Sunday, May 31, 2009

They call me a Grackle because I say GRAAAK!! all the time

This little feller fell out of the nest a few days early. I thought he was all alone out in the back yard. He stood quietly still for a picture, until I crossed some invisible line and got just a bit too close, at which point he hollered "GRAAAAAK!" and his parents appeared out of nowhere to chase me away.

He cannot fly yet. His parents are both fluttering around him and caring for him. Their strategy appears to be to stuff him so full of food that he grows really fast and learns to fly early. It seems to be working. He has lasted at least 24 hours out there now on the ground.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Goodbye to our friend Gary, and a reunion

Last Tuesday we received a phone call telling us that our old friend Gary Schmidt had died very suddenly of a heart attack. Gary was only 57 years old and one of the last people you'd expect to have a bad heart. He was gardening when it happened. We knew Gary and his wife Diane in our old church, the La Crosse, Wisconsin, congregation of the Worldwide Church of God. We had dropped out of contact with most of the people we knew back then, and so I was especially thankful that Bob Kersten thought to contact us and let us know.

We attended the funeral Friday in New Lisbon, Wisconsin. As sad an occasion as this was, there was great joy in reuniting with dear old friends. I am so sorry for failing to maintain contact with them. Just because I'm a little embarrassed about my association with the Worldwide Church of God in the past doesn't mean I shouldn't still love the Christians I met there. This would be an extremely long blog if I were to tell you of all the kindnesses our brothers and sisters there have done for us through the years. And they did us yet another kindness at the funeral by loving us, hugging us, welcoming us back into their hearts. They are scattered, spiritually; many have no church even to this day. Some meet with one another for prayer and Bible study. In fact, Gary was supporting many of them spiritually by inviting them out to his cabin for study and fellowship, filling a great need in their hearts. (It also shows me once more how blessed we are to have been placed in a church.)

Anyway, please ask for heavenly comfort for the wife, children, brothers, sisters, and friends who are sorely missing Gary right now. Even knowing he is safe with his Savior, there is great pain in missing him. I especially hurt for the love of his life, Diane Snitker Schmidt, who is now a widow. May God bless and comfort her as He promises to comfort all widows.

Friday, May 29, 2009

One final backsplash post | EDITED

Here it is with the outlet covers installed and the stove back in its cozy little cubby-hole.

Mrs. Mac asked for pictures of the cooktop on that stove.

This stove is from the first half of the 1930s and was made by the Detroit Vapor Stove Company. I bought it at a garage sale in Bangor, Wisconsin, about 10 years ago. I did not have it restored. I did have to find replacement knobs, and I had Jay Heisel make me some oven racks out of steel. My father-in-law has adjusted the burners for me a couple of times, but really there is not a whole lot that can go wrong with a stove like this.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I hope you will admire my fortitude...

... and not hate me for my lack of pity.

Yesterday when I went to pick up the mail, Animal Lover Rita stopped me on the street and asked if I wanted a kitten. I steeled myself instantly. Sure enough, it was a very, very sad tale: While out on one of her power walks, Animal Lover Rita had heard pitiful meowing coming from a wood pile. She called and searched but could not find the meower. The next day, she heard it again, and asked the owner of the woodpile if she could search it, and finally found a tiny, tiny kitten abandoned and trapped behind the pile. She took it to her daughter's house and they tried feeding it milk with an eye dropper, since it was too tiny to lap milk, and then then called a vet tech friend of theirs who told them it needed cat milk replacer, not cow's milk, or it would get scour and die.

Animal Lover Rita is just about at her wit's end over this little mite. I'm so glad she didn't have it with her; if I had seen it, that probably would have been the end of my resolve. But I am not volunteering to eye dropper feed a tiny, starving kitten. Is that terrible?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cheryl Wheeler: "Estate Sale"

Pam over at Retro Renovations found this video.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

All grouted in

Barry: "Wait a minute, let me get this stuff out of here... DID YOU JUST TAKE THE PICTURE? I SAID TO WAIT!!"

Last Day of School 2008-2009

Left was the first day of school, right is the last (which was actually Friday the 22nd). Only Lil Miss A actually had to go to school on the last day so she is the only one wearing school clothes.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New US credit card legislation - a link and a tip

Here's what CNN Money Blog has to say about the new consumer credit card legislation that is supposed to land on the President's desk before Memorial Day:

If you are like me, you are looking anxiously at your remaining credit card debt and wondering what's the best way to proceed. I am expecting continued rate hikes as credit card issuing banks take a hard look at their bottom line under the new legislation. I am going to make sure that my remaining credit card debt is locked in at the best long-term rate I can find.

Here is an excellent calculator to help you determine if transferring a balance to a different card will actually save you money. I use this thing every time one of those teasers arrives in the mail: Should I leap? or should I stay right here on this lily pad a little longer and wait for a better deal?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fabric Inspiration

This piece of fabric, extra wide, about 4 yards, was at The Way Station this week. It's probably been there awhile, too, because it was at the bottom of the fabric box and I had not dug in there for quite awhile. It's rayon. The colors on my photo are not quite right; in real life, the background is exactly the color of Beckham's eyes!

I have it draped over Mabel while I ponder what it shall become.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Quilt Market Aftermath Giveaway at Yellow Bird Art

My friends at Yellow Bird Art are having several giveaways through tomorrow. Check in on their blog, look at the purdy pictures and then leave a comment to enter. Tell 'em Maria sent you.

The coolest: Laying seamless train track in Rochester, Minnesota

I already had a post ready to go for this morning, and I'm bumping it for this. It's from the Rochester, Minnesota, Post-Bulletin, a story about laying seamless railroad track.

If I had been there, I would have just stayed and watched for awhile!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another reason why I love that man.

Yesterday I was typing away (in the basement, because, believe it or not, even though we had a frost just 2 days ago, it was 88 outside and HOT), and my wonderful husband made me lunch. It's water crackers, hummus, strawberries, sliced avocado and two kinds of cheese. Am I pampered or what??

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2009 Lilac Season

These are really past their prime, but I had to post some anyway. This bouquet came from 3 different bushes, so there are three color variations.

Maybe it's the brevity of lilac season that makes us love them so much. Two weeks, max, of heavenly scents and sights. Maybe if we took a lesson from lilac season and limited Christmas decorations and music to 2 weeks max, we'd not get sick of them.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Yes, sorry, it was me - I broke the Internet

It MUST have been me. First Mediacom went down while I was working at home, so then I went to the library where they have Ace DSL, and after a couple of hours, that went down too. In fact, the whole town of New Albin was without phone, cable or Internet service last evening. Some places were even without power. 

Turns out it was a spot down where they are working on the new bike trail that runs along the Great River Road. Somebody dug before they called, or something, and pretty much everything got cut. I just don't understand why it didn't all go down at once.

So now I have a lot of work hours to make up and a rotten attitude to boot.

On the plus side, the neighborhood came alive. Everybody went out in their yards, the kids played, we talked grown-up talk and we didn't have to use a mouse or a trackball or put "lol" anywhere. It was amazing.  We could actually SEE our neighbors' faces - without Webcams!

I am reminded of the South Park episode where the Internet goes down. I'm not going to link it here, as it is NSFWOAPE (not safe for work or any place else). 

A closer look at that rickrack

Look at this gorgeous stuff! It was in that bag of trims and bias tapes that I bought last Friday in Spring Grove. It's color "Orchid." I could just eat it!

Monday, May 18, 2009

College Happenings

I didn't realize it until a former classmate reminded me on Facebook, but 25 years ago today, I graduated from college. By accident rather than by design, today is also the day Barry, Britta and I went in to LaCrosse and took a formal Viterbo campus tour. Twenty-five years' span between my getting my diploma and preparing to send my daughter off to start working on hers.

We also stopped by the Army ROTC offices at UW-LaCrosse, a few blocks away, where Col. Mark Johnson autographed the copy of "That Body of Brave Men" that I am giving my dad for Father's Day this year, and the whole staff of the office were so nice to us. Once again, I'm so pleased about Britta's opportunity here.

Monday mornings are usually pretty slow at my job, so I just pushed my work hours later in the day, got to go along on this trip and made everybody happy, including me.

Cooking Morel Mushrooms

Here are instructions on how to cook up some morels for supper. Pay attention. This is going to be complicated.

1. Clean your morels. I don't wash them, I just brush or shake off any dirt or bugs. Cut the bigger ones into more manageable size. The little ones are fine as is. Chop up some green onions, too, if you like.

Heat some olive oil in a heavy pan. Or melt some butter. Or both.

Dump in your mushrooms and your onions and saute. Add a sploosh of white wine.

That's pretty much it. Okay, so it wasn't all that complicated. They are so delicious all by themselves, I hate to do too much with them.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

For Mom

Here is the pattern I was telling you about. It is uncut.

Graduation Girl

Just realized I never posted a picture of our Britta on her graduation day.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bunionectomy, 2-1/2 years later

Every once in awhile someone will search my blog to read about bunionectomy surgery. It's been 2-1/2 years since I had my right bunionectomy surgery and so I thought I would write an update in case anyone is curious about the longer term consequences of the surgery.

It was a good 3 months before I could get back into normal street shoes, and then, not all of them. I am also now up another shoe size, partly because of the surgery, partly because of just putting on weight and my feet widening up. In 6 months my foot was probably as good as it is going to get; it was still swelling daily up till about 5 months or so. It still gets tired and swollen if I am on it very long. In a normal workday it's fine, but on a day when I'm doing housework more than transcribing, or days like yesterday when I was running around from garage sale to garage sale, it gets pretty sore. I am not able to run for exercise. Maybe I could with the right shoes but I have not bothered to hunt down the perfect pair.  Walking for exercise is okay as long as I wear good supportive shoes, and then get off my feet soon thereafter.  When the weather is cold and I don't wear adequate footwear, I can feel something in that joint; I picture the screw that I have in there getting cold and making the joint feel cold, but that may just be my imagination.  There is still a jagged scar across the top of the joint that is very noticeable to me, though probably nobody cares about how my feet look anywhere near as much as I think they do. 

On the plus side, the stabbing, electric, keep-you-awake-at-night bunion pain is completely gone from that foot.  I am still, over all, glad I did it. But I am determined now not to get the other side done if at all possible.   I have given up on all my narrow-toe-box shoes (except one pair of boots that I just cannot bear to give up - also cannot bear to wear them so all I can do is take them out of their box every once in awhile and stroke and admire them, then put them away again), so I am not going to make my left foot worse or redo the damage to the right foot. I'm a little bit too tall, old and fat to be wearing 4-inch spike heels anyway. And I recently invested in a professional grade shoe stretcher with little buttons you can add to accommodate bunions or corns and am working on making extra space in all my left shoes so as not to pinch that bunion and make it worse (or more painful in the short term). It's working out quite well.

So: Short version. If you have a bunion and it hurts bad enough to wake you up in the night, or keeps you from exercising or enjoying time with your family and friends, have the surgery, but preventing the whole thing in the first place would be much preferable. Of course what sweet young thing is going to listen to my advice not to wear sexy high-heeled shoes? I didn't listen to MY mom, either.

Friday, May 15, 2009

SHE SCORES!! at the Spring Grove Syttende Mai Sales

Lisa and I each took the morning off work to head out to Spring Grove, Minnesota, for the city-wide garage sales held in conjunction with Syttende Mai. I did pretty well. For Lil Miss A, the Easy-Bake Oven she has asked for for her birthday this fall; 5 Marguerite Henry horse stories; a pretty floral print dress and sandals; and 2 shirts and a shorts outfit.

For our little neighbor friend, school clothes! She will start kindergarten this fall.

For Britta, who refuses to wear anything I buy her, Coke. :o)

For Master K, a 1950s US Army duffle bag, and a nice pair of Rockport penny loafers, which turned out to be too small.

For Barry, a metal toy fire truck and 1950s-vintage book about fire engines; a box of mostly brass wood screws; and a wet grinder so he can sharpen the blades of his planer.

Then, an Enterprise cherry pitter (sell), gingham fabric in blue and yellow (keep), glorious bags of vintage trims (including tiny rickrack!!) and buttons (lots of Bakelite!) (sell a few to pay for rest), a DVD of Season 1 of Desperate Housewives (sell) and 3 woven rag mats that may be handmade (keep one, sell others). Oh, and a really cool old electric iron (keep).

Another Winnebago basket, a blouse for me, a Frugal Gourmet cookbook and an old roaster (keep). Two marked Sellers spice shakers, two tulip-topped pepper shakers, and 5 pottery spice jars, and a wicker picnic basket (sell, or maybe swap out another picnic basket and keep this one).

A hand embroidered linen bread cloth for my sister-in-law Vania who appreciates embroidery, bread -- and prayers. Prayer reads, "Be present at our table, Lord. Be here and everywhere adored."

At a wonderful sale where they must have been disposing of Grandma's handwork: These 6 cross-stitched quilt blocks, which I will make into a quilt top.

In a two-dollar bag delightfully marked "odds and ends," four gorgeous embroidered pillowcases, two matching, two singles.

And a huge box of linens including !!doilies!!, antimacassar sets, a dresser scarf, a round embroidered tablecloth;

these crocheted and starched "teacups" squashed in the bottom of the box; and

this letter W off a Badgers letter jacket!

More goodies from another sale: A tin picnic basket, cute fruit printed canister set, two little dollhouse windows; a Longaberger canvas apron; a cute salesman's sample or freebie mini windmill; and one of those vintage portable bar thingies for people who cannot be without a martini for more than five minutes (sell). Also a tin dough rising bowl which I will use a couple of times for old time's sake and then sell.

The big score of the day was Lisa's. She bought a treadle sewing machine in a very nice wooden cabinet with lots of high-end extras for $75. I don't have a picture but she will be displaying it at this fall's quilt show so maybe I can get a picture then.

A Poem about Nicole

Lil Miss A was assigned to write a poem about someone in her class. A NICE poem. Here it is.

I love the part about the lice best. :o)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Esquire previews "The Road" - the movie, that is, not the book

though thankfully the reviewer is quite familiar with the book. Otherwise there would be no point. In fact, I think there should be a test before anyone is allowed in to see the film, to make sure they read the book first.

I fear for this movie. I want to love it, and from all I have seen, it sounds as though they did a marvelous job of translating the book into a visual thing, but I'm still afraid. I don't want it ruined.

A Lesson in Adolescent Egocentrism

Barry learned about adolescent egocentrism in Developmental Psychology. We see examples all the time, living in a house with 1-1/2 adolescents (Britta is the half, we figure she's halfway done).

Tuesday night was the Fine Arts Awards Night at the high school, when the kids who participated in Band, Vocal, Speech and Drama were recognized. It's held in the cafeteria. Britta ditched us for a Disturbed concert in La Crosse (a ticket suddenly became available and she didn't even try to resist), Barry was at fire department
training, so it was just Master K, Lil Miss A and me. K immediately went and joined his friends at one table, and A and I sat down at a table with one of his classmates, C, and her parents. So it's C's parents, C, me, then Miss A, sitting around this round table.

After a few minutes, a friend of C walked over and said to C, "What are you doing sitting over here all alone?" Then she glanced at the rest of us and added, "...ish?" I busted out laughing. I said to C, "Did she just ask what you are doing here ALONE? Are we invisible or something?" I probably laughed too much about it, but it just cracked me up. To a teen, that's exactly what was going on. The diagram to the right is what I imagine the friend was seeing when she looked at our table.

Or maybe it was more like this:

Even funnier (to me) was when the evening ended and I told Master K about it on the car ride home, and he totally didn't see anything funny about it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hoosier Kitchen Cabinets Ad, March 1930

Here is another of the ads I am archiving and giving to my father-in-law.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Stand By Me" by Musicians All Over the World

My friend Angela sent me this link. I love the song "Stand By Me" even when it's performed badly. :o) And this is an energetic, richly textured version that I would have loved even without knowing the story of how it was recorded -- as part of the Playing for Change project, with the recording team traveling the world, going to the musicians, recording the tracks on site (usually open air) and then putting them together in studio to make music that cannot be found anywhere else.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wagner muffin pan ad from April Good Housekeeping, year unknown

I gave the original of this ad to my father-in-law and am just saving the scan.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Vintage "My Double" Wire Dress Form!

Look at this! It's a Way Station find. For a buck. It is a vintage wire mesh "My Double" dress form. She was set up for a really HUGE woman and I wasn't sure what to do with her. Thanks to Cathe Holden and her blog JustSomethingIMade, I figured out how to resize her down to a more svelte figure. Like Cathe did, I actually draped the mesh over my other dress form, Mabel, and squished her down, and then I took her off and squoze her waist in even smaller. Now she makes a lovely apron model. I'm not sure what to name her. Mabel was named after a Gilbert and Sullivan heroine; maybe the new one should be Buttercup.

I'm not actually here at this very moment, actively blogging. Today is my Britta's graduation day, and we're busy with festivities. So I actually wrote this on Saturday and preloaded it.

Buttercup will be excellent for when Vania and I photograph our contest aprons!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Book: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

Oh my goodness. As busy as everything is, I still got this book read in... 2 days? Yes, 2 days. That's holding it while cooking, propping it on the sill while doing dishes, taking it into the bathtub with me... Every odd moment I could find. I first heard about it on Cinematical, where they were talking about the movie production being made of it, starring Viggo Mortensen as a father whose only reason for living is to see his son survive in a blasted world.

The story picks up a few years after some huge cataclysm has basically ended life on earth as we know it. Whatever it was included a huge flash of light and massive fires, so one could conclude a nuclear war. Nearly all the animals are dead. There are no fish, no birds. The ecosystem simply has ended. There is a thick pall of ash over the earth so that very little daylight reaches the surface; as a result, all plants are dead and dry, and giant firestorms tear across the countryside till there is nothing left to burn. It's cold, and ashy rain falls nearly nonstop.

There is nothing to eat. And I mean nothing. There are a few human survivors who have lived on scavenging stores from homes and shops, but that only lasts so long. When all the foodstuffs are eaten, when all the animals that survived have been eaten, when nothing will grow, then the survivors starve. Or they turn on one another.

In this hell walk The Man and The Boy. The Boy has no memories of life before; his mother was pregnant with him when it all happened. When he was small, she checked out of their lives, saying there was no point in going on; the reader believes she took her own life. She left her son, her husband and a pistol. With 2 bullets. One for each of them. The Man walks the road, seeking a better place, constantly safekeeping the pistol to be used in case. In case of whatever happens. And when he is forced to use one bullet to protect his son from a marauder, then he is left with the horror of wondering: Can he use his hands to end his precious son's life if it comes to that?

Every human they meet on the road is an enemy until proven otherwise. There is no law, no morality except what The Man tells The Boy they carry within themselves. They are "the good guys." They remind one another of this constantly. In The Man's desperation, his morality centers on his son; in The Boy's innocence, his centers on being Good Guys who don't do what the Bad Guys do, who are kind, who have mercy.

As a Christian reading this book, I read it in terms of being thankful that God won't let us come to this, and also as a reminder that this is what we as humans boil down to: Our basic nature is not to rise to the occasion, to sacrifice for an unknown brother. Nope. We're completely selfish. Strip away all else and what we are are creatures who would eat one another if we were hungry enough. We're not good. There is no innate human goodness. Without God, we're just animals.

I realize I have made this book sound like a horrible ordeal to read. And it is. It's also beautiful. The Man's thoughts are lyrical. There is a rhythm to the prose of the book that almost makes you want to nod in time. McCarthy's habitual lack of normal punctuation takes some getting used to, but if you have ever read him before this won't phase you. Despite the wide open spaces of the book - as in, everything is burnt up, so there is nothing but wide open space - I found myself a little claustrophobic, as there is also nowhere to hide, and The Man and The Boy must constantly worry about who is watching them from afar, who is lying in wait, who is just over the next hill or stealing up from behind. This is a moody book. I would not call it a "dark" book despite the subject matter; it's a grey book, with flashes and glints of gold throughout.

I absolutely recommend it.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Yellow-Headed Blackbird

One of these guys was busily attacking a grackle in the yard just now.

Recipe: Tonya's Oatmeal Challah Bread

This recipe comes from a lady in my parents' Messianic congregation. It's delicious. Not a traditional challah loaf, still good but in a different way.

  • 2 c. boiling water
  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1 pkg yeast (or 1 scant tablespoon bulk yeast)
  • 1/3 c. warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • about 5 c. flour
  • one egg, beaten
  1. Pour 2 c. boiling water over 1 c. rolled oats, 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon shortening. Let stand till lukewarm (approximately 20 minutes) and while the butter and shortening melt.
  2. Soften the yeast in the 1/3 cup warm water with 1 teaspoonful sugar added.  Let stand 10-15 minutes till yeast froths.
  3. Mix 2/3 c. brown sugar and 1 teaspoonful salt with the lukewarm oatmeal mixture, then add the yeast mixture and stir.
  4. Add most of the 5 cups flour and beat vigorously. When smooth, turn the mixture out onto a board floured with the remaining flour and knead lightly for about 5 minutes. Place in oiled bowl, cover loosely and let rise till doubled.
  5. Punch dough down, divide into 6 parts. Roll each part into a long rope. On an ungreased cookie sheet, braid 3 ropes together into a long braid, then do the same with the other 3 ropes. Cover lightly with a towel and allow to rise till doubled once again.
  6. Brush both loaves with beaten egg.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Do not bake longer than 20 minutes or they will dry out.
Yields 2 braided challah loaves.

My notes: I did change a couple of things in this recipe, mostly to the process, not the ingredients.  When I made them I forgot all about the egg glaze, just tossed the raised braids into the oven, and they were still good, though the egg glaze would probably give it a crispier crust. Very moist loaves, the kids loved them.

I served this bread wrapped in a gorgeous linen bread cloth my sister in law Vania embroidered for me for my birthday.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Bird Watching

I have temporarily moved my work computer to next to the window of my office, where I can look out on the ponds, which have been discovered big time by birds this year. I keep seeing gorgeous birds that look unfamiliar to me, only to learn that they are the 3rd most common bird in the area, or something. Oh well, I still enjoy them.

Here's an example. Barry and I spotted a gorgeous little brownish bird with a striking black and white striped cap.  He was busily eating our grass seed from the bare spot we are trying to get greened up again (from the geothermal wells).  Turns out he's so common, most birders don't even bother to write him down. But he was charming. Except for the grass seed part.

A few days ago we saw a pair of these:  They are rose-breasted grosbeaks. Again, I got all excited, even though it turns out they are dime-a-dozen birds.

Our ponds are attracting so much spring bird life that I am getting quite an education in birdie sex. It's pretty steamy out there at times. I had to laugh when I saw what I thought was some kind of smallish pigeon, doing a dance; turns out it was just a grackle, puffed up so huge that he was at least twice the size as the lady grackle he was dancing for! She was less impressed than I was. The male robins are still fighting like little roosters, all claws and flapping feathers.  There's a pair of mourning doves who are quite mellow in comparison. Everybody likes to take birdbaths where the waterfall comes down over the rocks and they can splash without danger of getting in too deep.

A hawk discovered our little birdie Eden a few days ago and murdered one of the birds. I didn't see which one it was, but the hawk sat right down on the grass next to the pond and tore it to shreds. I raced out there and it flew away with most of the bird, leaving a few parts. I was afraid the hawk would be back, seeing as the pickings were so easy here, but he hasn't returned that I have seen. I know hawks have to eat, too, but not MY birds, if you please! I tried to identify the hawk but could not find anything that looked just like it. It was mostly brown, with lighter colors underneath but not white, just sort of buff. I was mostly looking at the victim rather than the culprit, so I am not probably describing him (or her) right.

I am obviously no birder, and I know what a robin is, and that's about the extent of my bird identification skills. But I have found that if you put "brown bird with black and white striped head" into Google, within a couple of hits you will ID your bird. Pretty neat.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Peter Dinklage will be Tyrion Lannister!

"But of course," you say. "Wasn't he the obvious choice?"

Well, yes, he was... though he is not how I picture Tyrion, he has the acting chops to pull it off.  Tyrion is a very complex character. I think he's my favorite character in A Song of Ice and Fire. I get the shudders at the very thought of bad casting for this series that I love. But so far, so good. I usually think of Dinklage as a very serious kind of guy, but he can be funny, too - and it's Tyrion's wry sense of humor that makes me love him so much.

Check out the news story at The Hollywood Reporter.

Graduation Day Forecast

"Partly sunny. Highs in the mid 60s."

Thank you Lord!

The Onion on J.J. Abrams' New Trek

Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As 'Fun, Watchable'

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Barry Passed His CNA Test

Not that I doubted he would, but still, it's a relief - yet one more obstacle out of the way, bringing him closer to nursing school. Not only did he pass, he did beautifully, only missing a few points, and earning compliments from the testing and proctoring staff, who asked him if he is going on to nursing school and telling him he would do great.


Monday, May 04, 2009

Apron Challenge with Vania

My sister-in-law Vania invited me to team up with her and join the All People Quilt Apron Challenge. The idea is that two friends each make an apron from the basic pattern provided, upload photos and are judged as a team. Vania suggested using these fabrics from the Maywood Studio Back Porch Bouquet collection, in colors that go with my mom's/her mother-in-law's kitchen - brown and turquoise. These above are the fabrics I chose. She is using the same stripe but the others are different.

My fabric just arrived. I ordered it from Hands On Tradition, an online quilt shop with excellent service, plus they will sell you small fractions of a yard, as some will not. They are so fast! I ordered April 30th and it arrived Priority Mail today, May 4th.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Refreshing Sunday Morning

Just got home from church much refreshed. It doesn't always work that way. And it's not church's fault, or God's, it's mine. Years ago a man I really respected, Clayton Steep, wrote an essay on sabbath refreshment. He told about one day when he was coming home from work in a rush and drove up his driveway too fast and crashed right into his garage door, ending up in the garage where he wanted to be, only with a wrecked garage AND a wrecked car. He wrote that sometimes that's how he goes into the Sabbath too: Roaring in full speed and crashing. I know exactly how that feels. Many times I'm up too late on Saturday night, or others in the family are, and we have a hard time getting up, clean and presentable in time for 9:00 a.m. church. Sometimes I don't even have the excuse of being up late. I'm just disorganized and cranky. Church is not long enough to get out of one of those moods!

Well, this morning we were tired, but I still got a good night's sleep. The service was beautiful. We sang several songs that I love, including Fairest Lord Jesus. And then we witnessed the confirmation of our friends Barry and Lisa Fruechte's youngest child, S. They have seen 4 children now through the age of confirmation. They done good! S. was our only confirmand this year, which somehow made it seem more special. She stood tall in the front of church in her white robe and professed her faith. A beautiful event in her life, her parents' lives, and the life of our congregation.

I was raised in more of a Baptist tradition, so infant baptism and confirmation are still fairly new to me. That thing in red up there is the insert in the bulletin in which Pastor explained what he believes confirmation is all about. I thought you would find it interesting. I appreciated it as an excellent explanation.

On another note, Britta is away on her senior trip this week. We are appreciating the respite between graduation festivities. She graduates on Mother's Day and afterward we are having open house. We thought it was going to be a small intimate group of mostly family and neighbors, but then Britta invited pretty much everybody who has ever joined Facebook, so I am cooking. And cooking. I have been cooking beef brisket all weekend. Briskets #1, #2, and #3 are cooked, cut up and in the freezer, #4 is cooling down and #5 is in the oven. I am using Pioneer Woman's recipe only with a drastic reduction in the soy sauce; I thought it was wayyy too salty. The menu is brisket on a bun, mashed potatoes, gravy, cooked veggies (green beans, sweet corn) and rootbeer floats. Notice how I cleverly combined beverage with dessert? We got the back porch set up yesterday and having that and the brisket out of the way, I feel much better about how things are going.

Both sets of Britta's grandparents hope to be here for her graduation.