Saturday, November 29, 2008

Best Quote on Thanksgiving

Looking at picture albums, Rachel pointed out to Matt the time she was 10-months-old, and we were at the Alamo. She said that she would love now to be able to see the Alamo, but she forgot her trip there because it happened when she was just too little. And Matt responded:

So... you didn't remember the Alamo?

Weekend's Pictures

Gary at one of those activities traditional to Thanksgiving at his grandma's:

Matt, posing:


See the short hair? Rachel gave me a haircut:

Paul chopping turkey for the tuna casserole. Okay, okay... we know that tuna casserole is supposed to have something swimmy-swimmy in it, and not something that says gobble-gobble. Details, details....

Maggie rotting her brain on video games:

The boys playing a new card game pirate-ship game:

Gary neatening the garage, in hopes that we might be able to fit two vehicles into the 2.5 garage instead of only one:

Warm Fuzzies

My friend had mercy on the poor chilly girl here. She sewed up a warm, fuzzy vest and cap, and made a neck warmer to match. The instructions that came with the "warm-up kit" said that my family was not to laugh at me with my warm-duds. Thinking they would not tune in to the instructions, I specifically pointed out the "Do Not Laugh" part. They did not altogether fail to comply.

Thank you, Elephant's Child!! Today's package contained Warm Fuzzies of more than one kind!

Today's Laugh

When my heart was breaking Thursday afternoon, I had some boys who provided some laughs that helped. Philip was showing us

There was the ad on the subway. Notice that the small-print at the bottom of the sign says the sponsor of the ad is a funeral home!

There's the menu at the Chinese restaurant.

There's the sign-board at Pizza Hut that makes you scratch your head over who designed the sign, and who actually executed the hanging of the sign without questioning the writer-of-the-sign.

For those who don't take time to click on links, one of the signs said, "Frozen water; works like ice; 99 cents."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Gary's Doctor Visit

Last week he saw the doctor for a follow-up appointment regarding his hand injury. It turned out that during his six weeks of wearing the splint, the tendons did not reattach. When he saw the doctor a week ago, his finger was quite inflamed, somewhat swollen, and painful. It also happened that he'd injured his shoulder over the weekend. So that day he ended up with x-rays of both his shoulder and his hand.

Good news on the shoulder: the repeated damage to his left shoulder has left no signs of arthritis in it. Good news on the finger: no bone fragments floating around inside. Bad news on the finger: the options appear to be either surgery or just living with the pain until the non-healing tendons are rubbed numb and the nerves don't keep sending out pain signals. The doctor is looking into more information on the option of hand surgery.

Today So Far

We're still reeling from the news yesterday that Nathan doesn't have a job after all.

We got up this morning to find three flat tires. Two on the Camry, one on the Mercury. Given which tires were flat, it almost looks like somebody was hiding between the two cars to let the air out on purpose.

Today's Laugh

On a day where the traffic on the streets and in the malls will drive you crazy, here's a totally un-PC joke:

Answering service at a mental institution --

Hello, and welcome to the mental health hotline.

If you are obsessive-compulsive, press 1 repeatedly.

If you are co-dependent, ask someone to press 2 for you.

If you have multiple personalities, press 3, 4, 5, and 6.

If you are paranoid, we know who you are and what you want. Stay on the line so we can trace your call.

If you are delusional, press 7 and your call will be transferred to the mother ship.

If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a small voice will tell you what to do.

If you are manic-depressive, it doesn't matter which number you press, no one will answer.

If you have a nervous disorder, please fidget with the hash key until someone comes on the line.

If you are dyslexic, press 6969696969.

If you have amnesia, press 8 and state your name, address, phone number, date of birth, social security number, and your mother's maiden name.

If you have post-traumatic stress disorder, slowly and carefully press 00.

If you have bipolar disorder, please leave a message after the beep, or before the beep, or after the beep. Please wait for the beep.

If you have short-term memory loss, press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.

If you have low self-esteem, please hang up. All our operators are too busy to talk to you.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

More Baby Pictures

Three and a half weeks:
Getting ready for a bath

Holding her head up all by herself!

Today's Laugh

Quite a hoot! Go check out the piece on Not a Martha-Stewart Thanksgiving.

Just to whet your appetite, and to give you incentive to go read the whole thing, here are two paragraphs. The first follows on the heels of the paragraph which revealed that at 5am the turkey was still frozen solid enough to cut diamonds:

As accompaniment to the children’s recital, I will play a recording of tribal drumming. If the children should mention that I don’t own a recording of tribal drumming, or that tribal drumming sounds suspiciously like a frozen turkey in a clothes dryer, ignore them. They are lying.

And another section, which explains quite well why we don't have those Norman-Rockwell moments at our Thanksgiving table:

Now, I know you have all seen pictures of one person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers. This will not be happening at our dinner. For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in a private ceremony. I stress “private” meaning: Do not, under any circumstances, enter the kitchen to laugh at me. Do not send small, unsuspecting children to check on my progress. I have an electric knife. The turkey is unarmed. It stands to reason that I will eventually win. When I do, we will eat.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pictures of Alia

Three weeks old:

And this one is probably my favorite so far:


I hate shopping.
Going to the store to buy the weekly groceries is bad enough. But there is no time to do it during the week of Thanksgiving and the week of Christmas. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the stores are crowded with people who are shopping for groceries for the holiday, and all I want to do is restock my pantry with the regular items that have been depleted by the eaters in my house. And on Friday and Saturday, I do not want to get ANYWHERE near any area where there are any stores of any kind.

But I need eggs.
And Maggie needs shoes.
I've been putting this off for days...

and the crowdedness of the stores is only getting worse as the week passes.

Note to self: I should be thankful that there IS a store where I can buy shoes for my child, and that I have money to do so. Nevertheless, it sure is easier to stock up big-time 8-9 days prior to the holiday, and then not venture toward the store until 3-4 days post-holiday.

Seven Random Weird Facts About Me

Cheryl tagged me for a post that includes --well, how obvious is the title?-- seven random facts about me. And for some thoroughly bizarro reason, she expects me to come up with facts more fascinating then her factoids? Silly Cheryl....

1. I have fought and fought with the computer when it won't give me any sound for YouTube videos or for old Issues Etc programs that I am trying to listen to. When I ask my son for help, he again and again patiently explains that I must turn ON the speakers for the sound to come out. After being repeatedly embarrassed in front of him, I can now remember to turn the speakers on after only a few seconds of fidgeting with the computer, panicking over why the sound is "broken."

2. Whenever we move and find a new dentist, I must always explain my three broken teeth. Two happened in a "trust game" in grade school, and one happened when the neighborhood bully threw a rock at me and hit me in the face with it as I biked to school. Boy, maybe that explains why I don't think so much of either school socialization or "trust games."

3. When we started homeschooling, I was captivated by the ideas presented by Cornerstone Curriculum. (By the way, my opinions have changed.) I remember how they denigrated the Impressionists because that style of art was the first downhill step in moving away from exact depictions of reality, and moving instead toward feelings about reality. I knew nothing about art. We didn't do that in public school. But as we continued homeschooling, and discovered an art series that even I could understand, I discovered that I like the Impressionists. I felt guilty about it for a while. Sometimes still do. Nevertheless, I am crazy about Renoir's Luncheon on the Boat, and it hangs over my computer.

4. We've been doing most of our cleaning on Tuesdays for some reason. I told the kids that I wanted to spend two hours cleaning yesterday so that we wouldn't have that hanging over our heads while Paul is home for the weekend. So we did! Two hours! The house is by no means spotless or dustfree or cobweb-free, but it's perfectly decent. In two hours. If we can do that every week, the knowledge that it is ONLY TWO HOURS will make it so much easier to keep up with the cleaning.

5. Cheri told me it's time to change to a winter purse because mine is very summery, with a kind of "woven grass" look, in pastel blue and green and purple. And I have SO much fashion sense that I said, "Huh?" But she's right. But I still haven't changed purses. Probably won't.

6. When I was doing my exercise-walking yesterday, I noticed that my footprints in the snow are in a very very straight line. All that time on a balance beam in years past still leaves its imprint. [Pun! Ha!]

7. In high school once, I remember that my dad had told me I needed to wash the car one day when I had wanted to go do something with my friends. I was mad. If he was going to make me miss my event to wash the car, I would show him. I would just spend the whole day washing the car. I would polish the hubcaps, and I would dust and buff the dashboard, and I would vacuum under the seats, and I would clean out the trunk, and I would empty the ashtrays of their stash of gum-wrappers, and I would scrub all the stickiness and every smidge of dirt off the steering wheel. I would not only wash the car's outsides, but I would wax it too. Boy, that'd show him how upset I was that he interfered with my plans with my friends! (Now, if it were me as the parent, I would start interfering with my kids' plans a whole lot more if that was how my kids exhibited stubbornness! LOL!)

Okay, I'm supposed to tag some other people. How about Maggie and Maggie, Naomi, and Rick?

Today's Laugh

Seen on last weekend's recipes on, in amongst comments on baked squirrel, spreading out to possum-cooking:

An armadillo is just a possum on the half-shell.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More Alia Pictures

Wow, she's a lot bigger!
Eight pounds now at 3 weeks old:

Aren't they beautifully fascinating fingers?

Creamed Corn

Glorious fat.

Oh, this is good!

Thanks to Barbara, who linked to Lucianne's recipe-posting weekend, I found this treat.

It's best made with fresh sweet corn from the field. But if you don't have that, you can use frozen corn. Thaw the corn. Throw it, in small batches, into the food processor and chop roughly -- do not turn it to mush. Melt lots of butter in the skillet. Cook corn slowly in the butter, till it's nearly dry. Then add heavy cream and cook down. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This is like heaven compared to the creamed corn you buy in a can. Of course, with that much fat in it, what do we expect? Mmmmmm!


The sun sets earlier in town. Here it is, still 4 weeks till solstice, and the sun is setting at 4:15. Nearly every week last winter and the previous year I'd be surprised when we got to town for paper routes, assuming we still had half an hour of daylight left, and discovering that darkness came in town much earlier because of the houses blocking the horizon and the trees shading whatever light was still bouncing around up in the sky.

Wall clocks that run on batteries should not be on outside walls during the winter. The cold is hard on the batteries. The clock slows down. The person who expects the clock to be two minutes early gets where she's going and discovers that the clock was actually four minutes behind. (Do you remember the "household tip" that said to store your batteries in the refrigerator to keep them fresh? Who came up with that cockamamie advice anyhow???)

Today's Laugh

One day God was looking down at Earth and saw all of the rascally behavior that was going on. He decided to send an angel down to Earth to check it out.

So he called one of His angels and sent the angel to Earth for a time. When he returned, he told God, "Yes, it is bad on Earth; 95% are misbehaving and only 5% are not."

God thought for a moment and said, "Maybe I had better send down a second angel to get another opinion." So God called another angel and sent him to Earth for a time too.

When the angel returned he went to God and said, "Yes, it's true. The Earth is in decline; 95% are misbehaving, but 5% are being good."

God was not pleased. So He decided to email the 5% that were good, because He wanted to encourage them, to give them a little something to help them keep going.

Do you know what the E-mail said?

I was just wondering; I didn't get one either.

Monday, November 24, 2008

More Baby Pictures

Two weeks old:

Three weeks old:

The Help of Computers

Rachel has decided to tackle NaNoWriMo and write a novel in the month of November. She told me yesterday that today she is headed to Panera to write today. She cannot write in the house. Too many distractions.

I was raised in an era of typewriters. Computers were machines that took up whole buildings. In college, the idea of a computer that would sit on a desk (on a desk? a whole computer???) was just beginning to come into vogue. I remember the secretary at the church in Wautoma having to type and retype and retype letters to people: sometimes because she made a typo that couldn't be fixed and thus she started over, sometimes because there was one line in each letter which needed to be adjusted for the recipient (such as which position that person was serving as a church officer). The word-processing typewriter (which had some memory in it) was such a time-saving blessing!

I don't know now how I could function with writing the old-fashioned way. It's so easy to make corrections on the computer, to adjust words, to tweak paragraphs, to plop an extra thought into the middle of a sentence. The words flow from my fingertips onto the keyboard in the way that the words once, long ago, flowed from my pen onto paper. And unfortunately, the words no longer flow from pen to paper so easily.

I am old enough that I think of computers primarily as something that, well, computes, for the bank, for the credit card companies, for the colleges ... and as a word-processor. I am beginning to see the computer, though, the way the younger generation does: as a way to keep in touch with those who are miles away, as the world's file cabinet of interesting information, and maybe even as entertainment.

And thus I find it fascinating that Rachel is leaving her computer to write. She is headed to Panera with her pen and notebook. (That is, a spiral-bound notebook, with white paper with pale blue lines. Not a computer the size of a notebook.) The distractions of home --the housecleaning, the cooking, the cats-- and the distractions of the computer --email, blogs, Facebook photos, games, etc-- prevent her from writing. The very computer which eases the process of writing is the exact same thing that distracts her from doing the work.

Somehow, when I hear some of the older pastors speak about the young pastors spending too much time on the computer, I can see how it's hard to balance the time-saving aspects of the word-processor with the time-wasting aspects of online socialization and gaming.

And I think Rachel has probably discovered the only real solution. Putting distance between herself and the machine.

Grown-Up Work

Two weeks ago, when I was in Fort Wayne, I spent several hours per day for four days at the sem library. Katie was doing fine with nursing Alia, and I didn't need to be in the new family's hair all the time -- just at mealtime and cleaning time ... and a little bit of cooing-at-Alia time.

There is a CCA project that got stalled. Some grad assistants at the sem were working on the project. But then they had the audacity to graduate [can you believe it?!?!] and get ordained and go out there in the world to take care of the sheep entrusted to them by the Shepherd. And so, the project languished temporarily for want of attention.

I requested the job and was given permission to tackle it. When I started in on the project, I realized that I had a lot to figure out. I (the techno-phobe who took three weeks to learn how to operate the email, and that only after repeated and explicit instructions from my children, and copious note-taking on my part) figured out the sem's computer catalog of books and articles. The librarians showed me how to work the funky copier that's specially for books, and I did it. The librarians and I managed to get photocopies off both the microfiche and the microfilm. I found articles tucked away in odd places. DoRena's Sam even told me how I could get a hold of as-yet-uncatalogued books. I puzzled out things that I honestly thought my brain was no longer capable of.

It was exhilarating!

I was a little afraid of coming home and rebelling against the daily housewife routine that doesn't require such stretches of problem-solving in unfamiliar territory (and enticing peeks into articles and lectures that looked quite intriguing). But it's been okay. I haven't been pining to do that out-of-the-home grown-up work. There's just something wonderful about knowing that I haven't lost so many brain cells that my work at the sem library was completely beyond me.

So wonderful, in fact, that it was [amazingly enough!] as good as Baby Watching.

Today's Laugh

In April of 1996, the author of the Hokey-Pokey died. Larry LaPrise died peacefully in his sleep. The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in, and then the trouble started.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Baby Pictures

Hooray, hooray! Katie posted some pictures on her Facebook account! For those who don't have access to Facebook:

Today's Laugh

This one is from Jodi:

Two little boys, ages 8 and 10, are excessively mischievous. They are always getting into trouble and their parents know all about it. If any mischief occurs in their town, the two boys are probably involved.

The boys' mother heard that a preacher in town had been successful in disciplining children, so she asked if he would speak with her boys. The preacher agreed, but he asked to see them individually. So the mother sent the 8-year-old first, in the morning, with the older boy to see the preacher in the afternoon.

The preacher, a huge man with a booming voice, sat the younger boy down and asked him sternly, "Do you know where God is, son?"

The boy's mouth dropped open, but he made no response, sitting there wide-eyed with his mouth hanging open. So the preacher repeated the question in an even sterner tone, "Where is God?!"

Again, the boy made no attempt to answer. The preacher raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy's face and bellowed, "Where is God?!"

The boy screamed & bolted from the room, ran directly home, and dove into his closet, slamming the door behind him.

When his older brother found him in the closet, he asked, "What happened?"

The younger brother, gasping for breath, replied, "We are in BIG trouble this time.

"GOD is missing, and they think we did it!"