Saturday, May 30, 2015

Secondhand Lions

The latest addition to the Common Household are these two felines, who now reside right outside our front door.  
Lions guarding the front door

They make excellent pets, since they stay outside all the time, even though they were not originally designed to be outside.  They are shedding gold paint.  Sooner or later they will be naked secondhand lions.

I am told that when they were firsthand lions, they guarded the synagogue ark where the Torah was kept.  (If you google “synagogue lions” you can see oodles of images.) Then the synagogue moved to a new building, with a new ark, and these lions were no longer used.  My husband found them in a closet at the synagogue.  He broke the tenth commandment, and coveted the synagogue’s lions, except maybe it doesn’t count as coveting since the synagogue didn’t want the lions any more.

Sometimes our lions like to party.  I mean, if you acquired lions like this, wouldn’t you want them to party?

So far we have gotten no comments from any of the neighbors.  I have hesitated to ask any of them what they think.

I just want to add that I don’t have many favorite movies, but Secondhand Lions is one of them.  In fact, maybe “Uncle Hub” and “Uncle Garth” would be good names for our lions.
Jewish lions on Memorial Day

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Decoration Day

Colors of Memorial Day

As I understand it, Memorial Day started out as Decoration Day, when citizens decorated the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers.

Nature has been decorating everything with flowers around here. It is often surprising to me to find flowers in my yard.  But God does good gardening work.

These miniature lilacs smell SO sweet, the aroma wafting
over me every time I open the front door. A gift!

These dianthus seem to have sprung up overnight.

Dianthus with varied colors

In our yard, dianthus is a winning species right now.

I decided that we should do some decorating with flags for Memorial Day.  I demanded that the taller people in the household engage in climbing on stepstools to hang the big flag.

Father steadies the son.

We permanently installed those hooks, so that we can
hang a flag whenever we want.  That is, whenever I pester
the taller people to hang the flag for me.
Hmm.. Something is not right.

The Common Household Husband declared our drooping flag to be embarrassing.  Apparently we used to have a different flag, now misplaced, that used to exactly fit the placement of these hooks.  Time to get out the tools.

The Common Household Son declared that this job would be
easier if we could turn the house upside-down while he
was hammering.  It's hard to hammer up!

Installing a new hook.

Ah.  Much better.

Finally I got around to planting the Monty Python vegetables ("not dead yet") that I bought at the farmer's market 10 days ago.  The cherry tomato and jalapeno pepper plants look pretty healthy, but I think the marigolds won't make it.  It's always better when I leave the gardening up to God.  She pays more attention than I do.
Future vegetables

Then we decorated the grill with many colors, because that's what modern Americans do on Memorial Day.

Grilled veggies are the best.  Love those sweet onions!
We had friends over.  It was their anniversary, so we decorated for that, too.
When you've been married for 40 years, you tend not
to mind when your anniversary decoration is a bit twisted.
At least I hope that's what our friends thought.
Our friends brought the makings of s'mores-on-the-grill.  Yum!  A sweet end to a quiet day of honoring those who gave their lives for our freedom.  Our heartfelt and deep thanks to them, to God, to friends, and to people tall enough to hang flags.

Directions for S'mores-on-the-Grill:

1.  Find a grill-worthy flat surface, and cover with foil.

2.  Lay out the desired number of graham cracker pieces, saving the other halves for later.

3.  Put mini-marshmallows and semi-sweet chocolate chips on the graham crackers.
Accept the fact that some ingredients will roll off the crackers.

4.  Put the whole thing on the grill.  Close the lid.  Cook for a few minutes.

Peek occasionally.
5.  When the marshmallows start to look puffy, it means they are melting.  When they look good and squishy, put the other half of the graham cracker on top, and press down.

6.  Cook for about another minute, just to be sure everything is good and melted.
Kids, let an adult do this part.  Peligroso!
 7.  Remove from grill with spatula.
Be careful - hot!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Superheroes: Best Of

For the Common Household Husband’s birthday, we all went to see Avengers: The Age of Ultron.  During this movie I learned that the reason the Avengers are all superheroes is because they can make it through a 2.25 hour movie without once needing, or even thinking about the need, to pee.

I am not a superhero.  But I am happy to recognize those who are superheroes.  Here are my awards related to this movie.

Best Accessory:  Thor.  Oh, that hammer.

Best skin care:  The Hulk.

Best Fuel Supply:  Tony Stark.

Most Well-prepared:  Hawkeye.  He never ran out of arrows.  (I didn’t even know what this character’s name was until after the movie was over.  Ditto The Black Widow.)

Best Frisbee:  Cap’n America.

Best (and only) Female Avenger:  The Black Widow.  This just bothered me.  The other Avengers had all kinds of super powers or super technology at their disposal.  What does the Black Widow have?  The ability to calm down The Hulk, and random toughness from being trained as a Slavic spy.  I’ll bet she also has my superpower, which is finding things in the refrigerator, but they didn’t mention that in the movie.

Best Imitation of Dash from The Incredibles: Fast, vaguely Slavic guy whose name I never learned.

Best Therapist:  The vaguely Slavic woman with the red eyes whose name I never learned.

Best-timed Entrance:  Samuel Jackson.  I also never learned this character’s name.

Best Named:  Ultron.  Just add “-on” or “-tron” to the end of almost any word, and you’ve got an excellent name for a futuristic character based on comic books.

Best able to differentiate between Marvel and DC Comics characters:  Youngest Daughter.

After the movie, I mentioned how indestructible Captain America’s shield is.  It’s just as good as our Corelle® dinner plates!  I asked, “What was the name of that element it was made out of?  My husband said, “Unobtainium” while my son said, “Nobreakium.”  I also have to say that if the Avengers are going to stick around, the world needs to invest more in unbreakable glass. 

What’s your superpower?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Chocolate Activities

Lately I am way too busy to write anything.  It's not that we haven't been having any fun, though.  Some of our fun has involved chocolate, and there is just not anything wrong with that.

This chocolate cake was rich and delicious and had
NO CANDY on it, just the way the Common Household
 Husband likes it.  Usually I would bake the cake
myself, but this one is a hired cake.  

Chocolate percussion mallets, bought at the band concert.

Setting up to play Chocolate Monopoly.

The game does not involve any money.  Just spinning a spinner,
placing chocolates on the board, and taking them off the board.

Bases loaded!

The board looks like a regular monopoly board, except
it has the word "Chocolate" on it.

If you land on "Free Parking" you get to collect all
the pieces of chocolate in the middle of the board.

I have also been eating some celery.  Chocolate and celery make for a balanced diet.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Standardized Testing

For every school day, I try to leave a note for Youngest Daughter to cheer her up as she gropes her way through the pre-dawn hours, getting ready to go to school.  This is in lieu of actual parenting, which would mean getting up and cooking a hot breakfast for her, making sure she is dressed properly for the weather, and standing at the door waving as she trudges up the hill to the bus stop. 

Some of my notes in recent weeks have evolved into a Monday Morning Quiz.  Just in case you do not have enough tests in your life, I have included some here (please click to embiggen).

We begin with Great American Literature:

Now moving on to time management skills:

Back to Literature.  

 And two reminders disguised as quizzes:

Of course, I love it that she sometimes leaves a question for me.

What kinds of questions were on your most recent test?    Who do you think is the protagonist of Moby Dick?