Thursday, June 29, 2006
My review: "zzzzzzzz." Written in diary style (anticipatory of the current "diary" trend in authors? Possibly), it chronicles the life of a young girl and her sister being raised by their father in New England. Their mother died; a neighbor woman is teaching the main character how to maintain a home.
I have no problem with that. It's just that the character never really went anywhere. Oh, sure, she had to adjust to when her father brought home a new wife-----there were some trivial feelings of resentment that were eventually overcome. And she gives a homemade quilt to a stranger who's been lurking in the woods, freezing of cold. She learns later he's a runaway slave. Her punishment (by the new wife) is to make a replacement quilt, so she knows just how much work it is, and not something to be given away lightly.
Overall, I thought this was rather BLAH. "Moralistic," and a little preachy. No harm in it, but nowt to it. (That's my best Yorkshire dialect of "nothing" to it. Hooray for James Herriot books, and Wallace and Gromit to teach me these things! hehe).
Tonight I read Because of Winn-Dixie. This did not win the Newbery medal, but it received the silver medal of honor. This book grabbed me much more than last night's! (No, I haven't seen the movie. I like to read books first so I can make snarky comments about "original intent" and "artistic licence" whilst I watch the movie). I lived in the South for a while, so this was rather like sitting back and listening to the natives talk. Kate DiCamillo grabs the north Florida dialect masterfully (she's a native), and the personalities of each of her characters are vivid and entertaining. "Winn-Dixie" is the name of a supermarket in the South; it's also the place where Opal (main character) finds a stray dog and brings it home. The dog's winning ways help her make friends in her new town. Oh, and her father is a preacher - and hoorah, hoorah, Christians/Christianity are presented in a positive light. How rare, and how refreshing.
Too much time online today, must get off. Tomorrow I take a sabbatical from the net. See if I stick to it! :)
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
So here's a recipe for Turtle Cookies that I first made with Tammy's SIL Rebecca, hm, many years ago--like probably 15 years?! (am i really getting that old?) Oooh, the date on the recipe says "27 Feb 92." 14 years!! These are "fussy" cookies (read: not a "drop" cookie) that I usually reserve for holiday baking. Here goes:
Turtle Cookies (from Rebecca)
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. margarine or butter
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla
- 1/8 tsp. maple flavor (optional)
- 2 eggs (reserve one white)
- 1 1/2 c. flour
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 - 2 c. pecan halves
- 1/3 c. chocolate chips
- 3 Tbsp. milk
- 1 Tbsp. margarine or butter
- 1 c. powdered sugar (approximate)
Preheat oven to 350º F (180º C). Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla, one egg and one yolk; beat. Stir in flour, soda, and salt. Chill dough.
Arrange pecan pieces in groups of 3-5. (I like to do 4 so they look like legs). Roll dough into balls, dip into remaining egg white (which has been beaten slightly), and press ball lightly onto pecans. Bake 10-12 minutes. Do not overbake! Cool.
Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips, milk, and margarine. Add powdered sugar until desired consistency. Generously frost cooled cookies.
Makes about 2 dozen.
Heeeeey, that's like....a 100% success rate!! ROFL
Rebecca has inspired me with her list of books to read. Taking a page out of her book (ahem), I plan to read all the Newbery Award winners from 1922- present (85 books). I hope to finish before December 31 of this year. Some of these I've read many times, so I plan to read the ones I haven't yet read. Ohhh, okay, maybe I'll read some of the ones I've read before! :) But the complete list can be found here.
As I scan the list, there's about 40 books that I haven't read!!! I'd better get cracking.
Monday, June 26, 2006
I still think the Cliff's Notes version would have been better. As a child of the 80's, adult of the 90's, living in the "soundbite" generation --Melville's verbosity hurts my brain and my eyes.
So it took me, what, a month? to read this book. Shameful. But I can now add it to the list.
And since it's 92º outside today, I think kids and I will DRIVE to the library in an AIR CONDITIONED CAR and hang out for a while.
Hm. Second thought, they just turned on a movie, and I need to make dinner. So postpone library to Tuesday. Which is our normal day anyway!
I got a lot done around the home today, finally. I was going to have "all this free time!" with A. gone to Michigan! Riiiiiiiiiiiight. (Said in best Bill Cosby tone)
But today (prepare for the bulleted list!) I:
- finished putting away all laundry
- washed all bed linens and comforters (a yummy, sunny day to dry them outside!)
- ironed all the short sleeved shirts
- "dryer-ironed" some of the long-sleeved ones (still have about 15 left to do. rrrrgh.)
- polished and dusted the wood furniture in the living room
- took down all the silk plants in the LR and washed them in the sink, putting them out in the sun to dry (dusty, dusty! yuck!!)
- removed all vestiges of SCHOOL from the living room fireplace hearth
- put the consumable school books in the recycle bin (YES!)
- saved the "important" papers and artwork in kids' binders
- mopped the kitchen floor
- mopped the main bathroom floor
- reorganized the CD tower so there's no longer big stacks of CD's awaiting re-filing
- set up the Slip-n-Slide that D got at his birthday party (my backyard is now a mud heaven)
- PUT ALL THE SOCKS in a BIN for ANDY TO MATCH when he gets home!!! LOL!!
It feels so good to have finally gotten something done today, and the key was this: I stayed home, I didn't answer the phone (unless I wanted to), and didn't guilt-trip myself about what I WASN"T getting done, but focusing on what I DID do.
There's always tomorrow. I still have a list of chores to do, but I can tackle them 15 minutes at a time. thank you, Flylady! :)
Blast and tarnation. I keep looking at flightview.com to see where A's flight is. It should have left at 7:40. Now it is 9:03 (eastern daylight time) and that plane is still on the ground in Detroit. He has like 25 min to make his connection in Denver.... oy! Hope he does!
Saturday, June 24, 2006
This happened while my friend Audra was watching the kids. I was off getting a haircut.
The last time Audra watched the kids, he got stung by a bee.
Audra is getting a complex about watching my kids!
The swelling was completely gone by the end of the second day, but it took a total of 5 Benadryl tablets to do it.
We met the new head of school, Randall Greenway (I think?), and there were about 250 people in attendance. The expo was spread between the Tacoma Art Museum and the Marriott Courtyard downtown, where we heard Dr. Bror Saxberg speak.
He was witty, intelligent, had us in stitches, and really explained the big ideas behind K12. This guy has a degree from U-Dub (that would be the University of Washington, for you non-local readers) in electronic engineering, a couple of masters' degrees, and an MD from Harvard, and a PhD from MIT. Yet the man can talk, and well! (Usually geeknoids can't verbalize well.)
But the highlight for the kids was being able to see their teacher, Mrs. Shaw, and RIDE THE LINK TRAIN in Tacoma.
+ a lake stocked with 2 lb. trout
+ 5 fishing poles (more or less)
+ 8 primary-aged children
+ 7 adults
+ hot-pink trout bait
+ nightcrawlers that squirm frantically as their bodies are pierced by the cruel hooks
+ melting cake and ice cream
+ random dogs and owners coming by for a look see
+ a pinata that wouldn't stay up in the tree
+ tangled up fishing lines
+ Godzilla, Mothra, Gigan, Manda, Spiga, and all buddies
0- fish caught (frightened away by the child who decided to swim instead of fish!)
1 - child who got dust in his eyes when the pinata broke (we used the pinata as a bat, rather than use a bat on the pinata)
2- children who were soaked up to the waist in lake water (one was my daughter)
3- snarled up fishing lines (all mine)
4- children who wanted to take home the Godzilla toys on the cake
5 - pieces of half-eaten cake
6- Hershey's bars used to make buildings
7 - adults thankful when it was all over!
8- extremely happy children with scads of candy to take home
9- candles that would not light in the breeze
1- magenta-hued, dehydrated mommy who is drinking ice water and hoping she doesn't peel!!
See? Godzilla & Co. are storming the town! See the flames on the buildings? For an added effect, the chocolate city began to melt, lending authenticity to the visualization of mass mayhem and destruction.
My son wrote the word "Happy," I wrote "Birth," and my daughter followed with "day."
The kids at the party helped put in the city and place the monsters.
On the remaining sides of the cake, I wrote "Godzilla," "Deividdo" and the number "Kyu" (9) using Japanese Katakana script. Let's hear it for the internet~!
My happy child in white, with his sister peeking in on the right side of the photo.
All the boys thought the toys were SO COOL and wanted to take them home.
I counted to be sure we had them all.
Argh, now my daughter is saying, "Hey, let's have some REAL food to eat! All we've had is party junk food!!"
I asked her what she wants, and her rejoinder was, "Macaroni and cheese!!"
UGHHHHHHH. I want a HUGE glass of iced tea, some COLD, CRISPY SALAD (I want frozen peas on it, that's important), and, hm. Thats about it. Maybe some hot wings with celery sticks and blue cheese dipping sauce.
So maybe we're going to Applebees!!!
My dear husband is on a trip to MI right now and that's why I've not been blogging. There's been PLENTY of things goin' on (D's birthday party planning, bike rides, karate, D's party planning, bike rides, etc.) but by the time I get the kids to bed I don't have the strength left to blog.
Busy day today: we're going to the K12 expo at Tacoma Art Museum to hear Dr. Bror Saxburg, one of the masterminds behind K12. I hear he is a FABOO speaker, so I decided to go park at Freighthouse Square, then take the free LINK rail system to the museum.
Crazy me. Then we have D's fishing/birthday party this afternoon. Hope I don't forget anything: cake, icecream, pinata, cooler with ice, water, and ziploc baggies for any fish caught........etc.
Must go. Time to head to tacoma.
Remind me to post a pic of D after he'd come across some grass pollen Weds afternoon! (Pollen and D. do NOT MIX!).
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Saturday the fam and I walked to the local library while the Farmers' Market was going on. After purchasing some lovely fresh snow peas and asparagus from Yakima, we entered the library for some quick browsing and checking out. The Summer Reading Program has already begun, and kids can turn in a ticket for every hour they read. The kids put their tickets into various boxes that represent different prizes: a dozen doughnuts from Krispy Kreme, a $50 gift cert. to the mall, a blow-up alligator pool toy, etc. Then the library staff hosts a drawing on certain days. Hence, the more tickets you put in a box, the more likely your name will be drawn. S. is pinning all her hopes on the alligator.
A. picked up a movie for us to watch tonight, but S. was a little concerned it would be scary. The title of the movie instantly will reveal it as a classic: "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians."
No, really! Look! The kids might watch it tomorrow once we finish school. (rolling my eyes) This has to be as good as "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes."
Meanwhile, I thought I'd give Ishmael, Ahab and Moby a rest, so I polished off three other books this weekend.
First up was the latest installment of Meg Cabot's Princess Diary series, No. 5, Princess in Pink. Why I continue to bother with this series, I don't know. It got stale after #2. The format is unvarying. Princess Mia, journaler extraordinaire, having histrionics yet again over some minute facet of teen life; this time, the Prom, and the fact that her senior boyfriend thinks the prom is totally lame and doesn't want to go. The characters are well-fleshed out in the series, but they're pretty static. And while throughout the series, they've remained relatively chaste, in this book, Mia is obsessing over the fact that she hasn't reached "second base" with her boyfriend. Not graphic in any way, but Urgh!!! Definitely on my NOT recommended list.
Immediately after finishing that, I picked up Roald Dahl's Matilda. Normally Dahl charms the socks off me, but in this one I just cringed. Matilda's parents are honestly horrible. Matilda's headmistress is unbelievably cruel. It's the brilliant, misunderstood child pitted against the evil grownups. There IS one good grownup in the book, but come to find out, she's been put-upon by evil grownups in her childhood too. So, the moral of the story is: if your parents or teachers are horrible, you can vanquish them by outwitting them. I'm not fond of kids vs. grownups plot development. (Too much anarchy. Still, I like the movie Ferris Bueller, so I'm not completely consistent here!) The book ends up with the bad grownups getting what they deserve though, so evil IS punished, and kids who read Matilda will rejoice that the KIDS WON!
The last book I read this afternoon was Sharon Creech's Ruby Holler. Much better than the previous book I read of hers (Absolutely Normal Chaos); this is more in the spirit of Walk Two Moons, for which she won the Newbery Award. In this book, orphaned twins are taken in by empty-nesters with infinite patience. The orphans have been emotionally and physically abused... never graphic or overstated in the book, just mentioned as part of their past lives. Naturally, they don't trust grownups. The book is devoted to overcoming their resistance to caring about other people besides themselves. This book I DO recommend!
Back to your lives, citizens. Now that I've read all my library books in two days, I've got to get back to Moby. Go, whale, go. Thar she blows!
Thursday, June 15, 2006
I love the book of James.
I hate the book of James.
(Does this sound like the beginning of A Tale of Two Cities? )
Righ now I'm studying chapter three. YOU know. That one about.... the tongue? That restless evil, full of deadly poison? That flame of fire, set aflame by the fires of hell?
And guess who is having to do a whole lot of tongue-chewing lately (and should be doing much more, I'm sorry to say).
It's the kids. I must must must be more patient with them. They are CHILDREN. They will not get it right the first time, all the time.
There is one who speaks rashly, like the thrusts of a sword;[oh no!!] but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Or how about this one - especially convicting, since I put my Bible study book down in shame and irritation, and decided to read Proverbs instead ---hmmm, today is June 15, so let's go to Proverbs 15! Great idea!
But I, pursued by the Hound of Heaven, saw written there, plain as day: A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Take my own medicine, I should -(that sounds like Yoda!) - If I CAN'T SAY ANYTHING NICE....
How is it that I can lambaste a Chocolate Ladies' Retreat in one post, and then a mere 8 hours later, post a link to Diet Coke and Mentos, stating it would be great for your youth group?
I don't know. Point well taken.
My only defense is this: the teens in our youth group were our friends, as well as our "charges," so to speak. We hung out with them. We did stuff with them. So seeing that video yesterday made me think of John and Alan - or Jeff and Kenny - or even Matt Smith and his trick with the bananas and Sprite (keep a trashcan handy, oh yesss!) So diet coke and mentos would be the type of thing we'd do together, just to see what would happen.
So I apologize for my inconsistency. *shrug*
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
What do you get when you combine 101 2l. bottles of Diet Coke and 523 Mentos? Click the title above and find out! (You need Quicktime to see it, but you probably already have it installed.)
The kids want me to go to the store RIGHT NOW and get some Diet Coke and Mentos!
Hat Tip to the k12users group at Yahoo!
Today we received-- not wickedness or filth--but a slice of Laodicea. The email links to a web site promoting a church ladies' retreat featuring.......CHOCOLATE.
Now, I enjoy chocolate as much as the next person, but to build a church ladies' retreat around it...?! erhmmmmm, NO. "Some things naturally go together," the web site coos. "Burgers and fries...salt and pepper...peanut butter and jelly....WOMEN AND CHOCOLATE." It continues on to say that the feelings and emotions we have toward chocolate are much like describing God's grace. ("We don't deserve it, but we long for it and need it.")
Excuse me?? CAN we cheapen our Creator, Redeemer God any further?
Where women taste and see that the Lord is good."
Would you like some God with your chocolate this weekend?
This disgusts me to my very core.
As if our Lord needs gimmicks to be palatable (pun intended) to be relevant to today's society. This is church marketing at its cheesiest. Man-centered and experiential-- not Christ-centered.
I don't have time to rant fully. I have to teach in 1:15 minutes and must get the laundry away/living room up to snuff for those guests who sit in and listen to their kids' lessons.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!
Words by Charitie L. Bancroft, 1863- Public Domain
Lovely new tune by Vikki Cook of Sovereign Grace Ministries, ©1997
This evening I was reading an article and the ensuing discussion at Sharper Iron. Several people mentioned this hymn in passing. I want it for church! And I'll get it too. :) I love our hymnal, but it's so limited. You really need about 4-5 hymnals to cover all the good stuff that's out there, past and near present.......and even then you're limited! Thankfully there's CCLI, where you can post, publish, and print words out, which is what I'll have to do to get the congregation to learn this song.
Monday, June 12, 2006
I'm serious, though. The problem with the Christian life is that it is so DAILY. Every day I must recommit to walk the "path of disciplined Grace." Every day I must die to self, that I may live to righteousness. Every day I struggle with the same sins that I always do, and it's very humbling to run back to the Lord and say, "Yes, I know I was just speaking to You 5 minutes ago about this very sin, and Lord, I'm very sorry, but, I've done it again-- as You already know, because You're omniscient."
In Romans 7 Paul writes (and I echo from my heart): "I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing." And just a few verses later, I cry out with Paul, "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?"
The conclusion? "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" And the chapter division comes in rather unfortunately at this point. But taken as a natural flow of thought, from one concept to the next - Paul's next point is, "There is therefore NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus!"
So though it is humbling to return and confess to God sins that I JUST confessed hours, nay! moments before-- I must do it. And I must keep God's perspective on it: There is NO CONDEMNATION upon me for doing so, even if I am condemning myself for being so weak, foolish and stupid YET AGAIN.
for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart,
and he knows everything."
(1 John 3:19-20)
Saturday, June 10, 2006
But I must confess that the book just doesn't involve me emotionally with any of the characters. Ishmael is likeable, but Ishmael/Melville goes off into these massive discourses on whaling that reads like a scientific journal. Give me the Cliff's Notes, please! Or Whaling for Dummies~! But spare me these 3- and 4-chapter tomes of technical slog!
And Starbuck, the first mate. For some reason, he abhors the quest that Captain Ahab has put before the crew. But why? Why such depths and harrowing of his soul over Ahab's choice of revenge on a whale? Starbuck's stated reason is, "It's just a dumb beast following his instincts; therefore, it's wrong to seek revenge on it."
I'm just trying to understand Starbuck a little better in his deep revulsion of the quest, so forgive me if this sounds a bit disjointed. I can understand Ahab a little bit better: "The whale bit off my leg; I'm gonna get you sucka!" Revenge, plain and simple. (I AM oversimplifying; Ahab comes off as a pretty complex guy.)
The one character I've really liked so far has been Queequeg, the Maori/New Zealand idolater! :) Now how does that sit with you all? That Melville puts his most sympathetic, likeable character as a pagan? What does that tell you about the author's personal beliefs? (That's another post in and of itself. One of these days I'll have a rant about Philip Pullman's trilogy "His Dark Materials" --especially since I hear it will be made into a movie. If there were EVER a anti-God series---MARKETED SPECIFICALLY TO 'tweens and teens--this is it. And I am not a knee-jerk censor or bookburner. But I digress.)
*calming breaths* I haven't gotten to the tragic end of Moby Dick yet (it's been a busy week and little time to relax and read), but I've come to the conclusion that I just don't have the depth of character necessary to appreciate this book as it has been hallowed over the recent years.
yes, I'm livin' life in the shallow end of the pool~!
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
It is my biggest laundry woe: HOW to match all these socks up! (I am staring mournfully at a pile of 'em right now.)
A. thinks I should just pitch all the socks and then buy socks that are exactly alike for every family member. Then it won't matter!
I am sorely tempted at times to do just that!!
I will cherish your ideas gratefully if you would be so kind as to offer them.
Monday, June 05, 2006
Naturally, Flopsy escaped her boundaries and ran, as is her habit, toward the dining room table. However, the dining room has a new piece of furniture--the hutch! Which sits about 4" off the floor, perfect for a cavy to squeeze under and make it impossible for human captors to retrieve her.
All the cajoling and cooing in the world was not going to budge that guinea pig from her den. Carrots were spurned. Kiss noises were ignored. She was not going to move from that spot for love or treats.
It became a three-person affair: Me to tilt the hutch (carefully!) against the wall, A to fish under the hutch with one arm, and D to keep a weather eye open to see which way she would bolt. I envisioned losing control of the hutch, sending it crushing down onto her small fuzzy head! It was rather stressful. However, she was retrieved without incident or injury, and sent back out to the backyard cage to pasture.
Later Saturday afternoon, D became ill. Very ill. He was miserable, and so was I watching him. On average, every 30 minutes he was violently sick! Poor kid. I headed to Fred Meyer's to get some Failsafe remedies - like 7up without all the preservative junk that we are avoiding right now. I got some Blue Sky natural cola, and managed to find some popsicles that weren't just sugar and colored water.
I headed home, armed with remedies, and ignoring the ominous queasies I was beginning to have.
Alas. D and I spent the night in the living room: he on the couch, I in the recliner. Things finally settled down for David around 11:30 pm; I pulled an all-nighter until 6:30 a.m.
Sunday was indeed a day of rest! Most unfortunately I had to bail out of a duet I was playing at the annual teachers' recital. I do not know if Kari played a solo, or if she got Mimi to play my duet part with her (Mimi can sight-read just about anything). I stayed in bed, aching so much that it was difficult to sleep. When I was certain that it would stay down, I took some ibuprofen and then I was able to sleep like the dead all afternoon.
So this morning, I'm well-rested, though a bit shaky. It's definitely a morning for cream of wheat. Maybe even for lunch too!
Oh....WE FINISHED HISTORY TODAY!
(School happens even when I've been sick! wuaahahahaaa)
Friday, June 02, 2006
Here's the end result of All That Daisy Making (A.A. Milne again~!). I would include a picture of Lora and myself, only the flash didn't go off, and we were by a window, hence, it was just too dark to see.
You don't really want to see me anyway! :) I'm still mostly annecognito after all. THE WEB is a DANGEROUS PLACE and one mustn't fling one's personal info around frivolously. ^_^