Quote of the Day


eye patches & pics

I just found this pic in my camera and it is so cute I have to post it, along with a few others from an April visit to Grandpa and Grandma TwoChas. No, that is not really their name. Chas is our spelling of the Russian word for hour. When the children first arrived and were between languages, they needed a way to verbally distinguish between their two sets of Grandparents. The ones two hours away became Grandparents TwoChas and the local ones became Grandparents Ouch.



Friday Poetry: God

I found this in a book In and Out: Verses (1943) that came to me from the collection of my Great-Aunt Polly (my Mom's Auntie) who ended up married my Grandpa on my Dad's side. Tom Robinson (not the one from To Kill a Mockingbird, nor the one that wrote Still Life with Woodpecker) wrote the poems and Marguerite De Angeli did the illustrations.

God is the littlest fellow
With the littlest quiet voice.
He gets into the tineist particle
Of the very smallest article,
Without making any noise.

God is the biggest fellow,
With a voice like the cataract's roar.
He can get outside of creation,
Enclosing every nation,
And have room enough for more.

He's the biggest and the littlest
And every size between.
He's the noise and the silence,
The peace and the violence
Of everything that's been,
Invisible or seen.

~ Tom Robinson

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.



in need of very small ice packs

Remember the dislocated thumb? Well it is not yet healed. I keep re-injuring it by doing foolish things like using my hand to cook, clean, etc. Silly me, I know.

One of the things that helps with the maddening pain discomfort is a tiny little reusable ice pack that I slip inside the thumb guard where it nestles nicely right at the base of the joint, the epicenter of maddening pain discomfort . The ice pack is round, about two inches across, and very thin. I got two of them after the biopsy and unfortunately, I can't find them anywhere to purchase. Apparently they are only sold to breast biopsy clinics. I am not about to get another biopsy just to replenish my ice pack supply, though I have considered it.

So my questions are:
:: Do you know where I can purchase very small slender ice packs?
:: If not, do you work or know any who works at a breast biopsy clinic that would like to share?
:: If not, do you have any ideas?


edited to add that I found the perfect substitute: condiment packets. Freeze them and tuck them into wherever it hurts.

Mexico Pics

Mexico pics, as promised.

Early in the week, before she learned to really swim -- not just dog-paddle -- Chickadee needed a companion before she could go in. She calls to her brother:
Hey, are you ready to take responsibility for me?


a girl in a tree

See that little bit of pink in the apple tree? I wonder what it is. The giggle sounds familiar.
Oh my goodness! Tis a small pink girl in a large apple tree. She's been attempting that tree for almost two years and she's finally made it.


works for me: 5 storyteller podcasts

In keeping with my podcast list series, here are 5 story-teller podcasts that work for me.


1. Nelson Lauver, The American Storyteller

2. more Nelson Lauver ~ not iTunes, but worth the trouble to download, well worth it.

3. Prairie Home Companion: Lake Wobegon Days

4. Sid Lieberman's Stories ~ always interesting

5. The Writer's Almanac ~ Garrison Keillor presents this day in history and a bit of poetry


My other Works for Me posts.

Apple iTunes


writing & gardening

Writing instruction is about error correction in the same way that gardening is about weeding. If a gardener spent all their time and energy weeding they would indeed have a clean garden: a clean and barren garden, plots and plots of empty dirt except for where the occasional wind-blown flower planted itself.

Instead, gardeners spend most of their time seeding and planting and mulching and fertilizing and admiring, then digging up and moving just this one plant, and maybe pruning another back a wee bit or quite severely. Gardening is about promoting and nurturing growth. Writing instruction is about nurturing growth in the flora and fauna of the mind. Good writing instruction requires energies directed towards the blossoming of intellects.

Yet, even the most fecund of gardens suffers if it is not weeded. My roses and herbs can’t preen when Japanese knotweed moves in. I must spend some time weeding, lest the weeds obscure my blooms. Similarly, when mechanical errors clutter up the page, we need to teach our students how to weed. “This! This here is the dread knotweed of tangled syntax! Yank it out! And watch out for effect/affect. You get them confused and you look like an amateur.” Though weeding isn’t gardening, it is part of the process; alas it is the part that most commands the attention of our students.

Think about a new gardener friend. When you tour your garden with her and wax eloquently on the proper mulch for peonies, is she listening? No. She is pointing at the pelargoniums and asking, “Is that a weed?” “No, you are thinking of buttercup,” you absent-mindedly reply as you redirect her attention to the peonies. Your friend keeps distracting you with weed questions. She finds comfort in getting a handle on what not to grow. It is learnable, approachable, memorizable. She wants to learn rules, while you are trying to teach beauty. You want to say, “Grow something! Anything! We’ll tidy it up later!” She is thinking, “I just don’t want any weeds.”

Somewhere in the process of being gardening mentors, we’ll need to address her keen interest in weeds. We can’t ignore it. We can, though, show her weeding’s proper place in a gardener’s timeline: dream, plant, fertilize, water, observe, transplant, prune, fertilize some more, plant some more. Weeding is done along the way, something to keep busy between these other tasks, and maybe one grand push before opening the garden for viewing. A gardener yanks the obvious weeds as she prunes, pulls out the knotweed as she fertilizes. Occasionally she will consult her Sunset Western Garden book to refine her weed identification skills, or merely ask a fellow gardener.

No one ever compliments a garden because it is weed-free. Yet our students often expect that a weed-free essay is their, and our, aim. When we can help our students see that good writing is about having fruitful ideas that play with light and shadow and color in an intriguing or charming way, that good writing is lush and redolent with suggestive aromas and implications, and that good writing results from rich and thoughtful fertilizer and a generous amount of time to allow for growth, then we will have done our job.

copyright 2008 Suzanne Chandler, M. Ed.

~SuzanneTo print this page, visit the little printer icon in the footer line. Don't see it? Click on either the post title above or the permalink icon below to get to the individual page for this post. Voila! The -- recently tweaked and operating nicely -- printer options awaits you.

The Simple Woman's Daybook

I found this over at The Simple Woman and I rather like it.

Outside my window is a yard that needs to be mown, two children playing on a ladybug swing, an old dog dozing under the rhododendron and a young dog chasing gnats.

I am thinking about course proposals for Fall semester for 9th and 10th grade home-schoolers. I've never taught this demographic before.

I am thankful for
health, and strength, and the meeting of daily needs.

From the kitchen
waft the smells of chicken soup and fresh bread.

I am wearing
garden overalls.

I am creating
a happy childhood for my kids, I hope.

I am going
to California in August; I hate heat.

I am reading
blogs. I don't have time to read books anymore. So sad.

I am hoping
to revise my manuscript this year.

I am hearing
my daughter's giggle.

Around the house
is a flock of dustbunnies.

One of my favorite things is a loafing in the hammock.

A few plans for the rest of the week include making some concrete pavers and working in my Mom's garden with her.

Here is picture thought I am sharing



white shoes

Laurel's post about a few cool things reminded me that I had wanted to post about this on Memorial Day. No, it is nothing significant nor anything sentimental or even patriotic. Just that today you may pull out your white shoes (and your white stockings if you must) and wear them wiley-niley all summer, but only if you promise to put them away on Labor Day.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day: white shoes - okay.

Between Labor Day and Memorial Day: white shoes - not okay.

Got it? There may be a quiz.


what's-their-name's daughter

So I am on the phone with a woman I do not know who is making me a job offer for next fall. My children's origins come into play and she tries and tries to bring to mind the name of an other local family that she knows that have adopted from Russia. She can't find the name so the conversation moves on and eventually comes to an end.

A few minutes after we hang up the phone rings again. It is the same woman. She has remembered. It is the daughter of her husband's friends. She then names my parents. Why yes! I do know that family ~ quite well in fact.


chocolate happiness cake

This cake is really the only suitable response to bad days. I've adapted it from a recipe found at deliciousdays. In that version, measurements are in grams; I did some rather casual conversions and we loved the results.

Melt in a double boiler:
8 oz dark unsweetened baking chocolate
1 C butter
While they are melting, butter the sides of your springform pan and put parchment paper in the bottom.

When butter and chocolate are melted, remove from heat and add:
1 1/3 C sugar

When all that has cooled to where it is not unpleasant to touch, start beating in - one at a time please -
4 eggs
3 T flour

Pour into springform pan and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Serve warm, topped with crème fraîche and strawberries.

Remove springform before the cake cools.

Stop and Smell the Chocolates: Would You Like Chocolate With That?


garden update

We did not grow vegies last year, as I was still a bit shell-shocked from the previous winter, so we are starting our first family vegetable garden in a new location. We have removed sod from eight 6x6 patches which we then topped with horse compost and My Gift tilled and framed them, installing boards around the edges to discourage grass encroachment.

Seven of the eight beds are planted, both seeds and seedlings. We've lost nothing to cutworms or slugs, yet.

Bed 1 holds root vegetables: Radishes, Carrots, and Beets.
Bed 2 is the salad bed: Arugula, Spinach, Lettuces, Parsley, Cilantro, Chard
Bed 3 is Watermelon. Yes, I know. "Good luck with that" is what you are thinking, isn't it? I planted Sweet Dakota Rose and am whispering sweet nothings to her every time I pass by.
Bed 4 is full of cucumbers.
Bed 5 is full of Bush Summer Squash and regular vine winter storage zucchini
Bed 6 is full of an other Bush Zucchini and an regular vine winter storage squash
Bed 7 is for corn & pumpkin. Not in the ground yet, but sprouting in the kitchen window.
Bed 8 is for pole beans and eggplant.


:: pop on over to a wrung sponge for more Sunday Garden Tour posts

God of All

Our God is the God of all,
The God of heaven and earth,
Of the sea and of the rivers;
The God of the sun and of the moon
and of all the stars;
The God of the lofty mountains
and of the lowly valleys
He has His dwelling around the heaven and earth,
and sea, and all that in them is.
~ St. Patrick

from The Wisdom of the Celts, a beautiful little book compiled by David Adam



strabismus correction surgery


(two days post-op)

The doc said it would take about a month to see full results. Even if it doesn't get any better than this we are well pleased. It is so very nice to be able to look her in the eyeS ~ both at the same time.


schools on trains

Amtrak has a very cool program called Schools on Trains whereby we got to go to Seattle yesterday for only $10 a person round-trip. We had a wonderful day, avoiding both rain and heat and doing many of fun things.

Fun Thing #1: We rode the train (duh!). The children have never been on a train and My Gift and I haven't been on one since Italy years ago. The tracks run along the coast and we saw many herons and hawks in the tide flats and lots of beach-side cottages and sandy stretches and distant islands. It was lovely.

Fun Thing #2: Then we hopped on one of the (free) downtown Seattle buses and rode up to Westlake Center where we caught the monorail for a quick ride up to The Pacific Science Center.

Fun Thing #3: We saw the Grand Canyon Adventure in 3-D in the IMAX theater. The movie was much better than the trailer, btw. Dandy kept trying to touch the water droplets that splashed out at us.

Fun Things #4-42: We spent the rest of the day in the Science Center. Dandy held a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach (though Chickadee declined with a shriek, can't imagine why). We saw a dynamic presentation on combustion: full of explosions and colored flames and a stern reminder to not play with fire.

We visited the dinosaur exhibit. Chickadee confided in me that she wasn't scared cause her Papa was with her. Dandy tested out the footprint casts.

The Science Center is full of wonderments as well as many many buttons to push. Dandy's favorite was the space shuttle with zillions of buttons and knobs and switches and panels that lit up and dials that moved.

The Pacific Science Center includes a Butterfly Museum full of 1,000s of live butterflies. This butterfly thought Chickadee's hat was a nice place for a rest.

My Gift and the kids really got into the music display where I had fun playing the theremin.

Fun Thing #43: The children rode their first merry-go-round right before we caught the Monorail, the free bus, and the train and came home. I think My Gift and I set a record for getting all the pets located and feed and the kids tucked in and ourselves in bed: ten minutes from driveway to pillows; we were all tuckered out.

In case you are wondering, Chickadee wore her sunglasses and hat for most of the day, as the light hurts her eyes.