Tuesday, October 26, 2010

End Of Tomato Season

Finally it has begun to freeze at night, which has turned my tomatoes black on the vines. But not before I went out for one final harvest and picked about 40 pounds of tomatoes. Thanks goodness I discovered Ball 'freezer jars' at the hardware store while I was in there browsing (I could browse in the hardware store a really long time - there is something wrong with me!). It made my final tomato-keeping adventure so easy I wish I had started doing it in the spring! All I did was cut the stems off of the tomatoes, squeeze out most of the seeds (my gardener neighbor says too many seeds make the sauce bitter or sour) and toss them into the blender. Then, when it was full, I turned it on, and in a few seconds I had a blender full of tomato sauce - ta da! There is even a fill line in these jars so that you don't over-fill and have an explosion in your freezer (this may or may not have happened once before in my freezer). A few minutes of labeling, then a couple of trips up and down the basement stairs, and there they are, waiting to be used this winter in pasta sauce and soup! It made me feel so farmerish. But in a modern, easy way, which is perfect for me, since I am very lazy and consider actual farming to be way too much work.

A Difference Between Boys and Girls

This summer, Grace took 600 pictures while we were in El Salvador. When she went to Hume Lake, she took almost 300. One day, just to pass the time with friends, she took over 50. Most of her pictures are great - in fact, I am using many of them in my scrapbook of our summer (no, I do not scrapbook - I am ordering online from shutterfly. Real scrapbooking is way too much pressure for me and I cannot handle the stress).
Now Jason, on the other hand, went on a mission trip with his youth group a couple of weeks ago. They went down to Santa Maria, played soccer with kids, put on a carnival (he was the 'bounce house monitor' - that's like putting a compulsive eater in charge of snacks, if you ask me, but no one did), did some clean-up work, put on a drama, and had a huge carne asada taco meal. I know these things because he told me about them. When I asked. I did send a camera along with him. I thought it would be fun to see everything that they did - a story in photos. So when he got back, I took the camera and looked through the pictures. There were 10 photos - like the one below. All in this room. I am told it's the room where the boys slept. And this is a picture of one of the giant pillow fights they had, which were apparently a whole lot of fun, because I looked on Facebook at some other kids' photos, and they looked like this, too. Yep - blurry pillow fight pictures. In their defense, Jason told me they weren't really allowed to bring cameras to the work part.
I just think it's very cute and interesting that my boy and girl are so different. And I am amazed at how great they both are!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


The following essay was written by Grace in her Honors English class. From time to time the teacher will give them a prompt (this one was on competition in school as discussed in the book Overachievers) and have them write a response. This is one of my favorites - because not only does it show me that Grace knows how to write well, but I really really like the way she thinks! Enjoy:

"Personally, I don't feel like the competition at AHS is as extreme as the cases described in the book. But, after reading this, I'm starting to wonder if I just need to wake up and see the real world. I think academic competition is healthy as a means of inspiration or to encourage students to do their best, but when competition begins to encourage immorality I think it's time for a change. In my opinion, the problem is that students' values have changed, not their morals. Most students know that things like cheating and lying are wrong; that's a moral almost any student will agree with. The problem, however, is that many people, not just high schoolers, value success above morality. So although it goes against their morals to do these things, what's more important to them are grades, college, and eventually a good job. Deeper than that, though, I think what feeds the growing desires of students for good grades is materialism as a means of satisfaction. Because we now live in a world where, from a young age, children are fed the idea that money and happiness go hand in hand, students feel as though they need good grades to go to a good college to get a good job that makes a lot of money. They do these things because they believe it will ultimately lead to happiness. Morality's value is lowered, making cheating a logical step in the path towards satisfaction.
The idea behind academic competition isn't the problem, nor is it unhealthy. Competition can encourage diligence and self-motivation. The problem is that increased materialism is causing students to justify immoral behaviors by saying that such actions are necessary components in one's journey to success. Success meaning lots of money, not a clean conscience, honest heart, and true joy, that is."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Observations From My Second Half Marathon

I ran my second City-To-The-Sea Half Marathon this past weekend. Here are some things I observed:
1. It is much better to run with a friend than to run alone (eternal thanks to my great friend Jennifer, who trained and ran along with me, and drove us to the starting line in her shiny red Mustang)
2. Not all really old people are very slow
3. When you feel like you need new running shoes, you should probably get them, instead of trying to save money by just getting gel insoles (5 blisters taught me this - 3 on one toe)
4. "Whammy" by the B52s sets a great running pace
5. Energy 'Gu' tastes horrible and doesn't seem to work very well, although the jury is still out on that one
6. When you find yourself behind a really large, sweaty man, it's a good thing to pass him no matter how much it makes your legs burn
7. Running a half marathon must be a little like having a baby - afterwards, you just remember the good parts, and not the pain or the fact that there were way more hills than you remember from the first time
8. Girls should run in pink as much as possible - it will make you feel cute even if you are sweaty and stinky
9. The best parts of any race are 1) the finish line, and 2) carbo-loading on butternut squash ravioli the night before
10. Being able to run along orchards, farms, and an ocean view is amazing and might just make you want to do it again

Monday, October 4, 2010

Friday Nights

As in many small towns, Friday night here means high school football. I may not have a son on the team, but because of Grace, I have been able to go to most all of the games for the past three years (home and away). I am rather obsessed with football and am so glad I can go to watch the games. I'm not the only non-football parent who goes - we often have more fans than the home team at our away games. One family even drives a motorhome full of fans to all of the games. But in order to not seem like such a stalker, I usually take along one, two, three, or more of Grace's friends, which is fantastic, because I love them. Pictured above with us are Berenice (or 'Bear'), who is originally from Canada and speaks fluent French with her parents (it is beautiful), and Shelly, who was actually the very first person Grace met in public school - they were next to each other in 7th grade PE. It took Shelly's family four years to build their house out towards Creston; not because they were slow, but because that's how difficult our county makes it for people to build new houses. But when they moved in, they had a fantastic housewarming party complete with a rattlesnake that had curled up beside the patio and was quickly killed, skinned, and thrown on the grill. I am not kidding - it was one of the most impressive things I have seen in a long time!
I'd like to keep 'blogging', but I have to go put on my orange and gray (never thought I'd wear that combo!) and head out to tonight's game (taking three girls with me tonight). Go greyhounds!