Monday, November 30, 2009
I've noticed though that I am much more likely to write a complaint when I get home than I used to me. I've always been the one to complain if my receipt is wrong, but as long as they fixed it, that is usually it, but anymore long lines, incompetent help, etc., annoy me much more. I think it is simply that those factors mean Adam gets upset and thus makes me upset, meaning little things bug me more. Like today (I just wrote two online complaints, which is what started this), we had a couple of errands to run. Giant Eagle (our grocery store) has double fuel perks on gifts cards, so I wanted to get my holiday cards now. So in Adam and I went and I was confused on whether their own gift cards counted, as I'd never gotten one before. So I asked my clerk, who then asked someone else (I don't fault her - she did what she should have - asked when she didn't know), who said yes, they did count. So I bought it, but didn't get the fuel perks. So I had to go customer service, who then tells me no, they don't count! AGHHH!!! And they were not willing to refund the gift card or even interested in finding out who gave out the wrong information. I was not pleased!
Then off to the post office, which from the parking lot, I could tell was busy. So we go inside to wait in line (which Adam hated, as usual), and it turns out they only have ONE clerk on duty - at lunchtime, on a Monday, during holiday season. Seriously? If a store is obviously working to fix a problem like a line, I can still let it go without a problem (so if they were fully staffed or someone else was helping in some way), but again, they weren't even trying!
Am I wrong to want competent help and stores that are prepared for normal busy times?
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
We went on to Borders and Melissa and Doug stuff was buy one, get one 50% off. Melissa and Doug toys/games, if you haven't seen them, are AWESOME!! So we got Adam two (one for Christmas, one for his birthday in January) from us. He's going to love figuring out those latches!
I have my gifts in a jar about 90% complete. I still need to print off my labels (my printer broke tonight!) and then attach them, but the goods are all in the jars. Adam and I did part of it and then I finished (with a little Ray help) after he went to bed.
Currently I'm scanning in midterms so I can mail them back to students. I usually have Ray do this at work now (this is a tedious process but I definitely don't trust the postal service not to lose a test!), but this is a really small class, so it is faster just to do it myself. This way I can get them out on Monday for the students.
I feel like I made a dent in the Christmas shopping today. My next project is write my Christmas letter for Christmas cards. I decided against photo cards this year (I will do one next year with Adam and Pickle), but did order a bunch of copies of a good picture of Adam to include with some cards. I'm going shopping for some more stuff on Monday (meeting Ray) and then I think I should be able to order all the pictures I need (for various incarnations) as well all the photo gifts I want to do.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Leftovers - just a few!
Modified from Emeril
Graham Cracker Crust [he made his own, I just bought one]
5 cups strawberries, halved [I used 2 bags of frozen]
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
3 tbsp brandy
In a sauce pan, combine berries, sugar and vanilla and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Combine constarch, water and brandy in a separate bowl and then add to the berry mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickents [they said about 5minutes, this took me longer, but I think that was because I was using frozen]. Remove from the heat and cool. Pour into the pie crust. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or until filling sets.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
- Turkey and gravy (nothing special here, just roasting it and will make the gravy from the drippings)
- Stuffing (I put mine in the crock pot versus in the bird - always stick an onion in the middle of my bird)
- Coleslaw (Gram Stannard's recipe - the only way to eat coleslaw! Polish or nothing!)
- Rolls (I use Rhodes frozen - you just let them rise and bake them off...Ray adores them...even though there are just 5 of us (plus Adam), I'm doing at least 3 dozen as Ray can eat a dozen himself!)
- Strawberry Pie (I never could find rhubarb, so we are going straight strawberry - this is a new recipe I'm trying)
I also have cookies in the freezer from baking last weekend that I'll take out. Plus I still have doughnuts left. That's what I'm doing and then Dave, Brian and Brittany are bringing potatoes of some form, another dessert and veggies and dip.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Peas and Barley Soup Mix
Modified from Gifts in a Jar: Soups
1 cup green split peas
1 cup lentils
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 cup pearl barley
3/4 cup brown rice
1/4 cup celery flakes
1/4 cup parsley flakes
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
Layer ingredients in order given in a 1 quart canning jar. With each layer down as you add. Attach a tag with cooking directions.
1 jar Peas and Barley Soup Mix
4 cups chopped, cooked meat
Place soup mix in a large soup pot. Add 16-20 cups of water [16 if you want a very thick soup, more if you want a soup with more actual broth...you can decide this before you label....Ray likes more broth and thought it needed more] and meat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover pot. Simmer for 45-50 minutes or until peas are tender.
These turned out fabulously and Ray adored them (he is a sugar cookie fanatic anyway). These were supposed to be Orange Snaps (meaning thin and crispy), but I like moist cookies, so I made these larger so they'd be soft. I think they turned out really well.
Orange Sugar Cookies (Snaps)
Modified from Lemon Meringue Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke
***Needs to chill, so don't preheat yet***
1 1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate (which isn't the entire container, so expect to make a jug of orange juice with the remnants) [you could also use lemonade frozen concentrate here and I think that would be fabulous as lemon cookies....that's actually my own thought as well!]
2 beaten eggs
4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
zest of one orange [if you did lemon cookies, use the zest of a lemon]
4 cups flour
1/3 cup white sugar (this is for rolling the cookies in, so you won't need it right away)
Melt butter in a large microwave safe bowl. Add sugar and orange juice concentrate and stir. Let mixture cool slightly (you don't want to cook the eggs, but adding in frozen juice concentrate helps a lot!). Add the eggs, baking soda, salt and orange zest, stirring after each addition. Add flour in increments and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (I did it overnight, as that is their best recommendation). (Notice the bowl below...it has a lid...so perfect for doing all of this in one place....well, I didn't realize how much dough I'd have, so I actually went through a couple, but as you can see, this fits nicely in this container. I plan to try to just use this bowl next time.)
Makes 3-4 dozen (this says 10 dozen, but with my larger cookies, I only got a couple dozen).
So anyway, I'm about to go to bed and currently being non-productive (eating ice cream).
Second, I like the post office branch - I really do BUT lately they have been woefully understaffed all the time. They used to be always prepared, but lately they only have one clerk at obvious to be busy times (lunch time on Mondays....) and they were 15 minutes late opening the last time I was there on Saturday (and they, like most PO branches, already have stupid Saturday hours)! They are getting very lax - makes you wonder what is up. Plus some worker has been parking horizontally in vertical spots in the back parking lot (the one you have to use if the front slots are filled up...which isn't a rare occurence...it is also loading/unloading for them) and I brought this up and was told this was his assigned spot!!!! Talk about ridiculous! You can bet I complained online (license plate number and all) - hopefully nationall will take them to task. I really wonder if they have a new postmaster...a new, lax, one....
Why am I complaining today? Well, because I got there and had to wait in line (with only one clerk open most of the time) for about 20 minutes with a very cranky toddler.
Now, I adore flat rate postage. Something cool - did you know it is cheaper to send things to the troops overseas than elsewhere in the US? APO addresses are considered "domestic," although you need a customs form, but they are cheaper than normal domestic shipping. Kind of cool to know. Not sure why this is, but I'm not complaining. I did figure out how to fill out my customs forms online today - very happy about that!
The PO is losing money and all that rot - the simple answer to stop Saturday delivery. First, they barely have branch hours anyway (or incredibly stupid ones), so it isn't like they are helping much. Stay open one night later - that would help us a lot more! Second, it is only businesses who really care exactly when stuff is delivered and most aren't open on Saturdays, so it isn't like they would be affected. This would probably solve their deficit and they could still deliver overnight/express on Saturdays, but nothing else.
While I'm on the government saving money - QUIT PRINTING DOLLAR BILLS....what a waste of currency! USE DOLLAR COINS!!!!
Okay, I've ranted - I feel better.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Adam checking out Addie's toys! He never played in his overhead gym when he was her age, but now I guess it is cool!
Auntie Sue made this while we were in Connecticut. It was pretty good, although I thought rather dry. But I love raspberry anything, so that always makes it better. Plus this is very versatile - you could use any flavor of jam you wanted to make this any flavor you felt like.
1/2 lb butter, melted
2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
12 oz seedless raspberry jam
Preheat to 350.
Mix flour, sugar and melted butter.
Put 9 by 13 pan with 1/2 of the mixture then spread the jam on top of this. Crumble the rest of the mixture on top of this.
Bake for 30 minutes.
This was easy and a nice change from normal boiled or steamed cauliflower.
Preheat your oven to 400 and cut up head of cauliflower.
Toss cauliflower with olive oil, salt, pepper and whatever else seasoning you want. They recommended red pepper flakes, which I didn't use (I am trying to convince to eat veggies, not scare him off!). What I used (also a recommendation of theirs of sorts) was Italian seasoning.
Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet.
Roast for 30-35 minutes or until cauliflower is soft and turns golden brown.
I made this as she said they tasted like candy and I'm on a quest to get Adam to get his veggies. Well, these were pretty good (I actually don't like the pepper in it, although Ray did), but Adam still didn't eat them. Ray also liked them and they were very easy to make.
Honey and Ginger Glazed Carrots
Modified from A Year of Slow Cooking
4 cups of carrots, peeled and sliced [she used baby carrots, but I won't pay the premium and just peeled and cut up my own]
1/2 cup of orange juice
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp butter
3/4 tsp ginger [she used mostly cinnamon with a little ginger, but Ray doesn't like cinnamon so we used all ginger]
1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Adam loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, which he calls Toodles (the thing they call for their Mouse-k-tools). This is him watching it - you can see how excited he gets! I couldn't get him calling Toodles on camera, of course! He'll actually call for Toodles sometimes when we are doing something and he wants escape/help! This is actually quite old - I was just cleaning off my camera as we are finally going to finish my example videos for 102 next week (life has just been too busy and Adam didn't cooperate with the baby-sitter idea).
I have always run my "weeks" in my online classes from Monday to Sunday, but am changing that this next term. First, Ray's schedule means he will never be home on Monday nights. Second, I have a little higher load, so I'm splitting up the grading between two days. So I'm going to make some of my classes' weeks end on Saturday and others end on Mondays.
I'm also changing how I do my history exams, so we'll see how that goes. The other big change is we are piloting MathMyLab in my algebra class. I think the students will get a lot of use of it and it will hopefully lighten my grading load. If it works, it will be awesome. I plan on writing up a separate survey about it to ask students at the end of next term so that we can get some input as we consider if we are making a permanent change.
This is interesting - a list of the healthiest/unhealthiest states. A couple of things I noticed that were interesting (at least to me):
- Alaska and Ohio were right next to each other, 33 and 34)
- Ohio was in the bottom 10 for obesity
- Connecticut was the top for obesity, CT was high in smoking and just based on my own family, I'd say that was true.
Otherwise, it wasn't too surprising - the bottom was all Southern states, as excepted.
I can't find rhubarb, but I haven't completely given up yet. The bugs ate mine so this wouldn't be an issue! I've tried all the local stores (I called a few rather than driving....one told me they did, but didn't....SO not happy with that clerk!), but we'll see. Ray might be getting strawberry pie this year!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
On a happier note, I decided to redo my tests - I'm actually making it shorter/easier on the students, so they will probably be easier. I do open book exams (not worth the trouble in an online course) for history. I also will not do multiple choice exams for history - I find those useless. Anyway, so I decided to can the short answers and just do essays since really that is the thought part and the rest, while making them do some research, is more just busy work. I decided no busy work - if it was in person, closed book, it would be more fruitful, but I've decided that after a couple of years of doing it one way, its time for a change. I've added a new debate assignment that I'm pysched about and would rather focus on that.
I did get my Thanksgiving shopping mostly done, although I'm still sans a turkey. Adam and I will take care of that tomorrow and finish up the rest of the shopping. Dave, Brian and Brittany are all coming here for the day, so it should be fun.
I did find a great new author - Ann Purser. I read Weeping on Wednesday and was quite impressed. I'm looking forward to more of this series (and it is an older one, which means lots of backlist, which is great!). I have also been cleaning out and have several book lots listed on Ebay - feeling good about that. Good, solid, mysteries set in Britain by a British author, which gives a great authencity to the book.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
It is also REALLY simple:
Preheat oven to 475.
Cut up broccoli and toss in olive oil and season with garlic, salt and pepper to taste (and here you could go crazy and do whatever you wanted...I saw some cool ideas, like chili powder or parmesan cheese!).
Put on cooking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Stir and repeat until you get the doneness you want. This took me about 13 minutes (two 5 minute periods and then 3 more). The size of broccoli pieces plus amount will affect this.
You want slightly brown, crispy, edges.
- Planted new aerogarden
- Picked up the house
- Had web meeting with work on new spring courses (with Adam up, a major accomplishment!)
- Put away clothes (they were clean....I was just to the point where I had go downstairs to get dressed in the morning...that might have been a hint!)
- Started Christmas lists
- Made Thanksgiving menu/shopping lists
- Wrote some blogs for the APB
- Balanced checkbook
- Did regular classwork (I'm writing examples now between lines)
- List some items on Ebay
- Did one load of laundry (washed, dried and folded)
- Web cammed with my parents with Adam
- Cleaned out personal email accounts
I think that's it....I've just finished writing up example problems for a student, so I'm off to post them. Hey, since just dealing with Adam can be an accomplishment I'm feeling pretty good. Plus I tried a new thing - roasting broccoli - for dinner and it came out well. I'll post on that later (or tomorrow).
That said, their customer services is atrocious! Anytime you order anything (and they certainly are NOT cheap and they have their replacement kits priced so that you can never get free shipping unless you order several at once) takes forever to get here (case in point, the new kit I just ordered took a MONTH!). They are often out of certain kits or won't let you make your own at any given time. When I emailed about the last order, I was just given a roundabout answer...oh, it'll be there eventually! That's not a good answer.
In addition, their kits are not interchangeable between models (I found this out the hard way). Actually I ordered the 6 spot space saver and got the 7 space model. I probably would have complained (this was last Christmas), but honestly, we weren't home from Christmas and so I barely looked at the box until after as I didn't plan to plant it until then and so didn't notice it until it had been delivered for over a month, so I just went with it (the model they sent was worth more anyway). But I had pre-ordered some kits to match the one I thought I had bought and turned out I couldn't use them. I'm going to try planting the seed kits next spring.
So just some thoughts if you are thinking about an aerogarden. The herbs (and I'm sure all their other products) are fabulous (I actually often have more than I need), but working with the company is very annoying!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
I'm still of the opinion that they should have done this through doctor's offices (like Adam's pediatrician and my OB) rather than these blasted clinics (although not having to pay was nice). But honestly none of the offices that said they were getting shots have gotten any - just the clinics. And my county has only done one - we went to another county as they have been much more organized.
I'm going to be honest, if Ray didn't work with a bunch of college students who are the main worry source (crowded living and poor hygiene), I probably wouldn't have bothered with these at all, but I'm just worried that Ray will bring it home with him and give it to me and Adam. That said, the universities around here have been trying really hard (to almost the point of absurdity), but still I thought it was a risk we shouldn't take.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Chicken Stew with Biscuits
6 chicken breasts, cooked and cut up
3 1/2 cups onions, sautéed [this originally put in pearl onions later, which I don’t like, so I just put in to add more regular onions]
3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) butter
3/4 cup flour
5 cups chicken broth [I would normally just use bouillon and if I made these myself I would.]
1/4 cup heavy cream.
2 cups carrots, blanched and cut up [I’d probably just use frozen]
2 cups frozen peas
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
½ cup (1 stick) cold butter, diced
¾ cup half and half
½ cup parsley
1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp water
Sauté onions and butter for about 10 minutes. Add flour and mix well. Add in chicken brother and then blend and thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste and then heavy cream. Add in carrots, peas, parsley and chicken. Put into 9 by 13 pan and bake at 375 for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the biscuits. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Add the half-and-half and combine on low speed. Mix in the parsley. Dump the dough out on a well-floured board and, with a rolling pin, roll out to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out twelve circles with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter.
Remove stew from oven and put biscuits on top. Brush with egg wash and return to the oven. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, until biscuits are brown and the stew is bubbly.
Now, that all said, my favorite - and in my opinion, the most deserving (although there have been a lot of great people awarded this prize) - winner is Mother Teresa. So I thought I'd post her Nobel speech here just because I want to - if you go to the site, you can listen to the original as well, which is REALLY cool.
As we have gathered here together to thank God for the Nobel Peace Prize I think it will be beautiful that we pray the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi which always surprises me very much - we pray this prayer every day after Holy Communion, because it is very fitting for each one of us, and I always wonder that 4-500 years ago as St. Francis of Assisi composed this prayer that they had the same difficulties that we have today, as we compose this prayer that fits very nicely for us also. I think some of you already have got it - so we will pray together.
Let us thank God for the opportunity that we all have together today, for this gift of peace that reminds us that we have been created to live that peace, and Jesus became man to bring that good news to the poor. He being God became man in all things like us except sin, and he proclaimed very clearly that he had come to give the good news. The news was peace to all of good will and this is something that we all want - the peace of heart - and God loved the world so much that he gave his son - it was a giving - it is as much as if to say it hurt God to give, because he loved the world so much that he gave his son, and he gave him to Virgin Mary, and what did she do with him?
As soon as he came in her life - immediately she went in haste to give that good news, and as she came into the house of her cousin, the child - the unborn child - the child in the womb of Elizabeth, leapt with joy. He was that little unborn child, was the first messenger of peace. He recognised the Prince of Peace, he recognised that Christ has come to bring the good news for you and for me. And as if that was not enough - it was not enough to become a man - he died on the cross to show that greater love, and he died for you and for me and for that leper and for that man dying of hunger and that naked person lying in the street not only of Calcutta, but of Africa, and New York, and London, and Oslo - and insisted that we love one another as he loves each one of us. And we read that in the Gospel very clearly - love as I have loved you - as I love you - as the Father has loved me, I love you - and the harder the Father loved him, he gave him to us, and how much we love one another, we, too, must give each other until it hurts. It is not enough for us to say: I love God, but I do not love my neighbour. St. John says you are a liar if you say you love God and you don't love your neighbour. How can you love God whom you do not see, if you do not love your neighbour whom you see, whom you touch, with whom you live. And so this is very important for us to realise that love, to be true, has to hurt. It hurt Jesus to love us, it hurt him. And to make sure we remember his great love he made himself the bread of life to satisfy our hunger for his love. Our hunger for God, because we have been created for that love. We have been created in his image. We have been created to love and be loved, and then he has become man to make it possible for us to love as he loved us. He makes himself the hungry one - the naked one - the homeless one - the sick one - the one in prison - the lonely one - the unwanted one - and he says: You did it to me. Hungry for our love, and this is the hunger of our poor people. This is the hunger that you and I must find, it may be in our own home.
I never forget an opportunity I had in visiting a home where they had all these old parents of sons and daughters who had just put them in an institution and forgotten maybe. And I went there, and I saw in that home they had everything, beautiful things, but everybody was looking towards the door. And I did not see a single one with their smile on their face. And I turned to the Sister and I asked: How is that? How is it that the people they have everything here, why are they all looking towards the door, why are they not smiling? I am so used to see the smile on our people, even the dying one smile, and she said: This is nearly every day, they are expecting, they are hoping that a son or daughter will come to visit them. They are hurt because they are forgotten, and see - this is where love comes. That poverty comes right there in our own home, even neglect to love. Maybe in our own family we have somebody who is feeling lonely, who is feeling sick, who is feeling worried, and these are difficult days for everybody. Are we there, are we there to receive them, is the mother there to receive the child?
I was surprised in the West to see so many young boys and girls given into drugs, and I tried to find out why - why is it like that, and the answer was: Because there is no one in the family to receive them. Father and mother are so busy they have no time. Young parents are in some institution and the child takes back to the street and gets involved in something. We are talking of peace. These are things that break peace, but I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing - direct murder by the mother herself. And we read in the Scripture, for God says very clearly: Even if a mother could forget her child - I will not forget you - I have carved you in the palm of my hand. We are carved in the palm of His hand, so close to Him that unborn child has been carved in the hand of God. And that is what strikes me most, the beginning of that sentence, that even if a mother could forget something impossible - but even if she could forget - I will not forget you. And today the greatest means - the greatest destroyer of peace is abortion. And we who are standing here - our parents wanted us. We would not be here if our parents would do that to us. Our children, we want them, we love them, but what of the millions. Many people are very, very concerned with the children in India, with the children in Africa where quite a number die, maybe of malnutrition, of hunger and so on, but millions are dying deliberately by the will of the mother. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today. Because if a mother can kill her own child - what is left for me to kill you and you kill me - there is nothing between. And this I appeal in India, I appeal everywhere: Let us bring the child back, and this year being the child's year: What have we done for the child? At the beginning of the year I told, I spoke everywhere and I said: Let us make this year that we make every single child born, and unborn, wanted. And today is the end of the year, have we really made the children wanted? I will give you something terrifying. We are fighting abortion by adoption, we have saved thousands of lives, we have sent words to all the clinics, to the hospitals, police stations - please don't destroy the child, we will take the child. So every hour of the day and night it is always somebody, we have quite a number of unwedded mothers - tell them come, we will take care of you, we will take the child from you, and we will get a home for the child. And we have a tremendous demand from families who have no children, that is the blessing of God for us. And also, we are doing another thing which is very beautiful - we are teaching our beggars, our leprosy patients, our slum dwellers, our people of the street, natural family planning.
And in Calcutta alone in six years - it is all in Calcutta - we have had 61,273 babies less from the families who would have had, but because they practise this natural way of abstaining, of self-control, out of love for each other. We teach them the temperature meter which is very beautiful, very simple, and our poor people understand. And you know what they have told me? Our family is healthy, our family is united, and we can have a baby whenever we want. So clear - those people in the street, those beggars - and I think that if our people can do like that how much more you and all the others who can know the ways and means without destroying the life that God has created in us.
The poor people are very great people. They can teach us so many beautiful things. The other day one of them came to thank and said: You people who have vowed chastity you are the best people to teach us family planning. Because it is nothing more than self-control out of love for each other. And I think they said a beautiful sentence. And these are people who maybe have nothing to eat, maybe they have not a home where to live, but they are great people. The poor are very wonderful people. One evening we went out and we picked up four people from the street. And one of them was in a most terrible condition - and I told the Sisters: You take care of the other three, I take of this one that looked worse. So I did for her all that my love can do. I put her in bed, and there was such a beautiful smile on her face. She took hold of my hand, as she said one word only: Thank you - and she died.
I could not help but examine my conscience before her, and I asked what would I say if I was in her place. And my answer was very simple. I would have tried to draw a little attention to myself, I would have said I am hungry, that I am dying, I am cold, I am in pain, or something, but she gave me much more - she gave me her grateful love. And she died with a smile on her face. As that man whom we picked up from the drain, half eaten with worms, and we brought him to the home. I have lived like an animal in the street, but I am going to die like an angel, loved and cared for. And it was so wonderful to see the greatness of that man who could speak like that, who could die like that without blaming anybody, without cursing anybody, without comparing anything. Like an angel - this is the greatness of our people. And that is why we believe what Jesus had said: I was hungry - I was naked - I was homeless - I was unwanted, unloved, uncared for - and you did it to me.
I believe that we are not real social workers. We may be doing social work in the eyes of the people, but we are really contemplatives in the heart of the world. For we are touching the Body of Christ 24 hours. We have 24 hours in this presence, and so you and I. You too try to bring that presence of God in your family, for the family that prays together stays together. And I think that we in our family don't need bombs and guns, to destroy to bring peace - just get together, love one another, bring that peace, that joy, that strength of presence of each other in the home. And we will be able to overcome all the evil that is in the world.
There is so much suffering, so much hatred, so much misery, and we with our prayer, with our sacrifice are beginning at home. Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the action that we do. It is to God Almighty - how much we do it does not matter, because He is infinite, but how much love we put in that action. How much we do to Him in the person that we are serving.
Some time ago in Calcutta we had great difficulty in getting sugar, and I don't know how the word got around to the children, and a little boy of four years old, Hindu boy, went home and told his parents: I will not eat sugar for three days, I will give my sugar to Mother Teresa for her children. After three days his father and mother brought him to our home. I had never met them before, and this little one could scarcely pronounce my name, but he knew exactly what he had come to do. He knew that he wanted to share his love.
And this is why I have received such a lot of love from you all. From the time that I have come here I have simply been surrounded with love, and with real, real understanding love. It could feel as if everyone in India, everyone in Africa is somebody very special to you. And I felt quite at home I was telling Sister today. I feel in the Convent with the Sisters as if I am in Calcutta with my own Sisters. So completely at home here, right here.
And so here I am talking with you - I want you to find the poor here, right in your own home first. And begin love there. Be that good news to your own people. And find out about your next-door neighbour - do you know who they are? I had the most extraordinary experience with a Hindu family who had eight children. A gentleman came to our house and said: Mother Teresa, there is a family with eight children, they had not eaten for so long - do something. So I took some rice and I went there immediately. And I saw the children - their eyes shinning with hunger - I don't know if you have ever seen hunger. But I have seen it very often. And she took the rice, she divided the rice, and she went out. When she came back I asked her - where did you go, what did you do? And she gave me a very simple answer: They are hungry also. What struck me most was that she knew - and who are they, a Muslim family - and she knew. I didn't bring more rice that evening because I wanted them to enjoy the joy of sharing. But there were those children, radiating joy, sharing the joy with their mother because she had the love to give. And you see this is where love begins - at home. And I want you - and I am very grateful for what I have received. It has been a tremendous experience and I go back to India - I will be back by next week, the 15th I hope - and I will be able to bring your love.
And I know well that you have not given from your abundance, but you have given until it has hurt you. Today the little children they have - I was so surprised - there is so much joy for the children that are hungry. That the children like themselves will need love and care and tenderness, like they get so much from their parents. So let us thank God that we have had this opportunity to come to know each other, and this knowledge of each other has brought us very close. And we will be able to help not only the children of India and Africa, but will be able to help the children of the whole world, because as you know our Sisters are all over the world. And with this prize that I have received as a prize of peace, I am going to try to make the home for many people that have no home. Because I believe that love begins at home, and if we can create a home for the poor - I think that more and more love will spread. And we will be able through this understanding love to bring peace, be the good news to the poor. The poor in our own family first, in our country and in the world.
To be able to do this, our Sisters, our lives have to be woven with prayer. They have to be woven with Christ to be able to understand, to be able to share. Because today there is so much suffering - and I feel that the passion of Christ is being relived all over again - are we there to share that passion, to share that suffering of people. Around the world, not only in the poor countries, but I found the poverty of the West so much more difficult to remove. When I pick up a person from the street, hungry, I give him a plate of rice, a piece of bread, I have satisfied. I have removed that hunger. But a person that is shut out, that feels unwanted, unloved, terrified, the person that has been thrown out from society - that poverty is so hurtable and so much, and I find that very difficult. Our Sisters are working amongst that kind of people in the West. So you must pray for us that we may be able to be that good news, but we cannot do that without you, you have to do that here in your country. You must come to know the poor, maybe our people here have material things, everything, but I think that if we all look into our own homes, how difficult we find it sometimes to smile at each, other, and that the smile is the beginning of love.
And so let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love, and once we begin to love each other naturally we want to do something. So you pray for our Sisters and for me and for our Brothers, and for our Co-Workers that are around the world. That we may remain faithful to the gift of God, to love Him and serve Him in the poor together with you. What we have done we should not have been able to do if you did not share with your prayers, with your gifts, this continual giving. But I don't want you to give me from your abundance, I want that you give me until it hurts.
The other day I received 15 dollars from a man who has been on his back for twenty years, and the only part that he can move is his right hand. And the only companion that he enjoys is smoking. And he said to me: I do not smoke for one week, and I send you this money. It must have been a terrible sacrifice for him, but see how beautiful, how he shared, and with that money I bought bread and I gave to those who are hungry with a joy on both sides, he was giving and the poor were receiving. This is something that you and I - it is a gift of God to us to be able to share our love with others. And let it be as it was for Jesus. Let us love one another as he loved us. Let us love Him with undivided love. And the joy of loving Him and each other - let us give now - that Christmas is coming so close. Let us keep that joy of loving Jesus in our hearts. And share that joy with all that we come in touch with. And that radiating joy is real, for we have no reason not to be happy because we have no Christ with us. Christ in our hearts, Christ in the poor that we meet, Christ in the smile that we give and the smile that we receive. Let us make that one point: That no child will be unwanted, and also that we meet each other always with a smile, especially when it is difficult to smile.
I never forget some time ago about fourteen professors came from the United States from different universities. And they came to Calcutta to our house. Then we were talking about that they had been to the home for the dying. We have a home for the dying in Calcutta, where we have picked up more than 36,000 people only from the streets of Calcutta, and out of that big number more than 18,000 have died a beautiful death. They have just gone home to God; and they came to our house and we talked of love, of compassion, and then one of them asked me: Say, Mother, please tell us something that we will remember, and I said to them: Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family. Smile at each other. And then another one asked me: Are you married, and I said: Yes, and I find it sometimes very difficult to smile at Jesus because he can be very demanding sometimes. This is really something true, and there is where love comes - when it is demanding, and yet we can give it to Him with joy. Just as I have said today, I have said that if I don't go to Heaven for anything else I will be going to Heaven for all the publicity because it has purified me and sacrificed me and made me really ready to go to Heaven. I think that this is something, that we must live life beautifully, we have Jesus with us and He loves us. If we could only remember that God loves me, and I have an opportunity to love others as he loves me, not in big things, but in small things with great love, then Norway becomes a nest of love. And how beautiful it will be that from here a centre for peace has been given. That from here the joy of life of the unborn child comes out. If you become a burning light in the world of peace, then really the Nobel Peace Prize is a gift of the Norwegian people. God bless you!.
Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta
Modified from Quick Cooking
8 oz uncooked pasta [I had some leftover whole wheat pasta and this worked well in here...and adds some extra nutrition on your kids!]
1 lb ground beef
1/2 medium onion, diced
salt and pepper
6 bacon strips, diced
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed tomato soup, undiluted [regular tomato sauce is just fine...that's what I just used this time...I used a 14.5 oz can of tomato sauce]
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp barbecue sauce
Cook pasta. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook beef, onion, salt and pepper over medium heat until the beef is no longer pink, then drain and set aside. In the same skillet, cook bacon until crisp, remove with slotted spoon to paper towels. Discard drippings. Drain pasta. Mix barbecue sauce with tomato soup. Mix soup mixture, pasta, beef mixture and bacon in a casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheese and cover. Put in a 300 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until heated through and the cheese is melted.
Savory Winter Soup
Modified from Taste of Home Ground Beef Cookbook
***needs a crockpot****
2 lbs. ground beef
1 1/2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 medium green peppers, chopped [I added this because I didn't have enough onions and liked it this way]
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cans (10 1/2 oz. each) condensed beef broth, undiluted [I split this in half (as the entire recipe is a ton) and what I did so I didn't have to use half of a can of the beef broth, I just put 2 bouillon cubes in 1 cup of water (as usually it is one to one) to make it like condensed beef broth and then used 5 oz of that (which is about 1/2 of a can, which is 10.5 oz, and 5 oz is 2/3 of a cup).]
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained [or 2 cans of 14 oz diced tomatoes....I don't like tomatoes, this is really added to the broth and by using small diced tomatoes, they really aren't annoying in the soup like the bunch chunks some recipes like.]
3 c. water
1 c. diced carrots
1 c. diced celery
1 c. fresh or frozen green beans [I used frozen]
1 c. cubed peeled potatoes
2 T. minced fresh or 2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
In a skillet, cook beef, onions, peppers and garlic over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink: drain. Transfer to a 5 qt. slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and cook on high for 8 hours or until heated through.
14 servings (3 1/2 qts.)
As a note, I also convinced them years ago of the joy of a crock pot (which is weird that I had to, given they got married in the 70s and probably got like 3 for wedding gifts!).
Ray did go out and get me Chinese for dinner, the sweet boy.:) There is no Chinese take out in Ravenna, so we have to drive to Kent, so this is actually a nice thing for him to do for me as I really like fried rice and don't get it that often (although I just found a crock pot recipe for it that I'm going to try....I've tried various recipes for fried rice, but just can't seem to get it right at home....I actually asked the Chinese grad student in my history department for help years ago, but she printed off recipes off the Internet for me....not exactly what I was looking for.....one of the other foriegn exchange students gave me his own, which wasn't actually Chinese, but still good in its own way and it was cool he actually took time to come over and help me).
I'm skimming Everybody's Suspect in Georgia by Cecil Murphey to finish it. Can't say I'm impressed here either. It is one of the three-in-one Christian fiction mysteries and just not that interesting or the characters that fun. I also finished the second book in another of these series, Another Hour to Kill by Anita Higman. Since I just skimmed about the last 50 pages of a murder mystery, I can't say I was that impressed either. The first one in this series was pretty good, but this one really didn't live up to the last one. The main sleuth never confides in anyone (including her finance) and so is usually working alone, which takes all the fun out of it for me. The mystery was also a bit on the strange side, which I'm not a huge fan of either.
I just started a new mystery author - J.B. Stanley and so far this one seems more promising. So I'm off to work on finishing my stack without starting too much more!
Olga also survived the vet this morning and seems to be fine - just stress I guess from lots of people in "her" space - silly kitty.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
- Bookplate Special by Lorna Barrett
This one was okay - the first two in the series were better, in my opinion. She spent very little time in her own store, doing anything remotely associated with books. In addition, both she and her assistant broke up with their "steadys," so that means new something in the future...and her sister's "steady" is definitely on the skids! The mystery itself was okay, but the end was one of those where 50 things come out all at once...kind of overwhelming and a cheap shot at the end. I also wasn't a big fan of the entire freegan sideline.
- Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle
This was a pretty good addition to the series, but it was a typical holiday one in which a good chunk of the end of the book was all recipes/tips. Their fa-la-la lattes sounds really good, but I don't drink coffee, so I might try some tea adapting. The mystery was okay, but again it seemed too much came out all at once at the end (I think to deal with shortening for the holidays).
Now you can buy some of the old stuff on DVD - we bought two DVD sets of the original stuff (so 1969 through the mid-70s) and guess what they put at the beginning? A disclaimer that is isn't suitable for modern children!!!! Are they serious???? My son is SO watching it! [did you know Oscar started out orange?] People are crazy is all I have to say. We also like to buy the old cartoons - you know the Acme hammer stuff? The GOOD stuff...they carry the same blasted disclaimers!!! Are modern children that much stupider than we were that they can't differentiate between cartoons and reality? Or are parents that stupid? Or just that sue-happy? Seriously, have we dropped so low as as a society that we can't understand the fun of the Acme hammer?
Oh, also on Sesame Street - they started out just as crazy multicultural as they are today. Then it was mostly on racial issues (the most current problem then), but still - just as focused on that subject. Ray and I joke that in any given scene of Sesame Street you can't find two children of the same ethnicity! While I'm all for multiculturalism, they tend to push it a little far at times!
Monday, November 09, 2009
Grading is going slowly as well - lots of small things that have to dealt with. Adam and I even had to make a quick run to the PO, which I so didn't want to do (its goregous, I would have preferred to walk, but by the time I got the mail and realized I needed to mail stuff out, it was too close to naptime...).
Adam and I did get outside for awhile and break down boxes to drop off tomorrow for recycling. Adam was pretty crabby today - really he is still recovering from three weeks of fun. Which is another reason I don't want to go to Akron, but, oh, well, I have to get the paperwork and they can't fax it.
I guess I'd better get back to work......
Sunday, November 08, 2009
But Adam did take a good nap today although he was a crabby boy at Mass this morning.
I also just read the new Nora Roberts (yes, my guilty pleasure) - I really like this new series as it isn't demons and vampires and other crazy things - just nice relaxing romance!
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Otherwise (except for needing a root canal), we are all fine (pickle included).
While in CT, we had to make a trek to Cabela's in Hartford for my father. So I just let Adam run around - there is ton of stuff to look at and very little breakable! He had a ball in the set up tents (even did some business....had to find a bathroom after that! The next person looking in that tent must have thought someone really let one loose in that one!) and just in general had fun. Cabela's also sells some household goods - all some hunting/outdoor theme of some type. This chair cracked me up! I can so see it in someone like my brother's living room - it would have to be a bachelor - or at least a room where the wife never entered! But Adam climbed right up - with the pop gun he was carting around at the moment (I would have actually gotten him it if he had ever figured out how to work it! Anyway, he deserted it a few minutes later....he has a short attention span) and it was so adorable I had to share!
Auntie Stasia beautifying Gram - she is using my mother's curling iron. For anyone who knows my mother, you'd know she has had the same for YEARS (decades probably)