On the lighter side…

By Jana

This week has been busy, disconnected, and really fun. My kids started back to school yesterday–my oldest a freshman this year (unbelievable! My baby boy. In high school!). At the same time I’m finishing up grading term papers from summer school, fussing around with lots of home projects, and I’m trying to figure out just where the past three months have gone (I swear if I root around in the back of the pantry I’ll find a whole two weeks of summer hiding back there in a forgotten tupperware). I’m in denial even as I’m feeling that rush of fun that fall brings. School supplies, a chill in the air in the morning, a discussion with my Mom about our holiday plans (already!).

Because my life has been in transition recently, my thoughts are bouncing all over the place today. So here are a few random thoughts from the “lighter side” of life:

–Would you give your daughter a book encouraging her to be a “Warriorette” for the Lord? (and can you think of any better term for a woman warrior? )

–A friend who’s going campaigning for Prop 8 said that she was told to dress “comfortably” for the door-to-door work. How would you dress if you were headed out for this task? Jeans & tee? Skirt & flipflops?

–Do you have any “back-to-school” rituals in your family? While I was growing up my Dad often gave us blessings. This is how we celebrated this year.

–What’s growing in your garden these days? Are you starting to see some frost? In SoCal our colder-than-usual summer has meant far less produce from our gardens. I also had a bad bout of powdery mildew that took out most of my cucumbers and some of my squash. How about you and your summer efforts at “growing your own”?

–Did you know that Brooke’s spouse just released a music CD with his band Faded Paper Figures? Go take a listen–you’ll love it!

–Can y’all send any good cabbage recipes my way? Our CSA had a boom cabbage year and my fridge is now full of green and purple cabbages. Family-friendly vegetarian recipes would be especially desirable.

The blogworld has been so politically focused lately (Sarah Palin! Gay Marriage!), I’d love just to shift the tone a bit and hear what else is on your minds. Do you have some thoughts/links/photos to share with all of us?

Photo by Big Brown House

Jana is a university administrator and teaches History. Her soloblog is


  1. Thank you so much for the shift I think my brain is about to burst. My summer was the same. I don’t know where is went. I am glad school is starting and so are the kids except for my 2 year old who misses them like crazy while they are gone.

    I don’t like the title of that book. It seems cheesy. I am a little picky about the religious books I buy. Some are good and others are just trying to cash in our their fellow members. I don’t know enough about this one yet to know but the title alone would make me pass it by. I would probably only pick it up if someone I know and trusted with book selections told me it was worth buying.

    If I were going out campaigning I would dress comfortable yet nice. That can mean so many different things. There are some really nice jeans and flip flops out there. I would however not wear a dress or to dressy of a skirt because I wouldn’t want to look like a missionary. Not that , that is possible at my age.

    We have back to school rituals. Preparing the night before and taking pictures in the morning. We use to have school blessings but my husband is no longer attending church so I just had a special prayer with them separately in the morning.

    I love to garden and have not been able to grow one for 5 years because of the climate in the state we use to live in. We were so excited to watch it grow this year. We planted far to many tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and peppers. Unfortunately something ate my cucumber plant so we only got 1 and the squirrels ate every last one of my large green tomatoes before the were ripe. We did get 1 large tomato and lots of pear and cherry tomatoes. The herbs they left alone so we used them all summer when we bbq.

    There is a really good recipe for cabbage called Bubble and Squeak. If you do a search you will find several different ways to prepare it. I also just love it steamed with a little butter, salt, and pepper.

    If you want to read a sad but heartwarming story that will take your mind off the world and help you remember what is important go to my friend site and read the story about her daughter. It is sure to touch anyones heart.

  2. Wonderful picture! We had our first very light frost last night here in Montana, so we went out today and picked all the rest of the green tomatoes (which are in buckets in the garage where they will hopefully ripen) and pulled all the onions (which are also laid out in the garage to dry). Our daughter and family (three boys) garden with us, so today was great fun with them. There’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh tomatoes and onions. The three-year-old couldn’t believe that we were actually telling him to dig up the onions, after trying to keep him out of the garden all summer.

    I love the fall too. My kitchen is a mess from processing tomatoes, and there are still a few summer squash spread out on the counter, but I can see the end of it now and the larder will soon be full. By the end of next week we will be juicing the grapes–more mess, but ohhhhh, the aroma.

  3. I feel like we hardly had a summer, since we spent a lot of time moving and getting settled in to our new location. We did get a chance to spend almost 5 weeks staying with family, which was sometimes a blessing and sometimes not ๐Ÿ™‚ It still feels like summer here since the high today was 102, but we’re looking forward to cooler temps next week. At least tomorrow will be nice since we’re escaping to San Francisco for the “Power to the Peaceful” music festival with Michael Franti. If anyone is in the area, it’s at Golden Gate Park and it’s free. It’s great music so you should head on down ๐Ÿ™‚

    We’d really like to get into gardening, but haven’t had a chance yet. Now we have a patio, and someone told us that the school has garden plots for rent within walking distance of our apartment, so we’ll probably garden next summer. Any advice on how to gain gardening knowledge for people who are total novices?

    I’m not worrying about campaigning for Prop 8 because there’s no way anyone could convince me to go out and do that. I’ve been a little shell-shocked in my new ward because it seems like everyone is freakishly conservative. I think the political climate is just giving people a chance to say things they normally wouldn’t at church. Makes me sad. What would happen if I stood up in testimony meeting and said “my husband is gay and so are many of our friends”? Hah.

  4. I think a really great system for novice gardeners is the “square Foot Gardening” series (they have books and videos). If you build one or two planter boxes (or three or four) you’ll easily have fresh veggies year-round in Davis. I use a modified SFG method myself–I let my plants stretch out a bit more than he recommends–but I have a large 420 sq ft plot.

    One more thing: I’m sure there are folks in your ward who’d totally appreciate if you publicly voiced opposition to prop 8. There are many who are opposed but are afraid to speak up about it–you might make a lot of new friends ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I think warriorette sounds just plain stupid. It trivializes the concept. (Can you imagine us calling female soldiers ‘soldierettes’? Sounds infantile.) I don’t understand why they even had to gender the word. A warrior can be male or female, obviously.

    My fall is beginning with a bang. I’m back in grad school and have tons of reading and writing to do. Cool, but I’m stressed about finding time to prepare for class. E is so needy.

  6. A female warrior is a Vampire Slayer. Obviously.

    Couldn’t they have called it “Men and Women of God: Warriors of the Lord” or something?

    For me, currently, comfortable means a tank top and knee length skirt. And flip flops. I wonder how that would go over.

    I love the garden photo. I love the built in frame, with so much energy, and the darker edges. The colors of the tomatoes are enough or a reason to grow heirloom tomatoes. Did you also grow tomatillos? What do you do with them? And what are the two things in the upper right hand corner? Little squash? They kind of look like tiny pumpkins.

    As for FPF, I was sad I didn’t win the CD, but glad you put up a link. I’m not too clever sometimes, and when I tried to find the album on Amazon, it didn’t have any samples to listen to, so I gave up.

    Cabbage. Rotkohl. Sort of stewed with vinegar, water, apples, brown sugar, and sometimes sausage or bacon, which is obviously optional but ever so tasty. How about North African ground nut stew? You could put any veggies you want in it, but cabbage is especially lovely with peanut sauce. My favorite combo is cabbage and potatoes, with some tomatoes and a few green beans. Works well with cauliflower, too. I also love sauteed cabbage that isn’t mushy, with butter and lots of pepper. Or lentil and cabbage soup, with a good faux chicken broth, and crusty bread? Stuffed cabbage leaves? Maybe with quinoa and dried cranberries?

  7. A few notes on the photo (which I suppose answers the question of what is on my mind…that would be gardening and photography.) It was a totally spontaneous photo driven less by artistic impulse than by the excitement of finally being able to pick more than one or two tomatoes at once! (It’s been a rather unsatisfying gardening season around here.) I was about to take them in, but I tossed them on the lawn, gave them of few seconds of sorting, took two shots, and was happy to have proof that the season was not a total failure. I must say though, I was delighted with the results. The photo made it to Flickr’s “Explore” within hours of posting, (Flickr calculates a photo’s “interestingness” with some mysterious formula based on hits, comments, and selection by viewers as a “favorite” and includes highly “interesting” photos in a group they call Explore.) It’s also today’s (9/11/08)featured photo on – not a big deal, but fun nonetheless.

    Now, off to evict the rat who has taken up residence in my compost bin. See? Nothing but fun around here!

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