Saturday, 31 January 2009

WWJD and My Mother

So, maybe some of you have heard of the movement, WWJD: What Would Jesus Do.
Anyways, it had a good point years ago, but has been overused till it now seems to mean almost nothing. That's just a side note, explaining why WWJD isn't exactly a popular notion in our home. 

Also, those who know our family might be able to tell you that I like doing crafts. Knitting has recently become my favourite, but at various times I've done sewing, beading, crochetings, etc. I did not inherit a love for handicrafts from my mother. She doesn't do them because she can't stand doing stuff like that with her hands. In fact, she kinda hates the idea of knitting/crocheting/beading. Too small and painstaking maybe. 

This morning as I was finishing breakfast, Mum got out a packet of sponges so we could start on cleaning. Well, these were brand-new, and they smelled of chemical and were already moist, which was a little disconcerting. Then, when she got one of them wet and then wrang it out, the water came out blue. And sudsy. And we could tell that they had been treated with chemicals. 

She came and sat beside me, saying she needed to sit down before she told me anything. She then said that she wanted me to make her knit wash-clothes rather than use the sponges now. I have no problem with that, and have been meaning to make some for quite a while now. Then she came out with it: she asked me to teach her to knit one. 
Yes, I was in shock. Nothing like my dad though. 
Then she said "Well, even if I don't like it and end up giving up, I'd only be doing a WWJD thing."
Dad asked her how on earth her knitting and getting frustrated would be something that Jesus would do. 
"Easy... after all, Jesus freaked out and over turned tables. I can't have anything on Him."

Goodness, but doesn't it look like my knitting lessons are going to be fun?

Friday, 30 January 2009


After the last two weeks, I am at home and have no work tomorrow. I can regather myself in the quiet and think about life, about simplicity, about baking, about music, about languages, about writing. 
I can savour the aroma of tea. I can ponder Patricks' Rune. I can loose myself with Azar Nafisi as she studies western literature with seven students in her living room in Tehran during the nineties. I can prepare myself for the coming week. 
I can regather my energy and my thoughts. And sleep while I'm at it. I can tackle my email - and letters. Yes, and then, when the day is over and my phone has ceased to ring, I can knit. 
I love Friday evenings.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Christianity and The Same Old Thing

My dear Wormwood,
The real trouble about the set your patient is living in is that it is merely Christian. They all have individual interests, of course, but the bond remains mere Christianity. What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call 'Christianity And'. You know - Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Fiath Healing, Christianity and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Chrisitianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Chrisitains let them at least be Chrisitians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing. 

--C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Tea and Nests

Today, a friend and I were talking, and tea came up. We both agreed that when we're feeling down, happy, tired, or energetic, there is nothing quite as wonderful for our moods as tea. And sunlight and trees, but tea is at least something that we can control somewhat. 
Now this particular friend, Kim, and I have never met, but she knows my brother, and we've become very close. As of today, she became my newest sister, and we talked about hopefully meeting one day. Fittingly, we've decided we're going to do so in a tea-shoppe somewhere in Colorado. So I realized after she got off the phone that I now have about eight people that I'm going to meet, all in places like bookstores, libraries, cafes, tea-shoppes and a park bench. (Don't ask - Mare's version of the world seems to be an interesting one...)

After we finished, I went upstairs - yes, to get tea - and ended up talking to Mum. She told me of her plans that she's been making while I was gone and she was left alone in our large, empty house. Now, with Theophilus gone, and me gone most days and leaving next fall, she is looking towards years of an empty nest. Those who know Mum can readily tell you, she's not a crafts-person. At all.
But now, she has some new ideas. If things go well, and she lets me, hopefully I'll soon have pictures of home-made soaps and candles to show you. 
And one day, I'm going to have a long post on the wonders of tea. Today can be the prologue. 

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Photos from Work

Yes, home again, and enjoying the peace. Even though my week at work was stressful, there were still good moments. 

Here are some blueberry muffins I made - which turned purple, thankfully, it didn't affect the taste. (I'd strained the juices off the berries, and one of the kids dumped it into the batter anyways.)
I'm trying to make even snacks something pretty for the kids, which isn't always sucessful. But at least it's starting to work a little better.

Yes, on a dinner plate... lovely, sweet grapefruit. Perfect for snack because the kids are entraced with the size of the fruit after being peeled, and it's at least healthy!
These are some amazing (if I say so myself, it's because I'm quoting Canyon!) Cranberry and Orange Zest muffins. They make everything better and life more bearable when mornings have gone all wrong.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Sleepless Soup-Lady Strikes Again

Yeah, I'm still at work while I write this, though I should be home now... let me tell you... I'm really wanting to go. I'm ready for my five days of not being home to end. Plus, the kids have problems staying in bed, and the animals are all nocturnal, so it's not like I've been getting more than about four or five hours of sleep, on my two good nights. 
Since I'm perennially cold, I decided to make soup again. And I wasn't feel too great, and wanted something that would make me feel better. I found some cans of chicken broth, and then some canned chicken. (I had no idea that they canned chicken - or that people bought them that way... urgh) However, I didn't have the ingredients I would have normally used for chicken soup and so I searched around for a recipe that didn't call for onions, celery or carrots. (I didn't get those at the store the other day because I wasn't intending on making more soup, and I didn't want them to go to waste if my boss didn't use them right away.) Finally I found one, a cheesey chicken soup. I gave it a go, and of course added a dozen or so herbs for good measure. 
I think this was the first time I've ever added flour to a soup. But it turned out well, and the kids loved it. We ended with the oldest eating two bowls (sucess! he hates eating), the middle boy eating five bowls, and the little girl eating one and a half (one over her average). Somehow, I managed to have broth. :) Okay, so I ended up adding about three cups of milk... And I only grew one pot larger. Yeah, I know, I started in one of the largest pots I could find... That doesn't matter. 
However, all I could think about was my nice hard bed waiting for me at home. The one I won't be seeing for a while more because of plane-delays. Oh well... I have tea here to keep me comfort. 

Saturday, 24 January 2009

InkHeart- Dustfinger!

Today I took the kids to see InkHeart, one because it'd occupy them for an hour and a half, two because my boss suggested I take them to a movie, and three because... well, I really wanted to see how they did on it.It wasn't the book. But I liked it anyways. Dustfinger (Bettany) was amazing. Farid was also good, as were the other characters. I couldn't get over the mental image that Gollum was playing Capricorn, the bad guy. But other than that, the characters were fairly well cast. So, Meggie was older than she should have been, but still, she did a good job.
I probably would have minded the changes more if it hadn't been for Bettany's job as Dustfinger. He saved every change. So, yes, Jhaniel, you can watch it without fear.
As we walked out, I saw the movie poster and thought how nice it'd look on my wall. :) Yes, I have room. Or I should say, I'll make room on my picture wall. So I asked one of the girls working there if I could sign up for the drawings they usually hold at the end of movie-runs for the posters. The tired girl looked at me, and said "Wow, you're the first person who's said please to me all day... hold on here for just a moment." She came back with a scroll and handed it to me, "I'm not supposed to tell many people, but we were sent two of these, and since you were polite... I guess you can have our extra. After all, it costs a couple dollars to sign up for the drawing..." and she wandered off, leaving me with the movie poster. Yeah, I'm happy.

Friday, 23 January 2009

I am my mother's daughter...

Okay, as many of my friends can tell you, my mother makes amazing soups. They are practically a food group. (My brother is a good spokesperson for mum's soups - along with many other of her meals.) 
Anyways, there is just one thing that my father often teases her about: her soups run out of broth. I don't care how much she puts in to begin the soup, she always runs out. One other thing is that usually, they start in small pots and grow till we've run out of pots. All throughout my childhood, I've grown up with Mum's soups and their broth-less, pot-conquering existence of yumminess.
As I made dinner, my boss had asked me to use up some of their canned food. Due to the chilly weather, I decided that soup was a good thing to have. After a long interpersonal debate between Nanny and Chef (aka, me and me) over whether to have chicken noodle soup or vegetable soup, veggies won out. And that was only because Chef pointed out to Nanny that there were simply not the right sort of noodles to add to the chicken soup to be found anywhere in the house. Ahem, anyways - enough on my Nanny/Chef bit.
I opened the can and dumped it into the small pot that my boss suggested for the eating size of the three kids. And oh man, did it ever look pathetic. I mean, watery broth with little limp pieces of what looked like something that had been vegetables in a former life. That simply wouldn't do...
In went a few carrots, some celery, some garlic, pepper, salt, Italian seasoning, parsley, some chives, diced tomatos, frozen (don't worry, I thawed it) corn, some chunks of chicken and just the tiniest hint of quite a few other seasonings. 
And my soup had grown. So out came a bigger pot. Really, it was all an accident that the soup was now twice the amount as from the can. Whoops... let's let it simmer a little now. That always helps. So down on low the burner went, and I stirred it occaisionally while watching Lil and Canyon playing with the dogs in the other room. After half an hour, I decided that it was plenty of simmering and probably time for the kids to eat. And that's when I found out I really am my mother's daughter.
I had no broth left. 
Of course, I added some after that and the kids loved it. (Canyon told me I'm his favourite souppest... whatever that means.) Even I had to admit, for being built off of a pathetic can of soup, it wasn't really that bad. 

So, I'm Mum's daughter in that I make soups that grow and have no broth to their name. 
Is it genetic, you think?

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Settled In

That's right, after working all yesterday, I got all my stuff settled in here and saw my boss off. Last night was interesting, and that's all I'm going to say - some things are best left forgotten, I suppose.

Today was better, it was certainly much quieter. The little girl has been content to guard her dolls from being ripped to shreds, the middle boy has been playing power rangers (gosh - I never knew pr were so annoying...) and the oldest is doing his homework, which he's convienently forgotten all week. 

Plus, I got my computer working again. I was on for a while last night, but my computer wasn't loading the internet very fast and so I gave up after about ten minutes. There really isn't too much cleaning to do right now, and so I find I've been knitting a lot. It's nice, because I can do it while Lily is playing with her dolls or watching cartoons, and is relaxing. And boy, with these kids, do I need to relax. 

So, just posting to let you guys know I'm still alive, have settled in, and trenched myself for the weekend. 

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

No Rest For the Weary

For some reason, I've been dead-tired since last Thursday. Could have been all the cleaning. But, anyways, that's why I didn't blog at all last night... I was too tired to think of anything to say. 
Tonight's my last night home until next Monday. My boss is going out of state (required by one of the businesses she runs) and I'm getting to watch the house and kids until she comes back. I'm planning on taking my computer, and if I can connect to the internet, I'll blog from her house. If not, well, you'll know why I'm not on here.
And maybe, while I'm there, I can get some sleep.

No, I'll probably be working on knitting, reading, writing letters and scraps of poetry when I'm not watching the kids and cleaning. After all, there's no such thing as rest for the weary. My parents told me that often as a kid...

Saturday, 17 January 2009

What's Inside...

It's what's inside that counts. This is a really good video... so very true.

Friday, 16 January 2009

To Dream...

Well, today I didn't have to work as long as usual. That was nice, because the drivers on the road were acting crazy and I was more worried by them than the actual conditions. I could really do without the rain in January. It's supposed to be snow... we do live in Alaska, after all.

But when I came home, after a little while, Dad decided that we should watch a movie together. So of course, he picked a good one. Yes, Jhaniel, one based (however loosely) off a book. A very good book. A classic, in fact. 

Man of La Mancha. Much different than what I remember from when I was younger and watched it, but still good. 
It makes me pause and think about my outlook on life. Would I rather see a world that is iron and cold, or golden and glowing? I think I must choose the latter - and that makes me a bit of a Quixotic person. 
Some might say that I'm already quite the dreamer, and I suppose that comes of being a poet. But it is fair pleasanter to see beauty in life than to see it as a depressing cycle of cruel fate.
So, yes, I'm going to be singing The Quest at work next week. Hope the kids don't mind. 

Thursday, 15 January 2009

"Around The Blooming Heather"

I'm in love with this song, it made me think of Jhaniel... Judy Collins is amazing. Not quite the version I know best (by the New Christie Minstrels) but still very lovely. So, for your listening enjoyment - Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go?


Wednesday, 14 January 2009

One of Those Days

Today, I'm just tired. I have finished all the hard cleaning at work... I am getting along well with the kids, and really, my job is quite a nice one. I mean, I could have had a boring, terribly mundane job at a store. I'm thankful. 
However, my emotions go out of reason when I'm tired like this, and lack of sleep, and other things add up to me just wanting to bury my head in a pillow and pretending that I've never heard of a thing called "The Real World." 
For what it matters to anyone beyond me, I saw Belle today when I picked up one of the kids from school. Yeah... maybe that's why my emotional stablity isn't what it should be...

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Kitty Pictures are Here!

There ya go, Jhaniel, the last one is Earl Grey... who is nearly impossible to keep still for photos...

Monday, 12 January 2009

Quick Note

Hello everyone! I'm about to head off to work in a few minutes, first I have to start the car so that I don't freeze along the way. I finally got those pictures of the kittens yesterday, and if I have time this evening, I'll load them and post. If not, they'll be up tomorrow. 
As can be expected, I'm a little nervous about work, but I'm very excited and I hope things will go smoothly. I'm antipating today will be a lot of getting to know the kids, and cleaning. 
Now, I'm heading off to start my long Monday. I guess it's going to be fun going from work to pit rehearsals, but I'm definitely going to be tired when I get home tonight! 
Love you all!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Heat Wave!

Yes, at long last, it warmed up today! Thirty degrees, Fahrenheit, warmer than it has been recently! 
It's amazing when zero feels warm. I mean, I don't have multiple sweaters and socks on today. Of course, my brother's friend had to remind me that they're freezing in Colorado right now... thirty degrees warmer still. Oh well, we're getting there.
Hopefully by Monday we will have pulled out of all the cold snap and go back to weather that people can actually live through. I really don't want to leave the house at nine thirty in the morning in a cold car if we still have this cold snap. 

Friday, 9 January 2009

Do I Get an Umbrella?

As some of you may know, I've been job-hunting recently so that I can earn money for college. Anyways, nothing was coming through, till I decided to apply for a housekeeping post. 
The woman called, and it turns out that it not only is a housekeeping job, but a nanny position. 
Yesterday, I went for an interview with her and met her three grandchildren. And after it was over, she offered me the job. She was afraid that the idea of having to clean the house would scare me away from working for her. Well, not even the thought of doing more laundry *sigh* could scare me away from work. 
So, I start working on Monday. And if all goes well, I might be going to Hawaii with the family sometime this spring. (And might be able to visit Jhaniel!) That's got to be the best perk offered - meeting my dear many-year penpal!
Now I get to say that I'm a Mary Poppins... but where's my carpet bag and umbrella?

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Poets and Logicians

"Let us begin, then, with the madhouse; from this evil and fantastic inn let us set forth on our intellectual journey. Now, if we are to glance at the philosophy of sanity, the first thing to do in the matter is to blot out one big and common mistake. There is a notion adrift everywhere that imagination, especially mystical imagination, is dangerous to man's mental balance. Poets are commonly spoken of as psychologically unreliable; and generally there is a vague association between wreathing laurels in your hair and sticking straws in it. Facts and history utterly contradict this view. Most of hte very great poets have been not only sane, but extremely businesslike; and if Shakespeare ever really held horses, it was because he was much the safest man to hold them. Imagination does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination. Artistic parternity is as wholesome as physical paternity. Moreover, it is worthy of remark that when a poet really was morbid it was commonly because he had some weak spot of rationality on his brain. Poe, for instance, really was morbid; not because he was poetical, but because he was specially analytical. Even chess was too poetical for him he disliked chess because it was ful of knights and castles, like a poem. He avowedly preferred the black discs of draughts, because they were more like the mere black dots on a diagram. Perhaps the strongest case of all is this: that only one great English poet went mad, Cowper. And he was definitely driven mad by logic, by the ugly and alien logic of predistination. Poetry was not the disease, but the medicine; poetry partly kept him in health. He could sometimes forget the red and thirsty hell to which is hedious necessitarianism dragged him among the wide waters and the white flat lilies of the Ouse. He was damned by John Calvin he was almost saved by John Gilpin. Everywhere we see that men do not go mad by dreaming. Critics are much madder than poets. Homer is complete and calm enough; it is his critics who tear him into extravagant tatters. Shakespeare is quite himself; it is only some of his critics who have discovered that he was somebody else. And though St. John the Evangelist saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators. The general fact is simple. Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite. The result is mental exhaustion, like the physical exhaustion of Mr. Holbein. To accept everything is an exercise, to understand everything is a strain. The poet only desires exaltation and expansion, a world to stretch himself in. The poet only ask to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits."

--G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
Do not think I'm attacking non-poets. I just thought this was interesting. Theophilus - breathe.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

On Oddities and Sanity

"It is true that some speak lightly and loosely of insanity as in itself attractive. But a moment's thought will show that if disease is beautiful, it is generally someone else's disease. A blind man may be picturesque; but it requires two eyes to see the picture. And similarly even the wildest poetry of insanity can only be enjoyed by the sane. To the insane man his insanity is quite prosaic, because it is quite true. A man who thinks himself a chicken is to himself as ordinary as a chicken. A man who thinks he is a bit of glass is to himself as dull as a bit of glass. It is the homogeneity of his mind which makes him dull, and which makes him mad. It is only because we see the irony of his idea that we think him even amusing; it is only because he does not see the irony of his idea that he is put in Hanwell at all. In short, oddities only strike ordinary people. Oddities do not strike odd people. This is why ordinary people have a much more exciting time while odd people are always complaining of the dullness of life. This is also why the new novels die so quickly, and why the old fairy tales endure forever. The old fairy tale makes the hero a normal human boy; it is his adventures that are startling; they startle him because he is normal. But in the modern psychological novel the hero is abnormal; the center is not central. Hence the fiercest adventures fail to affect him adequately, and the book is monotonous. You can make a story out of a hero among dragons; but not out of a dragon among dragons. The fair tale discusses what a sane man will do in a mad world. The sober realistic novel of today discusses what an essential lunatic will do in a dull world. "

-- G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Lovely book, many thanks, Jhaniel!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

In the Quiet at Home

Theophilus left yesterday for school again. I'm not as sad as I was in August, I know what the months will be like, and there is a certain style of comfort in certainity like that. Not that certainity has to be nice. At least I know what to expect.

But I'd forgotten how quiet the house is when he's not here. At least last time, we still had the children running about our feet. This time, there are just five little kittens who can't even walk that well. And it's still cold out, so that means that we're all staying indoors as much as possible. 

I find myself reading more and more now. Of course, that may be partially in thanks to all my lovely friends who sent me books for Christmas. And I've always enjoyed reading, but now, we have the perfect weather. I have the right clothes (sweaters and heavy woollen socks, anyone?) and tea and cocoa and books and blankets... and thus am safe and warm from the frozen world a few feet away, just beyond my icy window. When I get tired of reading, and such times do occur, I pick up my knitting until I feel drawn back to the book. Writing has also taken a good bit of time recently, though not as much as reading and knitting have. 

I would not choose to live like this all the time, quiet minutes stretching into hours that slowly go on to become days, but there is a certain peace and silent joy that comes from these frozen days spent reading in the quiet of the home. And we all need those times. After this Christmas and the fall before it, my family needs times like these.  It's good for getting through all my presents. And reading is very quiet, is it not? Nothing to disturb the silence that came in when my brother went out. And for right now, I like it. 

Monday, 5 January 2009

Food, Glorious Food!

Every year, our community puts on a large musical. Last year, I was invited to join the pit orchestra for the production of King & I, which was one of the best times of the year.

This year, we are doing Oliver. Yes, the beloved tale by Dickens. 

Tonight was our first rehearsal for the orchestra. I think I'm going to love it this year. I am not sure about who is playing the parts, except for the part of Fagan - who we all knew who it was certain to go to. We got at least half-way through, and hope to go through the rest of it next week. 

I think I've already picked out my favourite song... the second one in the whole show. 

Who could deny a little boy singing "Food! Glorious Food!"... well, not me. 

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Make Way for the Blind

So, today I was scheduled to have an eye-exam, after having broke my only good pair of glasses when I concussed myself two weeks ago. 
Once Theophilus dropped me off at the Optometrist's shoppe and left for coffee. All was well and good until I realized that I had to take off my old glasses which I could kinda see through and put on the display glasses. That didn't help me at all, because I had to get super-close to the mirrors to see what they looked like on me. 
Luckily, that only lasted about one trial, and the optometrist called me in. After asking what I could or could not see, he said that I should wait outside for a moment, and I tried on a few more pairs. This time, there was a woman with her daughter, and she advised me on which looked alright. Then I was called back in and he checked for the sensitivity of my eyes, or that's how he explained it to me. It was really just seeing how my eyes reacted to light. Apparently, they're more sensitive than they used to be. Yes, he so dilated my eyes that I had nearly no irises left. And it was so bright that I couldn't really see anything that well. We managed to get a pair of contacts in, and then he gave me a strip of UV-protected plastic to roll over my eyes to keep me from hurting my eyes. 
So, all afternoon, I felt like I was a blind person, and I certainly looked like one. And, at the coffee-shop, I was treated like one. The barista even read the sizes and names of things for me, though I had my order memorized. 
At least now, my eyes are nearly normal again. However, I am on instructions to wear sunglasses when I'm outside during the day. I wonder where Mum put her cane...

Friday, 2 January 2009

Ice... is Cold

On Tuesday, we knew we'd entered a very bad cold-snap and that it would likely last a few days. 

Of course, seeing as it was -25 out, what did Theophilus and I decide we were going to do with a few friends? Well, go skating, naturally!

So, we called a couple people and at seven-thirty (quite frosted) we all met at the skating rink. Problem number one: I had not gone ice skating since I was about six, and I had bad memories of it. Problem number two: none of the girls who came had gone skating in years either. 

And Theophilus had gone several times while at college, and therefore, many girls were muttering about him show-boating on ice. After about fifteen minutes on the ice, I had it down and was having a blast. I should add that I was the least bundled-up person out there and I'm usually the one who is forever-cold. 

Somehow, I became the one who taught the girls how to skate. Not that it did much good when they wouldn't listen, but at least they weren't killing themselves. And you know, I only fell once, and that was when the little kids knocked me over as they were chasing each other around the rink. So, I think I did pretty good. 

When they finally kicked us off the ice (hockey players!) Theophilus and I decided to go with two friends to McDonald's for some ice cream, because we just weren't cold enough. Being Alaskans, we had the largest possible, and then acted a little crazy for the rest of the night.

It was five until midnight by the time we got home. And you know what? It was really cold. 

So cold, I didn't bother to look at the thermomater. Yeah - that's cold.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year!!!

So, I'm sorry I disappeared the last few days, I really wasn't meaning to. We just stayed out very late with friends. 
However, I'd like to just say to everyone: Happy New Year!!! I hope the 2009 is full of blessings and joy for you and those you love. 
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