Saturday, January 30, 2010

There is progress

on the chopsticks front. Last night, even though I asked the waitress for a security blanket fork, I used my chopsticks for the entire meal (well, except the soup.) But, I got a little cocky and dropped a piece of salad right down my blouse. Pride goeth before the fall. Of lettuce.

Chopsticks? Check. On to whistling with my fingers, freestyle swimming and speaking adequate Spanish. So much to be done in this 50th year.


Sunday, January 24, 2010


So, people are wondering why I haven't blogged about Haiti.

They know that next Tuesday, Feb. 2, I was flying to Port Au Prince to spend 2 weeks on the island -- part of my trip in Gaspard, on a mountain in the north, and part at Mother Theresa's Orphanage for Dying Babies and Children in PAP. A trip I had been looking forward to for four years

They know that for the past 10 years or so, I have been on the Haiti Committee at our parish, raising money for our sister parish, St. Therese of Lisieux, and the school and medical mission there.

They know that I have friends in Haiti (all are OK).

I haven't blogged about it because there is just so much. So much destruction, despair and sadness, and so much I want to say. About the earthquake, about the nation, about the people.
But I've read so much, and watched so much CNN in the past weeks that I can't think of anything that hasn't been said.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

50, but not me this time

Such a good evening, with blazing cake and meatloaf and the boys.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Not the most important question in the world, but

if I can knit, using big needles, tiny needles, circular needles and five double-pointed needles at one time, why in the world can't I figure out how to use chopsticks?


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Christmas Jars

So, have you read this book by Jason F. Wright? Me, neither. I want to, though.

From what I can tell from the Amazon reviews, it's one of those little books, in the tradition of The 5 People You Meet in Heaven and Prayer of Jabez -- A quick read with a deep message. A book that you pass on to your friends.

I first heard about this book from Sarah, who walked out of her front door a couple of days before Christmas and found this book and a jar full of change on her step. She read the book and then emptied out the jar and found over $200 in bills on the bottom of the change. Someone who knows the struggles her family has gone through these past few months -- emotional, spiritual, financial -- left the book and jar anonymously.

The problem with anonymous is that you don't know who to thank. So, if it was someone who reads this blog, thanks. And if it's not, the best way to say thanks is to pay this forward.

Although I usually save my change for Haiti, this year, I'll be saving those coins I find in the dryer, between the couch cushions and on the bottom of my purse for someone else. I don't know who yet, but I am guessing that sometime in the course of 2010, we'll run into someone who could use some help come next Christmas.

Even though I haven't read this book, I would encourage everyone to start a Christmas jar now -- like a Christmas club account, except for others.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Starting Over

Zoe has a new home with us. This is her third home in as many months, and I hope it is her last. (I had been asking Santa for a puppy for several years now -- finally, he came through.) I love, love, love her, and wish Lucky felt the same (she is just pissed. Period. )

I know Will loves her, and although Clay won't admit to loving her, I heard him sweet talking to her yesterday, so there is hope.

The baby sweater in the purplish lace weight has been pitched in the trash. So much for trying to make moth-chewed yarn work/piece together into a garment. It has been replaced with this:

This is Bernat Jacquard (acrylic) that I got at WM -- if I was doing this in the round, it would fair isle more, but I think this is pretty cute. I don't know yet if I will add the feather and fan at the cuffs and hem -- it might not be necessary. And, I am making it in the next bigger size, so it will fit Miss G in the spring.

I added that Amazon widget over there. What do you think? Cluttered, right?

After two days of school, we have a snow day, so we'll be starting all over next week.

And this weekend, we start over with a new priest.

It will all be OK, right?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010 Reading List

So I have been trying to do something groovy with my blog and list the books I want to read this year, through Amazon or Library Thing, but it all looks a little cluttered, and one of my plans this year (read: resolutions, but I don't want to use that word, because I stink at resolutions) is to reduce the clutter. Even on my blog. Maybe I'll get those little widgets figured out later, but for now, here is my reading plan:
1) to finish at least one novel a week (or at least half a novel before I abandon it)
2) and intersperse non-fiction work here and there
3) go back to some of the classics I have on my shelf -- avoid purchasing books this year ("That is very funny," she said as she opened the box from Amazon that arrived yesterday.)

I am currently reading Loving Frank (my upstairs book), How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents (downstairs book), Sense and Sensibility (car book) and Half the Sky (which was in that box yesterday.) When I finish these, I want to re-read the rest of the Jane Austen novels, Faulkner, Welty and Flannery O'Connor.

And of course, I want to read the good stuff that Jeannine and Pam have on their book club lists. Maybe this should be the year I join/start a book club -- anyone want to join me?


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Laughing With

My favorite, Regina Spektor.

"And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus"

I need a cloud-covered baby grand.


Sunday, January 3, 2010


All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. ~Anatole France

Perhaps I'll write something more soon, but for now, just wishing peace to us all.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I might be knitting again,

but I spent over 2 hours today struggling with a messy skein of laceweight. Even putting it on the swift and trying to unravel it that way was crazy, but in a way, sort of soothing.

I haven't knit anything since Allie died except for garter stitch scarves for the kindergarten girls and dishcloths. I tried knitting a cabled hat for Father Scott, but it was one mistake after another, and when I got it finished, it was too tight on Will's head. But again, sort of soothing to rip it all apart.

Then, I was working a dishcloth at the wrestling meet this week, and one of the dads was shocked and appalled that I would knit something so "mundane." Yes, his word.

Dishcloths are soothing. Really.

Besides the scarves (and Linda made 2 of those!), here's the whole of my knitting production over the last 3 months:
Need a dishcloth?

So, I felt like it was time to cast on something a little more substantial. I picked the Feather and Fan baby sweater, and am using the laceweight held double. I just took it off the needles to work on the sleeves, and it looks really tiny -- the baby I am knitting it for was born on my birthday, so she's one month old. No, I didn't swatch. I just didn't feel like it, and now I think I am going to pay the price. We'll see. At least it's not a dishcloth, and I haven't ripped it apart yet.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A fresh start and a new recipe

Not to toot my own horn, but I am a pretty good cook. (You know, now that I am 50, I feel like I can say these things with impunity.) People often ask me for my recipes, but usually, I just throw things together until they taste good. (It might be genetic, as my sister, Karen, does this too -- her Chicken Tortilla Soup at Christmas was fantastic, and I need her to write down what she thinks she did. OK, Karen?) So, one of my resolutions is to write down my recipes, and this seems as good a day as any to start.

Dad made us all eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day in hopes that we would get rich that year. So far, not so good. But I can't buck tradition. We usually have corned beef and cabbage, too, but I read last week that in some circles, eating greens was another good luck charm. Clay came home one day last spring, raving about the collard greens served at a luncheon at work. While mom didn't cook a lot of greens, Grandma H. did, and I remember them being stinky, stringy and nasty. But they're not! They are delicious, and after looking at several recipes, Clay and I came up with this soup. I'm not sure it will bring us luck or fortune, but it's warm, delicious and filling. That's pretty lucky and worth a lot, don't you think?

New Year’s Day Soup

(yes, those are my kitty S&P shakers from Sharon -- I just love them)

¼ c. olive oil
2 medium white or yellow onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 c. chicken stock
3 c. water
8 cups collared greens, washed and chopped (about a pound)
1 T. Frank’s hot sauce
2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 meaty ham bone left over from Christmas (or 1-2 pounds of smoked ham, cut into soup spoon-sized bites)
4 -15 oz. cans black-eyed peas (or any beans and/or hominy mix -- hominy is so good, although I don't know how lucky it is), drained and rinsed
2 T. lemon juice

In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat; toss in onion and garlic and sauté until onion is soft. Add water and stock, greens, hot sauce, salt, pepper and ham bone. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook for an hour until greens are tender. Take out ham bone and pick off any meat you can – return ham to pot; give the bone to your favorite dog. Add beans/hominy and cook another 20 minutes on low until beans are heated through. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice. Makes a pot full – enough for a crowd (or for two of us and then Clay’s lunch for the rest of week.)
Peace, and happy new year.