Saturday, August 29, 2009

Who Does the Housework?

As we've been looking toward the approaching school year and considering curricula and schedules, I'm overwhelmed with all there is to do. I keep coming back to something Jane said during her session at the Wisdom and Eloquence conference:
By the time the kids are teenagers, the mom shouldn't be doing housework anymore.

I think this is true.

I am SO bad at it.

I feel guilty asking them to do housework unless I am actively, at that very moment, doing housework too. But there's all sorts of housework and cooking I do when they're reading or chatting on the computer with friends. I also remember with guilt that I did almost no housework growing up; my mom did everything, and my brother and I sabotaged my parents' plans to get us to do chores.

I need Jane in my head, several times a day, poking and prodding me into requiring the kids to do the dishes and the sweeping and the mopping, and much more. I might (???) even allow them to intrude upon my laundry room ... but that's really going out on a limb.

Today's Laugh

With the help of a fertility specialist, a 65-year-old woman has a baby. All her relatives come to visit and meet the newest member of their family.

When they ask to see the baby, the 65-year-old mother says, "Not yet."

Finally they say, "When can we see the baby?"

And the mother says, "When the baby cries."

They all ask, "Why do we have to wait until the baby cries?"

The new mother says, "Because I forgot where I put it."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Canning or Freezing

So far I've canned a dozen quarts of beans. I'm wondering whether I should can more.

One of the jars in my last batch didn't seal. The kids and I ate the beans for lunch yesterday. Canned beans just are not as good as frozen. And frozen are not as good as fresh. I knew that already, but yesterday my tastebuds gave me a vivid reminder. It seems such a waste to bring in those lovely beans and not enjoy them in the fullness of their blow-ya-away deliciousness. Canning seems to overcook them and make them too mushy.

The prospect of our nation's future makes me want to can so that I will have shelf-stable food where preservation does not depend upon electricity to operate my freezer. But I'd much prefer to eat the beans that have been frozen than the beans that have been canned. So basically, I'm gambling premium taste against confidence in my access to electricity.

I hate gambling.

Coyotes on Leave

When we first moved in, two different neighbors warned us about the coyotes and that our outdoor cats would be in danger. We were not terribly concerned. Rosie and Athena survived the first summer here without being gobbled up or even bitten or clawed.

This summer, we have not heard the coyotes. No howling. No yipping. Just occasional barks from neighborhood dogs. But no coyotes.

Gary thinks Athena chased them off. Not in a confrontational sort of way: "This is now my territory and it's time for you varmints to vacate!" But she is hunting. The prey is going into Athena's tummy. There isn't as much left. Why should the coyotes hang around here if Athena ate their supper? Plenty of gophers available half a mile away.

Awesome kitty!! Here's hoping for long life and good health for the huntress.

Wow -- she gets rid of a pack of coyotes.... Wow.

Today's Laugh

An elderly gentleman had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He was fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed him to hear 100%.

He went back in a month to the doctor. The doctor said, "Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again."

To which the gentleman said, "Oh, I haven't told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I've changed my will three times already!"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Where Are We Headed Anyway?

Lord God, You have called Your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that Your hand is leading us and Your love supporting us. (LSB pg 311)

I've been trying to cope with three huge stressors in the last few months. Then there are lesser stresses such as
financial problems from three pay-cuts since the beginning of 2008,
the national political & economic scene,
and problems which have forced me to pretty much hush on email lists where I long kept in contact with many friends.

Add to that mix
Dad's death,
kids' moves,
back problems,
garden work,
rethinking and planning for the new year of homeschooling,
Pastor's absence for half the summer,
and still adjusting to the new hymnal.

We may not know where we're going. We may not know much of anything. But He promised to stay with us, and His love and grace support us. The Gospel is what gives us faith to go out with good courage.

I think I need more of the Gospel.

Suffering versus Punishing

Yesterday's Day by Day included these sentences by Luther:
At the same time suffer evil and injustice and yet punish evil and injustice. At the same time do not resist evil and yet do resist it. For in doing the one you look upon yourself and your own interests, and in doing the other you look upon your neighbor and his interests.

Wow. That should help clear up some things I've been trying to make sense of. I keep wondering how forgiveness fits with standing up against wrong-doing. If we wish to defend and protect our neighbor, we must resist evil. But we forgive those who sin against us.

(If only this "right-hand kingdom" and "left-hand kingdom" stuff were as easy to make sense of in real life as it is when you're discussing theology in a classroom.)

Today's Laugh

A noted psychiatrist was a guest at a National Organization for Women gathering, and his hostess broached the subject in which the doctor was most at ease. "Would you mind telling me, Doctor," she asked, "how you detect a mental deficiency in somebody who appears completely normal?"

"Nothing is easier," he replied. "You ask him a simple question which everyone should answer with no trouble. If he hesitates, that puts you on the track."

"What sort of question?"

"Well, you might ask him, 'Captain Cook made three trips around the world and died during one of them. Which one?'"

The woman thought a moment, then said with a nervous laugh, "You wouldn't happen to have another example, would you? I must confess I don't know much about history."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In summer ...

... you never know whether it's hot flashes or whether the day is just really warming up and you're just now beginning to notice. In winter it's a no-brainer.

Cute Alia Pictures

From August 7

Katie lost her pictures from the move. We had an error on our camera setting, so most of the pictures are blurry. Here are some of the best.

Today's Laugh

A married couple was celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. At the party everybody wanted to know how they managed to stay married so long in this day and age.

The husband responded, "When we were first married we came to an agreement. I would make all the major decisions and my wife would make all the minor decisions. And in 60 years of marriage we have never needed to make a major decision."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Washing Herbs

Today's discovery -- It is much easier to wash sand and mud off the fresh cilantro and fresh basil when the leaves are still attached to the stems. And drying the leaves is way way easier to do when you've got a stem and attached leaves instead of of individual leaves!

I wish I'd known this yesterday. Or last month. At least I know now.


My heart for joy is springing
and can no more be sad;
'tis full of mirth and singing,
sees naught but sunshine glad.
The Sun that cheers my spirit
is Jesus Christ, my King;
The heaven I shall inherit
makes me rejoice and sing.

Moving Day

This is Katie's birthday this year:

Their home in Fort Wayne:

The moving truck:

Andrew and Paul loading the mattress:

Helpers galore! Thank you so much to the Rhein crew (which also included a Grobien and a Harrison) and to the Casey crew. I can't imagine how much longer it would have taken (and how much achier and sorer we would've been) without your help.
In light of the helpers we had, I was amused by a post recently by Pr Weedon about breaking out into song. I had "Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me" stuck in my head. Then I noticed Sarah was singing it too. And then it spread. Funny to be walking in and out of the apartment to the parking lot, and meeting different segments of the song in various spots, but if we'd been gathered all in one location, we were all on the same words at the same time, like a choir. Of course, we didn't just sing Gerhardt. There was a copious amount of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella in there too.

Almost done. Nothing to carry. Just the last few pieces to finagle into their places.

Not much of a chance to celebrate their wedding anniversary, in amongst all the moving boxes. So Nathan bought Katie flowers. Aren't they pretty?!!

Some snacks for Nathan to eat in the truck.

(Notice the empty lawn chairs in the background? They weren't empty for most of the day. The 70ish neighbor fellow watched us as we moved the kids in a couple of years ago. And he sat on his patio and watched us load up the truck again for moving out. He reminded me of Dad.)

We want calories! We want calories! We want calories!

Neti Problem?

Grossness warning --

You have been warned ...

With ragweed season upon us, it's taking forever for me to use the neti pot because my head is stuffy, and the saline leaks through slowly instead of flowing through my sinus cavity. Sometimes it leaks out my tear ducts. Rachel talked about that once and I about barfed.

Last night I noticed pink eye. (I slept with garlic taped to my eyelids, and the pink eye has improved dramatically.) I am wondering if having some of the water from the neti pot exit via the tear ducts is giving me the pink eye. Yuck yuck yuck!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Today's Laugh

During the Super Bowl, there was another football game of note between the big animals and the small animals. The big animals were crushing small animals and, at half-time, the coach made a passionate speech to rally the little animals.

At the start of the second half the big animals had the ball. In the first play, the elephant got stopped for no gain. For the second play, the rhino was stopped for no gain. On third down, the hippo was thrown for a 5-yard loss.

The defense huddled around the coach and he asked excitedly, "Who stopped the elephant?"

"I did," said the centipede.

"Who stopped the rhino?"

"Uh, that was me too," said the centipede.

"And how about the hippo? Who hit him for a 5-yard loss?"

"Well, that was me as well," said the centipede.

"So where were you during the first half?" demanded the coach.

"Well," said the centipede, "I was having my ankles taped."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Is It Supposed to Take This Long?

At 4:00 I went out to pick beans. Brought 'em in. Gary and I snapped and washed. Put 'em in jars and canned 5 quarts. It took over FIVE HOURS!

Now, to be fair, while they were bubbling away in the pressure canner, I made some freezer pickles. And we watched some Big Bang Theory while working on the beans. But still -- five hours?

Am I doing something wrong? I know these are nice, organic beans. Well, almost organic. Half of them did get one sprinkle of Sevin Dust back when they were tiny plants. They will taste much better than store-bought canned beans, and probably better even than frozen beans. But that's still a long time to work for only five quarts of beans.

Or maybe this is not an inordinate amount of time, and I just don't know what to expect from gardens and canning.