Quote of the Day


Irish Stew

Yummy! I made this earlier this month and never got around to posting it. It was delish!

Irish Stew

In a heavy deep pot, sauté together:
1/4 C vegetable oil
1-2 lbs stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces

When beef is browned on all sides, add:

6 good-sized cloves of garlic, minced

When garlic is golden and aromatic, add:
8 C liquid: beef broth or water
2 T tomato paste
1 T dried thyme
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T sugar
2 bay leaves

Simmer together for one hour.
In another pot, combine & sauté until golden:
2 T butter
6-8 C of ½ inch pieces of potatoes
1-2 chopped onions
2-3 C ½ inch pieces of carrots

Add veggies to meat. Simmer together for about 45 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Serve topped with a dab of sour cream and chopped fresh parsley.

This recipe is even yummier the second day and is ideal for crockpot reheating.




We didn't make it to church this morning, but thanks to an email from a cousin, church came to us.



Eli Chase on Ron Paul


Whose Your Daddy?

I really doubt if any of my readers have to worry about this, but I would guess that in some circles a DIY home paternity kit will have some dire consequences. Or is it just that I am a tad too cynical?



Friday Poetry: Royality by Luci Shaw

I was hard-pressed last week to choose between the Ezra Pound Good Friday poem and this one by Luci Shaw, included in the collection, A Widening Light: Poems of the Incarnation.
He was a plain man
and learned no latin

Having left all gold behind
he dealt out peace
to all us wild men
and the weather

He ate fish, bread,
country wine and God's will

Dust sandaled his feet

He wore purple only once
and that was an irony

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 Cuentesitos.



bloggy haitus

Apparently, I am taking a little break from blogging. As I've posted at least once a day every day this year, there is plenty to read, it's just not as fresh. I'll be back to my regular yammering next week.



twas a great party

The food was good; the guests were interesting; it was a lovely lovely day. The best part? Dandy was able to enjoy the attention of the whatever adult he was with without constantly surveying the room to see if everyone else was watching or if his sister was getting more attention from someone else. As mom put it, he acted 'normal". And though I am not precisely sure what "normal" means, I agreed with her.

Keeping him home from school has proven to be a water-shed for us. He is much calmer, much more able to relax, much less frenetic.

Edited to add: Rachel, I added the link to the menu posting.



Held by Natalie Grant

The holidays were really hard for me when we were waiting for children, and I know that family gatherings are bittersweet for all who have suffered tremendous loss. I'm posting today this video of Natalie Grant's Held from the Awaken album in acknowledgment of holiday sorrows.

I love the song, the lyrics, the singing. I find the video to be too much of 'look at me, I'm so pretty', so my advice is to launch it and listen, but don't watch.

Two months is too little
They let him go
They had no sudden healing.
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling.
Who told us we'd be rescued?
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares?
We're asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair.

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive,
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held.

This hand is bitterness.
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows.
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow.

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held.

If hope if born of suffering,
If this is only the beginning,
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our savior?

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held.



Friday Poetry: Goodly Fere on Good Friday

I love this poem. You'll want to recall that Fere means mate, or companion, or buddy. For best results, read this aloud.

Ballad of the Goodly Fere

Simon Zelotes speaketh it somewhile after the Crucifixion.

HA’ we lost the goodliest fere o’ all
For the priests and the gallows tree?
Aye lover he was of brawny men,
O’ ships and the open sea.

When they came wi’ a host to take Our Man
His smile was good to see,
“First let these go!” quo’ our Goodly Fere,
“Or I’ll see ye damned,” says he.

Aye he sent us out through the crossed high spears
And the scorn of his laugh rang free,
“Why took ye not me when I walked about
Alone in the town?” says he.

Oh we drank his “Hale” in the good red wine
When we last made company.
No capon priest was the Goodly Fere,
But a man o’ men was he.

I ha’ seen him drive a hundred men
Wi’ a bundle o’ cords swung free,
That they took the high and holy house
For their pawn and treasury.

They’ll no’ get him a’ in a book, I think,
Though they write it cunningly;
No mouse of the scrolls was the Goodly Fere
But aye loved the open sea.

If they think they ha’ snared our Goodly Fere
They are fools to the last degree.
“I’ll go to the feast,” quo’ our Goodly Fere,
“Though I go to the gallows tree.”

“Ye ha’ seen me heal the lame and blind,
And wake the dead,” says he.
“Ye shall see one thing to master all:
’Tis how a brave man dies on the tree.”

A son of God was the Goodly Fere
That bade us his brothers be.
I ha’ seen him cow a thousand men.
I have seen him upon the tree.

He cried no cry when they drave the nails
And the blood gushed hot and free.
The hounds of the crimson sky gave tongue,
But never a cry cried he.

I ha’ seen him cow a thousand men
On the hills o’ Galilee.
They whined as he walked out calm between,
Wi’ his eyes like the gray o’ the sea.

Like the sea that brooks no voyaging,
With the winds unleashed and free,
Like the sea that he cowed at Genseret
Wi’ twey words spoke suddently.

A master of men was the Goodly Fere,
A mate of the wind and sea.
If they think they ha’ slain our Goodly Fere
They are fools eternally.

I ha’ seen him eat o’ the honey-comb
Sin’ they nailed him to the tree.
~ Ezra Pound

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 Wild Rose Reader.


18 months in

A year and a half ago today our plane landed in Chicago and our kids became US citizens. Hours later another plane landed in Seattle and we were picked up and driven home. A year and a half ago today -- a mere 18 months -- our children walked into our home for the first time. We were still speaking Russglish back then, still using sign language, still essentially strangers to one another. Twas merely a year and a half ago.

How did we celebrate? My Gift worked overtime and I took the children first to class with me (last night WHoo HOOO) and then to a Ron Paul party to celebrate our successful convention. I did mention that 80% of the delegates from our county are Ron Paul's people, didn't I? We had much to celebrate.


Raising Children Who Think for Themselves by Dr. Elsia Medhus

I borrowed a copy of Raising Children Who Think for Themselves by Elisa Medhus, M.D. from Dandy's therapist because I picked it up and it just fell open to the section on sulking and pouting. Dr. Medhus has this to say:

Make it a rule that if your children try to get something by sulking or pouting, they definately won't get it under any circumstances.
Yup - that's what we do.
No sulkers or pouters allowed in your personal space. They have to take it elsewhere . . . (p. 258)
Yup - we do that too. I got so excited that I'm doing something right that I immediately read that portion aloud to Dandy. He did not seem as happy about it as I was, and in fact did not seem to think I should borrow the book. Funny boy.

The book did not live up to my expectation however, as it was written to a different audience. Over and over, Dr. Medhus asks questions along the lines of "How many times have we, as parents, done thus-and-so" where thus-and-so is some variation of a keeping up with the Joneses line of thought. Dr. Medhus assumes that we as parents are externally driven and often lost me thereby.

That being said, she did have some useful nuggets that I am going to capture by blogging them so that I can remember them later; my mind is a sieve these days.

Nugget #1 - instead of presents, ask for donations to the library, used or new books that we can read and then present to the local library (p. 146). This emphasizes experiences and sharing over possessing and keeping. Dandy obsesses over things, so I think this may be a good tool for him.

Nugget #2 - is The Level System (p. 117-118) which is actually for teens, but I can modify it for our family. In this system, everyone wakes up with full privileges and with each significant infraction loses a level of privileges, ending up at the bottom with only
. . . doing their schoolwork, completing their chores, eating at regular mealtime, trimming their toenails, and picking the lint out of their belly-button.

We've done something similar with chore camp (which grew out of boot camp). What I like about this variation is that we can post a list of house rules and a chart of privilege levels and then, when a rule is broken, matter-of-factly examine the chart and see what the consequences are. I like that I can be as laid-back about this as I am when I say "Oh I notice you are using your outside voice, please go outside (yawn)."

They can't spend all their energy railing against me when we have set it up as house-rules. I am merely the notification aide, not the sheriff, prosecuting attorney, judge, and jailer.


Eat. Faint. Repeat as needed.

Pioneer Woman certainly gets enough attention, but how can I not share a post that includes this phrase: Eat. Faint. Repeat as needed.


piggy pardon?

He's so polite, that boy of ours:

Dandy: Mom, can I come in?
Me: Mrmrph shrumpp.
Dandy: Piggy pardon?
Me: What!?
Dandy: Piggy pardon. Grandma taught me it is okay to say piggy pardon instead of excuse me if I didn't hear you.
Me: Oh. Okay.

So I ask you, oh internets, am I obliged to correct him? It's just so darn cute, I can't bear to fix it up.



Easter Bunnies

Tis the season when darling cute adorable irresistible baby bunny rabbits are snuffling their little noses at you at the feed store, the pet store, and sometimes from little boxes in front of grocery stores. They are so cute. And Easter is on Sunday.

Just walk away. Go visit the interactive bun site to help you decide if you are ready for a bunny or two. Just as a preview, you need to think about this: it is no more appropriate to store your bunny in a hutch in the yard than it would be to store your cat in a hutch in the yard. Sure, you could do that. And some people do with rabbits, but it is cruel to take an animal built for speed and confine it. You have noticed that rabbits have incredibly strong back legs? Yes indeed, they need to be able to run and hop the same way that your children need to be able to move. So if you are going to take in a bunny, bunny needs to live with you.

You can learn most of what you need to know about house-rabbits in the
House Rabbit Handbook: How to Live With an Urban Rabbit.

We have, as you may recall, two houserabbits. They turned eleven earlier this month. They are very sweet and very companionable and nowadays I constantly feel guilty for neglecting them.

We feed them bundles of cilantro or parsley daily, and a carrot. They also enjoy eating dandelion greens, blackberry cuttings, and the trimmings from our unsprayed fruit trees. For treats they get unsalted crackers, a raisin, or a bit of banana or apple. We have to go easy on the fruit or they get poopybum, and bathing a wiggly clawed animal with large teeth is a drag.

Fortunately, bunnies can be hypnotized or tranced, and this helps a lot for washing up (and for clipping nails). Bunny tummies are very fragile and were a constant worry to me in the first five years. Now I know their individual dietary foibles, plus their characteristic pre-tummy ache behavior, so we don't actually get into crises very often. Do make sure you have some tummy medicine on hand.

The leading cause of death of houserabbits is electrocution. That cord hanging in their way? They'll treat it the exact same way as they treat a twig in their path as they are hopping down the bunny trail. Yum, a snack. So, if you are going to be a bunny parent, all your cords need to be off the ground and the little bit that runs near the ground needs to be protected; we encase ours in tubing.

There is much much more you need to know to be a good rabbit parent. Hopperhome provides lots of useful links.

One last tip if you are bound and determined to take in a bunny. Wait until about six weeks after Easter. Your local animal shelter will have plenty to choose from.

Questions? Please ask. I'd be happy to answer.


BEEN there SEEN that?

I wish! Dandy's therapist is taking some time away to go to Spain and has reawakened the travel bug in me. It's a virus you know, it never really clears from your body.

I've found a cool website, Been-Seen, that is helping. I don't really know if it is helping suppress the travel desire, or is feeding it, but the site is beautiful and informative and is just the thing for a cool gray morning after a long Convention weekend.

Been-Seen gathers together stunning photography and travel commentary from just everywhere and offers them up in a weekly grouping. If the weekly selection is not to your liking, you can easily click over to just see cabins. You really should click that link just to see the pics, because these ain't your Grandpa's cabins. Oh my; I just typed ain't.

If funky design is your thing, you have to go see these. The Songjiang Hotel is my favorite. But of all the destinations featured, the Lanserhof Spa has my vote. It's just so pretty and green. That reminds me. Happy St. Patrick's Day!



GOP County Convention

Well I'm not quite recovered but I am -- at 4:30 in the afternoon --
finally bathed and dressed and functioning again. We convened at 9 am and adjourned at 9:15 pm, though I had an extra hour on either end as I was the Convention Secretary. I came home after a 14hour day with 20 pages of minutes and a backache and have spent most of today editing and organizing those pages.

It was a very interesting, to say the least. We rose to speak and moved and seconded and passed and failed and fillibustered and ammended and resolved and balloted and reballoted and reballoted all the live-long day and then some. We heard from current Legislators, future (we hope) Legislators, current councilmen, not-yet-announced Congressional candidates, and we watched a video to get us all ramped up to (re)elect Dino Rossi.

The most pleasant part was witnessing how fair-minded and welcoming the party faithful were to the large and rather green Ron Paul contingent. I was impressed.

Final tally? 25/32 delegates going to the State Convention are Ron Paul supporters.

I also learned that if you get pulled over and say to the officer/trooper that the reason you were speeding is that you had just spent over 14 hours serving as secretary to the GOP county convention and that you are hungry and anxious to get home, you very well may not get a ticket.

GUM shopping mall, across from Kremlin, Moscow, Russia


edited to correct title. thx Serge


super woman

I got to have coffee with my best friend last week who uttered these words:
I was on the elliptical with a 50-pound pack on my back reciting cookie recipes from memory the other day, when . . .

I have no idea what the rest of the sentence was about as the first part left me in a daze.

I just had to share that with you.



Friday Poetry: Horton Hears a Who Review

Click on in for a Seussical review of the recently released Horton Hears a Who.

Horton Hears a Who Review

In the wide world of Seuss, from the white Sneech-beach sands
Out to sleepy Far Foodle, and throughout the lands
Of the Yooks and the Zooks, no hero is braver
Than Horton, egg-hatcher and Who life-saver.

No one’s heart’s bigger, even Thidwick the Moose
And even the Lorax took less abuse.
One book can’t contain Horton’s dogged heroics!
His stoical pluck shows up all other stoics!

He wants every voice to be clearly heard
And he sticks up for those who can’t yet say a word.
Even those unhatched and forsook by their mothers
Or too small to see and denied by most others.

But the last time Who-ville came to the screen
Seuss-ian magic was not to be seen.
Jim Carrey’s Grinch was nothing to relish
And Mike Myer’s Hat Cat was no more Geisel-ish.

Could La-La Land ever give Horton his due?
A pro-life pachyderm who’s trusty and true?
And with Jim Carrey back! As Horton’s own voice!
The Grinch! Could there be a peculiarer choice?

But… what’s this? From Blue Sky? Creators of Manny
The Mammoth, Ice Age’s pachyderm nanny?
The makers of Robots? Could they get it right?
Could they pull off Horton? You know, they just might…

And they have! Their Horton’s playful and kind
Responsible, long-suffering, stout in a bind.
And, as if atoning, even Jim Carrey…
He’s not at all grinchy! He’s Horton-y! Very!

Steve Carell makes a great Mayor of Who
And Carol Burnett is the sour kangaroo.
And narrator Charles Osgood goes to town
And he has anapestic tentrameter down.

And it comes without latex! Without ribald joshing!
Without key-party games or rave-party moshing!
And it gets even better! I’m pleased to relate
That Horton’s the very best Blue Sky to date.

This isn’t the first time this tale’s been retold
And it’s grown in the telling, like fables of old.
The Chuck Jones short, written by Seuss, broke the news
That the big world beyond was unknown to the Whos.

Then in Seussical, little twerp Jo-jo made good
As the Mayor’s son, soulful but misunderstood.
They take here and there from each form of the fable
But Blue Sky’s own strengths bring a lot to the table.

All their films shine with slapstick and wit
And Rube Goldberg flair that makes Seuss a good fit.
Their stories and characters don’t always jell
But with something to work with, their work is quite swell.

They know how to use Horton’s ears and his nose
And they’ve got good ideas about all his woes.
Turns out Horton mentors the young jungle critters
And that gives that kangaroo bully the jitters.

Finding life on a speck, too tiny to see
Prompts Horton to wonder if our world might be
Just a speck in some much larger world beyond ours —
But the kangaroo sees a fool talking to flowers.

(There’s one slip, the kangaroo’s passing snipe
About how she “pouch-schools” to avoid Horton’s type.
That’s backwards for sure. That officious old grouch
Has N.E.A. written all over her pouch.)

An empirical sort, she’s no patience to spare
For what others think when she’s sure nothing’s there.
But the last straw is when the tykes start going on
About their own flowers, and the “worlds” thereupon.

Meanwhile, in Who-ville, life’s full of song.
Everyone’s cheerful and nothing goes wrong.
There are 96 girls in the Mayor’s happy brood
But Jo-jo, the boy, seems rather subdued.

With hair in his eyes and a sad little frown
He’s the first sulky kid ever born in that town.
But the Mayor, meanwhile, has got his own trouble:
Only he knows or cares what’s outside the Who-bubble.

The kidding is gentle, touched with affection
And no mean-spiritedness or rejection.
Like Horton, the film doesn’t hold any grudges.
In the end, no one’s judged and nobody judges.

But the message that comes through the clearest of all
Is: A person’s a person, no matter how small.
And it should be, it should be, it SHOULD be that way!
Horton’s own faithfulness carries the day!

~ By Steven D. Greydanus found at Decent Films Guide

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 JamaRattigan's Alphabet Soup.