Sunday, May 31, 2009

Aha! Did it.

Another month, another NaBloPoMo challenge completed. Who cares if some of my daily blogs were pretty dumb. At least it's good experience knowing I need to write something every day. I guess that's the purpose of the challenge.

The topic for June is "Heroes." We'll see. First I'll have to figure out exactly what a hero is.

Murder of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas

Doctor Who Performed Abortions Is Shot to Death - NYTimes.comThose of us who are pro-choice cannot become complacent and trust that our reproductive rights are guaranteed with a new political administration, no matter how much Obama works for common ground. I just read one blog that stated even the mafia did not gun down enemies in their church. To me, the cold-blooded murder of Dr. Tiller is much, much worse than anything he has ever been accused of doing.

New York Times
June 1, 2009

Doctor Who Performed Abortions Is Shot to Death

WICHITA, Kan. — Authorities said they had a suspect in custody Sunday afternoon in the shooting death of George Tiller, a Wichita doctor who was one of the few doctors in the nation to perform late-term abortions.

Dr. Tiller, who had long been a lightning rod for controversy over the issue of abortion and had survived a shooting more than a decade ago, was shot inside his church here on Sunday morning, the authorities said. Dr. Tiller, 67, was shot with a handgun inside the lobby of his longtime church, Reformation Lutheran Church on the city’s East Side, just after 10 a.m. (Central Time). The service had started minutes earlier.

Dr. Tiller, who had performed abortions since the 1970s, had long been a lightning rod for controversy over the issue of abortion, particularly in Kansas, where abortion opponents regularly protested outside his clinic and sometimes his home and church. In 1993, he was shot in both arms by an abortion opponent but recovered.

Dr. Tiller had also been the subject of many efforts at prosecution, including a citizen-initiated grand jury investigation. In the latest such effort, in March, Dr. Tiller was acquitted of charges that he had performed late-term abortions that violated state law.

Shortly after Sunday’s shooting, police said they were searching for a man who had fled in a powder blue Taurus. By mid-afternoon, they said someone had been taken into custody, but offered no additional details.

“This is going to be a larger search than maybe just Wichita,” said Brent Allred, a police captain, who said that the FBI and state police had been called to the scene. Few parishioners remained at the church, a modern, red brick facility that seats about 500 people. Police cars surrounded the building.

Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion group that has led opposition to Dr. Tiller’s methods, denounced the killing on Sunday, as did other national groups opposed to abortion. “Our prayers go out to his family and the thousands of people this will impact,” Mr. Newman said in a telephone interview from his home in Wichita.

“Operation Rescue has worked tirelessly on peaceful, non-violent measures to bring him to justice through the legal system, the legislative system,” Mr. Newman said. “I’m a tireless advocate and spokesman for the pre-born children who are dying in clinics everyday. Mr. Tiller was an abortionist. But this wasn’t personal. We are pro life, and this act was antithetical to what we believe.”

Leaders of national abortion rights organizations, meanwhile, expressed outrage. Some described Dr. Tiller as one of the only doctors in the nation who performed third-trimester abortions when the life or health of a mother was at stake, and said that his death would make it even harder for women in such circumstances to end their pregnancies.

“Dr. Tiller was a fearless, passionate defender of women’s reproductive health and rights,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, based in New York, which had worked on a legal case related to Dr. Tiller. “It’s time that this nation stop demonizing these doctors, and start honoring them.”

At St. George Orthodox Christian Church, next door to Dr. Tiller’s church, members said they had often been concerned about being so close to a church that often was the scene of protests because of Dr. Tiller’s presence. Dr. Tiller had attended the church for a long time, they said, and had contributed significantly to construction of the current facility, which was built in about 1996.

“This is a God-fearing community,” said Mickey Cohlmia, who was at services at the neighboring church on Sunday morning and said she was horrified that such a thing had happened in Wichita, a city of about 358,000 in southern Kansas. “How does this scar everybody in his church?”


Dan Monnat Lee Thompson

(316) 264-2800 (316) 267-3933

Dan Monnat and Lee Thompson, Dr. George Tiller's attorneys, issued the following statement today at the request of Mrs. Jeanne Tiller, the Tiller's four children and ten grandchildren:

"Today we mourn the loss of our husband, father and grandfather. Today's event is an unspeakable tragedy for all of us and for George's friends and patients. This is particularly heart wrenching because George was shot down in his house of worship, a place of peace.

We would like to express the family's thanks for the many messages of sympathy from our friends and from all across the nation. We also want to thank the law enforcement officers who are investigating this crime.

Our loss is also a loss for the City of Wichita and women across America. George dedicated his life to providing women with high-quality heath care despite frequent threats and violence. We ask that he be remembered as a good husband, father and grandfather and a dedicated servant on behalf of the rights of women everywhere."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Day of the Radish

Radishes aren't really known for being sweet. In fact, I'm sure most of us would classify them as rather pungent or spicy. However, finding these particular radishes at the Cherry Street Farmer's Market in Tulsa this morning was very sweet.

The first thing I noticed was the size; the largest in the bunch is almost three inches long. Second, almost all of the radishes in this bunch (actually, all of the bunches) were very large. Third, they are extremely crisp and delicious.

Picture 1 shows the entire bunch. I've never paid $2.00 a bunch for plain old radishes before. However, this was a special occasion and these were worth it. I'd never seen radishes this big before.

Picture 2 shows the largest one in the bunch.

Picture 3 shows that one sliced open. Notice there are no woody or discolored parts to it at all.

The next thing to do was find some delicious radish recipes. This one sounded good.

Radish, Butter and Bread

1 bunch (approximately 2 dozen) small, firm, fresh radishes*
8 slices best-quality dark or white bread, cut into quarters**
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
Fleur de sel, coarse salt, or sea salt

* Vari-colored radishes may be used.

** Purchase whole loaves of bread that you will slice yourself.

Wash (don't peel) and trim radishes; set a dozen or so tender, fresh leaves aside. Place the washed whole radishes in a plastic container; fill container with enough water to cover the radishes, add 4 to 6 ice cubes, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

sliced radishesJust before serving, thinly slice radishes into rounds (sliced paper thin like translucent sheets of ice). Each radish round should be tipped with color. Chop or sliver radish leaves.

Spread one side of each piece of bread generously with butter. Top with some chopped radish leaves and then cover with the slices of radishes.

Serve, offering the salt at the last minute before eating (let each guest sprinkle the salt on).

NOTE: Serve with a white wine such as pinot gris wine or chardonnay wine.

Makes approximately 8 to 10 serving.


So did this one.

Baked Radish Chips Recipe

Makes 1 serving
10 radishes
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp paprika
  1. Thinly slice radishes

  2. Steam in microwave for 5 minutes

  3. Put in bowl with spices; stir

  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, flip the chips, and bake for another 10 minutes.
And finally, these.

Mexican Coleslaw

4 cups shredded coleslaw mix (from a 16-ounce bag)
  • 1-1/2 cups radishes cut in thin wedges
  • 1 can (19 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup thick and chunky salsa
  • 1/4 cup reduced-calorie mayonnaise

In a medium bowl combine coleslaw mix, radishes and black beans. Stir in salsa and mayonnaise. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 to 6 portions, 7 cups

Cool Mediterranean Pasta with Radish and Orange
  • 8 ounces (3 cups) rotelle pasta (uncooked)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves torn in bite-sized pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups thinly sliced radishes
  • 1 cup fresh orange chunks
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-calorie mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon oregano leaves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions; drain and rinse under cold water. Place in a large bowl along with spinach, radishes and orange. In a small bowl combine olive oil, vinegar, mayonnaise, oregano, garlic and salt. Pour over pasta mixture. Sprinkle capers, if desired. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 3 hours.

Yield: 4 to 6 portions, 7 cups

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rock Stacking in San Francisco


I began stacking rocks a few years ago while walking on the beach north of Victoria, B.C. with a friend. Wish I could say these are pictures of my efforts, but my skills need a lot of tweaking. I love these pictures!


Note: Click on the picture to see many, many more wonderful pictures.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pictures Taken at the Right Moment - 53 of them

I thought you might enjoy these pictures. Here's a sample:

Pictures taken at the right moment (53 pics)

Is There a Proper Blessing for Bicyclists?

As an avid cyclist myself, I really like this, especially the part about Unitarians.

Blessing of the Bicycles from God's Politics Blog

by Nadia Bolz-Weber 05-28-2009

bicyclesUrban biking is not without peril. Many of my parishioners rely almost exclusively on human-powered transportation and do so while competing for road space with motorized vehicles. As a way of acknowledging the inherent goodness of God’s gifts of life and health and the humble but elegant bicycle, we decided to conduct a Blessing of the Bicycles for the entire Denver cycling community. This event was open to all regardless of religious affiliation, race, creed, color, sexual orientation, fat or thin tires, and brand of bike. We even welcome unicyclists and Unitarians. Some may take it more seriously than others but it doesn’t matter. As we swing our thurible of incense over the Schwinns and Cannondales, we do so as a human community seeking God’s blessing and protection for all who brave our city streets on two wheels.

Our prayers:

Present in a world groaning under the excesses of consumption, we acknowledge the inherent goodness of non-motorized human powered transportation and give thanks for the simple beauty of the bicycle. God of life,

Hear our prayer.

Present in a community filled with children, we pray for those learning to ride. Keep them smart, safe, and visible on their neighborhood roads. God of life,

Hear our prayer.

Present in a community filled with strife, we pray for the victims of road rage and bike theft. And we ask for the strength to forgive mean people. God of life,

Hear our prayer.

Present in a world of work, we pray for those who build, repair, and clean our bikes and those who rely on bicycles to earn their living. Bless those who choose to not drive to work and those for whom driving isn’t even an option. God of life,

Hear our prayer.

Present in a community of beautiful diversity, we ask your protection and blessing on all who ride: pedi-cabbies, weekend warriors, athletes, homeless folks, students, children, eco-warriors, bike co-op anarchists, messengers, and all the others who take to the Denver streets, bike paths, parks, and mountains. Keep us safe as we ride. God of life,

Hear our prayer.

We now observe a moment of silence for all who have died while riding …

God of life,

Hear our prayer.


Nadia Bolz-WeberNadia Bolz-Weber is a Lutheran pastor living in Denver, Colorado, where she is developing a new emerging church, House for all Sinners and Saints. She blogs at and is the author of Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television.

Playing for Change

Since I've doubled up on blogs a few days this month, I'm going to get a bit lazy today and post someone else's blog entry. However, it's probably the most important one this month.

I follow a blog called Tiny Choices, and this morning's entry covered a wonderful international musical movement called Playing for Change. Please check it out. Listening to "Stand By Me" brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful project to help connect EVERYONE.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Take Me Away from This Computer! Please?

Actually, it's been quite a productive day even though I spent most of it staring at the laptop screen, answering email I've put off for who-knows-how-long, and taking care of some correspondence. And then there's the normal daily check-in with Facebook friends. So, maybe the eyestrain will be worth it in the long run.

First, out of the blue this morning I got three new Facebook friends, bringing the total up to thirty-six. It would have been 37 but one person canceled. However, I understand the reasons because I've considered doing the same several times, especially after getting hit with a Trojan last month. Now I'm being extremely careful about what I open and so far haven't had any problems since then. Knock on wood. I think it's been worth it though, because now several of my nieces, my brother and his wife, a nephew, and two cousins are now Facebook friends as well as lots and lots of friends from various stages of my life. It's been wonderful to get back in touch with all of them.

Second, I wrote and emailed a proposal to the Board of my UU church in Bartlesville about starting a program of Small Group Ministry for them, something I've had a lot of experience doing. I feel very strongly that churches need to have small groups, or covenant groups as most of us call them, especially members of congregations such as Bartlesville who do so much good work outside the church, participating in activism of all kinds. I believe that sometimes it's necessary to take time to reflect upon our lives in order to make sense of why we do the things we do and what it all means. So, we'll see how this goes.

Next, I reviewed some material about working with volunteers and setting up a volunteer program in preparation for meeting with the social work intern at A Third Place Community Center in Turley on Friday. We're going to plan how to set up that program and also talk about how to arrange and decorate the small volunteer space set aside for that purpose. I'll stick around the Center that day and do my own volunteering, then stay all night in my RV. That's because...

I'm going to meet a brand new friend at the Cherry Street Farmer's Market in Tulsa early Saturday morning. It's straight down the same road so hopefully I won't get lost. She and I met on the "Simple Living Discussion Group" and discovered we live fairly close to each other. So, we're going to hang out together Saturday. Should be fun.

Finally, I decided once and for all to finish work for my M.Div. degree since I'm so very close to being done. I haven't decided yet whether I'll go for ordination, but will keep that in the front of my mind. Although I'm really tired of jumping through hoops, I'm pretty sure it will be worth it in the long run. Yes, there have been a few years since finishing my internship and CPE in which things pretty much fell apart i.e. divorce, several not-so-good jobs, and a definite lack of money. The lack of money is still here, but now I am really eligible for good financial aid. So, I think I'll most likely go for it.

So, this evening I sent off requests for official transcripts, filled out the application form, and asked permission to use several people as references. Sunday night it all goes in the mail, along with a non-refundable check for $60.

So, it's been a decent day. I even did a load of laundry at the laundromat. Of course, we won't count trying to burn up the toaster oven while warming up a few tortillas. I keep forgetting the thing is a combination toaster/convection oven and is very fast. I got it to use in the RV where it's very handy. When I get independently wealthy, I'd love to just keep it out there and get a small microwave for this house. I didn't think I'd miss the microwave that much, but I got used to having one, especially for warming up leftovers since I'm still trying to cook for more than one person most of the time.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Bonus: Prayer About Sweet

The Grace to Listen

God, as I grow in experience, I pray I may keep from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to try to straighten out everyone’s affairs. Give me the grace to listen to the tales of others’ pains, but seal my lips to my own increasing aches and pains since my love of rehearsing them grows stronger as the years go by. Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to become a sour old person. May I be thoughtful but not moody; helpful but not bossy. With my growing store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all—but You know, O God, that I don’t want to lose all my friends!


Geek and Nerd Pride Day

I missed it! Geek (or Nerd) Pride Day was May 25th this year, which coincides with the release of the first Star Wars movie. Bet you didn't know that, did you. Just in case you never heard of the festivities, here is a little info from my favorite online source, Wikipedia, that I found to help us all either pat ourselves on the backs (if we're geeks or nerds) or congratulate our friends who might be. I think I might be a partial nerd, so I'm giving myself a one-handed pat on the back. Here's to all my wonderful nerdy friends: Long Live Nerdiness and Geekiness!

A manifesto was created to celebrate the first Nerd Pride Day which included the following list of basic rights and responsibilities of nerds.


  1. The right to be even nerdier.
  2. The right to not leave your house.
  3. The right to not have a significant other and to be a virgin.
  4. The right to not like football or any other sport.
  5. The right to associate with other nerds.
  6. The right to have few friends (or none at all).
  7. The right to have all the nerdy friends that you want.
  8. The right to not be "in-style."
  9. The right to be overweight and have poor eyesight.
  10. The right to show off your nerdiness.
  11. The right to take over the world.


  1. Be a nerd, no matter what.
  2. Try to be nerdier than anyone else.
  3. If there is a discussion about something nerdy, you must give your opinion.
  4. Save any and all nerdy things you have.
  5. Do everything you can to show off your nerdy stuff as though it were a "museum of nerdiness."
  6. Don't be a generalized nerd. You must specialize in something.
  7. Attend every nerdy movie on opening night and buy every nerdy book before anyone else.
  8. Wait in line on every opening night. If you can go in costume or at least with a related T-shirt, all the better.
  9. Don't waste your time on anything not related to nerddom.
  10. Befriend any person or persons bearing any physical similarities to comic book or sci-fi figures.
  11. Try to take over the world!
And, there's always hope.
See also

Monday, May 25, 2009

Very Short Rant About Excess Packaging

I needed to buy a mattress pad and a set of sheets today since I've been using the old Wal-Mart cheapy ones I had in the RV for two years. Sears was having a Memorial Day sale, so off I went, charge card in hand. Yeah, I know - now owned by Citibank or something and horrendous interest rates. But, drastic needs call for drastic measures and I'd come to hate those sheets.

Found some plain white ones with a pretty good thread count as well as a good mattress pad. The clerk rang them up and I signed my "X" on the little machine as well as I could with a little plastic stylus. Then I watched in amazement as the receipts kept pouring out of the register - four of them for one sale! It turned out three of them were coupons for further purchases and only one was the actual receipt. But, look at the size of them.

Got home, flung the old sheets off the bed and down the stairs. I'm nothing if not thorough. Began opening packages. Bear in mind now that all I bought was one mattress pad, a flat and a fitted sheet, and two pillowcases. Someone must have thought they'd all run away or something because what I got as packaging was this assortment of plastic, cardboard, and paper.


Baseball - a Sweet Time

On this day, May 25, 1935, Babe Ruth hit the 714th and final home run of his career. At the time, he was playing for the Boston Braves in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was the first player to hit 60 home runs in one season (1927), a record which stood for 34 years until broken by Roger Maris in 1961. According to the Wikipedia article,

"Ruth completely changed baseball itself. The popularity of the game exploded in the 1920s, largely due to him. Ruth ushered in the "live-ball era," as his big swing led to escalating home run totals that not only excited fans, but helped baseball evolve from a low-scoring, speed-dominated game to a high-scoring power game."

Roger Maris hit his 61st on October 1, 1961, in the fourth inning of the last game of the season, a contest between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in front of 23,154 fans. I was a new high school freshman at the time, and I remember many of us brought small transistor radios to school (not sure if that was really allowed or not) and listened to the games, cheering each time he got another home run. According to Wikipedia again,

" 1961 progressed, the Yanks were now "Mickey Mantle's team" and Maris was ostracized as the "outsider", and "not a true Yankee." The press seemed to root for Mantle and to belittle Maris. But Mantle was felled by a hip infection late in the season, leaving Maris as the only player with a chance to break the record.

"However, Maris remained bitter about the experience. Speaking at the 1980 All-Star game, he said of that season, "They acted as though I was doing something wrong, poisoning the record books or something. Do you know what I have to show for 61 home runs? Nothing. Exactly nothing." Despite all the controversy, Maris was awarded the 1961 Hickok Belt for the top professional athlete of the year, as well as winning the American League's MVP Award for the second straight year. It is said, however, that the stress of pursuing the record was so great for Maris that his hair occasionally fell out in clumps during the season. Later Maris even surmised that it might have been better all along had he not broken the record or even threatened it at all."

Roger Maris' major league record would stand three years longer than Ruth's did, until National Leaguer Mark McGwire broke it by hitting 70 in 1998. The record is currently held by Barry Bonds (also a National Leaguer) who hit 73 home runs in 2001. Maris remains the American League record holder through the 2008 season.

So, why am I writing and copying all this stuff about baseball today? Yesterday I drove back to Bartlesville, OK from Tahlequah, OK, and part of Hwy. 82 is named the Mickey Mantle Highway.

In a google search, I found that Mantle had been born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma, and Hwy. 82 goes right through that town. It's a beautiful area with lots of greenery and water. Even though Mantle wasn't a pitcher, the curving, winding road reminded me a little of a pitcher's curveball. In one spot, the road made almost a complete circle. You can bet I slowed WAAAY down for that one. I didn't want to get hit by an oncoming, truck.

I sometimes wish those days of baseball many years ago were still around as it seemed a much more enjoyable time to enjoy baseball. When I was just a kid, I remember listening to San Diego Padre games on the radio with my grandmother (my dad's mother, she's the one in the center of the picture. I'm the little kid). She loved the game, and I don't think she missed one of them. She and I even attended a double-header at the stadium after I had spent most of the day at the beach and had a horrible sunburn. At the time, they were only a minor league team in the Pacific Coast League , arriving in San Diego in 1936. They won the PCL title in 1937, led by then-18-year-old San Diegan Ted Williams.

Lots of baseball memories.
My two daughters both played Little League. The pictures are of my youngest.

For some reason I couldn't find a baseball picture of the oldest but this one was taken about the right time.

My son, his dad and I use to watch Seattle Mariner games all the time and drove up from Oregon for a few games. He was a Ken Griffey, Jr. fan and Halloween was a fun time (see picture). We also watched a lot of American Legion games in Roseburg, Oregon. Sometimes he even got to be a bat boy for those games.

I haven't watched a baseball game in a while, but am not sure I'd still enjoy it as much without another baseball fanatic watching it with me. Maybe I'll ride my bike over to a little league game sometime and just hang out a bit.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Puzzles That Tell Humans From Machines

No, you're not seeing things--that parrot really is upside down.

Have you ever wondered about those squiggly words and letter/number combinations you need to figure out and then type into a box when you register at many online sites lately? They're becoming more and more ubiquitous as many sites and companies now use them to block spam and other illegal postings. They're called captchas, short for “completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart,”referring to the test proposed by British mathematician Alan Turing to determine if a computer can be said to think like a human.

Here is a short article from today's New York Times describing future possibilities we may see shortly, New Puzzles That Tell Humans From Machines.

The parrot image is one that google researchers are testing that requires people to turn randomly rotated images upright; it can be built around a site's theme. It sounds like we can expect more and more different puzzles in the future.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Farmer's Market This Morning

Since I got to the Farmer's Market too late last week and missed out on fresh eggs, I rode my bike over today to arrive just as they opened. Ta-da! The market has only been going for a few weeks and there aren't a lot of merchants yet. However, I got a pretty good haul this morning, enough for a week's worth of salads and eggs in all forms. Let's see: a bag of spinach just picked early this morning; two bunches of beautiful green onions; a bag leaf lettuce; a small bag of fresh basil, and a dozen fresh brown eggs.

Although I'd eaten a piece of banana bread earlier, I decided the eggs were just too good to pass up. So, I cracked one into the pan. We used to raise chickens and I miss the yolks that "stand at attention" instead of oozing all over the pan. These are just right. See what I mean?

Because the egg looked a little bare, I decided to slice up a little spinach and basil. I probably could have doctored it up a little more with a touch of green salsa, maybe some green onions, and perhaps a piece or two of tomato. But why mess with perfection? I flipped the egg over so everything would cook into it a little. Just right. Delicious!

Have a wonderful day,

Friday, May 22, 2009

Some Green Country Pictures from today

My mind is kind of blank tonight - maybe it's the heat or something. Anyway, I went on a long bike ride this morning and took a few pictures. Never would have found the bridge from the car.

View from my front porch - May 22, 2009

Bike/Pedestrian bridge over railroad tracks

Another view of the bridge. I love how green everything is.

Train tracks from the bridge

Across the bridge - I think this is 11th Street.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bicycles and Bananas and Books, Oh, My!

I think today's blog will be a combination of assorted things I've found to be sweet this afternoon, starting with this hilarious video, IT Guys Have Always Been Helpful. If you've ever tried to help someone use a computer and he or she just wasn't "getting it," you'll sympathize.

Last week I attempted to go for a long bicycle ride and discovered my back tire was flat. When I took it off, I was rather shocked at the condition of various parts of my almost thirty-year-old Bridgestone bike. Sure, I've ridden it several thousand miles since buying it new back in the 1980s and have usually tried to keep it tuned up and ready to go. However, considering it still had the original chain and gears, perhaps it really was time for a bit of work. I picked it up from the bike shop a few minutes ago and it looks and sounds almost like new. Since the weather today is absolutely beautiful--not to hot, not too cold, not muggy, not raining, I'm waiting for the SWEET whole wheat banana bread to be finished and will take that long ride, just a week later.

This morning I listed some more books on and then added reviews to all of the books Ive listed so far. It's so much more helpful to read what a book is about and what others think about it. And, that extra effort helped as I've received two requests already today. The way this works is this: I list a book; someone requests that book; I pay $2.38 Media rate to mail that book; when the requester receives it, I get another point; then I can use points to request books myself, most books requiring only one point. What a deal! I've already got two books on the way from points received by signing up the other day.

Tonight will be a monthly church board (bored?) meeting. Thank goodness they decided to meet from 7:00 until 8:30 only. I've sat in too many long, long, long meetings, wishing I could be somewhere else.

The banana bread is done and the bike is waiting patiently outside, ready to "take me away!"


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Midwest Rules

Although I already did my blog for today, I just received this from my good friend Jackie and couldn't pass up the chance to share it, especially being a transplanted San Diegan in Oklahoma. Perhaps they should have included Oklahoma in the list. Enjoy.

Subject: Midwest Rules

Because of misunderstandings that frequently develop when East Coasters and Californians cross states such as Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, those states' Tourism Councils have adopted a set of information guidelines. In an effort to help outsiders understand the Midwest , the following list will be handed to each driver entering the state:
1. That farm boy standing next to the feed bin likely did more work before breakfast than you do all week at the gym.

2. It's called a 'gravel road'. No matter how slow you drive, you're going to get dust on your car.

3. We all started hunting and fishing when we were seven years old. Yeah, we saw Bambi. We got over it.

4. Go ahead and bring your $600 Orvis Fly Rod. Don't cry to us if a flathead catfish breaks it off at the handle. We have a name for those little trout you fish for...bait.

5. Pull your pants up. You look like an idiot.

6. If that cell phone rings while a bunch of mallards are making their final approach, we will shoot it! You might hope you don't have it up to your ear at the time.

7. No, there's no "Vegetarian Special" on the menu. Order steak. Order it rare. Or, you can order the Chef's Salad and pick off the two pounds of ham and turkey.

8. You bring Coke into my house, it better be brown, wet, and served over ice.

9. So you have a sixty-thousand dollar car you drive on weekends? We're real impressed..
We have a quarter-million dollar combine that we only use two weeks a year.

10. Let's get this straight - We have one stoplight in town. We stop when it's red. We may even stop when it's yellow.

11. Our women hunt, fish, and drive trucks--because they want to. So, you're a feminist... Isn't that cute..

12. Yeah, we eat catfish. Carp, too--and turtle. You really want sushi and caviar? It's available at the bait shop.

13. They are pigs. That's what they smell like. Get over it. Don't like it? Interstates 70, 80, & 90 go two ways--Interstates 29, 35, & 69 go the other two. Pick one and use it accordingly.

14. The "Opener" refers to the first day of deer season. It's like a religious holiday. You can get breakfast at the church.

15. So every person in every pickup waves. It's called being friendly. Understand the concept?

16. Yeah, we have golf courses. Just don't hit in the water hazard, it spooks our fish.

17. That Highway Patrol Officer that just pulled you over for driving like an idiot, his name is "Sir". No matter how old he is.

18. The bill on your hat should turn down at the edges to shed the rain and be centered over your nose to keep the sunlight out of your eyes. Any other location/orientation makes you look like an idiot.
Now, enjoy your visit!

Laptop Coverups and Good Website

I hope this Blogger does better tonight than last night and that these pictures show up.

I've been looking for a sewing project to make some money and believe I've finally found it. While my clothes were washing in the laundromat today, I wandered across the parking lot to Hobby Lobby, my favorite place for patterns and fabrics. Since I've done mostly quilting projects for the past eight years or so, I haven't browsed through a sewing pattern catalog in a long time.

It looks like tote bags, laptop cases, handbags, and all kinds of other miscellaneous bags are all the rage right now. Simplicity Patterns has page after page of various kinds, so many it was very hard to choose. These are the ones I decided to use.

Don't those bags and cases look a lot more interesting than this one?
I bought one just like it because I needed something to protect my laptop on a plane trip. However, it looked just like every other one I saw at the airport. Effective but boring.

In searching for the pictures for this blog, I discovered a wonderful site for people who sew, Here is a partial list of its features. I thought the reviews of patterns by people who had used those patterns very helpful.

1. A Newsletter which will keep you informed of the latest happenings on the
PatternReview community and more. In each newsletter you will also find a
helpful article written by a PatternReview member! To read all the past
newsletters, click on 'Newsletter Archive' from the Navigation bar.

2. Sewing contests: Participate in sewing contests to earn prizes and cash!
These contests will motivate you to sew more and maintain a sewing journal.
To find out more about the contest currently running, click on 'Enter a Contest'
or 'Contest Report'.

3. Interactive Discussion Groups: Feel like chatting with other members or have
a question? Participate in the Discussion Boards at by clicking
on the Message Board tab at the top of the site.

4. Get Organized, maintain your Pattern Catalog online! Add your favorite
patterns to your 'Wish List' in one click, when you read a review.

5. Buy and Sell: Trade patterns and more, on PatternReview Classifieds!

6. Expert Chats: Periodically I invite sewing experts to chat on our site and
answer the questions of the chat participants. The chat schedule is available
from the left navigation bar. You can also read all the past chat transcripts
from the 'Chat Transcripts' link.

7. Searching for a review is very simple, just type the pattern number in the
search box on top right corner of any page or try the Advanced search from
the menu.

8. Calendar: Never miss a store sale or a sewing conference! This online
calendar keeps track of all your upcoming events.

9. Interactive Online Sewing Classes: Learn new skills in an easy to understand
online format.
If you're interested in one of my first bags or cases, please let me know. This looks like a very fun project.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

There Will Be An Audit

This post probably would have fit with last month's NaBloPoMo challenge topic of "Growing Up." So, if you want, dig back through April and find an entry that seems "Sweet" and switch them.

This morning I signed up at a fun book swapping site, Frugal Reader, in order to swap some books and get more that I'd like/need. It's an interesting idea to make a Wish list of books you want, then list ones you have that you're willing to give away. Frugal Reader gives you credits you can use for books. For more information, please see the site.

While making my wish list, I went through the bibliographies of many seminary papers I wrote, and listed many of the books I'd used for them. A little background might be in order here: When I moved into my little RV two years ago, I sold over 40 boxes of books, and now I miss most of them. In reading some of those papers, as well as some email conversations with a good friend who's a philosophy professor in Canada, I discovered I missed more than the books.What I miss most is the intellectual challenge of those three years, conversations in and out of class, and reading many, many books. During the past five years since graduation, I've settled for much less than I feel comfortable with. Not a comfortable feeling, so now it's time to do something about it.

When I visited Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa two weeks ago, I talked with the Director of Admissions about auditing classes. Today I filled out the forms required, chose several possible courses in both Summer and Fall semesters, wrote an application check for $60, and stuck it all in the mail.

I'm becoming more and more active here lately with the UU church in Bartlesville and A Third Place Community Center/Living Room Church in Turley. In doing so, I'm finding it's too easy to get involved in congregation politics to the detriment of concentrating more on ministerial work such as perhaps teaching an adult class or two, occasional preaching, and beginning a program of small group ministry. Perhaps it's because I graduated from seminary five years ago and haven't used the skills and knowledge I learned, but I sometimes feel a bit unsure of myself in beginning this work again. Therefore, I feel doing some catching up by auditing courses will be excellent experience. At the very least, it will be a chance to use my brain again and perhaps even have some good conversations with Paul up in Canada. I'll never match his intellect, but at least I might be able to talk about something other than cooking, sewing, or gardening, as fun as those things are.

So, please wish me luck. This definitely belongs in the "Growing Up" topic last month. However, I think I'm also being sweet to myself. And that's what counts.


P.S. Either it's me or this blogger is doing strange things tonight. Every time I try to format with bigger print and different colors, I lose everything. So, for once we'll have to settle for unformatted.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Oklahoma, My Adopted State

When I moved here several months ago, I didn't really know anything about the state of Oklahoma. Being from Southern California, my vision of Oklahoma was lots of never-ending flat prairie. And, was I ever wrong. So, this morning I thought it would be fun to gather and share some information about Oklahoma with you. Enjoy.


Oklahoma Facts

· The name "Oklahoma" comes from the Choctaw words: "okla" meaning people and "humma" meaning red, so the state's name literally means "red people."

· Oklahoma has the second largest American Indian population of any state. Many of the 380,000 American Indians living in Oklahoma today are descendants from the original 67 tribes inhabiting Indian Territory.

· Thirty-nine of the American Indian tribes currently living in Oklahoma are headquartered in the state.

· The governor of Oklahoma is Brad Henry (took office in January 2003); the lieutenant governor is Mary Fallin.

· Oklahoma has 43 colleges and universities.

· The highest point in the state is Black Mesa in Cimarron County (4,973 feet); the lowest is due east of Idabel in McCurtain County (287 feet).

· Oklahoma has more man-made lakes than any other state, with over one million surface acres of water and 2,000 more miles of shoreline than the Atlantic and Gulf coasts combined.

· Oklahoma is the third largest gas-producing state in the nation.

. Oklahoma ranks fourth in the nation in the production of all wheat, fourth in cattle and calf production; fifth in the production of pecans; sixth in peanuts and eighth in peaches.

. Oklahoma's four mountain ranges include the Ouachitas, Arbuckles, Wichitas and the Kiamichis.

. Forests cover approximately 24 percent of Oklahoma

. Oklahoma is bordered by six states: Texas to the south and west, Arkansas and Missouri to the east, Kansas to the north and Colorado and New Mexico at the tip of the northwestern Oklahoma panhandle.

. Oklahoma is comprised of 77 counties.

. Oklahoma has a land area of 68,667 square miles and ranks 18 in the nation in size.

. According to 2000 U.S. census data, Oklahoma's population is 3,450,654. Of those,
76.2 percent are white, 7.9 percent American Indian, 7.6 percent African American, 5.2 percent Hispanic and 1.4 percent Asian.

. Oklahoma's two most populous cities are Oklahoma City, with 506,132 residents, and Tulsa with 393,049. The next largest cities are Norman, with a population of95,694 and Lawton, which has 92,757 people.

Famous Oklahomans

Troy Aikman, Football

Johnny Bench, Baseball

Garth Brooks, Singer/Songwriter

Walter Cronkite, Broadcast Journalist

Geronimo, Apache Warrior

Woody Guthrie,

The Hansons, Singer/Songwriters

Shannon Lucid, Astronaut

Shannon Miller, Gymnast

Will Rogers, Humorist/Entertainer

Maria Tallchief, Ballerina

The Oklahoma Meal

The official Oklahoma Meal is chicken fried steak and okra. Here's a chicken fried steak recipe and two different ways to cook okra. Enjoy!

1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup bread crumbs, dry
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 (4 ounce) cubed steaks
vegetable oil

Combine first four ingredients, mix well, set aside. Combine bread crumbs and next three ingredients, mix well. Dip steaks in buttermilk mixture, dredge in flour mixture. Let stand 10 minutes on paper towels. Pour oil to depth of 1/4 inch in heavy skillet. Fry steaks in hot oil (375 degrees F.) over medium - high heat, adding oil as necessary until the meat is browned. Remove steaks from pan and drain on paper towels; set aside. Use drippings to make cream gravy or serve plain.

1 1/2 lbs. okra
3 fresh tomatoes cut up
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
5 strips bacon
salt and pepper to taste

Slice okra into thin rounds. Grease 2 1/2 quart casserole. Layer okra, tomatoes, salt, pepper, onions, bell pepper, and jalapeno pepper in casserole. Lay bacon overlapping on top. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour. Serves 6.

Mixture of equal parts flour and corn meal, salt and pepper to taste, okra, cut up into 1/2 inch thick rounds

Mix cut okra with dry ingredients to coat. Fry in 1/2 to 3/4 inch of oil until golden brown.