Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What Were They Thinking?

Pardon me if I've expressed disdain for this before, but what on earth were they thinking to work a "damp dry" indicator into all the automatic drying settings on my clothes dryer?  I mean, if I didn't know the fabric was damp, would I have put it into the dryer?  HELLO!

My Aunt Joyce used to have a wringer washer a lot like this one in her basement.  It really could have doubled as a medieval torture device. 

I suppose that I should just be glad my washer/dryer system doesn't look and function like the one in this photo.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Words that don't get used often enough: Jingoism

I've heard this word.  But only because it has been used in the Scripps-Howard Spelling Bee for several years, at least.  And while I thought it had something to do with prejudice, I couldn't have given you a coherent definition to save my life.  Oddly, this word "jingoism" has come up in conversation or email twice within the last 48 hours!  I took this as a sign that this should be covered under my "Words That Don't Get Used Often Enough" category.   

Embarrassingly enough, it doesn't mean what I thought it did, either! So, I present to you the word Jingoism:


\ˈjiŋ-(ˌ)gō-ˌi-zəm\ noun

Definition of JINGOISM

: extreme chauvinism or nationalism marked especially by a belligerent foreign policy
jin·go·ist\-ist\ noun or adjective
jin·go·is·tic\ˌjiŋ-gō-ˈis-tik\ adjective
jin·go·is·ti·cal·ly\-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of JINGOISM

  1. When the war began many people were caught up in a wave of jingoism.
  2. jingoism will not win us any foreign allies>

First Known Use of JINGOISM


It really makes you wonder what happened in 1878, doesn't it?  I've got your back.  It was the Russo-Turkish War (just before the second Boer War) and the etymology of the word comes from the British use of the term "by Jingo," which Wikipedia quaintly calls a "long-established minced oath." 

So, I hope you'll try to find a way to use "jingoism" at least once in the next week.  And be patient with me while I try to work it into a sentence, too.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quote of the Weekend

Why is it that the cutest, cleverest comments always materialize from the backseat of the car?  I was driving home yesterday and D said, "Mommy, what 'trols people?"  Now little D, aged 4, knows all about how 'mote 'trols make TVs and VCRs work, and 'trollers make Wiis work, etc., so I knew what he meant.  I mulled over all sorts of philosophical answers about what makes people tick, then landed on "the brain."  I was pretty proud of my succinct, scientific answer.  He thought a moment and then said, "Well, what 'trols bugs then, because they sure don't have a brain!" 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Quick and Easy fish recipe

When I can find fresh fish marked "wild caught" at the supermarket, I try to snap it up.  Yesterday, I got lucky and found a pack of mahi mahi.  My luck held out through the effort of googling for a recipe, when I found this one quickly and had all the ingredients handy.  Now how often does that happen?  This was truly the tastiest fish I've ever served, and was perfect alongside quinoa, corn on the cob, and buttered artisan bread slices for my family.  This only took about 35 minutes, start to finish.

Note:  I substituted organic Tamari for the soy sauce due to my wheat intolerance and had to skip the corn and bread for myself. 

Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi


  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 (6 ounce) mahi mahi fillets
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  1. In a shallow glass dish, stir together the honey, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, ginger, garlic and olive oil. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper, and place them into the dish. If the fillets have skin on them, place them skin side down. Cover, and refrigerate for 20 minutes to marinate.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove fish from the dish, and reserve marinade. Fry fish for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, turning only once, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove fillets to a serving platter and keep warm.
  3. Pour reserved marinade into the skillet, and heat over medium heat until the mixture reduces to a glaze consistently. Spoon glaze over fish, and serve immediately.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Long tailed cat...

...in a room full of rocking chairs.

These days, everywhere I turn, I'm having to watch my tongue and guard my heart from sharing too much.  My innermost thoughts would doubtless render me a pariah.  And as hard as this is to picture me doing (I'm infamous for my unfortunate, accursed bluntness), I often practice the art of the polite nod and smile in the face of the off-hand, meant-to-be-humorous, and understood-to-be-widely-agreed-upon political commentary of others.  I have mastered the internal eye-roll.  The problem, it seems, is that it is simply understood in all the circles that I "travel"  that I'm a conservative person.  But what does that really mean?


1.disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
2.cautiously moderate or purposefully low: a conservative estimate.
3.traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness: conservative suit.
4.( often initial capital letter ) of or pertaining to the Conservative party.
5.( initial capital letter ) of, pertaining to, or characteristic of Conservative Jews or Conservative Judaism.
6.having the power or tendency to conserve; preservative.
7.Mathematics . (of a vector or vector function) having curl equal to zero; irrotational; lamellar.
8.person who is conservative in principles, actions, habits, etc.
9.a supporter of conservative political policies.
10. ( initial capital letter ) a member of a conservative political party, esp. the Conservative party in Great Britain.
11.a preservative.
Except for that whole math thing (see #7 - I mean, what the heck is "irrotational" and "lamellar?") and right up to the assumption of wildly cohesive "group think" on #9 and 10 and a growing number of odd ball issues covered on Fox News daily, I am conservative.   But still, I don't fit in anywhere 100%.  Not at church, not in my homeschool group, not in my neighborhood, and rarely at local political events.  (Note: I don't normally get involved in political events that are not local.)

I grew up in a church that taught that, since our Kingdom was not of this world, we shouldn't become involved in the political process. Hence, I never voted until 2002, when I was 37.  Those of you who know me know that I have since made up for lost time. ;-)    Rather than party affiliation, though, I choose to align my  political action with issues.  I just don't believe that everyone in America falls neatly under one of 2 columns:  Republican or Democrat.  Even if you throw in Libertarian, Constitution, or Green Party, you still haven't begun to cover it.  And I'm just not about phoney baloney labels.  Yes, they serve a purpose, but it is limited -- and if you really do your homework -- almost entirely unnecessary.  The politicians I support are people who will make a difference on matters that are important to me in positions of power to do so.  I don't select local politicians by their position on issues that local government has no impact on, any more than I vote for president based on whether or not my local water source is fluoridated or our local Zoning Laws are administered properly.

My own family has suffered egregiously because of this very human need for labels.  The scars go all the way back to the Civil War, believe it or not.  I can tell you stories of death over better pots of coffee.  Again, if you know me, this isn't hard to picture -- we must have some genetic defect where caffeine is concerned!  But in spite of this and my early neglect of politics and his own personal political "war' wounds, my father eventually became my teacher on this difficult, taboo topic of "politics."  His political views are simple to understand:    
The Golden Rule.
"Mat 7:12  Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."
 I agree with my dad.  This should be our focus in all that we do.  Never more so than in our own communities.  I'm 45 now, and undisputedly (is that a word?) in the latter part of my life.  I think I've reached a point in which I'm going to move away from polite nodding, put on my Big Girl Pants and clearly identify myself as an advocate for the Politics of the Golden Rule.   Won't you join me?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Where'd My Summer Go?

I had barely stopped giggling maniacally that the school year was over when poof! Another was upon me. Seriously? I haven't even turned in my grades for the first semester of last year, much less finished off the year in the required triplicate. As of today, I did manage to get all the orders (that I've thought of!) in for curriculum for the 2010-11 year. It totalled some $350+ and would have been more except I already had so many of the texts I needed due to a bad case of OCD.

While trying to organize the space I'm setting aside for homeschooling this year, I was appalled -- shocked and awed at the sheer volume of my book collection. What was I thinking? Honestly, I think I thought I was going to be a MUCH better mom than I really am. Yes, I thought I'd need two books of 175 science experiments each. Evidently, I thought we'd be using my college vocabulary workbooks, along with resources with which one could learn German, Latin, Spanish, AND French.

When I started homeschooling, I thought it would be the ultimate act of sculpture, only better. Not only would I chisel out 3-D masterpieces in cute little boy form, but I would shape their minds! Somewhere along the line, though, I realized that the marble contained mostly pre-ordained images and I would never be the Michaelangelo to free them much differently from the dictates of the raw Carrara marble. My kids are what they are, and that is how I like them.

I also like being a homeschool mom. I like having them around me when the light bulb goes off. I like being the worst influence they experience all day. And how will I later gauge my success? Will it be in the number of languages they master? Honestly, at this point, I'll be happy if they master English! Their eventual ACT scores? No, it will be based on whether -- when they grow up -- they'll come home for Game night, bring home herds of friends at Thanksgiving, and later (when the time is right) ask me to babysit!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Aging Gracefully

I know I am 45 years old and all, but I am simply not prepared to deal with the rigors of aging. Not that there's a good alternative, of course! But this last year has been a little like the oft-referenced ride "to hell in a handbasket." It's downright unnerving! Suddenly, I'm falling apart. It's like someone flipped a switch.

It seems like only yesterday that I was adjusting to life with my first newborn. The sum total of my challenges was dealing with the transition from career to stay-at-home mom and how to adequately stimulate aforementioned baby's brain. As though he needed any help in that department! And then suddenly, here I am. Enjoying perfect skin. Flawless, even. Not because of my expensive skin care products and rigorous routine (as if!), but because I can't see a darn thing within 18 inches of my face.

And then there is a plethora of life-induced problems; a bad knee to limit activity, acquired food intolerances that cost me 6 months of pain to discover, the odd benign tumor that I have yet to deal with, and the increased pressure precedent to glaucoma to worry about. But really, the hard part for me is the wondering. I'm now, undoubtedly, in the second half of my life. Will I be able to live it abundantly? Will I be blind? Or will I be otherwise limited by my body? My long-time fantasy has been to avail myself of the generosity of the state of Utah by being able to take advantage of the "ski free" program for folks over eighty. The good news is that I still have 35 years before I'll qualify, and hopefully, my children will keep me "young" so that I'll be in good enough shape to avail myself of the program!

I'm certainly glad that I've lived long enough to learn a few things about what is important in life and what is not. I feel such embarrassment about the person I used to be. I'm sure I will eventually feel a similar level of embarrassment about my current maturity level when I look back on it from some ski lift in my distant future. I guess that is all a natural part of aging, as well. I'm sure a google's worth of people have wished they could match their older mind to their youthful body.

The title of this blog is a misnomer. Or maybe it's a "from my lips to God's ear" sort of title. Aging gracefully is something I'd like to be able to do, but have no idea how to accomplish. To me, it means remaining in control and not gradually amassing a list of things I can no longer do. How are the rest of you doing at this? Is your age beginning to affect your quality of life? What do you know now that you wish you knew "when?" I'd welcome your thoughts. :-)