Friday, September 28, 2007
Alvin's first casserole!
The recipe calls for just 3/4 cup of uncooked rice (1 1/2 cups cooked). For FIVE people? Next time we'll double the rice.
He made it completely by himself, while I took Blackeyed Susan to ballet last evening.
Great job, m' boy!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Anyway, I made a NEBD yesterday, and as I cut up the veggies, they were so pretty I wanted a picture:
I think this is so cool: God's colors never clash!
I finished my shawl (found on Jewel's blog !) I made it for "just over" $1.00. After finishing four of my 25 cent thrift-store skeins of red wool, I started a fifth for the last two rows and the binding-off:
Friday, September 21, 2007
"Personal statement about literature:
When I think about what literature is to me, I find
generalization difficult and cliches rather offensive. The best way to explain
how I feel about literature is to use examples.
Literature is Confederate and Union soldiers reading Les
Miserables, experiencing the miseries of the French underclass while
waiting in fields and forests of Pennsylvania or South Carolina or
Georgia, for what might be their last battle.
Literature is the New Yorker's William Maxwell writing a letter to
Sylvia Townsend Warner about his experience with the city-wide blackout--the
whole of New York, moving eerily and quietly through the streets
in moonlight, candlelight, flashlight.
Literature is in the gas-lit, pea-soup fog of Victorian London, where
Holmes and Watson hunt the Napoleon of Crime and plumb the grotesqueries
Literature is Wodehouse amusing with his absurdities, Havel protesting with
his plays, Herbert praising with his poetry.
Literature is in the voice of the post-"colonial," long unheard, growing
stronger, opening the ears and eyes, minds and hearts, of people across the
Literature reaches through time, across space, between people. E.M. Forster
said, "Only connect." Through literature I make a connection with other people I
may never meet. I connect with people who died centuries before I was
born, with people who live thousands of miles away, and with people I might
ignore or dislike in person. Literature-in-translation lets me connect not only
with an author, but with a nearly-invisible translator--a two-for-one gift. I
also connect with myself; I find I meet myself and people like those around me
surprisingly often when I read.
Only connect. That is what literature means to me."
So. This is why we read. I knew there was a reason...
Today I am thanking the Lord for the gift of reading, of writing, of
p.s. I don't know why this printed the way it did (more like a poem than prose)--it didn't look that way when I composed it!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
We got a book from the library once, about Disasters. You know, the San Francisco Earthquake. The hurricane early in the 20th century that took the lives of thousands and thousands in Texas. (could you imagine living without the Weather Channel and radar???) The Johnstown Flood. But they pale next to The Great Molasses Disaster of 1919.
You can read about it here. I'll wait while you read about it.
My first thought, after reading it, was to, for once, thank God for OSHA and all of the government agencies that, though we hate their interference, do actually give us a measure of safety. The huge tank (holding 2.3 million gallons of molasses ) had never been tested to make sure that it would hold.
The molasses ran five feet deep through the streets. Horses and humans were stuck. I wondered how the rescue workers made their way through the mess.
But my biggest wonder was, How did they clean the mess up? I could really identify with one statement the book made: Many basements were filled to the top with the stuff.
When we read the book, we had just cleaned up from our second basement flood. The first had happened a couple of years prior. I don't remember exactly what happened, but there had been a few inches of water. We threw out tons of stuff. Two of my boys slept down there, so we made a project of getting stuff off the floor--nothing stored on the bottom shelf of the several sets of shelves down there. I was planning to store fabric in one of the rooms, so transferred all of it to rubbermaid tubs.
We had a terrific rainstorm one night a couple of years later. Eight inches fell in a few hours. The weatherman said it was "train-ing"--imagine the storm running along a track, and when it reached the end of the track, it "jumped," and went back to the beginning and started over, and over, and over.
We didn't flood because of over-running creeks, or whatever. The sewers backed up. Recently the EPA ( grrrr) had mandated that all water (and sewage) must run through the same sewers, which go to the treatment plant. Our city had had a system of storm sewers, which caught the rain water and sent it directly to the river. (gee, sounds reasonable to me. I mean, I learned the Water Cycle in grade school...) But, no, they had to close those, and everything went down the sanitary sewers.
We live in the section of the city which has the second-oldest sewers. I don't know when they were installed, but the oldest set of sewers was pre-Civil War. So, guess what? The sewers weren't able to handle the "train -ing" storm.
We heard sounds of water in the basement. When I went down the stairs, I saw a Geyser coming out of the basement drain, and an old toilet, as well. (I didn't even know the toilet was still sitting on sewer pipe...) Water was covering the second lowest step (eventually topping off at about two feet), and was up to the top of the bottom bunk mattress.
I learned several things in the aftermath:
1) If you overlook a box of books from the first flood, but find it after the second, don't open it. C-L-O-U-D-S of mold spores will POOF out at you. I don't suffer from allergies, but that one made me sick.
2) Rubbermaid tubs will not protect your possessions if the flood tosses them around so that their lids come off.
3) I don't know if there is anything in the known universe that is as heavy as a mattress soaked through with water. Two hefty teen boys almost gave up a number of times before they wrestled that bad boy up the stairs and out to the trash pile.
Bad as it was, the water receded, leaving a Big Cleanup. But at least it wasn't Molasses.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
What a funny picture? I thought. Around here (in Indiana) we mostly see Barn Bats, who are supposed to eat their weight in mosquitoes every day. (we LOVE our bats!) But mosquitoes as an entree would make those babies Carnivores, right? What's with the sissy pollination stuff?
A quick look on Google tells me this:
In the desert, and in tropical regions, bats are important both for pollination
and seed dispersal.
The article is here.
Sure enough, if you look at the postage stamp, that little guy is pollinating some sort of desert specie.
How wonderful if we can learn something every day!
Next time: The Great Molasses Disaster of 1919....
Saturday, September 15, 2007
I began my own version of the simple shawl featured on Jewel's blog. It is simple enough to carry around without having to keep track of instructions.
I've wanted to make a shawl for just years and years. I almost never get "cold"--I wear a sweater outside for much of the winter. However, our computer desk sits in a corner surrounded by two walls of windows, and, being an old house, it can get drafty. I think a shawl will be perfect:
A couple of years ago, I found about ten skeins of wool at a thrift store, for 25 cents apiece:
I think it's "sport" weight, (tho' the label doesn't specify). But it is thinner rather than thicker, and the label says "8-ply." But, hey, for 25 cents a skein, who's asking?
Now, let's talk about this little guy: He's been having a tough time--his record is 0-2. Today he plays U of Michigan, also 0-2. I'm not sure which planets are out of alignment for this to happen--I don't think such a happening has ever taken place in this universe, anyway. The scary thing is, tonight *somebody* is going to be 0-3....
Yesterday, my sister -in-law had to travel 100 miles to come to our city for a test. Charming's mother (Queen Darl) and my dear, sister-friend Kay came with Mary to keep her company. I made a Luncheon (darn, I didn't take any pictures of my pretty table...) and we had a wonderful two-hours visit. Questions such as "why don't we ever do this?" came up several times. Queen Darl commented *three times* on the pretty table. We talked about how women love to surround ourselves with beauty, and how women take mundane things, and make them as pretty as they can. I love Edith Schaeffer's book, "The Hidden Art of Homemaking," and the point she stresses that God is a Creator, and made us creative, as well. It reminds me of a quote I read taken from a pioneer woman's diary:
"I make quilts as fast as I can to keep my family warm, and as pretty as I can to keep my heart from breaking."
So now the plan is to have a lunch Twice a Year. That way, we'll "fer sure" hit Once.
Monday, September 03, 2007
Pitiful. Just Pitiful.
I had a vintage tablecloth I had bought a number of years ago for a dollar or so. Since then, we bought a dining room table that was too large for it, and I thought it would make a cute cover.