Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Daybook, 3/30/10 -- Tuesday of Holy Week

Daybook.jpgSeven Quick Takes are taking Holy Week off, so I don't feel guilty doing this.

Outside my window... it is dark, because I'm doing this after everyone else is in bed. Kelson may get up to use this computer in the middle of the night, though, because his has been sent to Dell for repairs. Not that he's not regularly awake at those times anyway....

I am thinking... that I was never up in the middle of the night at that age, but both my boys and a couple of the girls have been like that. I guess as long as they get the right amount of sleep overall it works.

I am thankful for... the end of the book unpacking, and the comfortable routines of Holy Week and Easter. Sometimes I get grumpy if the choir doesn't learn something new, but this year the old standbys seem to fit, somehow.

From the kitchen... well, it was leftovers night. But that was a deliberate attempt to clean out the fridge to make room for holiday food. We do a Seder meal on Thursday, and both a brunch and dinner on Easter, and there will be 18 people for Easter dinner.

I am wearing... Floral flannel nightgown, blue fleece bathrobe,and fuzzy-on-the-inside slippers. I never understood putting the fuzzy on the outside, where it collects dust and doesn't really keep you warm.

I am creating... a blog post. How prosaic is that?

I am going... to take tomorrow afternoon off from chores and Easter prep. There won't be another good time to rest until Easter Monday.

I am reading... a spring clothing catalog, and trying to figure out why anybody thinks bright pink jeans in size 5X are a good idea.

I am hoping... that everybody coming for Easter has safe travels. Seattle and DC are two of the starting points!

I am hearing... nothing much -- an advantage of being the only one up.

Around the house... sit bookcases full of books. Finally!

One of my favorite things... is a clock with Westminster chimes. Thank you, Arwen and Bryan.

A few plans for the rest of the week.... relaxation tomorrow, Seder meal and mass Maundy Thursday Evening, liturgy with choir on Good Friday, then come home and cook like mad. Easter Vigil Saturday evening; baskets, brunch and dinner on Sunday. Spring Break next week!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing... well, I've tried three times to get it here, so you'll just have to go and see.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Meatless Dinners -- or, What I blog if I can't get at Blogger to do Quick Takes

I really wanted to do a Seven Quick Takes Friday post, but Blogger has been down in my area ALL DAY, so I'm just going to post what's running through my mine whenever I finally get the chance-- (note; It was Sunday morning before I actually got to post this....._

As I was prepping the beans and rice for dinner tonight (Friday) it suddenly crossed my mind that there might be a whole month's worth of meatless recipes that Roger will eat. Kelson is another story, but he'll only be here through September. So, in no particular order, let's see:

  1. Monterey Beans and Cheese (over rice)

  2. Tuna Noodle Casserole

  3. Carrot-Cheddar Soup

  4. Chili Beans and Rice

  5. Beer-Batter Fish and Onion Rings

  6. Cheese Pizza

  7. Spinach Pie (OK, he''ll eat it, but I like it much more than he does...)

  8. Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

  9. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup

  10. Tuna Turnovers

  11. Tuna Melts

  12. Broiled Salmon

  13. Popcorn Shrimp and fries

  14. Shrimp Cocktail and Baked Brie with crackers (NOT penitential – we sometimes have this for an “evening in”)

  15. Vegetarian Minestrone ( another “eh”, but he'll eat it, especially with bread on the side)

  16. Pasta Marinara with fresh Parmesan

  17. Cheese Quesadillas with Salsa.

  18. Easter Breakfast Fish” (marinated overnight and charcoal grilled – YUM!)

  19. Cheese Omelets

  20. Whole-Wheat Yeast Waffles

  21. PB&J (although I leave the J out of mine)

  22. Cheese Nachos

  23. Lasagne (with chopped spinach instead of meat in the sauce)

  24. Bean Burritos

  25. Tuna Salad Sandwiches

  26. Cheese and Crackers and Kippers (for a snack meal if we are going out for drinks and dessert later)

  27. Baked Potatoes with Cheese (sauce) and Broccoli, and Bac-Os if we're going totally meatless, otherwise a little real bacon

  28. Mushroom Quiche (Yes, he's still a real man....)

  29. Lentil-”Sausage” Soup ( With soy sausage. I've never actually tried that, but with pork sausage the recipe is a favorite.)

  30. Crumb-Coated Baked Fish

  31. Poached Eggs on Toast (I've never actually tried Huevos Racheros, but they might work, too.)

Whew! I made it! I would say that a meatless month would almost certainly never happen around here, but it's nice to know that I could. (And yes, we eat breakfast for dinner a lot. It just usually involves sausage or bacon.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

In (Partial) Defense of Bart Stupak

(For anybody who comes here expecting to read nice family stuff: if the title of the post didn't tell you, this is a political semi-rant. Come back some other time for more of the usual....)

I, as a pro-life conservative (social AND fiscal), am very disappointed by the vote in the House of Representatives passing the so-called "Health Care Bill." I believe a more accurate title would be "Socialized Medicine Bill." But I am also very disappointed by the flood of articles I am seeing which state that passage of this bill indicates that there is no such thing as a "pro-life Democrat."

I was raised by a life-long (Old) Democrat who was also totally pro-life. When it became apparent that the modern Democratic Party had bought into abortion at the platform level, he faced a rough choice. He'd never voted for a Republican and wasn't about to begin, but he couldn't in good conscience vote for a pro-abortion candidate, either. I'm sure that the township clerk was regularly confused -- this was in the days of paper ballots -- by the write-in votes for some Minnick or another. My dad's solution was ingenious; if the Democrat wasn't pro-life, he'd vote for one of his brothers. Now of course, in terms of who won those elections, this was exactly the same as if he hadn't voted at all. But it satisfied both Dad's duty as a citizen AND his conscience.

I happen to believe that Bart Stupak made a mistake in judgment in believing that an Executive Order would prevent this bill from funding abortion. But I think those who are ready to write him off as "not pro-life" are also making a mistake. They forget that the second word in "Pro-Life Democrat" is Democrat. Representative Stupak wanted this bill to pass, badly. (I also disagree with his judgment about whether that is a good thing, but that's another post.) I suspect most of his detractors made the mental error of equating "pro-life" with "conservative." That's like equating "red" with "apple." Yes, many apples are red, but the two categories are only overlapping, not identical.*

Time will certainly tell whether Bart Stupak violated common sense in voting for the "Health Care Bill" on promises of an executive order. But I think in fairness that unless the future proves otherwise,we should believe that it was only common sense that he violated, and not his pro-life principles.

* Funny story for those of you who stuck out the politics -- The parents of one of Roger's boyhood friends took their son to kindergarten round-up. Afterward they were told by concerned school staff that he might be mentally slow; he couldn't tell the tester what color an apple was. The parents laughed their heads off! They ran an apple orchard, and the son wanted to know what kind of apple before he answered. Apple doesn't always equal red.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Seven Very Quick Takes -- 3/19/10

Seven Quick Takes are hosted here.

1) It is 70 degrees out, and I just went for my walk without a jacket. Snow is predicted for Sunday. Ah, Michigan!

2) Beans and rice for dinner tonight, as it is a Lenten Friday. Our governor has declared tomorrow as the "Great Michigan Meat-out", touting the benefits of vegetarian meals. Roger and I are thinking of buying steaks to celebrate, and there are rumors of a barbecue on the Capitol lawn, probably sponsored by Michigan meat-producers. (Ah, Michigan! :-p)

3) The books in our basement may be multiplying... I have been trying to unpack a couple of boxes every time I go down to the laundry room. This morning I unpacked two and then, because I wondered how many were left, I counted the boxes -- 26. That was higher than I'd hoped, so I unpacked two more. Counted again -- 26. Figured I must have miscounted. This afternoon I went down and unpacked three more, then counted -- 24. At this rate I may never finish....

4) Currently "Lucas Kitty" is sitting on Roger's chair at the table trying to decide if he wants to jump up on the table and go for the glass of milk sitting there. He doesn't know it, but the correct answer is "Not while she can see me, if I value my peace-of-mind."

5) Tonight we will be going to the Stations of the Cross at 7:00. This year our parish has been using the "Biblical Stations" originated by Pope John Paul II, using this booklet, which has added meditations. I like it a lot. In this form there is noting with which a Protestant could take issue, and I'd love to see it done as an ecumenical service.

6) Our new pastor has also decided to do the "long form" of the Easter Vigil, with all eight readings, done in darkness. This means eight responsorial Psalms, and some of the choir is feeling a bit rebellious. I am feeling excited; the whole thing done well is marvelous, and recapitulates salvaton history all the way from the Creation to the Resurrection. Getting to sing is a bonus!

7) I have exactly 15 minutes to do my 12 minute exercise routine and be ready to leave for our evening errands and so on. Goodbye!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More Daybook, because I am Lame


I haven't posted in eight days, so you'll just have to settle for this...

Outside my window... it is sunny, and the mud is drying up. Roger is doing a terrific job of getting the random hedgy bushes removed and trellising the grape vine.

I am thinking... that spring may not officially come until Saturday, but it is doing a good job of acting like it's here already. 64 degrees today!

I am thankful for... the enormous progress I have made on organizing the books and basement AND the fact that the new bookcases were $5 off each when we went to get them.

From the kitchen... corned beef and cabbage. What else would I serve on Saint Patrick's Day??!!

I am wearing... Khaki pants and socks, green tee, cream sweater, and black walking shoes.

I am creating... two 8-foot tablecloths for Easter dinner. !8 people not counting the unborn grandchild.

I am going... crazy trying to find my cell phone. This is the second time I've lost it in a week and a half.

I am reading... Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. Once upon a time I thought I might become a midwife when my kids were old enough. Sadly, by the time they were old enough I was too old for the hours I'd have to put in, but my reading still includes "birth junkie>"

I am hoping... that this beautiful weather continues.

I am hearing... the sump pump working hard. The mud may be drying, but the ground is still soggy. Fortunately the water all seems to be in the sump and not the rest of the basement.

Around the house... sun is poring through all our wonderful windows.

One of my favorite things... is decaf Cafe Mocha, which I buy at Barnes and Noble Cafe almost every Wednesday. What a great way to drink milk! ;-D

A few plans for the rest of the week.... unpacking books, books, and more books. And lunch with Julie tomorrow "for our birthdays". Only a month late.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing....
This is me last summer, talking with my cousins at "the Hunt Camp". I don't know what I was talking about, but I certainly felt strongly about it!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

That Daybook Thing


I've seen this a couple of places now, and thought I could give it a try.

Outside my window... are melting snow and bushes that are thinking about budding. The ground is deeply covered in some places, bare in others, and in most of the bare spots mud abounds.

I am thinking... that I wish I had just copied this meme by hand on a sticky note in the first place, because trying to cut and paste and reformat has been a royal pain!

I am thankful for... the fact that my out-of-whack back doesn't hurt as much today as it did yesterday. It does make planning to sort books and refill shelves kind of problematic, though.

From the kitchen... well, I'm in the kitchen, which is where my new computer lives, and the reason I have time to do this post is that dinner is very simple: sausages, frozen hash brown patties, and homemade applesauce from the freezer.

I am wearing... dark taupe pants, navy cotton twinset and socks, and black loafers.

I am creating... what I hope will be a template for doing this more easily if I ever try it again.

I am going... nowhere tonight, and neither is Roger, which is a marvelous treat.

I am reading... In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham. She and her husband Martin were missionaries in the Philippines when they were kidnapped by Islamic terrorists in early 2001. He was eventually killed, but I haven't gotten to that part yet. Gracia is obviously feisty, and I am enjoying her view of things, even the unpleasant ones. (I'm also reading a chick-lit, but I won't tell you about it unless its a good one, and I haven't read enough to know yet.)

I am hoping... that my back will be cooperative and not wake me up in the night tonight, as it has for the last two.

I am hearing... the cat trying to huff up a hairball. I feel rather sorry for him, since he hasn't managed to do it in the almost two years we've owned him. All that work for no results. And I'd rather clean it up than listen to him as often as I have to.

Around the house... it is tidier than usual, because Kelson is on a college visit in Florida until Friday.

One of my favorite things... is the amount of natural light in this new house. Our living room window is ten feet long and faces south, but all the rooms are well-lit, even in the basement. I just hope I don't have to eat my words in the heat of summer!

A few plans for the rest of the week.... major grocery shopping, the pregnancy care center fund-raising banquet, and adoration and Stations of the Cross Friday evening, for which I am the cantor. I really love the way our new priest has added "Food for the Soul" to the "Food for the Body" of the Knights of Columbus' Lenten fish fry.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing....

Friday, March 05, 2010

Seven Quick Takes -- Wow, Two weeks Goes Fast!

1) As I updated my last post, our friend Fr. Paul died on Saturday the 20th. Since Roger is his executor, that swept us into a whirlwind of funeral arrangements usually dealt with by the family. (His niece was here, and two of his nephews were able to make it for the funeral, but we were the "local people" and had all the paperwork.) Archbishop Vigneron was able to come and say the funeral mass. There were another bishop and twelve priests concelebrating, plus a deacon to read the Gospel, and combined choirs from local parishes sang. At first I was disappointed at the size of the congregation, which looked about like 8AM mass on a Sunday. But the archbishop assured us that for a priest who had been officially retired for almost 20 years, the turnout was huge. I don't think anyone who knew Fr. Paul could help but love him, and as many as possible came out to demonstrate that.

2) The tiring part of dealing with Fr. Paul's death was not the visitation or the funeral. It was cleaning out his "apartment" at the senior care facility. The St. Vincent dePaul folks came and hauled away much of his furniture and any clothes and linens that were worth donating, but somebody (us plus his niece, nephew, and the nephew's wife) had to sort it, decide what to donate, what was trash, and what somebody might want. The nephew and his wife left with a van packed full of audio classes on CD and assorted decorative and sentimental items, some of which they were going to pass along to the other nephew, who couldn't stay that long. The niece took as much as she could cram into her suitcase for the flight. WE still have several boxes of photos and such which we are planning to distribute to local friends of Fr. Paul.

3) Cleaning out his apartment meant that I had no time to spend on organizing all the "stuff" in OUR basement, which I have determined to do by Easter. On the upside, I now have two more bookcases to fill. On the downside, I now have five more boxes of books to sort. I am hoping to donate a number of books to the Friends of the Library ( mostly Roger's collection of "airport books"), but all of Fr. Paul's books that nobody wanted have already been donated. I'm going to need those bookcases!

4) On a related note, I'm actually wistfully hoping to be able to BUY two bookcases to set in our living room corner. We have a couple that would do for the space, but I found some assemble-it-yourself ones for a great price, and I'd love to have something matching and new. We'll see! To this end I have measured all the shelves of our current bookcases, and when I sort the books I intend to measure the linear feet they will take up. If I need the new bookcases I will buy them..... somehow.

5) I do have a little bit of money toward a bookcase, a birthday gift from my mother-in-law. I turned 59 (!) last Saturday. I'm not a big fan of cake, although Roger offered to make one, but I did get to celebrate. A local musical group played for a contra dance in a parish gym in town, and for only the second or third time in our marriage, Roger and I went dancing! Full disclaimer: neither one of us really cares for "regular" dancing, and we've gone every time we were free if there was square or contra dancing. When I was single and lived in Ohio, a bunch of us used to go to square dances almost every weekend in some Grange hall or other, and just like riding a bicycle, lots of it came back quickly. There was some talk of repeating the dance on a quarterly basis or so, and if they do, we'll be there. (There is a video on the link to the band. Roger and I are at the right end of the gym; I'm wearing a green skirt. We show up at about 1:53 into it.)

6) Since our son-in-law Bryan had to make a business trip, Arwen and Camilla and Blaise came to visit from Monday through Wednesday. Blaise has apparently inherited Roger's "morning person" personality, since he seems to think that 5:30AM is a perfectly reasonable time for a one-year-old to start the day. Arwen was very glad to hand him off to Grandpa and go back to sleep! Camilla at the same age used to sleep until 9, so Blaise has been kind of a shock. ;-D I'm always glad to see them, but this time I heaved a tiny sigh. Arwen has been decluttering her house for Lent (40 Bags in 40 Days), and she brought back a great big plastic bin of books they have borrowed from us. (The first time I typed the last sentence, I inadvertently hit Caps Lock, and everything from "brought" came out in caps. I considered leaving it that way........)

7) Yesterday was our LAST EVER Quiz Bowl league tournament. Arwen started playing in 6th grade in 1994 (our town has a middle school league), and one or more kids have been involved at some level ever since. We know which teams have the buzzer system that makes that annoying "Brrrzat" noise, we know most of the coaches by sight, and we know how to find the restrooms in every school in the league. We also know a lot about how the league trophy looks, since it spends most of its time at our school!

Yesterday was no exception. Kelson's team had already come in first in the league (19 wins, 2 losses) and won a tournament sponsored by the local community college. They won the league tournament as well! I must admit I wish they didn't have a penchant for winning double-elimination competitions by working their way up the losers bracket. We could have been home an hour sooner if they hadn't had to beat the last team twice.

Now it's on to states, where they will do an acceptable job and come home in the middle of the second day. Many schools in the more urban areas make Quiz Bowl a regular class, where the teams study assorted topics and get graded on their performance. In our league it's strictly extra-curricular, and the kids play with the knowledge they bring to it just from pursuing their own interests. I like the perspective Arwen had when she played in her first state tournament -- "I think we had more fun losing than they had winning!" That's the way I want my kids to view knowledge and study; as a game, not a chore. I think they get it.

Seven Quick Takes are hosted at Conversion Diary.