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Wherein you will find posts with humor, photos, reviews, occasional rants and journalistic entries of interest to me alone but that I hope will touch you, the reader, in some way. I remain sincerely yours,
A Work in Progress

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

WORD-filled Wednesday

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning"   Psalm 30:5

My well has run dry of late.  And it's my own fault.  I know where my strength comes from and still I did nothing.  And, as so often happens when we are relying on out own strength, I ran out.  I felt sick at heart, weary, unable to cope, defeated.  So utterly done that I didn't even want to go to Him and tell Him.  But I did, at last, send time at His feet.  And forgiveness is the first thing I asked for after confessing my stubbornness, my pride, my idolatry and everything else that kept me from being where I needed to be.

And day after day, in everything I read, God spoke to me and told me how very much he loves me.  He used Charles Spurgeon to really get through to me in the devotional, Morning and Evening.   What is really funny is that today's was absolutely perfect, but when I went to share it, it wasn't even today's!  I had "accidentally" skipped a page and it spoke to me profoundly.  It was exactly, perfectly and utterly, exactly what I needed to read this morning.

from Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon, "The path of a Christian is not always bright with sunshine; he has his seasons of darkness and storm.  True, it is written in God's Word, "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace;" and it is a great truth, that religion is calculated to give man happiness below as well as bliss above; but experience tells us that if the course of the just be "As the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day," yet sometimes that light is eclipsed.

At certain periods clouds cover the believer's sun and he walks in darkness and sees no light.  There are many who have rejoiced in the presence of God for a season, theyb have basked in the sunshine in the earlier stages of their Christian career; they have walked along "green pastures" by the side of  "still waters," but suddenly they find the glorious sky is clouded; instead of the Land of Goshen they have to tread the sandy desert; in place of sweet waters, they find troubled streams, bitter to their taste and they say, "Surely, if I were a child of God, this would not happen."

Oh! say not so, thou who art walking in darkness.  The best of God's saints must drink the wormwood; the dearest of His children must bear the cross.  No Christian has enjoyed perpetual prosperity; no believer can always keep his harp from the willows.  Perhaps the Lord allotted you at first a smooth and unclouded path, because you were weak and timid.  He tempered the wind to the shorn lamb, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God's full-grown children.
We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self dependence and to root us more firmly in Christ.  The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope."

So, little by little, day by day, hour by hour, I am going to my Lord, trying to emulate, for once, Mary and not Martha.  It isn't easy, it is not my nature to do so, but it is the only way I am going to be the mother, teacher, wife, sister, daughter and friend I am called to be.
It is the only way I can be at my best.

"I lift my eyes up, to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth"  -Psalm 121


Monday, April 26, 2010

Field Trip to the Sandwich Glass Museum

This is one of my very favorite trips and we often make a day of it on 6A, the girls and I. 
It is still one of my favorites but lack of discretionary funds and a back still threatening to leave me on the floor left us enjoying the museum alone this morning.

As soon as you walk in the door, there is a feast for the eyes.  The shop carries all kinds of decorative pieces, souvenir type pieces, replicas, books and jewelery.  

The museum pieces are spectacular and we each have our favorites.  Jenna's favorites are the galaxy pieces.  The artist's wife is an astronaut and he uses photos she has taken as inspiration.  You can see his work here, Josh Simpson.  Here is one of our favorites.

Rowan's favorite is the canary glass.  Not only is it lovely, but it is colored with depleted uranium dioxide.  Under a black light it glows with the faint radiation caused by the mineral and while low level, it can also be picked up by a Geiger counter.  There are examples of both in the gallery.

The Museum gives each child a bag of 3 handblown marbles as a gift.  They aren't this nice but it is one of our best-loved souvenirs.  These are made by a local artist, Fritz Lauenstein who had an exhibit there last year.

The multimedia presentation about life in rural New England at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution is exceptional and holds the attention of all but the smallest of children.

The gallery holds a time-line in glass work of the beginning of glass-making in the Mediterranean through the heyday of the early blowing and casting to the beginning of mass production with the pressers.  It holds samples of everything  every made in the Sandwich Glass Factory as well as other glass-work through the years. 

The best part of the tour is the glass blowing demonstration. We are told of the beginnings of glass making, how it is made and what makes the colors among other things.   In years past we have been treated to swans and paperweights, today the young lady blew a vase and pressed a glass plate with a little help from one of our group.

We had a grand time and hopefully we can go back soon and make a day of it on 6A.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

I am not a particularly creative cook.  Sometimes I can pull a rabbit out of my hat and make something fabulous without even breathing heavy; but mostly I find myself staring at a package of raw meat that I have remembered to thaw and being utterly uninspired.

Why can't there be cookbooks that work with my strengths?  Something like...
You Thawed Chicken, Now What?

Or a nice series along that vein, a whole "You Thawed" set,  like "You Thawed Pork", burger, steak, you get the idea.  

Or my personal favorite, "You Forgot to Thaw Something, Now What?"

Just a thought.


Physics 101

The kids did annual Stanford testing all week so by Friday they were kind of all done.  So we decided to take a day off from formal academics.  But the learning never ends. :)
Yesterday Rowan learned some of the finer points of basic physical principals.  Trajectory, gravity, inertia, combustion, and no doubt more.

Trajectory, where you want the tree to land.

Actuality, Mike was slightly off, this WAS Jenny's birdbath.

For you folks that are looking carefully, no that wasn't the tree that took out the birdbath, it was the next one, it was the only photo I took of one coming down though. :)

And this was the edge of Jenny's garden.

It was nice to work together and get so much done.  Mike isn't often home for the day.  We are heading for round 2 either today or after church tomorrow.  Should have about a cord and a half of oak to let season by the time we're done. 


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

So Far, So Good

I love it when I have one of those mornings where everthing just seems to be going right.  
I got up and I had clean clothes because I did laundry last night.  I love that.  
I went down and fed the menagerie, made lunch for Mike, packed the girls special SAT testing snack bags in short order.  And I got supper ready.  I love that the most. 
Usually I thaw something and around 5 o'clock, I am staring at it wondering what on earth I am going to do with it.  Today I made homemade BBQ sauce, expertly whisked together the ingredients, poured it over the split chicken breasts and put it in the fridge to marinate all day.  I can't begin to describe the feeling of accomplishment I got from that.  Almost as if I only have dinner planned by 7am, the rest of the day will be smooth sailing.

BBQ Sauce Recipe
2 Cups catsup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses or karo
3 Tablespoons yellow mustard
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon garlic powder


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Now, Where Did I Leave That?

I wouldn't like to say that I am becoming forgetful, really. Nor would I quite qualify myself as blind as a bat. But there are certain things I keep loosing and I need help finding. My glasses, my coffee and occasionally, my beer.

My glasses are the worst culprits.  In my mind,  I only ever put them in two places so it always baffles me when they're not in either. We have it down to a science, I holler that I can't find them and the household goes into a well rehearsed routine. One of my children heads upstairs and the other starts opening the pantry and the freezer in search of them.
(I only left them in the freezer once.)  If my husband happens to be home, he'll look too muttering all the while, "why can't you just put them in the same place every time?"  My reply, naturally, is that I am not always in the same place when I need to take them off!  But I always leave them either here, by my chair, or in the bathroom by the sink.  He replies, ever so helpfully, "sure you do."  Invariably, they are found somewhere that I know I did NOT put them and off we go.

Then there is my coffee.  Mine ends up in places I KNOW unequivocally,  that I didn't put it. It is the malicious coffee fairies. Because why on earth would I leave a hot cup of coffee on the pantry shelf? Or on top of the printer? Or in one of the kids bedrooms? But my glasses and my coffee have ended up in all three to my bafflement.

This could explain a lot.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What a "From the Archives Day" Means to Me

It isn't only that I can't think of anything to say some days. 
I was looking back at some of my old (pre-blogger) posts and I was thinking that some of them were really rather good.  

Back then, the only person who read my blog was my mother and only because I had it programmed to send it to her. Except for Tim.  Thanks Tim!

I was thinking, "Hey, I have a few people who read this now, perhaps revisiting and rewriting some of my really good ones might be nice".  Naturally, I started with a humorous post yesterday but I do have some "deeper" ones ready to be dug out, reworked and shared.

It was interesting reading about my life.  I can see, looking back, answers to prayer over and again.  And I am a little ashamed that I have forgotten so much about those prayers and how faithful God has been to answer them.    I laughed. I cried. I pondered.  And I sent up a few prayers of thanks and a few of confession.  It was a nice afternoon down memory lane. 

I began blogging our life and times in August of 2005.  We had been homeschooling about 4 years then, Rowan was in the 4th grade and Jenna in Kindergarten.    We've come a long way.  This coming September Rowan will be in high school!  Hard to believe.

So once in awhile we will revisit an old post.   I hope you enjoy the journey down memory lane.


Top Ten Lists

Things I have learned not to do.

1. If you are cannot find the baking soda and you have a grease fire working its way up the wall, do NOT think flour might work. In point of fact, small amounts of flour are flammable. If you do go with the flour, IF you use a 10 lb bag on it, it will go out but it is heck to clean up.

2. Do not taste the milk to see if it is bad.

3. Do not take your eyes off your best friend when he is cooking, he just might drop a huge amount of frozen chicken wings in the deep fat fryer resulting in the one and only fireball I have ever seen.

3. When you are in your room and you see flames reflecting on your door from the kitchen and your best friend yells, "I got it". Don't believe him. (after all, just last week he made a fireball)

4. IF, someone in front of you hits a squirrel on the road, and you pick it up to help it on your way to work...
Later on, when you see it running around the car, do not assume it is ok and park by the woods for it to leave.  BECAUSE you might, a week later start to wonder what that smell is and you might freak out completely when you get in your car and there are maggots in your front floor!!! And your bil might have to put a gas mask on and drive a billion miles an hour to the car detailing place who will never take your calls again.

5. Quit storing last night’s pizza in the box in the oven where you will forget it and start yet another kitchen fire. And on that note, do not assume the pizza can still be eaten after you have unloaded the extinguisher on it.

6. Never assume your 3 year old is asleep just because you don't hear her. She might be in the baby's room. She might be so enchanted with the balmex and baby powder that she is terribly busy covering every flat surface and every doorknob with the balmex and sprinkling it with the "fairy dust".

7. Never let your kids watch Macgyver. They might, in the grocery store, loudly, ask for fertilizer and magnesium and oh, hey, do they have flares here?

8. Never assume that a peaceful, quiet moment will stay that way when you have children.  They are simply plotting new mischief. 

9. Never assume your spouse will remember your birthday or your anniversary, it is asking for trouble.  Stick a post-it on his computer and send him your Amazon Wish list.  Which he will then delete as spam because her didn’t know your Amazon user name was classicslover.  He thought it was a Viagra sales pitch.

10. Finally, never believe your Top Ten lists are complete.  They never are.  There is always another anecdote that will fit into it.

Keep Laughing!  Life is too short not to laugh.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Last Post for April 2010 Read a Thon

Much as I would love to, I am too old to stay up all night reading and make it to church in the morning.
There was a day when that was simple but that time has come and gone with the years.
I'd like to thank everyone who participated in the read-a-thon, held mini-challenges and put the whole thing together.  It was great fun and you guys are awesome, thank you. 
I'd also like to thank my daughter, who played along with me.

Final Page Tally: 800
Final Book Tally: almost 3
Blogs Visited: 40
Total Read-A-Thon Blog Posts: 10

My best friend used to call my lunch a 12 pack and a trilogy, he wasn't far off.   But I had no responsibilities then and no interruptions, it was easier to plow through a trilogy than it is now.  That having been said, I wouldn't change how things are right now for anything.  Someday our girls will be grown and gone and the house will be all too quiet.
It was great to visit an old friend today and go back to a place I've been and missed and to meet a great group of tattooed men.  Thanks for the excuse to indulge my love of books, guilt free.

So I leave you with this:
“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally (and often far more) worth reading at the age of fifty.” C.S. Lewis


Hour Eight of the Read a Thon

Title of book(s) read since last update
Still reading Traitor's Sun, on page 35.  I stopped to put some laundry away.

Running total of pages read since you started 

Other participants you’ve visited:
Marike@ the Lady Fern


Hour Five Update and Visits

Title of book(s) read since last update
Still Reading Robert Parker's School Days
I have been a Robert Parker fan for 25 years.  More specifically, a Spenser fan.  I never did get into his Sunny Randall or Jesse Stone's.  I love them because they are local (Boston), literate and funny.  He also writes great descriptive prose.

"The wind shifted outside, and the rain began to rattle against the big picture window next to us.  It collected and ran down, distorting reality and blurring the headlights and taillights and traffic lights and colorful umbrellas and bright raincoats into a kind of Parisian shimmer"
Number of books read since you started:
1 1/2
Pages read since last update 
Running total of pages read since you started 
Running total of time spent reading since you started:
4 hours give or take the two bloody noses and letting the dog in and out and help my daughter clean the guinea pig cage.
Mini-challenges completed
Hour 1 Challenge-
Other participants you’ve visited


Hour Four Post and Mini-Challenge

It is 11:25 and I have just finished Rescue Ink.  I cried, they had held out on me, the tear-jerkiest story of Rebel for the last chapter.  It was glorious.
Last quote I wanted to share to entice you into reading it, " The sow looked up at the lady perched on the this strange, beige box in the middle of her pen.  The pig had a plan."

Time for a snack and another cup of joe while I work on the mini-challenge....

Ok, here goes...
How to Love the Men Who Rescue Goats at School Days
How to Buy Goats Who Rescue Men
Days to Stare at GoatMen for Love
10 minutes is up, there ya go

Charlotte's Library
Rachel at And the Plot Thickens


First Read A Thon Post, 2 hours in

2 hours into the read a thon, I have completed 118 pages of Rescue Ink.  I knew it would make me cry and it has, more than once already.  I have had to get up a few times, being a Mom and a pet owner your time is never completely your own and that's OK, it is all about the fun right?

From Rescue Ink, " The house Rescue Ink was about to visit was a practical application of the mathematics of unneutered cat colonies.  Like an algebraic equation on crack, a few unneutered cats can magnify into a population of many more digits."

"After all, it took more than a bit of nerve to envision a rescue group that would break all the rules, show that tough guys can have hearts of gold, and that a little testosterone introduced into an an areana heretofore presided over by impassioned cat ladies wasn't such a bad thing."

I stopped by the blogs listed in hour 3 and left comments, have fun people!


Hour One Mini Challenge

Where are you reading from today?

I am reading from an eclectic list of library books, my daughter's bookshelves and my own collections.

3 facts about me …
I home school our kids

I despise dusting but it is so cool, if I take off my glasses, the dust disappears entirely!

I ran a wildlife rehabilitation center with my husband the first 2 years of our marriage.  If you can survive being a newlywed working for the public 24/7 and a bunch of volunteers, your marriage can make it through anything!

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
8 in the library pile but I am going to bag the Michael Jackson one.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
I want to have fun with my daughter, read as long as I can, and cheer-lead for other participants when I come online.


Read-A-Thon Day!

This is my kick off post, it is almost time to start reading.  
It begins here on the East Coast at 8am.  I have my snacks, my books, my coffee and pumpkin muffins and pizza dough in the bread machine for later.

I have my first book up on my Shelfari widget on the right and I am good to go!  Time to go wake up Rowan for our first mother daughter Read-a-Thon.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Five Question Friday

Playing along with my friend Terri today.

1. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?
I shudder to think about certain parts of my life being portrayed at all!   I am not sure I know enough actresses of this day and age to pick one.  Maybe I will do a Facebook quiz about it and get back to you.

2. Did you ever go to summer camp?

While it would be super to have grand memories of archery and boating and sailing and all that,I don't really remember much about camp, though I know I went once or twice.  I remember more clearly my sister going to a different camp and hating it and coming home.
I do remember going later on and being a Jr. Counselor.  What were they thinking?  It was a blast but much of it was about hooking up with other Jr. counselors and eying the, out of our league,  senior counselors.  Boy was I young and stupid.  But at least I was still thin then.

3. What sends you running and screaming in the other direction?
Some might ask, "what doesn't?"  Let's see, spiders are way up on the list.  Having to leave the house at night, driving to somewhere I have never been and shopping malls.  Sometimes the word "Mom" being bellowed from somewhere in the house.

4. What is something you do that drives your spouse nuts?
Again, one might ask, "what doesn't?"  Let's see, my overreacting to things makes him nuts.  Slamming my brakes or gasping when he is driving makes him really cranky.  
And, apparently, talking to him when he is doing anything at all.

5. What is currently your favorite song?

Hmm, hard to pick a single song and they change according to my mood.  
I love to listen to Billy Joel's Pressure or Queen's,  Under Pressure.  Really loudly.  In the car, alone.  It helps, really.  

I go on album kicks where I listen to an entire album depending on my mood, could be the Evita soundtrack, could be Graceland or an old Easter Cantata.  

Currently I enjoy, as the soundtrack to my life, the soundtracks from the Lord of the Rings.  It is a mixed bag, lots of whimsy, Celtic airs, battle sounds, much like home. I find that it suits me.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Stopped at the library yesterday to stock up for the Read A Thon on Saturday

Just like me they are an eclectic mix of humor, biography, fantasy, science fiction, history and what not.  They are, in no particular order...

My Life Outside the Ring, Hulk Hogan, I love Terry and I don't care who knows it.

The Men Who Stare at Goats, Jon Ronson because it is just bizarre enough to appeal to me.

Michael Jackson, J. Randy Taraborrelli, ok, this one I am feeling slightly guilty about and may decide I just can't do it.
David Morrell's, The Shimmer because the Mortalis series was one of the best I ever read.  If you are interested, they are in order The Brotherhood of the Rose, The Fraternity of the Stone and The League of Night and Fog.  I used to read a lot of thrillers, these and the Bourne Trilogy, by Robert Ludlum were my all time favorites.
Rescue Ink, by Rescue Ink with Denise Flaim because who can resist tough guys with soft hearts.

Robert Parker's School Days, because there will never be another Spenser novel and I have forgotten the plot of this one.

Marion Zimmer Bradley's Traitor's Sun and its sequel The Alton Gift because I haven't been to Darkover in a long time and I miss it there.

How to Buy a Love of Reading, Tanya Egan Gibson, because it looks delightful and I don't get to read a lot of fiction these days.

And if I finish all these I will probably relax with the Belgariad just for the sheer delight in being able to write about them. ( I even have them on my phone for anytime I have time to kill)

I am really looking forward to this, it is a first and I am thrilled that Rowan is doing it along with me.  I need to go out and stock up on some read-a-thon food staples.  I am thinking cheese sticks, apples, honey-roasted peanuts, a couple of nice teas, and for later in the evening, a good red wine.  I may get salsa and chips but not for when I am reading library books.  Hmm, hummus sticks better, perhaps that and pita chips?  We may certainly need a form of chocolate at some point, an excuse for a mint 3 Musketeer perhaps?

You can find out about it or sign up for the Dewey read a Thon here.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


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