Wednesday, November 26, 2008

As Usual, I Am Ahead Of The Trend

I can't do NaBloPoMo. I freely admit that, and I finally know myself well enough, at my advanced age and all, to not even set myself up for that kind of failure.

But without my readers even realizing it, I have been a part of a new movement in the blogosphere. The future of blogging, what the really cool kids do. I didn't want to scare y'all earlier and make you feel inadequate as you try to reach the high standard I'm setting. But now that it's become national news, I think it's time to be open with you, my readership.

I am a Slow Blogger.

Yes, we are out there, and we are a force to be reckoned with. We're not the Taco Bell of blogs, the blogs you gulp down on the way to soccer practice, the blogs that make you get up all night long with food poisoning...well, okay, maybe the analogy breaks down after a while.

But we are the Slow Food of blogging. I think we need a logo.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

But first, a blog post.

Which is what I said to myself a few minutes ago, after looking over my to-do list for the sixty-seven bazillionth time today. Update accounts, make apple crisp topping, clean monitor, eBay searches, order gift cards, strain gravy base...but first, a blog post.

•Okay, first of all, looking at that list of what's left to do today, I don't feel too bad. I got a lot of things done, and I don't even have to finish most of those. The gravy base won't wait, but everything else will.

•We now have one completely working phone. Well, if you don't want to wander too far with it. The cord is from the bedroom phone and it's a bit short, so there's no picking up the receiver and walking to someplace comfy to sit.

•BUT, two new classic Trimline phones are on their way from Radio Shack, and there was very great rejoicing. These are exactly like the phone we have in the kitchen now, except they are black. One is going in the bedroom, and one in the kitchen, and if I could have bought a more retro phone I would have.

I could have. But I didn't want to spend that much. Or this much. And that, my friends, is called knowing one's priorities. It's just a phone, and I hate talking on the phone, but...oh my, that is a pretty red phone. A pretty red phone which would end up falling on the floor because my husband insists he can't walk around phones that big without banging into them with his shoulders.

•I will end the suspense now. My middle name is Jane, and not after Jane Austen as far as I know, Rebecca. Your grandparents are not Austen fans, and your grandpa who will read every billboard on the highway (out loud!) just to have something to read, won't read her books.

•A shout-out to my nephew, Jim, who has moved to the Chicago burbs to go to school. Hey, Jim! We will miss you at Thanksgiving, especially when we get to the "McQwilkin, no child left behind" part of the proceedings. :) You should start a blog, in your spare time you know, and keep us up-to-date on what you're doing!

•At Thanksgiving I miss living further north, for just one reason. It's cold enough there almost every year that the back porch can become a back-up refrigerator. Every year I think that we should look into buying a second fridge for holiday gatherings, but I'm not sure where we'd put it.

•The rest of the year I think a second freezer would be nice. So I probably need both, right? Or would the cost of extra electricity to run them be outrageous. So many things to think about, so few really interesting things to blog about. :)

•Tom and Colin installed an electronic thermostat on our...well, what does one install a thermostat on? The "system"? The furnace? The wall! They installed it on the wall. :)

•If we save large sums of money on our heating and cooling bills, I will be sure to let y'all know.

•Biggest advantage I've noticed thus far with the new thermostat? It has nice large numbers, so I can see what it's set on without having to stand on the other side of the hall and look at it sideways.

Okay, it's almost 5:30, and I've got nothing interesting left, not that I had anything interesting to start with. Time to go make some supper and get this gravy base taken care of. There will probably be some blogging going on over the holiday weekend; I will most likely not be the one doing it...check in with Natalie and Rebecca for up-to-the-minute accounts of the festivities. If it snows we'll send John out on the road with a camera and a ruler.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

6 Random Things

Okay, so Rebecca tagged me for this eons ago, but I am very bad about memes. I'm not even sure I can think of six things about myself that I haven't blabbed about at great length already.

I'm going to break the law and not post the rules or tag anybody. So there.

Six Things:

1. I hate talking on the phone, and this is not a problem right now because we don't have any phones that work. The kitchen phone is broken where the cord attaches to the handset, so to use it you have to hold the cord in while talking. Our bedroom phone makes an annoying clicking noise the entire time it is in use. And Natalie's bedroom phone doesn't hold a charge once you get it off the base; it's good for a short conversation and that's it. Obviously we need to buy some phones. These ones are at least 11 years old if we put them in new when we built the house. But we might have brought them from the apartment, so who knows?

2. My hair has always been curly to some degree or another. It is curlier when it is long than when it is short. Hair stylists always say things like "We could cut it off short and it would just curl up so cute!" But it won't. If it's short, it's just bendy instead of curly...and it bends in all the wrong places. The more gray hairs I get the curlier it gets. On the right side of my head I have a couple of hunks of hair that form double helix curl patterns as they dry.

3. I don't like ketchup. The only way I will eat ketchup is the way I will be eating it tonight: combined with Other Ingredients and put on top of meatloaf as a baked-on sauce. The Philistines I Live With will scrape this off and put cold ketchup on their meatloaf.

4. As of last weekend I now know how to both knit and purl! Because I am strange, the only way I can knit is Continental and the only way I can purl is Norwegian. Oh, and I do a German Twisted cast-on. I am the UN of knitting.

5. For my first real knitting project I am making fingerless gloves/mitts/wrist warmers. I could have used them today because it is COLD in here.

6. My middle name is four letters long. I was born in the age when many parents gave their children standard throw-away middle names, but even though mine is very plain it is not one of the usual ones. At least not where I grew up. The standards there were Lynn, Ann, and Marie. Maybe mine was standard somewhere else. The only explanation I've heard is that my mom wanted it to be my first name and my dad didn't, so this was the compromise. I like my name now, both first and middle, but I didn't like it when I was a kid. All the cool girls had names like "Dawn" or "Traci"...or anything ending in "i", for that matter.

Phew...that was painful. All done. More later. Time to eat the meatloaf.

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's Another Manic Monday

A few random bits of life:

• Over at Casubon's Book, Sharon Astyk's blog, folks are pledging to learn how to do things that they've told themselves they couldn't do. I'm joining The Competence Project; my goals are to learn how to purl so I can knit something other than a dishcloth, and to learn how to have a decent garden in the South. Go check it out and ask yourself if there's anything you've decided you can't learn.

• Something I'm thinking about: How can we slow down Thanksgiving dinner so that we're savoring the food and fellowship instead of gulping and ranting? I very much enjoy cooking holiday food, but it doesn't feel right to spend hours cooking and 15 minutes eating. Ideas on the table, so to speak, as of now: eating in courses, eating buffet style, spreading seating out more so that the groups are more relaxed, keep food hot and available for a longer time. Any ideas from readers, be they family members or friends or interested bystanders, gratefully accepted!

• Whilst catching up on the newspapers this weekend:

Me (reading article in Saturday's paper about Maya Angelou): It says here that 'Angelou now feels a new poem welling up inside her after Barack Obama's election'

Tom (from the depths of Wednesday or Thursday's paper): Nah, she's just constipated.

• Things I got done today: organizing my yarn piles in the living room, coralling a crochet project into its designated bag, lots of laundry, library books in the bag ready to be returned, more things that I forgot to write down on my to-do list and therefore have forgotten.

• Key to a feeling of achievement: write it on the to-do list, even if you just finished to-doing it.

• Oh, yes, today I fretted about lead in my dishes. After searching the vast reaches of the Internet I could find no information as to whether transferware made in the UK in the 1970s is likely to have dangerous levels of lead or not. We tested it with a cheap kits from the hardware store, and it tested as being safe. But I just heard recently that those tests aren't always accurate, and don't reflect what happens when you heat things in the microwave or eat acidic foods off the plates, etc. Still no answers.

• When I read on the Internet about lead in dishes, I'm tempted to reach the conclusion that there are only a few safe things to eat off of: solid white Corelle (but not the cups), clear glass, and Melmac. But the Melmac is plastic, and maybe it has BPAs? And if Melmac is melamine is it okay to eat off of it as long as you don't grind it up and add it to your food? Maybe I should pick the big leaves of my mom's magnolia tree and fashion natural plates out of them?

Time to go eat an apple and read the newspaper, the last things on my list. Oh, wait, there's still a load of towels in the dryer. Job security!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Why I Am Happy Obama Won...

...even though I didn't vote for him.

Well, this is Friday, and I thought I'd have posted about the election by now. But we were up late Tuesday night, of course, and then we were up late Wednesday night, too. Wednesday and Thursday I was just too tired to put my thoughts together.

Last night I dreamed I had written a brilliant blog post explaining all my thoughts about the election. In that post, I weighed all the pros and cons of the different positions and drew very insightful conclusions about the impact of the election.

When I woke up I thought to myself "Oh, how wonderful to dream of the perfect words. I need to lie here for a minute and just get them fixed in my mind." Oops, too late, of course they were gone. Now I'm left to muddle through without the guidance of my apparently brilliant, but who will ever know, sleeping mind! Of course there are all kinds of gaps in my logic that you could, and some of you will, drive a truck through. But here it is, anyway.

• God's will was done. This may because He wants to use our new president to bless us, or it may be that He intends to use him to punish us. It may be that we will not know in our lifetimes what God's purpose was in appointing President Obama, but we know it is for His glory and our good.

• I am happy for my African American neighbors and friends. I do not believe that the color of a person's skin makes him any different from anyone else. The Bible clearly teaches that God created all of us from "one blood". We have many different physical characteristics, but we are all one human race, created in God's image. But people who look like me, my ancestors, stole people who look like Barack Obama, his ancestors, and cruelly made slaves of them based on their belief that they were less than human because of how they looked.

We all know that even after slavery was abolished, black people were treated as lesser citizens for many, many years. In many places and by many people they are still treated poorly, based solely on the color of their skin. If these people are rejoicing that someone who looks like them was elected President, then I want to rejoice with them! Yes, of course, we should instead be saying "The best man for the job was elected. What color is his skin? Oh, he looked tanner/paler/redder than me, does that matter?" But when our country's history has been stained by such sinful prejudice for so many years, it does have meaning that we've taken even this one small step in the right direction.

• This is an opportunity for Christians to stop putting their trust in politics, and more particularly in the Republican party.

• However, having said that, if the Republican party wants to go back to any kind of righteous stance on "social issues" this is their big chance. I rather doubt that this will happen, though.

• I am happy that we will now have a president who can exhibit gravitas in his speech and actions. It's been 16 years; it's about time.

• I am happy that the Obamas seem to be a loving couple who are trying to have a good marriage and raise their children well in spite of the public spotlight.

• I am happy that the Obamas claim to be Christians. I pray that they will find themselves a good church in Washington where they will hear the true, unadulterated Word of God preached, and where they will be held accountable and encouraged to live out their professed beliefs.

• I am glad that our new president wants to end the war in Iraq, and I am thankful that he was never in favor of it in the first place. I know it may not be possible at this point to end it quickly. But I am thankful that we will have a president who at least professes that he would not take us to war against a nation who did not attack us. I hope and pray he will maintain that position and that he will be used to change our country's hostile relationship with other countries.

Yes, of course there are negatives to having Barack Obama elected as our president. I could not vote for him because of his position on abortion. He may or may not be telling the truth about his associations with some of the people he has been accused of being associated with. If he does owe them anything in the way of respect or favors that could be very bad.

Those are the things that bother me. The fact that he may want to raise my taxes, or that he is "moving us to Socialism", or that he may plan to institute a national health plan, or that he may not be as happy about people owning piles of guns as Sarah Palin was, or any number of similar things he's been accused of, doesn't bother me nearly so much. Sure, I would be irritated if our taxes go up, but they're going to go up no matter who is president anyway. Sure, a national health plan might be hard to adjust to. But those are material things, and my security should not be in material things. I may have "rights" that are given to me by the Constitution of the United States, but those are not rights guaranteed to me by God.

One final thing. In the days since the election I have seen some people online talking about wanting to leave the US because of the results of the election. Some of them have mentioned moving to Canada. Please, people, do a little research before you say things like that. Sure, Hollywood's finest made a big point of saying they'd move to Canada or France in 2004 if Bush was re-elected. Just a hint here...they weren't headed to either of those countries because of the excess of freedom and capitalism to be found there. Maybe y'all could move to Alaska and join that secessionist party they have there?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

10 Things Tuesday--Visual Edition tech support team are home. They got it fixed for me!

So Natalie and Rebecca are doing Ten Things Tuesday again this week, and again the theme is "Things That Make Me Smile".

Ahem...did either of you notice that today is Election Day?? Smiling on Election Day? Hmmmppphhh... Shouldn't there be a really good Calvinist joke about Election Day? Yeah, I thought so, too. Let me know if you find it.

Until then, ten visuals, political for the most part, that make me smile:











Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures

Arrggghhhh....10 Things Tuesday!

So, I tried to do a "Ten Things Tuesday" post. I thought I would be so clever and it would all be pictures, so I spent way too much time tracking down funny captioned pictures from LOLCats and others. Pictures with a political theme to fit the day. Got them all arranged and the codes entered properly (as far as I know, anyway). And now they won't work. Blogger doesn't like the HTML on them.

So you don't get funny pictures, you get crankiness.

(Grabbing self by scruff of neck and administering stern shaking.)

Okay, we'll try it analog. Ten Things That Make Me Smile

1. God is still in control!

2. Elections don't last forever!

3. Maple leaves in the fall

4. The return to Eastern Standard Time

5. Plump lazy cats holding down the furniture

6. Comfort food on a chilly night

7. Cross-stitching while listening to the TV

8. Colin cleaning his room all by himself!

9. Incandescent lights on a dreary day

10. Driving over acorns