Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Post on the Run

Just checking in. :o) We're all alive, and heading home tomorrow. Have had a great visit with family, and will tell you all about it soon.

There has even been spinning. Laceweight singles, on my Kundert. Good times.`

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Nurture

The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated…. I should never have known how ladies and gentlemen really behaved, if it hadn't been for Colonel Pickering. He always showed what he thought and felt about me as if I were something better than a common flower girl. You see, apart from the things one can pick up, the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated. I shall always be a common flower girl to Professor Higgins, because he always treats me like a common flower girl, and always will. But I know that I shall always be a lady to Colonel Pickering, because he always treats me like a lady, and always will.

Eliza Doolittle, My Fair Lady



Amen.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday Tips: Mad Skillet Skillz

I don't know how many of you use stainless steel cookware, but I do. You just can't get the same crisp finish on various things in nonstick cookware. And steel doesn't offgas. ;o)

So, when I'm done warming tortillas, or frying the occasional batch of turkey sausages, sometimes the pan cools before I can get to it. The best way to clean a steel pan is when it's still hot--the food comes straight off with a light scrubbing if you get it soapy when it's still nearly too hot to touch. (Be sure you only use a nylon or steel scrubber with a little Bon Ami, as plastic brushes or scrubbies will melt!)

So, take your skillet, complete with burned or crusty remnants. Fill about 1/3 to 1/2 with clean water, and put it back on the stove. Turn it on to a decent medium-high heat, cover, and set a timer for about 10 minutes. (Don't do like I have, and forget the timer. Bad news.) The goal is to simmer the water for about ten minutes. It softens the rock-hard food, easing the bond between food and metal. For especially grouchy grime, add a little baking soda to the water. Plain water has always worked fine for me, though.

When your timer goes off, and you believe the water has done it's magic, scrape with a metal spatula and then scour as usual.

Voila!* You have a shiny, clean pan, with very little elbow grease. :o)

Sleep: An equation.

Regardless of when I go to bed, someone needs something.  (Nightmares, thirst, BabyB wants to nurse, someone has fallen out of bed, ad infinitum.)

There exists a direct ratio between the earliness of the hour I try to retire and the severity of neediness expressed.

I have three children who nap asynchronously.  (No reliable naptime for mom.)

When sleep = sanity, (and lack thereof = severe depression), given the above condition, I only arrive at irrational solutions.

This is unsustainable.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I Am Glad for Many Things . . .

I made this list on March 26th. It's good to go back and read over things like this every once in a while. :o)

:: Family
I talked with my both my Mom and my Dad's sister today, and had a wonderful time. Having family that not only loves me, but plays a double role and fills so much space on the "Best Friend" bench, is a rare blessing indeed. (And it's a good thing that those benches expand as much as needed!)

:: Children
Vern took the older trio Nordic skiing today, and so I've had the two littlest ones with me. It has been a quiet, peaceful, slow-paced day, with plenty of time for smiles and little-kid play. Why did I ever think that two children were a handful? Or feel stressed and overwhelmed with just them? Having a 3.5yo and an infant in the house is gorgeously simple. I love them all, and I love it especially when I have the rare treat of spending time with just one or two of them.

:: History
In my 90+ minute call to my Aunt D, whom I love dearly and get along with so very well, we talked about family history. I learned more about my paternal grandparents' lives in that 90 minutes than I learned in all my previous 32.75 years on earth. While my paternal Grandmother spoke of these people and events to the adults, she rarely mentioned them to me. And now, my Aunt D will be sending a packet of historical information and documents, from things just a generation or two back, all the way to photo copies of letters a Civil War solider ancestor wrote to his wife. (I didn't know I had Civil War ancestors! I figured I might've, but it's so amazing to be certain! I can't wait to learn his name, and read some of his story!)

:: Sunshine
Even though we now live in western Oregon, famous for long, gray winters, it feels like I've moved to a land of sunshine. In Idaho, on average, there are 90 clear days per year. And out of that year, only about 100 days are really warm enough to be out without a coat. (My estimate on that last number.) I'm already outside planting and digging and working this year . . . Spring is but days old, and I'm out in it. I feel nearly as though I'm newly resurrected from a long, cold, gray grave in a snowy northern land.

:: New Friends
Making up a list of invitees to a jewelry party (like Pampered Chef, but you get to play dress up with gorgeous, shiny, sparkly stuff--so much fun!), it astounded me to see how many people I already feel comfortable inviting. I've met and begun relationships with more people here in the last nine months than I did in nearly three years in Idaho. Maybe living in a neighborhood isn't so bad after all. ;o)

Friday, April 17, 2009

To Anyone with Children under 80 pounds.

A seatbelt is NOT enough. (That video is only two minutes. Do go watch it.) That little boy was killed due to seat belt failure. At 3 years old, in a booster with lap & shoulder belt, while riding with his mom in the minivan, a 78-year-old senile woman ran a red light and plowed into the side of their van, causing it to roll into a ditch. His belt failed, and he was killed on impact when he thrown from the car.

Please don't let your little ones ride while restrained by belts only. (A booster seat only elevates your child to a better height for seatbelt restraint.) Seatbelts can, and regularly do, fail during crashes. The LATCH system, with top tether if possible, provides several layers of redundancy. And please, keep your toddlers rear facing to the limit of the seat requirements.

Here's a slow-motion clip of a lap-belt-only test. That's the beginning of a playlist, with several videos following on the topic of child restraint safety.

Here's how a larger child fares in a booster with belt. (20 second clip.) An even better one is here.

Here's a forward facing, five point harness test. (20 second clips.)

And lastly, here's how a child fares in a rear facing, five-point harness. (20 second clip.)

And if you're worried about your nine-year-old, sub 80-pound son complaining about how he's too big for a car seat, show him those clips. And then pull rank. Being paraplegic is so not cool. (And I'm sure you can find YouTube videos on paraplegic life, too.)

Keep you children safe. Please.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

An Easter Gift


One week ago today, my church held its annual General Conference.* Many, many bloggers who are also members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints** have mentioned this, as well as how spiritually refreshing it is to attend Conference, how it feeds their souls. I'm in agreement wholly in those sentiments, but I am going to go one step further, and invite you to taste some of it for yourself. This link takes you to the page containing text, audio & video links to every talk given.

*General Conference is held twice yearly, on the first Saturday & Sunday in both April & October. The April conference is called the Annual General Conference, and the one in October is called the Semi-Annual General Conference. Total trivia, but I thought someone might like to know. ;o)

**That's the church's main site, structured for members, and accessible to all. This site is geared more towards those who aren't as familiar with the structure, jargon, and other aspects of the LDS faith and church.

If that's information overload, here's my recommendation to get you started: one of my most favorite talks, an Easter message, given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, one of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, titled None Were With Him.



I hope and pray that you all have had a blessed Easter . . . that it was a time for you to reflect upon the blessings in your life, and to remember what truly great and marvelous things God has done for us. I know it was thus for me and my family.

God bless you and yours, both this day, and in the days to come.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

State of my State

Computer is up and running (typing on the fantastically crisp and minimalistic keyboard right now). Some of my mac expertise is coming back from long-lost high school journalism days . . . but I'm still fumbling with the whole control/option/command rearrangement.

I'm feeling 65.

Cat fence project nears completion . . . not bad for only 1-2 hours to spend on it daily. (Details to follow on why we need such a fence.)

Laundry, dishes, general cleaning, and all other aspects of running the house have fallen completely by the wayside as I've tried to finish the cat fence.

I miss my Insert key something fierce. At least I can use my familiar mouse . . . even if it doesn't please one's aesthetics like the Mighty Mouse.

The daffodils bloom brightly, accompanied by little purple pansies I planted nearly a fortnight ago.

And I honestly believe that it's a cruel world that foists such insane complexity upon a woman without simultaneously providing a way for her to hire a good cook & housekeeper.

How has your week gone? :o)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I AM Patience.

Ha llegado.  Il est arrivĂ©.  It is here.



And the next two days are TOTALLY full.

Now, to keep the kids out of that box . . .