Saturday, July 14, 2007


Jane (the one who arm-twisted me into blogging) nominated me for a Thinking Blogger award.

I'm not sure that I'm eligible, or that I'm even capable of joining in. I've been diligently trying to AVOID thinking. There are blogs I love to read but have been trying to discipline myself to avoid, or to check in very infrequently. I cook and I wash the clothes, I say my prayers and do schoolwork with the kids, and sometimes I clean house or do some editing. But thinking? That takes time. And effort. And gosh darn it, it's FUN and I can go overboard with it. So I've been trying so hard not to think and just do what I'm given to do. And here comes Jane, trying to get me to list the blogs that I enjoy that make me think. Oy!

The rules are
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
2. Link to this post so everyone can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote.

Given that Jane, Pr Stuckwisch, and Barbara were all tagged this week, I guess I'm not allowed to have them on my list (although I would've chosen them). So I think I will bestow the award on the blogs that I succumb to even though they make me think more than I wish to think:

Pastor Esget
Pastor Petersen
Pastor Weedon
Elephant's Child


I used to try making tortillas and get utterly frustrated. I gave up on the job. But at the rate my kids go through them, buying them was expensive. Furthermore, I wanted whole wheat instead of white flour, and real fat instead of something hydrogenated.

I found a tortilla maker online. (I bought mine from this company off ebay instead of directly through their website. At the time, it was about 20% cheaper.)

We've toyed with the recipe for a while, trying to find what's lowest fat yet without sacrificing flexibility, and how high a proportion of ww flour we can use without having crumbly tortillas. This is what we've come up with:

Makes 20 tortillas.

3 cups ww flour
2 cups white flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup lard
1 1/2 to 1 2/3 cup hot water

Mix dry ingredients. Using fingers to pinch and mix, combine flour with lard. Stir in hot water. Knead just long enough to mix. Cut into 20 equal-sized balls. Cover with upside-down bowl and let rest for 1-6 hours. Heat tortilla press and cast-iron skillets. Press dough ball for about 3 seconds, then brown both sides slightly in ungreased skillet. Let cool before storing in refrigerator. These will cost 1.5 to 3 cents a piece, depending on your grocery store prices.

Corn tortillas can be made without a press. But I don't think anybody should try this flour-tortillas recipe without the heated press.

Friday, July 13, 2007


In the past couple of days, I have looked at FIVE grocery stores for lye. After all, I have a little soap to make. I hate shopping. It makes me cranky to shop. But I need lye. Problem is, there's no lye to be had.

I checked online tonight. Turns out that Red Devil has pulled their product for good. I couldn't tell whether it was due to liability issues or if sodium hydroxide might be an ingredient in meth. Either way, the only way to get lye for soap-making now is to order it online, in batches bigger than I want, and fill out paperwork for Hazmat. Furthermore, shipping fees are so high that it's going to cost me $3 for lye for a half-batch. At that price, it's going to take some thought to consider whether it'd be cheaper to buy soap.

"Oh dear, oh dear, whatever would we do without the government to protect us?" she grumbles.

I wonder if the Foxfire books tell how to make your own lye.

A Gebra Named Al

Today we finished the worst book we've read in a long long time.

I'd heard great things in homeschool catalogs about A Gebra Named Al by Wendy Isdell. A book to help students understand algebra. A book to light a fire of interest in mathematics. And so forth.

We started reading it. The story started with the main character falling asleep, so that the story was set up that it was likely a dream. I hate those.

The story went on to having a whole bunch of characters named after elements in the periodic table. It talked about isotopes. It did cover the Order of Operations in arithmetic, but it was much more about science than about math.

The writing was poor. Unnecessary dialogue. Extraneous information. A simplistic plot taken from Wizard of Oz, but without any character development or subplots.

About 3/4 of the way through the book, we discovered that the author was a girl. The book was written in junior high, won a fiction-writing contest, and then was published before she finished high school. Well, it's really not bad when you take into account the age and inexperience of the author. But on its own merits, the book was just pretty awful to read. This is not a book to read for enjoyment; it would be read purely for Educational Purposes. Problem was, it didn't do a good job of teaching either.

We didn't care for Phantom Tollbooth either. But it was far superior to the Gebra book. In case any of my friends have considered spending their few homeschool dollars on this book, or spending a few hours reading it aloud, I would suggest you not bother.


I make my kids do chores.

I am lousy at making my kids do chores. They don't do nearly enough. I am not good at leaving them with the responsibility: I check up on them too often, or nag, or take the job from them to help out. I too too easily think of myself as the maid here.

Today the next-door neighbor munchkins came over to ask if Maggie could come out to play. We'd just finished lunch and some schoolwork. Maggie was starting to do the dinner dishes, which is one of her daily chores. When she was done we were going to do history and geography and a few other things. The kids responded that Maggie couldn't come out to play because she had to do the dishes.

Andrew heard the little boy (about age 7) mumble as he walked away, "Maggie's mom is so lazy."

Andrew was offended that anybody would say that about his mom. But I figured out the problem: Maggie is expected to do chores that Turk thinks are my job. So obviously I don't do anything around here, since Cindermaggie is doing all the work.

.... and pastors only work for an hour on Sunday morning. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!


I've had people tell me that I shouldn't blog.

One person told me that, if I don't want to get into long and involved theological arguments and debates, then I shouldn't blog at all. Another person told me that I don't have time for blogging, and he has a valid point. Furthermore, I've spent many years thinking that real-life interaction is far preferable to socializing via the computer's electronic means.

But Anthea blogged today about her upcoming move. She mentioned that she'd try to update her LiveJournal more often, and that made me so happy. My friend Erin is considering starting a blog. I hate to say anything to put pressure on her, but I know I would be very happy to read little snippets about what she (and the kids!) are up to. Even when it's just the mundane things.

I love to read my daughters' blogs. (And even my sons' who are still living here in the same house!) Sure, I talk to the girls on the phone. But I want to read the little things about Rachel's kitten or Katie seeing Nat on campus (even if she didn't get to talk to him much) and both girls' job hunts. Those little things in life are what allow me to share in the unimportant daily things that make up so much of people's lives.

Once upon a time, I spent about a year writing a nice long newsy letter each week to family. I would photocopy it and send one to my in-laws and my folks and my aunt. Now, my blog accomplishes that for me, without photocopying and without paying the post office.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Blonde Joke

Following is my favorite Blonde Joke, taken from the Irreverent Joke Page of Backwoods Home Magazine.

In honor of
Melynda, who accused me on Pr Petersen's blog of spending a whole evening at Jane's telling blonde jokes.

And for Sean (who likes jokes) and his lovely blonde bride-to-be Rebekah, who are eagerly anticipating Saturday's wedding.

And for some very smart blondes in Adell.

A blonde walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer. She says she’s going to Europe on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5000. The bank officer says the bank will need some kind of security for the loan, so the blonde hands over the keys to a new Rolls Royce. The car is parked on the street in front of the bank. She has the title. Everything checks out.

The bank agrees to accept the car as collateral for the loan. The bank’s president and its officers all enjoy a good laugh at the blonde for being so dumb as to use a $250,000 Rolls as collateral against a $5000 loan. An employee of the bank then proceeds to drive the Rolls into the bank’s underground garage and parks it there.

Two weeks later, the blonde returns, repays the $5000 and the interest, which comes to $15.41. The loan officer says, "Miss, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a multimillionaire. What puzzles us is why would you bother to borrow $5000."

The blond replies, "Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for only $15.41 and expect it to be there when I return?"

Twenty Years Ago

Pastor Bender was ordained on this day, twenty years ago.

O eternal, merciful God, You have spoken through Your own dear Son, saying that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers few and that we should ask You, the Lord of the harvest, to send laborers into Your harvest. Hear now our prayer on behalf of Peter who is ordained and consecrated to be Your minister in the Church. Strengthen him mightily to take up the word of truth and faithfully to administer Your holy sacraments.

O Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, who gave Your own life to be a holy and perfect sacrifice for us and for our salvation, grant Peter a heart zealous for Your people and boldness to guide, comfort, admonish, and serve Your congregation with gentleness and wisdom. Fill him, Your undershepherd, with Your love that in Your name he will seek the straying and bear up the weak. Give him the heart never to grow weary in the service of Your flock.

O Holy Spirit, strengthen and keep him in the Word of truth and life, and support him in every time of trouble and distress. Grant fruit to his labors and, when the day of labor is ended, grant him to come with rejoicing before Your presence to receive with all the saints his portion in eternal salvation.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Music and Lyrics

Upon recommendations of two daughters, my husband and I watched Music and Lyrics with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. It's a romantic comedy. The basic plot is that an 80s has-been pop star needs to come up with a song right now to supply to the hottest young blonde pop star of the day. The guy can write melodies, but not lyrics. Turns out that the lady watering his plants has a knack for putting words together in just the right way. So they begin to work together under an unreasonable deadline.

This is one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time. The language is tamer than much of what's on prime-time tv. The unchaste behavior is implied but not seen, and sex is a very minor part of the plot. (There is, however, "dancing" that is typical of rock videos today.) No violence. We started laughing at the introductory scene which shows the hit music video of the 80s has-been fellow, and kept laughing throughout! This is one I'll want to see again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My Lard-for-Soap


If I were 80, my kids would be gathering the following evidence (and other stories like it) to prove that I am not safe in my home, and should be committed to the nursing home where somebody could keep an eye on me.

While Philip was fetching the side of beef from the butcher on Saturday, I was cleaning the frost build-up out of the deep-freeze. Because of space issues with the last couple of half-cows, I've had to use space in the church freezer. So the first thing I did was take the properly weighed-and-measured tallow and lard out of the freezer, stick it in the cooler, and plan to return it to whichever freezer had space for it.

Turned out that the cow was a smaller one. The soap ingredients could've gone back into my freezer here. But I was pressed to get lunch on the table. "I'll do it later. I'll remember. I have to try hard to remember. Of course I'll remember: if I don't I'll be tripping over the cooler in the garage."

I forgot.

I even tripped over the cooler. But did that ring a bell in my brain. NOOOOOO!

When I went to grab the cooler today for hauling home groceries, it was heavy. The tallow was still solid. But the lard had thawed, softened, and spilled. I managed to scoop up some still-not-liquified lard and put it in the fridge. But I had a LOT of liquid piggy-fat to clean out of the cooler.

We didn't leave for errands as early as I'd desired.

And now I have to reweigh my lard amounts.

AND I don't know if I can refreeze, or if I have to make a LOT of soap in the next couple of weeks.

Women Submitting?

On Sunday, a female friend was lobbying my husband for something she wanted accomplished at synodical convention next week. I disagreed. She asked me why and I explained the reasons. She disagreed.

She continued to press Gary to agree with her. Then I suggested that if Gary did it, he might come home to find the doors locked and the locks changed. ;-)

Our friend did NOT approve of that. She said that women are supposed to submit to their husbands. She said the husband was the head and that he should be making his own decisions.

It didn't occur to me until today: isn't it odd that he's supposed to listen to her, but not to me?


Well, seeing as how Mom point-blank asked for an update, and because I suspect Katie and Rachel are wondering too....

We woke up this morning, and Rosie was still breathing. She'd rested comfortably through the night. We did the week's errands this morning -- and managed not to hit any cats as we left the garage.

Not long after we bought our last side of beef, Maggie discovered the Ramona videos at the library. They are FABULOUS! In one episode, Mom makes tongue for dinner because it's cheap and they're nearly out of grocery money at the time. Mom and Dad try to hide the identity of the meat from the kids, but tell the truth when asked directly. Ramona and Beezus flip out. As punishment, they get to make dinner the next night. Well, ever since, Maggie has wondered what tongue is like. She asked me to buy some. Now, I don't know about y'all, but around here you ain't gonna find tongue at the grocery stores. So when I bought me a cow last month [aside: I'm sure Mom and Rick and Sandy are humming a certain tune about now], I told the butcher that we wanted the tongue. We picked up the moo-cow on Saturday, and Maggie wanted tongue that very day. But I already had meals worked out, so the tongue had to wait til Tuesday.

We plunked the tongue in the crockpot for six hours on high, with a little barbecue sauce. Paul described it as somwhat like "meat pudding." The texture was indeed softer than most meats. So we offered some to Rosie, and she was SO happy to eat a bite. She's still not drinking. Last real amount of water she had was yesterday lunchtime. There's been no bleeding since bedtime last night.

The kitty has managed to sit herself up a couple of times. She's alert now and interested in what's going on around her. You can tell from her face that she's wanting to go pouncing and chasing. But she's not attempting anything yet. I have NO idea what we'll do to curtail her when she decides she's ready to go before she's actually ready to run. (Mom, I'm thinking about someone attached to a bed shortly after having a kidney removed, who decided he was ready to get up and walk.) Probably keeping her in a huge box is the best we'll be able to do. But for how long?

Other Jokes

God was talking to one of His angels. "I just figured out how to rotate the earth so that it creates this really neat alternating pattern of light and darkness." The angel said, "So what are you going to do now?" God answered, "Ah, I think I'll just call it a day."

Moses was talking with God. "So let me get this straight. They get to have all the oil deposits, and we get to cut off the tip of our what?"

Monday, July 09, 2007


Yesterday we were the recipients of some real furniture. [The aforementioned] Lily and Claire have a great-grandma who's moving into a smaller place. We were the lucky ones who got a very very nice dining room table and chairs.

Our first dinner table was handed down through my mom's family. My grandparents had it. My mom and her sister both had it in their homes. I love it for the memories. I love it for the border around the table: the border served the purpose of keeping glasses away from the edge of the table, as well as making a nice roadway for Hotwheels for little boys. But the bracing near the floor didn't allow for the chairs we have now: we could sit only two chairs around the table. (Definitely not a sufficient quantity of chairs!) There was also the problem that my mom and aunt said the table wobbled enough that children would often be groused at for shaking the table when someone was writing. That table is now used for sewing.

Our second dinner table was purchased for $20 used. Not in great shape then, but it was intended to serve only as our schoolroom table. Here it is, 18 years later, and holding up the dinner plates. That table was relegated to the garage today, awaiting more sorting of furniture, hand-me-down clothes, and cleaning of closets.

With the table, we were given the table linens and a pad. We put it on, desiring to keep a piece of "real" furniture in nice shape. But then Andrew had a question. "Why do people have nice furniture if all they're going to do is keep it covered up to protect it?" Hmmm. Good question. I don't have an answer for that yet. Nevertheless, I have seen altogether too many accidents with markers and epoxy to leave beautiful wood available for daily abuse.


Things are quiet here today and tears have been shed. Maggie and I were headed out to do the weekly errands, and when I moved the car I heard a very loud cat-cry. I'm not sure what I hit, or with what wheel, or how it happened, but Rosie was injured. She cannot walk, and there's been bleeding from damage to internal organs.

She fell off the piano last week and bomped her way down, hitting the keys, the bench, and the pedals. When she'd somewhat recuperated from that, she slipped on the injured leg and messed it up again. And then last week she also fell in one of her crazy antics and got caught [hanged] in the cord to the blinds, from which she was instantaneously rescued.

Just yesterday my little goddaughter Lily and her sister Claire were pointing out that a kitty was missing from Pastor B's house. I assured them that the kitty was fine and was living at my house now. And now look what I've done.

If Rosie manages to sleep this off and recuperate (which I doubt) she will not have very many more of those nine lives left to squander.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

1 Kings 19:10

Who said it?....

I have been very zealous for Yahweh God of hosts;
for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant,
torn down Your altars,
and killed Your prophets with the sword.
I alone am left;
and they seek to take my life.

As verse 18 indicates, Elijah was not entirely correct when he spoke those words. But those words actually were entirely true of Someone else.

And golly jeepers, look at where Elijah was saying those words. At the mountain of God. And he spent the night in a cave. Hmmmm.....