We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. ~Isaiah 64:8

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Daybook: March 15, Happy Birthday Edition

Today, in honor of my Mother's birthday. . .

outside my window . . .  my mother's birthday started out clear and warm, and quickly turned warm.  The day is ending with some rain clouds moving in.  A very pretty day!

listening to . . . Erik, Faramir, and Kalliope planting our newest fruit trees: Braeburn Apple and Brown Turkey Fig.  My mom would enjoy sitting out in our Adirondack chairs chatting as they work.  I'm sure I'd be sitting with her and we *just might* be sipping a cocktail.

wearing . . .  It is 6:41 and I am seriously considering slipping into my PJs for the evening.  One of my mother's favorite things is PJs, especially a wonderfully, soft and silky cotton set.

so grateful for . . . the way my mom always remembers birthdays and special events for my kids.  Rarely, very rarely has a holiday or birthday gone by without at least a card!  And I love her laugh!

reading . . .  a Chemistry text in preparation for tutoring Athos' Classical Conversations level (Challenge 3) next year.  This will make my mother giggle as I barely got through high school chemistry.  Thank God for Khan Academy!!

around the house . . .  gathering a few items that were forgotten on my mom's recent visit (last week).  I think she just wants to make sure she is remembered around here, so she leaves a few pieces of clothing behind.  :)   

one of my favorite things . . .  a lovely, vintage white flower pin my mother gave me a few years ago.  It is sweet and simple.  I have a pretty lacy scarf that will set off the pin even more wonderfully.  I think I'll wear them together tomorrow.

recent milestones . . .  Mom and my step-dad, Fred, enjoyed having my great grand-mother stay with them for a few months while a new home was being completed.  They took her home a couple of weeks ago and helped her (and her housemates: my Aunt and Uncle and a great Aunt) get moved in a settled.

picture thoughts . . .

My mother, Kay, step-dad, Fred, and the girls.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Strawberry-Apple Pie

5 cups thinly sliced, very tart apples
2 cups sliced strawberries
1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice (or orange juice, if you, like me, have run out of lemons and have no time to go to the market)
1/2 c sugar (or Splenda)
5 T flour
1 double pie crust

1/2 T sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

A note before starting: I kept my fruits in separate bowls and then layered them in the pie pan, but you can mix them together in one bowl, if your prefer.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. After slicing the apples, pour lemon juice over and mix gently.  Strawberries don't need this, but if you have them in the same bowl no problem!

Mix together sugar and flour.  Sprinkle over the fruit and mix gently.

Line the bottom of a pie pan with one of the pie crusts.  Place the fruit in the pie pan (by layers or mixed together, however you prefer) and top with the other pie crust.  Cut top crust to vent steam.  Lighlty dust top of pie with sugar-cinnamon topping (optional).

Bake at 450 for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 30-40 minutes until fruite is bubbly.  Watch pie crust edges.  Cover with foil or pie crust shield (worth spending a few dollars on!) once it has begun to turn golden brown.

Daybook: March 12th

outside my window . . . the sky is so clear and blue.  I'm ready for that early spring "green fuzziness".  We may make it to the lower 70s today.

listening to . . . early morning NPR.  The heat finally kicking on and taking the chill off the house.

wearing . . . pjs, still, for the moment.  Off for my shower in a moment.  Warm today, so maybe a skirt.

so grateful for . . . visit with my mom and step-dad, a fun day with the kids on Erik's birthday, and a lovely dinner out for just the two of us on Friday.

reading . . .  starting Aristophanes today: "Clouds", "Frogs", "Peace" and "Birds".  Still working through Sproul's "Consequences of Ideas".  Considering starting "Olive Kittridge" - any thoughts on that book?

creating . . . a plan for St. Patrick's Day.  More on that later this week...

around the house . . . Erik made some headway on the garage clean out yesterday.  I'd really like to get it cleaned out enough that we could pull the van in during the hottest and coldest months of the year.  This project is on a "fits and starts" schedule, sadly, but we are getting there!

from the kitchen . . . Strawberry-Apple Pie!  Made that last night for hubby's birthday (a day late!).  He requested it, but I was skeptical.  He was right: delicious!

real education in our home . . . Faramir spent the entire afternoon yesterday working on a dirt track for his new Radio-Controlled car complete with ramps and other obstructions.  This is new fascination.

one of my favorite things . . . Hubby's new mug!  Artemisia and I went to a pottery-painting studio recently and made birthday gifts.  My gift to him was a very large mug with a Swedish flag.  I think he liked it.  (Artemisia painted a very pretty cross for him.)

the week ahead . . . phone interview today for a tutoring spot with CC next year, Bible study tonight, Wednesday night church meetings, children's theatre on Thursday, maybe a sleepover for Artemisia on Friday, and our supper club on Saturday.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Euripides: The Bacchae, thoughts and quotes

A small group of ladies met months ago to begin reading through classics of Western literature.  We started at the very beginning with The Illiad and have continued on, though our number is only 3 now, reading through The Orestia (Aeschylus), Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Collnus (Sophocles), and now Euripides' The Bacchae.  It has been a great adventure!  And I'm continually astounded by how real and current the issues are....ok, not the gouging out your eyes, but the centrality of pride as the tragic flaw.

This will not be an academic analysis...it is just one woman's notes and thoughts on an Ancient and Classic play.  I'm determined to prove to myself, and to my children, that "classic" does not mean inaccessible, and that learning doesn't stop just because you are no longer in school!

Some of our St David of Wales Feast day flowers.

So, we are learning together as we read (and our fearless "leader", though she wouldn't call herself that, I bet, re-reads).

By the end of our meeting last Friday, I came away fairly certain that what Euripides presents us with is an appeal to divinity.  He seems to ponder, "There must be something out there," as he shows us the hubris and folly of humans who believe in no divine thing, but he doesn't seem to know what it might be.  On the other hand we are presented with barbarism that can have no source in divinity, which should be above human passions and prides.  It seems he is almost saying, "There must be some god, but these crazy Greek gods aren't it!"

Euripides begins by exploring the concept of wisdom greater than human logic and a power greater than human strength.

line 200:
We do not trifle with divinity,
No, we are the heirs of customs and traditions 
hallowed by age and handed down to us 
by our fathers.  No quibbling logic can topple them,
whatever subtleties this clever age invents.

line 309:
Mark my words,
Pentheus.  Do not be so certain that power
is what matters in the life of men; do not mistake 
for wisdom the fantasies of your sick mind.

line 505:
You do not know
the limits of your strength.  You do not know
what you do.  You do know know who you are.

One of our cats, my particular buddy, has found a cubby hole hideout on my desk.  This is why I cannot stay organized!

There are themes of knowing oneself - that self-deception is the greatest deception and the greatest foolishness.  And here Pentheus (the young ruler, who distrusts anything that isn't logical) is told by a disguised Dionysus that he doesn't know what he's doing...we know, because of foreshadowing, that he is going to have a tragic end.

line 636:
.... A man, a man, and nothing more,
yet he presumed to wage a war with a god.

line 641:
Wise men know constraint: our passions are controlled.

Pentheus is warned time and again not to try to war against the god, Dionysus.  That it will be his end, but in his great pride he cannot see his foolishness.

It is hard to have much pity for him at this point...he truly is prideful beyond belief!  But then Dionysus brings him down by his (Pentheus') own mother's hand - and we are stirred to pity for the disaster he's been lured into even if by his own pride.

It is too late for Pentheus and his entire family, they are all destroyed in the end, but the Chorus reminds us that it is not too late for the reader:

line 1000:
Against the unassailable he runs, with rage
obsessed.  Headlong he runs to death.
For death the gods exact, curbing by that bit
the mouths of men.  They humble us with death
that we remember what we are who are not god,
but men.  We run to death.  Wherefore, I say,
accept, accept:
humility is wise, humility is blest.

and at 1151:
Humility, a sense of reverence before the sons of heaven - 
of all the prizes that a mortal man might win,
these, I say, are wisest; these are best.

A typical school day.  This is about half of our school room. 

Euripides questions the Olympian gods' motives and actions directly:
line 1348:
Gods should be exempt from human passions.

But we have seen the very opposite of this from the god Dionysus, whose passions have driven him to brutality.

Both central characters: Dionysus and Pentheus are completely inflexible.  But we can expect a man, especially a young man, to be flawed by pride...but not a god.  Surely, Euripides wasn't suggesting that these pitiless gods were worth our devotion.  Rather, he is presenting us with a quandary he was trying to solve: we must have belief in something beyond ourselves; otherwise, we become entirely at the mercy of own "sick minds".  Clearly, however, these gods are not it.

(the lines refer to the translation by W. Arrowsmith, U. Chicago press)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Daybook: March 5th

outside my window . . .  So many little spring flowers blooming early.  I do hope we won't lose our spring bloom to a late freeze.

listening to . . . Kalliope watching "Curious George" across the hall in my bedroom.  (I'm in Erik's study this morning as he has his Monday meeting with a friend.)

wearing . . . pjs - not dressed, yet!

so grateful for . . .   A homeschool friend's eldest daughter was married yesterday.  It was a very sweet ceremony and reception.  The food was fantastic!  Everything was very elegant and simple.  I loved it!

pondering . . .  where to plant two new trees that were just delivered: a fig and an apple.

reading . . .  Consequences of Ideas (RC Sproul),  Comedies (Aristophanes)

thinking . . . after a long season of not being able to get out and walk (the cold is just too much for my facial nerve issue), I've started walking again.  Hope to shed some pounds before summer!

creating . . .  nothing these days.

around the house . . .  I am feeling the need to do some spring cleaning.  After a few months of homeschooling, things just start to pile up in certain places....little chores that can "wait" do just that, and before you know it they've piled up into a big heap.

from the kitchen . . . Considering a Vegetable Jolloff to celebrate Ghana's Independence Day.

real education in our home . . .  With my permission, Faramir didn't read the book for this week's CC class (Secret Garden), instead I've asked him to watch a movie version so he can at least be familiar with the plot.

the church year in our home . . . lovely yellow daffodil-like flowers and Baby's Breath for St. David's feast day.  Looking forward to St. Patrick's Day on the 17th and St. Joseph's Day on the 19th.

one of my favorite things . . . I really do love my Lively Literary group.  We had a great discussion on Friday about Euripides "The Bacchae".

recent milestones . . . Athos has his driver's permit!!

the week ahead . . . Tuesday is Ghana's Independence Day.   My mom and step dad arrive for a visit tomorrow or Wednesday.  Erik's birthday on Saturday!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Quick Meal: Green Curry Vegetables over Rice

Sorry this is out of focus, and in general just not the best photo.

This is a very quick and easy meal, and because it is vegan it makes a great meal for those following a strict Lenten fast.  If you have members in your family who are still eating meat, you could easily throw in some cooked and shredded chicken.

For the Green Curry sauce (right off the Green Curry Paste jar):

1 14 oz can of Coconut Milk (use lite to cut the fat)
1-2 T of Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste
1 T - or so, fish Sauce (I didn't have any so I used Worcestershire)
1 1/2 T - or so, brown sugar

Mix this all in a large saute pan, until just simmering.  Then toss in about 7 c of frozen "Stir Fry" veggies (or any kind you like).  Keep simmering until the veggies are defrosted and heated through.  *if adding cooked chicken, add it at the same time...or you can let each person add theirs at the table (pre-warmed in the microwave, if necessary).  This served 6 of us, with only a little leftover.

Serve over jasmine rice for the most authentic recipe, or brown rice for more fiber.