Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Reminder... Updated

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

Seven Quick Takes -- Christmas Eve Eve

--- 1 ---

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...

--- 2 ---

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.

--- 3 ---

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.

--- 4 ---

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.

--- 5 ---

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...

--- 6 ---

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!

--- 7 ---

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

A Most Merry and Blessed Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Word and Question 18 -- Host's Poem

So it's a crazy month (when is December ever not??), but I am happy to announce that I have completed my December Word and Question poem by the agreed-upon date. Go me!

Lesson Learned

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

Advent Wreath

Sarah over at Snoring Scholar is having an Advent wreath carnival. This is the picture I'm entering. (Do you KNOW how much tidying I had to do to get a decent picture??!!)

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

I'm Hosting Again...


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

Word and Question 17

This is for Word and Question 17 (Playing Poetry.) Those of you who come here regularly know the drill... ;-D I'm later than usual this month because we didn't actually start until mid-month, since the host, Enbrethiliel, has a crazy busy life right now. Enjoy!

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!

Word: Hero
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

100 Things I'm Thankful For -- Give or Take

1) Roger -- the best husband in the world for me. I'm extremely thankful daily!
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.
2) Arwen
3) Bryan
4) Camilla
5) Blaise
6) Linus
7) Ambrose
8) Branwen
9) Larry
10) Daniel
11) Matthew
13) Miriel
14) Brandon
16) Kelson
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.
31) Books
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.
43) Twitter
44) Blogger Because I couldn't be doing this if it wasn't free.
45) Turkey
46) Gravy
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
53) Wine
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

Seven Quick Takes -- All About Veterans

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...

--- 1 ---

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.

--- 2 ---

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.

--- 3 ---

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.

--- 4 ---

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!

--- 5 ---

Brandon, obviously, is currently serving in the Coast Guard. He loves his work, and will probably make a career of it.

--- 6 ---

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...

--- 7 ---

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.

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

Seven Very Quick Takes -- NOBloPoMo

--- 1 ---

For the last several years, I have participated in National Blog Posting Month, briefly known as NaBloPoMo. This year, I simply don't have what it takes to even attempt a post every day for a month. I'm just going to shoot for once a week.

--- 2 ---

In the comments to my 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.

--- 3 ---

I need to hustle with my typing, because Branwen and her family will be here soon for the weekend. I love having grandchildren in the house, and it's even better when their parents are here too. ;-D

--- 4 ---

I'm making Slow-Cooker Green Chili Pork (Tacos) for dinner tomorrow. Last time we decided we like the meat better in buns than in corn tortillas.

--- 5 ---

This time we're trying the pork with half 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.

--- 6 ---

For those of you for whom that last take made no sense: ordinary green salsa is made mostly with tomatillos. Mrs. Renfro's is made of jalapenos. Nuff said.

--- 7 ---

My blog post is ready, my chores are done, and my grandchildren are here. See you!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Word and Question 16

This is my October entry into the Word and Question poetry game sponsored by Enbrethiliel at Shredded Cheddar. Follow the link to see more of this month's entries.

On Dialects
(or is it dialectics??)

"AL-e-gory"/ "a-LEG-o-ry"
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!

Word: allegory
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

Daybook, 10/10/11

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

Seven Quick Takes, now with template!

--- 1 ---

Jen over at 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.

--- 2 ---

For the first time ever this year, my family will be celebrating 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?)

--- 3 ---

Brandon's leave status means that this will be the first Christmas we haven't had everybody together at some point during the holidays. (Branwen and Larry have been in Idaho for at least one Christmas Day.) But this is also the year that we had already decided would be a good one for the new families to start establishing their own Christmas traditions. I'm not sure how exactly this year's events are going to look, but the one given is that nobody will have to drive anywhere before they open their stocking. The married kids are ecstatic about that one!

--- 4 ---

Speaking of stockings, in need to get moving on the ones for Linus and Ambrose. Everybody (sons-in-law included) has a stocking I sewed, with their name on a counted cross-stitch band at the top. The assembly is easy, but the cross-stitch takes some time, and this year I have to do 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?

--- 5 ---

Another reason I'm not very enthusiastic about the cross-stitch is that I have a new favorite needlecraft -- knitting. Back in July an old friend invited me -- for about the third time -- to her Tuesday evening knitting group. For some reason, this time I said "sure", even though I made sure she knew I was a committed crocheter. It's been wonderful! There are other old friends and acquaintances in the group with whom it's been great to reconnect, I got the twins' afghans done while chattering about anything and everything, and I fell in love with knitting, at least for now. (I'm very fickle when it comes to needlecrafts and video games...) I've made four hats, quite a few dishcloths, and now I'm working on a shawl for myself. Although I went out last night and bought more dishcloth cotton, because the shawl pattern is maybe about half-a-step too difficult for a beginner like me. So I'll do the shawl when I feel like concentrating, and dishcloths when I just want to relax and knit.

--- 6 ---

Even though it's not yet 10AM, the casserole for tonight's dinner is prepped and sitting in the fridge until it's time to bake it. I feel inordinately proud of this for some reason, as if making dinner were a high accomplishment instead of a routine chore.

--- 7 ---

And now I'm going to step away from the computer for a while. Of course, I'm probably just going to go play Hanging with Friends on my ipod... My username is Salome Ellen (what else?) if anybody wants to join me...

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tasty Tuesday -- "Larry Hashbrowns"

When Branwen and Larry were in college, they lived on a temporary campus while the school's permanent campus was under construction. The "dormitories" were actually apartment buildings, and four or more students shared actual apartments, with living rooms, full kitchens, balconies, and sometimes two full baths. This sounds lovely, and it was, except that the kitchens weren't truly full kitchens. Because the school intended to sell the buildings when the permanent campus opened, the students were not allowed to use the stoves in their apartments. (One apartment per floor was designated a "common room", and you could sign up to use the stove in there, and the refrigerators could be used.) But kitchen appliances were permitted, so microwaves, toaster ovens and electric frying pans were prized items.

Since Branwen and I share a birthday, I chose to fly down and visit her on campus the weekend she turned 21. (I turned 21 + n. ;-D ) I took along all the ingredients and equipment to make her a cherry pie, including a triple-wrapped bag of frozen cherries. When I reclaimed my bag at the airport, it was no surprise to discover that TSA had opened it for a search. What do you suppose a pastry blender and rolling pin look like on x-rays??!

We baked the pie in the common room, and it was excellent. And on Sunday after mass a bunch of Branwen's friends threw a brunch to celebrate. I don't remember what all was on the menu, but I know there were mimosas and this dish, which was -- and is -- Larry's breakfast specialty.

"Larry Hashbrowns"

In a large covered skillet over medium-high heat (obviously, you can do this in an electric frying pan!) brown one onion in oil or bacon grease until soft. Add one 2 pound bag frozen southern-style (diced) hash browns, and allow the potatoes to thaw, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, microwave 1 to 2* boxes of pre-cooked brown-and-serve sausage links until hot. Cut** the links into small rounds and set aside. Grate 4oz. or more of cheddar cheese (we like extra-sharp.) When the potatoes are soft and starting to get warm, sprinkle on Cajun seasoning*** to taste and stir to distribute it evenly. Stir in the sausage bits, and allow the mixture to get very hot, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, although browning is fine. Just before serving, sprinkle with the shredded cheese. Allow the cheese to melt slightly, stir and serve. Serves 3 to 6 (depending on how many of them eat like Larry!) Some of my family like to top this with salsa, but I think that's overkill.

*Larry currently uses about 1 1/2 boxes (15 links), but he makes these often enough that the open box doesn't sit in the freezer very long. I love sausage, so I throw in all of them.

** If the links are too hot to hold down for chopping, you can use two forks to tear them apart.

*** Tony Cachere's is our favorite brand. Start with just a little; this stuff has zip!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Daybook, because I need to ease back into this "blogging" thing

Outside my window... sunny, and lovely weather. A contrast to a week ago, when I had to break out my woolen cape to be comfortable at the local outdoor music and chili festival. Although there were definitely people there in Tshirts and shorts...

I am thinking... that fall is just around the corner. The leaves outside are green, but they won't be for long.

I am thankful for... my wonderful family. I'm regularly startled when friends make comments about how their (grown) children are at odds with each other or their parents, or have walked away from God, or are struggling with an addiction, or breaking the law. I'm not quite sure why mine aren't like that, but I'm thankful!

From the kitchen... lasagne. And tossed salad. Both are sitting in the fridge ready to bake/serve. I like doing dinner prep in the morning.

I am wearing... blue/aqua/lime floral "beach pants" (longer than capris, shorter than slacks), a turquoise tee, turquoise socks and black walking shoes. Not a great look, but I'm changing to sandals after I walk the dog. My feet are too pernickety to walk any distance even in good sandals. I'm constantly amazed at women who can walk wherever in flip-flops.

I am creating... a knit hat for Brandon to wear under his biking helmet. The picture in the link shows a woman in a ski helmet, but the pattern allows for omitting the pigtail slots, and I like how it's turning out.

I am going... to walk the dog in a little while. Otherwise I'm staying home.

I am reading... The Wedding Shawl by Sally Goldenbaum. And I just finished Unraveled by Maggie Sefton. I'm not sure if I'm reading knitting mysteries because I'm getting back into knitting, or the other way around. I'm also working on The Oxford Project book and finding it fascinating.

I am hoping... that I can find a way to get age discoloration out of my ancient, much loved cream rayon Western broomstick skirt. The elastic died of old age, and while I'll have no problem replacing that, it turned the whole top of the skirt an orangey brown. Non-chlorine bleach did nothing. Chlorine bleach supposedly yellows rayon. But I think I'm about ready to try it.

I am hearing... cars passing by. The windows are open again, since it's so nice out.

Around the house... Kelson will be home today from visiting his sisters for a week. So there will soon be several pairs of shoes by the front door, and a couple of longboards parked somewhere. And a mess in his room, which has been tidy all week. But I have to admit that I missed him.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Choir practice starts again on Thursday. I miss it over the summer, even while I relish the free evening.

Words I'm pondering : "since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?"

Here is a picture thought I am sharing....
Some days are just like this......
(From those hilarious people at XKCD again...)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Word and Question 15

This is my entry into the August round of Playing Poetry started by Enbrethiliel of Shredded Cheddar. This month is hosted by vvb32 reads, and you should head here to see links to the other entries. (You'll have to go to the comments to see the links.)

The theme for this month was "thriller, supernatural, horror" and we were asked to submit prompts in that genre. Since I'm generally a "scaredy-cat", my poem leans toward the "supernatural" end of things.


I'm sure there are fairies
Around here somewhere.
When I was little
I saw them all the time:
Dancing in the garden,
Flitting above Mother's head
And winking at me,
Reflected in the mirror
In my room.

But Sister says
There are no fairies.
Only butterflies and shadows
And "figments of my imagination."
And she knows a lot.
She's old enough
To go to grade school now --
She reads these great big books
And thinks she knows it all.

But does she?
I just can't be sure.
Last night I'm pretty sure I saw
A fairy at the bottom of the stairs.
The fairy beckoned me
To come up to the attic where it's dark
And quiet. Sister thinks
It's damp and dusty so she won't
Go up there..... But I might.

Word: attic
Question: Where did they go?

Monday, August 08, 2011


A little foray into a meme with even simpler prompts than a daybook.... HT to Chunky Monkey

dinner for a friend who recently lost her husband.

(Not)Cooking(for us): leftovers recycled into steak salads

Reading: The Healing Presence by Leanne Payne

Wanting: more hours in the day

Looking: at the clock -- see above.

Playing: nothing. But I recently got a high score at Zuma Blitz.

Wasting: premium tea by tossing it now that it's tepid.

Sewing: thrift store pants for Kelson. Let out one pair, take in the other. Hem both

Wishing: for more time to read.

Enjoying: the cool evening breeze. (Sorry, Southern readers!)

Praying: for someone who is really hurting emotionally.

Waiting: for Roger to get home from Bible study so we can walk the dog.

Wondering: how well I will sleep tonight. Last night wasn't so good.

Loving: Roger, my children and grandchildren.

Hoping: that tomorrow's activities go smoothly.

Marveling: at how much I got done today.

Needing: sleep, please.

Wearing: white shorts, turquoise T and socks, black walking shoes.

Following: my family (and some other cool people) on Twitter.

Noticing: dust on my desk. Oops.

Knowing: that I'm still not as old as I feel right now.

Thinking: that I should be more diligent in doing my exercises.

Bookmarking: my novel
, which I haven't had a chance to read at all today. (The Corpse Wore Tartan.)

my mouth in a yawn.

because I always get silly when I'm tired.

blessed to have such small worries as I do!

Friday, July 15, 2011

No-Brain Daybook

Because my tired brain needs more prompts than Seven Quick Takes would give me.....

Outside my window... the jug of sun tea is getting darker, and the grape vines are loaded with growing grapes. Homemade jam this fall!

I am thinking... that I had no idea how long it had been since I posted anything other than Word and Question. Oh, and Linus and Ambrose's birth announcement. I am hopeful that this crazy period of life is settling down, and i will start to post again more often.

I am thankful for... a quiet day today. The last load of laundry is in the dryer, the casserole for dinner is prepped and in the fridge, and it's only noon. A long afternoon sitting with my feet up, with books and knitting/crocheting. Yesssss!

From the kitchen... this casserole. With bratwurst left over from the last time we grilled, and extra-sharp cheddar on top. I have made this three times in the past month or so, and it definitely lives up to its name.

I am wearing... tan cotton pants, coral tank top and socks, and a cream-colored short-sleeved crochet-lace sweater. I have had this sweater for a long time, but it's been buried in my drawers because the matching tank is (more than) a tad snug. When some new cheap tanks I got turned out to look more like "husband-beaters" than I had hoped, I started looking for a short, lightweight jacket to make them wearable. Nothing in the stores, but then I remembered this sweater. I LOVE shopping in my own closet!

I am creating... a knit dishcloth, and crocheted afghans for the twins. The dishcloth will be imperfect but useable, since I am trying to re-learn knitting, which I haven't done since Arwen was a baby. I'm aiming to have the afghans done by the time it gets chilly. I am doing them concurrently (they are in coordinating stripes, one more blue, one more green) so that they stand a chance of being finished more or less simultaneously! Twins are a challenge, even for Grandma.

I am going... nowhere today. But tomorrow we have a 50th Anniversary open house to drop in on in the early afternoon, followed by a pig roast and barn dance which is the big blowout in celebration of a wedding that happened in May. I'm still debating on what outfit is appropriate for both. I'm thinking my gauze peasant dress... (I thought of posting a link, but the ones I could find, although similar in style, are on models who aren't shaped the least bit like me.)

I am reading... Crunch Time by Diane Mott Davidson, and Consider It Done by Julie Subotky. I can justify having two in progress at once if one of them is non-fiction!

I am hoping... that the weather today will remain this pleasant. I can't take off my sweater without showing an unacceptable amount of skin, and I don't want to turn on the AC if I can help it. (My apologies to those of you in places where it's been 100 degrees for weeks, but this is one of the reasons I live in Michigan.)

I am hearing... cars passing by, bird sounds, and the occasional lawn-maintenance noise. Our house has a lot of windows, and they are all open.

Around the house... painting is on the agenda. Our wonderful children painted the outside of the house over Memorial Day weekend, but there are a few things that still need to be done in the accent color. ( Behr "sea fern", if you're interested. The main color is "pale sagebrush", and the trim is "icy tundra." All of the colors look warmer on the house than they do on the website.)

A few plans for the rest of the week: other than the parties tomorrow, and mass on Sunday, none. I am looking forward to a totally "normal" and boring week next week. I hope.

Words I'm pondering :
Clarke’s Second Law of Egodynamics --
For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert. — Arthur C. Clarke

I cribbed this from my old friend Ernesto at OrthoCuban. He has posted a terrifically funny set of Laws penned by sci-fi writers. Check it out here.

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

I wish this excuse had been available back when I was one of the most sedentary children on the planet.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Word and Question 14 -- Host's Poem!

Family Resemblance

I look like my mother, I'm startled to say.
I'm taller, and different in most every way.
But at times when I pass by the mirror I see
Her there for a minute, but really, it's me.

When I was a teen I was frequently told
I resembled my Grandma, except not so old.
Great aunts would remark that when wearing "that dress"
I was her spitting image. I could be, I guess.....
When I look at that snapshot of Grandma and me --
The one in the yard, by the juniper tree --
I have to admit the resemblance is there,
Except for the color and length of our hair.

Last week I was visiting in my home state,
Met up with my aunt, and I'm shocked to relate
That she told me I'm like Granny was at this age;
My other grandmother! Which just sets the stage
For debating who's right. (Can we really all be???)
Am I Granny, or Grandma, or Mom, or just me?

Word: juniper
Question: Who is the person you're most like who you wish you weren't like?

First of all, I am in shock that even with a trip and the subsequent catching up at home, I managed to write this by the deadline. I think I pulled it off because this is truly autobiographical, right down to the juniper in the yard when I was growing up. (Although I had to make it a tree for the rhyme, when it was definitely a bush!) I'm leaving you readers to figure out the answer to the question, and I hope if you do you'll tell me.

I will try to update this post to add links as the other participants post them in the comments (What a brilliant idea, Enbretheliel!) I'm really looking forward to seeing what some people did with the prompts I sent. ;-D Happy writing!

Updated 4: Dylan's poem is in (with a bonus.) And now Enbrethiliel. Laurie has chimed in! (There's one more to come,
and you know who you are.... This will become a link as of August first... ;-D) The link is now live, so go nudge him!!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Word and Question 14

As I mentioned in my last post, I am hosting the Word and Question/ Playing Poetry game this month. If you are familiar with the game and want to play, please send me your prompts by Friday the 8th (and OK, I'm late with this, so Saturday the 9th at the latest.) If you aren't aware of how the game works, go visit Shredded Cheddar -- Enbretheliel there is the originator of this game -- and find out about it. And then come back and send me your prompts. It's a lot of fun!

I will parcel out the prompts and email each of you by late Sunday the 10th. God willing, my poem will be up on Wednesday the 13th (although we're driving nearly 600 miles on Monday, so we'll see....) Your poems, and links here so we can read them, are due by Wednesday the 27th. Got it? On your mark........., get set..........., prompts please!

And a special thanks to the timely participant whose prompts arriving in my inbox reminded me that, yes, I AM hosting this month! ;-D

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Word (Place) and Question 13

I've been spending a lot of time helping Arwen with my marvelous new grandsons and haven't posted in more than a month (ouch), but I did manage to enter and get my prompts for this month's Playing Poetry. I'm going to post what I have, and if anybody wants something better I'll post pictures of the babies! ;-D

Place: Mendon (described by the submitter as a small town)

Question: What do the angels see?


On Christmas Eve in Mendon the pale snow
Falls gently past the steeple of the church;
Both white, both quiet, for the swaying bells
Are waiting for the depth of night to chime.

Inside, the congregation sings a hymn.
"It came upon the midnight clear....". Outside
Close pressing in, as if to hear the song
The angels gather. On this holy night
Their thoughts fly long ago and far away ---
A stable in another tiny town;
A baby bringing peace to Earth, goodwill
To all mankind. And yet the angels know
The promise they sang then is still delayed.

Why are they gathered here? What good
Or evil have the angels come to find?
Or are they simply here to sing again
For us who plod along the weary road?

When I Googled Mendon after receiving my prompts, I discovered that there are in fact three Mendons in the US, in New York, Massachusetts, and here in Michigan. And the one in Michigan was named by settlers from both of the others. I also found quickly a picture of a classic steepled white church in one of the Mendons, hence the direction of the poem.

More poems can be found by going to Enbretheliel's blog, since she's hosting this month. (There is a rumor that I'm next.....)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Word and Question 12

It's another one of those poems... Unlike Lindsay, who is hosting this month, I'm not sure my poem has progressed beyond "a valiant failure", but it's what I've got.....


I know my tuna was hanging here....
I caught it myself on yesterday's cruise.
(I saved for the ticket for a year.)
The ocean was gorgeous with greens and blues.

It gave me a run -- I'd say "for my money"
But just to be there was dollars well spent.
The sky was clear and the day was sunny --
It caught my hook and away it went.

I reeled it in (I'll spare you the details)
And we threw it on ice till we came ashore.
(Do you know how much a fish like that retails?
It was worth my ticket price plus some more.)

I hung it up here last night to cure it.
(It's scheduled for dinner; I'll freeze a bunch too.)
But it's gone and I need your help looking for it.....

Well, I'll be hornswaggled!

It was you!

Word: Hornswaggle
Question: Who ate my fish?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

It's a Boy! And another boy!

Arwen and Bryan's twins were born early this morning! Linus Michael and Ambrose John are 5 1/2 pounds each and doing well, though they'll be in the NICU until it's clear that they have all the skills necessary to handle life outside, since they were born at just over 34 weeks. I am hanging out with Camilla and Blaise until the twins come home, and then I'll be back after Bryan goes back to work. I love being a grandma!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Word and Question 11

So, this poem is late, (which I understand earns me hosting duties for June.) It is not what I want it to be, but then, this is just a game, right? Right? So I am resigning myself to coming in last in every sense of the word.

The Voyager

I knew a seaman once, an ancient chap;
Laconic, but, with prompting he would tell
Of ports, and girls (as every sailor will,)
Strange cargoes, favorite ships, or storms at sea.

One evening, late, (and he was in his cups)
Out poured a story that I'd never heard:
"She was a beauty, was my ship, the Dawn.
And we were all a crew of volunteers.
A royal ship! The captains name was Drin
(Or so we called him --never to his face!)
At any rate, the day that I signed on
They said there might be perils, and there were!
But marvels too, both fair and evil. When
We'd sailed so far the water was not deep
Enough to float us, one brave soul --
A talking mouse (those were quite common, then.) --
Launched out his tiny craft, and paddled on.
We turned for home. Ah, this was long ago..."

The sailor's voice by then had sunk quite low
And I can not be sure what else he said,
But, were I pressed, then I would quote him thus:
"I wish I could have traveled on with him."

Word: laconic
Question: How far east have you been?

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Ten Things about Roger and Me

Although I'm several days late, I'm adding this to the "Ten Things about Me and My Better Half" thing that Hallie started over at Betty Beguiles. This link will take you to the join-in post, if anybody else gets inspired.

1. I am almost seven years older than he is. (Six years, eight months, and 19 days, to be exact.) This was especially weird when we were first getting to know each other, and I would refer to significant historical events. For example, I know exactly where I was when President Kennedy was assassinated (Home Ec. class.*) He doesn't have a clue, because he was in kindergarten at the time.

2. Now, thirty years later, I get all the benefit of the discrepancy. My hair, although graying, maintains a kind of overall brown tone. Roger's formerly black hair and beard are fast approaching solid white. (This is a very flattering color for his complexion, I'm glad to say.) So when people know approximately how old he is, they automatically assume that I am younger. Easiest way in the world to take ten years off your age!

3. We are both Tolkien nerds. This ought to be obvious, since we named our daughter Arwen! It also contributes, though, to why Roger was willing to consider an "older woman."
Shortly after we met, we were both at a weekend church event, and there was a Lord of the Rings game of some sort sitting there. I mentioned that I was a big fan, and he (thinking he was talking to some kind of mild enthusiast) asked me his sheep-from-the-goats question: "How did Frodo's father die?"** The rest is history.

4. Roger is a lark who likes to get up with the sun, or even before. He's at his best in the morning. I am an owl, who drags herself out of bed, but could stay up to all hours of the night, especially if there is good conversation or good literature. This has been a stressor for us at times, but we seem to have finally reached a workable plan.

5. One of us is more musical, but which one depends on your definition. I sing in the choir at church, play (at) the flute and guitar, and always have a snatch of song as a commentary on what I see or hear. Roger, although he has a nice baritone, only sings at mass, and has never played an instrument. But he's the one with a constant playlist going on his computer as he works. I (to my shame) don't even have iTunes installed.

6. He likes coffee. I like tea. Fifteen years ago, that would have been the end of the story. But then I began to drink fast-food mochas as a cheap hot beverage in the winter. And he began to have an afternoon cup of tea, when he didn't feel like brewing a new pot of coffee. So now we're to the point where I might actually order decaf at a restaurant after dinner (especially if I can get it with Baileys!), or he might have tea. But not usually.

7. Roger is very easy to buy clothes for. Classic, woven, blue, sometimes buttondown. The end. I, however am difficult, even for myself. It has to be the right shade of whatever color, with sleeves that fit, and an acceptable neckline, and not too clingy, but not boxy, and on and on and on.... He, to his credit, has not given up on buying me presents. This past Christmas, he hit five for five. See why I love the man?

8. Both of us are avid readers. Of anything and everything, not just Tolkien. (Although we do have a full four-shelf bookcase full of nothing but works by or about the Inklings. I know that if there was a local literary pub, with a writers discussion group, he'd be there.) He tends a little more toward classics and historical non-fiction, while I lean more toward mysteries, certain kinds of sci-fi / fantasy, and general fluff. But both of us find sitting in the living room with our books and occasionally sharing the "good parts" a satsifying evening.

9. One difference is that Roger is a writer, and I am not. Oh, I am quite literate, and I do post to this blog occasionally! But I write in lieu of conversation with all of you, and I can't do fiction at all, only parody. (Come to think of it, maybe that's why I like these meme-style post prompts; it's just putting my spin on somebody else's writing...) He, however, is a published author, and regularly sends long and fascinating hand-written letters to a variety of people. It's one of my regrets that we were never apart long enough after we met for me to have any of his letters stashed away. I have a couple of birthday notes and poems, though.

10. We'll celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary in August. Some of the days have seemed long, but the years have been all too short. I hope that God sees fit to give us 30 more. I love you, honey!

*For all you young things -- Home Ec. is short for Home Economics, where we learned things like cooking and sewing and how to set a pretty table. It was a nice break from History and French. The boys took Shop, where they made wall clocks in the shape of a flying goose. We got real skirts and dresses and good things to eat. Sex discrimination for the win!

** He drowned.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Word and Question 10

This is my March entry for the Word and Question poetry game hosted by Enbretheliel at Shredded Cheddar. (The complete rules are here.) I have made it by this month's deadline, but only because I have decided to settle for scansion but no rhyme -- this one just WOULDN'T. So here you go...

Human Ingenuity

We come, they say, from apes.
Great-grandpa (ten times squared)
Was just a monkey! But
No monkey I have seen
Would ever "sort" his things
Or give a name to what
He saw glow down at night.

It takes a human mind
Imaging that of God
To name, and then to list
Antares, Betelgeuse,
Polaris, and Rigel
In order, so we can
Recall them every night.

So if we question who
Alphabetized the stars,
One thing we know for sure --
It must be one of US!

Word: monkey

Question: Who put the stars in alphabetical order?

If you follow the links above, you can see all this month's entries.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Monday (!!) Daybook

Outside my window... there is still snow. Enough so that some tree branches are still frosted. Since it's above freezing today, that will be gone soon, but I expect the ground to be covered for a while yet.

I am thinking... that I wish this head cold would go away. And I haven't had it that severely OR that long. I expect I am turning into a wimp in my old age. ( Apparently I am embracing my change of decade at least enough to use it for an excuse.) At any rate, feeling as though my head is stuffed with Brillo pads is not my favorite.

I am thankful for... this blog as a place to vent about my cold. Roger has heard all that he wanted to, and then some. And it's NOT anything serious, just an annoying cold.

From the kitchen... leftovers (what the menu plan says) or possibly take-out hamburgers, since Roger -- who is not a big fan of leftovers -- spotted a buy one/get one coupon hanging on the fridge. Maybe I should just throw the leftovers away now??

I am wearing... navy blue cotton pants and socks, and a cream-colored ribbed long-sleeved henley. I have a plaid shawl nearby, but right now I'm warm enough.

I am creating... faschnacht dough for tomorrow. I grew up in an area where Lent was taken seriously, and my family often bought faschnachts from one of the (usually Mennonite) ladies groups who raised dough all night and fried all day as a fundraiser for their churches. One article I saw online said that faschnachts are square (for the four Gospels) or triangular (for the Trinity.) I'm betting that it's simply that those shapes require less rolling out if you're doing massive quantities. Anyway, I plan to use a doughnut cutter, and turn the scraps into doughnut "holes." Yum!

I am going... to Bible study tomorrow morning. That is how I plan to get rid of my faschnachts! Even 1/3 of a recipe makes more than two dozen, and Roger and I simply can't eat that many. But it does mean I will have to get up no later than 6AM to have them done, even if I mix the dough tonight and let it rise in the refrigerator. But it's only once a year.

I am reading... down through my stack of books that's been accumulating. I only have 4 library books out, and I have forbidden myself to check out any more until I have finished all the borrowed/gift/bought myself stack that I have kept pushing aside because they didn't have a due date. Anything and everything from Belles on Their Toes (the sequel to Cheaper by the Dozen) through various mysteries to Dune, which I promised Kelson I would try before he went to college.

I am hoping... for a holy and profitable Lent.

I am hearing... the sump pump working on a VERY regular basis. I am grateful to the original owners of this house, who had it designed and built with enormous attention to detail. ALL of the ground water goes through a piping system under the house into the sump, and NONE of it comes through the basement walls or floor. In this part of Michigan, that is a blessing verging on a miracle!

Around the house... I need to deep clean. Usually I get motivated to do it about this time of year because Easter is coming and we will be having guests. But Lent/Easter is very late this year, and we will be going to Arwen and Bryan's for Easter so she doesn't have to travel, so my motivation is quite low.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Bible study tomorrow, Ash Wednesday morning mass with Roger and then noon (Episcopal) Eucharist for me, Pregnancy Care Center banquet Thursday night, Lenten Friday adoration/Station of the Cross/mass, and then Branwen and Larry and their kids arrive for the weekend. Busy, but I hope profitably so.

Words I'm pondering :
"Remember, (man), that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
"Repent and believe the Gospel."

Every Ash Wednesday for quite a few years now, I've received ashes on my forehead twice, once with Roger (and sometimes other family) and once at my regular Wednesday service. I really like that the ashes are ecumenical; other than the veneration of the cross on Good Friday, this is the only time I can "get in line" like everybody else in the parish (only some of whom know I'm not Catholic.) But the two services use different verbal formulas for the imposition, both of which are above. I prefer the first one, which is more traditional. But I really need to hear them both. So I do.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing.... This has been around for a couple of weeks, but I still find it funny. Especially since I'm currently hooked on Angry Birds.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Daybook, Later February

Outside my window... there is fresh snow. Lots of it. Some people thought that spring was here, but I've lived in Michigan for over 30 years. Not in February, it's not spring. Not for another month yet, no matter how many nice days we may get.

I am thinking... how grateful I am that our kids bought us a snow-blower during the blizzard at the beginning of the month. And Roger is even more grateful!

I am thankful for... nowhere to go today. Our driveway may be clear (thanks again, kids!) but the roads are not. There was already no school today because of Presidents' Day, so the kids got cheated out of a snow day. Poor things.

From the kitchen... Enchilada Casserole. This is a lazy day meal which also uses up leftovers. I mix up any leftover taco or tamale meat, refried beans, chili, anything like that with some canned enchilada sauce. I put about 1/4 of the can of sauce in with the filling, pour another 1/4 into the bottom of a round casserole, and save the rest for the top. Then I make alternating layers of corn tortillas (10 to 12) and filling, ending with a tortilla. i dump the rest of the sauce over that, top with shredded cheese (some can also go in the filling), cover with foil, and bake at 350F for an hour or so, until hot through. Today I used a bag of seasoned meat and beans that I threw in the freezer some time in January. VERY lazy.

I am wearing... navy blue cotton pants, socks, and cable cardigan, with a bright raspberry turtleneck that Roger got me for Christmas.

I am creating... not much. I just finished the grocery list. I need to work on some stuff for choir, but since we don't have practice this week I will put it off until at least tomorrow and finish this daybook instead!

I am going... to Bible study tomorrow morning. And as few places as possible after that.

I am reading... well, I stayed up too late last night finishing
Possession by A.S. Byatt. This is not my usual fare, and I've had it out from the library so long that when I return it tomorrow after Bible study I will owe nearly $1.50, even though I renewed it as much as I could. Miriel reviewed it here, and I'm not sorry I stuck it out and finished it, but I am ready to return to my preferred frothier stuff. Even though it had an acceptable ending. Apparently I am not quite as literary-nerdy as I want to believe.

I am hoping... that I can get to sleep at a reasonable hour tonight. 12:30 is too late for old ladies like me, even if I did sleep in until 8:15 or so.

I am hearing...classical music on Roger's computer. I almost never put on any music of my own, because the house is just too auditorily small, even though our desks are at opposite ends of it. Fortunately, I like his taste in music.

Around the house...everything is relatively tidy. This will last until Friday, when Arwen and Camilla and Blaise arrive. (The twins are coming too, but at this point they don't impact the organization of things. ;-D ) Bryan has a business trip, so we get their company.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Bible study, then on Thursday a concert at noon and lunch with a friend. We go out every year between our birthdays to celebrate. And yeah, I change decades on Sunday. (I was born in 1951. You do the math. Personally I am in deep denial that I could possibly be that old.)

Words I'm pondering :
"Hope not for minde in women; at their best
Sweetnesse and wit, they are but Mummy, Possest."

This is from John Donne's "Love's Alchemy", and the lines figure in the novel Possession, though I had heard them before. I am astounded that someone as wise about other things as Donne seems to me to be could be so wrong. But perhaps they are quoted out of context?

Here is a picture thought I am sharing.... This is from Brandon's blog, titled "Still Winter in Alaska." This is also pretty much what it looks like today in Michigan.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Word and Question 9 -- with updated link

Word and Question/ The Poetry Game was started by Enbretheliel at Shredded Cheddar.
This month's game is hosted by Dauvit at Crosses and Cradles.

And here's my entry.

Word -- iconic

Question -- What do you see in the light of day?

Morning. The sun rises over the hill.
Daybreak is misty and peaceful and still.
Sunbeams appear
Gilding the trees.
How could I not be contented with these
Phrases that make dawn an iconic thing?
(Even omitting the "birds on the wing"..)
But Reason cries
"Dawn is just day!
Multiple problems are found on the way
Forward to night, when things darken again:
Foolishness, work, anger, sorrow, and pain."
Hope interjects
"But, to be sure,
After the night the sun rises once more,
Showing you gently that though you may doubt
Who you are, how things work, what life's about;
Follow your heart
Trust what you knew --
Icons are windows to what's truly true."

Note: I seem to be ahead of the game (instead of behind like the last time) and there's no new post to link this to. I will update as soon as it's available.
The link for this month's entries is now working above.