Friday, April 30, 2010

Seven Quick Takes -- End of April

Seven Quick Takes is hosted here by Jen.

1. I sat down to write these takes and realized that maybe I should be doing a Daybook, because for a change I have a great answer to I am hearing..... Kelson is in the kitchen with me, getting a snack, and he is listening to a song on his computer, beating out the bass line with his foot and drumming on the counter with his fingers. Definitely a percussionist (and probably a little ADHD, but not enough to make him more than twitchy.)

2. I just realized that I haven't given an update on the Quiz Bowl tournament we went to last weekend. Kelson's team didn't win any matches, but it was all right. Their first loss was to the team that eventually came in third (knocking the eventual winner into the losers bracket in the process) and their second loss was a well-played nail-biter that went back and forth repeatedly and eventually was decided by a question that our team had to acknowledge was correctly answered even though the reader's answer sheet was wrong. Final score 430 to 420, with a correct answer worth 15 points. A triumph or even a win would have been nice, but at least a good time was had by all. And the juniors get to try again next year.

3. Next week we will have our grandsons Matthew and Daniel here from Tuesday through Sunday, while Branwen and Larry take a well-deserved vacation. Larry is a top salesman for his company, and earned this trip. He earned one last year, too, but Matthew was still nursing and no provision is made for babies. (I would think this was a dumb rule even if my family weren't affected.) But this year they get the trip and we get the boys. I am looking forward to it, although I'm well aware that I don't have the stamina I had 15 years ago. Fortunately Miriel and Tirienne will be here from Wednesday evening on. I shamelessly admit that I might plug in the occasional Veggie Tales video if I get too tired...

4. As I sit here typing, Roger is burning the brush pile out by the side of the house. Because our new property was a foreclosure, the bushes and plants had been allowed to run wild. We've already done one burn -- of a pile that got so big the township cited us for breaking the brush-pile-size ordinance -- and this is a much smaller batch of branches and twigs. Roger would like, I think, to trim the pine trees on the other side of the house as well, but I'm not sure that will happen this year. Right now I'm enjoying the wood-smoke smell, and wondering if I'd still like it if I needed to burn wood for cooking and warmth. I think so, since I spent one winter in a situation where the thermostat was set at 55 and it was blankets and the fireplace if you wanted to be warmer than that. But then I didn't have to cook in the fireplace. Hmmmmm...

5. I just got some new shoes from Lands End. I ordered them several weeks ago, but they just arrived today because I forgot to update my online account. (Best I can figure is that I had in my head that this address was right for the things we unwrapped at Christmas here, not remembering that they were shipped to the now-non-existent old house. I'd have like to see the UPS man trying to deliver to a hole in the ground!) At any rate I am excited to have two pairs of shoes for such a good price, and can't wait to wear them the next time there is contra dancing. (The fifth point in the link is the relevant one.) Last time I had to wear my loafers, with socks to keep them from sliding on my feet, and I looked kind of dorky. But it was so much fun I didn't care.

6. For some reason I have gotten into a reading kick on food-related books. Right now I am finishing Knives at Dawn, about the US's 2009 team at the Bocuse d'Or competition. Very enjoyable, but the picture section gives away the ending. I hate it when that happens. The author is trying to build suspense, and the designer of the book messes it up by putting give-away photos in the center. But I won't tell you!

7. This weekend is first communion at our parish, and the kids are split into two groups for 9:30 and 11:30 mass. This really relieves the crowding of the church with proud relatives, but it means the choir has to sing two in a row. We make lemonade out of this by having a brunch in between. It's one of the few times in the entire year the choir is together but not singing. (We also have an ice cream social.) I am making a brunch casserole similar to the one in the link, except that I will also throw in the leftover bacon from tonight's BLT's and some ham that I froze after Easter. There will be fruit salad, and muffins, and... Yum.

And now my stomach is growling, so I've got to go.....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Daybook , 4/20/10


Outside my window... the trees have leaves. Some still tiny, some almost full sized. I can also see the extremely cut-back bases of some unidentified bushes, and dead stems from what may have been lilies. I need to get my black thumb repainted.

I am thinking... about how much I like being able to have the windows open. Right now it's just for a couple of hours in the afternoon, but soon we can have them open most of the time. And this house has way more working windows than our old one did.

I am thankful for... longer, sunnier evenings, that make me feel like I'm getting "more daytime" even though I still go to bed at the same time.

From the kitchen... Dinner was "cheesy tuna casserole." I was too cheap to use a can of mushroom soup, so I used white sauce with some shredded sharp cheddar, which helped to make up for the reduced protein in the ever-smaller can of tuna. I remember 8 oz. cans; this one was 5. If they make them smaller yet, I'll just use two cans and go back to my original recipe. (Roger voted it a success, by the way. Kelson won't eat tuna in any form, so we had this on a night he was going out withfriends.)

I am wearing... brown gauze pants (optimistic on my part), a cream cotton twinset and my L.L.Bean fuzzy slippers. Also the lovely amber necklace and earrings Roger got for me a number of years ago.

I am creating... the music planning sheets for our parish for the summer. A lot is stored in the computer from three years ago, but there are always niggling fact-checking and adjustments. I am procrastinating just a tad...

I am going... to the State Quiz Bowl tournament this weekend. Kelson's team "triple qualified*", so I'm hopeful that they will win at least a couple of matches before being eliminated. (It's double elimination.) If they win two on Friday they won't have to show up again until 1:30 on Saturday. If they lose their first match, they're back at 11:15. With a bunch of HS kids sleeping in a hotel, that will make a big difference in their alertness!

* A team can qualify by winning their league's regular season, or the league tournament, or another independent tournament. Some years our league sends three teams.

I am reading... The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley. I like his previous book, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and this one is also good, if not quite so quirky.

I am hoping... to get all my week's worth of household chores done before we need to leave for the tournament Friday morning. So efficiency is my watchword this week. So far, so good.

I am hearing... the hum of the refrigerator, and my keys clicking. It's quiet right now!

Around the house... I have a new bookcase to fill. My brother bought it for me, since he didn't think a can of spray paint was an acceptable housewarming present. it will let me get most of the books that are sitting between bookend on top of other bookcases onto actual shelves. Don't even mention any new books, or Roger will buy some. I'm more frugal, and get most of mine at the library.

One of my favorite things... is the icon that is sitting on yet-another bookcase in my line of sight. Our then-future son-in-law brought it back from Europe when he spent a semester in Austria. I think it's actually from Ukraine.

A few plans for the rest of the week.... the Quiz Bowl tournament. Choir is singing at 5PM mass on Saturday, and I sincerely hope to miss it because the team is still playing!!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Seven Quick Takes -- About "Being Moved"

Seven Quick Takes is hosted at Conversion Diary.

As of this coming Monday we will have been living in our "new" house for four months. In recognition of that fact, today's Quick Takes are themed around "being moved."

1. Our old house no longer exists. Roger posted here about not missing it as much as he thought he would and here about the irrational reaction he had when the demolition was in progress. I found myself bursting into tears last week when I realized it was truly gone. This was precipitated by "Oh, no, I never looked in the carpet where my dresser was for that missing earring!" ( Fortunately the earring in question was part of a multi-pack from Claire's and not something from Bryan's family's jewelry store.) Obviously it wasn't really about the earring.

2. At one point I told Roger that I figured I'd really feel settled in when I could unload the dishwasher and put things away without having to consciously think about where they should go. I'm almost to that point. Everyday items are easy, but odds and ends that I don't use all the time are trickier. I don't have any trouble finding them to use, but I can't put them away while thinking about something else.

. Having all the books on the bookcases is wonderful. It will be even more wonderful when we get the unassembled one that is in the basement set up and I can relocate the books that are on top of the shorter bookcases (and a couple of random dressers) down there. They are sorted and neatly set up, but they look untidy because I don't have enough bookends. The last bookcase solves all! Until we buy more books. Which we will. If "bookaholic" were a word, our whole family would be poster children.

4. I still don't "own" the yard and things outside the house. That's reasonable since it's been mostly winter, but I am not a garden-y person, and there are some things I'm going to need to spend some time on, like the big raised (brick sided) flower bed under the picture window. Right now it's full of dandelions. Fortunately Kelson's class is selling potted flowers as a fund-raiser, so I may tell the kids to kill three birds with one stone and buy me some pots for Mother's Day. Then I can dig out the dandelions (already started) and just set the pots under the window. After that I'd only have to remember to water them!

5. Another good reason for flowers in pots is that we are going to need to paint the outside of the house this summer. (If the flowers are in pots I can move them out of the way when we are painting in that area.) Roger is only waiting for me to settle on a color before he goes and buys the paint. The problem is that I can't make up my mind. Blue? Or tan? Or white like it is now? Lighter or darker shade? (Not of white, obviously!) I have been playing with an online program where you upload a picture of your house and try out the colors, and I still can't decide. I don't know what my deadline is, but I'm pretty sure that if I don't decide soon we will default to white. And maybe that's OK? Aaaargh!!

6. Despite the dishwasher definition of "Moved In", there are times when I still don't feel quite at home. In the first few days I claimed a particular corner of the new couch as mine, and I sit there when I read the Bible and pray in the morning, and also at lots of other times. And yet what I see from that seat still isn't fully familiar. I suppose that's not surprising, since the couch and chairs are new. So are some of the bookcases, and the older ones were never all in the same room before. I would use the excuse that almost 25 years in the old house is a long time in one place, but we did remodel the kitchen, and move things around periodically, so I guess it just means I'm an old fogey, and set in my ways. If I still feel this way in a year I'll go see a counselor.

7. Actually, of course, I LOVE this house. It's convenient (except for a couple of things in the kitchen), and pretty, and closer to a lot of things. It has flowers that I didn't have to plant, and room for everything, and lots of wonderful natural light. And my family is/comes here. We had an Easter egg hunt for the grandchildren in the back yard, and the barbecue is set up on the deck, and I have enough room to seat everyone for dinner. I know where all my books are, and most of Roger's, and all my clothes fit in the same closet. So despite my moments of wistfulness-or-nostalgia-or-whatever-it-is, the "new" house is now "the house", and HOME. Thanks be to God!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Daybook. 4/11/10 -- Divine Mercy Sunday/Second Sunday of Easter


Outside my window... there is sunshine. The air is warmish, the trees are budding, the grass is green, and I am discovering that this house has daffodils. And lilacs. And violets, and hyacinths, and forsythia, and a couple of things I won't be sure of until they bloom. Whee!

I am thinking... that it will be good to get back to the routine, since this is the last day of Kelson's spring break.

I am thankful for... all the family and friends we've had here over the last ten days. I enjoy the opportunity to feed people without having to downsize my recipes for just two or three. ;-D

From the kitchen... I can still smell the yummy potato pancakes Roger made for breakfast. Having a Sunday breakfast chef is so awesome that I don't mind that I do the cleanup.

I am wearing... dark taupe pants, navy cotton twinset and socks, and black loafers. Yes, it is one of my favorite outfits. Why do you ask??

I am creating... a list of things that still need to be hung on the walls in various places. My desk will feel a lot bigger once the bulletin board and whiteboard don't have to sit on it.

I am going... nowhere much today, which feels awesome.

I am reading... blogs, and some forgettable chick-lit, and a couple of magazines. I am behind on First Things.

I am hoping... that this weather continues all week. I need to get my walking regimen back up to speed.

I am hearing... outdoor noises through the open windows.

Around the house... I am still awed by my "new" chandelier. My brother and SIL were going to replace the ugly-colored one that came with the house as a Christmas/housewarming present. When they came for Easter we couldn't find one I liked, so my brother took this one down, cleaned it, and spray-painted it a shade that fits in this house. I LOVE it. Thank you, Patrick!

One of my favorite things... is Wolfgang Candy, which I grew up with. The Easter order is almost gone, so there won't be more until Christmas, but it's awesome that internet ordering lets me have a taste of "home" at this distance.

A few plans for the rest of the week.... enjoying the weather, and getting my weekly disciplines back on track after break. Also having my van in the shop to get some niggling problems dealt with.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

This isn't my bush (we pruned ours back because it had been allowed to get seriously overgrown), but I can't think of a better picture of Spring!