Archive for October, 2012


Sometimes people do things in different ways.

Some people carry their wallet with driver’s license and credit cards with them; some people don’t.

Some people write checks and make credit card purchases without writing anything down; some people don’t.

Some people clean up all their stuff after they make their lunch; some people don’t.

These minor differences can become irritants over time, so I am working hard to keep a good attitude, realize that it’s OK that not everyone does things my way (a.k.a. “the right way”), and communicate my preferences clearly but kindly.  When one’s tendency is to be completely non-confrontational, these things can be challenging, but I am determined to adjust my tendencies.

Difference = what is left when you subtract one quantity from another.

Difference = what is left when you remove from the discussion all the things you disagree on!

Difference = probably what attracted you to each other in the first place.  = )


Vastly overrated

Leaves, for sure.  Especially in the fall, when they. . . fall and have to be raked.  And tarped.  And dragged.  And dumped.  And burned.  But I am thankful we have a place to burn them and don’t have to try to shove them all in bags!

Definitely the Mopping of Floors.  This is a serious waste of time and effort.  I try to clean things up before life group meets here, but I don’t usually mop unless the floors are horrendously bad.  I think they’ve been horrendously bad a few times since we moved here, but it doesn’t matter, because after group, there will be something sticky somewhere on the floor.  However, if you can smudge a little dirt or dust over the stickiness, it stops being sticky and you can just sweep it.  Sweeping makes much more sense than mopping.

Entering Homeschool Hours.  Note that this is not to be confused with Recording Homeschool Hours. I’ve been recording them for sixteen years straight, but I only have two kids’ (the girls’) hours entered into the computer.  I was working hard to get all Jo’s entered before he graduated, but when I failed on that (I think I still have about 18 months of his checklists to enter), and when he was admitted to a very rigorous college and offered a hefty scholarship there without so much as a high school diploma, I decided that I didn’t need to spend an estimated 20 hours to enter all that old work.  I wanted to throw out all those old checklists – just so I could have maximal closure – and was preparing to do so  when Scott said I needed to keep them.  “How long?” I asked.  “Until he graduates college,” he replied.  Sheesh!  So I have all Jo’s checklists filed and not entered, but I don’t think that fact will keep him from being a significant person or fulfilling God’s assignment for him.  Of course, I also have 18+ months of Andrew’s checklists to enter, plus the four more years he’ll probably be at home, and every week I tell myself that I need to enter a couple weeks’ worth, and every three or four months, I enter a week.  At this rate I could still be entering homeschool hours when I’m COMPLETELY gray!  I’m quite sure that all that record-keeping is vastly overrated; especially since NO ONE but me will EVER see the Homeschool Helper spreadsheet.

End of rant.  I will now return to my regularly scheduled ironing, which is not vastly overrated.

Tomatoes thriving, Sandy arriving?

Before the first hard frost on Friday, October 26, we picked about 100 green tomatoes off the four plants in the side yard barrels!  They are now in boxes to hopefully ripen over time.  We moved the tomatoes and peppers that were on the front walk up onto the porch against the house and have been covering them with sheets at night.  The look like a massive navy blue ghost all clothes-pinned up.  During the day, we throw back the sheets and they can get some sun.  There are about 10 pots up there, and they are loaded with tomatoes and a few red peppers.  I think if we can get through four or five nights of upper 20s, it will get a little warmer, and some of them may still ripen on the vine.  I am pretty determined when it comes to tomatoes, as you know.

In other weather-related news, the biggest and worst hurricane and storm to hit the continental U.S. in some time is beginning to pound the eastern seaboard.  While I do care about the millions of people who will be affected by this monster, I am most concerned for two specific folks in Virginia and four specific folks in Delaware.  The Stingray’s work has been called off tomorrow, because her company closes whenever the federal government is closed, and I guess all non-emergency aspects of the U.S. government in the D.C. area are closed tomorrow in anticipation of Sandy’s arrival.  I suggested that she charge her phone and sleep in, and she said that was her plan.  No news as yet from our Llama, so I don’t know what’s in the works for PHC.

And on the other side of the world, the Peacock informs us that peanut butter was on sale today:  only $33.90 HKD for 612 grams.  I didn’t know how to figure that, but she said it’s a little larger than a regular U.S. jar of peanut butter, and it cost about $3.50 USD.  Sounds like a pretty good deal.


Almost done

The painters have been working for most of three weeks on our house.  They are finally almost done, and the result so far is really totally beautiful.  We are very pleased.  They expect to wrap it up tomorrow, although I think there are a few remaining details to be completed next week.  It will be nice to have driveway access again, and of course, fewer legs at the windows.  People have driven by and stopped to comment on how good it looks, and folks at church have told me they’ve driven by and think it looks wonderful.  Of course, we like it, but it’s also nice to know that other people do, too.

In other remodeling news, the NEW carpet is going down at the church, and other post-flood processes are grinding along.  Due to insurance hassles, the progress is somewhat slower than desired, but the end result should be most satisfying.  = )

The Rendezvous is back into a busier season now, and this is very good for all concerned.  Andrew has been helping with the cleaning nearly weekly, and he’s quite gung-ho on having a job and earning money.  He also auditioned for a part in the Tri-Lakes Community Theater’s production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and was given one-half of one of the fairly significant kids’ parts!  He will play the part of Dill in three of the six performances, and another girl will play that part in the other three.  He should have a script in a week or so, and things will get busy.  When you are a thirteen year-old homeschooled boy, busy is good.

I am totally enjoying choir practice with the Branson Chamber Singers.  It is so very fun and challenging.  I think I spend the whole two hours smiling – at least on the inside.

Scott preached a SUPER message last night on Chicken Thinking.  It was very inspirational and practical.  I was quite impressed and got a lot of stuff that applies to my daily life.

Andrew moved all my portable tomatoes to the porch this evening.  Beginning tomorrow night, we’re expecting four nights in a row of at or slightly below freezing temps, and I’m determined to give these green babies every chance to turn red.  They should be all right tonight, but tomorrow night I’ll have to cover them and try to tarp the big (immovable) ones on the side.  Next week, lows should climb back up toward 40, so we’ll see what happens with our on-site mobile produce department.  I remain optimistic, and I’m still enjoying fresh homegrown tomatoes every day, on sandwiches, in salads, and by the slice!


Jeopardy Question: What is “because you have no screens?”

Answer:  (Aside from the fact that several of them have been painted shut), why can’t you open your windows after you decide to have the painters NOT re-install your beat-up, falling apart, cruddy-looking storm window?

Why on EARTH would the high tomorrow be forecast to be 83?!?!?!?

Oh, yeah, because I’m thinking warm thoughts to try to get my tomatoes to vine ripen!  So, does that mean that now even the weather’s my fault?

Surely not!  = )

Oh, may my ‘maters make it!

Statistically, I think October 28 is the average first day of frost for southern Missouri.  With some 80-100 green tomatoes and 15-20 green peppers still on the vine, I have been thinking warm, sunny, ripening thoughts on behalf of our produce.  So far, so good.  We only had those two nights of freezing-ish temps in late September while Scott and Andrew were gone camping.  With much effort, we got the tomatoes and peppers covered and/or moved, and all survived.

Now we’ve had an additional three weeks of frost-free weather, and things are looking good for the veggies.  In fact, the highs the next couple of days are expected to be in the low 80s!  I thought I had nothing to worry about, but Scott just told me that the high on Friday high is forecast to be a mere 47 degrees with Friday’s low 33, and Saturday’s low down to 30!  Visions of tarps and sheets and lots of lifting and hauling are dancing through my head.  Sugarplums would be more fun, but I’m determined to ripen and enjoy as many of these gems as possible.

We have not bought tomatoes since the third week of June.  This is a major victory for Walnut Shade Mom!

Team Update

Katie is cooking red beans and rice for 12 tonight.  I don’t know what all else is going on with her right now, but in three weeks I will!

Jessica is missing her family and missing having teams/schools “in” on the base, but she is gracefully and cheerfully serving in hospitality, which includes cooking for, meeting, assisting, and coordinating the activities of guests to the base, as well as maintenance.  I don’t know if that means she’s fixing leaky faucets, but I do know she’s looking forward to decluttering and organizing “a lot of the base’s junk” this week.

Josiah has survived his freshman mid-terms.  In other news, he bought socks yesterday day because, according to one reliable source, “he had one pair of black socks and one khaki sock. He had another khaki sock, but that one had an “A” on it.”  (meaning that it was actually one of Andrew’s!)  So far, this same source reports having seen Josiah in two different short-sleeved, and one long-sleeved shirt.  We at home wonder if those same three business casual shirts will be sufficient to see him through a Virginia winter.

Andrew served in the church nursery today (11 kids in there!) and participated in his first-ever audition this afternoon.  While he insists that he refuses to do it, his mom is hoping he will be offered a small part in our local community theater’s production of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Scott’s arm is gradually getting better (tennis injury in June, exacerbated by keyboard, softball, and other usages).  He is quite busy with work, church, family, and ministry commitments, not to mention recording and watching many post-season Cardinals games in high speed.

I am delighted at the progress of the centennial painting project. (I’m going out to take pictures now, kids.)

Not sure if this is one or two coats of Cottage Cream, but the Toque White trim hasn’t been done yet.



Here’s a little bit of the Atmospheric porch ceiling, with the wall and trim not finished.


Maybe the color is a little easier to see here on the shady side. They will be back in full force tomorrow to hopefully finish out the Cottage Cream walls and begin tackling the trim.

I have also joined a newly formed community choir, the Branson Chamber Singers, and I am very much enjoying our Thursday night practices.

My rant o’ day is that everything about food for only three people is a pain:  shopping for it, keeping stuff prepped and fresh, and cooking and freezing in weird quantities.  However, I am doing it, and each week I figure out some new trick or tip.  This week’s major realization is that I am going to have to start buying cheese from the deli, because that’s the only way to get small enough quantities of enough different kinds to keep certain people happy (not bored) and not have it spoil.