop where I buy meat bundles to Wal-Mart. And a lot of things in between.
67) And clothing shopping. I have to drive, because there's no road as the crow flies, but there's a whole mall within technical "walking distance."
68) Shawls! I am in the "hot flash" stage of life, and a shawl is SO much more adaptable than a sweater or jacket. I have at least 10 of them.
69) Inexpensive cute shoes. My everyday shoes are utilitarian and expensive, because I have really strange feet (inherited.) But I found comfortable ballet flats that fit. I bought three colors.
70) Automobiles. Because I can be with my grandchildren, who live 100 miles away, in under two hours.
71) Interstate highways for driving the cars on. A trip of 100 miles on the kind of roads that cover most of our area would take much longer.
72) Good mechanics, who keep my rustbucket of a van rolling. Thank you, Doug, Glen, and the other guys!
73) Music, and the church choir I sing in.
74) Sunrises and sunsets
75) I am also thankful that I have the freedom to change the goals I set for myself -- I'm here with my grandchildren, and this is enough time with my laptop. If 25 people read this, I'm done, since I'm thankful for every one of you!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Friday, November 11, 2011
Since this is Veterans' Day (or Remembrance Day a few miles away in Canada) I first thought that I'd spotlight one veteran for each take. But I realized that I couldn't pick just seven, so some of them are in groups...
Let's start with my dad. He was the oldest of five children, and my grandfather died when he was only 13, so by the time WWII came along, he'd been "man of the house" for quite a while. I've never known what my grandmother thought, but I do know that my dad felt a strong need to enlist. Even though he'd broken his right upper arm very badly when he was a preschooler, and the doctors had said he'd never be able to use the arm. But my grandfather, ignoring the doctors, had worked with my dad until he could do most things with it, including write -- since he was right-handed -- and support things he was lifting with his other arm. My dad argued with the Army until they let him in, with the restriction that he could only serve stateside. He did jobs that freed a more-ablebodied soldier to serve and perhaps die in combat. And he's my hero just the same. Because he didn't HAVE to serve at all. But he did.
My uncles are next. Uncle Joe (Dad's brother) hit the beach on D-day. Uncle Dick (Mom's brother) was in the Army Air Corps. My other Uncle Dick (Dad's brother) wangled an enlistment even though he was underage. (He lied, OK?) He was in on the mop-up in Europe. My youngest uncle, Mom's brother Raymond, served in Korea. My father-in-law also served in the Army in WWII. He did some foot-slogging, but wound up as the aide to the aide of a general. I wish I'd recorded some of his stories when I had a chance.
Roger served in the Coast Guard from 1976 to 1979. He was a Quartermaster -- navigation and other things -- on a couple of cutters, ending up here in our current hometown. He served during the "window" years -- there was a brief period where no official conflicts were happening -- which means that he, and every soldier, sailor, airman, and marine who served only during the same period, aren't qualified for the American Legion or the VFW. Something should be done about that!
Brandon, obviously, is currently serving in the Coast Guard. He loves his work, and will probably make a career of it.
LOTS of relatives and friends. My cousin Rob, a former Air Force pilot. Roger's sister Nancy, and her husband Doug, both former Air Force. Our nephew John, Navy. Our friend Ernesto, his daughter Rosa and her husband Nic, all Army/National Guard. Our best man's son Ryan, a Marine with two tours in Iraq. Trevor, who we watched grow up from a tiny altar boy, just back from a stint in Afghanistan -- Air Force. Kids I chaperoned at Band Camp, now in just about every service. And no doubt a bunch I can't actively call to mind...
Oh, and he certainly isn't a veteran yet, but Kelson was sworn into the Coast Guard last Thursday. He leaves for boot camp in early March.
A BIG Thank You to all these people and their comrades, no matter what service, whether or not they ever saw combat, and no matter whether they enlisted to protect the country or to earn money for college. The United States would be a much-less-wonderful place without you!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
Friday, November 04, 2011
attempt a post every day for a month. I'm just going to shoot for once a week.
last post I asked whether my readers pronounced "Laura" and "Lora" the same way. This is a full confession: my children are soooo tired of this discussion. They and their friends hear them the same; I grew up pronouncing them lahr-uh* and lore-uh. Now I'll try not to ever mention it again.
*Like Bert Lahr, who played the Cowardly Lion.
Slow-Cooker Green Chili Pork (Tacos) for dinner tomorrow. Last time we decided we like the meat better in buns than in corn tortillas.
Mrs. Renfro's salsa. The last time it was tasty but a little bland for our taste. I'd use all Mrs. Renrfo's, but the grandchildren will be here.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
(or is it dialectics??)
My husband and I will disagree
(Probably till the end of our days)
About the correctness of these ways
To pronounce the word. On the other hand
Unlike many couples in the land
We both say "to-MAY-to", "crEEk", "pe-KAHN",
The list of agreements goes on and on.
Neither of us says "melk" or "pellow"
So we don't sound like that local fellow
Who also will "aks" you what you know,
And tell you just how "fur" you can go.
Our accents are generally the same
When we play the pronunciation game.
(Though when I was a child I said "warsh" and "rinze" --
I still do it sometimes just for grins.)
But I wonder how we sound to you,
And if, perhaps, it's really true
That we both mispronounce things all the time.
(I'll do it on purpose, to force a rhyme....)
But you want to know who says that word which way?...
I'm right and he's wrong, that's all I'll say!
Question: Were you hoping for more?
The standard spellings of the words in quotation marks are, in order: allegory (twice); tomato; creek; pecan; milk; pillow; ask; far; wash; rinse. I am absolutely certain that every reader will pronounce one of these differently than I do! And I am very sad that I couldn't work in "umber-ella" (umbrella) or "wheel-barrel" (wheelbarrow.)
Monday, October 10, 2011
Outside my window... I can see every shade of green and brown and yellow and red and orange. This is my favorite part of fall: warmish days, cool nights, and still enough green to make the other colors seem like accents.
I am thinking... about simplifying my schedule. I think about this periodically, and o c c a s i o n a l l y I make a change. It's really true that the hardest thing is deciding between two (dozen) good things.
I am thankful for... this past wonderful weekend with my family. We celebrated all being together all weekend long, not just with our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner. The dinner did lead to some humor: people started naming Canadian things they were thankful for. Stratford, Ontario! Gordon Lightfoot! Geddy Lee! But when somebody got to Justin Beiber, we shut it down. (Even though he is from Stratford....)
From the kitchen... leftovers. I'm having Tex-Mex stuffed peppers, and the guys are going with Pioneer Woman's Drip Beef.
I am wearing... tan cotton pants, teal green tee and socks (which don't quite match each other), and a cream-colored short-sleeved sweater. Also black loafers, but I keep kicking them off.
I am creating... a table plan for our local pro-life banquet. Many organizations buy tables of eight, but some people buy one or two tickets. I get to figure out which individuals get to sit where, and which groups get the "best" tables near the front. That one's easier, since I try to give them to the groups who paid first!
I am going... nowhere until knitting group tomorrow. We are letting Brandon use one of our cars while he's on leave, and he won't be in town until Wednesday so the people with jobs get first dibs on the other one in the meantime. But that's OK, since I don't want to go anywhere.
I am reading... Evanly Bodies, by Rhys Bowen. In hardback from the library, because I've always argued that I preferred "real" books to an e-reader. I think I will always prefer them, but Brandon just gave me his Kindle -- because it was just taking up space in his locker and he reads everything on his iPad -- and my friend Julia, who has always lent me books, now buys all of hers in that format. So I'll be reading some things digitally from now on. But I need to get through the pile from the library before I let Julia lend me another ebook, especially since the ones she has expire in two weeks. I need to make sure I have time to read them before I borrow them. Unlike the paperbacks from my sister-in-law which have been sitting on the end table for several moths.
I am hoping... that we will find a replacement for my van soon. The requirements are "in good repair, runs well, and cheap," so it will probably take a while.
I am hearing... the hum of my computer, and the drone of the refrigerator.
Around the house... I need to figure out where four grandchildren are going to sleep this weekend, while both sets of married kid take a get-away with "only" the babies. We have lots of beds, but nobody is old enough for the top bunk with no rail, the ones in the basement are too far from Grandma and Grandpa's room, and we don't have infinite floor space for sleeping bags. But everybody will have fun!
A few plans for the rest of the week: my Bible study group here in the morning, knitting group, Brandon arrives, we go pick up the grandchidlren on Thursday. Friday I hope to take them to "Small Wonders" at the library (story time plus crafts) and we're planning on the HS football game in the evening. They love marching bands and football on TV, and we should be able to entertain them through the first half, at least.
Words I'm pondering : How much wood could a woodchuck chuck?.... My current ponderings are decidedly NOT deep.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing.... Roger and me with all the grandchildren. From left to right.. Camilla; Daniel; me holding Linus; Roger holding Lauren and Ambrose; Matthew; and Blaise.
This was taken in August; the twins are definitely bigger now!
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Conversion Diary has provided a nifty template for people who want to do Seven Quick Takes, and the header image is included. How can I (or anybody) resist that??! If you've never done quick takes before, today is a good time to start. The template does all the formatting; all you need to do is talk about stuff.
Canadian Thanksgiving. No, I haven't moved to Canada (although I can see it from just down the road.) It's just that my whole family will be in one place that day, probably for the only time this winter. Brandon is coming in on leave, Miriel will take a long weekend from grad school, all the babies will be there... what's not to be thankful for?
I am thankful that this should be a simpler meal than Thanksgiving dinner has become around here. After all, we don't have any Canadian Thanksgiving traditions, so nobody can object if I only make 3 pies instead of six, or skip something else entirely. (To be honest, I will be the one who misses certain dishes most. Don't you "need" sauerkraut with your turkey?)
two. The only other year I did two was the year Daniel and Camilla were born. And just to make it harder, Arwen gave both boys names containing an S. Nobody else's name has one, and curvy letters are hardest to stitch, and I have to figure out how to do that in the same "font." See why I'm stalling?
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!