Tuesday, September 30, 2008

All's Fair in Love, War, and Politics

Today's Convocation at Missouri Western State University really had this title and really featured a debate between James Carville and Mary Matalin. Never mind that they are married. One is conservative and worked for Pres. Bush. One is liberal and worked for Pres. Clinton. My boys found it hard to follow the Louisiana accent. I wore my Palin jersey, of course, and got several chuckles out of the jabs and plays-on-words. Did you know CNN stands for "Clinton News Network"? My daughter snagged VIP seats with her Civics Club (8 homeschool teens) and was interviewed afterward by the local newspaper. Meggar's reaction was, "I believe there is still hope."

Bail-Out Failed

The bailout idea seems to me like a way to create a new entitlement to a federal insurance system for every home loan in America. We had an ARM in 1992 that went up twice. We paid the new rate. We had another ARM in 1996 that went up and paid that new rate. What did all the people in 2007 do with their child tax credit? What did they do with their stimulus check in 2008? I guess they didn't pay on their mortgages... that's just my opinion.

Sen. Obama voted "present" on the bailout plan?! He and Sen. Biden later voted the opposite of each other?! Sometimes I think I should start a blog called "I Told You So."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pink Peppercorns

Meggar spent the whole morning filming three cooking segments in "Jayni's Kitchen" for Cox Cable TV in Lawrence. She made Fettuccine Alfredo with Pink Peppercorns (anything pink!) as well as Chicken Pot Pie (from Alison's mom) and Shrimp-on-a-Stick (an old favorite from Family Fun magazine). Another young chef made dessert cupcakes, too. I'll add the recipes soon. The show will air on Oct. 7 with re-broadcasts in Topeka and Wichita all next week. See the promo commercial on www.freestatestudios.com/jayniskitchen

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Half the Goals

In Des Moines for Pee Wee hockey, each twin scored one goal! They are just plain smart at offense. Hooray! The Saints W: 3-0 and L: 1-2 against the same team in one afternoon. Riding with the Long family means they had plenty of good (and healthy) snacks, too!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another Port

We learned about Sandeman Port during my birthday dinner at the Justus Drugstore restaurant. Captain raved about their 20-year-old port! So we bought a bottle (or two). Two hundred year old companies must be doing something right.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Anne Frank and Friends

The kids told me how impressive it was for the actors to look so much like the Jewish children they portrayed in the play "And Then They Came for Me: Remembering Anne Frank."

"And Then They Came for Me" play

Eva Schloss and Ed Silverberg were REAL friends of Anne Frank. They both survived the Holocaust, although Anne did not. Here is a play that intertwines their video interviews with on-stage scenes from the War years. Powerful! Such a vivid portrayal of Jewish families who had fled to Holland and Belgium but were caught anyway. It should never happen again!

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
-Pastor Martin Niemoller

Showing at the Coterie Theatre in Kansas City now through Oct. 24.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"I Passed!"

Dorito spent a long time taking the referee test online today. 50 tough questions. Then he pumped his arms with excitement to find out he passed!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Brick Layers

Winger has become our best brick layer. I offered to pay the boys 50 cents per brick to line the front sidewalk. It's a good "after school" project for them. Dorito did a couple, Polar Bear did a few more, but Winger wanted the big bucks. He hooked the wagon to the mower to haul 40 bricks around front, and he went to work with his shovel, level, and sand bucket. I was glad to pay him $20!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fiddling Around

The Fiddlers Three performed at "The Fountains at Corby Place" tonight during the Barnyard Dinner. We donned cowboy hats and bandannas for the crowd of 50. Afterwards they let us chow down on the fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn-on-the-cob. Dorito liked the apple pie! The twins liked the root beer! Meggar likes getting paid for the shows!

Monday, September 22, 2008

NHL Game Highlights

All the hockey fans we love in one place!
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NHL Game in KC?!

Two NHL teams (finally) played at the Sprint Center in Kansas City tonight. Can you believe it? We were there! The St. Louis Blues lost to the Los Angeles Kings, but the skating was fast, the concessions were tasty, and several of our teammates were there to cheer. Line Creek's own Dan Smith drove the Zamboni!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

St. Louis Hockey

Despite waking up so early for their 4th hockey game, Polar Bear and Winger were happy with their trip to St. Louis. Five games, four wins! Polar Bear had 7 goals, Winger had 1 goal and 5 assists (earning them $7 and $6 for their college fund). Great stats, considering it's so early in the "season" for travel hockey.

Dorito spent all day talking about what he learned at the ice hockey referee clinic. He and Alexander can officially begin officiating on Oct. 11 - watch out Mites and Squirts!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Walking for Sam

Meggar and I covered the entire route of the Southside Fall Festival parade with Sam Graves stickers and literature. It was fun to see several friends and supporters along the way, but it was more walking than I expected... And at a fast pace. New proverb: "Train up your muscles in the way they should go, or when you are old your back will regret it."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Memories of Mullins

My housecleaning chores keep my near the kitchen radio on Saturday mornings. I caught a tribute to Rich Mullins, Christian artist from Wichita. I was lucky enough to stumble into one of his noon piano concerts during my freshman year at K-State. What a writer - the best turn of phrase! He was insighful, honest, and deeply in love with Christ and the poor. Thanks for letting me sing along with "My Deliverer is Coming."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cleaning Up After Teens

Just as they don't want to clean their rooms, teens don't want to clean up the computer either. So I spent some time deleting old emails and files and photos. I feel better now that Meggar's digital camera is cleaned off. But when will I get all 597 prints in an album?!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Designer from TV

Meggar and I were fortunate enough to watch Jen Bertrand in action! She recently won "Design Star" and starts taping her own HGTV show this month. But she was in our neighborhood for 2 hours this morning giving her professional help to my friend Dee. (Note: Dee's house is already fabulous with great "loft appeal" and plenty of Pottery-Barn-looking, chocolate-colored accessories.) Jen was so easy to be with - she's funny and passionately artistic about decor/remodeling. Also realistic about budgets and kids in the house. We were star struck - and pleasantly full of tea and apple cake.

Mostly Megan

I've been meaning to congratulate my daughter on her new blog! http://www.mostly-megan.blogspot.com/ It's both classy and classical. Her goal is to provide food for thought for teens. So it's called "Mostly Megan" because she is the main contributor but also posts philosophy and logic from other good sources. Be sure to visit her!

High Waters

How nice to spend all evening just with Dorito! The twins and Meggar had activities with friends, so I took him shopping. He has outgrown all his jeans, slacks, and shorts. I especially feel bad each Sunday when he wears his high-waters... so off we went with Target and Kohl's coupons. Now, if you've ever been with a teen-age boy, then you know how painful the process of trying on clothes can be. They want to make a quick decision but jeans come in so many different styles and sizes. Dorito went from size 12 to size 16! Luckily, Kohl's also sells "real" church slacks - my boy likes to look as good as his Dad, you know. He needed size 18 in church slacks! We made a stop for Sonic slushes at the mid-way point of what ended up as a very successful shopping trip!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hatching Caterpillars

The twins are pleased to announce their caterpillar has hatched! After 2 weeks of watching the cocoon patiently in our front room, we have a Swallowtail (of some variety) to admire. Meggar and Dorito remember doing this for Science when they were younger, too.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

New Panera in Town!

Doesn't everyone wish they could have Panera soup and bagels for their school lunch?! Our big city finally boasts a Panera Restaurant on its main drag. My parents were traveling through so they treated all of us to lunch at the new spot. The look and smell of the bakery was unbeatable. It was fun to see several of St. Joe's movers and shakers also dining there.

Ready to Burst?

The cocoon turned dark brown/black today - we have high hopes!
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Letter to the Editor

I was published in the National Catholic Register:
Dear Editor,
I read the "shallow" review of the Henry Poole movie and was disappointed in Steven Greydanus’ assessment. He wanted the move to be more philosophical?! More satisfyingly engaging of the vagaries of life?! Unlike modern Hollywood productions which curse loudly and aren’t ashamed to tell all, this movie requires you to think for yourself. The beauty of this movie is its truly catholic treatment of Henry’s life in Anytown. Henry has been notified of a terminal illness and wants to wallow in depression and self-pity, but his conscience is being pricked by his religious neighbors. It is both laughable and sorrowful to watch him wrestle with his emotions and the workings of Providence in his life. The main characters even have names like Esperanza (which means "hope" in Spanish), Dawn, and Patience. Esperanza is a beautiful Catholic woman who cares about Henry’s humanity and, more importantly, cares for his eternal soul. Her parish priest even manages to say all the right things about the apparition on Henry’s house. I was eager to recommend this movie to my friends because there was no priest-bashing or anti-Catholic rhetoric, and I'll continue to do so.
My Name, Member of St. James Catholic Church and subscriber for 2 years

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Make a Wish

The only thing I asked for was a German Chocolate Cake. This 3-layer delicacy even had tea pot candles! The sweater and jewelry are from the Captain.
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Friday, September 12, 2008

Favourite Things

Raindrops on pink roses (from Lori),
and whiskers on kiddos (Dorito) -
Bright copper pennies (from Ms. April),
and warm woolen stockin's (from Meggar) -
Brown foil chocolates tied up with strings (from Lara) -
These are a few of my favorite birthday things!

The hockey moms joined me for lunch and gave me lipstick and a Palin jersey!

Early Birthday Presents

In honor of my birthday, I'm taking the morning off from homeschooling. So I watched John McCain on "the View" - what a treat to see him handle Whoopie Goldberg and Barbara Walters in one 15-minute segment without a commercial break! Those two are ruthless in their opinions, but McCain was calm and smiling and had perfect answers for his views. Cindy McCain also was not phased by the interviewers and handled their questions/accusations with grace.

First Birthday Card

My first birthday card arrived yesterday from Japan. It was fun to reconnect with Akemi Ueno-Wakatabe, who hosted me for 6 weeks in the summer of 1983. Her birthday was in July, so I wrote her about this blog site! She said there are too many English sentences to read it all, but she really enjoyed the pictures - especially the one of my brother Clint. Akemi hasn't seen him since he was 7 years old - during the summer she lived with us in Kansas. Nice to reminisce with "old" friends.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Spit and Polish

While sitting at the homeschool table with my twins, I started polishing the brass candlesticks. They needed attention, and I needed something to DO while waiting for spelling words to be written and math computations to be sorted out. Before long, I had polished off 6 candlesticks and 4 other brass pieces in the hearth room. I felt more accomplished than usual.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Half Birthday

The twins are 10 and a half now! And taller than expected!

Their Own Wheels

The three boys wanted to ride their bikes to chess class - 1.35 miles from our house. They know the route, so I said "Yes." Dorito didn't want to admit he fell and his chain came off. I was impressed that he fixed it without calling me to come pick them up. They even packed water bottles and granola bars to have on the way home. The bikes were quite popular and other boys wanted to ride around the parking lot after class was over.

In class, they learned an opening move called "The Stallion," which Winger explained to me in great detail that went over my head. Meanwhile, I'm marveling that my identical twins can play against each other in chess - because they think so much alike!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Eating with Jane Austen

It is a truth universally accepted that a woman in possession of a fine hat must be in want of a social outing. So I took my fine hat to the Farewell meeting of the Jane Austen Book Club tonight. We have eaten and discussed our way through all six novels, twice. I must say that the eight regulars have enjoyed great culinary and literary success. My grand finale was satisfying and delicious so I'm disclosing the source. (Note: I tried it before with non-alcoholic sparkling wine, but a Cab/Merlot blend definitely gave it more depth and character - which goes better with the fiction.)

Cold Raspberry Soup
2 c. frozen raspberries
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. red wine
2 c. cold water or sparkling water (I only used 1/2 cup)
Puree in food processor or blender until thoroughly combined. Chill. Serve with a garnish of fresh raspberries and mint leaves. Serves 4-6. (From the "Harvestland" Junior League Cookbook of Kansas City, 1980)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Publicly Speaking

Dorito gave a report about his High Adventure to the Cub Scouts at St. James tonight. He made a poster board to show a map of his canoe route and outlined it with several photos. A perfect chance to practice speaking in public about his favorite topic!

Use Your Noodle

Polar Bear loves this "Kanoodle" game. It was a Christmas present from his godmother, and the challenge is to build a pyramid with the 12 pieces. We leave it on the coffee table for those "boring" afternoons when there is nothing to do.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Merely Brainwashed

Our annual tailgate party with Gr. Gerald and Gr. Judy was a purple blast! How come it rains every year? KSU won 69-10, Grandpa yelled at the referees, and Meggar had a campus tour (a couple of guys thought she was old enough to be a student).

Friday, September 5, 2008

KU studies Monarchs

We looked in on the Monarch Open House at KU this morning, because we have helped these researchers with tagging for 3 years. The kids were amazed!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

iWant an iPhone 2

Captain has an iPhone, and Dorito watched the User's Manual DVD so he could teach Dad how to use it. Boy, are they fascinated by the new toy.

Vice President is a Hockey Mom

"The only difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is lipstick!" - Sarah Palin, 9/3/08
Guess I need to start wearing my lipstick more often!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Zero Tolerance with Punctuation

Happy Day for this Journalism major! I just received my "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" book, and I love it even more than I anticipated! Here's the best bit from the Introduction: "They asked people on the street if they used proper punctuation when sending text messages. 'Of course I punctuate my text messages, I did A-level English,' one young man explained with a look of scorn. Evidently an A level in English is a sacred trust, like something out of The Lord of the Rings. You must go forth with your A level and protect the English language with your bow of elfin gold. " I completely understand.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back on Board

You can see the love in their eyes -- my three sons returned to Chess Class with Mr. Bird this afternoon! First, they had a few practice rounds at home before going. Then, they talked the whole way there about who else would attend the class. At supper, the whole conversation was about "What's your best opening move?" and code words like E-4, primary squares, and blitz. Best lesson: "Mr. Bird said not to bring out your Queen before making 15 moves."

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pull the Pool Plug

Despite mild temperatures outside, the kids were determined to swim (in 78-degree water?) this weekend before we drain the pool for the season. The twins are desperate to learn to do a flip (like Brooks) off the diving board and figured out that wearing a life vest protects their back while still learning. I think Polar Bear mastered it first. But now Winger has got it!

Laughs with Husband

Captain and I enjoy the "watch instantly" feature of NetFlix because we never know when he is going to be home or be able to stay awake long enough to watch something together. The comedy of ventriloquist Jeff Dunham made us laugh (warning: puppets use bad language) and it took our minds off the "stuff" of life. Highly recommended.

Going Green

Our city does not provide curbside recycling, but a new company began offering a pick-up service! I figure the subscription is cheaper than driving to the recycling center by the river every 2 weeks or so. Bonus: This also keeps my garage neater without the overflowing bins waiting for me to get around to them.