Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Whatcha Readin' Wednesday

I'm in the middle of a series of fiction books, which I intend to talk about next week, but I was at the library today returning some non-fiction (Temples,Tombs, and Hieroglyphs by Elizabeth Peters/ Barbara Mertz) and I just couldn't help myself -- I checked out Silks by Dick Francis and his son Felix Francis. I haven't actually started it yet, but I've been enjoying Dick Francis (who is a steeplechase jockey turned racing mystery writer) since Nerve and Dead Cert in the late 60's, so it should be a good, fun, and also quick read. I'll let you know!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tasty Tuesday -- week zero

Tommy has a band concert tonight, and because he's in the jazz band as well as the drum line as well as the regular band ..... well, anyway, supper had to be early so he could be back at the school by 5:15 for a 7PM concert. Fortunately, I've had years of experience with band concert nights, so I planned ahead for a quick and easy meal (which also happens to be one Tommy likes): Chicken Quesadillas.

All you really need are some flour tortillas (I buy mine in bulk at Sam's Club and freeze), leftover chicken (all leftover grilled chicken at our house is automatically sliced and frozen for quesadillas, but any kind will do), and shredded cheese ( I prefer to freshly shred equal parts extra-sharp cheddar and Monterey jack, but bagged works, although it doesn't melt as well.) Place a tortilla on a griddle (mine's electric) or frying pan, add chicken and cheese, top with another tortilla, and grill dry -- no oil needed) on medium-high heat until the cheese is melted and both sides are slightly golden. That's it!

You can, of course, make them fancier. Some of us like minced jalapenos added with the chicken, others don't. I serve them with salsa, sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and guacamole, but Tommy uses just salsa, and thinks they're perfect. A pizza cutter wheel is nice for slicing them into quarters, but a knife is fine.

Best part? Other than a minute to pull some things out of the freezer this morning, it only took me
15 minutes to put dinner on the table. Awesome!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Musical Monday - trial run

Since starting on Saturday I'm going to be posting every day, I've decided to use this week to work into things. And Musical Monday is a good place to start, since last Saturday night Roger and I attended a concert. Arwen and Bryan were also there, but our seats weren't together because they bought their tickets months ago, and we got ours more recently, as a belated anniversary gift from our kids. They had planned to send us to a baseball game, but by the time of our anniversary, there were no home games left that fit our schedule. That was fine with me, because I'd wanted to go to this particular concert since I'd heard it was happening.

The concert featured Fernando Ortega and Phil Keaggy. I thought that was an odd combination when I first heard about it, but.... Yeah, it was odd, but it brought together two whole eras of my life. I first heard of Phil Keaggy when I was still in college, and when I was working in a Christian restaurant/bookstore in the late 1970's, he was part of the background music of my days. Fernando, on the other hand, was opening for Michael Card on one of the many occasions our family has attended his concerts, and we became instant fans.

Fernando, for those who don't know, is a classically trained pianist who specializes in new arrangements of old hymns, and mellow slice-of-life songs. Phil Keaggy is an awe-inspiring guitarist who does old-fashioned rock and "Jesus music." And you know what? The concert was odd, and it was wonderful. And I hope I get a chance to hear either and/or both of them again soon!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Since 50% of the input I've gotten on my NaBloPoMo plans -- some in the comments, some elsewhere -- has suggested "household tips" for Thursdays, I hereby declare "Tip-line Thursdays" for the month of November. I'll even take requests! Current ideas include menu planning, weekly scheduling, stain removal ideas, and holiday tips, but I'm open to most anything I actually know anything about!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

NaBloPoMo Approaches!

In a fit of enthusiasm (madness??) I went and signed myself up for NaBloPoMo for November. And I suspect that if I’m going to have any success at this at all, I will need more of a structure than I had last year, which was “Uh, family biographies if I can’t think of anything else?? ‘K, bye!” SO I have decided to choose a theme for each day of the week, which may also help me for the rest of the year!

Musical Monday – what I like or hate, what new artists I’ve found

Tasty Tuesday (inspired by Taco Tuesday at a local Mexican place) -- recipes and such

What’cha Readin’ Wednesday (via The Summa Mamas) -- what I’m reading, maybe old favorites

??? Thursday – I need some help here! It doesn’t have to start with T!!

Family Friday – finishing Katie and Tommy’s bios, and maybe some grandkid pictures

Sloppy Saturday – this is where I may even just post links!

Spiritual Sunday – some kind of reflection suitable to the day

So, what do you think? All suggestions are welcome!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Quick Political Giggle

I've never actually mentioned here who I favor for president in this upcoming election, and I'm not going to do so now.* But let it be said that there is a sign in my front yard, and signs in other yards along my street. There is one sign with which I vehemently disagree. But I smile every time I go past that house anyway, because the house is also decorated for Hallowe'en. There is a great big black and silver sign saying "Beware!" And I guess they weren't paying attention, because the arrangement is such that the signs say "Beware [insert candidate's name here]." And with that, I heartily agree!

*If you read this post, you should be able to figure it out. You're all smart and logical, or you wouldn't be here reading my blog. ;-D

Just to clarify
: I don't care if my regular readers know who I favor in the elections. I consider you my friends, and this is only one of the many things friends can talk about. I just don't want somebody to be able to randomly Google a candidate's name, and then come here expressly to heckle me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wings, Fluttering above the Nest

Tommy went to his first semi-formal dance last night. He and some friends met at one of their houses for pictures,went out to dinner, and then to the dance. Although Tommy is only 15, he skipped a year in school, so most of his friends can drive. We would have gone out to take pictures, but he insisted we not waste the gas. Translation --"Hey folks, I really don't want you there." But his sisters had insisted on seeing pictures, so we compromised on his taking the camera and letting some other parent use it.

The pictures are pretty standard: three girls and three guys lined up alternately. Most of them are grinning, because these are long-term friends. The exception is Tommy's date "Kathy". (Actually, he informed us a couple of weeks ago that she's his "girlfriend", although as far as I know this is the first time they've actually gone anywhere together.) Kathy, while smiling, looks a little tentative. This is new territory for her; she's a freshman, and the others are two juniors, a senior, and two grads.

Tommy is perhaps the brightest of our children (possibly outdone by Maggie, and all of them are way bright), and as the youngest has constantly been exposed to his older siblings' friends. Kathy is the younger of just two (perfectly nice and certainly bright) sisters, and I hope she gets comfortable with this group of kids, because they're great! But spending time with Tommy means you will be challenged to justify everything you think and believe. I wonder if she had a good time last night?

But she's not my concern, and actually, neither is Tommy. It's me. My BABY is dating. My BABY is a junior. My BABY will be gone in less than two years!

In truth, I'm probably going to love having an empty nest. No nagging about laundry or trash. No shoes or drum sticks in the middle of the living room floor. No waking up in the middle of the night and realizing he's fallen asleep on the couch again. (That seems to be a family trait -- my brother did it so often my dad dubbed them "camper nights.") But the transition; well, he's my BABY. God grant me the grace to let him become a man!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Range Rant

Today I'm doing having a very domestic day, which includes a lot of cooking. I have a post percolating about it, but I thought that first I'd let you see what I wrote to the manufacturer of my stove yesterday.

Dear Jenn-Air people:

My husband has already written the logical, masculine letter regarding the failure of our stove. This is the other side.

When my mother died in 2004, I came into a modest inheritance. My parents were simple people, a teacher and a pattern-maker, and frankly, my brother and I were surprised that they had managed to save so much. We used the money to pay for our daughter's wedding, and paid off our credit cards. And I had some left, and since our stove was old and worn out, I decided to replace it.

Our local, trusted appliance shop had lots of choices in stock, but the owner recommended that I consider spending a little more than I had planned. He knew that we are the type of people who use appliances until they are worn out, and suggested that this Jenn-Air stove would serve us better and longer than some of the other models I was considering. Boy was he wrong!

In the last four years our stove has needed repair THREE times. The first time was under warranty, and that was fine, but last year the same part (the right front burner thermostat) failed. That repair cost us almost 20% of what we paid for the stove. This summer, the same part failed. My husband , knowing that the stove was no longer under warranty, contacted you and asked if there was anything your company could do on this obviously defective product. You DID pay for the visit of the same repairman, who confirmed that it was indeed the same part. His comment was “Yeah, they fail all the time.”

Since we bought the stove with inheritance money, there are now no spare funds to pay for repairing it AGAIN, and likely again in another year or two. Why bother? I will limp along, using that burner for things like boiling water for pasta, where the temperature doesn't matter. And I won't ever buy a Jenn-Air product again. (The representative on the phone offered us 25% off on another stove. Why would you think we'd throw more money away?)


(OK, yeah, I'm trolling for a little sympathy from you guys. What else is the internet for?)