Monday, August 31, 2009

True Teacher Love

My neighbor is an amazing lady. When she was very young she decided that when she grew up she would do something for kids who didn't have as much as she did. Last year, the time came to turn that dream into a reality. Radhika is not someone who does things half way, nor does she understand the phrase, "that's not possible". So she created a non-profit organization, set up a website, did all the work and research necessary, and set out to help kids by helping their teachers.

Supply Our Schools is the non-profit (and her husband will be the first to tell you it is DECIDEDLY non-profit!) that she established. The concept is "gift registry meets school supplies." The teachers decide what they need for their classrooms, and they create their own wish lists. The donors look at what the teachers need, use the website to get it for them, and pay for it. SOS does the rest (and no, they don't get a cut for being a middle man. It is NON profit).

These are some things I love about SOS:
  • no one is making any money on this. It all goes to school supplies. The administrative costs and website cost are funded by Radhika and her husband as their contribution.
  • the teachers call the shots. They get to put down exactly what they want and need for their classrooms. Who is in a better position to know?
  • SOS promotes good manners -- they require the teachers to acknowledge the gifts via thank yous posted on the website
  • the program is self-selecting: teachers have to sign themselves up.
My children are getting ready to go back to school next week. Each year the schools post a 'generic' school supply list and each year there are a number of things not on the list that they do need, and there are things on the list that they never use. I have finally learned to just get things as they need them or as a particular teacher gives them a list. I can do that pretty easily.

But in Oklahoma there are classrooms where 80% of the kids are on free lunch. Not only can those parents ill-afford school supplies, the teachers aren't making much money either. Why should the little the teachers make out there go to provide basic equipment for their classrooms. Many teachers spend their own money anyway because they love the kids they're entrusted with. But they shouldn't have to do that. Now there's way to let them take home some more of their pay!

So, if you read my post about the $$ I found while cleaning the basement, I've decided what to do with it. I'll take it across the street and let Radhika do my purchasing on SOS because she knows where the greatest needs are.

But how can you help?

If you know teachers who struggle with getting their classrooms adequately supplied, tell them about SOS.

If you have extra money you need to put to a very good purpose, donate to SOS.

It's that simple! By the way, to my friends who live in Hawaii, I KNOW there are some schools in need there, but SOS hasn't worked out the shipping logistics for you or Alaska yet. So in the meantime, forward this info to your friends on the mainland, okay? Mahalo!

Here's the link: SUPPLY OUR SCHOOLS

Question, comments, suggestions? I'm listening!



If you read my blog about cleaning the lair, you won't be surprised that yesterday evening I was at a loss for what to cook for dinner. The chicken was still I microwaved to thaw it and started being creative. The problem is that it was already 5 pm so I couldn't do anything that would take a long time or some people around here would have started chewing the drywall.

The improvisation turned out REALLY GOOD and in order to remember what I did (always a risk when I cook), I'm putting it here and sharing it with all of you!

Chicken Goulash...sort of


Boneless, Skinned Chicken (as much as you need to feed the folks on hand and any others who might drop by)
Hungarian Paprika
Butter or Oil
Onion, sliced in slivers
Garlic cloves, minced
Chicken Broth
Canned Tomatoes
Paprika Paste
Sour Cream

First I put the flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a gallon zipper bag. Then I cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. I threw about half the pieces in the bag, zipped it and shook it around. Then I heated some oil in a big skillet. Once it was pretty hot, I fished the pieces of chicken out with tongs and tapped them to get rid of excess flour and then put them in the pan. I didn't cook them long in the pan, about 2 minutes on each side, then took them out and put them on a plate. I cooked the rest of the chicken the same way: dip, tap, saute, rescue.

Next I added a little more oil and threw the onions and garlic in. Sauted those until they were soft. Added the chicken back in, added the canned tomatoes (diced would have worked better), and about a cup of chicken broth. Then I added about 1/2 tsp of paprika paste (if you don't have this, you can use tomato paste with more paprika mixed in). Mixed it all up, brought it to a boil, then lowered to simmer and put the lid on it for about 18 minutes.

While it simmered I had the teen girl fix noodles. She chose rotini, but anything would have worked. It called for 4 quarts of water for the box of noodles. I had her use the rest of the chicken broth in the container and then add water to make up the amount. Everything came together about the same time. Took about 1 cup of sauce and mixed it in with 1 cup of sour cream, and then added that back to the skillet. Served the chicken and sauce over hot noodles. EVERYONE liked it! The fight for lunch today will be for the leftovers.

And now, I've saved it for posterity. Whew!


Take This Tune

What a great end of summer choice! Jamie at Take This Tune posts a music video and words on Friday and asks us to share what it inspires in us on the following Monday. This week she's ending the summer with a great Rascal Flatts song. If you want to play, go to Jamie's site.

To be honest, when I came to the site and saw the movie photo from Cars I was immediately happy. I saw that movie with my children and my mom several years ago. We ALL loved it and I'm charmed by references to it because that was a mom-visit that was absolutely wonderful. It was before teen angst started and the children just enjoyed the time together with each other and with their grandmother.

But then to have Rascal Flatts on this week's Take This Tune too -- Wow, that's like whipped cream on the ice cream sundae! My daughter started listening to them a couple of years ago and introduced me to them. I like this tune and the words.

But my favorite song of theirs is the one she used as the backdrop for her 8th grade graduation video for her class. It was her last year at a small private school and there were only 5 of them left. It was a tough year in many ways because the social dynamics of only five students are challenging. She persevered though and I was very proud of her that she could look back at the years with mostly joy. I have this song on the mp3 player I use at the gym and each time it plays I work a little bit harder knowing that persevering in the face of adversity is what makes us better people.

So here's the link to that song. I hope you enjoy it!


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cleaning the Lair

My son and I were cleaning out his basement "lair" yesterday and today (and will continue the next couple of days!). He is the typical boy with a zillion projects in various stages, and too many demands on "his" time to get back to each of them. (That darned school year interferes with all the fun he wants to have...)

While we were down there we came across a trebuchet that he and my husband made a few years ago. I remembered that the counterweight was a plastic bottle full of . . . MONEY. I snagged the counterweight and brought it upstairs to see if I had struck gold. Sure enough, by the time I finished counting and rolling the coins I had very dirty hands but over $100!

But don't worry about the trebuchet. It will still work. The reason we were cleaning things out is that my friend Brian has my son taking apart old computer equipment and printers and harvesting certain parts for recycling. One of the cool things my son has located and harvested for himself are several very heavy shiny metal disks with holes in the middle. Enough to string together to make a counter weight and better than the use he was putting them to -- which was leaving them in a stack until he figured out a use for them.

The first photo is the work table that will eventually be useful again once we finish. On the floor to the left you can see a long countertop (behind the robots) that we're going to put along that wall with triangular supports so we can store the printers in process underneath. That will help the workflow! Most of them are not even in the room in this photo.

The second photo is "his" sofa. This is the very cleaned up version of the lair, but it's not as good as it's going to be when we're finished. I'll take photos then so he'll have a standard for when I ask, "is it cleaned up?" before he gets to start a new project. Hey, I can dream, right?

I am amazed at what is still down there. We have Legos, Lincoln Logs, Cowboys & Indians, Star Wars stuff, Soldiers of all eras and sizes, soldiers' equipment, marble raceway, Maerklin trains and track (from his grandfather), airplanes in all shapes and sizes, ship and airplane models, wooden blocks, all manner of Air Soft weapons and ammo, a huge bin of stuffed animals, a drawer full of different kinds of batteries, one of power cords, one of "interesting electronic things that we don't really know what they go to", a costume trunk, costume closet and props for movie making, marbles, several remote control toys (dinosaur, hovercraft, helicopters, robots and airplanes), hot wheels and matchbox cars, and the sofa. He's begging me to leave the sofa for him (it is very comfortable) so the deal is only if he physically moves it and cleans underneath it AND harvests from underneath the cushions. I'm such a mean mom.

So after spending two hours of my Saturday
afternoon and two of my Sunday afternoon helping him do this, yeah, I'm keeping the $100...what do YOU think I ought to spend it on?


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Three Word Thursday

Quilly is marvelous. She gives us three words each Thursday and challenges us to use them . . . um . . . if not wisely, creatively! This is really great for those of us who can only write in short spurts! I've decided not to put the definitions of the words in anymore. If the context of my story doesn't give them meaning, I've done the story wrong! Feel free to play along with us. This week's words:

ambition; pessundate; & operiment

Alice was getting a little concerned. Although it had been a nice afternoon to sit and play with the dogs and talk to the boy, the sun was definitely moving towards the horizon. She knew that picking her way back down the trail would be complicated by lack of sunlight.

“Tadpole,” she began. “We have eaten everything I brought in my backpack. Cassius and Cicero have eaten all the dog food I brought for them. Worse, we are now out of water. We need to move to some place where we can get more food and water.” Her words sounded measured and deliberate to her but her ambition was to get Tadpole to reason his way to coming with her.

“I have really enjoyed spending the afternoon with you. In fact, I’ve enjoyed it so much I’d like it to continue this evening,” she said.

During the afternoon they had established that the boy was eight years old. He had slowly revealed details about himself to her. He had even taken her behind the rocks to show her the den he’d made for himself. It was a cleft in the hillside that provided protection and he’d made an operiment of branches and vines woven together for the areas that weren’t quite closed above. Alice thought his survival techniques were pretty good for his age. She still had no idea how long he’d been out here, but she knew why.

At one point when Tadpole was curled over Cassius petting and loving on the big dog, his shirt tail had ridden up revealing small round circles. When she was a younger lawyer Alice had done a stint with the Public Defender’s Office. She had seen those marks before on a child. They were cigarette burn scars. Tadpole’s looked old, but they were numerous. Recognizing what he was running from made her wary about moving too quickly with the boy. It would pessundate their fragile trust if she was abrupt or dictatorial.

Now he looked at her steadily, his eyes filled with trepidation at whatever her next words or actions would be. His experience with adults was that they made you go places you didn’t want to go. If she was just like them, he’d go further into the woods where no one would be able to find him.

Alice got to her feet and stretched. “I’m going to hike back down to my car and the dogs are going to go with me. In my car there’s more food, and more dog food and more water. I even have a tent and a sleeping bag just in case. You can come with Cass and Cicero with me if you want. I think they’d like that. I know I would. But I’m not saying you have to. I figure you’ve got some reason for being here and it’s your business whether you want to change that.” She motioned to the dogs to join her and they started down the trail.

Cassius tried to stop her walking a couple of times, each time looking back at the clearing where they’d left the boy. Each time Alice said loudly, “Stop it Cass! If he wants to come with us it’s up to him! Even a great dog like you can’t make a little boy move against his will!”

After they’d gotten about half a mile down the trail the dogs gave in and walked with her. Was it her imagination or did they seem glum? That’s certainly how she felt as she wrestled with her conscience about leaving Tadpole. “What kind of person leaves an 8 year old on a mountain without food or water? As a lawyer, I’m an officer of the court. Surely I have some duty here. But if I do anything to force him, he’ll be so broken he’ll never recover.” As she mused upon the dilemma, the dogs suddenly stopped with their ears perked up. They looked back up the trail, their tails waving madly. Alice turned around to see what they were excited about, half afraid of the answer. She smiled with relief as she saw the boy walking down to join her. As he drew near, Alice held out her hand to him.

He approached, took it, and said, “Adam. My name is Adam.”


Monday, August 24, 2009

Jobs That Would Be Helpful

As I do genealogical research, I often run across indices prepared by WPA workers in the 1940's. An index done by the WPA usually extracted information from Marriage Records, Birth and Death Records, and even Will Books from various counties around the nation. These WPA products are an invaluable launching point for the researcher.

Like most WPA projects, they were not uniform in application. So, for example in one county there might be a complete index of names, and in the county next door, nothing. I think the work depended on the available labor -- in terms of competence and like today's TARP funds, which squeaky wheel was clamoring the loudest for relief. But where they did work, not only did they create databases for court records and vital statistics but they created also cemetery records by walking the land where the stones were. Many of those cemeteries are long since plowed under, or their markers destroyed or worn off. What a valuable resource for us now.

I can remember back in the 1980's checking a book out of some library that was an abstract of "places to see" in various states. It was an early Fodor's Guide to our country, but because the data had been collected in the 1940's, it was a look at roadside attractions that are long gone underneath the interstate system or a new Wal-Mart.

Still, all those original records still exist, and if someone wanted to give believable background to a novel set in the time, visiting the National Archives to look at the originals would be a good start.

But, the original point of my blog today is this: if we have many, many people out of work, what is to stop the literate among them from being paid a wage to create indices of documents that would help people who are researching their family history? Not only does it help genealogists, but it helps connect us as a nation. I have been blessed enough to discover 2 distant cousins through my genealogy research. One visited me last week. The closest relative we share is (for me) my great, great grandmother's mother. (My grandfather's great grandmother - six generations back). She was Elizabeth Jane Petty, profiled in my blog earlier. She had three children who survived her to have their own families. Each of the three of us cousins is a descendant of a different one of her children!

To be honest, before I met my cousin last week I didn't care much about what happened in the particular area of California where she lives. But you can bet that now when I hear about news from that area, I'll check in with her to make sure she's okay. That's what I mean by connecting all of us. Because if you go back far enough, most of us will find a connection that makes us family. Skeletons in the closets, black sheep in the families, river boat gamblers, and temperance workers are all interesting tidbits to share when this much time has passed!

If we don't know where we came from, and we don't appreciate our forefathers, we scorn an important gift left to us by the ages.


Take This Tune

I had no idea Don McLean sang anything other than American Pie. I was so proud of myself when I learned all the words to that song. I still don't know what some of them mean, but I do know what they are! But the song about Vincent is a typical McLean – soft-spoken, poignant and long.

I love the video Jamie inserted. Rolling through Vincent's work with that song is what we call today a "multi-sensory" experience. You can see the clear evolution of his work. I wonder if I see the sadness in his work because I know his history.

He was such a sad person. Is it possible that his sadness drove his tremendous talent? Or was he sad because he couldn't capture what he wanted to say with his paint? Although we look at his work and say "genius", is it possible that he would reject our adulation of him? Or worse, would someone see the pain and insist that he go on some anti-depressant? Would that destroy his genius? Would he be just another paint-by-numbers artist?

I particularly love the way Vincent used the color yellow. He used a lot of it, and in many different types of paintings – portraits, landscapes, fanciful night scenes. But always, I get a sense he was using yellow to push back the darkness that hovered nearby. When I was a little girl and it was time to color at school, I would often take a yellow crayon and cover the page. I loved the brightness that it became and how it made me feel bright and cheerful too.

Vincent's portraits and paintings of individuals are filled with such dignity. Even the baby has a solemn look in its eyes. Is it possible that these people who were sitting for portraits had some glimpse of the sadness in him?

Finally, the painting of the people going to church makes me sad. So much of religion in his time was formalized, ritualized and rigid. There was no room for people who would not or could not conform. In his own town, was there no one who would extend the love to him that he so desperately needed? On the other hand, I have been touched by the suicide of a loved one, and I have learned that when a person is in that kind of depression, it is very, very difficult to reach them. The very chemicals in their brain that drive the depression also drive them to reject help or even perceive the need for help.

A young man I knew and dated for one golden summer took his own life at age 22. He was a carpenter, but his soul was one of an artist and he had drawn and painted all his life. He had a severe learning disability due to too much oxygen in an incubator when he was a preemie. The manifestation of that in him was that he was functionally illiterate – he could not read and write beyond a very basic level. His parents had insisted that he needed to become a tradesman so he'd be able to support himself. He did, and put his artwork aside. When I met him that golden summer and saw his drawings I insisted that we needed to go to Ft. Worth to the Kimball Art Museum. We did and I watched his face come alive. We spent the rest of the summer boating and playing and he drew and painted.

I left for law school in the fall and about a month later got one of the worst phone calls of my life. I've often wondered whether taking him to the Art Museum was a kind or unkind thing. I, of course, felt terrible guilt. But a good friend called me when she heard and told me that the semester she had missed when we were in college was because she had tried to end her life, and had been hospitalized as a result. She said, "unless you struggle with clinical depression, you will never understand how deep the hole is, and how hard it is to get out. There is nothing you could have done to make that climb for him."

I haven't read Dear Theo, but now I'm inspired to do so. Thank you Jamie for helping me to think outside myself.


Sunday, August 23, 2009


I love to sing and I love a lot of church music. When I was in 3-5th grades, we lived in Kansas at Ft. Leavenworth and I was in the Post Chapel choir. I absolutely loved it. Miss Berry was firm, and demanding, but fair. And she challenged us in very creative ways to learn some of the great hymns of the church.

One time she gave us each an old hymnal to take home and then told us there would be a contest. A 'special award' would go to the child who could memorize the most hymns. I can't remember how many I memorized but I do remember discovering, with delight, that most of them rhymed and that Christmas carols (which I knew flawlessly) counted as hymns! I didn't win the prize, but I took into my soul many of the great hymns of Luther, Watts and Fanny Crosby.

Many years later I discovered, again to my delight, that I knew big chunks of Scripture because I knew hymns! Until then, I hadn't realized how much of the hymns were directly from Scripture (okay, I'm slow!). When my husband and I started attending church as newlyweds, the Bible church we attended mostly sang what were called "contemporary" Christian music. It wasn't the old hymns, but I loved the energy and the huge chunks of Scripture that we shared in song.

This isn't to say that I liked all of them. I am somewhat in sympathy with my grandmother on some of them. She calls them the 7-11 hymns. (Sing the same 7 words 11 times). But we are quite fortunate in this area to have an all-Christian music radio station that plays mostly Contemporary Christian music. And I do appreciate it when I hear one of the 'contemporary' hymns from our newlywed days (which are now OLDIES).

All this is leading to a 'new' contemporary arrangement of an old hymn. The hymn is Take My Life and Let It Be. Our old hymnal we keep at home says it was written by Frances Ridley Havergal in 1874.

But recently, Chris Tomlin did a version that changed the tune. I seriously dislike the new version. I have nothing against Chris Tomlin -- I just don't think the hymn needed improvement.

So since I don't like that version, and it's the one we've been singing in church, for about the last several weeks I've been not singing when it's time for that song.

So this morning, I was watching a little mini-drama between a dad and his 7 year old son who were sitting in front of us. While we were singing, the dad was trying to get the boy to stand up (who was on the far side of his mom) and the boy was being obstinate. The dad finally got the boy to come over to him and stand, but there was a tug-of-war of wills going back and forth. At one point the boy returned to the far side of mom and refused to come back. But dad prevailed and the boy eventually came over to him. After a few minutes of dad holding the boy up clasped to his side, the boy relaxed into dad. My thought was, "good, Dad won." And then I realized what part of the song we were singing. Yep, it was the verse about God taking MY will and making it His own. Ouch.

I believe while God was working on that parenting issue through the drama I witnessed, He was also showing me how I behave towards Him sometimes, particularly lately in my not wanting to sing worship and praise to him just because it was the version of the song I don't like.

I still don't like the new version, but from now on when we sing it at church I will try to remember what the whole point of singing in church is. It's not my voice or my joy, it's worship. Period.

I’m putting in videos of the two versions. The first is traditional, the second Chris Tomlin’s. Maybe you'll like his better! And it doesn't really matter which one any of us like better, as long as the focus of the song is to worship God.

Let me know what YOU think!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Vanity Plates

We went out to eat last night. As one person drove, another wrote down all the vanity plates we spotted. They are ubiquitous in Northern Virginia. It must be that the DMV doesn't charge enough for them! Here are the ones we saw:



X R SZ (on a Semper Fi license plate!)



Hope they make you smile!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Three Word Thursday

It's time to play with Quilly and friends again! This week only one of the words is obscure and the other two are normal. This is in response to some folks telling Quilly the words have been particularly difficult lately. So if you've been holding off, thinking the words are too difficult, you're in luck! Jump in! Play with us! Go to Quilly's Blog for the "how to's" and join us!

The words this week: acquiesce, viliorate, tadpole


“C’mon Cassius! C’mon Cicero!” Alice called to the wolfhounds. The well-trained dogs immediately heeled to her side. As she trudged up the hillside Alice could feel all the tension of the last few months melting away. “This is the life,” she said to the dogs. “Gorgeous weather, everything I need in the pack on my back, and you two for company. No one talks back, no one complains. It’s great! I think you guys have been getting soft and lazy hanging out on the farm with the folks. This trip is good for all of us!”They continued on for a few minutes while Alice drank in the beauty of the foothills.

Suddenly, in response to some vibration they were catching but she wasn’t, the dogs both started a low growl. They moved into protective positions around Alice, something they did instinctually. As she tried to continue hiking the dogs pressed up against her legs, forbidding her to move further. “Okay guys, this isn’t funny.What are you seeing, hearing or smelling?” As she concentrated, very faintly over their growling Alice could hear a noise. It was an eerie high pitched keening. Alice leaned down stroking the dogs to reassure them, although she wasn’t sure who was reassuring whom. She whispered to them, "okay guys, let's move slowly."

The three of them cautiously inched towards the noise. It was cyclic, peaking in volume and pitch and then viliorating back to nothing. After the third cycle down, Alice called out, “who’s there?" She heard the rustle of brush and branches as whatever she had disturbed moved away from her. Alice snapped a leash onto Cicero and quietly said to Cassius, “Go! Pin!” The big dog shot off as she turned to Cicero and said, “Stay, good dog.” Cicero quivered but acquiesced. They heard Cassius give one short woof and heard a shout of fear. Alice called out, “he won’t hurt you. But he won’t let you move away either. Just stay where you are and I’ll come to help you.” To Cicero she said, “Okay, let’s go find Cass. "

Cicero led Alice through some brush and into a rocky area. Circling around some boulders Alice was shocked to find Cassius had cornered a child. He was filthy and ragged looking and obviously terrified. Alice spoke softly, “Cass, lie down.” The big dog immediately complied. She directed Cicero to do the same thing. Then Alice squatted down where she was and began talking softly to the child. “Hey, I’m Alice. These are my dogs. They like little boys to be their friends. They won’t hurt you.” She spoke to the dog nearest the boy, “Cassius, he’s a friend. Show him ‘friend.’” The big dog, much bigger than the child, promptly rolled over on his back, and wildly thumped his tail on the ground. Alice saw a glimmer of a smile fleet across the boy’s face.

Alice considered her options and then continued talking quietly. "You know,” she started, “I’m really hungry and I don’t like eating alone. Do you think you could have a sandwich with me? I brought some sun butter and jelly and some ham and cheese.” She unwrapped them both and held them out. The boy looked at the big dogs and then shook his head. “Oh, they won’t bother you. Cass! Ciss! Heel!" Both big dogs came right over to Alice’s side. “Lie down” she said to them and they complied. “Okay, I’ll come over to you.”

She saw the fear in the boy’s eyes so she reassured him, “I’ll just put them down here between us and then move back." She followed her words with action as she put the sandwiches on a flat rock about halfway between them. As she backed away to be near the dogs the little boy dashed over, grabbed a sandwich, and moved back. Alice smiled and went to pick up the remaining sandwich. She sat down near the rock, added two more sandwiches to the 'table' and rummaged around in her pack for her extra water bottle. “Here’s some water if you want it,” she said. After a few tense moments, the boy cautiously moved forward and sat down closer to the food, but not within reach.

He looked at the remaining sandwiches and at the dogs. Alice answered the question in his eyes. “They only eat dog food.” She pulled two containers out of her pack and took the lids off. The dogs didn’t move until she motioned them forward. Although their noses were right next to the food containers, they still didn’t eat. “Let’s pray, ” Alice said. As she bowed her head to give thanks for the food the boy watched in astonishment as the big dogs sat still and leaned their heads over until their noses almost touched the ground in front of their dishes of food. “Amen,” Alice concluded. Another motion from her hand and the big dogs started crunching their kibble. They did it all very quietly as if aware that the slightest move would send the boy fleeing.

The boy held the sandwich but didn't eat. Alice took a bite of hers and chewed a bit. After she had swallowed it, she said, “I told you my name is Alice. Will you tell me your name?” The boy shook his head no.

Alice considered the next question. The boy still didn't eat. “Okay, answer this. Was that you making the noise?” Alice asked. The boy hesitated and then nodded yes. “Are you hurt?” He shook his head no. Alice gazed at him thoughtfully and said, “well I have to call you something. I’ll call you what we called my brother when he was little. Until you tell me something else, you are now Tadpole.” The boy's eyes showed a glint of amusement as he lowered his lashes, and took the first bite of his sandwich.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stop the Presses!

I am unwilling to admit that summer is almost over! We still have three weeks before school starts again and while I'm looking forward to some type of normal schedule again, I'm not ready to give up these three weeks!

Nonetheless, as I stood in my kitchen this afternoon I looked out the picture window and saw a shower of yellow leaves coming down! Please tell me it's only heat stress, and not fall!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Take This Tune

This is a fun game to play hosted by Jamie at Take This Tune. Each Friday she posts a video of some piece of music, sometimes with the lyrics. From there, it's up to the creative blogger to post something on his or her own blog on Monday that was inspired by Jamie's choice on Friday, and then link to Jamie so others can share.

This week the music was an opera aria from Mozart that was the background music for a scene from a movie. Want more? Go see Jamie!


I’m not a big opera fan, but if one has to listen to sopranos in operatic form, Mozart is the one to choose. For me this piece evokes all the hopes and dreams of a woman regarding her potential marriage. “Will he love me? “ “Will he still love me when I’m old?” “Is marriage just a bargain or can it be more?” And her friend reassures her that indeed, marriage for love does exist. It’s just rare and has to be cherished in order to remain a love match.

Thanks, Jamie!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Gentle Nudge

We had a guest preacher (JF) this morning. Well, as he told us, he's not a guest (he's been at our church for 24 years) and he's not a preacher. He is an elder and one of the more quiet ones. He's been heading up our building committee (a thankless task!). But today he took a page from his dad's books (literally), and shared a truly God inspired message. His father was a Baptist preacher and in preparing the message for today, the books his dad had left guided him.

The text was Revelation 2:1-7 and the title was

A Performance Review From Jesus.

2:1 "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. NIV

Background is that Revelation was given to the apostle John by the Holy Spirit while John was exiled on the island of Patmos. In this passage Jesus is speaking. He holds the seven stars in his right hand, and walks among the seven lampstands. Both the stars and the lampstands represent the seven churches of Asia minor. The point for today is that Jesus not only holds His church in his hand, but He walks among it as well. That applies to His church today. We know from other Scripture that His church is referring to His people -- those who believe in Him as their Savior. It does not refer to any particular church or denomination today.

If you look at the first part of the passage as a performance review, verses 2-3 are really good news for His church! In a worldly performance review, it would make us think we're getting the raise in pay! He is pleased with the people's perseverance and endurance. It is a positive point that we have tested those who claim to be apostles and rejected false doctrine. Wow! It would be great to just go home at that point, right?

BUT, there is something He says is not going well. In v. 4 he says the churches (WE) are rebuked for having forsaken our first love. Wow, what does that mean?

Here JF really challenged me. A first love is enthusiastic, complete and service oriented. When we first fall in love we wonder, "what can I do to show love to that person?" We can't wait to be together, personal inconvenience is set aside in favor of pleasing the one we love. Still, over time we become more complacent and the driving force behind our actions often becomes doing things the way we've always done them rather than doing them for love.

JF said that symptoms of this in the Christian life are:
  • no joy
  • critical spirit
  • staying away from fellowship with other believers
  • craving for worldly pleasures rather than things of God
The good news is that there's a PLAN FOR ACTION! It's in Verse 5!

1. REMEMBER what He has saved you from.
2. REPENT of whatever is in the way between you and your first love.
3. RETURN to the first tasks we loved to do for him.
  • reading the Word
  • praying/talking with Him daily
  • showing true compassion to others
  • seeking fellowship with His people
  • singing His praises
And if we don't return to our first love? Verse 5(b) is clear: I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. This doesn't mean we lose our salvation, but we will lose our fellowship with the Creator of the Universe. The intimacy we share with our Savior will no longer be ours. Think back to how wonderful that intimacy was when you first discovered it -- would you willingly give that up?

The rewards are great too. Verse 7 says, LISTEN UP! (paraphrase). Those who do as he says will eat the tree of life which is in the paradise of God. That means we will be in His presence for ever. In the presence of the one who knows the number of hairs on our head! The one who knew us in the womb before we were formed!

JF closed with Psalm 51 -- Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a faithful spirit within me.

This is one of the most convicting, penetrating messages I have heard this summer. JF said it better than I have paraphrased it here. But, I hope it blesses you.


Friday, August 14, 2009


G-A-N spells Harrigan. But in our family we always sang "S-O-N" spells Harrison. Despite George M. Cohan writing it for a 1907 musical, we were convinced it was our song because we were descended from a branch of Harrisons from Tennessee and Arkansas.

To continue Roxie (Lucy Roxanna Wright) Harrison's story from Wednesday, here's the next generation of strong women.

When her mother (Elizabeth Jane Petty Wright) died, Roxie was fifteen. Very shortly after she turned 18, she married Franklin Pearce Harrison who went by "F.P." The 1870 census in August shows her at age 18 as a farmer, head of a household that included her brother Thomas Jackson (age 15) and her sister Samuella (age 10) and another relative listed as George Wright, age 93! It's difficult to live to age 93 today. It's almost unimaginable to have done so then. We're not exactly sure yet which George Wright this was (they did reuse names alot) but it's a work in progress with a distant cousin hot on the trail.

In November 1870, Roxie married F. P. and in April 1871 they sued Albert L. Mitchell, the executor of Roxie's mother's estate. Mitchell was Roxie's uncle by marriage on her father's side (Roxie's father's sister married Albert L. Mitchell). Before the law could force Albert L. Mitchell to show what he had done with the estate, he died. He had been the guardian of the person of

Thomas Jackson Wright as well. With his death, Thomas Jackson Wright needed a new guardian, so we have a legal document showing N. F. (Needham Fayette) Harrison becoming the guardian of the young man. Sammie apparently lived with Roxie and Franklin Pearce until she herself married and moved to Texas. There are several legal documents that show that Roxie was determined to get an accounting of what had happened to her mother's wealth, but with Albert L. Mitchell's death, the lawsuit died as well.

Roxie and Franklin Pearce had 9 children.

Edward Franklin, who died at age 26 of tuberculosis, married but without children.

James Thomas, who lived to age 90, but never married

Elmer Leon, who lived to age 84, had one daughter

Walter Allan, who lived to age 33

Annie Lee, who lived to age 5

Minnie Amelia, who lived to age 7

Roy Clyde, who lived to age 76 (see below)

Irvin Wright, who lived only a few months

and an infant who died at birth (1871)

As I look at the 'bare bones' of Roxie's life, I see determination despite great sadness. She was old enough to remember her father although he died when she was very young. As a young teen, she lost her mother and two younger sisters in a horrible epidemic. She outlived most of her children and both of her own daughters died very young. She remained close to her siblings, Thomas Jackson and Sammie all her life. She and Sammie even traveled to see each other when they were both older although Sammie was living in Texas with her husband and children.

Roy Clyde (R.C.) grew up to marry Bessie Beautrice Dexter. They had six children, the oldest of which was my maternal grandfather, Frank Harrison. But that's another story.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Three Word Thursday

This is a fun word game to play, devised and hosted by Quilly. Each week she gives us three obscure words and challenges us to use them in a paragraph or story. You can join us by clicking on the link to her blog, Quintessentially Quilly.

Thanks Quilly for doing this so faithfully!

Tortiloquy – (n) crooked speech

Montivagand – (n) wanderer of the mountains and hills

Vultuous – (adj) having a sad or solemn expression


Alice, Brian and Liz were enjoying a pizza together at Alice’s apartment. Every time one of them brought up the recent difficulties the other two covered their eyes or ears as a signal that this meal was to be trouble-free. As the pizza finally vanished, Brian swallowed a bite and asked Liz, “When are you headed for Brazil again to visit your family?”

“I don’t know, Brian. I’d like to go soon because no one is getting any younger. But when I go I feel that my life is back here so although I’m surrounded by my very loving, noisy family, I’m still alone.” The vultuous expression on Liz’s face was so contrary to her usual nature that Brian felt bad for bringing it up.

“I wish I could go with you and see Brazil. It sounds like a wonderful place,” Brian said, “but I don’t think they’ll let me leave the country until this alleged mystery of Marina’s death is resolved.”

Liz’s expression immediately turned to sparkly, “I’ve been trying to tell you all evening, but you two keep covering your eyes and ears that ridiculous way! The director has straightened things out with the police! They now know the patients with elevated arsenic levels were not poisoned by anyone except possibly themselves as they searched for last measures!”

Brian and Alice cheered, but Brian sobered. “Well why haven’t they told me that?” he asked.

Alice answered, “I’ll take care of that,” and pulled out her cell phone to call the DA. Liz and Brian traded grins as they listened to her bludgeon her way through the bureaucracy that protected the DA and get some kind of satisfaction from him. “Great!” she exclaimed and snapped the phone shut.

“You’re off the hook. I don’t put up with tortiloquy from anyone, but especially with a guy from my own law class whose job it is to uphold the law. For him to think he can put me off with twisted speech is a joke!” she exclaimed.

Brian added, “And one who graduated lower than you in class rankings and who is painfully conscious of it.” He turned to Liz and asked quietly, “so when do we leave?”

Alice sensed something wonderful for both of them starting and excused herself from the table and went to clean up the kitchen. She turned up her music and sang loudly to the folk music on her favorite CD. “Lord I was born a ramblin’ man,” she chorused. As she really got into the groove she started using the scrub brush for a microphone. When the song ended she looked up, startled to see Liz and Brian standing in the doorway clapping and laughing. “You’re a natural!” said Liz. Brian cracked up, “a natural what?” he asked. Alice threw the soapy brush at him. He deftly caught it and said, “It’s settled. We’re going to spend Christmas in Brazil!”

“Oh Alice, please come with us!” Liz invited enthusiastically. Brian elevated one eyebrow which Alice read for the half-invitation it was.

“Thanks, but I’ve already got a plan,” she answered. “I’m going out to the farm and then I’m going to find some place to go hike for 2 weeks. I’ve been dying to get back out hiking, but with work and this mess Brian’s being dealing with, it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to be a montivagand."

At Brian’s expression she added, “and don’t apologize and don’t tell me I need protection! I’ll be taking mom and dad’s wolfhounds with me. They’re big enough and smart enough to protect me. And you’ll be happy to know I’ve scheduled my firearm refresher for next month. So go to Brazil, have a wonderful time, and bring me back a really good present! If it’s not really good I’ll never represent you again. Or worse, I’ll send you a bill for all we’ve just been through!”

Brian went over to his sister and engulfed her in a big hug. “You’re the best, sis,” his muffled voice spoke into the top of her head. “I can’t stand this!” Liz exclaimed and came over to be part of the hug. They all stood there a few minutes being thankful, and then broke apart feeling a little foolish.

They returned to the living room, finished cleaning up the pizza and then settled into a hot game of Scrabble. All three were ferocious competitors, but Alice won as usual. Laughing, Liz said, “you know, if you’d let me use Portuguese words I’d be the champion.” The other two agreed that was probably the case. Brian stretched and said, to Liz and asked, “I’m about beat, but may I take you home?” Liz tried to look casual as she assented, but there were three hearts in the room standing up and cheering at this turn of events.

After they left Alice sat down with her laptop to find the best place to hike for two weeks with wolfhounds. “Hmmm . . . not too cold at night in December, easy to get the dogs to, and away from the city so I can see the stars . . . “ She fell asleep as the laptop’s fan whirred.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Wright Stuff

I have dabbled in genealogy in the past and have LOADS of stuff that has yet to be sifted through to figure out connections. I go through spurts of being on top of it, but then get distracted by life.

However, in true Southern tradition, I have a distant cousin who spends a lot of her time trying to nail down family connections. She does it for the love of the old stories of the people back then. Fortunately, she shares what she finds with me! I just got an e-mail from her this morning that she's back on the trail again.

One of my direct ancestors through my grandfather, Franklin George Harrison (d. 2000), is an amazing woman named Elizabeth Jane Petty (Pettey) Wright. She was the only surviving sister in a family of brothers and she wrote to them regularly as an adult, even when she was busy with her own family. At least one of those letters still exists. In it she appeals to her brother George to "Let the children go to school as much as you can for it is the best riches they can have."

From her Bible in her own hand we have that Jane Pettey (spelling went back and forth) was born Oct 7, 1826. She went by Jane and married Samuel Creed Wright December 20, 1849. They had several children, many of who did not live very long. Her last child was posthumous to Samuel Creed Wright's death and was named Samuella in his honor. In July 1867 disease swept Memphis again, and Jane lost one of her daughters (Mary Elizabeth or Ellen [known as Bettie and Ella, age 11 and 9]) before coming down with cholera or yellow fever herself. She made a will, not realizing that the second daughter (Mary Elizabeth or Ellen) had died. Jane herself died August 3, 1867. Her surviving children were Lucy Roxanna Wright, born July 28, 1852, Thomas Jackson Wright, born July 29, 1855 and Samuella Wright, born March 4, 1861.

Lucy Roxanna went by "Roxie" and married a Harrison, which is how I eventually came into the picture!

We've had written evidence of Jane's intelligence through her letter and through the inventory of her estate. She apparently took very good care of her children after Samuel died and was a wealthy woman by the standards of the day. At her death the children were placed with a guardian (although a later lawsuit reveals that the children didn't think the guardian did the best job with their money). Until recently though, we did not have a photo of this remarkable woman. The cousin I referred to above was able to get a photo of her from descendants of Samuella, who went by "Sammie".
So here she is, Elizabeth Jane Petty Wright. Her photo reveals a woman who is suffering to have the photo taken but is anxious to get back to other tasks! I am so grateful that her drive and determination got passed down through the generations!

Monday, August 10, 2009


I'm not sure how this whole award thing works, so if I commit some social faux pas by not carrying something forward, someone please slap me with a big fish!

At any rate, Thom has very kindly included me in his list of awardees for the ones shown here. Thanks, Thom!


Take This Tune Post #2

This is a fun new meme hosted by Jamie. She posts the video and the lyrics on Friday and by Monday, we post whatever it has prompted in us. Very thought provoking!

I guess I was feeling a little serious this weekend, so mine is definitely less light-hearted than usual.


The song says Sunday morning is one of the loneliest feeling times there is. I agree that it can be. If someone has been raised in a Christian tradition of any kind in which Sunday was the day of worship, the claim the Lord places on you goes deep. And even if you enjoy the extra time you have on Sunday by missing church (or the extra sleep), there’s still some seed of discontent that harkens back to the early training.

Humans were made to worship God. Sunday is the day we have elected as His people to draw together and worship him corporately. If someone was raised in that tradition and belief, and has fallen away, Sunday morning might just be one of the saddest, loneliest times there is. People normally don’t miss what they’ve never had.

The songwriter appeals to our shared positive memories – the smell of fried chicken for Sunday dinner, a daddy swinging his little girl, Sunday School voices raised in song. He seems to yearn for that day and time in his life when he would have been part of Sunday morning activities such as these. But then he misses the whole point of Sunday morning and the message being taught in the churches by walking away and continuing to feel lonely.

You don’t have to keep walking away and feeling like you don’t belong! Sure, His people are not always as welcoming or loving as the new attendee wants. We get that wrong sometimes. But you shouldn’t let imperfect people determine your relationship with the Creator of the universe! Instead recognize that the reason Sunday morning resonates in your soul with loneliness is because He is calling you back to Him.

Do I believe that to know of God one must be a Christian? No, I don’t. I believe God reveals Himself to all people in many ways. Certainly through his Word, the Bible, but also through Creation which sings His name and praises. So the recognition of who God is does not belong solely to Christians. And in fact, no matter what tradition someone comes from, once they recognize that God is the Creator, they should be compelled to seek Him in all ways, including studying His Scripture.

Do I believe that to experience God fully, in the way that He has offered us freely, one must become a Christian? Well, Scripture teaches that there is only one way to accomplish that -- through faith in Jesus Christ as our savior. And whether or not the songwriter knows that, I think he’s yearning for that feeling of belonging in the safest, most loving environment he ever knew. And the safest, most loving environment possible is the presence of God. How do you get there? By faith in Jesus Christ. John 3:16


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday

I haven't played in a while, but my son pointed out this really cool shadow this evening so I had to try to capture it. It's subtle, and I thought about enhancing it, but decided to leave it 'au naturale.' To give you some perspective, this was about 6 feet tall -- a shadow thrown by our icky light fixture in the dining room. Seen this way it's a little less icky.

To join in this meme, visit Hey Harriet for Shadow Shot Sunday!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Back in the U.S.A.

Springfield, Massachusetts has more history in it than one might expect. It's the home of the Basketball Hall of Fame because Naismith invented the sport there while teaching at Springfield College (then the Y.M.C.A. Training School). There is still a very close relationship between Springfield College and the Y.

Almost overlooked in the hubbub of big dollar sports entertainment is a jewel of a site, the Springfield Armory. From 1794 to 1968, this was a
very important and active part of our military
readiness. Every American administration up through the 21st century has depended on Springfield rifles to outfit our troops, and the city of Springfield once boasted about the Armory and people were thrilled to be working there.

Today the Armory is in pretty sad shape. It is a National Park Service site, but it doesn't get too many visitors, and the area around it is a bit run down. It was a huge complex in its peak, and obviously not all of that can be preserved. It is great that much of it has been re-purposed into Springfield Technical Community College campus buildings. But no one in Springfield or Massachusetts should feel any shame or chagrin at having produced some of the best weapons ever manufactured in this country. The weapons and the soldiers who used them were employed on our behalf, not against our population. This alone is a pretty awesome thing considering the rest of the world's history of weapons used against their own populace.

While we were there they had part of a traveling exhibit called "100 faces of War" displayed. These are photographs or paintings of people along with whatever written material they wanted to add reflecting on the war in Iraq. There were 10 panels there. Nine of them were from people who have or had served directly. The other, in my not-so-humble opinion, didn't belong there. It was from a peace activist. Peace is good, activism is good, and free speech is very, very good. Most soldiers prefer peace to being shot at or having to shoot at other people. But that perspective just didn't belong with these young people, some of whom are now deceased due to their service. I'm probably very biased about that having grown up in a military household, married a military man, and having served in the military myself. So, it's just my .02 but hey, it's my blog, right?

The other thing that bothered me about the Armory is what my husband told me when I asked, "so, if we've closed the armories, where do our soldiers get their weapons?" He said it's all private contracting now. In other words, our government has no direct control over weapons manufactured in this country. I'm all for contracting out when it makes sense financially for the country, but this is worrisome.

The last day in the RV was hard because we knew it would be a long one. As we traveled through Pennsylvania we had some pretty bad thunderstorms overhead. My husband was the model of cool as he dog-wrassled Lurch down I-81. Because we were really, really, bored, my son and I made videos of the stuffed animals who accompanied us on the trip. This one stars Cheddar, the wonder mouse.

At any rate, we finally made it home. And our parakeet was really glad to see us. Although she was okay with our neighbor coming over twice a day, she wasn't happy, and let us know it! So next trip won't be so long!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Canada - Our Last Leg

After Lunenburg, we headed to the Fundy Coast so we could catch the ferry from Digby to Saint John. The drive over was pretty. We visited a little town named Annapolis Royal. It was a very "Tory" place, but our son decided it had some redeeming qualities. First, at the time this was "Tory", the Americans were British colonists and pretty happy about it. Second, at that time the British were fighting the French for dominance in Nova Scotia. Third, there is currently a WONDERFUL German bakery in Annapolis Royal that helped him forget all of his angst.

After Annapolis Royal we went drove down the Digby neck. It was completely unlike anything we expected. If you look at it on the map, you think it will be a spit of land with
water visible on both sides. Instead it is fairly mountainous and it was hard to see the water most of the time. On the day we were there it was also pretty foggy, so when we reached the first ferry at Tiverton, we decided to
turn around rather than pay to ride the ferry to see more fog.

Back at Digby, we stayed the night at the Admiral Digby Inn right next to the BIG ferry terminal so we'd be able to get up early and catch our ride.

The Admiral Digby Inn is run by a very nice family, the Barnes. It is a whole-family affair.

Except for the oldest son who is a professional photographer in Toronto (look him up!), they were all working very hard to make sure their guests were comfortable. Mom and dad run the business. The oldest son living at home is the Chef (professionally trained and very talented). The teens are helping in the kitchen/restaurant. Everything was clean. There's a pool that our son cavorted in quite a bit, and having cavorted he ate the "best shepherd's pie of my life." Of course the next question is always, "why don't you cook this at home?" Ummm....

The only lousy thing about Digby was something our hosts couldn't do anything about. The fog was terrible. And on the ferry over to Saint John the next morning, it was still terrible. We didn't get to see any whales. There was a very nice fellow, Brian, from the museum in New Brunswick. He was very informative about the flora, fauna and traditions of that part of the world and very apologetic about the weather.

When we got to Saint John we visited our last university and then
headed back across the border to the U.S. Spent the night at Great Pond again, drove to Westover again, spent the night and then drove home. Whew! A great trip and glad to be home!

Tomorrow, I promise, the VERY LAST photos -- this time from the Springfield Armory.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Three Word Thursday

This is a fun word game to play, devised and hosted by Quilly. Each week she gives us three obscure words and challenges us to use them in a paragraph or story. Thanks Quilly for doing this so faithfully!

The words:

rogitate; to entreat or ask often

solipsistic; applying the doctrine that the self is the only thing known to exist

nequient; unable


If Alice’s eyes hadn’t automatically closed when the hands came from behind her to cover them, she would have closed them now. An inward groan over past foolish choices, an ache of loneliness rearing its ugly head, and a strong resolve to withstand the perpetrator flashed through her brain. She turned slightly in her chair, shook her head free, and asked, “Luke, when did you get back in town?”

“What? No hug?” he asked. Alice just looked at him. After a few seconds he took the hint and dropped into a chair across from her. “I got in last night. I’m staying at my mom’s for a few days before I head to the city for the next assignment. Are you glad to see me?”

Her brain screamed warning signals, which Alice heeded for a change. Very levelly she responded, “being glad to see you would imply that I had noticed you were gone.”

He grinned, “if you didn’t notice I was gone, why did you ask when I got back in town? So why don’t I get a hug for old times’ sake?” He began to lean toward her.

“Why must you rogitate about physical affection all the time?” Alice leaned away from him.

“Oooh, that sounds like something dirty, Alice! I just want to see if you still feel the same as in the old days,” Luke answered.

Alice pushed back from the table and rose. “I have important things to do and important people to see. I don’t have time to be drawn into your solipsistic orbit again.” As she stalked across the cafeteria and out the door Luke’s expression turned from a self-mocking grin to a disappointed grimace. “I seem to be nequient in the area of talking to that woman,” he muttered to himself.

Brian’s voice cut into his revery. “Why were you talking to my sister? Haven’t you caused enough damage in this town?

Luke turned, “Brian! I didn’t realize you were here. What’s new?”

Brian answered him, “let’s see…since you left town I’ve put my sister’s life back together, lost my beloved wife and been accused of murdering her. You returning to wreak havoc again makes the perfect ending to a perfect year.”

Luke's grin disappeared and he looked sincere for a change, “Oh Brian, I’m really sorry about Marina. I knew it didn’t look good when I left, but I didn’t realize…” he trailed off. “Yeah, well about Alice and me, I know I screwed that up too. I want to make it up to her but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to convince her to trust me.”

Brian answered, “no one in our family trusts you. Not my parents who gave you a home when your parents kicked you out, not my sister whose heart you broke, and not me who thought of you as a brother. You blew it. The only reason I’m not hitting you right now is because I’ve already been arrested once in the last month. The cops don’t need much excuse to run me in again.” Brian whirled around and strode angrily toward the exit.

“Brian!” Luke called out, but it was no use. Brian had disappeared through the swinging doors.

This time Luke looked around before talking to himself, “oh man, how am I ever going to make this right?”

And next week's words:


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Continuing Canada

The heavens finally showed their sunshine the day we went to Lunenburg. What a beautiful little town! We expected it to be overcrowded because it is such a tourist destination but it wasn't. And again, people were NICE!

We spent a lot of time at the Fisheries Museum and just enjoyed drying out a bit! Who knew there were so many different kinds of fishing vessels! Each kind was developed for a particular need, and each boatmaker had his own design quirks. So for the knowledgeable, one could read the boats at an instant.

They told us that fishermen were a superstitious lot, so they never have eggs 'over', and they never use the number '13'. Yet at the same time they were largely a deeply religious lot because they truly understood the frailty of human life. It was a very inspiring place!

The kids and I got on bikes and went to do some geocaching. A little bushwacking was in order because we didn't realize there was a path in town! Still, we found the cache. It was a recipe cash! I left 3 and took three. I haven't tried them yet, but here's one of the ones I picked up:

Convent Cookies

1 c white sugar

3 c flour

2 c brown sugar

2 c oatbran

1 ¼ c vegetable oil

1 c quick oatmeal

4 eggs

2 tsp baking soda

12 oz chocolate chips

1 tsp salt

12 oz plain M&M’s

Mix sugars, oil and eggs thoroughly. Mix flour with baking soda and salt. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Add chocolate chips and M&M’s by hand.

Put ice-cream sized scoops on baking sheet (5 to a sheet)

Bake at 375⁰F for 8-10 minutes. Centers will be pale. Cool 5 minutes on sheet then remove to tray to cool completely. Makes 30-36 large cookies.

We spent the night at the Lunenburg municipal campground -- a lovely spot up on the bluff and headed the next day for the Fundy Coast.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

We just returned from a trip to Nova Scotia. All except the first photo are from Nova Scotia.

This is part of a series of flags at Westover AFB, Massachusetts that celebrate their mission and those who serve on or near U.S. Air Force flightlines.

This is a flying helmet at the Atlantic Aviation Museum. It is near the International Airport in Halifax. If you have a little extra time one day, it's worth stopping by.

This is a door at a church in Annapolis Royal, a lovely spot near the Fundy Coast. There's a German Bakery in town that is worth stopping to enjoy!

This lobster hung above a tank of live ones that one could select for dinner. This is at the Admiral Digby Inn in Digby, Nova Scotia. A wonderful place to stay -- really nice family owns and runs it.

Canada is just full of great photos of red! And the people are wonderful too.

If you'd like to play Ruby Tuesday, go here to Mary the Teach's blog. Thanks Mary!