Quote of the Day


New Year's Resolutions

I resolve

:: to be a more prepared and attentive teacher
:: to be a more patient and gentle Mom
:: to get back in the habit of regularly attending church
:: to read more to my kids
:: to call my friends more often
:: to do whatever I can to help get Dr. Ron Paul elected President
:: to better defend my husband's rest time
:: to work on my manuscript
:: to drop 10 more pounds
:: to exercise more
:: to spend very little time in hospitals or nursing homes (although I really don't have any control over this, so I ought not to include it, but it is my fervent hope)



Ron Paul Letter Writing Campaign

I'm participating in the Ron Paul Letter Writing Campaign, wherein personal letters are sent to voters in early primary states. Here is what I am sending to New Hampshire:

Dear __________,

My name is Suzanne Chandler and I am an English teacher in Washington State. I have been married for 13 years and have two children, ages 8 and 6 1/2. I have never supported a presidential candidate before, but I have decided to back Dr. Ron Paul for President. I am writing to ask you to consider voting for Dr. Paul in New Hampshire's January 8 primary.

Ron Paul is a 10-term Republican Congressman, a former flight surgeon in the US Air Force, and a medical doctor (OB/GYN) that has delivered more than 4,000 babies. He never took payments from the government as a doctor. Instead, he would do the work for free or a reduced fee.

In Congress, Dr. Paul has never voted to raise taxes, never voted for an unbalanced budget, and is known as the "Taxpayer's Best Friend". He does not participate in the lucrative Congressional pension program because he does not think it is fair to taxpayers. Dr. Paul even paid for the college educations of his five children instead of letting them have government loans. He wants to secure our borders, protect our liberties, and is the only major candidate of either party that wants our troops to come home now.

Ron Paul is the most principled man I have ever encountered. He has been married to his wife Carol for over 50 years, is extremely honest and genuine, and one always knows where he stands. He is truly the Thomas Jefferson of our day and is exactly what our country needs.

Please consider voting for Dr. Paul at your primary on January 8, 2008. If you are an undeclared voter, you can declare as Republican on January 8, vote for Ron Paul, and then change party affiliation back to "undeclared" by completing a form at the polling place. If you'd like to learn more, call Ron Paul's New Hampshire headquarters at 603-227-0131, his national toll-free number at 1-877-RON-PAUL (766-7285) or visit his website, RonPaul2008.com.

I would certainly like to hear what you think of Dr. Ron Paul. Please e-mail me your thoughts at chndlrs@msn.com. Thank you for your time.





whew: six hours of shopping

Oh my word. We are exhausted. Chickadee and Ms. Trengles and I set out on a six hour returns-and-shopping expedition today. We visited a flour mill and loaded up on fresh-ground organic flour (rye and white for me) and then after fortifying ourselves at Great Harvest, did the dread mall run.

I got the slippers I had hoped Santa would bring and a warm fleece; she got a very cute bag for a great price; for Dandy we found some school uniform pants on sale as well as some fuzzy lion slippers (remember Halloween?); for Chickadee we found some cozy turtlenecks and a new pair of footie pajamas. Apparently the local retailers are hurting, as we bought nothing that was not at least 50% off.

By the way, 25 pounds of flour will fit nicely into a Rubbermaid 19 quart storage container, like this one.


Friday Poetry: Praying by Mary Oliver

A lovely Mary Oliver poem in this season of prayer.


It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

~ Mary Oliver in Thirst: Poems

Here is the coding if you want a button with a link to this week's round-up.

:: this post is part of the Friday Poetry roundup hosted by Check it Out.



Rosemary Whole Wheat Bread

It's bread making weather here, cold and damp and blustery -- perfect for days for using the oven.

Here is my latest recipe, still using the stand mixer and bread oven technique.

Rosemary Whole Wheat Bread

1 ½ C water (perhaps a bit more)
4 t rosemary oil or olive oil
2 ½ C bread flour
1 ½ C whole wheat flour
1 ½ t sugar
1 t salt
1 ¼ t bread-machine yeast
1 T rosemary

recipe heavily modified from Best Bread Machine Recipes

Put ingredients into your stand mixer and run mixer on low for 20 minutes. Pull the dough off the hook and out of bowl (I just balance it in one hand for a minute). Flour inside of bowl and return dough to bowl; leave bread hook in place.

Let dough rise until double (about 2 hours) and then pop the bread hook back into the bowl. Knead for 4 minutes.

Turn oven on to 400-425 and put the empty bread-oven into the oven to preheat.

Let dough rise until double (about 20-40 minutes) and then put the dough into the hot bread-oven.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when thumped.



Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

My sister shared Water for Elephants: A Novel with me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It tells the story of an accidental circus man. Sara Gruen obviously did oodles of research as the details are rich and authentic. The story is compelling and the ending is quite lovely; I highly recommend it.



best. Christmas. ever.

At long last, I have had Christmas with my children. Last year, though I was physically present in the home, I was too shattered to savor it. This year though, we had a blast.

On Sunday we went to see My Gift's parents and had yummy food and thoughtful gifts and a great time. Then we went to a wedding whereat the children danced and whooped it up and were lots of fun to be with. They we drove home and fell into our beds, savoring the memories of the day. My favorite was watching M
y Gift (who hates to dance) being pulled onto the dance floor by Chickadee. We got to see the family that was introduced My Gift and me. I'll tell you the story another day.

On Monday the kids and I went to have breakfast with all the local cousins on my Dad's side. More yummy food and very fun to see all that side of the family. Dandy, keeping with holiday traditions, fell into the marsh and got quite wet. My Gift stayed home as his ticker is still getting used to the medication.

Monday evening my siblings and nieces and parents came to soup and bread supper at our house; they all went to church afterward but we were quit
e weary and longing for our pillows.

Tuesday morning was everything I had hoped for. The children delighted in their Christmas stockings and gifts. We got to eat our traditional Christmas morning meal (Smoked Salmon Quiche and Kringle - recipes another day). I got to take a long hot bath and read a chapter in my new book: Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks.

hen we went over to my Mom & Dad's for Christmas with them. My sister's three girls were home from work/school and they played with our kids and Dad was feeling perky and engaged and I was just spilling over with happiness.

I loved the menu so much that I am blogging it so that we can remember it next year:
Deviled Eggs
Spinach Rolls
Swedish Meatballs
Mashed Potatoes
Caraway Rye Bread
Hot Beet Dish (?? have to get recipe from b.i.l.)
Cabbage Rolls
Sour Cream
Fruit Salad
Cookie Plate
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Crisp
Ice Cream

And I got another new book: My Sister's Keeper: A Novel which I will prob
ably stay up to read tonight.

So very much to rejoice in and be grateful for this year. Tis t
he celebration of the Lord's birth today, and yet I have so little to say about that. I think this year has been one of the Holy Spirit sustaining me and fortifying me. For some reason, the idea of Pentecost moves me much more than the Nativity does. Perhaps because I haven't been thinking of eternity this year, just of getting through the day.

Speaking of the Nativity, did I mention that Dandy was the tax collector in the school play? He was perfectly cast: loves money and loves to be bossy. He was a radiant tax collector.



Ron Paul: Declaration of Support

So are you wondering yet why the Ron Paul supporters are so passionate about him? Here are a few hints:

This is from the Ron Paul registry.

I support Ron Paul because he opposes and would substantively change the following:

· The WTO (World Trade Organization), NAFTA and CAFTA. These organizations threaten our National Sovereignty by placing domestic policy decisions in the hands of foreign agents.

· The "Federal" Reserve. Despite it's name, the Federal Reserve is not a Federal agency (think FedEx). It is a privately owned corporation that manipulates the value of the U.S. dollar (through interest rates) to the advantage of the wealthy and the detriment of the middle class and poor.

· The PATRIOT Act. The PATRIOT Act is an unconstitutional law, passed by a panicked, spineless Congress at a time of fear and uncertainty. Congressional members were so scared, in fact, that they literally neglected to read the law they passed. This law allows for domestic spying on ordinary Americans. It allows for warrant-less searches. This law is not limited to terrorism cases. This law gives the government the authority to detain anyone, for whatever length of time, without ever bringing charges. This law is illegal.

· The REAL ID Act. The REAL ID Act is a law passed by Congress that mandates the creation of a national ID card. These cards are plastic human barcodes that every American citizen will be forced to carry, starting in May of 2008, so that the government can keep an absolute tab on everyone. Right now it is the law.

Depending on your State of Residence, some of the features these cards will include are: fingerprint, iris scan, genetic information (DNA), social security number, physical description of the card holder, a magnetic strip which would allow access to databases containing your credit history and private medical information, and an RFID chip, which would allow the government to track your movements.

· The Military-Industrial Complex. The Military-Industrial Complex is a term that was made famous by WWII war hero and former President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. He used it in his farewell address to warn Americans of the dangers of the MIC. The term Military-Industrial Complex refers to the relationship between the Military, Government and Private Industry (a.k.a. weapons manufacturers). It works like this...

The more wars there are the more toys the Military needs. The more toys the military needs, the more money Private Industry makes. The more toys Private Industry makes for the Military, the more influence the Government gains on the world stage. The more influence the Government gains on the world stage, the more toys the Military will need to sustain it. The more toys the Military needs to sustain the Government's gained influence on the world stage, the more money Private Industry makes... and so on.

Only constant war can sustain this vicious circle of war profiteering, dominance of others and death and destruction. In essence, constant war benefits these three parties at the expense of world peace and stability.

· The War on Drugs. "War on Drugs" is a propagandistic term for a policy that sustains the very drug market it is supposedly meant to fight. By criminalizing drugs (think Alcohol), the government enables the existence of black markets (think bootlegging), which in turn allows for the emergence of individuals and criminal syndicates (think Al Capone) who are more than willing to kill, rape and bribe themselves into riches, as they satisfy that market's demands.

By keeping drugs illegal, the government enables a market whereby those who trade in it (gangs and individuals) make enormous profits that allow them to further their criminal enterprises. It puts money into the pockets of individuals who use it to bribe Police, Court Officials and Politicians. It turns desperate poor people into deviant entrepreneurs. It makes criminals out of individuals who have the illness of addiction.

· The War on Terror. The "War on Terror" is another propagandistic term and contributes greatly to the Military-Industrial Complex. It is meant to promote fear and submission to authority. By neglecting the fact that terrorism is a tactic of war and not an enemy, the government is able to conceal the progress, or lack thereof, of its war against said enemy; simply because one cannot measure a tactic.

· The Department of Homeland Security. The DHS is a massive, wasteful, bureaucratic, Orwellian institution that threatens our values, our liberties and our Rights under the Constitution. This is the same institution that spent the summer of 2004 scaring all Americans by issuing "orange alerts" whenever the political situation for the White House got dangerous.

· President George W. Bush. The President has waged an undeclared, unconstitutional war in Iraq. The President has waived the Writ of Habeas Corpus; the right of an individual to have a Court review whether or not their detention is legal. The President has exceeded his Constitutional authority and violated several federal laws by; engaging in domestic spying, allowing the NSA to intercept and listen to millions of innocent phone calls, allowing the NSA to read your private e-mails and Instant Messages, allowing the NSA to monitor your internet activity and by allowing the Post Office to open your mail.

And these are only the confirmed programs.


CBS News & Ron Paul

See, I went three whole days without posting about Ron Paul. Here is a great clip from CBS News which has finally taken notice of the good doctor.



Friday Poetry: In the Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Here is the coding if you want a button with a link to this week's round-up.


:: this post is part of the Friday Poetry roundup hosted by AmoXcalli.