Quote of the Day



So, our Jenny Linsky cat brings in a mouse last night. Poor little thing. I get a tissue to protect myself from mouse germs and pick it up to toss it back into the night. WHOOPS! Not quite dead. It writhes; it leaps; it scampers off, bloodied on one side and listing to port. I go to get a mouse-catching device, leaving it in the room with two cats, thinking that they will take care of it before I get back.

Nope. I get back and the two cats are staring behind the immense wardrobe that I cannot move. I give up and go to bed.

Five times in the night I am awakened by cat-chasing-mouse scamperings. Five times I fail to catch the mouse. Five times I glare at the cats.

Today I was sitting peacefully in my dining room and lo! the mouse wanders past me, past two dogs, and past one cat, crawls under the recliner chair and disappears into its innards.

I need new high-efficiency cats.




bailout vote fails

Yipee! I guess there is hope for America after all.


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have. to. get. chickens.

My sister got chickens last year, so I'll wait until her learning curve has settled down and then mooch off her knowledge.

But after reading this, I can see that having our own chickens is in our future. Trader Joes! HOW COULD YOU?


look good and talk at THE SAME TIME!?

This seems like Elle's kid of gig, as she's already proven herself capable. I'm not sure I'm up for it. Are you?


Perfect Snickerdoodles

This recipe is perfect. I found it at Allrecipes and the only change I made is cooking them 7.5 minutes instead of the 8-10 minutes they recommended.

Perfect Snickerdoodles

Heat oven to 400.

Cream together
1/2 C softened butter
1/2 C shortening
1 1/2 C white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Sift together and then add to creamed mixture:

2 3/4 C all-purpose flour
2 t cream of tartar
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt

Shape into balls. Roll balls in mixture of:
2 T white sugar
2 t ground cinnamon

Bake for 7.5 minutes. Devour.


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what I miss the most

You know what I miss the most while bed-ridden and stuck in my room? Cuddles from the kids and my kitchen. I so wish I could get up and bake something.



How did I live this long without one of these?

My new Vicks Vaporizer is a wonderful thing. Because I have asthma, any respiratory ailment sets up residence in my lungs and it takes forever to . . . ehm . . . clear things out, shall we say. My Gift brought home Vicks Vaporizer the other night to help keep the air moist in my room, as dry air on raw throat was waking me up. I didn't realize what a help it would be in keeping the cement from setting up in my chest.

If you or someone you know gets lots of colds or has asthma, (usually those two go together), send them one of these.


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Fisher King

We watched Fisher King the other night, whilst my thoughtful sis and bro-in-law took the kids to a play. At first I HATED the movie and the only reason I didn't get up and go find something else to do was that I was too weary to crawl out of the easy-chair. I hated it because it was bringing a loud egocentric jerk and his yucky lifestyle into my living room. No thanks.

But then, it changed; it became a very enjoyable and thought-provoking movie. Aforementioned jerk gets thrown in with some crazy street people and (resisting every bit of the way) learns to care for someone other than himself. At some point he rants to Perry -- his now-catatonic crazy friend -- that Perry has it easy, all he has to do is lie there while Jack-the-jerk has to slog through his glam day and his glam relationship all the while wondering why he feels so empty inside.

And there's some romance and some humor and some Arthurian legend and some tragedy thrown in too. Robin Williams plays the crazy guy and does a quite nice job of it. I recommend it a mere 17 years after it came out. I don't watch many movies, okay?




whereever does he learn such language?

So this morning I staggered through the house (I haven't been out of my room since Thursday) and passed by the devastated playroom. Dandy pipes up:

Avert your eyes Mom - we weren't expecting you.

"Avert!" He's a boy after my own heart.


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mean mama confessions

We've all heard people talk about what their kids won't eat or what the kids complain about, or read posts or comments or even whole blogs devoted to the theme of picky eaters . Usually I bite my tongue, as no-one wants to hear me at the moment, but what I want to say is burbling around and I have to vocalize it.

"What do you mean?" I want to ask. "This does not happen at my house."

If my kids complain about the food, they get an additional helping. If they refuse to eat, I ignore them, clear their plate along with everyone else's, and serve them the same plate at the next meal. We have only done the recycled plates once with each child and the extra helpings a couple of times.

If my kids complain about the food they get an additional helping.

When they like the food they speak up about it, so I know by their silence what they don't care for. When it is time for seconds I just serve them whatever it is that they have sweetly told me that they do like.

I am giving them incentives to be polite (quiet) about the foods they don't care for and for being polite (pleasant & complimentary) about the foods that they do care for.

This does not seem unduly harsh or difficult to me, so why do I hear about families that struggle with picky eaters. What am I not getting here? Or am I just a big meanie?


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I hate the phone

If you are a real-life friend and wonder why a) I never answer the phone or b) I never call you, go read this post; she speaks for me.




federal bailouts

Dear Friends:

The financial meltdown the economists of the Austrian School predicted has arrived.

We are in this crisis because of an excess of artificially created credit at the hands of the Federal Reserve System. The solution being proposed? More artificial credit by the Federal Reserve. No liquidation of bad debt and malinvestment is to be allowed. By doing more of the same, we will only continue and intensify the distortions in our economy - all the capital misallocation, all the malinvestment - and prevent the market's attempt to re-establish rational pricing of houses and other assets.

Last night the president addressed the nation about the financial crisis. There is no point in going through his remarks line by line, since I'd only be repeating what I've been saying over and over - not just for the past several days, but for years and even decades.

Still, at least a few observations are necessary

The president assures us that his administration "is working with Congress to address the root cause behind much of the instability in our markets." Care to take a guess at whether the Federal Reserve and its money creation spree were even mentioned?

We are told that "low interest rates" led to excessive borrowing, but we are not told how these low interest rates came about. They were a deliberate policy of the Federal Reserve. As always, artificially low interest rates distort the market. Entrepreneurs engage in malinvestments - investments that do not make sense in light of current resource availability, that occur in more temporally remote stages of the capital structure than the pattern of consumer demand can support, and that would not have been made at all if the interest rate had been permitted to tell the truth instead of being toyed with by the Fed.

Not a word about any of that, of course, because Americans might then discover how the great wise men in Washington caused this great debacle. Better to keep scapegoating the mortgage industry or "wildcat capitalism" (as if we actually have a pure free market!).

Speaking about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the president said: "Because these companies were chartered by Congress, many believed they were guaranteed by the federal government. This allowed them to borrow enormous sums of money, fuel the market for questionable investments, and put our financial system at risk."

Doesn't that prove the foolishness of chartering Fannie and Freddie in the first place? Doesn't that suggest that maybe, just maybe, government may have contributed to this mess? And of course, by bailing out Fannie and Freddie, hasn't the federal government shown that the "many" who "believed they were guaranteed by the federal government" were in fact correct?

Then come the scare tactics. If we don't give dictatorial powers to the Treasury Secretary "the stock market would drop even more, which would reduce the value of your retirement account. The value of your home could plummet." Left unsaid, naturally, is that with the bailout and all the money and credit that must be produced out of thin air to fund it, the value of your retirement account will drop anyway, because the value of the dollar will suffer a precipitous decline. As for home prices, they are obviously much too high, and supply and demand cannot equilibrate if government insists on propping them up.

It's the same destructive strategy that government tried during the Great Depression: prop up prices at all costs. The Depression went on for over a decade. On the other hand, when liquidation was allowed to occur in the equally devastating downturn of 1921, the economy recovered within less than a year.

The president also tells us that Senators McCain and Obama will join him at the White House today in order to figure out how to get the bipartisan bailout passed. The two senators would do their country much more good if they stayed on the campaign trail debating who the bigger celebrity is, or whatever it is that occupies their attention these days.

F.A. Hayek won the Nobel Prize for showing how central banks' manipulation of interest rates creates the boom-bust cycle with which we are sadly familiar. In 1932, in the depths of the Great Depression, he described the foolish policies being pursued in his day - and which are being proposed, just as destructively, in our own:

Instead of furthering the inevitable liquidation of the maladjustments brought about by the boom during the last three years, all conceivable means have been used to prevent that readjustment from taking place; and one of these means, which has been repeatedly tried though without success, from the earliest to the most recent stages of depression, has been this deliberate policy of credit expansion.

To combat the depression by a forced credit expansion is to attempt to cure the evil by the very means which brought it about; because we are suffering from a misdirection of production, we want to create further misdirection - a procedure that can only lead to a much more severe crisis as soon as the credit expansion comes to an end... It is probably to this experiment, together with the attempts to prevent liquidation once the crisis had come, that we owe the exceptional severity and duration of the depression.

The only thing we learn from history, I am afraid, is that we do not learn from history.

The very people who have spent the past several years assuring us that the economy is fundamentally sound, and who themselves foolishly cheered the extension of all these novel kinds of mortgages, are the ones who now claim to be the experts who will restore prosperity! Just how spectacularly wrong, how utterly without a clue, does someone have to be before his expert status is called into question?

Oh, and did you notice that the bailout is now being called a "rescue plan"? I guess "bailout" wasn't sitting too well with the American people.

The very people who with somber faces tell us of their deep concern for the spread of democracy around the world are the ones most insistent on forcing a bill through Congress that the American people overwhelmingly oppose. The very fact that some of you seem to think you're supposed to have a voice in all this actually seems to annoy them.

I continue to urge you to contact your representatives and give them a piece of your mind. I myself am doing everything I can to promote the correct point of view on the crisis. Be sure also to educate yourselves on these subjects - the Campaign for Liberty blog is an excellent place to start. Read the posts, ask questions in the comment section, and learn

H.G. Wells once said that civilization was in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow. For the truth is the greatest weapon we have.

In liberty,

Learn more.

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It's back. Apparently I've contracted a case of Turbo-strep. It's come and gone since mid-August, through two family vacations and one round of Zithromax. This is my FOURTH time to be bed-ridden in 5 weeks. We are all sick of it.

So, if I saw you in real life and you start to get a sore throat, I apologize. I didn't know. I didn't know it was strep (they forgot to tell me) and I didn't know I still had it. But if you do get sick, call your doc and tell them you have been exposed. I am so sorry.

:: Severe and sudden sore throat without coughing, sneezing, or other cold symptoms.
:: Pain or difficulty with swallowing.
:: Fever over 101 F : sweats and chills
:: Swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
:: Lethargy/exhaustion
:: Headache


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are they siblings?

If one more person asks me, in front of my children, "are they siblings?" my head is going to explode. I always arrange my face into an appearance of confusion and reply in a confiding sort of voice, "Of course, aren't yours?"


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don't be a starfish

Chickadee sternly admonished Dandy, as she watched him take a too-generous portion of yogurt:

Chickadee: Dandy, don't be a starfish!!
Dandy: what?
Chickadee: I mean a shellfish.
Dandy: I wasn't! I saved some for you!
Chickadee: Oh. Thanks.



first day of school

Our home-school co-op has started up again. Dandy has Thinking Skills, Story of the World: Middle Ages, Science, and Bugs. Chickadee has Beginning Math, Phonics, Science, and Social Studies.

At home we have Math, Latin, Reading, English Language, and Penmanship. All of these, for the curious, are linked into Washington State Learning Goals in excruciating detail.

While the kids are in class I prep for my classes, one Writing Workshop at the home-school co-op and two Eng 101 sections for the Community College, one face-to-face and one online section.

It's just the first day and I am already tired.



SheSpeaks got me a potato masher

Have your heard about SheSpeaks? You can sign up there to field-test new products. I just received two coupons for free packages of Ore-Ida's new Steam & Mash potatoes, a bunch of $1.00 off coupons, and a nice new potato masher. I'm going to be a hard sell on the potato product, as I usually dislike packaged foods. But if I do like it, I'll let you know.


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Zucchini Loaves

Tis the season of zucchini bludgeons. If you are so blessed, get baking.

Zucchini Loaves

Grate one large zucchini. Put the shreds in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out the excess moisture (I save it for soup stock).

4 C shredded zucchini
2 C white flour
2 C whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 C melted butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C chopped or slivered nuts
3 eggs
5 t baking powder
1 t vanilla extract
1 t salt
1 t allspice
1 t cinnamon
1/2 ginger
1/2 t nutmeg

Spoon into 6 greased little loaf pans. Spoon 1/2 t pearl sugar on top of each loaf. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

~ based on a recipe by the great Mollie Katzen which I found in The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest


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For Light

Lord grant me,
I pray Thee in the name of
Jesus Christ the son,
my God,
that love which knows no fall
so that my lamp may feel thy kindling touch
and know no quenching;
may burn for me
and for others may give light.
~ Prayer of Columbanus

from The Wisdom of the Celts, compiled by David Adam

And Happy Birthday to my mother, who gives Light to others.