Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Whatcha Readin' Wednesday

I am very excited because I just got a new book at the library today -- Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons. I have been a great fan of the movie, and spotted the book (a reissue, with a foreword by Lynne Truss) when it appeared at Barnes and Noble, but it took another watching of the movie Saturday night to spur me to check it out. I can't imagine I'll be anything but delighted, but I'll let you know.

I also checked out a non-fiction, The Reach of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman. I enjoyed his The Making of a Chef, about his experiences at the Culinary Institute of America, and am sitting on Arwen's copy of The Soul of a Chef. I'm not sure which order I'll read them in, since library books usually trump things that don't have to be returned on a given date.

Which is why I'm waiting to plunge into Cold Comfort; I have to finish The Tavern in the Morning, by Alys Clare, which I've had out for a couple of weeks. The jacket says "A worthy successor to Ellis Peters", but so far my take would be "Not bad, and writes in Ellis Peters' genre, so I'll take it." I'll let you know if that changes.

Roger is home early from tonight's meeting -- third night in a row for something, and I have choir tomorrow -- so I'm going to post this and hag out with him. See ya around!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Seven Quick Takes Friday -- 9/18

I'm posting twice in one week! Whee! And all the credit goes to Jen at Conversion Diary, who thought up Seven Quick Takes and hosts them weekly. Go see -- but don't forget to come back.

1) For those of you who own pets (of the cat and dog variety) -- no matter HOW tight finances are, do not think you can save money by skipping the monthly flea dosing. This is a bad decision, which will come back and bite you. Literally. I'm just sayin'....

2) We sold our house to the state on Wednesday. (This is for a major public works project, that I talked about here.) We are no longer homeowners, but we have way more money in the bank than we have had in decades, or probably ever will again. We have a 90 day grace period to move out; if we can't manage that, we pay rent to the state.

3) We hope to put a bid on a new house on Monday. We have already had one bid declined, on a different house. I am really hoping/praying that this second house is "the one". Despite needing some cosmetic upgrades, it has all the features I really hoped for in a house AND is in our price range. But we need to have our friend who is a builder give it a once-over for all the details we don't know how to evaluate, and anyway our real estate agent is "upnorth" for the weekend. So we will bid Monday at the earliest.

4) It this is not the right house, we have some serious looking to do. We have already scanned, and sometimes toured, the "possible" houses in our price range. Some of them are impossible. One of them rejected our bid. Of course, God could have a hidden jewel out there which isn't even on the market yet. The house we bought 24 years ago -- the only house we've ever owned -- never technically went on the market at all. The sellers came to our agent -- a friend -- to list it, and Bill realized that it was next door to some good friends of ours; in fact, the builder who will be checking over our possibility! We bought it without it ever showing up on anyone else's possibility list.

5) In an interesting twist, the woman who now lives in the house next door (it's already sold to the state as well) is the woman from whom we bought THIS house. It was a rental property, not her home, but it was distinctly odd when she bought our friends' old house. But she's been a good neighbor and friend. Denise, we'll miss you.

6) If I talk any more about our housing situation I might start to blubber. Four of our kids were born in this house, and it isn't ours anymore. I said once that I expected it to be easier to have it torn down than to see other people living in it, and that's still true, but that doesn't make it easy. Tonight at dinner I looked up and realized that in a relatively short time the view from my table will be different. We aren't losing our HOME -- that will be moving with us -- but this house will soon be gone forever. Sniff.

7) Last night our church choir began rehearsing again after our summer break. I love these people, and it was great to be back together! But -- I didn't sing enough over the summer. I've lost two notes from each end of my range. With regular rehearsals and masses and some hard work on my part they'll probably come back, but I shouldn't have let it happen. I resolve to do better next summer. My voice is, unfortunately, getting old and stiff like the rest of me. Exercise is no longer optional.

And that's it for another week; see you again soon!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Musical Monday -- Triumph of the Cross

Today is the feast of the Triumph of the Cross, so I'm posting a few of my favorites. They're good any time... :-D

First and foremost --

Lift High the Cross

Refrain: Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world adore His sacred Name.

Come, Christians, follow where the Master trod --
Our King victorious, Christ the Son of God.. Refrain

Led on their way by this triumphant sign,
The hosts of God in conquering ranks combine. Refrain

Each newborn servant of the Crucified
Bears on the brow the seal of Him Who died. Refrain

O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,
As Thou hast promised, draw the world to Thee. Refrain

So shall our song of triumph ever be:
Praise to the Crucified for victory. Refrain

The words are by George W. Kitchen, modified by Michael R. Newbolt. The tune is Crucifer, by Sydney H. Nicholson. You can hear it here, although they are missing the first verse.

Next up --

In the Cross of Christ I Glory

1. In the cross of Christ I glory,
towering o'er the wrecks of time;
all the light of sacred story
gathers round its head sublime.

2. When the woes of life o'ertake me,
hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
never shall the cross forsake me.
Lo! it glows with peace and joy.

3. When the sun of bliss is beaming
light and love upon my way,
from the cross the radiance streaming
adds more luster to the day.

4. Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,
by the cross are sanctified;
peace is there that knows no measure,
joys that through all time abide.

5. In the cross of Christ I glory,
towering o'er the wrecks of time;
all the light of sacred story
gathers round its head sublime.

The lyrics are by John Bowring; the tune, Rathbun, is by Ithamar Conkey and can be found here.

Last but not least -- Isaac Watts' marvelous

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

The tune is Hamburg, by Lowell Martin, and can be heard here.

I hope to weigh in on Friday with a Seven Quick Takes, so I'll see you then!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Tasty Tuesday -- Blueberry Cobbler

Today is the first day of school in Michigan. Tommy starts his senior year (bwaaah, my baybee...), so this is the last "first day of school" I will ever deal with. Sad, but wonderful -- no more paperwork!!

Ever since the first
"first day of school" when Arwen started kindergarten in 1987, I have tried to make a special dinner for the kids to celebrate. Many years it was hamburgers on the grill, but since the start of school is now right after Labor Day, that's not as thrilling as it once was. In fact, when I asked Tommy a couple of days ago what he'd like, he said he really didn't care. But yesterday evening he asked me if I knew how to make the blueberry cobbler that Aunt "Tink" made while we were in Pennsylvania. Since I gave her the recipe in the first place, the answer was "yes"! So tonight's dinner is creamed chicken and biscuits with this cobbler for dessert.

Blueberry* Cobbler

Preheat oven to 350

Grease a 9 by 9 inch pan or casserole.
In a bowl, combine
1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 t. baking powder, 1/4 t. salt and 1/2 cup milk**.
Pour into prepared pan.
Sprinkle on
2 cups blueberries***.
Bake for 40 minutes.
That's it! Much easier than pie!!

* Actually, you can use any kind of fruit.

** I've never tried it, but I bet this would be even better if you used half-and-half or cream.

*** Tink used fresh; I'm using frozen because it's what I have on hand. Canned will also work.