Friday, October 30, 2009

Italian Sausage and Sewing

Two completely unrelated items today. Just have to "welcome you to my world."

A frustration since we moved here: you can't get good, spicy Italian sausage OR Pepperoni in Switzerland.

OK - you can get Peperoni pizza but you'll be shocked when your pizza arrives covered in a variety of bell peppers. Because that's what Peppers/Chillies are in German - Peperoni. You can find a pizza with spicy salami but it is not a pepperoni pizza. For that, you must go to Dominoes in Zurich and fork over 50chf (= $49 right now :( ) for a medium sized Pepperoni pizza. No thanks, we'll wait.

Re: Italian Sausage. I had this conversation with our Italian friends as I have a hard time finding sausage meat for sauce that I like. It's so bland - not the flavor I'm used to. One conclusion we had already made was - many Italian immigrants to the United States worked with what they had available and "invented" new Italian foods/products.

I described the sausage I want and all of a sudden a light bulb went off for M - she said it sounds like the sausage from the Southern part of Italy and maybe Sicily. It is not made in Switzerland nor even in No. Italy - or is hard to find. There are some substitutes but it's not the same.

So Des Moines - you have a little piece of So. Italy that can't be found in Switzerland - Graziano's Italian Sausage - in the convenient ground pack without the casing even. You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.

MEDIEVAL TIMES: I'm finishing the girls costumes and just needed two items - some poly black lining and elastic as my stash from the States is depleted.

I bought the material/fabric at the "fabric store" and then had to walk down the street to the "notions" store to buy the elastic. The fabric store has only patterns and fabrics with a small selection of thread. The notions store has everything else you might need to do something with the fabric/pattern.

Hello - it would make sense to have all the supplies one needs for sewing under one roof! Yes, I got a little more exercise BUT puleeeeese. It makes no sense, none at all, in a country that prides itself on its efficiency and planning.

Where is a JoAnns Fabrics when you need it?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sweetest little baby

I was driving down the Autobahn the other day and a small herd of unusual looking cows caught my eye. I saw little bundles in the grass and thought "I need to go back with my camera, who cares if it's raining."

So I did.

Look what I found: Isn't he precious. Think it's a he. Was hard to tell because of all the hair, fur, curly pelt?
Here's a curious young lady. She eyed me the whole time I was standing there.
Baby was thirsty and Mama's keepin' her eye on that strange two-legged creature:
Switch sides, baby's still thirsty:
And she still has her eye on me:
I have NEVER seen this breed of cow here - have I just missed them? They must be something special as another gentleman stopped in his vehicle to take a look as well. They are definitely not Swiss cows. Nor are they the Scottish breed that are in Luzern. Does anyone know?
I just want to take him home with me.
Update: these cattle are Scottish - Scotland Galloway's. The cows in Luzern are Scot Highlanders. Thank You C!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Eating around the World...

Otherwise known to us as WorldFest.

Yesterday, Sunday, was the annual WorldFest at the girls school. We had a good time. It was the best one we've attended.

We actually skipped last year's as we didn't want to deal with the crowds and what in the past had been a free-for-all inflatables set-up. Since we don't know whether this would be our last year or not, we decided we had to go.

There are food booths from the various countries represented throught the student body, entertainment and, of course, the inflatables play area for the younger kids.

It's hard to go by all the booths and not buy something from every country but the stomach is only so big. Let's see if I can catch most of the countries that were offering goodies:

Sweden, Holland, Belgium, Ireland, Scotland, G.Britain, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Israel, MiddleEast, Carribean, Japan, Southeast Asia, Russia, India, Australia, Austria and the United States.

There might have been more but I can't remember. Examples of food offered were Paella (Spain), Falafal's (Israel), Sushi (Japan), Baba Ganouche (MiddleEast), Haggis (Scotland), Shrimp (Aussie's), Hot Dogs & Choc. Chip cookies (USA). Bart and I both gave a huge thumb's up to the Paella - excellent. We skipped the Haggis - figuring we'd then have to buy a shot of the Whiskey to wash it down - we didn't want either.

So we did our best to eat as much as we could - it was all excellent. The girls played as hard as they could and had a great time.

FYI - we've already had our "Fall Back." So for this week, we are just 5 hrs ahead of East Coast, etc...

So how was your weekend? :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

United Nations Assembly

Today's United Nations Assembly did not take place in New York under high security.

Instead, it was the gathering of approximately 450 students at school assembly for United Nations Day - as close to October 24 as they can get (pretty close this year). All students and staff are invited to wear their National Dress, Flag Colors or favorite Team jersey from their country.

Spur of the moment this morning, I decided I should go. The school assemblies are always fun and give the kids a great opportunity to develope their talents (children emcee, perform, present, etc... at all assemblies), celebrate events and develop confidence amongst their peers.

I arrived a few minutes late but knowing what it takes for them to seat 22 - 24 classes, I arrived well before the Principal opened the program. I looked for Kendra in the crowd and couldn't find her. I knew she'd be easy to spot and I looked for the tell-tale signs. No Kendra.

Because Kendra was being introduced! Introduced so she could 'introduce' the new German teacher (recently arrived) for her class. What a treat! She was just asked that morning so there was no prior warning. So glad I decided to go. As the Assemblies are "Student-driven", there were volunteers willing to present in various form, offerings from their home countries. For example:



Ghana: It was great to see all the kids from the different continents represented stand up: Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa, South America and North America. Europe by far was the largest group standing. I don't think all the kids knew which group they were to stand with. I overheard a child when 'Africa' was called wonder if it was 'all of Africa' or 'South Africa.' And the North America group was quite small when I know there should have been more - I don't think some of them realize that Mexico, the United States and Canada comprise 'North America.'
Some of the girls really dressed in traditional costume: India, Africa, Eastern Europe (Romania) and Germany. Many of them had their colors painted on the face - like a football game.
What a great experience for them. They are all encouraged to maintain their cultural identity and there is such support from this school community. Bart & I both feel this has been a great opportunity for the girls as well as our family.

Can you see why I thought Kendra would be hard to miss?
Fun Fact: Switzerland joined the United Nations in 2002. It was a move of solidarity with other countries to promote peace and human rights - not a step away from their neutral status. They had otherwise provided political and financial support to the UN prior to their joining.
AND - the Swiss Flag is the only non-rectangular flag to fly at the UN. The Swiss Flag is square and allowed to fly at UN headquarters in it's original form. Believe it or not, this was a big matter of discussion.
Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Form over Function

OK - I feel like my posts have been without personality for a while. Part of that due to being so busy I can hardly hear myself think half the time. The other part due to my struggle with being a people-pleaser.

I've been a people-pleaser all my life. I will admit it affects my writing too. I don't want to be offensive, derogatory, prejudicial, etc... as the readers of our family blog are kind of spread out now. I will attempt to start putting my personality back into the blog. The intent of this was to share personal trips and experiences as we live a different life in Switzerland than we had at home. It will have our 'slant' on life. Recording both good days and bad. I'm not going to apologize.

We love living here and have been greatly blessed by the experience. There are days when, no matter how beautiful the view and how delicious the "AbigBroetchen" is, we miss home.

And there are days you scratch your head and go Hmmmmmm?????!!!!!

Form over Function:

So the friends we visited in Lugano are Italian (w/ some Belgium thrown in) and have lived in Italy, Belgium and both German/Italian parts of Switzerland. Due to circumstance, their kids are going (again) to the local Swiss school. The Swiss school is set up quite differently than most countries and by 12 years old, you pretty much know if you are on track for going to University or not. There's not a lot of room for late-bloomers unless you have the $$$ to grease the tracks - per Swiss neighbors (rich and poor).

So their kids will be 'inspected' after a few months to make sure they've been placed correctly. These inspections/testing are done whether a child has been in Swiss schools or Private - anytime a child switches schools here.

My friend's frustration = Her 4th grade boy excells in Math. He did the times tables test in half the time of the next fastest student (2 min. vs 4 min.) and didn't miss a single problem. She was called in for a meeting with the teacher. She was expecting to hear how well he had done and perhaps could be more challenged.

Instead, the teacher asked her to please look at his numbers and how poorly they are written. The mom acknowledges this and says well, yes, he is left handed and sometimes finds writing neatly difficult.

She went away with the knowledge that they may put him back to 3rd grade because his 'form' isn't up to speed. Regardless of the content.

There is no discussion of tutoring or extra help.

I know of one Swiss family planning to send their son to the USA for University while their daughter goes to Uni. in Zurich. He is not eligible for HochSchule/University because he is dyslexic - even though he's considered highly intelligent. I have a friend with a daughter(British) in HochSchule in Zurich who is doing well but as German is her 2nd language, the vocabulary in subjects such as Biology or Ancient History can be difficult. The mom was told they would not be given subject matters ahead of time - for vocabulary purposes - as that would be an unfair advantage to other students. They were also warned that outside tutoring was not allowed and if found, there could be disciplinary measures.

This boggles.My.Mind.

So today - I would like to give thanks for my children's School and their teachers. For a system that is creative and still academic. That recognizes strengths and helps weaknesses. That promotes independence, encourages individual risk and provides a secure environment to gain the self confidence they need for the first two items.

Thank You ZIS. And Thank You God for creating us as individuals.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Kendra!!!!!!! and Questions?

9 years old on Sunday! Time flies when you're having fun. We have so much fun with this sweet girl: I tipped Gma Elaine off that a tap dance outfit for Kendra's American Girl Doll would be well received. The picture above was taken about 20 minutes after the box was opened.

Kendra and I had shared a bed in Lugano and I got to watch her wake up on her birthday. She had her eyes closed but, I could tell the breathing and movements were changing. With her eyes still closed, she started doing this little dance in the bed - facial expressions and hand movements (modified cabbage patch :) ). She is that cross between little girl and big girl - so fun. So happy to celebrate her birthday! So are we!

The girls are finally back to school. May I just say right now that I will MISS, MISS, MISS the school schedule we have here! There are 8 weeks off for summer, 1 week Fall Break, a 4 day weekend in Nov. for teacher training, 3 weeks off at Christmas Holiday, 1 week in Febr. for SkiWeek, 2 weeks for Spring Break and then a couple of National/religious May holidays - back to summer. Our summers aren't as long and we don't have as many 3 day weekends but we get actual weeks off - even if the dad can only take a partial week. LOVE it! It gives us a chance to do different things during different seasons of the year.

OK - Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away......... I asked if there were any questions for us about living here/Switzerland. I'm putting that question out again.

My brain is frazzled trying to read/understand insurance letters in German and I don't want to bore anyone with that current frustration. Although, our nice auto man "Paul", will whisk my car away next week and return it fixed and complete with winter tires.

It's times like these I get a little homesick and wish some things weren't so hard. It's not that life was soooooooo much easier before. But - certain things were easier before. Bart and I both feel this at times. My sympathy for immigrants to the US grows with each new experience.

So, if you have a question, leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer :).

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend trip to Lugano

The girls and I (remember, Bart had to work :( ) headed off to Lugano Friday afternoon. As we headed toward the Gotthard, I was reminded how much I love driving around this country - it is so beautiful! As you approach the Gotthard tunnel (17 km long.......) there is the little orange mechanical man waving at you and reminding you to slow down. The speed limit is 80 km/hr, you are to maintain a good distance between yourself and the other car (150 m if it's a Semi/Lorry/Cargo) and it is only one lane for each direction of traffic. As I've noted in previous posts, not my favorite but there was no traffic and it is the shortest distance to Ticino.
The other side. All the poor souls waiting to get into the tunnel. The mountain passes are closed already so the only routes are through the tunnels. Remember this scene. Unfortunately, we will revisit it.
We arrived safely and quickly to Rachel's best friends house and spent Fri. evening to Sun. afternoon enjoying one another's company. They live in a small village in the hills above the main city of Lugano. The view from their patio:
Saturday afternoon was beautiful and they (kids) convinced us we MUST go on the paddleboats. So we did. The girls were on a boat to themselves while M and I took her 9 year old son F with us. He insisted on driving. We went in a lot of circles and squiggly lines on the water - the girls however did pretty good and managed to maintain their distance from us. We're pretty sure that was their plan anyway.
Saturday night on our way home from the Lake, we ran into another classmate of Rachel's and friends of our hosts. We had experienced phone difficulties earlier in the day so had given up meeting them - it's a small world and it happened anyway. So we had a great time at a pizzeria and the kids were all VERY happy to be together.
This is the pretty, old, one-lane street our hosts live on:
After a lunch of pasta, potato/octopus salad (it was really good!) and birthday cake (Happy Birthday Kendra!!!) after noon on Sunday, we headed home.
It was beautiful:
Then we sat. Crawled. Got bumped from behind (we are all fine - so were 'they'). Exchanged information. Went to the restroom/got snacks. Crawled some more. A 2 1/2 hour journey took 5 hours. The extra 2 1/2 hours was spent on approximately 20 km of road. About 16 miles. I alternated between wishing Bart was with me and being thankful he wasn't. Sitting still in traffic is not his strong suit. Once we got through the Gotthard, we had no traffic. Just darkness, rain and hail.
The rain and hail just confirmed that my thoughts of "I should have gone via the San Bernardino tunnel" would have landed us in just as much difficulty. That road is much higher and we don't have our winter tires on yet. :(
I was never so happy to be home. And feeling bad because we had other plans for Kendra's Birthday evening.
What happened instead was: In a span of 1 1/2 hrs I made dinner, a cake, we ate, opened presents, girls showered, cleaned up kitchen, birthday talks with grandparents, read and got kids in bed! It was great to get something done after spending so much time in the car.
So today is a recovery day and making it fun for Kendra who did NOT enjoy yesterday afternoon at all. I understand.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Well, getting ready to pack again. Bart has to work, work, work through about 5pm Sunday so we (girls and I) are taking off for Lugano (in the Italian region of Switzerland - Ticino). Rachel's best friend of 3 years had to move this summer and this is the perfect time to go down and visit.

Her best friend is Italian and the family is very welcoming - we are looking forward to our weekend stay with them and a chance for the girls to visit with each other.

It's always fun to go to this region. As soon as you pass through the Gotthard tunnel, it's like you are suddenly in another country, and yet, you're still in Switzerland - no Euro's required.

What else - hmmm? Went shopping at Claire's last night in Zurich with the girls for their Halloween costumes. Rachel is doing an 80's theme and Kendra is going as Lola (Lilly's alter ego from the Hannah Montana show). What a blast! They really enjoyed the opportunity to "get stuff" instead of just look and all the 80's stuff brought back memories. Some frightful, some fun. Because I'm in the process of re-doing some photo albums from the past AND all the High School/College yearbooks are in storage, the girls haven't seen many photo's of Mom in the 80's. That may be a good thing as I keep telling them "less is more" with the makeup issue and I don't want to be the pot calling the eyeliner black/blue! There will be pictures to come - don't worry.

I get very frustrated watching and reading any news lately. I think there's a pandemic in the world and it has nothing to do with the H1N1 virus. It's call a lack of patience, abundance of sour looks, lack of common sense, lack of morality, lack of National pride - dare I go on? Half of that relates to my Coop parking lot experience. Anyway.....

I always tell my kids when we talk about 'hard' issues and where they differ from their friends that they need to learn to "agree to disagree." I'm afraid this attitude may be against the law by time we return to the US. There are whole groups that are very willing to 'bash' one group of people but want to declare it unlawful when it's turned toward them? Or the American Flag being "possibly offensive to someone" so people shouldn't fly it - in AMERICA?!!! I know this whole story is media sensation but still - it sends a message.

In Switzerland, there are all sorts of flags flying. Of course the Canton and Swiss flags are the most common but you will find immigrants from all over with their country flag flying on the balcony - Italy, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Germany, France, Australia, Sweden to name a few. The people who come from those countries are proud of their nationality - you don't have to make it a political statement - just be proud of your heritage. Nothing is perfect in any country. And Switzerland doesn't say 'you can't fly your flag here' - you should see the political posters! Talk about offensive - but they get a message across - and they agree to disagree.

I'm trying to figure out where to put all this pent-up energy regarding the current state of affairs in the US. I don't know what the answer is at the moment. I'll figure it out. One shouldn't complain unless one is going to do something about it.

But first, I have to pay bills and do the dishes. Before the internet connection is gone again. Cablecom is coming tomorrow morning - Yeah!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Costa del Sol - Espana

Fall Break arrived a couple days early for the Olson's this year. Bart was unable to take any time off during the regular school break (same as last year) but could take off a couple days the week prior. So we pulled the girls out 2 days early and took a long weekend trip to the southern tip of Spain.

We flew into Malaga and drove about 1 hr southwest to Estepona. Bart planned this trip - it was supposed to be a relaxing trip - he needed to sit in the sun and not do anything. We did a pretty good job - only one day of sightseeing.

The girls were thrilled! with the "kids" pool that had a water slide. Up and down, Up and down - all we had to do was sit there and watch. Our one day of sightseeing was to a city in the Andalucian hills called Ronda. We had never heard of it but the Concierge said it was 'special' - contains the oldest bullring in Spain and the official seat of the Spanish Inquisition. They seem to downplay the Inquisition part.

It was interesting to see that many of the chapels/cathedrals were former Mosques that were re-fitted when Ferdinand drove the Moors out of this area - forcing them into Arabia and North Africa.
The Puente Nuevo bridge spans a deep gorge and connects the medieval portion of the city with the 18th Century portion.
The landscape is beautiful and as always, these medieval towns are built on high ground. All the better to defend themselves.
Many of the buildings have heavy wooden doors that open into tiled entry ways and then the actual door/entry to the shops/homes. The tilework was beautiful. There is a definite blend of Arabic and European in the buildings here.
City on a Hill. I should quickly mention the drive. It is a good, solid hour of almost consistently winding road. With speed limit signs that go from 80 km/hr to 60 km/hr every 40 feet or so! We kept laughing about the sign placement.
I was worried about 15 minutes into our drive about Rachel getting sick - she doesn't do winding roads well. I was driving and I was feeling slightly nauseous (could be the antihistimines and the severe sinus attack from the prior 2 days). Bart recommended we not say anything and see how she did. Turned out, she was fine on the trip there and back! She even mentioned it and thinks the train and bus riding over the last few months has helped. Yeah!
The Bullring was cool - Plaza de Toros de Ronda. (RMR = Real Maestranza de Caballeria, founded in 1572)
There was a little guy all dressed up in his Matador costume - perfect for a picture.
Our location in Estepona was not far from Gibraltar - most days we could see the Rock and the coast of North Africa. Gibraltar is attached by a small strip of land to the rest of Spain - it's not an island. It is still a British Commonwealth location and tax free. We were undecided on whether to go or not but decided as we weren't interested in tax free cigarettes or liquor or monkeys attacking the car (they have monkeys!), we'd skip it to do what we had come to do - relax. If I was going to do another sightseeing day, I would have loved to go over to Tangier for the day!
That's Gibraltar at the right and in the distance (bit hazy) is North Africa - the Mediterranean and Atlantic meet right here!

We did make a trip to the Mall while we were there - a real, live Mall! Girls need some winter clothes and it's cheaper and different options here than in Switzerland. Bless Zurich's heart but when they opened Sihlcity (their newest 'Mall') they were all excited and neighbors would ask us what we thought: "Do you like it? Our new shops are nice, yes?" I didn't have the heart to say "Well, it has all the same shops as are on the Bahnhofstr. - nothing is different - and it's half the size of the small Mall I went to in Des Moines - I won't even mention CA." I will say it is convenient and as it's enclosed - much warmer and dryer in the winter.
So, one day in Ronda, an evening at the Mall and the rest of the time at the beach or pool side.

We enjoyed our family time together relaxing and reading books. Books! All 4 of us were by the pool reading - Bart was pretty sure some people were looking at our kids strangely :). I felt pretty good - 3 books + 4 days=relaxing vacation.
The weather was in the mid-80's - perfect. Flew back to mid-40's, windy and wet. Perfect couldn't last. Hello Winter.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

My "Hometown"

Good Morning and I had a little present waiting for me on the Blog. Thank You Jason for your creative work and update.

When I email my sister this week, I suggested that maybe, after 2 years, our Blog background and pictures should have a facelift. Jason (bro-in-law) worked his magic last night I guess and I appreciate it so much. Thank You, Thank You! Maybe, I should learn how to do it myself. To which he'll respond "Yep, when you get a Mac." They will slowly convert me - it's actually beginning as I watch the way the girls use the computer.

A lot of pictures today. We've been enjoying some beautiful Fall days and on Sunday decided, let's walk down to the Lake and enjoy the afternoon. I don't think I've shared much of the actual town we live in either - so Swiss Family Olson presents Waedenswil:

Steeple of the Swiss Protestant Reform church - I can check the clock from my house when gardening. Very convenient and the bells sound great.
Villa in town.
Love the character of this.
Wonderful day for the sailboats - windy but not too...
The ferry boats were full as were all the benches along the waterfront.
The Waedenswil waterfront - they hold flea markets, carnivals and events here periodically.
Pedestrian street to the Bahnhof (train station). Location of the Saturday market as well (produce, cheese, bakery and meats).
Trying to get a picture is hard with the monkeys around.
I didn't delete this pic 'cause I think that guy in the crosswalk is pretty darn cute!
Many of the older homes reflect the history and lives of their former and current inhabitants.
This has become the 'Norm' among cities around the Lake - the ultra modern house next to the traditional old house. Some of the older houses in our village are 300 - 400 years old. When possible, they repair/maintain the integrity of the exterior of the home while completely refurbishing and modernizing the interiors. They salvage as much as they can of the interior and demolish the rest.
The refurbishing of the apartments below our complex is almost complete - finally!!! Nothing traditional there - including the color.
Sunrise this morning off the terrasse - another beautiful Fall day!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Banned Books

I have always been an avid reader. It started in the 2nd Grade when my teacher, Miss Cooley, gave me The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverley Cleary. I still have that book. It was followed by Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder and I probably spent the next 2-3 years wishing I was Laura living on the prairie. All I can say now is "Thank God I was born in this Century!"

My love affair with reading began. I use 'love affair' because it was something that consumed me, took priority over other things I should have been taking care of and I would literally tune out the world around me. I could respond to conversations directed at me while I was reading and later have no recollection - very frustrating for my mom. Now that I'm a mom, I understand. In fact, I make my kids look me in the eye so that their focus is on me and not the book or TV.

I have actually 'trained myself' if you will, as an adult, to prevent compulsive reading from getting in the way of other things. I can leave a new book alone for weeks waiting for the right time. In between, I read things that are shorter in content or biographies which don't grab me the way other books do. Bart would probably disagree but may acknowledge I sit at the computer more than with a book lately. Trading one compulsion for another?

Well, the Yahoo! homepage had the notice for Banned Book week up last week. Although I had heard of this, I've never looked at the banned book lists and wondered what books were banned and from where?

Found that it relates mostly to school libraries and there are a variety of reasons various people and/or groups have made formal objections to books. I was expecting a list of books along the lines of The S_____c Verses by S. Rushdi but was suprised to find I had read quite a few of the books on the list. A lot of them in high school/college (Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, Grapes of Wrath, Catcher in the Rye, etc...). So then I had to know why these books were on the list - see, the whole compulsive reading thing....

Many were asked to be banned because of certain words used that would be considered offensive in today's society. Or used language or situations that someone took offense to. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those. Yes, the book I just wove into a post a couple weeks ago. A book I still love. On the banned list!

Before I keep going I will say, there are certainly books that I would not feel are appropriate for school libraries - even at the High School level. But my intent here is not to discuss what I feel is appropriate or not but how I feel about books and what they mean to me and in my view, society.

In the video we watched for Bible Study a few weeks ago, Beth Moore talks about how "you cannot amputate your history from your destiny." All the baggage and good experience we carry with us through life, has an impact on our future. The decisions we make. How we make them. Why we make them? For us as Christians, we have a hope and faith that God has His hand in all of this - "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.." Jer. 29:11

What I have behind me is what I bring with me into the future.

What we have behind us as a society and people is also important.

Books reflect our history and the times. As mentioned, some of the books on that list are there for language or content/context that people are offended by. Are we supposed to quit reading these books just because the "times" have changed? Are we supposed to "clean them up" because we don't like the ugliness portrayed? Should authors "clean up" the language when they (authors) are reflecting the way people actually speak and use language?

I find that books such as To Kill a Mockingbird teach us so much. Where we have been as a society, how people viewed life around them and the process of change. How the changes are small and differ from generation to generation. That's why I cry when I read it - so thankful we've made strides, however big or small, in our treatment of our fellow man. We take that history into the future with us.

"You cannot amputate your history from your destiny."

A book not on the list: the Bible - at least not that I've found. When I think of my activities and compulsive love for written word, I often think of this verse:
"All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything." 1 Corinthians 6:12

The context of this verse has to do with the body and difference between life under the Law (Old Testament Law as given to Moses and the prophets) and freedom from the Law through faith in Jesus Christ (New Testament). That our freedom in Christ is intertwined with our response of worship in the treatment of our body because of His sacrifice for us.

However, I often apply this verse to things that distract me from priorities and responsibilities I've set for myself - housework, time with the kids, time with Bart. Avoiding compulsive projects in order to take care of what really matters. Because what I do now will have an impact on the future.

So I will continue to enjoy several books on the Banned list for what they teach me. And I will get off this computer to take care of some things that really matter. :)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

I LOVE Fall (and I hate Fall just a little)

This part of Fall I love -

Replaced the summer pots with pansies and couldn't resist throwing a few Johnny Jump Up's out there: Hmmmm - this pic looks better when you dbl-click it. All the yellow and red apples in the orchard next to us:
Last blazing colors of Fall - and the last of the bees (most disappeared once the cooler weather arrived): Have to love the little, old Italian man who literally hobbled up all the way to our place (120 -ish stairs) to sell some fresh olive oil - "ist von mi famiglia in Cicilia, ist Bio, kalt und extra Vergin....." He was disappointed I couldn't speak Italian but we got by with our German and maybe, 2, English words. He insisted I taste it and smell it - it was good. How could I not? And I went down the stairs with him so he didn't have to hike back up with the bottles. Olive Oil (reputably from Sicily - and self labeled by moi):
Love the sheep next door whose bells jingle all day like wind chimes on steroids. Seriously - I do love the sound and will miss them when they move to the next pasture. Maybe I could convince the farmer to let me have them for a day and "mow down" the lawn. They are here in the moonlight (Rachel likes this pic):
I love how the Sport field lights reflect on the Lake at night. There are 3 - 4 places along the Lake that are lit like this depending on their team/practice schedule. Really is pretty:
I like watching and listening to Rachel practice the violin at night (most of the time:) ). Strings Orchestra is one of her electives at school and she joined a Strings Quartet. She'd better practice!
What I HATE about Fall, as noted in previous post, is the Mold/Mildew allergy season. Once the leaves drop and things start decaying - it's just a miserable time for me. But Hallelujah we live in a climate where we should get a couple good freezes and it will all be better.

Good News! My nose did quit running and I can breathe. Should I fall dead in my tracks just have them narrow the search to Zyrtec, children's Benadryl and the Livostin (antihistimine nose spray) during the autopsy. I'm know the Z and L taken together are fine but, I admit, I added 1 tablet of Children's Benadryl every 2 hrs - only twice - the night I was trying to get the nose to stop. Oh - so glad it's over and so far I've had no further inflammation or problems other than I am being a good girl about when I'm outdoors, what I'm doing and what I'm touching (in the garden).
Little deep thought to share from the message our Elder, H, gave on Sunday. He talked about his younger days in Wales when he worked in the coal mines. He's since been a professor at the University in Zurich, Atmospheric sciences or something and travels the globe as an advisor on the topic of Global Warming. He's funny when asked about GW - "Well, yes, it is happening but not always in the way one thinks." Meaning there's a whole lot more about this topic than ever gets reported in our Media - there's always a slant.
Back to the Coal Mines: As a young man working in the coal mines, he said one never thought about how one looked. He had coal dust on his face, in his clothes - it permeated them - but since everyone else looked the same, it didn't seem to bother him - no one else looked any different. Until he would ride by the house of the young lady who would in the future become his wife. He didn't want her to see him looking like that. He wanted to be cleaned up.
The challenge I took from this was to take a look at myself. Do I seem different to anyone around me? Do we all look the same? Is there an area in my life that, should I meet someone special, I would want cleaned up before they saw me? Joy Williams wrote a song called "Do they see Jesus in me?" that I had the priviledge of singing at church a few years back. I thought of that song when I heard that story. I would link it but "I don't know how!" I need a lesson M!
"Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints." Rev. 19:7-8
Whew! I'm so thankful God doesn't see me the way I see myself. My sins have been washed away and I've been made white as snow.
I hope you all have a wonderful Fall day - with nary a tissue needed!