Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Fun Birthday

It was Himbeere's birthday and we decided to go all out, or at least a little ways out, and grill some steaks.  That meant we first had to dig the grill out.  I don't think we grilled even once last year.  So it was all covered and buried under all the other junk that got piled just outside the garage because the garage spent the last year or so stuffed clear full of our kids' junk.
So first I had to locate the grill.  Then I had to move all the stuff that was piled on and around it.  It looked worse than it actually turned out to be.
Once I got the stuff moved away and the cover off, I had to clean off cobwebs and other stuff.  Then I  opened up the grill.  That was not encouraging.
It looked pretty dismal.  I was not encouraged.  I wasn't sure I'd even be able to get it lit, even though I knew there was plenty of propane in the tank.  After all, I knew I had refilled the tank shortly before the end of summer the last time we used it.  But after finding a wire brush and giving the whole thing a real good going over, I turned the dials to the right position and hit the lighter.  Lo, and behold, it fired right up!  Amazing!
We had gone to a meat market and got some nice steaks.  We had a coupon so it hadn't really cost us $19.  More like six cents.  Yeah, good meat is expensive.  Good thing we had a good coupon. Otherwise it might have been just burgers.
So Brombeere spiced it up and used the meat tenderizer.  Yes, she beat on the steaks a while and got them all tender and ready.
Then they went on the grill, which was all warmed and ready by then.
As they cooked they got close supervision from a four legged fellow who made sure to stay close by. He initially tried to act disinterested.
But you could tell he really was very much interested.
I left it to Schwartzbeere to determine when the right moment arrived to take the steaks off the grill. Actually, they turned out pretty good, I thought. Schwartzbeere is good that way.
After the steaks we brought out the traditional birthday cake. Well, not quite traditional. It was a double thick brownie "cake." That also was very yummy.
With the candles lit it presented a small fire hazard but Himbeere remained calm.
Rather than expend his precious breath putting out the fire he got a piece of paper and waved it over the flames which actually worked quite well to put them out.
Cake and ice cream - chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate.
Then came the gifts.
He had fun with it - actually smiled a bit.
Then he set into the serious business of opening the presents.
Paper went flying ...
... out came the goodies ...
... and when it was all over he was worn out by the exertion.
Nothing left but the wreckage.
And thus Himbeere arrived at the grand old age of twenty-five. A quarter century old. Truly a milestone worth celebrating. And it was a good time. Happy birthday, Himbeere!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

A Fun Visit

We recently took the opportunity to go visit Erdbeere and her family.  It was a good visit.  Now, let me say right up front that this post is going to make it look like we only saw the grandkids, Townsend and Moon.  But that's not the case, we saw their parents, too.  Its just that the grandkids ...  Well,  you know how it is.  We love our kids but their kids sometimes end up getting into more pictures than they do.

Anyway, we did a whole bunch of fun stuff while we were visiting.  When you're not around them 24/7, isn't everything they do kind of cute and fun?  Sure!  One of the first things was some painting.  I thought it was interesting to see the different style, or techniques to their painting.  They both had pretty much the same choice of brushes but Townsend chose a brush whereas Moon basically "stamped" his painting.
Lots and lots of dots.
But they both had fun and they both ended up some pretty nice paintings.
When they were all done, the paintings went up to dry and be on display.  Pretty nice.  Townsend was willing to interrupt his scootering to stand by his painting briefly.
Moon not so much.  He was on to other things.
The next day we had planned on going to Shedd Aquarium but when we got looking at admission, parking, and all that jazz it was looking pretty expensive.  So we opted for the nearby Maggie C Daley Park instead.  The kids probably enjoyed that more anyway.
So we drove into the city.  We could have taken the train, Townsend would have loved that.  But we opted to drive instead. 
So we drove and actually ended up in a pretty decent parking spot in the garage under the park.  We took the elevator up and there it was!
Kids are funny at a big park like this - they struggle to know what to play on first.  It all looks so fun and inviting that they end up running from place to place before finally settling on a place to stay and play for a while.
Slides and all kinds of stuff to climb on.
Padded walk ways, ridges to climb on ...
... things to spin ...
... swings.  It was a good time.  We took some sandwiches and ate while we were there.  We wore the kids out - it was a great time!
Later the playdoh came out.  They have some cool toys to use on the playdoh.
Even grandma got into the game.
Almost looks like something you'd find painted on the wall of a canyon.  I thought it turned out quite nice.
We also hit a story time for a little while.  First the kids heard a story.
Then the kids got to use popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, and other crafty stuff to make things from the story.  They had a good time.
During a quiet moment I was playing an LDS version of hangman and Townsend came over to watch.  I was kind of surprised that he was that interested in it.  I usually start by trying all the vowels and then filling in the consonants.  That works pretty well for me, I win more than I lose.  Townsends didn't know his vowels when he first started watching but by the time we stopped he was getting them pretty good, he could name them.  But what really surprised me was how many of the words he guessed.  He was doing pretty good!

It was a fun visit.  There's lots to see and do in that area but, really, the best part is just being there and visiting.  That's the best part.  It was a fun visit.

Monday, June 11, 2018

At Long Last, I May Have Found it

I have been looking for a coleslaw recipe I liked for a long time.  I tried several recipes but chopping all that cabbage by hand can be a lot of work so the quest sort of fell by the wayside for a while.  But then last summer I got a new kitchen tool and the quest resumed.  While the coleslaw I made that day turned out pretty good, and it also showed me that with this new tool making chopped cabbage dishes is no work at all. That particular coleslaw recipe I tried billed itself as "southwestern coleslaw".  It was good for what it was but it wasn't the coleslaw recipe I have been searching for.

The Internet and social media is a rabbit hole you can get lost in for a long time, if you're not careful.  But its also a great place to find almost anything you want in the way of information.  So I kept watching and collecting recipes for coleslaw.  Several weeks after the go-around with the southwestern coleslaw I tried a different recipe.  This one said it was supposed to be the recipe for Chic-Fil-A coleslaw so I thought maybe it would be worth a try.  That, even though I've never eaten at Chic-Fil-A.  Well, it turned out to be pretty darn okay!   So today I had a head of cabbage in the back of the refrigerator that was starting to get pretty old and, knowing that age doesn't do for cabbage what it does for cheese and certain other foods, I decided to see if the Chic-Fil-A recipe really was all that good, see if I could reproduce the same or similar results.
I got everything out and got started.  There really isn't that much in this recipe, it strikes me as pretty basic.
The recipe says to make the sauce first, everything that doesn't have to be chopped, so I did that.  Then I set it aside while I got to chopping everything else.
Unlike the southwestern coleslaw, "everything else" really is only cabbage, carrots, and an onion.
I usually run the carrots and onions through as I do the cabbage since its all going to end up mixed into the same bowl anyway.
When you do a whole head of cabbage you end up with a little more than what the recipe calls for so I have to up the amounts of everything else a little.  This time I did everything for the sauce half again what the recipe called for.  Then, if it still doesn't look moist enough, I add a little plain yogurt until it looks right.
Then you stir it up real good and stick it in the fridge to cool a couple of hours.  I imagine that also helps the flavors blend together better.
Anyway, when it was all done and cooled as directed, it turned out pretty good!  I think I'm going to have to keep this recipe and use it some more.  Coleslaw is good stuff!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Commonplace Book

A Commonplace Book. “Commonplace”, from the Latin 'locus communis', meaning “a theme or argument of general application.”  For me, it is a collection of thoughts, ideas, anecdotes, poems, observations, and quotes that stood out and caught my attention, some with comment, some without. Essentially a scrapbook, a repository of thoughts too good to just pass over and let go.

“Life is all about how we handle Plan B.” Anonymous
Patient “Why did the ER call it a retinal break?”
Doctor: “Next time you have an eye emergency see an eye doctor.”
“Ever busily winding the golden thread that bound them all together, weaving the service of her happy influence through the tissue of all their lives, …”
Charles Dickens, The Tale Two Cities

How well this could be said of the dear woman I've been fortunate enough to be married to all these years; she is the magic that holds us all together. 
“Sometimes people are like turkeys when they go to church. They’re taught to fly and then they walk home.” A Comment Made by a Bishop during Ward Council
It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about? (Henry David Thoreau)
Maimonides’ axiom: It is natural to be influenced in character and conduct by your friends and associates, and to follow the fashions of your fellow citizens. Therefore, one ought to ensure that your friends are virtuous and that you frequent the company of the wise so that you learn from the way they live, and that you keep a distance from bad company.
“President Heber J. Grant put it in context when he said: “Prosperity comes to those who observe the law of tithing. When I say prosperity I am not thinking of it in terms of dollars and cents alone. … What I count as real prosperity … is the growth in a knowledge of God, and in a testimony, and in the power to live the gospel and to inspire our families to do the same. That is prosperity of the truest kind.”

Sister Yaeko Seki experienced part of this precious promise. She writes: “I was pregnant with our fourth child and was feeling rather tired, so I lay down under the trees. … I began thinking about our financial problems. My heart became overwhelmed, and I burst into tears. ‘Lord, we are full-tithe payers. We have sacrificed so much. When will the windows of heaven open unto us and our burdens be lightened?’

“I prayed with all my heart. Then I turned to watch my husband and children playing and laughing together. … Suddenly, the Spirit testified to me that my blessings were abundant and that my family was the greatest blessing Heavenly Father could give me.”
(James E Faust, of the Quorum of the Twelve, October Conference 1998. Quoting Pres Heber J Grant and Yaeko Seki.) 
“We oftentimes believe, “I’m going to have this perfect understanding, and then I’m going to transform that into what I do.” I would suggest that we have enough to get started. We have a sense of the right direction. Faith is a principle—the principle—of action and of power. True faith is focused in and on the Lord Jesus Christ and always leads to action.”
(David A Bednar, “Seek Learning by Faith” [address to Church Educational System religious educators, Feb. 3, 2006]) 
“When the Lord wants to change the world, he doesn’t send armies or use powerful groups.
“When it was time to lead the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage, the Lord didn’t send an army; he sent a baby boy to a Levite home. This baby boy was later to be known as Moses, whom we know as the great lawgiver and the one who delivered the children of Israel from bondage.
“In the meridian of time, the Father sent his own Son to be born of a virgin mother in a lowly manger. The whole world was affected by his brief life’s mission, and he still remains the only hope of mankind, here and hereafter.
“When it was time to restore his gospel to prepare the world for the second coming of his Son, he again sent a baby boy to the home of a righteous father and mother.”
Rex C Reeve, of the Quorum of the Seventy, October Conference 1985

When the Lord needed a great work done he sent a baby. But first He placed a great woman to be that baby's mother. 
“I think there’s been a trend toward higher expectations of teachers, instead of saying that it’s the child’s responsibility to learn and be successful. I have a hard time with that. I always tried to teach my children that you’re responsible for your learning, and you’re going to have teachers that are really entertaining and you’re going to have some that are boring, but what you get out of it is what you put into it.”
Anne H Zachry, author. “Retro Baby”, “Retro Toddler”, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics 
“No one knows precisely how strong winds in the strongest tornadoes are. That's because the strongest tornadoes have always destroyed wind measuring equipment.”
Gannet Publishing, 5/4/2018 
"There is a phenomenon known as “helper's high” which refers to the lift people get from knowing that they're really making a difference in someone else's life.”
The Power of Vitality 
"When sore trials come, you will learn why the Holy Ghost is called the Comforter."
(Boyd K Packer, of the Quorum of the Twelve, October Conference 1994)
“Think of what you possess not as something you own but as something you hold in trust for the benefit, not only of you and your family, but also of others. In life, ask not, “what can I gain?” But “what can I give?” You will travel more lightly and with greater joy. You will enhance the lives of others. You will feel that your life has been worthwhile.  [W]hen it comes to giving, scale does not matter. Be a blessing to others and you will find that life has been a blessing to you.”
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Behar-Bechukotai 5778