Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thoughts From Anne (with an E) Shirley

Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pride and Prejudice, Again.

Yesterday I finished one of my commute books, and in trying to decide what to listen to on my way to work, I landed upon Pride and Prejudice. I never tire of it, and re-read it at least once a year, and watch the BBC video every couple years. To get my Elizabeth and Darcy fix. It has everything nothing to do with Colin Firth. And I lie like a rug.

But listening to it may be even better than reading! Especially since the version I am listening to is complete with British accent, much more authentic than the one in my head.

I was pondering last night why this is a book for me, and many others, of which I never tire. Probably because the verbal sparring is still so funny, and male/female communication, while it is much different in style, really doesn't vary in substance. Let's face it...miscommunication between the genders is neverending. Its one of the biggest things that I try to focus on in my relationship. Don't make Joe guess what I am thinking/feeling/asking him to do. Why do we expect our partners to mindread? Perhaps it's because as women especially, we assume we already know what our men our thinking? Ouch.

So P and P is my standby. And I look forward to my morning commutes for the next month or so. Mostly.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Just south of Red Lodge, MT.

Looking southwest at my parents' now-sold little house.

Because I like old barren farm architecture.

From the deck of the Hotel Lorentzen.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Enter Here

Since I moved in a year ago, I have been slowly tweaking a few of the details in my little apartment. It's an interesting dilemma to try to balance putting my own stamp on my place, while also keeping in mind that in the next couple of years I will most likely be sharing that space with someone else. (And no, that's not an announcement...and I don't think anyone will be surprised when it happens.)  Thank goodness Joe loves color. Because I am on a color kick.

So here is the view at my front door: a mix of brightness with my white ironstone as the appropriate offset. The wall was already my favorite shade of green. The first time I saw the place, the landlord offered to paint it another color. I think I told him he might lose a hand if he touched it. It's perfect.

The turquoise shelf was found at a local shop, Poppyseeds, which has the most wonderful variety of painted furniture.  My mom and I discovered it in a corner, grabbed a fabric swatch from my throw pillows, and when I found that it was the exact color...well, what else could I do?  Right after a move is a terrible time (budget-wise) to buy an additional piece of furniture...but it was worth it!

The b/w photos are mine...local shots and scenes taken over the last couple of years. And the lettering on the walls? Those were fun. I thought, when I bought them, that they peeled off in three separate pieces. Nope. Individual letters. It took about an hour to get them just right, but they are a great finishing touch.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rhubarb~Apple Crisp

In my never ending quest to try to eliminate sugar in my diet, I modified the recipe a bit. It's delicious!!

Mix in a large bowl:

3 cups chopped rhubarb
2 medium Granny Smith (or other tart) apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 egg
3/4 cup Splenda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup sugar~free real maple syrup

Pour into a greased 2-quart casserole.

In a medium bowl, cut together:

1 cup flour (I used about 1/2 cup wheat, 1/2 cup white)
1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar
1/2 cup cold butter

Pour dry mixture over rhubarb mix and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Quote of the Day: Voltaire

Appreciation is a wonderful thing, it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Your Poor Son Must Really Have Issues

A federal judge has ruled that a Texas high school must not only cancel any prayers at graduation, but that they must also not use words like: prayer, amen, bow their heads, join in prayer, benediction and invocation.

The lawsuit was filed by a couple on behalf of their son, who they said would "suffer irreparable harm" if anyone prayed (or apparently even said the word?) at the graduation ceremony.

Really? Is your son that much of a weak-minded 18-year-old that he cannot choose to ignore the prayer if he doesn't like it? Will hearing the word "benediction" send him over the edge to insanity? I shudder to think of the other words that he won't like hearing over the course of his life. Maybe he can get the ACLU to hold his hand throughout adulthood. His parents obviously think he needs it.

Read here: One of the Most Asinine Rulings by a Federal Judge

Kitchen Projects...part 2

I love the way these cabinets look all painted. I might just go crazy and do the interiors of the upper cabinets.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kitchen Projects...

...not involving food.

Finally, after a year, got around to painting the interiors of the open cabinets in my kitchen. They match the wall (visible in the background) and I love the way they look. Tonight I am going to work on the ones on the opposite side, where I store my cookbooks. They will be red. I still need a little bit of touch up on the white paint, but I'll do that last, all at once. When the cats are locked in the bedroom.  My little helpers are really a pain when the project is on their level!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Gettysburg: The History Channel

In the beginning of July 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg was fought in Pennsylvania. The History Channel recently had a 2-hour documentary on the subject.  Regardless with which side your sympathies lie, some of the statistics are staggering.

In this 3-day battle, almost 50,000 men were killed or wounded. If this were to compare in today's population, that would be the equivalent of 6 million men. And these were all American men.

Nearly 25% of the men who came to the battle were killed or wounded.

While watching the reenactments and listening to the words of the soldiers that were memorialized and sent home to their families, I wondered at the motivation of the men. Battle conditions were incredibly fierce. Soldiers trudged across open fields into artillary fire, knowing that if they were hit by the cannon shot, it would mean almost certain death or dismemberment. Was is dedication to the cause? Was it bravery? Was it that in the heat of battle, there was no other choice but to move forward?

As General William Tecumsah Sherman famously said, "War is hell." I am sure it is necessary at times, but hell nonetheless.

From the Trees in My Yard

The earth laughs in flowers. ~e.e. cummings

Monday, May 30, 2011

Quote of the Day: Abraham Lincoln

In honor of Memorial Day:

Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prized liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors. Familiarize yourslves with the chains of bondage, and you are preparing your own limbs to wear them.

Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Really Don't Think I'm a Prude, But...

VH1 has a new show they are billing as a "romantic comedy". It is called Single Ladies and apparently, according to the commercial I saw, follows three friends. Two of these "ladies" are single and sleazy, and the third is married and sleazy.

So I am wondering how promiscuity and adultary are either romantic or comedy.

Maybe I am a bit of a prude. I guess I'm OK with that.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Racism in America: Just One White Man's Perspective

Adam Carolla: Well, it’s (racism) never going to be an issue that goes away as long as there are people who don’t want it to go away. So as long as there’s a group of folks that profit from it or believe to gain power and popularity from it or damage other people by calling them a racist, it’s never going to go away. We can have people say this is a racist nation, but we have a black president – the most powerful person. The richest person on television, Oprah, is a black woman, the second most powerful star on television or in the media is probably Will Smith, and he is a black man. The richest athlete on the planet, at least pre-divorce, is a black man – Tiger Woods. And the highest paid singer is Beyonce. At what point do we get to stop calling ourselves a racist nation? If we are [racist] we aren’t doing a very good job at it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Soylent Green is People: or, Why I am Against Government Healthcare

The reason I am against government run and/or mandated health care is simple. I don't trust (our) government to make decisions based on a moral and ethical code. Let's be realistic. If we as a nation are currently trillions of dollars in debt, an amount that is rising second by second, and the American people are already screaming for less spending, lower taxes, etc, what is to stop the "powers that be" from making end-of-life decisions based on solely financial reasons. There are those who will argue that the elderly and sick don't improve the GNP and that we should warehouse them somewhere, make them comfortable, and essentially provide hospice care until they die.

Consider the following quote:

"We now have 10,000 Boomers a day retiring, and will for 20 years. It's demographic, which is inexorable…The reason is the medical technology. In the old days, you died of pneumonia or heart attack. It’s a terrible way to go, but from a societal perspective, it's cheap. Today you live in to old age and we die of cancers and dementias, and they are extremely expensive and intensive care… We welcome the medical advances, but the costs are astronomical…Unless we find a way to deal with the healthcare issue, we will go over a cliff.”
-- Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier” discussing the new report that shows government assistance accounted for 18.3 percent of all U.S. income in 2010, an all-time high.

I think Soylent Green should be re-watched with an open mind. It's a bit of  science fiction that could be fact sooner than we realize.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I've Seen Enough Dead Bodies and Don't Need to See Osama's

In my discussions with people in the last couple of days concerning the death of bin Laden, I have had a few interesting debates. I was actually called a pacifist. That's a first. Let me preface this by saying a few things: I am totally for the death penalty; bin Laden got his just deserts; and I am confident that in meeting his maker that he was more than disappointed.

But I don't need to see a picture of his body. Really. I believe that the desire for images of his death lowers us as a nation to a level far beneath us. If we want to revel in the streets, holding signs mocking OBL and others, and so on, how does that make us any different from those whom we find so offensive when we see news clips of them doing it in the middle east?

I think a much more appropriate response is to thank those serving our country whenever you see them. Display a flag. Thank God for our men and women who fight for us.  And pray that our nation doesn't descend further into chaos.

UPDATE: Whatever the reason, whether common decency or fear of retaliation, it doesn't matter, President Obama has decided to not release the photo, and I thank him.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Personal Spending Downfalls

I have been scrupulously saving money lately, because I have an important financial goal looming. And because it's so important to me, there are sacrifices that I am willing to make. But there are a couple of things that tempt me and that are harder for me to give up.

Eating out is a big one, since Joe and I often meet up in the evenings. We have been working on that one together, and trying to eat in more at his place or mine.

Books have also been a difficult thing. I do love nice vintage copies of classics, and I have run into some lovely ones lately. I need to stop looking, that would help immensely.

One thing that has been easier to give up has been my special coffee. I can drink coffee for free at work, and also, staff members give each other cards for a "job well done" that add up and you can spend at with our barista. So that's become a treat rather than the norm.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book Review: King Solomon's Mines

Does anybody else remember the extremely cheesy Allan Quartermain movies starring Richard Chamberlain that came out in the mid-eighties? Horrid. They were a complete rip-off of Indiana Jones. And, let's face it, how could anyone measure up to Harrison Ford? So really, they are best forgotten altogether.

I say this in introduction, because I almost skipped King Solomon's Mines in book form due to a lousy film adaption. I should know better.

Having a long drive makes it nice to listen to books. Having a smartphone with free downloads of many classics makes it even better. I was in the mood for a bit of adventure, so I began with the 1885 H. Rider Haggard classic.  Here's what I learned: the actual ripper-offer was Indiana Jones. I suppose the makers of the Indy movies would say they were paying homage to the Haggard series, and that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And, all in all, the Indy movies certainly are a much better "adaptation" of the books.

King Solomon's Mines is set in southern Africa and is a tale of the quest of a man to find his lost brother, who had been searching for the infamous diamond mines of lore. On the trek, the band of three white men and a party of natives, face starvation, dehydration, heatstroke, freezing temperatures, hostile natives, a tribal war and a treacherous fiend of an old woman.  Allan Quartermain is not, I repeat not, tall, dark, nor handsome, and describes himself as a bit of a coward who would rather stay out of trouble. But he ends up in the midst of the fray and is a bit of a hero, planned or not.  The only love story is of the brief longing, inexpressible romance between the white captain and a black Kukuana girl. It is dealt with in a surprisingly understanding manner (for that era) and while the romance can go nowhere, it is not condemned outright by his companions.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Unlike many books of the late 1800s, it is written in very common English and was easy to listen to, without feeling as though I needed a dictionary nearby. By chapter 2, I was hooked, and waiting for my next trip to work. The series was wildly popular among the lesser educated masses when it was written, and I leave you to draw your own conclusions about my enjoyment.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Quote of the Day: Ben Stein

On Obamacare:

Fathom the odd hypocrisy that the government wants every citizen to prove they are insured, but people don't have to prove they are citizens.
~Ben Stein