A Dollop of Sour Cream

I'm not much into spicy food. I have recently discovered that if a meal is just a tad too spicy for me, I can put sour cream on top and make it not just palatable, but wonderful. This blog is devoted to doing the same for life.



The Soviet Union today

On Thursday nights, I am teaching an informal class for my friends' kids. Currently, we are studying the countries of the world. The book I am using intersperses countries with representative tales from the country being studied. It is pretty good, but it was written in 1974. So obviously it has a lot of old information, esp when it comes to places like the Soviet Union, which no longer exists now.

Any ideas where I could go to find current information on whatever replaced the Soviet Union?

Radish Bus
Kissing Strawberries
Banana Dog
Smily Grapes


Camelot, camping, and a Little House Christmas

Where to start... It's been a while since I've been here.

A week ago Sunday we went to see Camelot at the local theater. I had the record of the musical growing up, so I knew all the songs. But I'd never seen the play before. A friend gave us tickets for our anniversary this year. So we went. I was blown away. This was easily the best musical, technically speaking, I'd ever seen. A friend of ours, Mickey, played Sir Lionel (A name!) and he was REALLY good, both at the acting and the singing. I can't wait to see him again. But there were lots of good parts. The costuming was FABULOUS. The first part that this really struck me was the May day, when all the girls were in pastels. But later, they were also in "period costume" ALL of them -- and it was just really easy to tell them apart by costume. I've been to plays that didn't even manage this. The music was well done, the songs well -- whatever the word is that means you can hear every word (mostly. Not Nimue's song, But that one was eminently forgettable. All it did was get Merlin out of the picture.) And the acting -- made me cry. At several spots. (And only once because I got a definite "vibe" off a character that made me see her as my dead friend instead for the moment)

But it also sent chills through me. The first Act? Guenevere is definitely the "bad guy" of the play. On her wedding night, she's upset because no one has gone to war or killed their kin for her! And that May day song? She's justifying infidelity because "everyone does it" -- before she even meets Lancelot! And flirting outrageously with, well, everyone! Except her husband. And then -- when Arthur asks her to NOT give her kerchief in support of everyone -against Lancelot- she will only do it if he asks as her king, NOT her husband! I wonder if the whole Lancelot/Guinevere thing would have ever started if she hadn't gone so far out of her way to try and "trip him up." And then, she doesn't really seem to TRY to avoid situations where she is alone with Lancelot... No, in act 1, Guinevere is definitely the bad guy. (In act 2 she redeems herself, a LITTLE, by in the end realizing she messes up. As much pain as she had trying to stay away, by giving in she's only giving herself twice the pain. But as it turns out, it's too late. And together they destroy King Arthur and the last dregs of the idea they had fought to put into place... Not to say that Arthur didn't have his own part in this. There are hints that he might have loved his kingdom more than his wife, certainly he wasn't as "romantic" with her as she seemed to crave (and get from Lancelot) And, in the end, having chosen his kingdom, he couldn't stay with that decision and allow his wife to die. Instead, he lets his own loyal subjects die because he can not, in the end, uphold the rule of law over those he loves... and in so doing he fails his own kingdom as well.

It's utterly tragic and you're just left trying to figure out a path that would not have led where it does, because my heart, at least, was breaking with Arthur's.

Then we spent last week getting last minute things together for our newly married camping trip in Twin Harbors State Park. It was a glorious weekend. This is the first time my Boaz and I had gone camping together. And we discovered that camping with an air bed under the sleeping bags is wonderful :) In fact, to justify the purchase of this tent, we are thinking about making another camping trip this summer -- maybe finding some hot springs?

We walked over to the Pacific Ocean (And I kicked myself for forgetting my camera at the wonderful "Esp low tide" view we got as we went over the ridge.) But I didn't do more than get the soles of my shoes wet because I had forgotten pool shoes and didn't want to get my feet all sandy. (Maybe we should take another trip to the ocean so I can actually try swimming in it? Boaz says it was REALLY cold. He went back to actually go in) We had wonderful food every meal because our wonderful camping food groups that meant a different couple cooked every meal. We got to see all the babies and small children and the vast number of pregnant women in our group. It's really a time of plenty for the group as a whole. (And I esp. admire the woman who is due in July and came anyway! And the one who brought her infant even though her husband is out of country!) And I played a wonderful new game Ticket to Ride that was a GREAT deal of fun.

Oh and of course there was a bonfire. And S'mores. Though no singing around the campfire. And checking out each other's camp gear, trying to decide what one would want for future camping trips.

Then we came home and got most of the car unpacked. (wow) And relaxed last night. I opened up the season 1 Little House on the Prairie I got for Christmas and have been savoring, gradually going through. The one I want to comment on is "Christmas on Plum Creek."

In this episode, it is the Ingalls' family first Christmas in Walnut Grove. and they really want to make it special. So everyone is keeping secrets from ALL the others, trying to get the most special gifts they can. Mary gets a job with a seamstress in town so that she can make a shirt for her dad. Ma is ALSO making a shirt for Dad, but only when no one is watching so she and Mary can't discover both are making out of the same cloth. Laura barters her beloved pony, Bunny, for the oven at the Oleson's Market that she sees her mother looking at. Meanwhile, Pa is laboring over reworking wheels that he is planning to trade to Mr. Oleson for the money for the selfsame oven. (And in between he makes a saddle for Laura.) Carrie is the only one not involved in the deceptions. She fishes up her only penny and goes to the market to buy the beautiful star she sees that. why? On Christmas day we are told. It's a present for baby jesus! (I liked that part)

If the different members of the family had just been a bit more willing to confide in each other, many of these problems could have been cleared up before Christmas morning surprises turned so many gifts into -- not so much! Certainly, in our family, dad often knows what us girls are getting mom, etc. Gifts are just surprises for the person in question, not the whole family!

Also, I was VERY surprised at how respectful Mr. Oleson was of Laura's secret. It would have been VERY easy for him to justify telling Charles why he couldn't sell him the oven on display -- but he doesn't. He keeps the secret of a little girl even from her father. (Though he does take the precaution of not agreeing to the secret until he finds out what she wants him to keep secret). I could easily have seen myself justifying telling that one -- it's something I will have to think about. But I do know that there is something to respecting children as people too. And keeping secrets here means that the secret of a child is as important as that of an adult.


I want... lots of things for me

I have WAY too much. But it is still hard to stop *wanting*

(I was going to name this post according to a line from a skit I did, growing up. Us kids were dressed up as toys in a toy story that had not been bought yet. I think I was raggedy ann. And how sad it was not to have a child to love you, etc. And then it got onto the meaning of Christmas. And there is this song in it called "I want" -- I had a speaking line in the midst of it "I want whatever I get")

So, for our bible study, we are doing Beth Moore's _Patriarchs_ study. So I got the student's book last night. (Our bible study meets in a Wendy's, it would be difficult to watch the DVDs) Going through it today, though, I saw all these questions about information that is obviously in the DVDs. So I decided to go back and get the Leader's Kit instead. But the I realized the cost. $200 is more than I can do for this :( I mean, I was thinking $40-$60 -- stiff but still doable... Obviously, it's more for a class type of setting. So I'll have to make do with working with just the student book.


God is good

I can't really get into details here and now. But God is SO much better than I deserve.

World maps

So, we started the book last night. We started out by talking about the world and that 'hemi' means half and 'sphere' (means ball, which J already knew!) And how when you flatten out a ball, it messes up perspective. We looked at more traditional world maps, then polar views, to figure out where the perspective was most messed up.
(The edges of a flat map)

Then I explained about latitude and longitude and how they can be used to find where you are, no matter what map you are looking at. (I'm going to look into Geocaching and borrowing my friend's equipment to take them out, using these exact pieces of data, to look for something, I think.) I also taught them about looking at the title and index of a map to determine what information it is showing us. and how some maps show height or climate (and other things) instead of political boundaries.

Then, we talked about needing passports to go to another country (I need to take my passport to show them the next time I go over)

Then, we started on talking about Europe. First, in general, the countries that it consists of. (the map we are using has the U.S.S.R and East and West Germany on it.)
We covered the British Isles last night. And the different words used to mean them. Great Britain is ONLY the big island of the British Isles, with Scotland, Wales, and England on it. United Kingdom is all the countries on the British Isles put together (ie including Ireland.)

Next time, we start with the English legend of King Arthur. (and I am going to go through After the Flood and see if I can find him on the geneaologies of early Britain they have there.)



This week has been REALLY busy.
I got back late Saturday after spending time at Susan's house. Boaz was icing Jubilee Jumbles when I got home. On Sunday we got up, went to church, then went to training afterward and that ended up taking ALL afternoon -- certainly longer than I expected. I was going to take some of the cookies over to Susan's house. But after getting back from going out to the grocery store to get an ingredient I needed for rice casserole dinner I didn't feel like going out again.

Monday night was Mr. Boaz's birthday and we went out to P.F. Chang's with friends, and ended at the Cold Stone Creamery for desert.

Tuesday night, I ended up staying late at work struggling with figuring out why Word was changing page numbers on me between when I opened a file and went to page preview mode. Which meant I got home late, had to walk home and ended up VERY hot and flushed so after I got home I changed and stayed in front of the fan until I felt better. My husband and I talked until it was nearly time for him to go to bed. Then I needed to go back out and deliver the cookies and get wrapping paper for the gifts we had for Kendra whose wedding was today. (And of course going over to Susan's ALWAYS takes more time than I expect! We just find SO much to talk about!)

The wedding was at 5p! Luckily, it started late (though not lucky for the reason :( They never did find the wedding music) because I didn't sufficiently take traffic into account. The bride was beautiful. I still haven't found a wedding I liked better than my own -- but I wish I could have looked that pretty at my wedding. It just all went together well, and her body type was perfect for it, and her hair, and her dress was quite modest and gorgeous.

Tomorrow night I'm going over to Susan's again, to read with her kids. We're starting out with a "Textbook" with various stories about countries and fairytales around it -- it's not exactly Ambleside. But they are shorter stories and a good way to edge into things without having to commit to something longer (which means needing more time to decide WHICH thing) right off.


So. Yesterday, if I had had time to post, I would have said how TERRIBLE ramen was and "why didn't I remember its just BLECHY"

But, see, I had bought 6 of them (6/$1 or something like that) so I decided to finish up what I had at least. And I ate the Pork today. it tasted decent! And so I have to conclude, its not ramen in a cup that is terrible. It's the cheddar cheese ramen in a cup :)


Anniversaries continued

Based on one of my comments, I realized I left a bit out of the former post. I guess I kind of feel that anniversaries are between the husband and wife (and perhaps children if the kids want to do something)

Unless, of course, it's a "BIG" one.

Mr. Boaz and I? we've decided to set a goal of reaching our golden anniversary. (because of how old I am and the typical lower lifespan of my family than his, I think this is a "not likely" but he doesn't like me mentioning that so we decided to use it as a goal to aim for instead of something to disparage.)



I've been particularly good at staying ahead of birthdays this year (except for Grandma's :( Her birthday was in mid-May and I'm not done with her gift yet!) And feeling somewhat pleased with my modest attempts.

Except -- are anniversaries something one is supposed to keep track of for friends and others? I never thought so, but my husband and I got cards from many relatives for our anniversary this year, and gifts from some of them! (This is on my mind right now because we are going out to Camelot on Sunday courtesy of one of those gifts from a friend who is fond of the theater and knows I love musicals.)

Timelines and a link

This sounds interesting -- making a timeline as you go along, plugging in information you learn. (Probably esp. so because I just made a timeline of church history for my church history class -- though in that case I used Excel and was very precise as to where to place dots. It never occurred to me NOT to date every dot!) AND the timeline from Adam to Joseph that my husband and I did after what we recently studied and things we "discovered" along the way. (I mean, I knew these people overlapped. I can remember fairly clearly doing the Flood in Vacation Bible School at Berean Baptist Church when I was in the -- 8th grade I think. Maybe 7th. And they had a model of the ark, (and, incidentally, answered some of those questions like how did all the animals fit in the ark.) and a timeline that showed how all of these patriarchs' lives overlapped so much.

But still, until last week, it never occurred to me that this meant these people could learn about Creation, the fall, and even God from very near to the source. Because Adam was still alive to tell them! In those days, verbal history did not have the same problems over these spans of time that we have now, because there were many fewer "Links" in their chain.

Esp. I like the idea of creating a personal timeline, putting events on it that I don't want to forget. (I used to know the exact day I was saved. I've forgotten that though I'm pretty sure its in October. 1979? Maybe. Has to be after the Thief in the Night movies came out, probably well after. When I find somewhere I wrote it down I'll certainly save it!)

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my Boaz,
Happy Birthday to him,
Happy Birthday, God bless you,
Happy Birthday to him!

Happy Birthday to you
Just one will not do
Born again means salvation
How many have you?



Okay, Chord of Three Strands would like me to have a blog so she can comment on it.

I've had this blog for a while, but no title. But this week, a chance occurrance gave me a title I like.

I'm not quite sure where to start, but I guess I'll start with this week.

My week started out really great. We had our first observation day on the second grade sunday school class we are going to be teaching this summer on Sunday. And then, going to bed Sunday night, I just turned things over to the LORD. That sounds hokey and stuff -- and I've been a Christian for years and all. But something about the time was right, or maybe what I have been learning in church, or something, but I just said "God, it's all in your hands." And I felt the word Yes inside of me. It wasn't exactly audible. But it was so definite that it could have been audible? And there was also a great sense of peace.

What's more, this stuck into Monday, when a great deal of things happened that I wasn't quite so happy about. But I just kept giving the events back to God. "I don't understand why this is happening, but I know it is in your hands." (after all, I'd just got confirmation the night before, it HAD to be this, if nothing else, that was about.) ...And I didn't get at all worked up about the way things were going on! Now, I'm sure I'll fall, try to take back control for myself, and all. But right now, I am just enjoying giving it all back to God over and over again.

This week, my husband and I have been doing bible devotions in early Genesis. (I'll talk more about the book we are using later. I suspect this is going to be a long post already.) And we got very excited and interested in the begats of early Genesis. All of these family patriarchs lived SO long, that they overlapped even with children MANY generations later -- Enosh, for example, Adam's grandson, didn't die until over 50 years after Noah was born! So he had plenty of time to learn about God and the Creation and the Fall from his great-great-(many)-grandfather! Almost "Right from the horse's mouth"

And THEN, Noah lived so long after the flood, that he lived right up to about 2 years from Abram's birth! And Shem, his son, lived 50 years into ISAAC's life (unfortunately not long enough for Esau and Jacob to be born)

The last of the ancient fathers, Eber, the person after whom Abram is the first to be called a Hebrew, died 19 years after the birth of Esau and Jacob. The implications of All this was exciting enough. And THEN, I got pointed out to information like After the Flood by Bill cooper... and it got me all fired up on the subject again. More to read! And the idea that mythology might be related to Noah and his near descendents! That's COOL.

And then last night we went over to hubby's parents to help them clean out their house. (They are getting ready to put it on the market and move FAR away to Arizona :( But it's what they want to do) And afterward we went out to dinner together. (Their family really does a lot of going out to eat at good restaurants. It's important enough to them that we've put a once a month dinner outing into our budget. It feels very weird after the way I grew up though!) And we had good talk, but stayed too late for my husband to feel safe driving.

So we were back up there today to pick up his car. (He had gone over earlier because he works an early shift and I work, and thus get off work, later) And I got to see friends up north. And then, I had a birthday gift for Susan, a friend down south, I was already planning to go drop off with her, and I got to do that as well. And I ended up staying to chat with HER too.

Susan homeschools her children, A and J. J is finishing up 8th grade and A is finishing up 5th grade. But they use a method of workbooks that means they don't get to read NEARLY as much of the literature that was so much a part of my growing up. (If they read it, it is a clip out of it that is put in their workbook, not the entire thing) And she mentioned she wished I could teach her kids.

I really love this family. They were my family for the past -- 11 years when I lived up here so far away from mine. Esp before I met my dear Boaz and married him. I remember when A was born! A was the one of my flower girls and J was my ring bearer. And I have often felt an urge to do something of the sort with them. Plus, I'm not getting to see them NEARLY as much as I used to. It would be nice to have regular contact again. AND it would be good practice for when I have kids. And besides, it doesn't have to be a class. It could just be "sharing" And this summer, I don't have class of my own so it would be a good time to try such a thing out.

I'd like to do a play with them. But I'm having trouble coming up with ideas that fit both age ranges.
I have come up with a list of possible books
Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
Stuart Little by E.B. White (they like the movie)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Sherlock Holmes' mysteries.

After I get a feel for what works and doesn't, I would like to go off into a series on Roman and Greek mythology.

Anyway, this is getting long. So. Signing off for now!