Saturday, November 30, 2013

Old and New Hockey Friends

The twins were thrilled that Hockey Henry was coming to Kansas City to see his grandparents over Thanksgiving. Even better, they heard about a stick-and-puck session at the rink. Three friends from their old team met up with them to scrimmage against the three Thunder players.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday

We heard stories about the Black Friday shoppers. It seems extra silly to me this year. I was thinking how one man's excess is another man's entire monthly salary.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Being Thankful

On Thanksgiving Day, we like to go around the table and tell what we are thankful for. God has been good to us in many ways. But Captain has spent the last 50 days looking for a new job. He was laid off somewhat unexpectedly. Certainly undeservedly. This makes us thankful for all the things we do have: like each other, good relationships, good health, good attitudes, and faith that the merciful Lord has a better plan for our future.
Ever since the election of Pope Francis, my thoughts have returned over and again to his friend's whispered last-minute plea: "Don't forget the poor." I believe there are people who are poor in finances, but also those who experience poverty in many other ways. A poverty of health, a poverty of "smarts" in the classroom, a poverty of friends in social circles, the poverty of childlessness, and worst of all = a poverty of faith.
How many people do you help who are sick and ill? (Or do you walk on the other side of the road busy with your own cares?) How many people do you treat with patience and understanding when they don't "get it" right away? (Their gifts may lie hidden beneath a C- exterior.) How many people do you make time to be friendly with? (Even if they are nerdy, awkward, annoying, or not in your clique of friends.) How many people do you tell about Jesus? (Using words only if necessary--like St. Francis advised.)
I ponder these things for my own conscience and maturing spirituality. But it is even more challenging to look deeper:
Am I willing to give freely to the poor, even if they appear able to work? Do I judge those who are dependent on the government and seem to manipulate the system?
Am I as compassionate for the sick and suffering when it was brought on/made worse by their smoking, drinking, and drug use? or by their eating addictions? Or do I judge these as inevitable consequences?
Am I as understanding with arrogant people? or as patient with the simple-minded? or as willing listen to the divorced and lonely? Because everyday there are entertaining outlets which tempt me not to care too deeply.
Am I friends with the outcasts? the immigrant? the smelly? the toothless? the haughty? the wasteful?
Am I serving God with the gifts and talents that He gave me? Does my life proclaim the salvation of souls in a way that attracts others to Jesus?
I am thankful for our savings account as a safety net, but more importantly for the bounty of children at my table, the excess of talk and ideas, the vibrant health of hockey boys, and the unity we feel in Christ as He assists us in facing our various struggles.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Thanksgiving Feast

 I am a good cook, if I do say so myself! Right on schedule, we gathered for prayers and toasts in the dining room. I admired my antique table, sparkling china (surprise gift from Captain a decade ago), and mostly my children! Tomorrow is the "real" Thanksgiving, but I wanted to do my own dinner so we could have a relaxing day with each person's favorites:
Meggar--sweet potatoes (with pecans),
Dorito--scalloped onions plus my organic pumpkin pie (with no whipped cream),
Polar Bear--chocolate cream pie with graham cracker crust (with whipped cream),
Winger--whole wheat butterhorn rolls (with honey),
Captain--oyster stuffing (with lots of gravy),
Wife--cranberry fluff salad, parsnips, brussel sprouts, and bread-and-butter pickles.

Monday, November 25, 2013

College Boy is Back Home

Dorito is a sweet fellow--and very talkative his first day back.
He is participating in Movember (a mustache-growing philanthropy fundraiser for Phi Kappa Theta) so that takes a little getting used to.
He told us about his uncomfortable bed in the sleeping dorms, which he doesn't actually mind because he stays up late to study and gets up early for classes.
He explained how the pledges have to share lunch KP duties, which he doesn't actually mind because the cook lets him taste-test her food. From the sound of it, she makes everything from scratch (very impressive to this hungry teenager).
He grumbled about his wake-up duty, because there are no alarm clocks allowed in the sleeping dorm. He chose Wednesday morning at the beginning of the semester without giving it much thought. Now he realizes that Wednesday is "dress up day" for their formal dinner, so he has to get up even earlier to shower, shave, and dress up before his duties begin of waking up other boys (every 15 minutes per the schedule board).

He laughed and said, "I have a crush on the volleyball team." when he really meant, "I have a crush on a girl on the volleyball team." (He goes to all the home volleyball meets.) She is cute and tall, but at least she is a freshman. He also has a crush on a sophomore, but she only wants to be "friends." And then there are twin senior girls who have a crush on him! Kinda fun to hear all the stories...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Gaining Wisdom

Captain had two wisdom teeth pulled yesterday, so he stayed home to rest while I took the twins to their friendship games in Cincinnati. This was not the best timing, and I was sorry I couldn't be around to assist my husband when he was feeling crummy. But it was a good weekend for the twins. Polar Bear was back on the ice (after missing 9 games due to his hip injury). He scored the first goal of the first game today on a big break-away. Then he helped set up Winger who scored the second and third goals, leading their team to a 4-1 victory. We're baaaaaacckkk!

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Narnian in Poets' Corner

Everyone knows about the day when C.S. Lewis died. (It was the same day that JFK was assassinated 50 years ago.) Yet just as significant as the admired president was this beloved member of the "Inklings" from Oxford. His literary legacy was enshrined this year by a Time magazine cover the placement of a marker in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
The South Transept of this royal church (originally a Benedictine monastery) has long been referred to as Poets' Corner where graves, markers, and memorial plaques are placed for writers such as: Chaucer (the first one), Shakespeare, Milton, Brontë sisters, Dickens, Keats, Tennyson, Browning, and that famous poet Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins. Now wedged between Betjeman and Blake, a stone for Clive Staples Lewis has been laid.
It was commemorated in London with a 2-day conference on apologetics, a choral evensong, and a service of Thanksgiving preached by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, with one of Lewis' poems "Love's as Warm as Tears" being performed as an anthem.
The British author is known to have been an admirer of Yeats and started trying to compose verse at age 19 under the name Clive Hamilton, from his mother's maiden name. His poems were largely written in the trenches during WWI, when he was an avowed atheist. Neither volume of his poetry had any success. Nor did his unbelief last very long either. He came to Christianity through the works of authors George MacDonald, J.R.R. Tolkien, and G.K. Chesterton. He joined the Church of England in 1931, much to the dismay of Tolkien, who had hoped he would become a Catholic. Lewis first met Tolkien in 1926 and later wrote:
"Friendship with the latter marked the breakdown of two old prejudices. At my first coming into the world, I had been (implicitly) warned never to trust a Papist, and at my first coming into the English Faculty (explicitly) never to trust a philologist. Tolkien was both."
Throughout the past 50 years, C.S. Lewis has touched all believers with his orthodox writing. I find his style approachable and enjoyable, intelligent but not high-handed. He started with "Mere Christianity," and so did I. Since then I have also read:
The Four Loves
The Great Divorce
The Screwtape Letters
Surprised by Joy
Reflections on the Psalms
The Chronicles of Narnia
Speaking of which, did you know where he got the name for Narnia?
The name comes from a little town in Italy (halfway between Rome and Assisi) called Narni --or Narnia in Latin. He liked the sound of it and underlined in an atlas he acquired while reading the classics with his tutor, Mr. Kirkpatrick. Its reference comes from Pliny the Younger's letter to his mother-in-law, in which he mentions the excellence of the accomodations of her villa at Narnia, especially the beautiful baths. Undoubtedly, his education laid the foundation for producing such epic and imaginative stories later on. And his life's experiences led him to be able to authentically relate his faith in God and thus become one of the leading Christian apologists of his time.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Catholic President

The only Catholic president of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, will be lauded tomorrow upon the 50th anniversary of his death. I cannot help but acknowledge that JFK was an idol among Catholics in his day. I wasn't around to witness 1960 or 1963. But I can just imagine. Never before had the nation seen a first lady wearing a chapel veil,
nor a President attend mass with his two young children.
He came from a large Catholic family in Massachusetts. His mother, Rose, had 9 children: many of whom had public service in their blood. His father was a state senator, and his grandfather had been mayor of Boston, etc. etc.
Mostly he is remembered in Catholic circles for his "separation of church and state" campaign speech to a group of Protestant ministers in Houston. Apparently he convinced them. It only proved to Catholics that he had phenomenal diplomacy. One man wrote his remembrance of the speech by saying: "He stared down the anti-Catholic know-nothings and won the hearts and minds of more than a few WASP and Jewish voters, as well as the admiration of Roman Catholics whose ancestors did not hail from the Emerald Isle."
Why was his religion the crux for many voters? Did they really think his Pope would dictate to him?
And if so (gasp), what would any Pope have said: Stand opposed to artificial contraception since it is un-Biblical? (Pope Paul VI actually said The Pill was wrong anyway, in 1968.) Stand against abortion? Stand up for traditional marriage? Stand for equal rights regardless of race or creed?
How is it then that a Catholic platform would be bad policy for America? It's ironic that Catholics and Protestants stand together today for these same principles and value a "whole fabric of harmonious society."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Title-Blending Meme

Winger will like the very last submission. I sent out this challenge to some literary friends and so far I only have one that I can offer which came in quickly as a reply -- enjoy these, and add to the list!
My Own Creations:
The Fox and the Hound of Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Mannix
Common Sense and Sensibility by Thomas Paine Austen

Aunt Jean's:
Gone With the Wind in the Willows by Margaret Grahame
Of Mice and Men of Iron by John Pyle

This word-game started at Literary Compass (in 2007) who said:
"I've never started a meme before, but I've always wanted to (Well, maybe not always, but at least since last Thursday. Anyway...) Here are the rules:

Blend two book titles together by using the last word of one title and the first word of the second title. If you want, you can blend the authors' names too. Like this:
• The Divine Comedy of Errors by Dante Shakespeare
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince of Tides by J.K. Conroy
The Canterbury Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Geoffrey Blume
The Screwtape Letters to a Young Poet by C.S. Rilke

and of course,
The Last Don Quixote by Mario de Cervantes.
Now it's your turn."
First, it was happily discovered when I was reading back in Alicia von Hecke's blog (2012):

For some reason this old title-blending meme came up in conversation today, and I thought it was funny enough to repost five years later. Besides we have a few more to add
To Kill a Mockingjay 
The Swiss Family Robinson Crusoe 
The Invisible Manalive 

I got tagged by Nick over at Literary Compass to do his brand-new Title-Blending Meme (what fun!).
Our first one was sort of cheating 
Christopher Robin Hood
because it's one Ria "accidentally" made up when she was two or three years old (but honestly, I don't think I could come up with anything better myself).

Here are mine:
The Evidential Power of Beauty and the Beast
The King of Ireland's Son of Charlemagne
String, Straightedge and Shadow of the Bear
In Defense of Philosophy for Dummies
The Dangerous Book for Boys and Girls of Colonial Days
The Boxcar Children of Hurin
The Man Who Knew Too Much Ado About Nothing
Here are some from my son, Gus:
The Everlasting Man Who Was Thursday
The Babe Ruth Story of the Greeks
The Story of the First World War II for Kids (with help from Ria)
Centerburg Tales of the Greek Heroes
Blaze and the Mountain Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
I Am David and Goliath 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hunting Season in Missouri

Winger got his first deer -- ever!

A Verse about Autumn

I liked poetry as a little girl (A.A. Milne book wtih green binding), and I recall first memorizing a verse in order to recite it at Grandmother's house for Thanksgiving Day. Ever since, I sprinkle poems into the margins of our school and family days. Imagine my joy at finding the perfect autumnal poem over the weekend. I was at Sally Clarkson's blog, and then read her daughter's blog, and found that she admires C.S. Lewis and all the Inklings… until I arrived at my favorite page about the author which tells the historic bits and how his life intersected and overlapped with Jack Lewis.

(By Owen Barfield)

An Autumn Bicycle-Ride

The leaves, grown rusty overhead,
Dropped on the road and made it red.
The air that coldly wrapped me round,
Stained by the glowing of the ground,
Had bathed the world in the cosy gloom
Of a great, red-carpeted, firelit room;
It filled my lungs, as I rode along,
Till they overflowed in a flood of song,
And joy grew truculent in my throat,
Uttering a pompous trombone-note;
For this elegant modern soul of mine
Was warm with old Autumn’s rich red wine.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Catering Chores

Captain took the twins to hockey practice this weekend, which meant that in my absence he also assumed my responsibility for team meals. I'm not sure if he liked being thrown into that position or not, but he did well catering the Saturday snack. Off to the grocery store he went for a few supplies and within an hour he had made 20 peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches--on individual plates with a side of apple slices! Isn't he handy to have a Swiss Army knife in the glove box?
Back on the home-front, I cooked all afternoon yesterday: two shortcakes and two pies in preparation for Thanksgiving feasts next week. I also made a 9x13 pan of chicken enchiladas to stay ahead of the curve!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Music at the Edges

One of the challenges is living without a piano in Nashville. Our instrument always draws me into the front room when we come back to Missouri. But I found that I also missed playing the organ every week for church. While I was home, I filled in for the early mass at St. James. (Tracy and JL treated me to a Cracker Barrel breakfast as compensation.) That old pipe organ, however, is so stiff that I get an entire workout between the two keyboards and foot pedals. Of course, I chose some of my favorite songs (which were still relevent to the liturgy).

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Success: I moved three herbs to indoor pots today. Bernadette would be so proud of the lushness of my rosemary! And I harvested some lavender stems, which smell enchanting. We also had an abundance of strawberries still in our freezer, so I canned three batches of jam, resulting in 25 pints. Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas? A taste of Southern California in a jar!

Friday, November 15, 2013


We have lived in this house just over nine years. We homeschool and, therefore, we seem to use all the rooms, all the time. In the past three months, I believe I have changed nearly every single lightbulb! Wow.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving (Next) Thursday

Thinking about Thanksgiving… 
"Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment." - C. S. Lewis
Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man - C. S. Lewis
Not just the "thanks" but also the "giving"...
"If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small." - C. S. Lewis
"There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot because our charitable expenditure excludes them." - C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

College Job Interviews

Meggar had a couple of interviews this week. One of the graduating seniors is leaving at semester so that opens up a musician job at the Presbyterian Church. Would pay $75 per week.
She also interviewed with a textbook company who hires representatives for two weeks to buy back books for them. They were so impressed by Meggar's interview that they offered her the job as Supervisor for all Truman State reps.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Take Time for Tea

Catching up with friends is always a pleasure: Dee and I went to the Gothic Tea Room (just love their warm scones with homemade lemon curd). I also had a tea party with Constance today, including sausage quiche and cinnamon buns. Meggar is making scones too. She has a group presentation for her British Literature class and called me for the Scottish Scones recipe from our American Girls Cookbook. Afternoon tea just makes the class/afternoon/life go better!
Proper Scottish Scones
2 c. flour, sifted
2 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/4 t. soda
1/2 c. raisins, currants, or coconut
1/4 c. oil
1/2 c. sour cream
1 egg
3 T. milk
Combine dry ingredients first. Stir in raisins. Add remaining ingredients and stir until dough just clings together. Knead slightly on floured board, and pat to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out rounds with biscuit cutter or pretty shape. Place on greased cookie sheet. Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with pinch of sugar or sprinkles. Bake at 400' F for 12-15 minutes. Serve with butter, jam, and whipped cream.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day During Civil War

We honored Veteran's Day by teaching an all-day program for homeschoolers at the One-Room Schoolhouse. Of course, we used the 34-star flag of 1861 for flag-raising.
Polar Bear and Winger were great helpers: they braved the chilly weather to help boys saw logs for firewood and played games at recess despite the spitting rain. Indoors, we girls worked on embroidery and learned about quilts. We did ciphering, recitations, butter churning, and finished up with a couple of fiddle tunes.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Prodigal Son

Meggar calls him the "Prodigal Son," since he hasn't come back since college began in August. But Dorito looked so grown up when he walked in!
He is claiming a "No Shave November" look, and told us stories of being swamped with studying and socializing at K-State. Spencer liked his Phi Kap jacket, and the twins liked hearing about the sorority girls he has met. Dorito was also on the evening news at the Free Bacon Night at Bramalage Coliseum.
This weekend, we tried to roll out the red carpet for everyone with homemade food (including three desserts) and visits with friends. The boys went skating, watched movies, and enjoyed NHL hockey at Buffalo Wild Wings. We girls drank tea and went to the craft shows and estate sales around town (including the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art). Saw several people we knew. At the Rusty Chandelier Gift Expo, I came upon a booth of antique button jewelry and the "Closures" name seemed very familiar. So I asked the owner... Sure enough, I remembered her! She began her button jewelry business in Salina roughly 20 years ago. I bought a bracelet of Civil War buttons from her the summer of 1996 at the Smoky Hill River Festival (we lived in Salina that year). It has 12 pretty brass buttons in a row, and I spent a fortune on it. Well, $30 was a fortune to me back then as a stay-at-home mother with a toddler and baby. Best coincidence of all, I was wearing it today! She was tickled to see my bracelet, and she offered to replace its missing button--for FREE.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Old Home Week

Lesa was in town for some business. Just saw her in Detroit in September at hockey tournament, but it was fun to catch up with her this week. And to celebrate Alison's birthday. And to hear Brenda's report from book club.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Home, Sweet Home

Been back for three days in our "own" beds, which is always nice after lots of driving. Captain calculated 90 hours in the past few weeks, but I didn't want to check his math. Instead I calculated hockey stats for twins, proofread two papers for Dorito, and worked the polls all day Tuesday. The ballot only contained a tax measure, so the turnout was low. I don't mind working 13.5 hours when I'm allowed to read! I finished three magazines and half of the PD James novel "Death Comes to Pemberly."

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hockey Games in Pittsburgh

Yes, all my posts are about hockey lately.
Polar Bear is keeping stats for the Super Series in Pittsburgh this weekend. Captain said knows more about the game than we imagined. He can see the full ice and the strategies of other players. He would make a terrific coach. We tried be happy about having won four games, but today's loss against Belle Tire was hard to stomach. They are our rival and appeared to roster three players from their National squad this afternoon. Plus their crowd of moms was rowdy and plain rude. On the bright side, Polar Bear remains the only Thunder player to score against the Belle Tire team, as we lost 0-4 today without him.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Foods of New England

Laurie took us to Clyde's Cider Mill for hot caramel apple cider and cider doughnuts.
This is the only steam-powered mill in the U.S. and is still operating like it did in 1881. They make hard and sweet ciders, wine, jam, preserves, etc. with the sixth generation family members.
We left yesterday with full tummies of clam chowder, and we were grateful for the hospitality of the Green and Peoples families.