Friday, January 30, 2009

Unfathomable ingratitude

For several days, everywhere I went people were talking about the safe landing of US Airways Flight 1549. It was a beautiful piece of piloting. You would expect that everyone on that plane would be feeling grateful to be alive and ready to make the most of each day.

Not exactly. There are actually passengers thinking of suing US Airways. One guy who got a bloody nose says that he doesn't know yet how much emotional damage he has suffered. He says, “I just want to be made whole.” Snort.

If you want to read more go here.

And here's a piece in the Wall Street Journal about the underlying problem.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Oinking stimulus

I cannot believe that our leaders really believe that the proposed spending is going to save the economy. And I truly do not believe most of them do believe it. Unfortunately, I think many are using this perceived crisis to push their agenda and trap us in spending for years to some.

Michelle Malkin is calling this the "Generational Theft Act" and she has links on her blog to both bills, as well as a lot of information about what they contain. Can someone tell me how this helps the economy:

"The House Democrats' bill includes $335 million for sexually transmitted disease education and prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned."

What?! Add to that $400 million for HIV and chlamydia testing. Huh?

Huge new spending on education: $150 billion that would more than double federal expenditures on something they shouldn't even be messing in.

Read more about how this bill will not do what the democrats are saying it will. Here. Here.

And call your congressman and senators.

Update: An info filled piece from Human Events.

Monday, January 26, 2009

More on climate change

The American Thinker has an excellent article on climate change. Marc Sheppard makes the excellent point that the global warming alarmists are losing their grip on the American mind. The growing scientific outcry against their theory, coupled with facts that show a halt--and even a reversal--of the warming trend, have them frantically scrambling to get laws passed while they still can.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Big Hollywood

There's a great new website called Big Hollywood. It is all about Hollywood and the movies, with a healthy dose of politics and cultural commentary thrown in, all from a conservative point of view.
It is an opportunity for the conservatives who live and work in Hollywood to share their views, like this today from Ari David.

It's an awesome site, and another reason I almost never make it to my newspaper anymore.

Week One in the Obamanation

Well, the first week is over and, unfortunately, I am not surprised. Obama is, so far, exactly what I thought he would be.

He's arrogant. He's a hypocrite. And did anyone really believe he meant it about reducing abortions? His veep thinks that paying taxes is patriotic; I guess his Treasury nominee didn't get the memo.

We know that the press is in the tank, so there are things we aren't likely to hear much about. Like the horrible irony that a disproportionate number of African-American babies are victims of the abortions that Obama supports.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Busy week & miscellaneous

This is one of the busiest weeks of the year, every year. The Symposia at the Seminary always brings a lot of friends and a lot of activity. We had dear friends here last night and spent today at a conference at church. Tonight was a trip to Mad Anthony's.

I'll be spending a good chunk of my time at the seminary the next couple of days, and there are things going on in the evenings, so I may not be online much.

The happy news of today was President Bush's commutation of the sentences of Ramos and Compean.

I've found a house that I really like and am hoping to take Colin to see it. Yes, it is walking distance to church. No, our house isn't ready to sell. Yes, I have a lot of work to do.

If you're interested in my reading challenge progress, I'm keeping track of my reading on my book blog.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Recipe: Sweet Potato Lentil Soup

Tonight's dinner, thanks to a fellow homeschool mom who posted it earlier this week on Facebook:

Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

2 medium sweet potatoes, about 12 oz each, peeled & cut into 1/2" chunks
2 large stalks celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T curry powder
1 T grated, peeled, fresh ginger
2 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1 t ground white pepper
1/8 t ground red pepper
1 (16 oz) pkg brown lentils
2 (14.5) oz vegetable or non-fat chicken broth
6 c water
1# ground sausage (optional)
nonfat plain yogurt and lime wedges (optional)

In stock pot or non-reactive dutch oven wiped or sprayed with olive oil, over medium heat until hot, add sweet potatoes, celery, and onion. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, curry powder, ginger, cumin, coriander, and ground peppers. Stirring, cook one minute. While vegetables are cooking, rinse lentils with cold water and discard any stones or shriveled lentils. To vegetables in stock pot, add lentils, broth, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Simmer 25 minutes or until lentils are tender. Serve with yogurt and lime wedge. Yield: approx. 14 (1 1/3 c servings) ~ 1 gm fat per 1 1/3 c

Note: I didn't use sausage. I also didn't use non-fat broth or yogurt.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blogroll flux

My blogroll is going to be shifting and changing over the next week or so. I need to add some new friends who don't fit old categories. I need to make some updates. If I accidentally lose you for a day or two, don't worry. You'll be back.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

So much to say

It's hard to know where to start. Maybe here with a Treasury Secretary designee who has a problem with paying the taxes he owes. Of course, not paying $34,000 in taxes is a "minor infraction" according to Obama aides. I'm sure that the IRS would look at it like that if it was you or me.

Is anyone paying more attention to these guys yet? Or these facts? I can almost guarantee that she won't. Although, as the Daily Tech article states, "Cold is more damaging than heat, " the left has hung it's hopes on global warming, and they aren't letting go. It's about power,not truth.

And then there's this. Why exactly Has Hillary been nominated to be Secretary of State?

On the positive side, I had a really yummy sushi lunch today with a friend from college who I had not seen since the spring of 1985. Thanks, Facebook!

Monday, January 12, 2009

How do you read so many books?

Soon after I posted my first reading challenge post, I got this question from a friend. Since then it has been repeated many times. So I started thinking about it and came up with an answer. Or several answers.

Reading is my default activity. If I'm not actively doing something else I'm reading. I read while I'm waiting, whether it's for a train, an appointment, or on hold with an insurance company. I read on the treadmill or recumbent bike. I read while I dry my hair. I read while I cook--although that is more likely to be a magazine--and I have been known to read while I vacuum.

I read while I eat, unless we're all sitting down for supper together. I read while I "watch" TV or a movie unless it's really, really good. (House, Lost, 24, or The Office.) I read before I fall asleep, sometimes for far longer than I should.

I also read fairly quickly. I found out when I was about 12 that there were people who paid to take classes to read like I do. Unless I'm doing genealogical research I read in "chunks" not words. When I look at a page I see sentences or phrases as wholes.

Like many other things, I think that reading improves with practice. Exposure to a wide vocabulary and range of writing styles makes reading easier. Working through a difficult book exercises the muscles of literacy that make the next one go faster. This is why I read my kids a large variety of books when they were small. I wanted them--from the beginning--to hear many different ways words could be put together: the rhythms of Seuss, the vocabulary of Beatrix Potter, the stories of a host of authors too numerous to mention, but many of which enriched my own childhood.

And if you still wonder how I read so much, come and see my house. I would far rather read, scrapbook, write, cook, search for dead relatives...than clean my house.

Oh, by the way, here are a couple more people who read a lot of books.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Easy recipe, lazy blog post

I've spent the last couple of days dealing with a son who has had a tough time with having his wisdom teeth out. I also had food to make for a baby shower, so I've been a bit lax in my blogging.

I've had a couple of requests for this recipe, so I figured that I would just post it here.

Marinated Parmesan

1/3 lb. Parmesan
1/3 lb. Asiago
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 t. dried oregano
1t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

Chop the cheese into chunks and place in food processor. Pulse until they are the size of peas.

Put cheeses in a medium-size bowl and add all of the ingredients except the vinegar. Stir to blend.
Cover and let stand at room temp for four hours or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Bring to room temp before serving.

When ready to serve add balsamic vinegar and stir with a fork so that it blends with the oil. Serve with slices of baguette.

I suggest a glass of wine.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Book review

I have a book about homeschooling to recommend. This kind of surprises me.

First, it is unusual for me to read a homeschooling book. Most of them make me crazy. And after thirteen years of this lifestyle, I certainly don't want to read that I'm doing it wrong! Secondly, many of them are useful to new homeschoolers or a subset of homeschoolers, but no one else would really want to read them. Homeschooling: A Family's Journey is a good book for long-timers, newbies, wannabes, and folks who would just like to understand homeschoolers a little bit better.

After I got this book home from the library I was trying to figure out what made me pick it up and look at it. It does say "HOMESCHOOLING" in red letters on the front, so I guess it isn't entirely surprising that I looked at it. But I think that what really got my attention was the picture of the family on the front. It was what we like to call a "pile picture." The family is kind of piled in, leaning on each other. They like each other. They aren't stuffy. They look like a family we could be friends with.

But the thing that made me bring it home was this sentence inside the front cover: "Today's homeschoolers succeed not because they do "school" things better than schools do--but because they do better things than school." Yes. In a nutshell. (This is part of the reason calls for accountability to the school-ish powers that be drive us crazy.)

So I decided to read it last night. Not with the highest of expectations, because it has been years since I read a book about homeschooling that really did anything for me. But I found myself engaged. I stayed awake late reading. I finished it this morning. I marked pages as I read because I kept finding nuggets that resonated. This book is about family and what education is.

Several of the pages I marked are going to turn into blog posts of their own. The book I read is from the library, but I'm going to buy my own so that I can mark it up and--eventually--loan it out. It is that good.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Back into the swing

For me, as, I dare say, for most people, the worst part about a vacation is coming home.

It's not just the obvious, I-was-laying-on-a-sunny-beach-and-now-I'm-back-in-the-gray-coldness, although that certainly is a factor. There is also the fact that I have to get back to all of the normal things. It's not the cooking and straightening that are an issue; I did a fair amount of both on vacation. Same with laundry.

It's the dentist appointments.
And answering the phone.
And doing my volunteer stuff.
And getting back on top of what's going on in the world.
And worrying about whether my kids are learning anything.
And paying the bills.
And on and on.
You know. All of the STUFF.

And the stuff isn't bad in itself. Most of the time I even enjoy the majority of it. But after a week of tuning it all out, it is jarring to turn it all back on.

I'll be back to my normal, unrelaxed self in a couple of days. And in another four years or so I'll get another vacation.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

New Year's resolutions

I was really happy to go back to last January and see that I had made no new Year's Resolutions.
Really, really happy.

Why? Because I could be relatively certain that I hadn't accomplished them. Not much has changed since last year.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

2008 Reading Challenge revisited

My first reading challenge went pretty well. I didn't quite finish all of the categories, but I read more books than it required since some didn't fit.

I'm looking forward to doing this year's reading challenges, and have set up an additional blog to handle the ongoing updates to my reading lists.