Sunday, December 28, 2008

If you've missed me...

It's because I am on vacation with my family.

And this is a funny group. It could certainly be a movie. There are 32 of us. It's amazing.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

"Of the Father's Love Begotten"
by Aurelius C. Prudentius, 413, cento
Translated by John. M. Neale, 1818-1866
and Henry W. Baker, 1821-1977

1. Of the Father's love begotten
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the Source, the Ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see
Evermore and evermore.

2. Oh, that birth forever blessed
When the Virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Savior of our race,
And the Babe, the world's Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face
Evermore and evermore.

3. O ye heights of heaven, adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him
And extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert ring
Evermore and evermore.

4. This is He whom Heaven-taught singers
Sang of old with one accord;
Whom the Scriptures of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word.
Now He shines, the Long-expected;
Let creation praise its Lord
Evermore and evermore.

5. Christ, to Thee, with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
And unending praises be,
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory
Evermore and evermore.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #98
Text: 1 Tim. 3:16
Author: Aurelius C. Prudentius, 413, cento
Translated by: John. M. Neale, 1854 and Henry W. Baker, 1861
Titled: "Corde natus ex Parentis"
Tune: "Divinum mysterium", Plain-song tune, 12th century

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rush is right

I love it when people are able to admit it when someone from the opposite side of the political spectrum is right about something.

(If you have a Digg account, go digg!)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Quite a few of my friends have done this one, and since I'm busy with the buying and wrapping of presents and baking of cookies, I up for the lazy blogger thing.

The idea is to bold the ones I've done. So here goes.

1. Started your own blog
(um, yeah)
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (I played flute in elementary and junior high school)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (No, but I have on Lake Michigan)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning (!st & worst, Bruno's in Lafayette, Indiana)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (I still can't believe we didn't take a gondola ride!)
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (My family has been in this area for seven generations)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (trying)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David (in Florence!)
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (snorkeling)
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving (but I've been parasailing!)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (if fish counts)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day (Harry Potter!)

Okay. enough about me. Any of you who decide to do this, be sure to leave a link.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ice storm

Just a few pictures from the big ice storm. We were without power off and on. Then the phone went out last night. We lost a couple of trees. But it is gorgeous!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Man of the Year

I'm not surprised Barack Obama was named Time Magazine's Person of the Year. It would have been far more surprising if he hadn't been.

I am surprised that they used the Soviet propaganda poster style picture for the cover. Or maybe not. He seems to be engaging in plenty of newspeak.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hold a grudge? Me?!

Sitting across the table from the hubby at Mad Anthony's the other night, I saw a face on the TV screen that caused an immediate visceral reaction. Anger bubbled up from the depths of my being. I scowled. I may have even muttered a bad name.

The hubby saw who I was looking at and started laughing.

Who caused this reaction? Keith Olbermann? Bill Clinton? Hugo Chavez? Joel Osteen? No, no one you might expect. It was Gene Keady, former Purdue basketball coach.

When Colin was back at Purdue working on his master's degree, I supported the four of us by working as a waitress. I worked at a Damon's, where, in our Clubhouse, we had four large screen TV's. It was a fun place to work. The food was great. I was a good server and got good sections and made really, really good tips. I also had people who would request seats in my section. Unfortunately, one of those was Keady. (For the record, I don't think he cared who waited on him, but I usually had one of the two sections that had the best tables in the Clubhouse, and that's where he sat.)

The first time he sat in my section I was excited. He was with his wife and another couple. They ate and drank for hours. His wife smoked and I kept their glasses filled and their ashtrays emptied. The manager was comping their food, because, after all, he was Gene Keady. Usually a comped table meant an especially nice tip. Unless it was Keady. Then, as I discovered, it meant no tip.

So, they came in often. He would take up the best table, usually for the whole night. He and his wife were demanding. One time he left $5. When he sat in my section I usually lost about $25-30 that I usually made on that table on a weeknight.

Seems like it was just yesterday, not almost 20 years ago. Yep, I think I'm holding a grudge.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Here's the big question

Who will bail out Uncle Sam?

More on Indiana Planned Parenthood

Hoosier Access has a great update on the flouting of law by Planned Parenthood in Indiana, and the growing response to it.

I encourage everyone to use the link at Hoosier Access to contact the FSSA Secretary and ask them to suspend state payments to Planned parenthood.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy anniversary to my good friend Bill

One of the best friends that most of us have is celebrating an anniversary today. We take Bill for granted. But we would sure miss him if he were gone.

So for your reading pleasure, here's Bill in his own words:

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Book review: Garner on Language and Writing

Once again, I hit the jackpot with my Early Reviewer book from LibraryThing. For November I received Garner on Language and Writing by Bryan A. Garner.

I love well-written books on using the written word, and this is a good one. Although the main focus is on legal writing, the book is accessible and useful even for those of us who aren't legal scholars. And for those of us who enjoy reading about the law, it is doubly enjoyable. Garner encourages clarity and precision in writing, which is always good advice, whatever your field.

The large and well organized final chapter, "Recommended Sources on Language and Writing," has added many books to my wanted list, and makes this book even more of a must-have for those who are interested in good writing in general and legal writing in particular.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Smart Girl Politics

I've found another interesting place to connect. Smart Girl Politics is like Wittenberg Trail for conservative women.

Global warming, you say?

I just realized this morning that not everyone is on Facebook, and that's the only place that I posted the last couple of good pieces that I found dealing with global warming, or should I say, the lack thereof.

I really liked this line from this one: "But even though global warming is over, politicians are still trying to enact solutions to a non-existent problem. "

And then here's the one about the scientists dissenting against global warming orthodoxy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Some blog stuff

I'm trying to decide what to do with my blog.

It has never been very focused, but it is becoming less and less focused over time. It's certainly a fair reflection of it's owner! What I'm thinking that I may do is go back to blogging on my homeschooling blog, with a set posting schedule there, because I like to post about homeschooling, but not every day.

I may start a new blog for my book reviews and tracking my reading challenges.

That would leave this blog for everyday stuff and politics, with reference to books and homeschooling thrown in. I already do this with my genealogy blog.

So I'm thinking about it.

Conservative tweetings

I've mentioned that I had joined Twitter, but up to this point wasn't seeing much point in it. But tonight I found a point: Top Conservatives on Twitter. This fast-growing group is exactly the kind of grass-roots activity we need. They have started on Twitter, but the work they have in mind is the real, in-the-trenches activity that makes things happen.

So if you are on Twitter, check out #tcot. Join up. And tell them I sent you!

Oh, and be sure to follow me: Indiana_Jane. If you aren't on Twitter yet, sign up, and then do all of the things I mentioned above.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Reading challenge: 100+

I love this challenge. It's simple. Read at least 100 books in 2009.

Here are the rules:

1) You can join anytime as long as you don’t start reading your books prior to 2009.

2) This challenge is for 2009 only. The last day to have all your books read is December 31, 2009.

3) You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2009.

I'll be listing my books here. As I read books I will gray them out and put the date completed. I can hardly wait to get started!

1. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
2. Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster
3. The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper (have you read this EC?)
4. Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fisher
5. A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffery Archer

Reading challenge: Suspense and Thriller

When I saw that there was a Suspense and Thriller Challenge, I knew that I had to join. These are the kind of books that always show up and divert my attention from other books I plan to read. These are my favorites for a quick, can't-put-down read.

Rules of this challenge:

* Read TWELVE (12) different sub-genres of thrillers in 2009.

* You do NOT need to select your books ahead of time. Also, you may change as you go.

* Your books can crossover into other challenges.

The sub-genres are listed at the challenge site.

I'll be listing my books here.

1. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

2009 Reading Challenges: World Citizen

I've decided that I want to put a little more effort into my reading challenges this year so I'm searching out some different ones that are out there. I've picked a few that I'm going to do. The first is The World Citizen Challenge.

I am picking this one for several reasons. First, it is non-fiction, which I have only really started reading for pleasure during the past couple of years, but enjoy immensely. Second, it encompasses things like history, economics, culture, and politics from an international perspective. Those are things that I would be reading about, but it will help give me some focus. Third, it's only seven books and can fit in nicely with the others that I am doing.

I'll be listing my books here and will link to it in my sidebar.

1. The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper (need to figure out category)

Books, books, books

I've updated my reading challenge list again, but I forgot to add the books I read for about a month, so I have to try to remember what they were.

I've enjoyed having a kind of guide for my reading this year, even though I haven't completely followed it. (and the books that I haven't gotten to show up my mental laziness.) Is anyone taking a challenge or constructing a guide for your reading for this year? I'm trying to decide what I'm going to do, but I'm definitely going to do one. I'd love suggestions.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Blog roundup

Several of the blogs that I read have really good posts today, so just in case you haven't seen them I thought I'd share a few. Sort of a mini blog carnival!

Cheryl has a post about Obama's agenda pertaining to health care. I love this line: "I think a lot of people are going to wake up in a few years with a massive Obama hangover...."

Scott has this interesting bit of info and analysis.

Rebekah shares a childhood misunderstanding that is really a profound truth.

Evan writes about the disturbing changes to the Oxford University Press junior dictionary.

Finally, Spunky has an interesting post about what homeschool success is. I think this may generate its own blog post in the next couple of days.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Two question quiz

Saw this on a couple of friends' blogs and thought it looked like fun. Wow, is it on the money! So much so that I almost didn't put it up.

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Doris!


You are a Doris --

Dorises are warm, concerned, nurturing, and sensitive to other people's needs.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Tell me that you appreciate me. Be specific.

  • * Share fun times with me.

  • * Take an interest in my problems, though I will probably try to focus on yours.

  • * Let me know that I am important and special to you.

  • * Be gentle if you decide to criticize me.

In Intimate Relationships

  • * Reassure me that I am interesting to you.

  • * Reassure me often that you love me.

  • * Tell me I'm attractive and that you're glad to be seen with me.

What I Like About Being a Doris

  • * being able to relate easily to people and to make friends

  • * knowing what people need and being able to make their lives better

  • * being generous, caring, and warm

  • * being sensitive to and perceptive about others' feelings

  • * being enthusiastic and fun-loving, and having a good sense of humor

What's Hard About Being a Doris

  • * not being able to say no

  • * having low self-esteem

  • * feeling drained from overdoing for others

  • * not doing things I really like to do for myself for fear of being selfish

  • * criticizing myself for not feeling as loving as I think I should

  • * being upset that others don't tune in to me as much as I tune in to them

  • * working so hard to be tactful and considerate that I suppress my real feelings

Dorises as Children Often

  • * are very sensitive to disapproval and criticism

  • * try hard to please their parents by being helpful and understanding

  • * are outwardly compliant

  • * are popular or try to be popular with other children

  • * act coy, precocious, or dramatic in order to get attention

  • * are clowns and jokers (the more extroverted Dorises), or quiet and shy (the more introverted Dorises)

Dorises as Parents

  • * are good listeners, love their children unconditionally, and are warm and encouraging (or suffer guilt if they aren't)

  • * are often playful with their children

  • * wonder: "Am I doing it right?" "Am I giving enough?" "Have I caused irreparable damage?"

  • * can become fiercely protective

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz
at HelloQuizzy

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Unschooling and being a Christian

I original wrote this in February 2006, but it was brought to mind by a conversation on another blog, and I realized that it wasn't on this blog. So I'm posting it here.

Just before my unplanned hiatus I received an email from a homeschool mom who wanted to know how I could square being an unschooler with being a Christian. This isn't the first time I've heard someone question whether the two are compatible, but it is the first time I've tried to come up with an answer.

So what does it mean to be a Christian parent? The simplest way for me to answer is to turn to the Table of Duties in my copy of Luther's Small Catechism. There I find these words:

Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Eph. 6, 4.

I fulfill my vocation as a Christian mother in many ways, including but not limited to having our children baptised, regularly attending services, and doing catechesis together. Part of our vocation as parents--whether or not we are Christians--is to see to the education of our children. We have chosen to homeschool, and, in the course of our homeschool journey, to unschool.

I think that some people equate unschooling with having no discipline. They assume that unschooled children are allowed to do as they please in all areas of life. There very likely are unschooling families where this is true. However, I have a number of unschoolers among my acquaintances who--like us--require quite a bit from our kids and are unquestionably in charge.

Our unschooling does color the way we live our lives. My children have a great deal of autonomy in choosing what they will read and how they will spend their time. We don't have set times for "English" or "social studies." They don't do assignments and worksheets. They spend lots of time doing exactly what they want to do and learning all the while.

But there are things that they have to do. They have to bathe and brush teeth daily. They have to do their share of the work around the house without me nagging. This includes dishes, laundry, bedrooms, their bathroom, and cat care.

They have to attend church services. (As yet, no one has complained about this.) If they make commitments--to a team, choir, job, etc.--they have to fulfill them.

If I ever see that unschooling is not working for one of my kids, we will do something else. Because I *am* ultimately in charge. Unschooling was my decision not theirs. But after over ten years, it is still working.

So, yes, the short answer is I do think it is compatible with being a Christian.

Cookie bakin' fool

I've been kind of knocked out this week by a cold and sinus infection, so--of course--I got really behind. I had a lot of cleaning that I wanted to do this week, and I wanted to get organized for Christmas. But most of all I needed to bake.

The Bach Collegium does it's Messiah Sing-along tomorrow, and I'm providing the "holiday cookies." So I got a couple of batches done yesterday, but I've been baking all day and I'll likely be baking all night. Later I'll post a picture of the chaos that is my kitchen.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Dealing with doubts

For me, the most difficult part of homeschooling has always been dealing with my own doubts. I can deal easily with the doubts of others, although those are rarer the longer we do this and the more outward success we have. Unfortunately--or perhaps, fortunately--my own doubts are not so easily silenced. So I start running through the questions that plague many of us:

Have we done enough? Have we done it the right way? Would (insert name here) have been better off in school? At least for high school? What are we doing????

Then I settle myself down and look at some facts. Fact one: All of my children can read complex material with good comprehension and they love to read. Fact two: All of my children know how to find information that they need. Fact three: All of my children are culturally literate. They understand and recognize allusions from history and literature of the past, but are also conversant with the present. Fact four: All of my children are learning the practical skills needed to live as adults. They can cook, sew on a button, balance a checkbook, check the oil and change a tire, grow food, unclog a toilet, do laundry, or paint the house.

Could we have followed a more structured path? Certainly. Could we have pushed more advanced academic subjects? Sure. Could I have instilled more of a desire for success in the eyes of the world? Without a doubt. But we haven't done those things. Do I wish we had? Sometimes, but not because I am unhappy with our results. Instead, it is because I sometimes get these worries about how things SHOULD be, generally because of something someone says.

I also know that even if I had done all of things, I would be having doubts. So we'll continue on, adjusting as we go, doing what seems to make sense for each of the kids. It won't be perfect. It might not even be the best. And I'll always second-guessing. But it's working for us.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent already?!

Wow. It seems like it was just summer.

But somehow today was the beginning of Advent. How did that happen? Time has flown over the past few months, even more quickly than usual. And yes, this is something I tend to complain about, so I will try to keep Pastor's admonition in mind.

This week is going to be one of the fast ones.

I have tens of dozens of cookies to bake for the Bach Collegium's Messiah Singalong. This is a really fun event, and a great chance to sing Handel's Messiah with a big group of people. Plus, there will be really yummy cookies afterward! (I promise!)

We have dentist appointments and a number of errands and tasks that need to be completed.

So about Wednesday, when I am moving frantically through the week, I'll try to remember to be thankful that time is going fast.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One more thing tonight

Once I start looking at Sitemeter, I tend to look at it off and on for a couple of days. Then I forget that it exists for weeks at a time. So I checked it out tonight. One of the visits to my blog came from a google search for "random things."

That is just so appropriate.


Bethany and I are at my mom's tonight, preparing for the family dinner tomorrow. We've done some chopping and slicing, getting ready to put together the stuffing tomorrow. We've snapped the green beans. We've checked a couple of times to be sure that we're all set to cook tomorrow.

We had some delicious Pizza King Pizza, followed by a yummy brownie.

And now we're sitting around watching the news. My mom is trying to distract me from my blogging, because I should be paying attention to her. My husband and the boys will be down after church tomorrow. And during the course the afternoon we will have another twenty people arrive.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Seven weird random things

Cheryl tagged me to tell you seven weird, random things about me. Random is usually something I'm good at, so I'll give this a try.

1. I have the same recurring dream as Cheryl. (That is weird!)

2. I attended four colleges and had six different majors. I graduated with almost 150 credit hours.

3. All of my children have dark hair and brown eyes. All seven of my nieces and nephews (not step) have blond hair and light eyes.

4. I love to dust and iron. When I was a kid I'd beg for things to iron. (I'd also beg for math problems to do,so you know something was wrong.)

5. None of my children were born in the same town. (And they were born in three states.)

6. Eating oranges makes me feel sick, except when I was pregnant. Then they helped my morning sickness.

7. I was a lesson junkie when I was a kid. I had lessons in tap, ballet, tumbling, piano, guitar, flute, voice, tennis, swimming, ceramics, bowling, breadmaking, trampoline, roller skating, and horseback riding. There may be more that I'm forgetting.

I'll tag a few people, avoiding those already tagged. But if I don't tag you and you want to play, do it! Bethany, Mossback Meadow, Jan, Shawn, and Jonathan.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cowboy Soup

I get so many requests for this recipe that I decided that I needed to put it in a place on my computer where I can always find it. This recipe is awesome doubled, tripled, even quadrupled or quintupled for a group. It is flexible, because you can add any combination of beans, and it's still good. And if you need to stretch it, an additional can of beans does the job. It can simmer all day, and it's even better left over. (Sometimes I'll throw in a couple of extra cans the next day to stretch it even farther.)

Cowboy Soup.

Brown 1# ground beef
with 1 small onion, chopped.

Add (liquid and all)
1# can of pinto beans
1# can of black beans
1# can of kidney beans
1# can of navy beans (or great northerns)
1# can of tomatoes
4-oz can of green chilies (optional)
1 can of corn or 10-16 oz of frozen corn.

When heated, add seasonings.

1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch dry dressing mix
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
2 cups water,
and add to soup.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes or more.

My friend Susan, who is far more hardworking and frugal than I came up with this formula to make up for the packets:
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp salt (or more)
1 tsp dillweed
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
a few cloves minced garlic (or 1 tsp dried garlic powder).
Simmer 15-20 minutes or more.
Shortly before serving, remove from heat and add
1 cup buttermilk.

We top it with shredded cheddar, colby, jack, cojack, etc., sour cream, and fritos.


It's kind of funny

I don't look at my Sitemeter often. I'm usually in too much of a hurry to care who is reading my blog, but once in a while I check it.

Very few of my visitors come from searches, but those that do are almost all about food. Just today I had two people searching for Schultz Salty Stix, and one searching for Mr. Salty. One was searching for Cinnamon Clusters Cereal.

So, has anyone found a replacement for Planters Cheez Balls? They were discontinued, but I have heard a rumor that Blockbuster is carrying them. I'll have to go check it out!

Done for now

We finished today with the government class that I taught this fall. I enjoyed it, for the most part. I liked the subject matter and the kids were great. The only real problem was that I am lazy, and putting a class together takes work.

The enjoyment--and the benefit to my boys--outweighs the inconvenience to me sufficiently that I'll be doing at least one other class in the spring.

I'm feeling pretty free until Christmas. I have lots of cookies to make, and I am hoping to make a few gifts, but there are no major commitments until after the first of the year.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Messed up

Is anyone besides me still thrown off by the time change? I've never had trouble getting back on track before, but I think that the fact that the time change was followed by election day--which is a huge disruption in my sleep patterns--followed by two bouts with bugs, has really gotten me off track.

I usually wake up at 7:00 with no alarm clock. If I want to get up earlier or be sure I'll wake up I set it, but my wake up time has been very consistent for a long time. Since the time change it is 8:00 unless I set the alarm. (And this is really bizarre, because the time change went the other way.) I've been tired and draggy no matter how long I sleep. I've heard people complain about the time change time being hard for them and I've kind of pooh-poohed it, but I think I'm feeling it this time.

Or maybe I'm just staying up too late.

FOMS strikes again

I have long recognized that I suffer from a tremendous case of FOMS*. It has led me to join groups, to go to events that I don't have time for, and stay on email lists that have lost any relevance to my life.

It led me to Facebook, LibraryThing, The Wittenberg Trail, Classmates, and Good Reads. And now, because the curiosity was too great, I've joined Twitter. Twitter led to Twittermoms. This feels like a moose-a-muffin situation.

But hey, if you Twitter, I'm there.

*Fear of missing something

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Book review: The Jumping-Off Place

I love LibraryThing. I especially love the Early Reviewer program because I get free books. The books I've gotten have ranged from this-is-a-waste-of-time to absolutely wonderful. My most recent book is toward the latter end of the spectrum.

I began to read The Jumping-Off Place by book light in a camp bunk with barely a glance at the cover. There was a lovely old-fashioned quality to the writing and the characters that surprised me until I looked more closely the next day and realized that the book was written in 1929.

This is a wonderful story, set in one of the last bits of the frontier after the turn of the twentieth century. Four orphans, having just lost their beloved uncle, travel to South Dakota to "prove up" his claim. They face hardships--drought, blizzard, wind, and an adversarial neighbor--with maturity, hard work, generosity, and an unquenchable spirit. In the process they fell in love with the prairie and the community and it with them.

This is an excellent book for all ages. It would make a very nice family read aloud, particularly because there is some lovely prose. The original illustrations have been retained and enhance the historical feel of the book. The South Dakota State Historical Society has added an afterword with historical background and author information and a word list, adding to the educational value of the book.

This 1930 Newbery Honor Book was a joy, and I am very glad that the SDSHS Press has decided to return it to print.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is it over?

Alan Keyes has filed a lawsuit. Philip Berg's Writ of Certiorari, filed in the U.S. Supreme Court is awaiting a response from Obama and the DNC, which is due by Dec. 1. If you can't read the entire thing, at least read Berg's Writ through the Table of Contents.

Aside from the specific questions about Obama's citizenship, there are the larger questions: Who insures that candidates are eligible to run for president? Who has the right to challenge their qualifications and where? How much does our constitution matter?

Interesting stuff.

HT: Die Schreiben von Schreiber


My theme for the past month, and for the foreseeable future is "bringing order out of chaos." And chaos isn't too strong a word.

I have managed to function for the past couple of years by only doing what is urgent at any time, and letting everything else slide. I was trying to do too many things without the time, space, or tools to do them properly. I would scramble to clean the downstairs for company, and a chaotic mess would be shifted upstairs, but I was always in too much of a hurry to put those things in their proper places later.

I've written about ironing my dish towels. It's a small thing, but it is bringing order, and I like it. Today is a closet-cleaning day. I'm getting rid of outdated records, straightening the linen closet, and getting rid of things that no longer serve a purpose. As I decide to keep something I am making sure that it has a place of its own.

My scrapbooking weekend helped to bring more order, but it also pointed out how much I've lost track of things. I discovered when I started working on my books that I thought I had pictures from 2007, but they were from 2006. I couldn't figure out where the late 2007/early 2008 photos were. I finally figured out that they had been saved to my old computer and never uploaded to Snapfish. I have always printed my photos in order, but I'm really messed up now!

This isn't a big problem, but it's a symptom of the disorganization that I've been living with. When my life is chaotic things slip through the cracks. I'm fortunate that most of them have been small!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Scraps of time

It seems like I'm always trying to grab on to the extra little pieces of time to do the things I want to do, but twice a year I set aside a whole weekend just to have fun. So I'm leaving tomorrow morning with two friends to go scrapbook for almost three days.

I love the order that scrapbooking brings to my photos and my memories. I love the creative outlet. I've looked at digital scrapbooking options, but I love the feeling of the components and playing with the paper, moving things around to fit them on the page and tell the story. I love to write about the people and the places and the memories they bring.

So I'll drink coffee, eat snacky food, talk, laugh, cry, and have a really good time. And I'll come home feeling like I've taken a few more steps out of chaos.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


After all of the serious political posts, I decided it was time for a frivolous post.

I went shopping yesterday. I was on a mission. I have really trimmed down my wardrobe and I only shop now with a plan. If it doesn't fit the plan I don't buy it. Yesterday I was looking for a jacket to wear with my habitual black base of black top and black pants, skirt, or jeans. I have a couple, but they are dressier that what I was hoping to find and they are also several years old. I also was looking for a new print skirt to mix in with my black or white tops.

I decided not to mess around, and headed straight to Chico's. This is the jacket I found. The color is great on me and it is going to work wonderfully with the rest of my clothes. I also found a beautiful soft flared skirt in black and grey that will fit in really well with the rest of my wardrobe. (There's no picture of it on the website.)

I also found a brown jacket that fits the plan and was on clearance for 24.99. Since my birthday was a couple of days ago and I had good coupons, I decided to go for it.

I love successful shopping!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My kind of award

Really, what better blog award could an unschooler get? Thanks, Meg. I always learn something from your blog, too.

This award didn't come with specific instructions for passing it along, and there are so many of you that I learn things from, so I will just name a few. I know some of you aren't the award passing out type, and that's okay. And I'll leave some really good ones for those of you who are to name.

Cyberstones, and not just because he's my pastor. Thinking-out-loud. Rebellious Pastor's Wife. Concordian Sisters of Perpetual Parturition. Bi-Coloured Python Rock Snake. Father Hollywood.

Wow. Leaks already.


A change for the better

It's almost hard for me to use the word change right now, but we have to remember that some changes are good.

Juan Williams, who is also author of the book Enough, has a piece in the Wall Street Journal today that I would consider a hopeful look at how Obama's election may change racial politics in the United States.

Part of his article is a reminder of how far we've really come in less than fifty years, and part of it is focused on where things can go from here. As in his book, Williams takes a matter of fact look at matters of race in America that recognizes the evil that is part of the past, but holds individuals and families responsible for their own futures.

Gotta love...

Sarah Palin is doing an interview with a national network, making pigs in a blanket, in a suit and heels, with a crockpot on the counter next to her. She's funny, at ease, and smart.

Yeah, I like her.

Glenn Beck. He had his interview debut on the O'Reilly Factor tonight. His analysis of why the Republicans did so poorly in the election: "They stink on ice."

Oh yeah.

Added note: The Wall Street Journal has a good piece today by William McGurn calling on McCain to stand up for his former running mate.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ready to rule?

Wow. I took a pass on mentioning Obama's Nancy Reagan gaffe. But this one? Wow. The co-chair of Obama's transition campaign said this on Meet the Press:
"it's important that president elect Obama is prepared to really take power and begin to rule day one.

Memo to the president-elect: You are not going to be king, Pope, or Grand Poobah.

And be sure you check out This is the website of the "Office of the President-elect." The title is descriptive of the content, which seems to be altering with each passing minute.

One way for Obama to realize his peaceful transition to power seems likely to be the muzzling of his critics.

Wow. Here we go.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Another teen!

Some birthdays are harder for a mother to believe than others. This is one of the hard ones. My baby is 13! Happy Birthday, Andrew!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Why I'm not all that upset

I don't think McCain would have been a good president. There. I said it.

Would he have been preferable to Obama in some areas? Maybe. The main reason I supported him was the issue of life and the possible appointment of Supreme Court justices, but I never really had any confidence that he would have been less of a compromiser in that area than he has always been.

He has never been a conservative. He has trampled on the First Amendment. And I'm glad he won't be president.

Does that mean I'm happy with Obama? Of course not. I still think he's a socialist. There's already talking about appointing a global warming czar. (YAY! More government!) But I am going to wait and see what he does. Some of his supporters are going to be disappointed. I won't, because I'm not expecting anything good.

Pastor Petersen has a good post about our new president-elect.

I do think that having a black president is a good thing for our society. I know some of my friends don't see this. Maybe the "goodness" of this is more apparent to those of us who have grown up in integrated areas and have many individual black people about whom we care. It shouldn't matter, but the reality is that skin color has mattered very much in our history. I pray for his safety and that his administration helps to heal wounds.

And I hope he is a good president. Over the past eight years we have heard liberals and members of the media hoping that George Bush would fail. We have heard them gloating about everything that has gone wrong. Let's not be like them. Let's not hope he screws up so "we" can take control in four years. Peace and prosperity are best for America no matter who the president is.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Bush is a class act

I just watched President Bush's speech congratulating Senator Obama on his victory. He was gracious and I'm sure will help to smooth the transition.

I would bet that Obama's team won't move into their offices and have to deal with vandalized computer keyboards, obscene voice messages, a chaos of switched phone and fax lines, and other juvenile acts of pique and disrespect. George W. Bush will leave the White House with dignity.

Along that thought line, there was a piece in the Wall Street Journal titled today, The Treatment of Bush Has Been a Disgrace. I have been disappointed with President Bush, and frustrated by the inability of his administration to communicate effectively with the American people. But I have been far more frustrated with and disappointed in the American people who willingly and uncritically bought into the "Bush lied" lies and the media's inarguably biased reporting.

I think history will see him differently, juat as it does Harry Truman.

I like this perspective

Evan posted Jonah Goldberg's thoughts on the election to his blog. They are well worth a read.

Time to pray for our president-elect.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Time to chill

As of 6:00 last night I had to put aside my very strong political opinions and put on my non-partisan Election Inspector hat. It always amazes me how easily I am able to do this. It amazes me that I can go have a great day in a polling place that voted 90% for Obama. It surprises me that I can happily instruct person after person, in answer to their questions, exactly how they vote straight Democrat.

But I love it. I love the people at my precincts. I love being a part of the process.

Now I'm home, having my post election gyro and a pumpkin ale. Yes, I am watching the election returns. But I refuse to be stressed. I've been humming--and slowly memorizing--one hymn for two weeks now. I've emailed it to my mom and a couple of non-Lutheran friends. You Lutherans may be able to predict what's coming, but here it is anyway.

"Praise the Almighty, My Soul, Adore Him"
by Johann D. Herrnschmidt, 1675-1723
Translated by Alfred Brauer, 1866-1949

1. Praise the Almighty, my soul, adore Him!
Yea, I will laud Him until death.
With songs and anthems I'll come before Him
As long as He doth give me breath.
From Him my life and all things came;
Bless, O my soul, His holy name.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

2. Trust not in princes, they are but mortal;
Earth-born they are and soon decay.
Naught are their counsels at life's last portal,
When the dark grave doth claim its prey.
Since, then, no man can help afford,
Trust ye in Christ, our God and Lord.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

3. Blessed, yea, blessed is he forever
Whose help is in the Lord most high,
Whom from the saving faith naught can sever
And who in hope to Christ draws nigh.
To all who trust in Him, our Lord,
Counsel and aid He doth afford.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

4. God the Almighty, the great Creator,
Ruler of sky and land and sea,
All things ordained, and sooner or later
They come to pass unfailingly.
His rule is over rich and poor,
His promise ever standeth sure.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

5. Penitent sinners, for mercy crying,
Pardon and peace from Him obtain;
Ever the wants of the poor supplying,
Their faithful God He doth remain.
He helps His children in distress,
The widows and the fatherless.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

6. Praise, O mankind, now the name so holy
Of Him who doth such wondrous things!
All that hath being, to praise Him solely,
With happy heart its "Amen" sings!
Children of God, with angel host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #26
Text: Ps. 146
Author: Johann D. Herrnschmidt, 1714
Translated by: Alfred Brauer, 1925, alt.
Titled: "Lobe den Herren, o meine Seele"
Tune: "Lobe den Herren, o meine"
1st Published in: _Seelenharfe_
Town: Onolzbach, 1665

Monday, November 03, 2008

A few final thoughts

Of course, we all knew I couldn't let this week pass without one last political post.

First my friend Jenny shares this. Sorry Obama fans, this is scary stuff. Combine this with Obama's long-standing antipathy to individual gun rights and it's no surprise that sales of guns and ammo are up.

Then we have the usual libs threatening to leave the country if McCain wins. Please. Go already.
Then there are those who predict violence if Obama loses. These are the folks who consider themselves so reasonable.

Obama surrounds himself with such thoughtful people.

Enough. I'm getting all agitated again.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

I've done my part

I've voted.

I waited in line for 2 1/2 hours to vote. I had to vote today since I will be working at a precinct other than my own on election day. Next election I'll go back to an absentee ballot.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Not much to say

I can't stand to write any more about the election. Right now I'm just praying.

Actually, I'm praying lots, because I got my Treasury of Daily Prayer, yesterday and I've spent quite a bit of time geeting familiar with it. This is going to be a very good thing!

I've ironed more cloth napkins. And listened to more Issues, etc.

I've filled two recycling bins and a black garbage bag with junk from my office.

We're getting pirate costumes together for tomorrow night.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Strangely satisfying

I have tons to do. I have another half-bushel of apples to sauce. My house is about 1/3 clean, (Yes, the rooms commonly seen by visitors are relatively clean.) There's a pile of laundry. I have done absolutely nothing with my business in over three weeks.

But I spent an hour this morning ironing kitchen towels and cloth napkins.

I know. They go into a drawer, then they are used, then they go back to the dirty clothes. But they are more pleasant to use when they have been ironed. They fit in the drawer better. And maybe it's just a little tiny bit of order in what seems to be an increasingly insane world.

Besides, I got to listen to on-demand Issues, etc.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

This and that

The kids and I are going to see Governor Palin Saturday when she visits Fort Wayne. We don't normally get many national candidates here, so I'm excited that my kids are going to have this experience.

The closer the election gets, the more worried I get about the results of an Obama presidency. When we talk about nominating Supreme Court justices the focus tends to be on abortion, and Obama does have an abortion "litmus test" for potential justices, but there are many ways an activist liberal Obama court could change America.

By the way, in the last debate Obama said that no one is pro-abortion. I beg to differ. If anyone can be said to be pro-abortion, and I believe some can, Obama is.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Great political post

My friend RPW has said many of the things I've been thinking but have just been too tired and fried to write.

I will very likely have a political post bubble up in the next couple of days. But for now, go read hers.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall in northern Indiana

Yesterday was my niece Gabby's fifth birthday. She wanted to do something with Bethany and her family, so we met them at a farm about an hour northwest of here. The main feature of this particular farm is the corn maze. As we started walking through the maze my sister-in-law asked if any of us get claustrophobic.

Uh, yeah. Me. And by the way, I hate cornfields. Well, I love looking at them. I just don't like being in them.

Really, though, it wasn't bad. We were led around by a five year old and all had a good time throwing corn at each other, which we discovered later was against the rules. I even hid in the corn.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I LOVE fall. It has always been my favorite season.

I love the warm sun on the cool-ish days and I love the crisp nights. I love sitting by a warm fire with a cup of hot cider or tea, looking up at the stars in the clear sky. I love the reds and golds of the leaves and the crunch that they make underfoot.

I love the spicy, woodsy, smoky smell of burning leaves. I love sleeping with the windows open and waking up culed up under my down comforter. I love sweaters and boots and fleece and trousers. I love squash and chili and warm creamy comfort food.

I love baking and the warmth and good smells it sends through the house. I love All Saints and the end of the church year. I love Redeemer's Sauerkraut Supper.

I'm not looking forward to winter, but I love fall.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Okay. It's the final presidential debate. It's painful to watch, but I can't miss it.

It's also the season finale of Project Runway. I'm not going to miss this! For the first time ever my three favorites are in the final.

Our DVR isn't capable of recording what's on another channel while we watch one.

Internet to the rescue! I am live-streaming the debate and watching PR.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Birthday party, sort of

Friday night we had a great family get together at Mounds Park in Anderson. My mom and Wicked throw a thirteenth birthday for each of their grandchildren, and this year we have two turning thirteen. Because of busy lives and the fact that the grandparents are leaving for Florida for five weeks, the party was held a little early. Andrew won't be 13 until November and Kate's birthday is in December.

I don't think anyone's complaining. A gorgeous evening at the park in October beats a December afternoon crammed into the condo anytime! We had a gorgeous fire, walked in the woods, and cooked hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire.

Roasting wienies!

My brother taught the girls his all-city airband championship dance to 1999. (Warning: The link is to a Prince video.)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt: Lazy

Jonathan relaxing with the cat. As you can see in the background, there's work to be done!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

On the campaign trail

This is very interesting reading.

Apparently traveling with McCain is more pleassant than traveling with Obama.

Monday, October 06, 2008


I have been neglecting my reading list, both reading the books on it and making note of what I read. I tried to get it up to date today, but I have read several books in the past couple of months that aren't coming to mind. If they do, I'll get them added.

I also have a couple of new must-reads that I'm going to have to fit in.

Even though I have deviated from it substantially, I still think that having the list has been worthwhile and I am going to do it again next year.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Photo Hunt: Sad

I have missed taking part in the Saturday Photo Hunt and have decided it's time to rejoin the hunt!

Today's theme is sad.

This is a cannoli from Buca di Beppo, swimming in a lovely sea of sambuca-laced chocolate. It is a sad picture because this particular cannolo is almost gone. It is doubly sad because Buca no longer serves the cannoli, so this was my last one. Wish I'd know in at the time. I might have eaten it a bit more slowly!

Friday, October 03, 2008

An American Carol

I know one thing I'm doing this weekend.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

St. Michael Conference

Monday morning I got another of those little glimpses of Heaven. The sound of the voices of a goodly number of pastors singing hymns has to be very close to what we'll hear there!

I was privileged, once again, to feed the attendees at the St. Michael Conference. There is a bit of effort involved, but I enjoy feeding people, and the blessings far outweigh the work. The worship services were wonderful. The full-throated singing of "Praise My Soul the King of Heaven" by mostly male voices led on the organ by the Rev. Dr. Daniel Reuning was amazing. Kantor Reuning has the gift of playing in a way that makes the singing better and I am fortunate to be blessed by it every Sunday.

It was unusally great to hear my own pastor preach, because he has been on sabatical for two months, and will not be back until All Saints.. One of the things that I heard the Rev. Dr. Karl Fabrizius say in his presentation--I got to hear snippets of a couple--was that people learn the vocabulary, phrasing, etc., of their pastor. We learn what to expect. Listening to pastors we are accustomed to is easier for us, and it makes it harder for new pastors, or those filling in. This is so true. We, as listeners, owe it to those who are preaching to really listen and to realize that some effort may be required on our part when we are listening to someone new to us preach.

I always feel like I am getting a little bit of a privileged peek into the world of pastors when I help out at these events. I have come to appreciate more and more over the past couple of years the vast array of struggles that faithful pastors can be facing. It makes me so sad when I see and hear of faithful pastors who are being mistreated in ways small and large. And as I get to meet more and more of these men, I feel privileged to pray for them as individuals instead of just as an amorphous cloud of pastors.

We, as laypeople, need to encourage our pastors. We need to tell them when we get some new insight from a sermon. We need to pay them a living wage, and preferably more. We need to recognize that they have a huge responsibility--the care and feeding of souls--and support them in that. We need to encourage our pastors to take advantage of opportunities to be in the company of other faithful pastors. If there is a financial impediment to this happening, maybe we could forgo a night out and allow our pastor this oasis. We should also support our pastors by studying and learning, reading our Bibles, knowing our Confessions, and being Lutheran. And, it should go without saying, we should pray for them and their families.

Praise, My soul, the King of Heaven
By: Henry F. Lyte, 1793-1874

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;
To his feet your tribute bring;
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing;
Alleluia, alleluia!
Praise the everlasting King.

Praise Him for His grace and favor
To His people in distress;
Praise Him still the same as ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless:
Alleluia, alleluia!
Glorious in His faithfulness.

Father like He tends and spares us;
Well our feeble frame He knows;
In His hand He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Widely yet His mercy flows.

Angels, help us to adore Him;
You behold Him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before Him,
All who dwell in time and space.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Praise with us the God of grace.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Now for some fun

Don't go to this site if you like Trivia and don't want to get hooked.


Ben Stein just described our government as a kleptocracy. Sounds about right to me.

Of course the bailout bill that our Senate is voting on tonight has become bloated with all kinds of enticements to various senators, making it far more expensive that the original $700 Billion I am hoping that people actually remember this when they cast their votes.

I liked Dave's plan.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Perspective on the bailout

My friend RPW has a great post on the bailout, the economy, history, and where we may be heading.

Go watch this video

This YouTube video was linked in the comment on my last post. Yeah, those Democrats had nothing to do with this crisis.

Friday, September 26, 2008

More on politics

While I sit here watching Cavuto, I wonder why we can't have more in the media like him.

Cheryl just posted exactly what I was going to post. I loved hearing the clips of Dingy Harry Reid and Barney Frank giving conflicting accounts of what happened at the White House yesterday. Can anyone say disingenuous? So why didn't any of the supposedly brilliant folks in the big media notice?

Here's another look at how the dems are trying to spin it.

And Michelle Malkin has a new look at an old story.

Then there's ACORN, to which BO has ties.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

For you Issues Etc. fans

There is a very interesting open mike segment on the Issues, Etc. website dealing with the Q&A done by David Strand about the Issues issue.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hollywood wake up call?

Did you watch the Primetime Emmy Awards? Yeah, me neither.

It appears that not many people did tune them in, and if you check out the comments on the piece I've linked to, it looks like I'm not alone in not wanting to hear the stars spout political hooey.

When do you think Hollywood will figure it out?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Here and there

Spent last night at a racetrack and casino. If you think that doesn't sound like my usual taste in entertainment, you're right, but this was a special occasion.

We went to Hoosier Park in Anderson to meet a couple of my really good friends from high school and their wives for dinner. Afterward, we walked over to the bar that was in the center of the casino to meet up with a few of our other classmates. It was great to see the guys. It had been 15 years since I had seen them and I have missed them. One of the wives didn't make it because she was at Grandma's with the three year old and twin one year olds. Amazing how we can be at such different points in our lives!
I can't say I would chose to go back to the casino. Noise, smoke, flashing lights. Did I mention noise? But the restaurant was pretty good, especially for Anderson.

I woke up this morning to find that my car had been broken into. We had a crime wave in our part of town last night, and a number of cars were broken into. Mine was literally broken into. One of the back windows was smashed all over the backseat. They threw the contents of my glove compartment and center console all over the floor. Patrick had left his wallet in the door pocket and he lost a fair amount of cash, a few gift cards, his ID, and his debit card.

I'm feeling really out of sorts today. I wish tomorrow could wait a day to come, because I just really don't feel like seeing people and I have to teach my class tomorrow.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Play day

Colin and the boys went to a Cubs game with his dad today. I spent the afternoon at the zoo with my dear sister-in-law, Shannan, who I don't get to see enough of and my adorable nieces and nephew.

It was a gorgeous day and we enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine. I needed it after my day yesterday!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Can't watch the news

My frustration level is high enough today--with insurance snafus, billing troubles, and the ever-vexing church treasurer job--that I just can't watch the news.

I turned on Neil Cavuto just long enough to watch him try to get a democrat to admit that maybe there was blame enough to go around in the financial mess, and that it isn't all Bush's fault. No dice.

I can't take it today. I hate to see what my blood pressure looked like this afternoon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Whose fault is it?

I am so tired of seeing Obama's spokespeople today somehow blaming John McCain for what's happening on Wall Street. There's plenty of blame to go around.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Under pressure

I can really identify with the phrase under the weather. That's how I spent Saturday afternoon and evening and most of Sunday. I have known for years that my joints react to humidity and temperature changes, but the reaction they had to the passing of the remnants of Ike was the worst I've ever experienced.

Apparently I'm not alone. I have talked to several people who had increased joint pain, severe whole-body pain, and headaches this weekend. I've read a couple of articles that point to changes in barometric pressure as the reason. They don't know why, but they believe that's the likely culprit.

Whatever it was, it even kept me away from my computer.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


It is a beautiful day today, but not quite as gorgeous as it was in 2001. That was a fabulous morning. I spent about 15 minutes walking around our then acre+ yard, enjoying my flowers and the flawlessly beautiful September day. The sky was a brilliant blue. The air was crisp, but with the promise of a warm day. I remember feeling energized and ready to get busy on all kinds of things.

I went into my office to check my email and turned my radio on to WLS to listen as I did every morning. A couple of minutes after I turned it on, they broke in with a report that a plane had hit one of the towers of the world trade center. They thought it was an accident with a small plane, but I decided I would go turn on the news to see if there was any more information.

I turned on the TV and went and grabbed a cup of coffee. I came back in and sat down just in time to see the second plane hit the other tower, live on FoxNews. After the plane hit the Pentagon I went upstairs and woke up Bethany, who was 15 then, and Patrick who was 11 and had them come downstairs with me.

We spent the next several days mostly glued to the TV. We worried about family members and friends who were traveling. We walked out side of our house, which was in the approach path for O'Hare and felt the bizarre stillness as no planes passed overhead.

I think that day was a wake up call for many of us. It was probably the first time many people my age felt unsafe. For many of us it was the first time that we considered that evil from overseas could affect us here at home.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

My new endeavor

Okay, it's not completely new, but this is the first time I'm doing it with a plan. I've decided I need to get in shape. It's only peripherally about losing weight. It's more about improving my health.

I knew that if, after three months of YMCA membership, I had not used the workout facilities, I probably wouldn't on my own. So I decided to take advantage of a special package that the Y offers members and get two sessions with a personal trainer and a fitness evaluation for less than the two sessions with the trainer normally cost.

I've had one session with the trainer and my evaluation. The biggest surprise of the evaluation is that I scored at the top of the scale for women my age on crunches and was very good as far as flexibility. Not at all surprising is that my upper body strength stinks. I need to improve my cardio, but when I consider that I've never specifically done cardio workouts, it's not too bad.

I am really glad I had the session with the trainer because she showed me the proper way to use the machines and how to set them for my height. There are a couple that I am not using because of my joint issues. She also introduced me to the rowing machine, which I am going to love!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Why I find Obama terrifying

Public Allies.

William Ayers. And not just because he's a terrorist.

The way he deals with his critics.

The Second Amendment.

The Omnivore's 100

I've lifted this from Evan's blog, because food is one of my favorite things to talk about. It is originally found here. This is what the original poster says about it: The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all.

And here are the instructions:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out (I ghosted them) any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (if ants count)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare (but I have had rabbit)
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

60 out of 100, with only a couple that I would absolutely not eat. Is there anything important you think is missing?

Maybe it's my midwestern roots showing but I can't imagine never having fresh (meaning hours from the field at the most) sweet corn dripping with butter.

If you decide to do the list, let me know.