Since Your Majesty and your lordships want a simple, clear and true answer, I will give it. Unless I am convinced by the teachings of Holy Scripture or by sound reasoning–for I do not believe either the pope or councils alone, since they have often made mistakes and have even said the exact opposite about the same point–I am tied by the Scriptures I have quoted and by my conscience. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither safe nor right. Here I stand. God help me! Amen. Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms, April 18, 1521
I have seen this “test” popping up everywhere. Facebook, message boards, you name it. Everyone is taking the test to see where they land on the spectrum.
Now, my complaint is not with the test itself. I get that is a diagnostic tool, can be helpful when used in conjunction with a doctor, and can be fairly reliable.
What makes me sick is (and I hate using the following word) neuro-typical adults taking this test to see where they fit on the spectrum.
My son has autism. Very little makes me as angry as seeing anything related to his difficulties turned into a trendy Facebook app in which adults who should be more sensitive and reasonable post their results proving to the world how autistic they are (or aren’t). Autism isn’t a game. It’s not a passing fad that makes for a cute test.
I realize that most people who take this test don’t give a second thought to how it might make parents of children with autism feel. I’m sure most people who take it are just curious as to where they fit in, and don’t know how hurtful it is to us to see our child’s biggest challenge turned into a trend. But it *is* hurtful, and it would be nice if people would stop and think before they post their results, and consider that we may not want to see something that we deal with day in and day out thrown into our faces as another joke app on Facebook or a survey on a message board.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 can (4-ounces) chopped green chilies, drained
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 cans (16 ounces) BUSH’S BEST Great Northern Beans
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
- 1 ½ cups finely chopped cooked chicken breast
- Shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
- Sour cream (optional)
- Salsa (optional)
In large skillet, cook onion in oil for 4 minutes or until transparent. Add chilies, flour and cumin; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add beans and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken; cook until hot.
Garnish with cheese, sour cream and salsa, if desired.
If anything is going to send us to the poorhouse, it’s going to be the increase in the cost of dairy products.
Even just a year ago, it was not unheard of for me to pay $1.99 for a gallon of milk. Sure, that didn’t happen every week, but if I was flexible in what kind of milk I was willing to get (usually either skim or 1%, we don’t really like anything richer), I could get it at that price for two weeks or so out of the month. But milk prices have been climbing steadily. When it was regularly $2.39, I started to get a little worried. And then it was $2.59, and $2.89, and I wondered how much higher it could go. Before I knew it, a gallon of milk had gone up to $3.09 (at Wal-Mart, no less!), and I thought for sure that it wouldn’t go any higher than that.
I was wrong.
For the last two weeks, I’ve paid $3.29, and I’m left with a kind of morbid curiosity as to just how expensive it will get before this is all over. Maybe that doesn’t sound so costly, but our family goes through 3 gallons of milk a week without blinking. We’d really rather have 4 gallons, to be honest. And if I’m cooking or baking something that requires a lot of milk, we can use up 5 full gallons without any problem.
And now I’m noticing the rest of dairy is going up, as well. Not surprising, but annoying. Cheese and yogurt have both gone up in the last week. And I buy one big brick of cheese for lunches, plus sliced cheese, plus around 24 cups of yogurt (and often more than that!) every week. Add in butter and shredded cheese, and a good quarter of my grocery budget is shot before I even get out of the dairy department, and that’s with buying only store brands (unless, of course, I happen to have a coupon that makes the name brand cheaper!).
I always considered dairy cows to be something of a renewable resource, so I’m a little baffled by this. If beef prices had gone up (and maybe they have–I spend so much less money on meat than I do on milk that I don’t really track the cost), I would understand that since the cows do have to be slaughtered. But dairy cows keep producing milk, so I just kind of assumed milk prices would stay rather steady. I guess maybe their feed is getting more expensive? Or the cost of transport? Either way, I’m looking at a roughly 60% increase in cost in the last year, which is a huge jump, and I don’t particularly care for it.
I never thought I’d see the day when I’m more concerned about the cost of a gallon of milk than I am a gallon of gas!
There has been one thing that has bothered me about our house, pretty much ever since we moved in. There’s no window in our upstairs laundry room. There’s no good reason for there *not* to be a window there–there’s nothing of import in that wall, and a window there would be so useful for many reasons–especially light and ventilation. And somebody with our builder must agree with me, because the “new and improved” version of our house actually has a window in the laundry room, just where I want it.
So today we had a salesman from a local construction company come out to talk to us about putting in a window, thinking that we may want to look at having this done after the first of the year. Of course, there was also the added incentive of getting a gift card to the local grocery store for sitting through the spiel, but it’s something we were already thinking about doing, so the gift card was really just a bonus.
I have to say that in the almost four years since we had the fence salesman out, I had managed to forget how ridiculous these sales pitches are. First the guy carts in all of his suitcases of samples and toys, then, after only briefly looking at the space where the window would go, he sits down with his binders and “proves” to us why his company is superior to anyone else, (all of the millions of dollars they do in business a year, and all of the charitable donations they’ve made), why our current windows (that we’re not even looking at replacing), are crap, why their windows are the best ever (NASA strength triple pane glass filled with both Argon and Krypton!) and why we need to sign a contract *right now.*
And when I say now, I mean now. He was bound and determined that we would agree to doing this today. After his initial offer of $2800 (for one rather small window!), he came down to $2500, if we would agree to sign immediately. Of course, we weren’t going to do that–we had no intention of making a committment today. And, on his way out of our house, in a last desperate attempt, he offered to “call his boss,” because he was pretty sure he could get us a fantastic deal of $1800 (which was actually not that much more than I was thinking it might cost, but I wasn’t going to agree on the spot!).
I don’t know who the genius was that decided that this a good sales model. I guess it must work, because we’ve seen the same basic set-up from two different companies selling two different products. And the tricks they do to show off their products are kind of humorous. But I don’t know anyone who would agree to spend thousands of dollars without taking a few days to think it over, look at their budget, and/or get a few other offers. Even if I *had* the money right now, there’s no was I’d make a decision like that on the spur of the moment. But the guy pulled out his fancy statistics, and told us that 82% of people who have a rep come into their homes for a demonstration sign that day, so obviously, we should, too.
I’d love to know how they came up with that number, but I think it’s a little lower tonight, because we sure don’t fit into that 82%!
How may I be honest with you today?
Tim Russ as Tuvok in Star Trek: Voyager
- 4 tomatoes – peeled, seeded and diced
- 4 cups tomato juice
- 14 leaves fresh basil
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup butter
- salt and pepper to taste
Place tomatoes and juice in a stock pot over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Puree the tomato mixture along with the basil leaves, and return the puree to the stock pot.
Place the pot over medium heat, and stir in the heavy cream and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Do not boil.
We had the chance to attend a really cool festival at the Saxon Lutheran Memorial in Frohna, MO. To be honest, I was almost certain we had gotten lost on the way there–I knew it was over 90 minutes from our home, but I wasn’t prepared for the twisty country roads we would be driving on, and I really thought we had missed a turn somewhere. What else are you supposed to think when you’ve been over the river *and* through the woods, and still no sign of civilization (or Grandmother’s house!)? But just as I was really starting to panic, we found it–and the tons of people that were already there (which was weird, because for most of our journey on Missouri state highways, we never saw another car, only farm vehicles!).
I was not prepared for how huge of an event this would be, or how fun and interesting it was. There were demonstrations of old-time trades, buildings to tour, a costume contest, lots of food tents, German bands, vendors selling hand-made wares, and, of course, the Schnitzelbank.
We had the opportunity to see many different people at work, doing many different things, including:
- butter churning
- wood working
- broom making (fascinating to watch!)
- log splitting
- sausage making (we missed out on seeing the brains, thankfully!)
- cider pressing
- flour grinding (so much work!)
- wool combing
It was amazing to see all of these craftspeople at work, doing things we normally think of only in the past-tense. It was also an amazing reminder of how much easier our physical tasks are now. I couldn’t believe the amount of work that went into grinding flour, and how little flour resulted from that work. Turkey found out first hand just how much work sawing a log is, but he enjoyed the chance to help out. Moose also really loved watching him–he sat down of his own accord and just enjoyed watching the saw go.
The old buildings were also very cool. One building we toured was called the “Confirmation Room,” and we learned that it was part of an early church and school. It’s purpose was only for eighth grade confirmation classes–the eighth grade students were pulled from the two school buildings during a part of the school day for their religious instruction. I have never heard of anything like that before, so I was quite intrigued, to say the least. I also loved that the two people giving the tour of that building *both* showed Turkey and Bunny the inkwells in the desks, and explained how little boys used to dip the ends of little girls’ pigtails in the ink. I’m not sure my children really believed them, but it was a great story for them to hear.
We also got to see a decent number of farm animals, including a baby llama that was one of the cutest creatures I’ve ever seen. There were also goats, a donkey, and a fair number of sheep in that pen. We saw a horse in a stall near the broom-making (I think he would have been happier running free!), a pair of alpacas, and a bunch of chickens in the chicken coop. The animals were, not surprisingly, Ladybug’s favorite part.
We got to sample homemade bread with fresh churned butter *and* homemade apple butter–a big hit with the children. The slices were amazingly thick, and the toppings generous. The ladies working the churn were right next to our table, and we enjoyed watching them work. We also saw them making the apple butter in a huge pot over a fire–that, too, looked like a lot of work. The day wouldn’t have been complete without buying some to take home–we ended up with a whole quart!
Of course, the highlight of the day was the singing of the Schnitzelbank. Not only was there an accordion player (my favorite), and the traditional posters from Mader’s restaurant to help lead the singing, but they put on a whole skit with a person dressed up as or holding each item in the song. It was great to hear the whole crowd singing along–it was even more fun to hear Ladybug shout “we haven’t sung the Schnitzelbank yet!” a few minutes before it started.
I played Monopoly with Turkey and Bunny tonight. Their different approaches to the game, as with everything else they do, are very amusing to me!
Bunny has completely missed the point of the game–namely, acquiring as much as possible. Yes, she’s been buying properties (more than she should with the money she has left, really), but she’s completely clueless about the money. If she lands on your property and owes you $60, she’ll give you a $100, and tell you to keep it, “just for fun.” Her money was all in a pile in front of her, not organized in any fashion, not even stacked neatly–just like a random pile of leaves. It made for some interesting times when she needed to pay for something!
Turkey is, in contrast, completely methodical about the game (shocking!). I give you photographic evidence of this, as displayed on his side of the board:
Always neat and organized…I’m not really sure where he gets that from! He also kept a close eye on the money situation. If the banker (that would be me), did not get his money fast enough after he passed go, he made sure that I heard about it.
Their approaches to this game were not at all surprising to me, and yet for some reason, I was still completely amused by it!
I have seen drier days on Ferenginar; and we have 178 different words for rain. Right now it’s glemmening out there. And that’s bad. Armin Shimerman as Quark in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine