Saturday, March 27, 2010

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program...

For a well deserved spring break with my sister and her family in Tempe, AZ.  Frequency of blogging may be interrupted for soaking up sun, checking out the zoo, seeing the Grand Canyon, hikes in the desert mountains, playing with cousins, swimming in the heated pool, checking out museums, and enjoying the company of relatives.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ok, ok, should I Tweet?

I'm not sure about this.  I don't have a smart phone and I'm too cheap to pay for texting to Tweet on the go.  I know one can Tweet on-line, but I already do that with FB, don't I?  And I have more space to write things on that anyway.  But I was reading a random author's blog and she suggested three agent/editors that Tweet information on working in the field of writing.  So I wonder, do I join and follow them?  Maybe I should check it out.

Oh, God!  Another login?  Another password?  Am I too old for this?  I can't remember all the things I log in for now.  Barely.

I'll let you know if I try this out.  I know I can link it with my blog or with my FB.

I wonder how many sites I have signed up to that I have forgotten about.  My login is just out there floating in tons of places, I am sure.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Depressing post to follow: avoid if you want to feel good: Random Tuesday Thoughts


I avoid talking about my job.  Often because I've seen examples of what happens if/when an employer gets wind of your blog and your comments get around.  But today is one of those days where I really can't stand it and I need an outlet.

I know there are things that must be done to save the budget.  But some of these things grate against my sense of justice in the world.  And it hurts me to go against my sense of justice.  Eats at me, makes me angry, makes me depressed.  I used to like my job.  It used to be doing stuff that I went to school for and being creative.  Now I'm doing nothing I went to school for and I don't get to be creative.

The worst part is, I am only sticking with this job because of the health care.  I have excellent health, dental and vision care and that is all this is worth to me.  But it is getting to the point where it's not even worth that.

The only thing holding me back is knowing that we couldn't afford this health care on our own.  Orthodontics are not cheap.  Neither are glasses.  The fear of some health catastrophe, big or small, that could just set us over the edge of not having enough money to live as we are now, which is by no means extravagant.

If health care was not connected to our jobs, would people be happier finding things they wanted to do and did well, rather than staying in jobs because they paid the bills and covered the health costs?

Oh, I suppose I'm talking rather close to communism, eh?  From each according to his ability, to each according to his need?  Though, the original theory wasn't all that bad.  It just didn't take into account that people are greedy and power hungry and that those running a country want to live the good life because they can and they can order people around to do what they want.  Maybe countries are too big to sustain the kind of small-town-everyone-represents-himself-in-the-discussion-until-we-come-to-a-compromise-we-can-live-with type of government.

Also, I wonder, what if we made serving in government like jury selection?  Put everyone's name in a computer, hit a button and next year's slate of representatives is printed out.  No more campaign, campaign finance.  Sure there's bound to be some idiots who couldn't handle it, but is that much different that some of what we have now?  Pain in the *ss to have to leave your job and go serve, but how is that different than those who serve in the military and get called up.  Hold the job open until the service is done.  Right?

Ok, now I'm ranting and heading down tangents and I realized this is a random sort of post.  Guess it just became my random Tuesday.  Darn depressing.  I guess I'm not even elated about health care, because I'm worried it doesn't do enough.  But honestly, I wanted something rather than nothing.  I just hope the special interests didn't mess it up royally.

I should leave you before we get down a darker path.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Since my blog is all dressed up with no place to go, I thought it might be good to just give a shout out to the blog world in general for today's holiday.  Though, upon thinking about it, I believe that most bloggers (I hope) are out enjoying the sunshine.  Now I need to go find my green clothes to wear.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Twenty things that nurture me

I found this thought process through Strange Pilgram and then clicked through to Lost and Found in India.  I love it, and though I come late to this process, I decided I should go through this thought process, too.  I think it is the spring mood that makes me appreciate what wonders I have around me.

Children: What is more amazing than the little people you create and nuture to amazing adults?  Even more amazing is how they make you feel about yourself.

Husband: My partner in all things and I couldn't do this journey we call life without him.

Best women friends: These gals are great, honest, funny, smart, and give me the best "girl" time I need.

Writing: Reaching back into my teenage self, I rediscovered my passion for creative writing and how it made me feel.

Historic clothing: I cannot even begin to tell you how obsessed I am with clothing from the past.  It doesn't matter what time period, I love to learn about the details of all of it, materials, construction, how it looked, how it felt, what it is like to wear it.

Autumn: You'd think with the weather that turns colder in this season, I would feel depressed, but I find autumn more inspiring than any other time of year.  The colors are gorgeous, the chill wind is mysterious and it gets my imagination running. 

Family history: I am a historian and I love most to find the stories of where I came from and where the people before me came from.  There's something satisfying about knowing who I am and who the long line of people behind me are.

Learning new things: A lifelong learner, I like to learn about new gadgets, new ideas, or new ways of doing things.  I grow as a person and get to keep growing.

Oldest friends: The internet has allowed me to get back in touch with people I haven't heard from in years.  And it's nice to know that person I used to know is there on the other side.  I'm still rooting for them and loving them for who they used to be in my life and how they can still enrich it even now.

Virtual friends: People who are genuine even in their on-line dealings can give you access to friendships that might have been thwarted by space and time.

Siblings: As my younger brother and sister get older, I can appreciate them more for who they've become.

Parents: They were there when we were small and growing and are still there.  Being a parent, now I know how much they had to do for us and what they did seems even more amazing.

Small town living: I was leery about it at first, but now I am loathe to contemplate moving from my community.  I appreciate the closeness of the town layout, being able to walk or bike to so much.  I appreciate the circle of friends I've developed and how nice it is to see them on occasion in the stores, saying hi.

Cooking: Whenever I have time off, I find myself cooking extensive meals for my small family.  I spend much time and energy in it and I have discovered that it is an expression of my love for them.

Art: Being a historian, I love the interconnectedness of a time period's art movements with what was happening in the world at that time.  I love how art is such an expression of the people living in that time and place.

Music: The more variety the better.  My favorite at the moment is Irish music, as it makes my daughter light up and we both love the rhythm and the beat.

Reading: My old love and passion from a very young age, I had slacked off a bit as a young adult and young parent, but I have taken the bull by the horns, joined a book club and expanded my horizons again.

Creating: I have always had a creative nature, but I think sometimes I don't nuture it like it nutures me.  I like to make reproduction historic clothing, making pillows or quilts with my own hands, putting down electronically silly and serious ideas on a blog, working on my book project with one of my best friends.

Travel: Part of learning new things, I revel in actually being in the places one reads about or sees on TV or in pictures.

Midwest: I was born in the Midwest and I will probably die in the Midwest.  There's something we all share, whether it's our personalities, or way of living, or how we deal with each other, or what we talk about.  I am most comfortable here and as I grow older, comfort is something that is precious to me.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hot Whiskey

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, an ode to my favorite Irish drink.

Warm pale amber liquid
Sweetness, sugary cloves
Tangy lemon
Calms the nerves
Warms the throat
Spices scenting around the nose
Slip quietly into relaxation
Hot whiskey

Friday, March 12, 2010

I really am Irish (and English and Scottish and Welsh and maybe a little French, but I can't be sure)

Really, I am a bit Irish, one of the family names in the past being Higgins.  Probably more Scottish than Irish, I know my great grandfather was a full blooded Scot.  But maybe not quite so over the top Irish as my blog, in its current state, may lead you to believe.  Really, it was at the urging of my dear daugther, who still holds a fascination for all things Irish, which is fine by me, because I don't mind the Irish connection at all.  I really like to say I'm a British Isles mix, which just about sums it up.  I have never dug much deeper than a few family histories that have crossed my path over the years (perusing them at Grandma's, or having my mom show me some family stuff).  I really want to, but I know to do a good job at it, it takes time and probably some money to do some tripping to the places from whence they came and/or having someone comb the records and send me copies of the records.  But I so love history and I would dearly love to research my family history a little more.

I should start closer to home.  I read a blog about someone wanting to ask their parents about their wedding and what they remember and felt and enjoyed.  I think I should do that.  I've asked my mom at various times about high school and college, but it's always snippets of conversation, rather than digging deep.  Which is fine, but I think I should maybe dig deeper sooner rather than later.

So, when my kids leave home the plan is to a) start making quilts and b) do more genealogy.  Yup, good pastimes for empty nester adults.  My mom will so laugh, because I think she does those things right now.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What I know about spotted dick

It can be bought in the UK in cans, but I think it is probably much better the way my friend made it.  This is not her recipe, but it was a nice overview of how to put it together, I thought I would share.  My friend's was also a log shape and looked much like this when it came out.  It was a bit like eating cookie dough with raisins in it.  The custard is nice with it.  We didn't have raspberries, but that looks like that would be good too.

How To Make Spotted Dick from Video Jug.

So, the name is a bit strange.  Spotted being from the raisins or currants throughout, dick (no! not the shape, get yer mind out ter the gutter) may be a contraction/corruption of the word pudding (from the last syllable) or possibly a corruption of the word dough or dog, as "spotted dog" is another name for the same dish. Another explanation offered for the latter half of the name is that it comes from the German word for "thick," in reference to the thickened suet mixture. (according to Wikipedia, my favorite free on-line encyclopedia).

There, Aliceson, does that answer your question?  I am sure you weren't the only one with the question.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts

Woo hoo!  Hello there!

Um, yeah, you know what day it is.  Though I seem to have skipped a few.


First thought that crossed my mind this weekend.  When did we become a four computer family?  I was typing away on my laptop in the dining room, while each child was in the office, a computer for each to command, running back and forth sharing what each was doing on his or her own machine.  I thought, lucky we have all these.  Then it dawned on me.  I had one more computer, not hooked up to the internet up in dear son's room.  It is plugged in and can be used for the educational preschool games we still have loaded on it.  But, it really doesn't get used.  I can't part with it, though.  I'm not sure what sensitive material may still be on it and I cannot throw it in the trash for any reason.  I have no desire to figure out how to dispose of it, because not only will the disposing be a long and arduous process, but so will the finding out how to do it properly.

Anyone read a really good book for 4th-7th graders lately?  If so, please forward me the title and author.  I am trying to get a better sense of literature for this age group.  I know I need to read "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."  But what else is out there today?  I enjoyed Judy Blume, but I know there is more recent and popular stuff these days.  Laura Ingalls Wilder and Beverly Cleary are old standbys, but we're looking for recent good pieces.

I learned something new from Wikipedia.  The book club I belong to is reading "A Confederacy of Dunces."  According to Wikipedia, it is a picaresque novel. Which means: "The picaresque novel (Spanish: "picaresca", from "pĂ­caro", for "rogue" or "rascal") is a popular sub-genre of prose fiction which is usually satirical and depicts, in realistic and often humorous detail, the adventures of a roguish hero of low social class who lives by his or her wits in a corrupt society. As indicated by its name, this style of novel originated in Spain, where it was possibly influenced by Arabic literature (specifically the maqama genre, which also featured the episodic exploits of a rogue character), flourished in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and continues to influence modern literature."  (Picaresque novel. (2010, March 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:09, March 9, 2010, from  I find the novel perhaps satirical, maybe too realistic, but have yet to find the humor.  I may only be 20 pages in, but perhaps my 21st century oversensitivity to very unpolitical correctness is making it hard for me to get into it.  I understand it was written in the 60s and published in the 80s, so it will not sound the same as it did to he who wrote it and those who read it first.  Verdict is still out and I have a week and a few days to render a more solid judgment.

My son is quite literally on a growth spurt.  The whole last week he was waking up grouchy.  Super grouchy.  Unusually grouchy.  He was going to bed at the same time he always did: in bed at 8 pm, read a book until 8:30 (maybe 8:45), then lights out.  But he couldn't haul himself out of bed aqt 6:45 am like he used to.  He used to bounce out and rush downstairs.  Now he just whines and stays in bed.  We were afraid he was sick, but he wasn't.  He's just lacking sleep.  We sent him to sleep earlier, about 7:45 lights out and he was still grouchy.  When the weekend came, he slept 12 hours straight the first night and 11 hours the second night.  Then he started eating a lot.   More dinner, needing more snacks, still hungry.  Tonight he had a lot of rice and chicken.  After supper, he still demanded more.  Half a banana and two peanut butter toast sandwiches later he was finally full.  This morning, I thought I would check his height, just to see.  I had just measured him on February 25th.  I had marked both kids' heights as an update for this year.  Low and behold from February 25th to March 8, he had grown a half inch.  I AM SERIOUS!  It was amazing to see.  At the end of dinner, as he complained about being hungry, Mr. Wild and I looked at each other saying, "Is this a prelude of what we're in for in the next few years?"  That boy is going to have to quit being picky, cause there's only so many peanut butter sandwiches one can eat in a lifetime.

Here's some photos of the tea party I held in honor of me and the gals watching Jane Austen's Emma from Masterpiece Classic (I recorded it on DVR and we finally found the time to get together).  As you see the large white cake, that is the new favorite cake I like to make.  This one had the three sticks of butter and orange flavoring in the frosting on the yellow cake.  We also had spotted dick, strawberries and cream, lemon poppy seed bread, asparagus and prosciutto sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, seafood and chive sandwiches, and scones with lemon curd, gooseberry jam, and strawberry rhubarb jam.  Of course, I served tea with milk, sugar or lemon.  I take it with just milk most times, but I had quite a bit with just lemon and it was soothing to my throat, having been irritated by this cough!





I should mention, because you probably will ask, the silver colored serving trays, the three tier and the one you see holding the tea-cozy-covered teapot you see there.  Those are part of our aluminumware collection.  We have it all out for display on our plate rail that surrounds our dining room, when not in use.  When our kids were small, it was more unknown and a cheaper antique.  We could pick it up at garage sales for a steal.  Then I think people got wise to its collectibility and the prices went up.  We had tea actually as a luncheon and it was quite filling.  We had such a good time, we've decided we need to do it again.  Can't wait.

I should also give a shout out to Mr. Wild for putting together and cutting most of the sandwiches and artfully arranging them and the lemon slices while I frantically finished up the scones so they'd be warm just out of the oven.  He also did a bang up job of cleaning the dirty dishes I made, though I swore I would clean them.  What a sweetie!

If you need more randomness, check out Keely's blog by clicking on the button in this post.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oh my gosh! Do I go commercial?

I know others have been approached by this.  I had a email sent to me about working with a store for a giveaway, or giving reviews on products.  I will look over the information they sent me in the email.  So, my more savvy bloggers, who have done this.  Is it worth it?  What can it do for me?  What can it do for my readers?  However, when I ran my own giveaway, I only got two, count them, two, takers.  Which made it easy.  I just sent my prize to both.  And it was cookies darn it!

Oh, guess what?  My new favorite thing to make is yellow cake from scratch.  Am I weird or what?  But I know what goes into my cake.  On top of that, I have made my frosting from scratch twice now.  I at least know there isn't hydrogenated vegetable oil in my frosting.  Ok, maybe butter (yes, that was three sticks in that one recipe, and I think three is a little too rich), but you know about saturated fats.  They are bad, but maybe not as bad as transfats now.  [Personally, I would get lard to make my pie crust.  Yes, I would.  Instead of Crisco.]  But the yellow cake has gotten rave reviews from three different audiences: women, men, and children.  I think I'm on to something.  My son has already said his cake (for a December birthday) will be the yellow cake with the chocolate sour cream frosting and strawberries on top.  Apparently a winner.  I did not take pictures.  Sheesh, what is wrong with me.  I did buy a cake saver though, since I was so into cakes.  So everyone's going to have to put up with me making cake when I go to someone's house for dinner.  I still have yet to master making the cake bake more level.

Just getting warmed up for Random Tuesday Thoughts.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Just About Time

Just about time for a new spring coat on this blog.

Just about time for spring sports, like soccer in our case.

Just about time to dust off the bikes and start riding again.

Just about time for dear daughter to try out the bike without training wheels.

Just about time to head to Phoenix to visit my sister, her husband, my neices.

Just about time to get in the yard and pick up all the branches that fell.

Just about time for the local summer ice cream shop to open up.

Just about time to get over the winter illness ickies and get some exercise in.

Just about time to shop for a summer swim suit.

Just about time to spend longer days outside, especially in the evening.

Just about time to shed our winter heavy clothes and feel the breeze on our skin.

I think it's just about time.