Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Eleven Questions

I've seen this in a couple of places, and although nobody tagged me, I'm a sucker for a good meme, so here you go...
1. What is your favorite type of cheese?  Honestly, I LOVE havarti, but I almost never buy it because my market only sells it in blocks, and I like it as slices melted over fresh tomatoes on wholegrain toast.  I EAT a lot of cheddar and parmesan, and have a weakness for "real" American.  Processed cheese, OK. Processed cheese food product, NO.

2. What are you excited about?  Summer.  I'm not that big a fan of really hot weather, but all our weddings, first communions, etc. are over, AND the choir takes the summer off, so I'll have a lot more free time.  Sitting on the deck with my novel-of-the-week and a mojito or Firefly and lemonade?  Yes, thank you!

3. How did you celebrate your last birthday?  The day itself was an ordinary weekday, but that weekend Branwen -- who shares my birthday -- and her family came up and we went out to dinner at Freighters and then had homemade fudge pie.

4. What is on your bedside table?  A lamp, a box of Kleenex, and my book light. At night, my glasses and whatever I was reading join them.

5. What do you order from the movie theater concession stand? I don't think I've ever bought anything at a movie concession stand.  Sometimes Roger buys popcorn for us to share, but usually we've either just been out to dinner, or are going out right after.

6. Do you have a garden? What’s growing? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, HA!  I have the blackest black thumb known to man.  I even kill herb plants that are perfectly healthy when I buy them.

7. Any summer plans? See above!

8. Which TV couple(s) are you rooting for? Since we have never had a TV, I'm clueless.  I kind of hope Princess Anna eventually marries Kristoff, though.

9. What’s the last thing you bought?  A decaf grande mocha at the Barnes and Noble Cafe.

10. What’s one thing you are passionate about? My family.

11. What are you grateful for this week? Enough.  We're not rich, might even qualify as poor (I don't check the numbers,) but we have food, clothes, a lovely house, a terrific family, and a lot of natural beauty within walking distance.

Nobody tagged me, so I'm not tagging, but if you decide to do this I'd love a comment with a link so that I can see your answers.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Seven in Seven Fail

7 Posts in 8(sigh) Days part 7

 Actually, I don't even care that much.  I knew last night that I wasn't going to finish on time, and I sat and played Candy Crush and didn't even try.  I guess I am not cut out to be a frequent blogger, even with prompts and peer pressure.

Stephanie, your cookies will go in the mail tomorrow or Wednesday.  I'll see the rest of you around sometime, I guess...

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Sloppy Saturday -- The Birthday Celebration Continues

7 Posts in 7 Days part 6

Branwen and her family are here.  Today we went shopping for my dress for Tirienne's wedding.  It looks like I'll have to make it. No surprise.  Then we went out to dinner at Freighters and came home to eat homemade Chocolate Truffle Pie for dessert.  And now I'm going back to my wine.  See you tomorrow!

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.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Word & Question 23 -- better late than....

This is an entry in the Word & Question game -- also known as "Crambo"???-- hosted  by Enbrethiliel at Shredded Cheddar. It was supposed to be the July entry, but, well, summer is busy in a different way from the rest of the year.  So here you go:


The tempting invitation shows up decennially.
Its latest iteration is here in front of me:
"Come back and see your hometown! 
Meet up with those you know.
Have dinner with your classmates from not-all-that-long ago.

The fee's not high -- I spend as much on many 
Friday nights.
The trip is relatively short; I ought to go, by rights,
But I am very different now, and maybe they are too...
Do you think you could come along?
At least I would know you!

Word: decennially

Question:  What's the worst that could happen?

For some reason this set of prompts made me think of Dorothy Sayers' character Harriet Vane, when she is deciding whether or not to revisit Oxford in Gaudy Night.  The poem didn't come out with her solution, but at least it gave me a place to start!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Daybook -- 7/9/12

Outside my window... green, sunshine, trees -- and cool air.  Finally.

I am thinking... that life is full of ups and downs and ins and outs, and sometimes it's a lot to keep up with.

I am thankful for... the productive day I had today.  Nothing out of the ordinary, but it all went smoothly.

From the kitchen... let the deep-fryer do it!  Popcorn chicken and shrimp, tater tots, and a veggie tray as our nod to healthy.  Tomorrow: grilled chicken salads and blueberry pie.

I am wearing... navy cotton pants, a light blue cotton tee, and flip-flops.  I NEVER used to wear flip-flops, and these actually belong to Tirienne, but having something between my toes seem to help with my weird foot problems.  So as long as I'm just sitting around, flip-flops it is.

I am creating...  well, I worked a little bit on a dishcloth after supper, but
mostly, I am FINISHED with Miriel's scarf, and I am so excited I can hardly stand it!

I am going... to the grocery store tomorrow to buy more blueberries for the pie.  I've frozen 11 pints, and they're still on sale, so fresh pie it is.  Roger will be happy.

I am reading... 
a variety of things, fiction and non-fiction.  My current non-fiction is Coming Apart by Charles Murray, and as I have only finished the preface, I don't feel like I know much about it yet. But on Wednesday I am going to pick up Intruder, which is the newest Foreigner book.  I can't wait.

I am hoping... that "the plan" for the next few weeks will go smoothly.  There's a possible (BIG) wrinkle, but hopefully it can be ironed out.  (Did you see my completed figure of speech?  I'm awesome!)

I am hearing...  fans, and Miriel entertaining her BFF's baby in the living room while his Mama washes her hands.

Around the house... nothing much new.  It does stay tidier when none of the kids are here.  And Miriel is naturally tidier than I am, so having her home is no different.

A few plans for the rest of the week:   On Friday we're going to Arwen's, and from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon Roger, Miriel, Tirienne, and I are going to watch ALL FOUR children so that Arwen and Bryan can get away -- and probably sleep the whole time.  ;-D

Words I'm pondering

      "This is my Father's world:
       O let me ne'er forget,
       That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
       God is the ruler yet!"

Part of an old hymn that I'd forgotten about till about ten days ago.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...   never mind. I can't get the one I want. This is annoying...


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Grandpa works his magic on Father's Day -- note sleeping toddler!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Place and Question -- W&Q 22

This is my June entry in the Word and Question/ Playing Poetry game started by Enbrethiliel at Shredded Cheddar.  The rules can be found here. This month there was a special wrinkle; the word submitted had to be a place.

The Journalist's Mother's Lament

Where are you now, my darling child?
In Marrakech, or Rome, 
Or Zanzibar, or Nhulunbuy??
I wish you were at home!

Word/place: Nhulunbuy
Question:  Are you lonesome tonight?

I had a much longer (and rather maudlin, probably because I find the song, of which the question is the title, so) idea in mind, but when I sat down to actually write it -- and I have to use paper; brain to keyboard doesn't work for poems for me -- this is what came out, and declared itself done.  So be it!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Daybook -- 5/14/12

Outside my window... blue sky, a lot of green -- trees and grass and bushes and (sadly) weeds -- and sunshine on the tops of the trees.  If I were on the other side of the house it would still look like daytime, but here it's definitely evening.

I am thinking... that this last six weeks have been wonderful, but tiring.  So much going on!

I am thankful for... the so much that was going on! In order: Holy Week/ Easter (with 25 people for breakfast and 15 for dinner).  Keeping Branwen and Larry's kids for the weekend so that they could go to Stratford. 
Singing with the choir for Confirmation.  "Reading Camp" with Daniel and Camilla, to help them get more ready for first grade at a new school.  Brandon coming home on leave.  Kelson's graduation from boot camp, and the 1300+ miles in 48 hours of driving that went with it.  Kelson and Brandon at home for a few days; lovely!  Singing with the choir for First Communion.  Miriel coming home from her first year of grad school.  Linus' and Ambrose's first birthday party. A visit from Roger's mom and sister. Deep breath/sigh.   Done!

From the kitchen... leftovers tonight AND tomorrow.  I sort of forgot again how to cook for just two...

I am wearing... tan cotton pants, a pink cotton tee, and a crocheted ecru short-sleeved sweater.  And my fuzzy slippers.

I am creating...  knitted dresses for Camilla and Lauren, dishcloths for Brandon, and a scarf for Miriel.  Which is one of her presents from last Christmas, but it's lace-weight yarn and very slow going.  I have made a commitment to knit at least one pattern repeat on it every day, so it should be finished before she starts school again in August.

I am going... nowhere before knitting group tomorrow night.  This is awesome!

I am reading...  Turn Not Pale, Beloved Snail which is "a book about writing among other things" by Jacqueline Jackson.  My roommate when I lived in Ohio in the late seventies had a copy, and I got the urge to read it again.  It is still delightful!  I got this copy on inter-library loan, because the last time I checked Amazon the only copies were running close to $50.  When I checked the page to give the link, it appears that one can buy used copies for considerably less.  I think that's what I do when I finish this post.  It's definitely worth owning if it's in your budget.

I am hoping... to sleep well tonight.  I've had less-than-stellar sleep the last few nights, but it's cooling off, and I have no pressing reason to get up early tomorrow.  Wish me luck.

I am hearing... Roger puttering about the kitchen.  The clink of ice cubes, and a blurbling that means carbonation.  Probably soda water, because I also heard the door to the cabinet where he keeps the Scotch.

(I just asked him, and he says it's cranberry juice and pineapple rum.  Apparently I was mistaken about the carbonation.)

Around the house... we now have an actual guest room.  Kelson took pretty much everything he owns to his new duty station in Duluth, which is where Brandon was stationed before he went to Alaska.  Lose a son, gain a guest room.  My emotions on this one are very mixed.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Knitting group. Grocery shopping.  Choir practice.  Blessed, blessed routine.

Words I'm pondering : Americans have a range of moral concerns: caring for the weak, fairness, liberty, loyalty, respect for authority, and sanctity.  Studies suggest that hard-core liberals are animated only by the first three. (From The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt, via First Things.)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing.... actually, I'm not. I had a nice cartoon all picked out, but I can't make it work in the new Blogger set-up.    Fooey!!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Word and Question 20 - now with added apologies

 Here, ma'am, try this tasty wine sample.
The portion, you'll find, is quite ample.
Do you like... Holy smokes,
Here come dozens of folks!
For free wine upon you they may trample!

Word: ample
Question: Should I tell someone about this?

I am entirely late with this one (marvelously hosted by Enbrethiliel at Shredded Cheddar), and it's all my own fault for trying to play at all in the kind of month I knew I was going to have.  And even now, I'm only good for a limeric...  

The scene, for those of you who may not have such things where you live, is a table or small kiosk set up inside a supermarket or warehouse store where customers are offered samples to induce them to buy products they might otherwise ignore. (Although I'm pretty sure that free wine isn't legal.)

The first time I published this, I forgot to also apologize to my (two) readers for not posting anything for a month.  Mea Culpa!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Word and Question 19

How did I end up here? If I can be
Completely truthful, I don't even know
Quite where this is, but I am fairly sure
It isn't Dune, or Pluto, or Barsoom
Or anywhere on Earth I've read about...

Why am I in this cage? If you ask me
This whole thing must be some psychotic joke!
The last thing I remember from before
Was feeling "punk", and sitting on the couch
Watching some crazy preacher on TV.

You want to know how nuts he was? He said
Smart folk like me, who don't believe his myths,
Were in for trouble here (I guess that's "there")
And afterward. But I maintain that I
Know more than he did: "after" can't exist.

And how do I know that? My textbooks state
That "mind" is just a function of the brain,
So when the body dies, the mind goes too.
I don't expect to live on after death.
That's just a fairytale for foolish folk.

Say, do you think it's getting hot in here?...

Word: cage

Question: Have i been reading all the wrong books?

Monday, March 19, 2012

I Haven't Done a Daybook in Ages, or ..................... I Guess it's Time

Outside my window... it is still daylight! I hate changing over to DST, but once it's here I appreciate the long evenings. AND it's warm. I don't believe in "global warming" (at least not man-made), but I kind of like this "local warming" thing.

I am thinking... about how long it's been since I posted. Over a month. Shame on me.

I am thankful for... the fact that I am at home. I spent last week helping Arwen with the kids while Bryan traveled for work, and I love them all, but I'm not as young as I used to be, and being home again is relaxing.

From the kitchen... "real" reubens, made with the corned beef leftovers from St. Patrick's Day.

I am wearing... blue cotton pants, and a pink cotton tee and socks (which don't quite match each other.) Earlier I had on a sweatshirt that matched the socks, but I got too warm.

I am creating... the VERY last knitted cotton dishcloth for Roger's stepmother. Before Christmas she gave me a commission and sent me a check, and I have been working at this quite regularly. But I'm on the last one, and the next dishcloth I knit will be for me. Which is good, because mine are wearing out...

I am going... to go and do my exercises in a little while. With any luck I will be done with both this post and the exercises before Roger gets home from leading his Bible study.

I am reading... well, I'm finishing a non-memorable libray book, but one that's done I'll be starting on Dune, because I've been telling Kelson for years that I'd get around to it someday. So no more library (or other) books until I finish it.

I am hoping... for good weather this weekend. Branwen and Larry and their kids are coming up, and there is a LOT of outdoor work that needs to be done, especially burning the brush piles, which is a big thrill for Daniel and Matthew.

I am hearing... all the outdoor noises much more clearly since we took the plastic film off the windows. Of course, every time we've done that in March before, we've had a good solid snowstorm later...

Around the house...everything now stays relatively tidy. Kelson is at Coast Guard boot camp, and I never realized just HOW MUCH STUFF he would regularly move around and/or abandon somewhere. I'm betting that he's learning tidier habits!

A few plans for the rest of the week: just the usual, which unfortunately means that either Roger or I (or both) has a meeting every night. But on Friday a friend is coming to dinner, and then Branwen and her family arrive. That will be nice!

Words I'm pondering : "For the fate of Lothlórien you are not answerable, but only for the doing of your own task."--Galadriel. My brother-in-law tweeted this today, and I know that I can learn from it. It doesn't ALL depend on me...

Here is a picture thought I am sharing.... this picture is from several years ago, but Kelson's boot camp graduation will look a lot like this. Assuming it's a sunny day, of course.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A repost, because it's important.

and because I am neither as smart or as wise as Karina...

Government Pork, by Karina Fabian

Once there was a wonderful town full of people who loved to eat, and many wonderful and varied restaurants that served excellent food: Italian and French, Japanese and Mongolian, Middle Eastern and even a kosher delicatessen. Not everyone liked every restaurant, of course, and some people even thought particular restaurants were odd, but they appreciated the variety available to all.

There were also a lot of pig farmers in the area, and people enjoyed the fresh pork. One year, they had a mayor who loved fresh pork. He thought it was the right of everyone in the town to have pork at any meal they wanted. “Why,” he’d say,” if there was only one meal I could give my kids, it’d be pork chops!” Of course, lots of the people loved pork as well, and they applauded his enthusiasm.

One day he sat in his office, thinking about how much he and others liked pork, and he decided that every restaurant should serve pork, at every meal. Oh, maybe not every individual would want to eat pork, but they deserved the right to have it on their plate so they could choose! And so, he set out a decree that all restaurants would serve some form of pork in every meal.

Well, the delicatessen and the Middle Eastern restaurant were upset by this. They couldn’t serve pork—it was against their religions. So they went to the Mayor and asked to be excused from this rule. “After all,” they said, “people know we never serve pork.”

“But you should. People have the right to pork. Some of you customers eat pork. Even some of your employees enjoy a good ham!”

“And if they wish to, they may–but not in our restaurants,” the owners said. “It’s against the kind of restaurants we are to serve pork. And we have customers who do not want pork, who would be offended and do not want to pay for pork.”

“Well, I’m offended that you won’t serve it—and I’m sure other pork lovers agree that your attitude is most disagreeable.”

“Our customers and our employees know where we stand, and they continue to frequent our restaurants and work for us. We serve them well, but we do not serve them pork. We have the right to our own menus. We should not be forced.”

But the mayor stood firm. “No,” he said. “Everyone has the right to have pork, and it’s my duty to make sure it’s always available, whether you agree or not. It’s healthier than beef anyway. If you don’t like it, you can pay a fine and stop serving food—or you can close down.”

The restaurant managers refused to change their menus. Many people stood by them—because they, too, would not eat pork and didn’t want to pay for it; or because they agreed that restaurants should choose their own menus; or because they didn’t like the mayor telling people how to run their own businesses. The movie theaters stood by him, because they were afraid if the Mayor could change menus, he might also start dictating what shows would be played.

The pork lovers, however, were incensed. How dare the restaurants not give them pork if they wanted it?

“I can’t eat beef; what should I do then?” one demanded. “Do you just want to send me away to starve?”

“We have other dishes,” they said. “Our menu and service would be no different than before. We can feed you many things; just not pork.”

Nonetheless, the press, too, said that the two restaurants would rather let people starve rather than eat pork.

Despite the outcry of the pork lovers, more and more people said, “Let them choose their own menu!”

One day, the Mayor called the restaurant owners into his office. He had a compromise, he said.

“I won’t make you buy pork. You don’t have to prepare it, or touch it. Instead, all restaurant suppliers will have to supply pork to every restaurant, free of charge, and for those that don’t want to serve the pork, suppliers will cook it and put it on every plate themselves.”

“But there would still be pork in our restaurant!” the owners cried. “Besides, they will increase the price of meat to cover their new expenses.”

“Oh, they wouldn’t do that. I’d tell them not to. Besides, the point is you wouldn’t be actually serving pork. See how well that works? Everyone gets pork and you can say you never provided it. And if your patrons don’t want to eat it, they don’t have to; it’s enough that it’s there for them.”

So, problem solved?

A note from Karina: The HHS compromise is no compromise—it’s an escalation, making it impossible not only for the Catholic Church to live according to its beliefs, but any small business that may also believe as the Church does. I wrote this parable to try to put the debate out of the “contraception/women’s health” light and show the other issues at stake. Feel free to copy this story and use it on your own blogs. If you do, please include this link to sign a petition to stop the HHS mandate (or if you know of another petition, include it)

Karina Fabian is the author of a number of books, including non-fiction and horror genres. She came to my attention as the co-editor of Leaps of Faith, an anthology of Christian science fiction.

Monday, February 13, 2012

February Snowy (!!) Daybook

Outside my window... sunshine, blue skies, and SNOW. We've had snow on the ground for three days now, which is the longest it's lasted all winter so far. Of course, it's supposed to be 40 degrees on Wednesday...

I am thankful for... a "normal" week, for a change. No major events until Saturday.

From the kitchen... Meatloaf, boiled red potatoes, and broccoli. Tomorrow I will bake a cherry pie as part of Roger's Valentine present.

I am wearing... tan cotton pants, a red/rust long-sleeved Tshirt with more-or-less-matching cotton socks, black loafers, and a tan/navy/green/rust shawl/scarf that I got in Stratford many years ago. I'll change into hiking boots when Roger gets back and we go to walk the dog.

I am creating... flannel blankets for a baby-shower gift. Nice, big, ones (45 inches square) because the ones you can buy are only useful for about three weeks.

I am going... to a workshop on Saturday "Celebrating the Triduum with the New Roman Missal." I hope to learn something useful.

I am reading... Behind the Seams, by Betty Hechtman. It's a crochet mystery, pure fluff, but fun.

I am hoping... that the weather report is wrong, and the snow stays around. But I'm not optimistic.

I am hearing... the refrigerator running, and the cat scratching in the litter box. I need to deal with that tomorrow: trash day, and the litter definitely needs to be changed. With only one cat, I get away with leaving it just that little bit too long. :-(

Around the house... things are calm and tidy. Did I mention it's a NORMAL week? I actually just washed all the cookie-storage cans from Christmas, and will pack them away as soon as they're totally dry.

A few plans for the rest of the week... NORMAL! Enjoy normal!

Words I'm pondering : "You fear too much." Roger tells me this quite regularly. I am convinced that it's true, but I need to work out a plan to change it. Hopefully before I'm 80.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing... Nerd humor. Because I can. (Click on the image if it's too small for you to see.)

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

A to Z

This is shamelessly borrowed from Manda, because I will do anything to avoid the thinking required to do a "real" post.

A. Age:
61, minus three weeks. Well, 20 days, if you have to be exact.

B. Bed size:
King. When we got married our bedroom only had room for a double, and Roger -- who is taller and larger than I am -- tended to take his half out of the middle. We are on our third king.

C. Chore that you hate:
Mopping the floor. I've done it less than 50 times in 30+ years of marriage. But that is because Roger, who is AWESOME, does it himself/trained the kids to do it.

D. Dogs:
My family has had two. I tolerate them.

E. Essential start to your day:
Tea. From loose leaves, in a preheated pot, with freshly boiled water. Or from a bag, if I can't pull that off.

F. Favorite color:
Blue, or possibly pink..

G. Gold or silver:
Gold. I wear silver, but gold.

H. Height:
5'6"ish. I always thought I was 5'8", but when my daughters hit that, I wasn't anymore. Only Branwen is still shorter than I am.

I. Instruments that you play:
Flute and guitar. But not very often anymore.

J. Job title:
Organizer-in-chief. Otherwise known as Mom/Grandma.

K. Kids:
Arwen: 29. Branwen: 27. Miriel: almost 25.
Brandon: 23. Tirienne: 21. Kelson:19

L. Live:
Fort Gratiot MI

M. Mother's name:
was Mildred/Millie.

N. Nicknames:
Hon. (My dad used to call me McClee. I miss it.)

O. Overnight hospital stays:
Tonsillectomy in third grade, and Arwen and Branwen's births. (The other four kids were born at home.)

P. Pet peeves:
Misplaced apostrophes. Grammar and vocabulary sloppiness, such as using "phased" for "fazed" or "mantle" for "mantel."

Q. Quote from a movie:
"Nobody is as handsome as David. Even David."
Sabrina;1995 (Actually, pretty much anything from this or You've Got Mail. My family are memorization nerds.)

S: Siblings:
My brother Patrick.

T: Travel favorite: Stratford Ontario.

U. Underwear: Yes, I wear it.

V. Vegetable(s) you hate:
Beets. If I had $10 for every time my dad tried to persuade me that Harvard beets were good, I could put all my grandchildren through college. And don't even get me started on "redbeet eggs!" (hardboiled eggs pickled in beet juice and vinegar.)

W. What makes you run late:
It would have to be a disaster. I am perpetually, habitually early.

X. X-rays you've had:
Teeth. The time I didn't break my elbow. The time I DID break my elbow. The time I broke my nose. I'm a klutz.

Y. Yummy food that you make:
Check the "tasty Tuesday" labeled posts.

Z. Zoo animal:
The neurotic polar bear in the Louisville zoo. (My kids had better get this reference...!)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Daybook --1/23/12

Outside my window... Warm and wet and squishy. OK, 45 degrees isn't WARM warm. But it is for January in Michigan. Yesterday there was more than an inch of snow on the ground. Tomorrow ... who knows? This IS Michigan.

I am thankful for... our upcoming long weekend in Stratford. We weren't sure the budget would go there this year, but it did, so we are. Four days of pure relaxation!

From the kitchen... Pork Sausage Casserole. Tomorrow will be leftovers, and Wednesday tacos. I am going for easy for our dinners, because for most of those two days Roger and I will be in a large church kitchen making 300+ servings of chili for the local Pregnancy Care Center fundraiser in February. He's the chili chef; I just chop whatever he tells me to.

I am wearing... tan cotton pants, an amethyst-colored ribbed cotton sweater with more-or-less-matching cotton socks, black loafers, and a fuzzy rabbit-angora shawl to keep my shoulders warm. Inside our house, the only difference between a 45 degree day and a zero degree day is how often the furnace runs. The thermostat stays at 70 in the daytime and 55 at night.

I am creating... Christmas presents for Miriel and Tirienne. I didn't have time to knit ahead before Christmas, so I gave them each a certificate good for one item, with a trip to the yarn shop for pattern and yarn. Tirienne's beret is done. Next is Miriel's scarf.

I am going... well, aside from the previously mentioned chili-making, this week I have knitting group and choir practice. I thought I was going to need to read for another Quiz Bowl meet, but the organizing teacher found enough readers closer to home (about 45 min. from here.) In this case, I really don't mind not "getting" to go and read.

I am reading... Twelve Drummers Drumming, by C.C. Benison -- a pen name of Douglas Whiteway. This is a mystery featuring British Anglican vicar Tom Christmas. It's not a bad read, at least so far, but it's fairly obvious that the author chose his character's profession so that he could be called "Father Christmas."
The book is full of similarly punnish ideas and names, and apparently is the projected first volume in a series (Eleven Pipers Piping, and so on.) But although the protagonist is likeable as a detective and a man, he's not very believable as an Anglican priest. Jan Karon fans shouldn't bother.

I am hoping... to finish this post fairly quickly, since I have a couple of other things to do before bedtime. Which needs to be relatively early, since the chili-cooking begins at 8:30AM.

I am hearing... Bruce Springsteen singing Glory Days. Kelson has discovered the joys of vinyl recordings, and Born in the USA is spinning away on the newly dusted turntable.

Around the house... my weekly schedule is all jumbled up, because the church kitchen is only available to us for two days, and which two days they are has changed a couple of times. My day planner is full of scratchouts and arrows, but with any luck all the laundry and cleaning will get done at some point.

A few plans for the rest of the week... um, I think I've mentioned them all.

Words I'm pondering : "Sanctity of Human Life is about trusting God." This quote is from a blog I read regularly, and really sparked me to think more deeply about the root causes and solutions of this country's romance with killing our unborn children.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing... Not a picture this time, but a link. You won't see this on the news, but go here to see Twitter's photo gallery with the hashtag #marchforlife. I went two years ago, and will go back as soon as I can afford something more than the red-eye bus. I can do the bus or the March, but not both.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Seven Quick Takes Friday : Yes, I'm still alive. Shocker.

--- 1 ---

Number of times I have thought about blogging in the past month: at least a dozen.
Number of times I have actually blogged in the past month: zero.
(I don't count that naggy little thing about Word and Question, which I probably needn't have bothered with...)

--- 2 ---

Topics I have considered for blog posts in the last month : Seven Quick Takes, Daybook,
Seven Quick Takes, Daybook, Seven Quick Takes, Daybook,.........
Lather, rinse, repeat. As you can see, Quick Takes finally won. Because I don't even have to answer any questions.

--- 3 ---

Oh, wait. I lied in the last take. Because I also considered doing the "2011 in recap" meme. For about 17 seconds.

--- 4 ---

I am very tired today. On Wednesday we drove 5 hours each way to a family funeral (RIP, Dick...) Yesterday I changed beds and cleaned bathrooms, drove to a not-so-nearby town to serve as a reader for a Quiz Bowl meet, and went to choir practice. Today it all caught up with me.

--- 5 ---

Fortunately, I can say "Nine!" Which is counting down days until our Stratford visit. I intend to alternate reading in the jacuzzi with sitting in a booth sipping Strongbow. Bliss.

--- 6 ---

In preparation for Stratford, I just requested eight books from the library. I suspect that if they all come in, that might have been a little over-ambitious. But I couldn't whittle the 20+ books on my list down to a readable-in-a-long-weekend number. I'll just have to renew some of them.

--- 7 ---

Since I have now put together a (very rudimentary) semblance of a post, I think I'll go and take a nap. See you!

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!