Friday, July 29, 2011

(overdue)

This picture was taken on the 4th of July at Veteran's Park.
It's now "our thing" to go there for the fireworks show.
The sky was beautiful.
The fireworks were fantastic this year.

garden pics




before Extreme Gardening 2011:

after:

my helper with the defeated shrubs:

Next step is to pick new flowers for this area.
I'm leaning toward red or yellow roses.
The kids have other ideas . . .  . .

Thursday, July 28, 2011

something to think about

If you know me at all, you know that I love to read, and that Life of Pi is one of my all-time favorite books.  Tell me you've read it, and just try to stop me from talking to you about it, because you won't be able to stop me.  It's one of those books that just stays with me.  For this reason, I put off reading Yann Martel's next book.  I was afraid that it wouldn't measure up, and that I'd be disappointed.  A few months ago, I finally sat down and read it.  It did not become one of my favorites, but I talked about it with my friend, and realized that I didn't hate it.  It's strange and understated and totally brilliant.

After I finished the book, I wandered around the internet reading interviews with Martel.  I came across this one from The Guardian and I love this part:


For the last three years Martel has been sending fortnightly letters and books to the Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper – an attempt to educate him in the ways of great literature. Martel was prompted to act as a literary godfather when Harper cited The Guinness Book of Records as his favourite book, and by his failure to recognise the importance of the arts generally. "I'm doing it to point out that literature's not just entertainment," he explains. "It is an essential tool to look at the human condition. I don't care if fellow citizens read or not; it's not up to me to say how people should live their lives. But I believe people who lead should read."



He says that, in Harper, he sensed "a man who was a narrow ideologue, in part because he hasn't read. He lacks empathy because he hasn't read literature. If literature does one thing, it makes you more empathetic by making you live other lives and feel the pain of others. Ideologues don't feel the pain of others because they haven't imaginatively got under their skins."


This idea of literature as a tool to shape a person has stayed with me.  Not just literature, but all of the arts.  I've been thinking about this for the past few weeks, especially since I heard that Borders is closing all of it's stores.  It seems to me like another symptom of this unknown disease that is creeping up on us:  the bankruptcy of a major bookstore,  the use of texting abbreviations in conversations,  the constant stream of apps that are designed to make life easier but seem to just eat up time, the increasing divide between "online" and "in real life" - or maybe it's the diminishing divide between the two.  I'm not sure where I'm going with this, and I'll have to come back to it because I'm out of time now.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

My Scones


I like to make scones for my kids on a morning where we don't have a lot going on.  I have two recipes for scones, but neither one was working for me.  I like to make my scones in a glass pie plate and serve them cut into triangle wedges.  I like a wetter dough.  I like butter, but not too much.  I like adding in dried fruit, but my kids like adding in chocolate chips.  I made this recipe to be quick, to fit into a glass pie plate, and to be flexible to be plain or have add-ins.  Enjoy!


My Scones
Recipe by Sheila at musings of a mommy.blogspot.com

2 cups flour
1/4  to  1/3 cup sugar  (I put less in the mix, and sprinkle sugar on the top)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4  tsp salt
1/2 cup (one stick) butter
1 egg
1/2  cup milk
add-ins, optional (dried cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips, nuts, etc.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Mix egg and milk in a small bowl and set aside.  Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Cut in cold butter and mix with a fork or fingers until crumbly.  Add egg/milk all at once and mix.  Add add-ins.  Put into greased glass pie plate and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges start to turn brown.