Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In Other News...

The Stormtrooper boots are gone! I'm in SHOES!

Do you remember what the feet looked like beforehand?

Well, now they look like this.

Of course, nothing's perfect. See my left pinky toe? Yeah, that's a small bunion underneath it. The podiatrist (who is, by the way, very easy to look at, as you might notice here, the first doc pictured) pointed out that I notice it now because the other one was so dramatic before and this one just didn't "stand out"(podiatric humor.) He says that, if it ever decides to really bother me, it'll "just be a matter of scraping off a little bone, no screws involved." Yeah, OK.

For now, I'm just going to enjoy shopping for cute shoes again. Yes, I will get a much-needed pedicure; I've been waiting for the boots to be gone for that. And I'll get back on the dreadmill again, to lose the 8 pounds I picked up recovering on the sofa and watching mindless movie drivel.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Sound of Music

Lately, our house has been filled with the sound of...well, you figure it out. CAST, the local student theater company, presented this play this past weekend. Miss Mary had 3 small roles; she was in the nuns' chorus

and she appeared as a winner at the Festival held at the end of the story.

But the highlight of her experience--or at least her parents'--was the Ball held mid-play. She and her dad learned to waltz, and to dance the Laendler, a "folk dance" utilized in The Sound of Music. (No such dance really exists; sorry if I burst your bubble about that one, but it was invented for the play.)

I got some very grainy, blurry video of the dancing that I'm going to share here. I really do need a different camera! The first video is of the waltz. Mary and John are in about the center of the stage; she is the second girl from the left wearing a light dress. They are blocked at times throughout the video by another couple.

The second is of the Laendler. Mary and John are to the far right of the screen.

They really enjoyed this production. John's even considering working with the next one; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This show will be an opportunity for adults, 15-???, to appear on stage. He hasn't specified if he'll be on a technical crew...or auditioning for a part.

But Mary will be auditioning for next January's student production; The Wizard of Oz!

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Came, I Saw, I Did a Little Shopping...

Headed out today to run some errands and refill the produce bins.

Spring mix was on sale. Got some cilantro because I plan to make salsa in about ten minutes. Why, yes, those are fresh pickles, and fresh dill. I'll heat up some brine while I make salsa, and I'll put some pickles in the crock tomorrow.

I was not planning on stuffed peppers this week, but those puppies just looked too good to leave in the store. And, at 99 cents a pound, well, why would I?

Clementines. Bananas. Pineapple.

Seriously? I need to tell you what that is?

And just because I can, and wanted to, and to make things better for my family...

(I think my camera may be on its last legs.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Planning and Planting

Sound similar, but are two different things. Planning is what I did today. I sat down at the table with my binder, paper, pencil, and a good book or three.

In the binder were my plans and notes from last year. On the paper went plans for this year's garden. What to grow, how many of each plant, when to start seeds inside or outside, when to plant the starts outside, when to look for ripe food, when and how to cover or uncover rows, when and how to water, and, finally, when to bring it all in for the winter.

Yes, it sounds anal. But I really like to have a plan. I find that, if I have a plan, I tend to stay close to it. Not I-can't-sleep-because-I-started-the-broccoli-Tuesday-instead-of-Sunday-close, but close. It's easier for me, too, to figure out where to put all those doggone plants when I'm looking at a sheet of paper and I have a pencil, than when I'm outside, in the garden, digging holes. It takes about 3 hours of work to write, draw, count, think and finish. But then the implementation takes half the time, even less, than it would have without a plan.

I have actually started planting. Last week, I filled a flowerbox with soil and planted some mixed lettuces and spinach in it.

I put it under lights, and am hoping to get some salad greens by mid-February. I may even have some by the end of this month, if the seed lives up to the promises on the package. I'm getting tired of Iceberg lettuce salads.

As much as I love winter, I'm excited that spring will be here in its time...

Update; It seems this planning thing has another benefit. It may very well have broken me out of this mid-winter-mid-recovery slump. I'm actually feeling better and am back to my optimistic self! I'm envisioning rows of lettuces, young broccoli, and I can almost taste the radishes!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


It's been snowing all day. It's absolutely beautiful outside. I have always loved snow. The crisp air, the cold, the warm flush when you come back's great. Of course, not so much in April or May, but, in January, it's wonderful.

But I'm stuck here on the sofa with the Stormtrooper boots. I can't get outside for nothing. I mean, once in a blue moon someone stops by to take me to an appointment or something, but, most of the time, I'm here on the sofa.

I've seen a lot of movies. I feel schizophrenic about that; good movies, bad movies, energizing movies, sad movies. I've seen some new ones; this one. And some I've seen before, like this one.

I've been to dozens of websites, visited countless blogs (well, I coulda counted them, in fact, I started, but it was getting depressing) organized my portable office basket several times, made enough phone calls that people are starting to let my calls go to voicemail, and eaten more than I should.

I'm bored.

I sure hope these feet heal on time.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Why Was Jesus Baptized?

I just discovered this guy recently. I know, I know, I'm late to the table. But he has a really good explanation of the above question, not to mention a fun style for expressing it. My grandfather's daughter's style...My Lord's words. Awesome!

Update; Don't click up there. It doesn't seem to want to show you the video. Click here, instead. Thanks!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday Farm Report

Well, it's been a few Saturdays, four or five, anyway, since I had my foot surgery. And this farm shows it!

Starting out front, there are branches lying around, small logs that the dogs have dragged up, and bits and pieces of various trash that the little darlings have been playing with. The flowerbeds were never cleaned out at the end of the season, something I sometimes do after the first freeze, sometimes in late Feb/early March, depending on my mood. (And, yes, I do know there's a proper time for such things. And sometimes I do it then!) The area around our barn is a train wreck. Tubs, buckets, flowerpots, lawn tools, all are lying around, waiting to be covered with the slimy muck that will visit us in spring. I can see into the barn, and I know it doesn't look like it would if I were able to get our there daily. I still haven't been able to convince people, even after 12 years, that, if they pick up a little every day, it's a 10-minute job, instead of a three hour one.

The area around the chicken coop and garden isn't much better. A hut is propped open; that's where we raised our last batch of meat birds, which went to the butcher the day before the surgery. I've asked various people several times to close it for me, but it's still open. A trailer is just outside the chicken coop, filling with snow that will melt and rust the thing in the spring. My garden was mostly "put to bed" this fall; only the last lettuce bed is still sporting some hoops and row covers. Again, I've asked for those to be put away, but they have not been. The coop and that hut still have a layer of chicken bedding, although those chickens have long since gone into the freezer or soup pot, and I've asked several times for them to be cleaned.

I guess "they're" right. Mom just can't ever get sick!

Update; I just realized something. Yesterday I headed out with John for what I called a "middle-aged date;" each of us had a doctor to see, and we also had lunch. And breakfast. Because our doctors are spread out over the Chicagoland area. We also stopped in at a Barnes and Noble, for which my mother-in-law had given me a gift card this Christmas. I bought this

because it is time for planning the garden, which I love to do. Execution, well, yeah, it might not be my strong suit. But planning...I love it! And this book has everything. Plans, checklists (because I like lists, see, and I'm better at remembering "harvest green beans" if I have a guideline for when that might need to be done) tips for growing them, and (be still my beating heart) not only recipes but lists of flowers and ways to arrange them for the table. This book just calls to my inner Martha!

What did I realize? That I may be trying to get some control over this shabby place in the only way I can while laid up in the Stormtrooper boots; planning out my summer yard.

I also bought this

because I just love America's Test Kitchen and the way they "teach" cooking. And those Fairy Gingerbread cookies on the front looked really yummy...

Thanks, Carol, for the gift card. I shopped wisely enough that, between your gift and my Educator Discount, both of these cost me a nickel out-of-pocket. Sometimes I'm proud of my shopping ability.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I Guess it Just Looks Wrong

I was wandering around the blogsophere, and I chanced upon this blog. If you take time to read it, you'll find that she makes an interesting point.

Which is further discussed in this blog.

So this adult woman dates outside of her faith, and is hiding, in fear for her life? And no one in the mainstream media has the...guts to discuss it?

Well, OK, it was discussed, here, and here, and and here. What's missing in the coverage is the righteous indignation seen when, say, the Duggars had a 19th child and decided to keep on having children. But, yes, they (the Duggars) are followers of a narrow-minded, patriarchal religion that keeps women under the control of the men in their families, bound to childrearing and not allowed education. Not a religion of peace.

Hey, check out the comments in that third article I linked. Find the one where the poster accuses Azad of making up this story to get publicity for her career. That's right. Blame it on the woman. And she won't even come to court, you know, because she's afraid for her father and brother. So the Brits can't really prosecute them.

Well, actually, they can, and aren't. And, actually, she's afraid of her father and brother.

I hope she gets to have some kind of normal life someday.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


What does this mean?

It is celebrated in many ways, all over the world.

And, of course, hymns are sung.

The People That In Darkness Sat

The people that in darkness sat A glorious light have seen;
The light has shined on them who long In shades of death have been,
In shades of death have been.

To hail Thee, Sun of Righteousness, The gath'ring nations come;
They joy as when the reapers bear Their harvest treasures home.
Their harvest treasures home.

To us a Child of hope is born, To us a Son is giv'n,
And on his shoulder ever rests All power in earth and heav'n,
All pow'r in earth and heav'n.

His name shall be the Prince of Peace, The Everlasting Lord,
The Wonderful, the Counselor, The God by all adored,
The God by all adored.

His righteous government and pow'r Shall over all extend;
On judgment and on justice based, His reign shall have no end,
His reign shall have no end.

Lord Jesus, reign in us, we pray, And make us thine alone,
Who with the Father ever art And Holy Spirit, one,
And Holy Spirit, one.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

Is also (almost) Wordless Wednesday. Coffee mug given to me by our youngest son.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Eleventh Day of Christmas

Today we start back to schooling.

It's been a lovely month or so of just being a family, but now it's time to get whatever our act is back into gear and prepare to take it on the road that is life. We're not getting into gear fast enough this morning; we overslept a bit, and there are still about an hour and a half of chores before we can begin. But we're getting there.

We're actually beginning our final semester of homeschooling. I have to admit I'm being pulled into it; John and Mary have decided that she'll be going to high school in the fall. This one. It's a good one, and she'll do well. But I'm in mourning.

It's partly because this student of mine has never been to school. We've been responsible for her education from the age of 3. She's learned how to read here, how to count her money, how to draw and sing and ride horses and care for dogs and chickens and goats. She's learned to sew and paint and do laundry. She knows about Europe and knights and mummies and hobbits and kings and queens and emperors. She knows that rocks are hard and soft and many points in between. She's dissected fish, raised and killed various bugs, bottle fed baby animals and learned to organize her time and things. But now, for some reason, we aren't able to educate her anymore, and, in two and a half years, she'll graduate with a diploma that says someone else made sure she was ready for the world.

We'll have to pay tuition, and, in order to do that, I'll have to go back to work. I like the work I'm doing now. I care for my home and family, which is not the mindless occupation some think it is. I garden, and care for animals, at least when my feet are healthy and I can go outside!! I do not sit eating bon bons and watching soap operas; I find it hard to believe that that sort of housewife ever existed! I find it ironic that, in order to pay tuition for someone else to do what I apparently am not able to do, it is suggested that I go back to (get ready for it) teaching. "That's a good job, Melody, and you'll still be home with her on school breaks." Bwahahahaha!

Yeah, I knew this would end. I figured that, sometime in the next 2 years or so, I would release her to the world of higher learning. But I really thought she'd follow her older brother into college. I'm a high school teacher, for cripes' sake. But this is her choice, and we're honoring that. We gave the same choice to the boys, and they chose differently.

I just hope we don't live to regret it. I already am.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Tenth Day of Christmas

Well, it appears that our new cat, Burr, was not spayed. We still can't double check that, but her belly seems to be expanding, and she seems to be, er, preparing to nurse. Mary has been worrying about her raising kittens in January in northern Illinois. Our reading is reassuring me that this won't likely be a problem; most cats are good moms. And they have to be. One thing I learned during our reading is not reassuring me. Apparently, cats can and do go into heat and can be bred as soon as 48 hours after delivering a litter. It seems they breed like, well, rabbits.

Yes, she will be spayed as soon as possible after delivery!

Update, Wednesday, Jan. 5; Since I couldn't go outside and see her, Mary brought Burr in to me. She is not pregnant, just, probably, really wormy. (Ick) I have wormed her, so that should change soon!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Still Celebrating!

January 2 is the 9th day of Christmas. Although many have shifted The Twelve Days to those before Christmas, they are not pre-Christmas days, but they start on the 25th and end on the 6th. Just refreshing your memory!

On this Eighth Day, Cindy Lu Who came to visit.

She brought her brothers, Bobby Lou and Eddie You.

In fact, she brought the whole family. Johnny Boo, Krissy Dew and Cindy's older sister, Moo Goo. They made pizza for us. Grandpa helped.

(This blog post seemed funnier in my mind.)

Today, the Ninth Day, we were blessed with the Body and Blood of Jesus. And this hymn...

Now Sing We, Now Rejoice

Now Sing We, Now Rejoice, Now raise to heav'n our voice,
He from who joy streameth, Poor in a manger lies;
Not so brightly beameth The sun in yonder skies.
Thou my Savior art! Thou my Savior art!

Come from on high to me; I cannot rise to Thee,
Cheer my wearied spirit, O pure and holy Child;
Through Thy grace and merit, Blest Jesus, Lord most mild,
Draw me unto Thee! Draw me unto Thee!

Now through His Son doth shine The Father's grace divine.
Death was reigning o'er us Through sin and vanity
Till He opened for us A bright eternity.
May we praise Him there! May we praise Him there!

Oh, where shall joy be found? Where but on heav'nly ground?
Where the angels singing With all his saints unite,
Sweetest praises bringing In heav'nly joy and light.
Oh, that we were there! Oh, that we were there!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

On the Eighth Day of Christmas...

We rang in 2011!

Friends and family were over, we ate and ate hors d'ouerves, drank yummy beverages, played cards, and talked. As usual, we almost missed the midnight shenanigans because we were talking!! But we managed to count down to midnight and participate in the hoopla.

Mary and her friend, Caitlin, sure participated.

This morning we've slept in, drunk pots and pots of coffee, eaten cinnamon rolls, pumpkin bars and bacon, and spent time with good friends. What a lovely way to start a new year!

I wish all the best for you and yours in 2011!