Wednesday, September 24, 2008

book review = their eyes were watching god


Zora Neale Hurston is considered one of the first important African American female authors, and THE dominant African American female author in the era after the Korean war. She was born in 1891 to a carpenter/Baptist preacher and a schoolteacher.

The book was first published in 1937, but more people have read it since 1975 than read it all the years from publication until then.
A brief synopsis: Set in the 1930s, the main character, Janie is a fair-skinned, straight-haired (important to teh story) beautiful African American girl whose parents are out of the picture. It is implied that her father was white. She was raised by her grandma who was a former slave. Sour and angry, Nanna says she wants "more for her Janie" than she ever had, but basically that means anything better than slavery, so as fast as she can, she arranges a marriage for Janie at the age of 16 to a much older widower. This is the first of three marriages (the first one is never formally ended; she gets married to #2 while still married to #1) of varying degrees of happiness. The first man isn't terrible, she's just very young and is bored; she is spirited away by #2 after only 2 months of marriage. #2 (Jody) is a flashy and charismatic social climber, and apparently sees Janie's beauty as a way to hasten his prospects. They remain married for 20 years or so. It is a pitiful, loveless marriage. She runs the general store that they own, while he is the bigshot mayor of a respectable, but small town. He demands that she hide her beauty, as well as her voice. He dies old and bitter, hating her.
Soon after Jody's death, she meets Tea Cake. There is about a 20 year age difference -- SHE is 40 and Tea Cake about 20. They fall madly in love and are married very quickly. The few years they have together are exciting and full, full of hard work, friends and hardship. He isn't perfect, but he does recognize her intelligence, voice and strength. She is the one with the money in the relationship, due to the estate that is left after Jody's death. She is seen as beautiful by all around her, yet she is not on the pedastal taht Jody placed her on, which eventually was the undoing of their marriage. Tea Cake contracts rabies from a mad dog who bites him, and dies tragically from a gunshot wound by Janie's hand, when he is mad with the rabies and tries to kill her in his delusional state. It is a horrible end to a beautiful life.
Skin color (beyond "black and white" into shades of brown) and social status, beauty, community, independence, interdependence, lonliness, envy, bitterness and hatred are some of the main themes represented in the novel. Janie is so lonely for much of her life. Because Jody hides her beauty and she loses her "voice" due to his constant verbal abuse, she is to herself; the townspeople see her as aloof and stuck up, which she isn't at all. Light skinned blacks like her because of her beautiful coffee-colored skin and straight hair, and dark-skinned blacks think that she believes she is better than they; this is not the case. She's stuck in the middle.
While a very compelling book, it was quite hard to read at first due to the speech patterns duplicated phonetically. Here's an example:
Ah was wid dem white chillun so much till Ah didn't know Ah wuzn't white till Ah
was round six years old.
Once that challenge was surmounted, the story came to the forefront rather than the writing...it was distracting at first.
The Janie character is of the tragic genre, but is strong and her own woman. Alice Walker says, "There is no book more important to me than this one."


As a side, Halle Berry starred as Janie in a 2005 TV movie based upon the book. Ruby Dee is "Nanna" (the grandma). Jazz great Terence Blanchard did the soundtrack.

a happy mistake

This lovely loaf started out as baguette dough. Long story that I won't bore you with, but let's just say I was way off on my timing, and it is a timing-sensitive method. I didn't want to throw out the sponge, so I decided to wing it and do a sort-of no-knead that ended up being hand kneaded for about 10 minutes!

It smells heavenly, and has the best rise I've ever gotten out of the dutch-oven inside of the oven method of bread baking.

Hurry home, Chad, I want to crack open this baby!

funny


Yesterday, Ingrid asked me this as we were eating donuts:



What would you call a donut if it was a cat? . . . . .
A bob-a-que.


I have no idea what it means, but it's awesome...


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

timing

How's this for timing:

If Christ's birthday is around the 25th of December (obviously, the Jewish calendar is different, but this date on our Julian calendar is pretty close to their date), then his conception was around the time of Passover in late March or early April.

Coincidence? I think not...

I can't take credit for this scholarly thought...I read it in my "Jesus the One and Only" study guide (a Beth Moore study).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

camp on this: to this one will i look...

This blog post over at "Camp on This" is so worthy of reading. Seek and support a local church where the Lord is revered, and challenge your church leadership if this is occuring!

CAMPONTHIS: TO THIS ONE WILL I LOOK...<br>God's men in ministry should be different than the world around them

Friday, September 19, 2008

tires

What a perfect morning! No humidity, about 80 degrees and sparkling skies at 8:30. And we have it all together, too! I am ready to pull down and assemble the Chariot, attach it to my bike and head off to the park with Ilsa in tow, and Ingrid cycling along.

Pull out the bike. Flat front tire. Drat. Pull out the Joe Blow tire pump. Drat. The valve steam has a leak. Call Chad. Me: Hey Hon, the tyre pump isn't working. Am I doing this right? Hon: Yep, just ream on it hard to cover the whole valve. Drat. I just dropped the cell and lost my call.

Ingrid: "Mooooom, I'm not being patient. Let's GOOOOO." Drat. My perfect morning is unraveling.
Plan B: put on the stroller kit and push to the park. Drat. Two flat side tires. Oh wait, the pump is working! Woo hoo. Drat. One of the stroller wheels is missing.

(More whining and unraveling.)

Plan C: put on the jogging kit (which is hard to just walk with 'cuz you can't turn. You have to put the front wheel up in the air and pivot). Drat. Flat single front tyre. Oh wait, the pump is working on this one. (Okay, those unraveled loose ends are tied up. Phew. Let's go.)

Off to the park. Great time! Swings! Cute dogs! Popcorn for snack! Great time!

Romans 8:28 - And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Eccles. 7:8 - The end of a matter is better than its beginning; Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.

Eph. 4:1-2 - Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love...


Do you ever wonder about those times that nothing, nothing, nothing seems to go your way? Was there a wacko at the park? A mad dog? A crazy driver along the way? Why, oh why do I struggle with patience so?!! Shouldn't I know by now that God has his timing?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

tall

Yesterday I measured the girls. Ilsa, 2 1/2 years old, is as tall right now as Ingrid was on her 3rd birthday. And Ingrid has grown 1 1/2 inches since her 4th birthday. This makes them both taller than 93% of other kids their ages, respectively.

I'm wearing a green shirt today that Ingrid really likes for some reason. It's just green, nothing special. But today she asked if she could wear it when she is big enough. I have a feeling that's going to be sooner rather than later.


Ingrid has also been commenting on clothes A LOT lately. Unfortunately, she's commenting on styles that Chad and I just don't approve of. I think clothing is going to be a matter of prayer for our family in relation to Ingrid. She likes anything that is glitzy and fancy, or shows shoulders and back. It's that princess syndrome again. Arghhh!!!! Belle's yellow dress (from Disney's Beauty and the Beast) is her favorite Disney Princess ball gown. Yes, there's a heirarchy of ball gowns. And Jasmine's "Arabian Nights" outfit (my description) is her favorite "everyday outfit" worn by a Disney Princess. (Jasmine is from Aladdin.) It's not the most modest thing in the world. She is begging me to "make her a Jasmine costume" for Halloween. Not gonna happen.


Again a common theme in our lives: she was exposed to something, that we didn't want her to be exposed to, outside of our home. And we're not for cloistering. I love that she loves princesses...I love to see her femininity developing. But it KILLS ME that we have to teach her this lesson at 4! Why is she even thinking about this? She is constantly asking me about the princess' "womanly forms" in relation to modesty knowing full well what I'm going to say, yet she loves that "look".


I have always wanted my children to look like children, not little adults. I don't think the little adult thing is cute at all. Yet she is constantly drawn to adult-style clothing. At FOUR. I won't go so far as to call us victims, but we are targets of media bombardment. And we must continue to teach her discernment from a very young age.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

product placement = method advocacy!

*** Update 9/30/08***

I'm not up there anymore. That's not me. Anonymity regained.

******

Hey, I'm the advocate o' the moment over on the methodlust blog!

http://methodlust.blogspot.com/

Well there goes my anonymity on the web :(-

prayer for perserverence

For some strange reason, I'm having the hardest time getting "into" my Bible Study this year. Pretty carnal, huh? The heart is wicked...

Everything has distracted me: kids, fatigue, hormones, house work, yard work, crochet, reading my book club book (which I need to review! Aaack!), bread baking, sourdough maintenance, my birthday, Chad's birthday, my Dad's birthday, grocery shopping, swimming, fretting over not exercising, web surfing, facebook and so on ad infinitum.

The evil one has a subtle way of interjecting minutae in our lives. It usually isn't the big stuff that keeps us from doing what we need to do, it's the little stuff.

Speaking of which, Ilsa just emptied the linen closet.

Friday, September 12, 2008

performance art

Watch this...you won't be disappointed...it'll put a smile on your face!


video

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

10 things for which I am thankful

Not in any particular order...just stream of consciousness
  1. God's special grace bestowed upon me, and His general grace bestowed upon the world. (This one IS in order!) Thanks Pastor I. for the wonderful sermon on Sunday.
  2. Ladies Bible Study starts tomorrow morning! Woo hoo!
  3. Ingrid and Ilsa playing "boat" in the laundry basket.
  4. Dryer sheets that make the laundry smell so purty.
  5. Costco sells bulk yeast.
  6. Oatmeal raisin cookies.
  7. Even-handed political satire (if you are very protective of your political party, don't click here. On the other hand, if you love good political satire, do click here.)
  8. Chad loves biking and staying fit.
  9. My 40th birthday on Friday. Yes, I am very thankful to be turning 40. I have had a wonderful life, and look forward to the years that I hope will be graciously bestowed upon me.
  10. It's almost fall, and candy corn is now readily available.

Monday, September 8, 2008

deluxe sourdough

These loaves are the result of following the "SourdoLady" Deluxe Sourdough recipe over at The Fresh Loaf. Click here for recipe.

Nice crumb. Chewy and still light. Crust is chewy not crunchy, which will please Chad and the girls.

I'm going to try a traditional San Francisco style next.



Sunday, September 7, 2008

woo hoo for costco

I made an amazingly fast Costco run last night. Chad dropped me off at the door and drove around the parking lot while I buzzed the store. My goals: Costco refrigerated cheese pizza, a hunk of parmesano reggiano (I just like to type that out because it sounds pretty in my head sounding it out...), 3 pack of english cukes, gummy vites for the kidlins and a monster sized vacuum sealed pack of yeast.

Pizza was a zippo - only had the nasty meat combo ones (I think very few people even buy those -- there were about a zillion of them there in neat little stacks); I exchanged that for a scarily expensive bag of frozen halibut filets...but they were still 50% less than the frozen filets at the Commissary... Got the other stuff and the holy grail of my Costco trip, that hermetically sealed 36 ounce brick of yeast. Woo hoo! $3.99!

I only share this because I had gone to another local big chain grocery store whose parent company is K_ _ _ _ R. A "bulk" - ha ha!!! 4 ounce jar of Red Star " yeast was $9.99 there! I AM NOT KIDDING. I thought it was a misprint. I re-read the price tag a couple of times thinking they put the jars in the wrong row...

And oh, I got out of Costco in less than 15 minutes on a Saturday afternoon at 5:30!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

crochet - scarf for ingrid




This scarf started out as a dolly blanket for Ilsa. I realized very quickly that I had overestimated how big it should be. Greatly. I'm now working on a realistically-sized dolly blanket for Ilsa, and Ingrid can parade around in this oh so fashionable (and bright) scarf. She wore it for her first school pictures on Friday, too.

vocabulary lesson - voluntell


Voluntell: to ask someone to volunteer for a task, the overt implication being, they must accept.
Alternate usage: to be voluntold. "The colonel voluntold the office staff that it would be really nice if all would attend the......"

no eyes

Chad went on a long bike ride this morning, and I am home with the girls. As is our Saturday morning custom, I like to provide some kind of special breakfast treat such as cinnamon rolls (the girls actually refer to Saturday as 'cinnamon roll day'), a fruit smoothie, etc. This morning I made a cinnamon coffee cake loaf. (It didn't turn out so hot -- broke in half in the pan.) Anyway, while I was cleaning up the kitchen, the girls were watching Bob the Builder. We repeatedly have told our girls that they can not lean on the TV cabinet, put their feet on the TV cabinet, kick the TV cabinet, touch the TV cabinet. Now I realize we should have nipped this in the bud a long time ago with a hard and fast rule -- you touch, TV is off. Period.

I had already reprimanded Ingrid 3 times about the cabinet this morning (2 too many...) but I was honestly being lazy. Upon the third warning, I told her "do it again and the TV is off." Well, the 4th time (3 too many warnings) came and off the TV went. You can guess Ingrid's response. Not happy. I reminded her of the warning and here was her response:
I wish you didn't have eyes!!


Here's the verse I quoted back to her:
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good. - Proverbs 15:3
She said what we often wish, didn't she? But we KNOW it isn't true. The Lord does see our every little deed, but not as a malevolent dictator waiting for us to slip up. I think I was "waiting for her to slip up" a little bit, because frankly I wanted the TV off. My motivation was wrong in the first place. The Lord watches us for His purposes, I often watch my girls for my own selfish purposes instead of wanting to shepherd their little hearts. The warning after warning after warning was actually doing my girls a disservice. It wasn't showing patience, and ultimately just showed them that "I got my own way".

Thursday, September 4, 2008

black helicopters

About once a month around 3 am a US Border Patrol helicopter jolts us from the deepest sleep buzzing over our house. They circle our neighborhood about three times with powerful searchlights which make our backyard look as bright as day. Last night was our turn again. It never ceases to freak me out while at the same time brings out the Mrs. Kravitz in me. I jump out of bed, peek out the window and watch the show.

Our housing development is in a nice area, but adjacent to a large expanse of uninhabited desert close to the freeway. We know they are looking for illegals crossing over from Mexico through the desert.

The first time the helicopters buzzed our home at 2:00 am (about a year ago) I was terrified that there was a prison break at the maximum security facility that isn't close to us, but is close enough to make me think of it. I was terrified.

I never go back to sleep very after a black helicopter night and always feel unsettled the next day. Politics and immigration policy aside, the thought of people out in the desert running from those searchlights makes me sad. They are literally dying of thirst out there during the day and pursued by searchlights at night. I also wonder if this is the way it's going to be during the Tribulation -- Christians running from the Black Helicopters?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

yeast explosion

In one spectacular oops this morning, I dropped my 1 quart glass mason jar filled with active dried yeast. There were about 2 1/2 CUPS of dried yeast in there. (I buy yeast in bulk from Costco.) Dried yeast acts like little b-b's on tile. It took the hand-vac, the upright vac and a very vigorous mopping to get it all up. I'm sure I have a very yeasty kitchen now -- let's hope whoever buys our home next is a bread baker.


The good news is that the weather seems to have calmed down here. I've been having problems for about a month baking standard yeast breads (sandwich, etc.). The dough would proof HUGE and then collapse in the oven into a dense bread brick. I called the King Arthur Flour help line, and they said it had to do with the barometric pressure fluxuations from the monsoons. Sourdough is fine, though. I wonder if it is because sourdough proofs so slowly. Today (Wednesday) I made the same recipe that I made on Monday. Monday's brick is about half-eaten; not very popular. Today's bread is gorgeous. Yippee!

Monday, September 1, 2008

pride

This morning I took the girls to S-bux for our last long girls weekend treat. My girls were happily munching on donuts, drinking juice/milk and contentedly coloring. They were pretty quiet too. It was an idyllic scene. In fact, several people walking by our table directed smiles and cute comments our way (mostly because Ilsa was wearing a tutu, t-shirt with a tank top on top and a wool hat).

Then came *those* kids...we've all experienced them at a public place. This 3 year old girl was literally screaming at the top of her lungs, and her mommy was doing nothing other than cajoling her to go inside "like a nice little girl and you'll get a treat". Then came the "we're going to leave if you don't shape up" threats...not followed-through upon. She looked at me and mouthed, "how long will this last?" meaning, it was a phase, right? We could hear the screaming continue into the store (we were seated outside).

I have seen this mommy and kids there before on my Tuesday/Thursday mornings with Ilsa. There is always some issue...and a sheepish retreat from the store.

By this time I'm feeling pretty good about myself. I would never cajole. I follow through on discipline. I have kids who listen. I...I...I... For the most part, my girls are well behaved. They have their moments, of course. So do I (see "angry" below). But this gloating is a sin. It's pride.
Proverbs 16:18 - Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

Proverbs 16:5 - Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.

Proverbs 21:4 - Haughty eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of the wicked, is sin.

This mom genuinely appears to be struggling with how to discipline her kids. Since I see her periodically, what should I do? Is being a good example enough? Perhaps no one ever taught her. Maybe she's never stepped through the door of a church. Would it be awfully presumptious to buy her a good book such as Don't Make Me Count to Three? I really don't think that's the best approach. Ooooh, maybe I could bring the book to S-bux and read it; that might be a more-natural way to bring it up. I really feel for this mom and her kids. Things are only going to go downhill from here for her.

product placement = toys

Look at these cool toys I found looooong after my bedtime...







Rickshaw


All-terrain trike









Modern dollhouse

I found all of them at Sparkability.net.

product placement = method dish



Brought home the new Method Smarty Dish dishwasher detergent cubes this week. Besides being packaged in the standard (understatement) wonderful Method packaging, and having one of those wonderful Method fragrances (pink grapefruit -- smells like pink PEZ is doing your dishes!) they work SOOOOO well. The first time I used Method, no residue. No little bits of food gunk. And that wonderful smell.

Downsides: the smell, shape and texture make them appear to be a really large candy such as a SweetTart; in fact Ilsa asked if they were candy. Secondly, the cost. While they are currently on sale at Target for $4.99, the regular cost is $5.99 for 20 tablets (20 washes). If you have really soft water, according to my dishwasher manufacturer, you can break tablets in half, which would be deal! Unfortunately, we have really hard water, so we need every last little granule of cleaning agent in that little tablet.


However, I have been handwashing more lately -- I love the feel of the Method dishwashing soap -- seriously, the suds are velvety. There's a level of instant gratification in doing dishes by hand. Zip, they're done. The scented versions are really nice (cucumber, pink grapefruit, french lavender), but I love the unscented and dye-free "Go Naked" variety. Although unscented, it does have a lovely slightly sweet smell from the natural cleaning agents I suppose. A recent issue of Cook's Illustrated also gave it their highly recommended rating for dishwashing soap. Given these facts, I might switch permanently to the Smarty Dish Cubes.
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