Other Doings of the Week

Also this past week. . .
our yard got some trimming, weeding, clearing, and general TLC
the rose bush made its way onto a trellis
the garden received much-needed mulch
the baby's room, including closet, and the linen closet got walls
a free upright freezer arrived in our basement
I got a maternity swimsuit and a few sleeveless tops to wear for the next 8 weeks
a tiny camcorder made its way into our possession
some new power tools augmented Kevin's growing collection
I had coffee--twice (mmmm. . .it's so good that Caffe Pronto is 20 minutes away!)
the midwife reports that Baby is still head-down and will probably stay there, which bodes well for the future
we saw a white ferret walking alongside our street late in the evening

It's been busy. I'll work on getting some pictures of the yard and house progress. Right now, laundry calls.

Berry Cherry

Kevin's parents have been here visiting this past week. On Friday, while the guys went fly fishing (unfortunately, pictures of that are on their camera--somewhere in the sky between here and Oklahoma now), we girls went to a "pick your own" farm and harvested blueberries and cherries. Don't ask how many we came home with. . .it was easy to get carried away. I will say, though, that we paid less than a third of what the lovely fruits would have cost had we bought them from the grocery store--and they were tree and bush-ripened, to boot.

A Small Cake

Earlier this month,I made this cake as a centerpiece for the dessert table--filled with mousse--for the wedding of some friends from church.


A Gentle Reminder

A thought for the day from another blog.
Keeping the main thing, the main thing is so hard sometimes. You can try to impress Mom with your loving spirit and knock out your little sister while doing it. For my children, the problem is immaturity. For me, losing sight is from exhaustion. We all lose focus. No matter. I know I’m not the only one who is tired and forgetting about important things–people and my relationship with them. In the middle of it, you don’t have the perspective about what’s important that hindsight brings. You make decisions you wouldn’t have if you weren’t so tired. The heat of the moment—which can be a lot of moments strung together sometimes, a fog that won’t lift –is a testing ground, so choose well. Make the choice you would’ve wish you’d chosen if you were looking back. I’m talking about speaking kindly, being slow to anger, and preferring others above yourself.



This article by Jonah Goldberg, at NRO, is chilling. Cold-shiver, hole-in-my-stomach chilling. And it's not something I haven't heard mentioned or implied before, but the names and quotes and details are sickening.

In the article, Goldberg talks about the connection between birth control, abortion, and ridding society of the "undesirable" segment of the population--the poor, the minorities, the criminally-inclined--eugenics, in other words, but the very use of the word "eugenics" seems to provide some sterilization from the horror of the ideas involved.

Go read it. It is good to be informed of such things. Be an informed citizen, though it sicken you.


Why I Wouldn't Buy a GPS

At Slate, Joel Achenbach explains--with a good dose of humor--precisely why I have no affinity for GPS. My favorite quotes, the number and length of which surely violate copyright laws, are below--and if they don't inspire you to go read the whole thing, you probably have or want to have a talking map in your car. . .which is fine. For you. Not for me.

But I'm a good navigator. My brain is crammed with little magnets that tell me the direction of true north. By studying the landscape, finding the sun in the sky, examining the moss on trees, and judging the rabbit pellets and bear spoor by temperature and mouthfeel, I can reliably find the nearest Starbucks.
. . .
With GPS there is no terra incognita. It's all been cognita-ed to the last square millimeter.
. . .
Computers can't cruise. Meandering is a foreign concept to them. The computer assumes that all behavior is in pursuit of an ultimate goal. Whenever a motorist changes his or her mind and veers off course, the GPS lady issues that snippy announcement: "Recalculating!"

But again, I can tolerate the computer; the bigger problem is that the GPS device robs the traveler of a human skill that has emerged from Deep Time. We are generally quite good at reading landscapes. We are members of a hunting and gathering species, and we've learned, over the millenniums, to find prey, forage, and shelter; to anticipate changes in weather; to interpret hostility or amicability among others of our kind; to sniff out sexual opportunities. Surely we can find our hotel downtown.
. . .
I won't go along anymore. Better to be lost than zombified.

It's like using a calculator to tally your checkbook balance--not to align your tally with your bank statement balance, but to do the basic addition and subtraction of deposits and debits. I like my basic math skills. I want to keep them. At least until our children have time to learn them.

Kudos to HSK at World Mag Blog for the heads-up.


No Comments, please

Without issuing--or inviting--any commentary on Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Al Qaeda, the "War on Terror" or any other such controversial topic, this is a somewhat amusing bumper sticker:
It’s up to God to judge terrorists; It's up to us to arrange the meeting! USMC
Or is the fact that I find that mildly amusing commentary in itself?

A Funny Shirt

I doubt I would actually wear this, but I saw a shirt advertised that said:
I make milk.
What's your superpower?

I found it funny. . .but my sense of humor is a bit over-developed these days.


Quote of the Day

taken from Doug Wilson, here.
"Nonsense does not improve by being bellowed" (Charles Spurgeon, An All-Round Ministry, p. 42).
Wilson adds, in his post title, "Or by being run through a world-class sound system."

So many applications, so little time. . . .


30 Weeks, plus some

It's not the most spectacular picture ever, but here's the 30-week view, and a couple other shots we took this weekend.

During our little rainstorm, the Goldfinch obligingly sat perfectly still, allowing for a much better picture than is in my previous post.

I started to take a drink of my water Saturday when this little guy startled me away. How often does a praying mantis visit you while you're sitting inside on the couch?


Coffee Experiment

Nearly 7 months later, I've finally captured our new vacuum-action chemistry--err, coffee process on camera.

The apparatus, pre-assembly:

Assembled, coffee and water in place:

As the water heats, vacuum action sucks it up the tube into the globe, where the coffee awaits:

When the water in bottom begins to boil, the steam pressure agitates the coffee, eliciting the perfect brew:

With a centimeter or two of water remaining in the bottom, the entire assemblage is gently removed from the heat, releasing the suction in seconds as it cools:

The now-brewed coffee drains back into the bottom, leaving the grounds on top:

Detach and enjoy!


Quote of the Day

. . .for the simile, the alliteration, and the general humor:

"Intellectuals spray polysyllables like squid ink, to evade the democratic decencies of conversation."

-credit to Rick Hills, linked from this post on anti-intellecutalism at World Mag Blog, posted by Harrison Scott Key.



First, let me state clearly that I don't hate cats. To the discredit of accepted either/or wisdom, I like them as much as I like dogs. I'm not keen on owning either, primarily because I really, really dislike pet hair all over the house. But there's no dislike for the animals themselves.

There's this commercial. It makes us laugh every time we see it, which is fairly regularly. It starts out showing sad pictures of various lonely cats with the voice over question, "Could you kill this cat?" If cats made puppy-dog faces, these cats would. Then it quotes some statistic about the number of stray cats killed in some given amount of time. Then it says--and I quote, "Killing doesn't reduce the population. Spaying or neutering does." And it ends with some information about getting your cat "fixed."

Now, don't get me wrong. If you can't deal with kittens or don't want to, the responsible thing to do is to spay or neuter your pet. But seriously--killing doesn't reduce the population??? Even if there are 25,000 stray cats and only one is killed, hasn't the population been reduced to 24,999? Or is that an increase in cat math? I'm fairly certain that killing anything reduces the population of that species by at least one--and while spaying or neutering may very well reduce the future population of said species, it does not reduce the current population one whit.

It's just a great advertisement. The announcer is so serious and sad and so obviously working hard to create a massive guilt trip for the unsuspecting viewer--but it all falls to pieces with "killing doesn't reduce the population."

Please excuse my off-beat sense of humor.


Shenandoah National Park

We accomplished a two-night backpacking trip this weekend, celebrating our upcoming fourth anniversary and my impending lack of mobility (at least as far as trekking through mountains carrying a backpack is concerned). It was a great trip, mostly great weather, and gorgeous country. It was a bit warm in the middle of the day, but the trees were tall and created a cooling canopy, the rivers and streams we walked alongside abounded in cool breezes, and it was--in my opinion--totally worth it. Kevin obligingly carried more than his share of our supplies and muddled through 3 days of awful allergies on top of that. Here are some of our pictures:

Our campsite the second night was on a small mountain (large hill? raised area?) between the fork of two river branches. Literally, you stood at our tent and saw a river below you on either side. It was totally secluded and we slept to the burbling of the water. . .and the buzzing of the numerous bees that, fortunately, stayed outside the tent. This is the view upstream on one side.

Our first evening's hike was along a trail fringed with this small flowering tree, mountain laurel. The cup-like buds were really unique.

Kevin took this great shot from one of the waterfall overlooks.

Catalog of Wildlife

While backpacking, we kept a running catalog of the impressive array of wildlife we spotted, not including numerous bees, flies, gnats, mosquitoes, and other insects or arachnids. The List:
    deer -- about a dozen does and 2 young bucks
    various butterflies, some quite large
    toads, 2 small rust-colored and one larger one
    Scarlet Tanager
    bird of prey (perhaps a Peregrin Falcon?) with snake in beak
    one very fuzzy caterpillar, as well as the more frequently spotted tree-dwellers
    two mice
    ground squirrel
    black bear
    marmot (alive, for a change. . .not roadkill

The black bear (!) actually walked right through our secluded, backcountry campsite--about 20 yards from where we were seated near our tent. We would have loved to get a picture, but it was (thankfully) ambling THROUGH and not TOWARD our immediate surroundings, and we didn't think it wise to chase it with a camera. It was really neat, but we're glad he kept on walking.

Here are some that we did get pictures of:

one young buck

the larger toad

the Scarlet Tanager--it's hard to see, I know, but look for the splash of red in the center. He stayed in the trees above us for 5 or 10 minutes during one of our (frequent) breaks. He was beautiful and amazing.

my really fuzzy--and slightly blurry--caterpillar


Quote of the Day

. . .from (yet another) birth video in the Bradley class.

Doctor to Patient: "You'll have a baby soon, if you keep your fingers crossed and your legs uncrossed."

hee hee hee hee
Tell me that's not funny.


Right at Home

When I went to the grocery store this afternoon, it was hot and sunny. When I came out roughly an hour later, the sky was dark and ominous and heavy--you Oklahoma residents know exactly what I mean. I thought, "Hmmm. . .if we were in Oklahoma, I'd say there were a tornado watch. But I guess it's just a thunderstorm moving in."

By the time I loaded my groceries, put away my cart, got in the car, and made it onto the highway, there was an emergency weather alert on the radio. What do you know? Tornado warnings! Actual rotations and everything.

Yep, right at home.


Birthdays and Showers

I've been able to decorate again recently, so here are some pictures. The first is a joint wedding shower cake for 2 couples at church. The others are birthday cakes for Jen's 1-year-old twins, which she let me help decorate. Aren't they adorable? (The twins, that is)