Saturday, June 30, 2007

Something fun for supper...

Adam says he wants to make something fun for supper tonight. Hmm:
Well, there's the peanut butter cookies Anna made yesterday. They're pretty fun. Almost gone, too.

So, Adam made some bread. The oven heated up well for a change. A little brown.

I suggested fondue. That's fun! Thanks to Currie/Abby for our love of fondue. I offered to do the horrible dishes. It's a deal!
Here's the cheese fondue. Raclette and Mexican melting cheese.

Here's the dessert - chocolate fondue, with bananas, strawberries and apples. Very nice.

The kids loved it. Only one chocolate stain on the carpet. We watched "The Glenn Miller Story" from Netflix, and snuggled to the great music.

Alone in Blog World

So, I've spent way too much time today blogging around. Mostly, I'm trying to beef up my list of blogs to peruse regularly. I visit the blogs of friends, and look at THEIR blog lists. I try to find people I know.

Why don't people my age blog? I'd love to read blog entries from my old friends, my siblings and cousins. That's what these 20-somethings get to do. I find myself standing out in the cold, alone in the blog world, looking in through the window at the lives of the children of people I know.

It makes me feel vaguely like an old pervert, a peeping tom leering longingly at the exciting lives of people young enough to be experiencing things for the first time, who keep blogs so their parents (who are my age) can keep up with their children's wonderful lives.

I wonder what I have to offer. Maybe if I stick with it long enough, some contemporaries will join the game.

Friday, June 29, 2007

A better day

Here's the new vacuum I picked. It's a Hoover Mach 3 Multi-Chamber Cyclonic. That means it can take me to the moon and then suck up moon rocks for me!

Daddy and daughter laugh it up on the couch.

Yesterday I spent the whole morning sitting in a hot yard, waiting for my husband to get his new vehicle operational. It didn't happen. I was uncomfortable, bored, irritable...and spending precious time. But we did finally get the car home, on a tow truck. Want to hear a funny coincidence? The name of our tow truck driver was Sanford H....k. Guess the name of the road, where our car came from? Sanford. Guess the name of our road? H....k. Weird.

Today is better. He brought me breakfast in bed, and I proceeded to spend the next couple of hours blogging and surfing. He is in the back yard, tacking away at brush.

I would feel guilty about this, except...this is my reward for almost 18 years of child-raising, cooking, cleaning, and tending to him also. Life can be pretty good in your 40's!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

An Addition to the Family!

Say hello to Audrey!

She's a 1986 Jaguar XJ6 that Adam bought for $450! What a deal! She doesn't run yet :(

Check out Julia's new haircut...

Anna in the kitchen

Philip, just home from work. He likes Audrey. He would like to drive Audrey. He would like to buy Audrey. Keep working, boy!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

An English teacher's reading summer:

Here is my summer reading list, the books I've given for my various students to read. I also must read them all, since it's been many years since I've read some of them.

Old Man and the Sea - Hemingway
Daisy Miller - James
All Quiet on the Western Front -Remarque
Animal Farm - Orwell
Lord of the Flies - Golding
The Power and the Glory - Greene
Fathers and Sons - Turgenev
As I Lay Dying - Faulkner
Billy Budd - Melville
My Antonia - Cather
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Twain
The Sun Also Rises - Hemingway
Great Expectations - Dickens
Gulliver's Travels (only Lilliput & Brobdignag) - Swift
Dracula - Stoker
The Mayor of Casterbridge - Hardy

That's summer reading, 4 novels for each grade, 9th-12th. All I have to do is read them, and come up with one good essay question per novel. Our school is not requiring the summer reading this time, but the student gets extra credit for reading them & being assessed. I have all those books except Old Man and the Sea and As I Lay Dying, which have somehow been lost over our many moves. I priced them at B&N last night - their only copy of Old Man and the Sea was a fancy-shmancy hard cover for $20.00!!! No way. And the Faulkner sold for about $12.00 - too much. I found Dracula (also lost somewhere) for $4 with my teacher discount.

During the school year, we'll be studying a few more novels, in much more depth. Here they are:
9th/10th grades: A Tale of Two Cities & In the Land of White Death (I'm not crazy about this non-classic, but the school already owns the copies, and I taught it last year.)
11th - The Scarlet Letter & The Red Badge of Courage (I've already taught both several times.)
12th - Frankenstein & Heart of Darkness (I finished my in-depth study of Frank. I took 17 pages of teaching notes, plus a 5-day study schedule for teaching the themes of the novel in one week.)

I read Daisy Miller yesterday. I started All Quiet on the Western Front today. I'll begin my deeper study of A Tale of Two Cities this week - that will take awhile, as I haven't read it in years.

For my personal enjoyment, I make sure to read a little bit of "Over Sea, Under Stone" by Susan Cooper, each day. I really love children's literature more than adults, the older I get. This wonderful book always spirits me away to Cornwall.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Death of a friend

Yes, sad to say, my Oreck vacuum cleaner died yesterday! Boo, hoo, hoo! It was only 7 years old. The fan blades had ripped off, and the motor overheated and melted, and well ... it died. My husband did the autopsy.

I would take a picture of the deceased, but my camera is in ICU, and probably won't recover. Sigh.

So, I need to get a new vacuum cleaner, and quick! I've had a Dirt Devil before, but it did not last as long as I wanted. You see, I have as my example the vacuum cleaner of my mother...

Her Kirby was purchased in WV about 40 years ago. My dad bought it from a salesman. It had a life-time warranty. When it died a few years ago, my dad sorted through his files, produced the original documentation, sent the goods back to the company, and TADA! the Kirby is still working well today. 40 years.

That's the standard, for me.

Now, I got a $400 Oreck (gulp) because I thought they were supposed to LAST! We used them in the dorms at Cono, sucking up boys' dorm debri. They're little beasts (the vacuums, that is). I am very disappointed that my Oreck died such a quick death.

What to buy next? If you have a suggestion, please leave a post! I saw some Electoluxes (is that right?) at Lowe's, but failed to note the prices. I don't want another WalMart special.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

More bush destruction

My camera doesn't seem to be taking very good pictures, but - here's the pile of debri after my beefy husband pulled out several camelia bushes by the roots, using a mattock. Poor old bushes. They were leggy and ugly.

Here's the little rugosa rose bush I put there instead. I keep reminding myself that it will eventually fill this space. It's like putting a newborn down for a nap on a king-sized bed.

The hole

Here's the other side of the front steps. These camelias will also need to come out, and I'll put the other rugosa there. Am I crazy? See how tall and cramped they are?

The boys enjoy Runescape. Julia enjoys bothering them.

Today we take William back to his parents, and we bring our Anna back home. I think they've both had a fun week - what we call the Great Kid Swap of 2007.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The final product

The peach preserves. Sorry you can't see them well - I did use the flash. A row of preserves is one of the most beautiful things to me - it represents so much work, and mess, but looks so simple and lovely. Rather like a sleeping child, after his bath.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Teacher Loves Summer

Soon to be peach preserves. Our neighbor gave them to us.

The little poem by Sandburg made me want warm, homemade biscuits immediately! Here they are!

I'm so happy in the summertime. I hate to admit it, but I always dread teaching in the fall. All the activities of the summer, even though it's my least favorite season, relax my soul and make me happy. Sleeping until 8:00. Staying up till 11:00. Spending hours tending plants or making delicious food. Reading for pleasure instead of a deadline. Enjoying my children. All these things are limited, or eliminated, during the school year.

The Finished Wall

The "before" shot

The "after" shot

Adam finished it today.

Another angle

Lovely, isn't it?

Poetry is

...the harnessing of the paradox of earth cradling life and then entombing it.

...a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable.

...the achievement of the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.

- Carl Sandburg

Monday, June 18, 2007

Chocolate malts

In an 'Old Speckled Hen' glass

Julia enjoyed hers to the last slurp.

I bought 2 rugosa roses today - something tough and hardy that I can't kill. Can't decide where to put them yet, so they'll have to live in their pots until I find the perfect spot, and Adam ejects whatever unfortunate shrub presently occupies the space.
Our vegetable garden is a jungle. We cannot see the onions anymore.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Home at last!

Post-Camp Exhaustion
Don't ask about the book wedged... Don't have a clue about that!

Here's the work Adam and Philip did while I was gone - see that lovely slope? Adam will plant grass there, and I'll put in some bulbs, or a few annuals. And see Philip's impressive wall? He's got a good eye.

Adam making his pasta dough

First batch of pasta

Some of my spaghetti sauce to go along with it

Now, I don't want ANY comments about how most of my pictures are food.

We watched the Colditz movie (the old one from the '50s) last night. Colditz is a fascinating story. Check out the book, "Colditz." It's better.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I forgot the creme brulee!

I failed to mention that Carolyn also served Creme Brulee - my first time to try it! Is it possible to fall in love with a food?

I came home today with Julia. My hubby is happy to see me. Peter stayed at his grandparents' for a little longer, with his cousin William. Anna has decided to stay with her aunt & uncle (William's parents) another week. So, we have a quiet house right now! Evidently, Anna is quiet, helpful and polite. I hope she brings that back home with her!

I bought Adam a hand-crank pasta maker. He is thrilled, and intends to serve us spaghetti, lasagna, and ravioli. He has also been through a: puffed pastry state, pizza stage, brief soup stage, lengthy bread stage. My favorite was the pizza. Or the bread.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Brunch, Tea, Cinderella

Carolyn invited me to her home for a private, delectable brunch. She served strawberry soup (okay, so if you put a straw in it, you might call it a milkshake...).Doesn't she look lovely in her lavender?

This was our main plate. She cut croissants in half, buttered. Then added flaked crab meat, mixed with mayonnaise and generous parmesan and gruyere cheese, plut shallots, I think, and artichokes. On top is a toasted blend of herbs, bread crumbs and butter. Yumm. I cleaned my plate.

Then...Carolyn and I went to a tea at 3:00 at Hunter's house. Many ladies there. Scones, trifle, sandwiches, cheese, dear friends and their warm company.

Here is my dear hostess, and her helper.

And then! I went to the musical "Cinderella" with my parents and another friend.
What a full day! I dropped into bed at 11:30. But it was fun.
When I pick the kids up from camp, I think I'll be as worn out with fun as they will be.
Julia says she saw a bear - a real bear! - outside her window at camp. Hmm.

I'm not making much headway on "Frankenstein," but I'll be at home this evening alone, and I hope to cover some ground. Left-over quiche (again), roasted potatoes, soft music, and Frankenstein. Something's not right there.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My favorite street sign:

Not Thatta Way!

My other favorite sign was on the road up Lookout Mtn.:

"Resume Safe Speed"

So...what speed was I doing before?

Today I spent the day with Carolyn - those of you with Iowa connections know her. We ate Mexican, talked, and talked. Carolyn and I can talk just about forever, and it's always interesting. We dabbled in the resale shops, again. I found a lovely large pot for plants. She found a lamb-shaped mold.

This evening I stayed at home, ate left-over quiche, listened to soothing music, and had a long phone call with my dear hubby. A week is too long to be apart, when you've been married 18 years. Almost 18.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A day in town

No pictures today, sorry. I'm in town visiting all my old haunts. I took a friend out for tea and a little shopping at the resale shops. She and her husband are taking care of her aging/ailing parents. That's hard work, both physically and emotionally! We enjoyed a good talk, a good hug, and a few choice finds at the shops too!

It takes some pretty serious down-time for me to really relax. I have a hard time doing it at home, no matter how much spoilage Adam tries to give me. I do it best at my parents' house, in their quiet, green mountains, the cool breezes blowing through their many windows, the familiar trees swaying. Sometimes, I can almost feel my brain unwinding from its tight coil.

Last night I watched a pleasantly hokey movie, "Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris," starring Angela Lansbury. She's a cleaning woman who decides she'll save all her money to buy a dress from Christian Dior. A hokey movie is great for unwinding too.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Off to Camp

It's time to leave for camp, and Julia has her bag and sleeping stuff. This is her first year!

Peter and his cousin William are old hands at this. This is their 6th year doing camp together.

Grandfather wanted to come and see Julia's cabin and meet her counselor. I hope she has fun!

I've begun my week of reading/work. I'm going through "Frankenstien" again, taking notes for teaching it in the fall. Then I will tackle "Heart of Darkness." My week's becoming full with dates to eat lunch with friends. Adam and Philip almost finished the azealas today.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

More family...

Julia has fun with her cousin, Clark.

My brother, Marshall, the reader.

My creatively-gifted sister-in-law, DeVona.

She makes beauty products, but also fabulous candles, like these parfaits and cakes.

Do not eat! Beware the wicks!

Over the River and Through the Woods

To Grandmother and Grandfather's house we go!
This is my parents' beautiful view of the mountains.

52 wonderful years - today is their anniversary!

My mother loves growing and arranging flowers for church.

Her dog, Tasha, named after Tasha Tudor.

Her very-ornery cat, Sylvester.

We're here for a week of camp for the kids. I get to relax, read, study, and visit with friends.