Sunday, January 29, 2012

"You will never be forgotten"

To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, 
And a name better than that of sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off
Isaiah 56:5 (American Standard Version)

On The Christian Woman blog, Gwenn McKone has written a beautiful meditation on the verse above, titled "Restoring what others have taken":

"To me, this is one of the tenderest passages in all of scripture. God is saying, “I know what has happened to you and my heart grieves for you. Your life is your work because it is all you have, but if you will do what pleases me, and keep my sabbath, I will give you something better that no one can ever take away from you.”

Her article is a blessing - click here to read it all.

In this Old Testament passage, Isaiah 56:1-8 (Good News Version), God also reminds of His promise to Israel to bring others to join them in their redemption: that His mercy is open to all who follow him, that His people will come from all nations. He lovingly foretells the salvation that Jesus will bring to the world.

Our Father God can, and will, heal us of all things, and will make us - and our circumstances - even better, more perfect, than we would have been, and that perfection will be everlasting.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Bubbles? What Bubbles?

 I have been having hissy fits at Yahoo about their slanted headlines, and propensity for putting undergrad opinion pieces under the "News" heading. This morning, the headline was so bad that Mad Magazine would have rejected it.

But the guy over at "The Wingnut Musings" (aka The FourthCheckRaise) (who has just published a book of the same title) found a neat little way to take the hot air out of the ridiculousness of it all:

The "How Thick is Your Bubble Quiz" !

I am proud to say I am bubble-deprived, and I feel a whole lot better:

"On a scale from 0 to 20 points, where 20 signifies full engagement with mainstream American culture and 0 signifies deep cultural isolation within the new upper class bubble, you scored between 13 and 16.

"In other words, you don't even have a bubble."

Hee!  I do have to admit the ones I missed were probably the very ones that would have let me be an honorary redneck, but oh well. Can't be all things to everyone, right? 

Try the test and see if you've been encased in soapy surface tension all this time without knowing it! ;-)


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Today, It's: Mail Art.

 Well, my candidate has taken his name off the ballot for President. I guess the good news is that at least Texans won't have to worry about who is going to govern our state. Governor Perry, Governor Palin , and Todd Palin have endorsed Newt Gingrich. I will pray they are right, and turn my attention to daily, ordinary life for a while. 

I wander the web like I used to wander bookstores. Each week, some new thing will catch my attention, and I learn about it. Last time, it was Home Bee Keeping. More on that another time, because:

Today, it's Mail Art.

In this month's AAPA bundle (what people did before blogs), the Six Mile Press offering was about Carnegie Libraries. It inspired me, so for February's bundle, I'm making postcards out of a photo I took of the Carnegie Library in my hometown. I had prints made at, will use acetone to erase the corporate printing on the backs, rubber stamps to print "Post Card" on the backs, and stickers to label the front. (I'll add a photo to the blog when the project is done.)

Back to Mail Art. I wanted ideas for "arting up" my project, so went looking. Here are some places I found clever inspiration:

Everyday should be a Red Letter Day

2012 Graceful Envelope Contest (and archives of past winners)

The Missive Maven

Austin Kleon's Blog, and esp. "How To Steal Like An Artist"

Postcrossing: The Postcard Crossing Project


Good Mail Day

How fun is this? I may be looking at a new hobby-ette! Or, at least, until something else attracts my attention...

Friday, January 6, 2012

How To Section a Grapefruit (or an Orange) and Remove the Membranes

I nearly forgot to share this. and here we are in Texas Citrus Season again. The sweetest, most amazing grapefruits in the whole world are those grown in Texas. The flavor of Texas citrus is unsurpassed.

 Paul showed me how to section a grapefruit a few years ago, and it is brilliant. He was smart: now, when the Texas Ruby Red Grapefruits are ripe, I section a whole bag of them and put them in a big jar in the fridge. So he can just dish them out for breakfast.

This method can also be used for oranges, and will really improve your Ambrosia (with or without marshmallows ;-)).

Here's how:

Using a sharp knife, cut off the ends and down each side of the grapefruit, removing all the rind and white and exposing the fruit.

Work over a large, shallow bowl to catch all the yummy juice. This is a messy task. Wear  your old apron and have a dishtowel handy.

Hold the peeled grapefruit in your "off" hand (non-dominant) and run the knife blade carefully down between the membrane and one section. When you reach the bottom of that section, slide the knife along and up the other side of  the same section, so that the single section is separated and will drop into the bowl.

Repeat until all are removed. It sounds a lot harder than it is - in reality, the sections slide away from the membrane easily. Do be careful with the knife though. No need to hurry or take risks. I am a lefthanded clutz, so often I will use a serrated knife (with ambidextrous or lefty serrations) to avoid cutting myself.

When all are done, remove all the seeds and put into a clean mason jar, and refrigerate. I don't know how long they will keep, because we always eat them all within 3 or 4 days!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A President's Work Day... or Not

By adding Keith Koffler's "White House Dossier" blog to my reading list, President Obama's daily schedule has sort of come into the realm of stuff I see.  I'm not really interested in what is on other people's calendars, but something has been bugging me about that schedule.  And I finally figured it out.

This is the first president in my lifetime who doesn't work a full day. Ever.

Generally, a US President starts his day with meetings at 7 or 730 am, and continues for at least the next 12 hours. Now, that may sound like a long day, but for pete's sake it's only for 4 years, after which the president collects a life-long retirement income and security. Having worked 80 to 100 hour weeks myself on a regular basis in an intense (but not of national importance) job, I expect anyone on the national stage to step up and willingly do the same.

And all our previous presidents did so. But not this one.

For example, compare President Ford's calendar for January 5th with that of President Obama.

History remembers President Ford well, but not really as an overachiever or hard worker. And he was president during a rather calm time in our national life, so I would think his calendar would be rather less crowded than, say, President Obama, who is having to run another war into the ground and build an economic shambles he can occupy. Oh, and who just returned from a long vacation, so probably has a ton of work that's been waiting for him.

We'll let the current president go first, courtesy of Mr Koffler:

Obama Schedule || Thursday, January 5, 2012

10:00 am || Receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
10:50 am || Delivers remarks on the Defense Strategic Review; The Pentagon
3:30 pm || Meets with Treasury Secretary Geithner

All times Eastern

Next, courtesy of the Ford Library Museum, President Ford's Daily Diary for Monday, January 5, 1976:

The President went to the Oval Office.
7:55 8:05
The President met with his Counsellor, John o. Marsh, Jr.
The President went to the Roosevelt Room.
8:05 8:38
The President met with White House senior staff.
The President returned to the Oval Office.
The President went to the South Grounds of the White House.
8:51 8:59 EST CST 9:00 10:05
The President flew by helicopter from the South Grounds to Andrews AFB, Maryland. (Actual flying time: 2 hours, 5 minutes)
The President was greeted by: Governor Christopher S. Bond (R-Missouri) John C. Danforth, Missouri State Attorney General
10:15 10:17
The President participated in a question and answer session with members of the press.
The President went to his motorcade.
10:17 10:37
The President, accompanied by Governor Bond, motored from Lambert Field AFB to Kiel Auditorium, 1400 Market Street.
The President was greeted by President of the American Farm Bureau Federation William J. Kuhfuss.
The President, escorted by Mr. Kuhfuss, went to the holding room. The President attended the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention. Members of the press


Ok I'm tired, and it's not even noon yet. President Ford went on to address a crowd of 5,000 convention attendees, take part in individual photo sessions with all the Farm Bureau State Presidents, had lunch with them, met with the Secretary of Agriculture, sat for an interview with 20 Midwest Media Representative, met with his campaign committee, called a Major's widow to express condolences, flew back to Washington DC, arriving at 6:59 and then met with the Cabinet Secretary, followed by a meeting with Special Assistants to the Secretary of the Treasury. President Ford finally went upstairs at 7:50 pm and had dinner with Betty. But his day wasn't over until 9:56 pm, when he spoke with an executive for Reader's Digest magazine.

This was a pretty average day for Gerald Ford. You can go see the rest of President Ford's daily calendars here. Just pick one. Any one. They are all like that: long, long days, usually starting about 7:45 am and not over until at least 12 hours later.

I don't suppose any of this matters much, but I think I liked the old days, when Presidents had to earn their keep by actually working a full day while they were in the White House.
January 6 UPDATE:  Today's schedule is even less like every other President's, and more like that of a game show winner "President For A Day", and ends at noon. 

A Speech Worthy of History

Who says there are no statesmen today? One of my favorite bloggers, "Quite Rightly" of "Bread upon the Waters"  (also linked from my sidebar) has embedded Michele Bachmann's speech in which she gracefully steps out of the primaries and back into her role as an elected member of the House of Representatives. Mrs. Bachmann's speech is the stuff of which history is made.

Opening with a reminder that we are "encompassed by a great cloud of witnesses" who've worked throughout hundreds of years to forge American Liberty, Mrs Bachmann reminds us what is at stake, and what we have to lose - and why we must all stand up - stand up - for our God-given, inalienable liberties as embodied in the United States Constitution.

Go listen to it all. It's a beautiful speech, given flawlessly and with heart. I think perhaps it is much the same speech she would have given had it been made under different circumstances, because it is simple truth.  Hearing it inspired me, and it is a speech worthy to be remembered.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Devil's Food Torte with Raspberries

Paul had a birthday recently, and it was a big one milestone, so we had some of our friends over for cake. When I asked Paul what kind of cake he wanted, he started talking about mocha and raspberries and oh my.  I found a recipe and adapted it to fit. It turned out gorgeous! Looks great and tastes perfect. Several people have asked for the recipe,so here it is.

Devil's Food Torte with Raspberries

Make cake and chill for 8 hours before serving. It should keep well, refrigerated, for at least 24 hours. 

1 Devil's Food Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines)
Leftover brewed coffee to substitute for water called for in cake mix
Eggs and oil as called for in cake mix
2 layer cake pans

Use shortening to grease the cake pans and dust with flour. Set pans on baking sheets "just in case" to prevent overflows. Preheat oven.
Prepare the cake mix according to package directions, using whole eggs and oil, and substituting coffee for the water called for. Pour into pans and bake as directed for layer cake pans. Test for doneness with a toothpick at earliest time. Remove from oven and cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes, then turn out of pans and finish cooling on wire racks with top side UP.  Cool for at least one hour.

2 cups heavy whipping cream (I used Kroger brand)
1 8 ounce package cream cheese (not low fat)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Use electric mixer and beat cream until very stiff.  Set aside.

Put cream cheese into large bowl with sugar and vanilla and beat on high until fluffy. At low speed, gradually fold in whipped cream.

Divide this frosting into 4 relatively equal portions (one can be larger than the others for the top and for "leftover")

Assembling and icing the cake:

1 can raspberry filling (can't remember the brand, but it wasn't a very big can) to glaze the layers with
1 package fresh raspberries

While layer remains on wire rack, use a bread knife (or your electric knife if you don't have a bread knife), and carefully trim the convex part off the top so that it is flat. Don't worry about how it looks, only that most of the top be mostly flat. (Set the trimmings aside to make yourself  & your sweetie a little "preview parfait" out of the leftover ingredients)

Then, hold your bread knife flat and cut the layer in half horizontally. Carefully lift the top and set it onto your cake plate.

Open the raspberry filling and use your spatula to spread a VERY THIN layer on the top of the layer. It should be thin, just enough to glaze the top.

Take a few fresh berries (the ugly ones) and crumble them and scatter on top.

Clean spatula, then spread the cream frosting thickly on top of the glaze, letting it kind of stray over the edges a bit.

Set the other layer right on top of all this and do exactly the same thing all over again.

Split the next layer and repeat.

When the top is iced, smooth it a little, and arrange the prettiest raspberries on it.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. By chilling it for several hours, it will hold together well and you won't need skewers to hold it together.


We had coffee ice cream with it, and it was perfect! Paul says it is one of the best cakes he has ever eaten. I was so pleased!  I have never been much of a baker but it starts to look like I have taken it up as a new hobby by accident. :-)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Rick Perry Shows How A Leader Requires Accountability

Via "And So it Goes in Shreveport", here's Rick Perry explaining how things are done:

Governor Perry's response is an example of how to require accountability and avoid being manipulated, that any person with leadership aspirations needs to emulate. True leaders don't play games. They don't expend energy on rumors or "anonymous" gossip. Our next president is a true leader, and he will be as good for the United States of America as he has been for Texas.


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