Thursday, September 27, 2007

I Don't Know Why This Is Interesting

PARIS - Critics who praise the "complexity" of red Burgundy and Champagne are on target.
A team of French and Italian researchers has mapped the genome of the pinot noir grape, used to make bubbly and many red wines from France's Burgundy region and around the world — and it has about 30,000 genes in its DNA. That's more than the human genome, which contains some 20,000 to 25,000 genes.

Scientists have already mapped the genome for rice and other crops, but this was the first time a fruit has been mapped, Wincker said. It took the team, based in France's national genetic-sequencing laboratory in the Paris suburb of Evry, nearly two years to complete.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Monday's Domestic Chores

While I played hooky from school, letting my digestive tract find it's way back to normalcy, I managed to chop all the peppers and make my hot pepper jelly. It turned out the perfect consistency. I haven't tasted it yet. I usually spread some of this over a brick of good cream cheese and have some Mission tortilla chips to scoop it up with. Or it's good on a burger or brat.
My recipe calls for some jalapenos and some sweet green and red peppers. I had some red hot cherry peppers so they got thrown in plus more than the recommended amount of jalapenos. I think I'm asking for it!
I also grew pepperocini peppers and a long, green hot pepper called Georgia Flame. I separated them out but used the same brine to pickle them both. Ai yi yi!
We are hooked on the pepperocinis in our salads so maybe the Georgia Flame will be equally good.
Since I sharpened my knife so much before the chop session, I apparently sliced several hole in my gloves and my hands were on fire for hours afterwards. I even soaked my hands in milk (isn't that suppose to work?) but they went on sizzling. Washing dishes in hot water was no picnic, let me tell you.!!!!
I have plenty of jalapenos to make a few jars of bread and butter jalapenos. Just got to find my welding gloves.

I've been watching Ken Burns "The War" on PBS. I really like it and J has been transfixed. He keeps asking "is that real footage?". I didn't understand Japan's part in the war or the North African connection until now. Sure beats the --- out of my history classes in H.S. and college.
I don't think I am as spellbound as I was with The Civil War. I would like to watch that with my kids someday.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ode To A Model Marriage

My mom and dad were both from broken homes. They had a damn good marriage until my dad went in the nursing home.

Really they still have a good marriage with what is left because my mom is still devoted to my dad. She visits him every day making sure she gets by before he is too sleepy to stay awake, makes sure his clothes are comfortable, makes sure his room has interesting things for him to see and do, if the possibility arises. She sees to his meals if she is there at mealtime (and other's too, if the staff is too busy), and walks and talks as much as possible with him. She sees to his comfort.

She misses him. And nothing makes me cry faster than when she tells me he knew her when she visited and wanted to go home with her. Thank god it doesn't happen very often.

And if the shoe was on the other foot, I've no doubt my dad would be doing the same thing for my mom.

I was considering how interesting it is that from two people who came from such strained and broken families managed to find with each other a very strong bond of friendship and devotion. I would say they both knew from experiencing their own family's death what they wanted from their own marriage. My mother has even said as much. She and Daddy discussed it specifically. They wanted a strong partnership since they both had witnessed the opposite. What is strange is they had an example each of bad relationships. What they ended up with was a model marriage.
Don't misunderstand. They fought and cried and hated each other at times but still stayed devoted. There was dispair and embarrassmaent, sadness and pain. The regular stuff.

Don't many people do what they have learned? Shouldn't they have had a disastrous marriage? I know I did.

My life in this family had strained times, things I couldn't figure out, loneliness and frustration. But I also had security, strong good roles models, a tight family unit and fun.
What is bad in my mind is how little I took from their example and applied to my relationships. I regret I didn't learn more from them sooner. I wasn't consciously aware of what I was seeing.

Their purposeful discussions and ability to compromise, agreeing on a goal and putting their heads down until they had reached it, supporting each other in almost everything- that's some of the hardest things to do in a marriage. Am I right? And through it all, they stayed friends and ick- lovers, and equal in their efforts. They were both so strong willed.

As I write this I am again aware of just what they had accomplished. Out of all the marriages of their siblings, theirs had been the most successful.
I think it was partly luck and partly hard work. How lucky to find a mate that stays as devoted to a marriage during 50 years, that is willing to work as hard as they both did for 50 freaking years!

Maybe I can pass this knowledge along to my kids instead of my messes. It skipped a generation but maybe can land in theirs.

Have a kick- ass Saturday!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Of School and Men

On my way home alone from my mom's yesterday, I had 3 wonderful hours to ponder my situation and the future.
I didn't really have any great revelations but I am excited and energized about the coming months.
I am in dire need of a job change. No, strike that...a paycheck change. I love my job and it has been a wonderful job to have, allowing me to be with my kids on a pretty close basis for the last eight years but it isn't my calling. And time and the lack of money coming up soon (3years) will drive me to find a better paying job or to the welfare line (NOT).

I need a degree for everything I want to get into. Or at least someone willing to give me a shot to prove I can do a lot without a degree.

Renovations on historic buildings and/or houses, old or new is a love of mine. I love working with my hands and can do the work of a lot of men but I have no formal training with tools or any architectural schooling. Oh, why didn't I make a left instead of a right at the end of the hall and wind up in the architect classes instead of the ag classes?

Gardening and landscaping -again- at the very least a 2 year set of courses with which to break into the scene and there is a glut of companies in this area. One would have to know someone to make on the best team and even then it would be a glorified lawnmower operator. I want something with which I could help beautify and maintain grounds that were appreciated and maybe even historical.
Along those same lines ,the thought that a career in urban forestry would have been a good spot for me. Same idea. A 4-year degree from a reputable university such as University of Missouri-Columbia. They are seeking students to fill classes because there has been a drop in interested people.

I may very well have to get some classes but I can't see trying to go 4 years, making my children pay a big price for my absence a large part of the time and be less than chipper the balance of the time I am with them.
It's not like I don't have things on my plate right now. I do have the Christmas tree farm plans with Andrea and with that a business plan for expanding as years pass.
In additon, the apple orchard here in town is refitting to add a restaurant and hall for special occasions. These people are not the run of the mill types. I tend to think they have a bit of class so there might be opportunities there I need to scope out.

I am putting my head down and doing some investigating into all of these areas. I want a chance to see where I can go with what I have. It's time to step out of my comfort zone.

Of the men...nah, I won't go there...


Friday, September 14, 2007

Mish Mash

I'm on my last swig of coffee for the day. I have a ton of things to accomplish before I finally make it out of town to go to my Mom's tonight. Don't you hate it when there isn't enough hours in the day?
I just sat adding dates to my pocket planner. Every weekend in October is taken with E's field marching alone. As a music booster, I will go along on most of these trips to provide support and also feed the kids with a tailgate-type picnic. There is a tea party at my mom's when her sibs come down from Michigan which is a requirement. Guess E will miss that one. She said Mother needs to stop having so many! I think E is done with tea parties. Too bad! It's not about her anyway. My gosh, I don't know how I'm going to get to everything. Common lament, I know.
I really hope to put in some fall crops in my garden. It has to be cleared out first. Everything except the peppers and basil is done. I can't seem to get out to pick the basil and make pesto for the freezer. And I was going to pickle the pepperocinis and maybe make some bread and butter jalapenos. I. Can't. Get. To. It. AAARRRrrgggggg!
I just heard my son's alarm go off. I have to get going. Time to start the rat race!
Everyone have a spectacular weekend.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Soggy Days

Ok, festival highlights. J with his rubber band gun. Yes, he stayed out of the water and mud of his own volition.

Daughter of a teacher friend did not do so well. I guess this could have been the moment at which interested grown females could have taken the plunge for money, huh?

E with friend Nicole.

J's harem. They are adorable.

Boys from J's class did try out the wallow. Later they looked like they had 5o'clock shadows when they rubbed mud on their face. Disgusting!

Two girls E babysits.

Ah, the band. The tiny, tiny band -that had a big sound in the gazebo. They need to travel around with a gazebo surrounding them. It improved their sound and made them feel better. Unfortunately it won't help when they begin field marching. There is only so much a 35 member band can do on a huge football field.

In the parade. It was drizzling just before and after the parade.

This actually was line up.

Line up.

The apple pie I spent two and a half hours on. It was scrumptious after I got it back . Long story. I baked it in my grandmother's pie pan thinking the winning pies in each category were the only ones auctioned off. Come to find out they are the only ones auctioned off live. The rest are put in a silent auction. Mine cost me $15 bucks to get back and I had to fight an crazy lady for it. She wouldn't listen to my story.
But as I worked in the chicken shack (bbq chicken and beef food booth) later, I shared and had many people loving it.
Many people on the back lines told me my pie was as good as the 3rd place pie but hers had more leaf cut-outs and design to it. So I will try a bit harder next year.

For as wet as it was I was surprised at the attendance. Judging from these photos, it looks like there was no one but us there. It could have been far worse.

What a weekend. Even after a nap yesterday and plenty of sleep overnite, I feel like I have something like jetlag.
I have lots of photos. I'll get to it today sometime since I know you all are chomping at the bit for them.
Nothing earthshaking to report or talk about. Maybe later.

Good grief, why did I even post this morning??!!!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Get Your Apple On!

Wow, what a busy week this has been even with just 4 and a half days! Things are running rather smoothly so that must mean we are in for something bad. (That's my family's philosphy and I'm sticking to it. Too many years of testing and proving to let it go).

We are in the midst of a huge town festival which started yesterday and will conclude on Saturday night about 12 midnight. I have volunteered in several booths and eating establishments for various organizations. It's quite a spirited good time, maybe nothing like OctoberFest in Herrman. Too bad as that would loosen up the ultra-religious folks and provide a good time, I think. Oh, well. They get their spirit from a different source.

The waves of rain are welcome but ill-timed. We shall be sloshing around in mud and it will strike a blow to participation and attendance. Too bad I didn't keep my duck shoes from 1987.

Maybe I should spearhead a new booth---mud wrestling. Think that would go over?
Charge to watch and to participate.

Everyone have a fab weekend. I might post some highlight shots of the festival if you're lucky.

PS to Wolfgang. I just found your tag from August 2. Sorry I didn't see it before now. Shall I still participate?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Tossing, turning, stretching, charley horses in calves, more stretching, replaying situations, more tossing, then...beloved drowsiness moving steadily through limbs and brain. Aaaahhh, sleeeeeep.

An hour later- "Mom, are you awake? Because I can't get back to sleep. What do I do?"

I believe I'll be hitting the coffee harder than usual this morning.