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February 24, 2008

Serious Candlelight

We played cards tonight by some serious candlelight. Just because.
10candles

February 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 23, 2008

Breakfast Fruit

Breakfastfruitbowl


February 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 22, 2008

I Love Searchable Manuals

I have this British Telecom telephone that came with our tenancy in his house. It's impossible to figure out how to do anything with it without the manual. I have mentioned before finding in the downloadable manual how to set the time (simply press CHECK, CHECK, ZERO, ZERO, *, wait for tone, enter 5-digit day/time combination, DELETE, DELETE).

That was a year and two days ago, and now I wanted to know how to turn on the feature of beeping when there is a message waiting. I accidentally brushed the phone with my hand last week and turned it off somehow, and thereafter would never notice when there was a message waiting when I got home. Again, impossible to tell how to accomplish this simple feat. I had no idea which of the nine buttons on the base I had hit (or which combination).

The digitally searchable manual strikes again! Ah! Just press and hold down SKIP. Of course! Again, it took me a week to get to the frustration level of going to look in the manual, but only a few seconds to find and implement the solution.

* * *

Want to know how fast you type? This was kind of fun:
81 words

I got 52 on my first try, then 72, then 76, and finally 81 on the 4th try. It takes a little getting used to how the typing and scoring works. I only learned how to type without looking at my fingers when I got to college, and had to type these 10 page papers in the middle of the night...

Tips:
1. It only gives you points for the words you type without mistakes
2. Start as soon as the words appear (a second after arriving on the page)
3. Press space between each word and at end of last word to get a fresh set of words
4. As soon as you press space, move onto the next word whether the previous was right or wrong

* * *

I thought this was an interesting new market: a site that automatically turns your blog into a book. Sorry, I can't remember where I read about this one.

February 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Nose to Nose with a Caprese Salad

Lunch for one at my house today:
CapreseafterbalsamicPomegranatecoconut
Caprese Salad with bocconcini, freshly picked basil from my windowsill, and halved cherry tomatoes
Fresh coconut and pomegranate seeds
Granary baguette

I liked the fresh, clean look of the colors before I added the olive oil and balsamic vinagrette, and also liked getting the camera nose-to-nose with the finished salad:
CapresebeforebalsamicNosetonosewithcaprese

February 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 21, 2008

Word Lyrics

She sang to us in the car, reminding us of some very precious promises:

I think it's time I rediscover All the ground that I have covered,

Like seek ye first what a verse

We are pressed but not crushed
Perplexed but don't despair
We are persecuted but not abandoned

We are no longer slaves
We are daughters and sons

And when we are weak we are very strong

And neither death nor life nor present
Nor future nor depth nor height
Can keep us from the love of Christ

And the Word I need is the Word that was
Who put on flesh to dwell with us

In the beginning

See all lyrics of The Word, by Sara Groves. Listen to Sara Groves on iTunes.

When she had finished, David, who was driving, brightly asserted that we ought to check that the kids knew where all those lyrical references came from in the Bible. The singer has strung together a whole bunch of crucial, old familiar bits she's read over and over and could find pretty easily. But for our kids? They are just discovering the depths of the Bible for themselves, reading a little each day. We wanted to bring the origins of the song's ideas to life and concreteness for them.

So when we arrived home, we assembled in the living room and hosted a family scavenger hunt through the Bible with concordances and/or electronic searching capabilities to track down and read out all the parts Sara Groves was summing up. It was fun! In just a few lines she has juxtaposed Matthew, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Romans and John, with side references to themes from 2 Peter, 2 Timothy, Philippians and 1 Corinthians, and a chorus from Revelation.

I like songs that clearly get their words from the Word.

February 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 20, 2008

1785 Hot Air Balloon Flight Across the English Channel

We accidentally discovered something about the history of air travel while driving around northern France last week.

There was this monument marked on our map, and we decided to stop by at twilight: the Colonne Blanchard, whatever that was.
ColonneblanchardColonneblanchardtext
It turned out to be commemorating the first balloon flight across the English Channel, by Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard in 1785, accompanied by an American, John Jeffries. They had taken off from Dover Castle in England and landed on this spot 2.5 hours later. This was 118 years before the Wright brothers made their first 12-second airplane flight!

Blanchard also made the first balloon flight in North America, in 1793 (from Pennsylvania to New Jersey). President George Washington, and the future presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe watched him!

Trivia: Jean-Pierre Blanchard and his wife Sophie both died in incidents related to hot air balloons, separately. He had a heart attack in 1809 in the Hague and fell out of his basket, and ten years later she had an accident with fireworks setting fire to her balloon and she fell to her death as well.

Notredameboulognesurmer
That night, we visited the old walled city of Boulogne-Sur-Mer. Here is the Notre Dame Basilica, with the moon.

The next day, we drove back to England via the Chunnel, and signs for DOVER CASTLE caught our eyes. Why not? We drove the 30 minutes out of our way to visit. The staff there didn't know anything about Jean-Pierre Blanchard. Oh well. Fun to see where he took off from anyway. Scenes from Dover Castle:
DovercastleviewDovercastletopDovercastlehillDovercastlecarpark
The view from the top of Dover Castle. A hill below the castle. In the car park photo, our car is the light blue one on the left - and I included this photo because I was so impressed that our keys were able to open it from this distance! The kids got in while David and I enjoyed a few more minutes of coastal views.

February 20, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 18, 2008

Apple Pie Cooling on the Windowsill

Good old Joy of Cooking Apple Pie recipe, only this time I used 10 little gala apples. A welcome snack after school for the kids, and dessert after dinner for my husband.
Applepiecoolingwindowsill

February 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Cards from Calendars

I had fun this afternoon making 56 simple greeting cards by cutting up old calendars and gardening catalogs. Therapeutic for someone who loves colors and flowers and correspondence. Here is my yield (the cards are lying on envelopes):
Cardmaking

February 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 14, 2008

STOMP

David made a wonderful command decision: we went to STOMP. How to summarize? FABULOUS. Highly recommended.

There is no orchestra. There are no words. There are no songs. There are no costume changes.

Just one hour and forty minutes of eight shabbily dressed people making incredibly coordinated and complex rhythmic harmony together with their hands, fingers, feet, thighs, stomachs, throats, and an astounding array of ordinary objects.

Trash cans, the lids thereof, saws, tape measures, paint cans, huge empty water bottles, sinks with water and pots in them, ski boots, brooms, dustpans, sawdust, pencils, newspapers, plastic and paper bags, plungers, lighters, rubber balls, tubes, sticks, and mops.

But man are these six men and two women in sync! They are remarkably fit, moving all the time, using their quads and biceps faster than light...and with a lot of comic timing, receiving a lot of laughter (from me and others). I loved it. See it if it comes to your city!

And now to bed! Happy Valentine's Day! :-)

February 14, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Looking for a Show

Currently in central London - kids are on vacation but David has to work, and our house is being painted inside. So we thought we'd spent a couple of nights in London for a short commute and more time together and less paint smell.

Looking at the London theatre shows going on tonight in the West End, there are a quite a number of choices that sound interesting to me.

I think Shadowlands would be too sad for the children, who hate tragedies (I remember crying a lot at the movie about 14 years ago in New Hampshire), and The Mousetrap might be too tense for Emily (and David and I have already seen it in London, years ago). Gone with the Wind doesn't start its run until April, but anyway, the kids might have found it too unhappy. Phantom of the Opera and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat are both sold out for the next four nights. I think I would have gone for the latter, otherwise.

The fact remains that I can't decide amongst Fiddler on the Roof, Stomp, The Sound of Music, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Lord of the Rings, and The Lion King.

What to choose? Then again, I feel like I am coming down with the cold Jason had recently. We'll see how much energy I have to roam London tonight. I'll let you know if we see a show and what we thought of it.

February 14, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack