April 2008

Monthly Archive

Some Days, Good People Happen

Posted by on 30 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: caring, citizenship, education, fun, Gardens and Life, good things, hope, Peace Making, Uncategorized

The sad thing is, this is so remarkable (note the title they gave the story).

The lovely thing is, that stuff like this does happen – and a lot more often than we ever see in news stories.

Kudos to the Central Washington Softball team! GO WILDCATS!!!

Good Play on the Diamond

Now, if only we taught all our children to not only play fair, but to be good sports and help opponents out. Competition can, in fact, be friendly!

My Own Poem

Posted by on 30 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: art, citizenship, copyrights, fun, poetry, Uncategorized, wordplay, words, writing

Well, Robin has been writing poems all month. I thought it would be a good idea to write one also, since I didn’t manage to participate in NaPoWriMo (this time).

Independent, I





why choose?

be bold, bright, splendid
quiet, calm, reserved

grey, purple, moderate, centered, boldly quiet, splendidly calm, brightly reserved…

and all at once

be yourself.

this is by ks, copyright ks, permission to quote and alter — but please cite ks as your source.

We won’t renew our symphony season tickets —

Posted by on 29 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: allergy, fun, health, music, Uncategorized

— because they effectively closed off the third tier box seats by pricing them well out of our ability to pay, forcing us (and presumably others) onto the floor.

Rather than being an elitist thing, this has to do with their refusal to accomodate my allergies. Specifically, the chemical sensitivities to things that most people never even notice. Not “scents” per se, but chemicals that are in laundry detergents, fabric softeners, shampoos and other common substances that everyone (or almost everyone) uses.

I rarely go to movies, concerts, and other activities that require me to be in confined spaces with people I don’t know. And most of the time I go because it is one of the children’s performances. I always carry extra anti-histamines (oral and topical) to treat reactions as fast as I can.

However, we have gone to the Seattle Symphony’s Baroque series for several years in a row. Until this year, the experience was almost universally wonderful. After the first year when I did sit on the floor near the stage, the price of box seats became affordable for us. Sitting in the box seats, even if they required climbing lots of stairs and made it hard to see some parts of the stage, meant that I was far enough away from people that I rarely had a reaction — and then only a minor one. I could spend my time enjoying the music.

So far this season there have been two concerts. I have had to move both times, because someone (or several people) near me was contaminated with something. Both times, the person/s arrived only minutes before the concert began, and I was forced to flee, find an usher and get permission to move the far back of the hall, where I could sit isolated, being seated only moments before the concertmaster/mistress entered. Both times, I have looked up into the third tier seats to see only ushers or other workers. No concert-goers.

I haven’t decided if I will attend the next concert, already paid for and long anticipated.

But Benaroya Hall/the Seattle Symphony has not ever seemed to care that their third-tier seats are empty , nor to be willing to make accomodations for us. In fact, when I first renewed our tickets last summer, I specified that we wanted to be toward the back and as close to the door as possible. When the tickets arrived, we were toward the front and NOT on an aisle, a problem that was solved but could have been avoided entirely if my original seat choice had been honored.

Perhaps they are trying to get the usually very small Baroque audience down to the lower levels so the hall appears more full. Or maybe they want to demonstrate how few seats actually sell in this series so they can eliminate it. Who knows?

Well — next year, there will be four empty seats in one section. And we won’t go back again.

Why? Because after the cost of tickets, an hour’s drive up, the cost of parking, the hour’s drive home… it just isn’t worth it. Sure, the hall carries sound beautifully. Yes, the Symphony chooses great artists and selects the most lovely and provocative music. But when I am listening to this with a rash slowly breaking out all over my body, numbed by the additional antihistamines… and sitting alone without my family, it’s not any fun. We can go to very nice local concerts and at least be close to home if I do have a reaction.

I have to say that, at this point, I wouldn’t recommend the Seattle Symphony to anyone. I would encourage you to attend local concerts, support people in smaller venues, and avoid the city traffic.

Poet of Note

Posted by on 29 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: art, books, education, good things, poetry, Uncategorized, wordplay, words, writing

This is from “Always a Reckoning” by Jimmy Carter. I really treasure this book. Some of the poems make me uncomfortable, some make me sad or angry. This one in particular makes me feel peculiar. Wistful?

Priorities of Some Mexican Children

A sign was leaning toward adobe shacks
back from the road, across a dry plateau.
LLANOS it read, the same as our Plains.
When we stopped to photograph the view
three blackhaired children hurried down a path
shouting something, eager to be heard.
“Get out your pocketbooks,” I said,
“I can guess the word.”
When they got closer, we could tell it was not dinero but
lápiz and papel.

What would it take for our own children to value education so highly?

dinero = money; lápiz = pencil; papel = paper

A recipe that seems so familiar

Posted by on 28 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: citizenship, education, Family Matters, food, Gardens and Life, good things, holidays, musings, parenting, Uncategorized

This is one of several dozen (hundred?) recipes that were stuck (literally stuck, probably with flour-and-water paste) in a couple of books rescued from my grandmother’s kitchen. These books appear to have been compiled by Mrs. L, the woman who used to live in the house between my grandmother’s home and my great-grandmother’s. She had been a cook at the local high school, and apparently cooking was her hobby as well as her career.

There were two books with recipes collected from newspapers, magazines and various labels and cards from companies promoting their products (so far, I don’t think we have found all the recipe book yet) in the box we went through this weekend. One was mostly dessert and sweet recipes, the other savory dishes and meats. One book was originally a household budget book (the spaces between recipes show a tantalizing view of what was expected for households in the 1930s), the other was an old magazine that had been cut down and reused. Thrift was definitely one of her generation’s hallmarks!

So this recipe seems much like the one my mother used when we were children. I will try to make it later this week, and we’ll give it the “taste test.” I believe it was published in 1940, based on a snippet of text on the back, announcing Professor Harold W Thompson’s appearance and speeches at some event in Otsego County, New York. A quick google search indicates that he was at the Sesquicentennial celebrations Aug 29- Sept 1, 1940 to honor James Fenimore Cooper… No idea which east-coast paper this may be from, however.

Hot Cinnamon Rolls

1 cup milk (scalded)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fat
1 yeast cake
1/4 cup warm water
3 to 4 cups general purpose flour
Melted butter
granulated sugar

Scald milk and add to it the sugar, salt, and fat. Cool until luke-warm and add yeast which has been softened in the warm water. Add a sufficient amount of flour to enable handling as a dough. Knead thoroughly, and allow dough to rise until it doubles in volume. Knead lightly, and allow the dough to double in bulk a second time. Then knead lightly and roll dough into a sheet — 1/2 inch thick. Spread with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and granulated sugar. Roll like a jelly roll and cut in slices one inch thick. Place on a well-greased baking sheet and allow to rise until light. Bake in a hot oven (400 degrees) approximately 20 minutes. This basic recipe may be used to make any kind of coffee cake or sweet roll.

Some things I note: The recipe calls for “fat” which I assume could have been the lard a thrifty housewife saved from a roast, I will substitute a non-hydrogenated shortening. Yeast isn’t generally sold in cakes any more, but one tablespoon of refrigerated yeast would probably work (I’ll let you know). Some modern recipes eliminate the scalded milk — scalding was to help make sure bacteria weren’t growing in milk — so this recipe is also before pasteurization was common. We use soy milk, so I will just warm it up a bit to help the yeast work sooner.
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Poetry at the end of April

Posted by on 28 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: art, education, good things, poetry, Uncategorized, wordplay, words, writing

Today it is Emily Dickinson…

Wild Nights!

Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port,
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!

Thanks to babbler “kje” who posted this in her profile yesterday.

Pretty Things

Posted by on 27 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: Gardens and Life, good things, Uncategorized

I wanted to post these two pictures for several days… but just never got around to it.

Here they are, the gorgeous red-and-yellow tulips (seen growing in a previous post) on my grandmother’s hutch. They just brighten the whole room! The ceramic items were hand-painted by my own children many years ago. They are some of my more cherished dishes.

Monet would be jealous!

And here are some daffodils that were in a corner of the dining room. I liked how they picked up the green and yellow of the walls.

Four yellow daffodils in a green vase, next to a tall pink vase.

Happy Earth Day

Posted by on 22 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: children, citizenship, climate, education, environment, food, garden, Gardens and Life, good things, Green Living, health, hope, Interesting Websites, musings, parenting, Peace Making, poverty, social justice, Uncategorized, weather

I have a whole slew of webpages that have caught my attention over the last several months. Some of them are about how to minimize your impact on the planet’s resources while maintaining a comfortable life. Some of them have been (or will be) mentioned and linked to in other posts here.

  • This first is a youtube video that shows how carbon emissions over the United States flow. It’s a little long a dry, but I think it’s important to know why this is such a concern: CO2 Maps
  • There are very real benefits to “going green” as Dr. Mao says in his post on Secrets of Longevity.
  • If it all seems so daunting (and let’s face it: the strident tone of many environmentalists makes us all want to just crawl in a hole and hide sometimes), here is a website that breaks things down into more manageable chunks: treehugger.com
  • This next shows in dramatic form, how gasoline prices have changed. There are also some political opinions readily expressed at this site…: Zfacts.com
  • Many religious organizations are also beginning to be involved in helping to heal the earth – is yours? greenfaith.org
  • and one last “informational” help, a CO2 calculator. I will list two, both are rather country-specific, but I think you can get a general idea from either one about both the things you can change to be a little more “carbon-conscious” and how you compare to others in using resources: first, from the United States — Climate Crisis/Take Action
    and second from Great Britain — carbon calculator
    and as a side note, if you put “carbon calculator” into a search engine, there will be many more you can check out!

The long and the short of it all is, if those of us who have access to high-energy, high-resource-consuming products and activities continue to use them as much as we do… if we continue to encourage industrializing nations to manjfacture products with inefficient (but inexpensive) technologies… and if we don’t find ways to heal the scars we have already inflicted (pit mines, poisoned rivers, clear-cut hillsides) then we are actually condemning our children and grandchildren to rather sad lives. I don’t actually think my own life will be significantly impacted by the changes to climate/food production, but I am certain my children and potential grandchildren will be.
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Throwing the Artichoke (again and again and again…)

Posted by on 21 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: critters, fun, good things, Uncategorized

People who know me (hi babblers) know about my dogs. My life, contrary to the observable evidence, really doesn’t revolve around them. If it did, by now I would have a pitching arm better than Randy Johnson’s.

Still, I find myself tossing, lobbing, throwing and hurling objects on a regular basis. You can see in the video of the hail yesterday that our back yard has quite a bare spot from paws running over it. And there are dog beds taking up easily a quarter of the main living room’s floor space (for just two dogs). But really — they don’t occupy ALL my time and energy…

At present, Lucky’s favorite toy is his artichoke. I snagged a picture from the maker’s website — our artichoke is nowhere clean enough for a picture, though after six months it is fully intact.

A truly indestructible toy!

A full description of the artichoke is at Planetdog.com.

I really like the toys from this company. He had/has a strawberry from them as well — and an original “Orbee” — but has left them somewhere in the one-acre yard (or in the ditch along the road, or…). So except for the forgetfulness factor, these are the longest-lasting toys he has ever owned. And that is saying something. This is a dog who can destroy a “chuck-it” ball in less than a day. He has strong jaws!

Other things I like about this toy — and this company — non-toxic is primary, and they have a commitment to doing good things for animals and the earth. They seem to sell only things made in the United States, which — as a U.S. resident/citizen — makes more sense to me than selling things here that were made in somewhat questionable factories in other countries; and that require extra transportation costs. I also like that there is somebody actually still working in manufacturing in this country… which is a post for another day.

Anyway, that’s the artichoke story.

Time for another new look

Posted by on 21 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

I really like the pink background and header of this website, but I am finding that links and such aren’t showing up well with the current color scheme. I also notice that the sidebars are looking cluttered with the extra widgets I have added, so I want to change those around a bit.

While I lack the time at the moment for a complete overhaul, look for some changes in the coming days.

And as always, I hope you will feel free to comment on changes and make suggestions.

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