Friday, February 28, 2014

Family Update

7 Posts in 7 Days part 5 (!!!! I made it to 5!!!!)

Since It's been nearly two years since I wrote here with any regularity, I can get away with an easy post for Family Friday!  I just have to list everything about everybody and I'm done. So:

Roger and I still live in the same wonderful no-longer-new house, with our dog Joe, who is definitely showing signs of age.  When he finally leaves us we don't intend to replace him, since not having a dog will greatly simplify our ability to go here and there and see family and friends.  And we are hoping to be able to travel at least a little more, maybe a short trip once a quarter.  All that in addition to visiting Arwen's and Branwen's families on random weekends.

Arwen and Bryan still live in the same place, and still have four children.  But Camilla is almost 7 1/2, and in second grade at a local Catholic school.  Blaise just turned five, and will be starting all-day kindergarten in the fall. Linus and Ambrose are approaching three (!!!) and, after tonsillectomies last summer are now healthy and thriving and growing.  And all boy, as I had demonstrated to me on a recent visit. They are both climbers, and if you're watching one you have to take your eye off the other.  Which they know...

Branwen and Larry also live in the same place, but since I know I had to update my blog header when I started posting again, you may not know that they now also have four children.  Daniel will be eight in June, and is in the same second-grade class as Camilla.  Matthew is 5 1/2, and in kindergarten.  Lauren is 3 1/2, and Leah is 18 months.  It is a very different experience for Branwen to have only girls at home in the daytime!

Miriel married the amazing "Doctor-Doctor John"  (MD/PhD) last June, and they now live in Minnesota, where John is in the first year of his internship/residency at Mayo Clinic.  He hasn't fully settled on what medical area he wants to practice in, but whatever he chooses he'll be great at.  Meanwhile, Miriel earned her Master's in Political Science, and her PhD program has her on "hold," since she's so far away from Texas.  She's working part time in religious education at their parish, to maximize her ability to be free when John has time off.

Brandon also got married last October, to the awesome and creative Heather.  He will be leaving the Coast Guard this spring to take a similar job with the Forest Service, so that they can stay in the tiny town on an island in the Inside Passage, which has been Heather's hometown since she was six.  We hear they have a surprise for us next fall. ;-D  I've always wanted to travel to Alaska!

Tirienne has led a busy life in the past couple of years, working as a pastry chef, traveling to India to work with the Sisters of Charity, switching jobs to be a receptionist at a law firm, and, to our delight, getting engaged to Jeff!  Their wedding will be in May, at the same church Arwen and her family attend.  Three of my six within 2 hours' drive is not too shabby.

(I would love to feel sorry for myself, having to deal with three weddings in 11 months, but a college friend of Branwen's and three of her siblings are all getting married in 2014.  I already sent their mom a message of sympathy!  ;-D )

Kelson is still in the Coast Guard, stationed in Duluth, and is putting in his time to get money for college.  We will see what school he finally ends up attending!  You may have notice that I didn't mention Lucas the cat earlier.  That is because he has always been Kelson's cat, and as of last June he went to live with Kelson, who finally had a place to live where a cat was welcome.  I sort of miss Lucas, but I do not miss his scrabbles with Joe, or cleaning the litter box.

And that wraps up what I currently have to say about our family.  If you have any questions, I'll answer them in the comments if I can.  And if you read yesterday's comments, you'll know exactly how old I am!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Birthday Math

7 Posts in 7 Days part 4

I had a different post in mind (I had actually added the Tip-Line Thursday label) but I decided that I felt like doing this instead.  So I am posing a math problem for you, and the first person to answer correctly by doing the math -- sorry, family, insider knowledge means you're eliminated -- will get you a batch of chocolate-chip cookie bars sent to your snail mail.  (This offer expires in one week, on March 6.)

Today is my birthday.  My new age is the product of a prime number and a prime number squared.  My daughter Branwen shares this birthday.  Her age is the product of three different prime numbers.  And on the day she was born, I had just turned the product of two prime numbers!

So how old are we??!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Whatcha Readin' Wednesday

 7 Posts in 7 Days part 3

First off, I should probably give what really would have been better as an update to yesterday's post:  for those of you who are not "foodies," the "Mole" in the title is pronounced mow-luh, not mowl, and refers to a Mexican sauce made with chocolate and chilis, not to those half-blind creatures who ruin your lawn.   I realized that I have known this since elementary school, which is sort of funny because at that point I had eaten exactly no "ethnic" food except the Pennsylvania-German cooking of my upbringing.  (Oh, and "Italian spaghetti," which involved pasta and tomato sauce but no herbs that I'm aware of.  My mother's idea of seasonings was limited to salt, pepper, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, the last three used only for sweets.)

Despite such deprivation I knew about mole, because of a book, of course!  Trixie Belden and the Mystery in Arizona, to be precise.  The link shows a cover like the very-beat-up version I now own, but the date on it is 1970, by which time I was in college.  I probably first read a copy belonging to my older cousins, from whom I "inherited" a whole library of children's books they were done with.

Right now I have three books in progress, which is one more than my usual.  Roger and I are re-reading C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner series, since one of my Christmas gifts was all the currently-in-print titles we didn't already own.  I'm just starting Precursor (the middle book in the third trilogy,) and I think he is about four books behind me, since he has to work for a living.  Some of you might remember that I've reread these before; well, a new one is due out in April, and we want to be ready! 

I'm also reading Deed Without a Name, by Dorothy Bowers.  My friend Julia lent me two of the five books by this relatively unknown author, who was a contemporary of Dorothy L. Sayers.  I found them interesting enough to get the other three by inter-library loan.  Unfortunately I'm so caught up in the Foreigner universe that I may not get around to finishing them before they're due, which is a shame, because they are excellent examples of the classic Golden Age Mystery genre.  :-(

My third book is the standard non-fiction I'm rarely without. This one is The Business of Baby, by Jennifer Margulis.  I spotted it on my library's new book shelf, and am finding it to be yet another version of the "be informed and then do what YOU want" genre of baby/pregnancy books.  I've read a lot of them, especially back in the days when I considered training as a midwife, and find that they all rely more on anecdotes than on science/studies/facts.  This one strikes a fairly decent balance, and I'd recommend that anyone interested read it, but don't stop there!  I really am a believer in "be informed and then do what YOU want," as long as you are truly informed about all the options and opinions on what is best.  That's a lot more reading than just one book!

Well, I've upheld my end of the "I'll post if you will" for today, so now I'm going to go and read!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tasty Tuesday -- Chicken Mole

 7 Posts in 7 Days part 2

As I said yesterday, I'm going to stick with my previous themes for this burst of blogging energy.  This recipe is an adaptation of one I found in a magazine, and it's what's for dinner tomorrow.  Today is leftover lasagne.  I love my microwave's reheat function!

Chicken Mole

In a large heavy pan over medium-high heat combine 2T oil, one medium onion, diced, 2T cocoa powder, 1 t cinnamon, 1 t red pepper flakes, 1/2 t clove and 1/2 t pepper.  Saute for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup smooth almond butter, and stir until it melts in. Add 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 slice soft white bread torn small, 1 t salt, and 1/2 t Tapatio or other hot sauce if desired.  Bring to a simmer.  Add 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken cut into 1/2 inch chunks.  Return to a simmer, cover the pot and let cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.  Serve over cooked rice.

This recipe is twice as spicy as the original, and is still quite mild -- at least by our standards -- if you omit the hot sauce.  My husband adds more hot sauce at the table even when I include it.

The bread is for thickening, and if you are avoiding wheat you could probably play around with other thickeners, or just leave it out and reduce the chicken broth to 1 1/12 cups.  You DEFINITELY want something to sop up the amazing sauce!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Seven Posts in Seven Days! (alternative title: I am certifiably crazy!)

My daughters Arwen and Miriel decided to link up to Conversion Diary's Seven Posts in Seven Days challenge.  My friend Tracy was considering it.  So in a rush of enthusiasm for reading their posts, I piped up "I will if you will."  They are.  So here I am.

I am absolutely going to take the lazy way through and use the daily themes I used for NaBloPoMo back when I still thought I actually might become a "real" blogger.  I now realize that Twitter and Facebook are probably more my speed.  But i said in the last post that I want to hang on to this blog, so I'm going to use it.  For at least seven days...

My old theme was "musical Monday." And without (much) shame, I am going to post the lyrics of the song that was running through my head when I woke up this morning.  If you can figure out why it was in there, I'll bake you a cake and ship it!

The theater, the theater, what's happened to the theater?
Especially where dancing is concerned
Chaps who did taps aren't tapping anymore
They're doing choreography
Chicks who did kicks aren't kicking anymore
They're doing choreography
Heps who did steps
That would stop the show in days that used to be
Through the air they keep flying
Like a duck that is dying
Instead of dance it's choreography
Jakes who did breaks they're not breaking anymore
They're doing choreography
Chicks who did kicks aren't kicking anymore
They're doing choreography
Queens with routines
That would stop the show in days that used to be
One and all they're not chancing
What we used to call dancing
They're busy doing choreography
One and all keep us guessing
What the heck they're expressing
Instead of dance it's choreography!

This, of course, is Choreography, written by Irving Berlin and sung by Danny Kaye in White Christmas.  I do have a special affection for this song, ever since I overheard a conversation about the special Christmas musical at a local evangelical church.  The speaker was explaining that, no, they don't dance, but the musical did have choreography!

See you here tomorrow...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Move Along, Move Along, Nothing to See Here!

Actually, this isn't a real post.  There really is nothing to see.  But I don't know how long Blogger leaves untended blogs up, and although I do most of my talking on Twitter these days -- 140 characters is WAY less of a commitment -- I like to have access to a number of things in my archive, so after a year and a half I'm posting this to make my blog look "lived in."  Kind of like lights on a timer when you're out of town.  But I may be back someday, so I'm keeping the old homestead safe.