Sunday, January 30, 2011

Take THAT, modern convenience!

My bread machine died.  At least I'm pretty sure it's dead.  The kneading blade won't turn any more.


I mixed up a batch of bread dough and

Kneaded It By Hand


I am now on my way into the kitchen

to get two loaves of



bread out of the oven.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Greater Perfection

This is the title of the first of my "Meaty Books" project for 2011.  The author is Sister Miriam Teresa, a Sister of Charity of St. Elizabeth.  It was originally published in 1928 and is a series of transcribed conferences given to the Sisters, written under holy obedience to Sr. Miriam's spiritual father.

Sr. Miriam was a Novice, which makes the depth of these conferences all the more amazing.

I truly enjoyed the book, and have hopes that at least some of what I read over the past several weeks will bear fruit in my life.

I would like to share with you the prayer at the end of the book:

Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, unplumbed and fathomless abyss of divine charity, consume this impetuous victim in the fiery sea of Thy love.  My Father, Thou Who from all eternity didst will my creation and preservation according to nature and grace, receive the holocaust Thou hast desired as an act of total annihilation.  My Jesus, my Uncreated Treasure, take Thy spouse into Thy Heart as a token of complete submission to the least impulse of Thy good pleasure.  Eternal Spirit, on the innermost altar of Thy sanctuary, accept the oblation of Thy chosen one as the seal of entire abandonment to Thy absolute control.
God, the Father Almighty, my Creator, preserve me.
God, the Son, my Redeemer and Spouse, save me.
God, the Holy Ghost, my Sanctifier, enlighten and govern me.
Holy Trinity, one God, perfect me in love.
Holy Trinity, one God, I love Thee. 
I think that just about says it.

My next book is "The Conscience of a Conservative" by Barry Goldwater.  Copyright 1960, Victor Publishing Company. This one shouldn't take long to get through; it's a paperback and only 127 pages.  One the back cover are some blurbs from publications which reviewed the book; one of them is from the Soviet "newspaper" Pravda: "A Dangerous, Unwise Affair .... Goldwater will 'End Up In a Pine Box'" (March 21, 1960).  

First Field Trip of 2011

The four of us took the West Virginians for Life bus to Washington, DC yesterday to participate in what has, sadly, become a 38-year tradition:  the annual March for Life that commemorates the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, making it legal to murder babies before they are born.

It was a crystal clear, cold day in the District.  We were dropped off by our bus driver near the front of the Capitol Building, and walked around to the rear of the building to the below-grade entrance to the Capitol Visitor's Center where we were scheduled to meet our Congressional Representatives and Senators to speak with them about the importance of defending life in its most vulnerable stage.  After going through security, we were escorted to the credentials desk where we picked up our visitor badges, specifying the date on which we had access to our elected representatives and to which room we were authorized to go to meet with them

As we entered the meeting room, I was practically pounced upon by Congressman Nick Rahall, WV-3 - I'm not his constituent (I don't think anyone from his district was with our group; he represents the southern part of the state).  He shook my hand enthusiastically and told me he was glad to see me.  Then I shook hands with Senator Joe Manchin, who was elected in November to fill the seat vacated by Senator Byrd's passing. He's quite a handsome man.  As we took our seats I was pleased to see my Congressman, David McKinley, enter the room and begin making his way over to greet us.  When he got to where the kids and I were sitting, he spoke to my children and then stuck his hand out to shake mine, did a wee double take as he recognized me, and then gave me a big hug as he said "wonderful to see you here!" as he called me by name. Congresswoman Shelly Moore Capito, from the second district, sent one of her staff members to talk with us, as did Senator Rockefeller.  Evidently the staff drone from Sen. Rockefeller's office is a familiar face; she basically told us that her boss disagreed with our views and that was just tough cookies.  The folks in our group who have made this journey before told me that Sen. Rockefeller never comes to meet the marchers from West Virginia, and that this same staff worker comes every year and says the same thing.
Senator Manchin greets Congressman Rahall

Congressman McKinley addresses the Marchers from West Virginia

Senator Manchin speaks to our group

NRLC President Wanda Franz addresses the WV March for Life group

 After our meeting we left the Capitol and walked down the Mall to where the March would begin; we staked out a spot near the corner.  I briefly thought about trying to go up closer to the stage so we could hear the speakers at the rally, but the crowd was impassable!  At intervals I stuck my camera up over my head and took photos in all directions so maybe you can get a feel for the size of the crowd.  I've never seen so many people packed together shoulder-to-shoulder in one spot in my life.

A few bloggers mentioned that there were some pro-abortion people at the Supreme Court building, but along the route of the March we didn't see any at all. I did see: many, many young people, priests in clericals and cassocks, groups in matching scarves, hats, sweatshirts and earwarmers.  Babies in strollers and elderly people with canes.  A group of Hispanic teens with musical instruments playing music and dancing before the march began. A very large group of men and women......the men carried signs that read "I Regret Lost Fatherhood" and the women's signs read "I Regret My Abortion." Groups from the following states: California, Louisiana, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia.

Shortly after noon; the crowd is growing.

About 10 minutes after I took this photo you could no longer see the other side of the street for all the people.

A friend who came from college in Ohio with friends; cell phones are awesome for impromptu meetups in large crowds!

One of my good friends and fellow pro-life whackos!

That's me on the right. :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Almost Forgot.....

I promised to put up a picture of the gift socks (which I still haven't given to the recipient because the weather refuses to cooperate!)

The pattern is "Monkey" by Cookie A - I love her patterns!  The yarn is Araucania "Ranco" in a tonal blue colorway (label not handy at the moment).  Knit on 2.5mm Knit Picks Harmony 4" dpns.

Just for fun, here is the first sock of the pair I'm knitting for myself:

This is "Lindsay" from Cookie A's first book Sock Innovation.  My first short row heel and toe - I think I like wedge or round toes better because you don't have to Kitchener as many stitches!  I was worried that the short row heel wouldn't fit my high instep very well, but the pattern is extra stretchy and it fits fine.  The yarn is Paton's Kroy Sock in "Flax" and I'm using 2.25mm needles, once again the Knit Picks Harmony 4" dpns. I omitted one pattern repeat from the leg because the yarn is leftover from another, larger project from some time ago and I didn't want to run out, my LYS not carrying this yarn any longer.

Once I finish the second sock I am going to begin swatching for a design of my own - the working title is "Centennial".  There's a story there, but you don't get to read it until I've knit the socks and submitted them to see if I can sell the pattern.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Price Check #3

I shopped at Giant Eagle; this trip I bought mostly staple items.  Where a brand is not specified, I bought the store brand.

Rice, 5# bag - $9.29
Ground coffee, 12 oz. - $5.99
Starbucks whole bean coffee, 12 oz. - $8.99
Mustard, Steel City spicy brown, 8 oz. - $2
Bob's Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten, 1.5# - $6.99
Robin Hood Flour, 5# - $2.79 (not what I wanted, but it was all they had)
Whole roasting chicken w/giblets - $1.99/# (these were BOGO so I actually paid half this price)
Raisins, 1.5# canister - $3.99
Mariani dried apricots, 6 oz. - $3.50
Dole chopped dates, 8 oz. - $2.99
Oreo cookies - $3

Gas is $3.15 a gallon for regular unleaded.

I got two chickens, one was $11.48 and the other was $11.54 (got the less expensive one free with my discount card).  I mentioned in a post to an online community where we've been talking about food prices that the last time I bought a whole chicken it was close to $8.  I think I haven't bought a whole chicken in a while!

I'd be interested to know how much my readers pay for some of these staple items, and what part of the country you are in (you can just put 'midwest' or 'deep south' if you don't want to be specific about location).  I suspect that the prices for food here are some of the highest.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Movin' on Up.......

in rank, that is.  Birdman received his promotion to Cadet Staff Sergeant in the Civil Air Patrol this evening!

Lightning McQueen had a birthday last Friday; we had a little pizza get-together on Saturday afternoon with a few of his friends.
 Lightning (right), siblings and friends enjoy pizza and soda.
 Explaining the reason for arriving at the party with a hacksaw and a length of PVC pipe - it makes a marshmallow gun!
 Preparing to construct the marshmallow gun.
 Looking over the plans.
And I just thought this was cute.  I don't think I'd mess with them!

I don't have any children in the single digits any more! (happy dance)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Guy Wanted.

I have come to the conclusion that I need a guy.  I have absolutely no interest in marrying again, so I'm not shopping for the marrying kind of man.  Don't care two cents for dimly-lit restaurants, bouquets of roses, holding hands and mooshy movies. I just want a regular-guy guy.

I have stuff that needs to be fixed, so Mr. Hypothetical Guy has to own a wide variety of power tools.  He also has to know how to use them.  At a minimum, Mr. Guy must possess and be proficient with:  circular saw, speed square, carpenter's level, plumb line, caulking gun, framing hammer, power drill/driver, sledgehammer and spud bar.  Additional points awarded for possession of any or all of the following:  Sawzall, hammer drill, compound miter saw, power washer, engine hoist, torque wrench, auto ramps, pickup dump bed modification, floor sander, belt sander, drill press, heat gun.

I'm also a 'woman of a certain age', so Mr. Guy must be over 40.  There is no upper limit on age, but it's entirely possible that at about 70 or so the ability to keep up with me will start to taper off, so keep that in mind.

As for looks, well, that's not terribly important really.  I'd give myself about a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10, so I would prefer that Mr. Guy have an appearance quotient of between 5 and 7.5.  Facial hair is permitted but must be neat (no birds-nest beards please).  Ponytails are OK.  Glasses or contacts, either is fine, but no garpy out-of-style frames. No comb-overs, and no hats indoors.

Mr. Guy has to have a job.  A more-than-minimum-wage paying job.

He also must have at least one dependable, running, road-legal vehicle.  If he has more than one, at least one of them must be a pickup truck.  Ford 4x4 preferred. It is not necessary that vehicles be spotless and detailed, however it would be nice if you shoveled the trash out once a week or so.

It is preferable that Mr. Guy be Catholic, but since I have already stipulated that this is not a marriage-possible relationship, that's not a strict requirement.  However, additional points will be assigned to guys who are faithful practicing Catholics, registered voting Republicans, and who do not sit on the fence with regard to any social issue currently in the news.  Actually, any fence-sitting applicant will be rejected out of hand.

I don't care if he is a teetotaller or not, but there will be absolutely zero tolerance for having the attitude of "I don't drink alcohol, and you must be self-medicating if you do." Excess consumption of adult beverages will be similarly frowned upon.

The last thing I can think of right now is that Mr. Guy must have, in his closet at the time of application, the proper attire to attend ALL of the following:

  • A church funeral service in any season
  • A secular wake or funeral-home burial service
  • A wedding in any season at any time of day other than after 6 (I'd be ridiculous to require a guy to own a tuxedo when they can be so easily rented)
  • Political campaign/religious rallies and fundraisers, indoor and outdoor
  • Cocktail party in either a private home or public bar
  • Rowdy wedding reception where there will be a keg and a live band
  • Sporting events - turkey shoots, auto racing, demolition derby, football, baseball
  • Movies, dances and concerts
  • Camping and cookouts
You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned the kids.  That's because THEY AREN'T YOUR KIDS, MR. HYPOTHETICAL GUY, SO YOU BUTT OUT OF THE PARENTING, K?

Now, I'm sure that all of you know lots and lots of guys who fit the above requirements, right?  Riiiiiiight.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I'm wondering.......

I admit to the possibility that I may actually the only one in my circle of 'real life' friends who has any need of help in any form. Granted I seldom ask anyone for anything, because I am usually met with excuses and reasons why the person I asked, can't.

I don't really feel like I fit in anyway, but to think that NONE of them think enough of me to ask for my help with ANYTHING? And when they do, well.........

Friend says to me "blahblah situation blah family member blahblah ridiculous blahblah goingonforever blah alwayssomethingtopickatme blahblah"

I say "we should have coffee sometime, I have a few ideas of how to deal with this but it's not really something I prefer to discuss in front of my kids"

Friend later contacts me electronically with "ohsorryIsaidtoomuchIdidn'tmeantobotheryounevermindjustforgetIsaidanythingOK?"

I'm at a total loss here.

First FO of 2011!

I finished the gift socks yesterday!  Unfortunately we are expecting what could be up to 6" of snow on Tuesday through Wednesday, so I don't know when I'll be able to deliver them to the recipient.  I want to photograph her when she opens the package, and there's a teensy chance she's stumbled onto this blog, so I won't post pictures of the socks until they are in her hands.  They do look really nice, though.

I started a pair for myself yesterday evening.  The "Lindsay" pattern from Cookie A's book Sock Innovation.  I let Lightning McQueen choose which pattern, as I've decided to knit all the socks in the book (but the order isn't important).  I'm using Paton's Kroy Sock yarn in the "Flax" colorway. These socks will teach me a lot:  garter stitch in the round, a garter short row heel and toe.  I'm about halfway through the second pattern repeat and they are going to be very pretty.

The lace stole is still waiting patiently on the sidelines.  My feet get so cold that I've decided to knit socks until I have enough pairs to go a whole week in handknit socks, before I go back to the stole.

I recently learned that my LYS has 9" circular needles for socks, so I have to pick up at least one in the sizes I use for socks before doing any of the more complex Cookie A patterns.  In the meantime I'll keep using my wonderful 4" Harmony dpns from Knit Picks.  I've had folks ask me "why are you knitting with toothpicks?" when I knit in public with them!

I've got another Price Check post coming (as soon as I find the receipt), but just so you know, regular gas is up to $3.14 a gallon here.  And eggs have gone up, so we're now selling ours for $3 a dozen, $1.50 a half dozen and 30 cents each. School update coming too. AND I'm about halfway through my first Meaty Book, which I will review after I've finished it.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Meaty Books

I found a nice meaty book last night.  Greater Perfection, by Sr. Miriam Teresa of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, NJ.  Copyright 1946.

It's a collection of spiritual conferences to the Sisters, as written under obedience to Sr. Miriam's spiritual father, and only published after Sister's death in 1927.

The first chapter is on religious humility, but much of what she writes applies equally to a lay person.  Lots of people think living a Rule of Life must be onerous and not much fun, and I suppose people who aren't serious about their religion and the state of their souls may think of the ten Commandments, the Virtues and all the other guidelines that Christ and Holy Church have given us to help us grow in holiness as party-poopers.  But I wonder if they've ever bothered to try obedience and humility, seriously and sincerely, for just a few days even.  They might find, as I did, that humbly adhering to a Rule (even if it's just really concentrating on keeping the Ten Commandments in all seriousness) is quite liberating.

And really, all baptized Christians are, in a sense, religious (now there's something to ponder, yes?)  And "it is the keeping of the rule, not the donning of a distinctive habit, that makes ... a religious."  The ultimately simple manifestation of a rule for a lay person is to keep, attentively, the Ten Commandments, the Two Great Commandments of the New Testament, and to cultivate the virtues (and thereby eliminate vices).

Stay tuned......

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A bit of a progress report

I'm knitting a pair of socks to give as a gift (yes, I know I'm a selfish knitter, but this person really deserves a wonderful gift and I think I'm the only person she knows who knits socks), and last night I finished sock #1 while in a New Year's Eve live chat AND drinking a rather large glass of wine.  This morning I cast on sock #2 and I did a geeky thing:  I computed how many total rounds are in the whole sock so I could keep track of my percentage of completeness!  I have the ribbing and 2 pattern repeats done, which works out to 18.13%!  I'd like to finish these very soon so the recipient will maybe realize that if I'd thought of it a few days earlier they would be a Christmas gift.  There will be photos when they are blocking.

And I just noticed in my stats that I've had a visitor from Russia!  Welcome, and I hope you'll become a regular reader!

I'm off to find a nice meaty book to read this evening........

Another year begins,

and I'm wondering what the coming 12 months have in store for me and my family.  Lightning McQueen and I have begun an exercise program which mostly consists of playing "Dance Dance Revolution" on his PS2.  He's getting pretty good at it; we actually started a few days ago.  Velvet doesn't need any additional exercise what with her riding lessons - it amazes me that she can work up a sweat sitting on a horse.  Must be more work than it looks like, right?  Birdman gets pretty regular exercise too by taking Eli for his walks.  And there's bending over to pick up the poop too, you know......

I'm going to try to read more meaty books.  I tend to get lazy and re-read good books several times, but I'm really going to make an effort to not do that so much, and get some of the books I've had for a while, but haven't read, off the shelf and into my line of sight.

I can't really change a great deal about my prayer life, except to try to be more conscious of the times when I'm most likely to be interrupted (and try not to have those times be prayer times).  I'd sort of like to work on committing the Psalms that I pray daily to memory, so as to be able to pray them wherever I am when I first get up in the morning (and before I turn off the light at bedtime).

Regular rotation of household chores might be a good idea.  I suspect that things don't get done the way they ought to because doing the same thing all the time gets a bit boring (or maybe a LOT boring).

I've got a kitchen to finish painting - yes, I've decided to finish it myself, having not been able to find a painter to do it.  And I found lining for the curtains, so now I just need to get bias binding for the trim and I can do that project.  I'm going to try to have this finished by the end of January!

We need a few more hens; I feel mean with this waiting list I'm having to keep for eggs.  I need to find a way to get rain barrels under the two downspouts by the garden space before I put in a garden this year.  The basement needs a thorough cleaning-out due to its having become the repository for all that is broken or unused (why don't we just Freecycle or discard those things?  shaking my head in disbelief.....)

Field trips I'd like to do:  Johnstown, PA; Gettysburg; Indy (Speed Week plus the Race); Maryland Sheep & Wool; Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber; Pilgrimage at Mt. St. Macrina; Bridge Day (at the New River Gorge Bridge).........

Knitting?  It would be lovely to be able to knit, oh, 5 more pairs of socks before chilly weather sets in next fall.  I've got a lace project started that I'm thinking of entering in the county fair (if I get it finished; it's a pretty ambitious project). I'd like to learn Fair Isle (colorwork) and double knitting.

I also hereby resolve to post here at least weekly.  Whether or not I manage to do anything I've mentioned, it promises to be an interesting year and I'd love to share it with you!