Friday, January 28, 2005

Ricky's Show Choir Picture

Ricky's Show Choir Picture
Here's this year's official show choir picture of Ricky. I added two other pictures as I was playing with this album.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes
Imagine my surprise when I perused The Carnival of the Recipes - 23rd Edition last week and discovered two recipes from my childhood - Down in the Dumps Pudding (which we call Fudge Pudding) and Hot Milk Spongecake. Mom made Hot Milk Cake frequently for dessert, but I haven't had it for years and Fudge Pudding is just plain fun to make. I recommend both to you. I also noticed a recipe for Chicken Pot Pie. The addition of hard-boiled eggs is interesting and, yes, purchasing stock is much much easier. Finally, a recipe from someone who really knows campfire cooking. I can't wait for spring! (Wow, so much linkage - unusual for me.)

I feel inspired to post a heritage recipe. This was served by Olive Sayles, my maternal great-grandmother, to her ladies groups. According to my mother, she topped it with whipped cream and a peach half and called it (yikes! I forget. Something about eggs. Eggs in a nest?)

Soft Ginger Bread
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sour milk
1 egg
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp each ginger and cinnamon
That's it. No instructions. I added this to the recipe card: Bake in a 9" square pan at 350 degrees until done.

In today's world of cake mixes, it can't be assumed that everyone would know to combine the dry ingredients, cream the shortening, add sugar, then eggs and molasses. Then alternately add dry ingredients and wet ingredients (milk). Beat well. I suppose it would take about 20-30 minutes.

UPDATE: Mom just told me that while this is my great-grandmother's recipe dating from the late 1900s, it was my grandmother who served it with whipped cream and a peach in the 1930s. And if you don't know what sour milk is, add a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of milk. I just imagined someone leaving a cup of milk on the counter for several days.

Sons of a Carpenter

I-can-do-anything son
The boys inherited my PC which Ron promptly upgraded with a new operating system, more RAM and video card. The first hour he had it, his bedroom was strewn with computer pieces. The only problem was that it still didn't run the EA Sports 2005 games they got for Christmas. Ron was going to buy all sorts of stuff online to fix it, but I suggested we take it to Stone Computer whose service desk is totally awesome. (I was concerned about compatibility, a concept Ron wouldn't consider from his mother.) The tech hooked it up on all sorts of things, and tinkered with the video card until it worked. The whole time he was teaching Ron. And there was absolutely no service charge! Not a single hardware purchase, good counsel about upgrading an old computer and a working computer.

Ron also bought a computer desk for the new PC (he seems to forget that he shares it with his brother). It came in a box with a gazillion parts. He is in his bedroom putting it together right now. By himself...except he enlisted Ricky as a personal slave for the project. Now these boys are sons of a carpenter, a master craftsman, someone who disdains most manufactured furniture, let alone an assemble-it-yourself-desk made mostly of fiberboard. Their father had them using hand tools building boxes when they were six. He taught them how to use the lathe, the router, miter box and a multitude of saws. He's shared his secrets of sanding and finishing. And his proteges are putting together a desk in a box.

He's back there praising them right now. (He's the best!)

ER Visit

ER Visit From Hell
While I was switching to my new computer and was blogless, we made a trip to the ER after Ricky's 3-day skiing trip to Caberfae Peaks in Michigan with a youth group. Ricky hurt his thumb in some type of tumble into a drainage ditch and the medics encouraged him to go to the ER when he got home. So off we headed, my twin sons and their overnight guest.

Ricky was vague about the incident but the thumb was definitely injured. I left Ron and his friend in the waiting room and accompanied Ricky back to the treatment room. The doctor was thorough but Ricky's vagueness led him to ask about head injuries. Now vague descriptions about an accident by a young teenager after three days of intense physical exercise, sleep deprivation and questionable nutrition is not something I was too concerned about, BUT on the way to the ER, Ricky rolled down his window because he felt "woozy." The CAT scan showed that he did have a brain and the thumb wasn't broken.

This sounds like an unremarkable visit, eh? Let's add this to the equation. Ron's friend has Tourette's Syndrome, and stress (like visits to the ER) causes vocal tics. "People with TS may involuntarily shout obscenities (coprolalia)" So all the while we were in the ER, this poor boy was shouting at the top of his lungs, "F--k! B-tch! M-sturbate! M-sturbate! S--k! Whore!"

Thursday, January 20, 2005


“Estelle, If Ida knowed youda wanta went, Ida seed youda gotta getta go!” After reading this in a Dave Barry column many years ago (uttered in Tennessee by a man who was willing to take his friend to choir practice), my husband and I use an exaggerated "Estelle" as a shorthand signal to each other whenever we hear a Hoosierism.

There is a line about 50 miles south of where I live in northeast Indiana (roughly through Muncie, IN) where the language idiosyncrancies change from those of a German farmer to a southern Indiana/ Kentucky dialect. We hear both and I’m combining them into “Hoosierisms”, although depending on where you’re from in the state, they might not be familiar.
Disclaimer: I started collecting these a few months ago but haven't posted it because I was distracted by research. Well, I'm not a rhetorician or language expert, so instead of spending the next three years trying to write a scholarly entry, I'm posting this as my impressions (including the line through Muncie which I was surprised to see also on the PBS map.) If you are interested in learning more, go to the links above.
So here’s your foreign language lesson.

If you want to emphasize a verb, say “Take and (insert verb of choice).” Steve had a math teacher that always said, “Let’s take and say..” “Take and get” is another common combination. “Take and get the lawn mowed.” Now I'm gonna take and blog some more.

On accident” is the opposite of on purpose.

After dinner, if someone from a German farming family asks you to “rid up” while she warshes the dishes, don’t worry. She is asking you to scrape, rinse and stack the dishes and wipe down the tables and counters. Sometimes I've heard "red up" which may be a derivative of ready - get ready to wash the dishes. Or perhaps it is to get rid of the mess from the table.

Dark is still used as a measure of time by those who were raised in the country. “I’ll be there after dark.” “When?” “After dark?” “When is that?” “When the sun goes down.” ‘But what time is that?” If it's in our DNA to tell time by the sun, then it's no wonder we aren't on daylight savings time. No matter how you fiddle with the clock, the sun rises and sets as it will.

Not only do we end our sentences with prepositions, but we throw in a few extra for good measure. We “put up” fruits and vegetables, instead of canning or freezing. We "finish up" our work. We are "full up" when we are sated. At is a favorite preposition. Where is that at? What time is it at? Whose house is it at? We also “stay put” instead of just stay. And, of course, fer fer for.

How do you say goodbye on the telephone? Kaybye? Or mmmbye.

If you do not make it yourself, it is store boughten. And that includes pop, not soda or Coke.

Do you have any to add? I had more written on a scrap of paper, but it has disappeared since the great decluttering debacle of 2005.


Not the game, but the tailoring of clothes. Growing up in the late 50s, early 60s in the Midwest, I sewed a lot of my own clothes. Never did you make a garment without darts - how else would you make it fit? I mean this was the era of princess dresses. (What a great name!)

So I recently bought a blouse that fit amazingly well and it wasn't until I ironed it for the first time yesterday that I understood why. There were bodice darts and shallow darts in the back. It was made for a woman's body!

So I wondered if it was just the clothes I'd been selecting or if darts had disappeared. I googled it and all of the hits were either for vintage clothes (emphasizing the shaping by darts) or sewing.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Noble Character

Noble Character
We finished our study of Proverbs this morning and were discussing a woman of noble character (Chapter 31). It reminded me of something my father taught me when I was young:
Howe'er it be, it seems to me,
'Tis only noble to be good.
Kind hearts are more than coronets
And simple faith than Norman blood.
Quiz: What poet penned these words and as part of what poem? Answer is here.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Daily Stuff

Should I post when I have nothing to say? Probably not, but here it is anyway. Ricky's first show choir competition was last Saturday and they placed third. As rough as the routine was during dress rehearsal, this was a good placement. High enough to encourage them to work harder but low enough not to get complacent. My decluttering efforts were slowed down considerably when I decided to tackle files and accumulated papers, but I'm still plugging away on it. It is hovering above zero and the garden catalogs are arriving, so I'm dreaming of spring. I've volunteered for two jobs - another one at church and one for a local nonprofit that combats violence. I'm also exploring a writing workshop that will be taught by a friend so I hope I'm not spreading myself too thin. Finally my bathroom is coming along. The sinks are in. I bought some simple beveled oval mirrors which look great. I wanted something simple not to detract from the woodwork. Steve's still working on the bathtub enclosure and molding, but he also started a heavy semester of classes, so I may not see much progress in the near future. He did a lot of things around the house over Christmas, things that needed done but we got used to in our daily living. One thing we did was to switch the pantry cabinet and microwave cabinet (involving unscrewing from the wall), but the layout is much nicer and the refrigerator opens all the way. I still automatically head to the wrong cabinet, but I'm retraining myself.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Recipe Friday

Recipe Friday
Son saw that a roasting chicken was thawing earlier this week, so he and his Dad brainstormed how they wanted me to fix it. They decided on chicken pot pie. So here's what I did. Warning: this took about seven hours to prepare.

Chicken Pot Pie

Clean whole chicken, lightly salt and herb cavity. (Of course, herb is a verb is a herb. If salt can be a verb, why not herb?) Roast until done.

Empty pan drippings into large stock pot. Rinse pan and empty into pot. When cool, remove chicken meat and discard all the yukky stuff in the stock pot. Add celery and onion, including the onion skin which adds great color to the stock. Throw in a bay leaf and peppercorns. Cover with water and low simmer until everything falls apart (several hours). Meanwhile, cut chicken into large chunks. Peel several potatoes and carrots. Add peelings to stock pot. Prepare any other vegetables you want to add (I used frozen baby peas and baby white corn.) During the last half hour of cooking, add whole carrots and halved potatoes to partially cook. Drain stock into large bowl. Dig out potatoes and carrots - this is why you left them whole - and cut into large chunks.

Meanwhile prepare pastry for a two crust pie. (OK I cheated here and used the refrigerated pie crust.)

Let the broth and fat separate or use one of these handy separators. Now the unhealthy part - heat equal amounts of chicken fat and flour in large skillet (I used about 1/3 cup each), slowly add stock (perhaps 5-6 cups), beating vigorously, and bring to slow boil until gravy is thick. Season with salt if needed (probably not). Add cream if desired. Dust lightly with nutmeg (I love my new microplaner.) Add chunked chicken and vegetables. Let cool somewhat and then pour into pie crust. Cover with second crust. Cut slits into top (I made a chicken design but I was the only one who knew it.) Put into oven preheated to 450 degrees. Immediately turn oven to 350 degrees and bake 40 or 30 or 50 minutes (until top crust is baked). Let cool slightly and enjoy.

Of course, this made enough for two pies so I refrigerated the leftover filling and we had it for lunch today.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A dillar A dollar My tardy lil scholar

A dillar, a dollar,
My tardy lil scholar

Ricky had before school detention today for being tardy to class three times this semester. "Stupid school, they don't give us enough time to get my books" and socialize I might add. So this morning he tried to avoid going by catching the bus, but I intercepted him. We had half an hour and he was supposedly ready. When I put on my coat heading out the door, he started rushing around, getting a sweatshirt, trying to find his calculator, looking for something in his room. It took him ten minutes to get out the door and he was tardy for his tardy suspension. This probably means Saturday suspension and he has a show choir contest on Saturday.
A dillar, a dollar,
A ten o’clock scholar,
What makes you come so soon?
You used to come at ten o’clock,
But now you come at noon.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Several months ago I was hired to manage a market research project for a client. I did such a good job kicking the project off that they decided to cancel the research and invest the money into relationship building with current clients and prospects. Strange what happens when you ask what they want to accomplish. It was the right decision for the client and reinforced my value to them, but it's not going to help build that new deck or pay for car insurance this summer when we add two teenage boys to the coverage.

School Daze

Just kissed Steve goodbye as he starts the first class of the spring semester. He has a crazy schedule this semester with a three hour class on Tuesday night and a Saturday morning class. One of his classes sounds very interesting - modern history of the Balkans. I may attend that class vicariously.


Last night I got my first glimpse of the site plan for the Family Life Center. I'm heading the landscape team and it will be quite a challenge turning a cornfield into a nature preserve. I was pleased to see they incorporated my team's idea of a natural outdoor amphitheatre facing west over the pond. What a great place for evening concerts. My team will be meeting this week to discuss the site plan and give our feedback. Let the fun begin!

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Declutter update

I suspect no one cares about these efforts but updating my progress helps me stay on task. Will you hold me accountable? I tackled desk drawers this weekend and have another large garbage bag as a result. The kitchen desk drawers have been organized. School supplies and stationary have been purged and are in one place. Computer papers are purged and in one place. I started sorting through my files, purging and shredding files. Who cares what the phone bill was five years ago? Besides it's on my computer in a money management system. So I accomplished a lot, but I still have my craft table loaded with stacks of papers to sort, purge and file.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Clutter update

Decluttering Today
I'm taking this a little at a time (and using Julie's 15 minute plan but several times over). Two areas are now decluttered: the game drawers and the china hutch. This resulted in two bags of garbage and two boxes for Goodwill. The games are in a large cabinet under the living room bookshelves with four slide out drawers. The pieces are back in Battleship, the games outgrown or never played are in the Goodwill box and the games without all the pieces are in the trash. I have one completely empty drawer that I can now use for ... whatever.

I really shouldn't count the china hutch (handcrafted by hubby out of sassafras!) because I emptied the top of Christmas dishes and decided to replace it, not with my china, but with a collection of vases that were scattered around the house. I still need to tackle the bottom cabinets in which lurks not only antique china but junk I don't use and don't like.

Foosball Fools

Foosball Fools
We had a foosball tournament last night. First single eliminations which Ricky won and then double eliminations with no clear winner, but a clear loser. Whenever a team had me as a member, that team lost. At first, I thought if Ricky was on a team, that team won...until Ricky and I lost to Ron and Dad.

A few minutes into the fiercely competitive play, I took off my jacket because it was getting hot. Rick then took off his sweatshirt and then both boys took off their shirts. This is uniquely a teenage boy thing. They aren't modeling their Dad who normally remains clothed. I suspect it is a result of their bodies becoming more like men than boys. Ricky has a great physique - broad straight shoulders tapering to a small waist and flat stomach. As soon as he adds some muscle mass, he will probably never wear a shirt.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Book Meme

Book Meme
I saw this on at least three sites today so I finally decided to play, from Jordana's list. Copy the list, then remove from it the names of any authors not in your home library, replacing them with names of a few authors you do have. Boldface the ones you’ve added.

1. C. S. Lewis
2. Franz Kafka
3. Henry James
4. Jane Austen
5. J K Rowling
6. Bill Bryson
7. Dr. Seuss
8. Chuck Colson
9. Geoffrey Chaucer
10. William Shakespeare

We have more overlap than I've seen on other lists. But William Shakespeare has been on every list. I added Bill Bryson and Chuck Colson to show the diversity in our library.


I sorted through the Christmas decorations after taking down the Christmas tree, tossing the detritus and sorting out a box for Goodwill. That, along with the nice bare spot the tree left, inspired me to tackle some other areas of my home that need decluttered. My plans went a little awry with the boys home for two days this week and a freelance job starting Monday, but I've made a good start.

So it was with real interest that I read Julie Leung's post "Less is More." I even followed the numerous links. Her bottom line hit home and has encouraged me to not falter in this, another attempt, to simplify my home so we can focus on each other.
All I want to accomplish is to love God, my family and people in my life. What I need to get done is whatever will help me have more energy, time and clarity for love. Less is more if less means more love in my life.
My posting was interrupted when Steve needed my help in the laundry room and I perused the linen closet where I've saved an outdated dust ruffle in a horrid color, a favorite slipcover with a rip to be mended and some horrific pilling, our very favorite comforter that is worn so thin that the stuffing is coming out (so it ended up in the cupboard and not the trash). I guess I better get going.

UPDATE: One of Julie's links took me to Barry Schwartz, who is the author of
"The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less", one the books my club is reading this year.

Ice Days

Ice Days
This is the second day that school has been cancelled. It rained. It froze. It sleeted. It froze. It snowed. It froze. If I don't stomp, I can walk on the snow. If I step too heavy, there is a tinkling sound of ice breaking.

The boys are indignant that we are making them study. After all, finals aren't for a week and a half. For the first time they will have comprehensive finals and they haven't a clue. Of course, they are too wise, with the supreme knowledge of all teenagers, to listen to their parents.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


Vanity, thy name is Earth Girl

Oh to be cursed with vanity about vanity, rather my curly maple vanity with a walnut top that hubby built me for a Christmas present. It is gorgeous. I remember when he bought the maple about 8 years ago. What a find and he saved it for just the right project. It is long with two sinks and deep wide drawers. It's not quite done, needing another coat of spar varnish and the sinks installed, then he has some minor trim to finish, but it's installed and I can admire it several times a day. Now I have to select the mirrors and other finishing touches.
Let them eat bread
USA Today forecasts that Atkins will be a loser in 2005. While I know two men (and men seem to be more attracted to this red meat diet than women) who lost incredible amounts of weight on Atkins and while our grocery shelves are stocked with carb free products, I am located solidly (in more than one way) in the Midwest. We think Marilyn Monroe beats Kate Moss when it comes to body shapes. I think NE Indiana may be the only place that mashed potatoes are de rigeuer with chicken and noodles with a roll on the side. The more starch the better. So it was no surprise to me when a nationally known comedian with a gig at our church last November received no positive response when he asked the crowd who was on Atkins. He was nonplussed, the only time he stumbled in his whole delivery. I don't think it had ever happened to him before.

Food Bank

Spirit of Christmas
Our church has a food bank. In this rapidly growing area of middle to upper middle class homes, there are still people struggling to feed themselves and their families. As often is the case, these people tend to be invisible in the community, but we see them twice a month at the food bank.

I was called because they needed extra help on Tuesday before Christmas since they were giving food for a complete Christmas turkey dinner. So I woke my two healthy teen boys early, despite their protests, to work the food bank at church. They were good workers, carting the bags out to the cars, interacting with the people, helping create a fun atmosphere. But they were totally shocked to discover that the families of two of their classmates came to get food from our church. "But that boy lives in such a nice home," one son commented. I explained that the father left and the now single mother was struggling to feed the family and I made them swear (figuratively) to keep information about who comes to the food bank confidential.

This event faded as we prepared for Christmas and then enjoyed three days of celebration with our family.

After Christmas, when Ron asked me to take him shopping so he could spend his Christmas money, I asked him where he wanted to go and what he was going to buy.

"My first stop will be the grocery store to buy groceries for the food bank."

That sure warmed this mother's heart.

Back Again

Hurrah! I finally accessed my site. I had to install Mozilla's Firefox to do it. So it may not have been my new computer and its privacy settings.

During our New Year's Eve midnight walk, Steve and I reviewed 2004 on a personal and family level and then discussed goals for 2005. While I'm not one to make a formal resolution list and I did not think about this for my 2005 goals, after almost three years on free blogger and blogspot, it is time for a change. Any suggestions for a fearless but time and budget-constrained intermediate PC user?

Here are my parameters:
  1. clean design reflecting blog content,
  2. categorize entries that seem to have evolved on this blog (mothering teenage boys, garden, nature, spiritual, cooking, misc)
  3. ease of use (entry and manage) which Blogger provides
  4. ability to post photos
  5. Add blogroll
  6. spam-free comments