Archive for May, 2010

rhubarb pie

I got some huge rhubarb today from one of my clients — I didn’t take a picture, but it was three feet long and big enough around to be able to use it for more…salacious uses. ūüėČ

Four stalks made enough slices for one pie, so I made two for our Bible study tonight. ¬†There were no survivors. ūüôā

Rhubarb Pie (recipe is for one 9″ pie)

4 cups chopped rhubarb

1 1/3 cups white sugar

6 TBS flour

1 TBS butter

pastry for a double-crust 9″ pie

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Combine sugar and flour.  Sprinkle 1/4 of it over pastry in pie plate.  Heap rhubarb over this mixture.  Sprinkle with remaining sugar and flour.  Dot with small pieces of butter.  Cover with top crust.

Place pie on lowest rack in oven.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce temperature to 350 degrees, and bake for 40-45 minutes.  EAT!


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sweet husband

I came home from working today and Kent had been busy. ¬†He went to the store to get dirt, new pots, and lots of plants for our little deck garden, and then planted them all. a little herb garden… little flowers to go under our evergreen we dug up at Ole’s Thanksgiving weekend…

things to go in our hanging baskets…

cherry tomatoes…

a rose for an early anniversary present…

repotted some existing plants…and generally made our deck look like spring again. ¬†Very sweet of him. ¬†ūüôā

Here are the rest of the household plants, just to complete the catalog.

Yay for our green house and our new green deck! ¬†ūüôā

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The little crescent is Venus; the big one is the moon. ¬†I thought it looked really neat; usually I just see Venus as the “evening star”. ¬†It’s always odd, because pictures like this look so bright and friendly, but the moon and Venus are out in empty black space, not friendly at all. ¬†I don’t know which I like better, but this is less fearsomely awe-inspiring and more just beautiful.

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Kent and I are in a community choir production of the last two movements of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, being performed tonight and next Sunday night at area churches. ¬†The choir isn’t great, and neither is the orchestra, but we’d never sung the Ninth and wanted to get in on the action. ¬†I thought the timing was especially good, because today is the anniversary of the first performance of the Ninth Symphony in 1824.

Beethoven, as we probably know without being told, is one of the most famous composers of all time, and the one whose music we have all heard, whether we know it or not.  The opening notes of the Fifth Symphony, Fur Elise, and the beginning of the choral part of the Ninth, are all nearly brandless for being so familiar (in fact, part of the Fifth was sent into space on the Voyager probes).  And anyone who knows anything about Beethoven knows that he was deaf.  He wrote the Ninth Symphony when he was completely deaf, and though he was on the platform conducting that first concert, one of his students was actually the conductor and had to turn him around to accept the applause at the end, as Beethoven was still waving his arms to the music in his head.  He was a byword at times because he would walk the streets humming the music he heard in his mind and waving his arms.

But his Ninth Symphony is probably the best-known piece of music in the world; in fact, a little-known fact is that the size of CDs (74 minutes) was chosen because some of the people involved wanted to make sure that the whole of the Ninth Symphony would fit on one CD. ¬†(I’m sure there were other reasons, too, but that is a very interesting consideration.) ¬†It also has the distinction of being the first symphony to include a choir, although others since then, like Mahler and Rachmaninoff, have gone where Beethoven led.

I’m including the translation text of the poem by Schiller that Beethoven used in the Ninth Symphony. ¬†They are inspiring, and when taken with the music, must have been an awesome experience that night in 1824.

O friends, no more these sounds!

Let us sing more cheerful songs,

More full of joy!


Joy, bright spark of divinity,

Daughter of Elysium,

Fire-inspired we tread Thy sanctuary.

Thy magic power re-unites

All that custom has divided,

All men become brothers,

Under the sway of thy gentle wings.


Whoever has created

An abiding friendship,

Or has won

A true and loving wife,

All who can call at least one soul theirs,

Join our song of praise;

But those who cannot must creep tearfully

Away from our circle.


All creatures drink of joy

At nature’s breast.

Just and unjust

Alike taste of her gift;

She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine,

A tried friend to the end.

Even the worm can feel contentment,

And the cherub stands before God!


Gladly, like the heavenly bodies

Which He sent on their courses

Through the splendor of the firmament;

Thus, brothers, you should run your race, like a hero going to victory!


You millions, I embrace you.

This kiss is for all the world!

Brothers, above the starry canopy

There must dwell a loving father.


Do you fall in worship, you millions?

World, do you know your creator?

Seek Him in the heavens;

Above the stars must he dwell.

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One of my piano students gave me a bunch of lilies of the valley the other day. ¬†I had never smelled them before; my mom only had one plant, which we never picked, only looked at. ¬†Around here, though, I’ve been seeing drifts of them, so many that you just walk by and breathe in that smell that’s at once fresh and springy and reminds you (me) of a little old lady’s handkerchief drawer. ¬†I have part of the bunch sitting on my desk, where I can lean forward and smell it occasionally. ¬†

So, of course, I decided to look up the etymology of the name “lily”. ¬†This is what dictionary.com says:

O.E.¬†lilie,¬†from L.¬†lilia,¬†pl. of¬†lilium¬†“a lily,” cognate with Gk.¬†leirion,both perhaps borrowed from a corrupted pronunciation of an Egyptian word. Used in O.T. to translate Heb.¬†shoshanna¬†and in N.T. to translate Gk.¬†krinon. The¬†lily of the valley¬†translates L.¬†lilium convallium¬†(Vulgate), a literal rendition of the Heb. term in Song of Solomon ii.1. It apparently was applied to a particular plant (Convallaria majalis) first by 16c. Ger. herbalists.

I wish I still had access to the OED online, because that was always fun and interesting to browse through, but we’ll make do with the limited resources available on ‘normal’ dictionary websites. ¬†(The last time I checked, the OED online’s subscription for one year was $500. ¬†Southern paid for a yearly subscription.)

I also scalped some lilacs, partly from the parking lot of the Methodist church I play for, and partly from our bushes in our back yard (sshhh! don’t tell the other people I’m actually picking the flowers!) ¬†I’m not really worried — there are bushes everywhere in MN; along the highways, edging people’s yards, just everywhere. ¬†You don’t realize it till spring, but there are myriads of colors and types of lilacs all over the place. ¬†I can steal a couple to put on my table, right? ¬†Right. ¬†My kitchen smells like a florist shop — much better, by the way, than the fake scent of the lilac Yankee Candle I have. ¬†Sorry, YC, but real flowers do it a lot better! ¬†So, without further ado, here is the etymology of the word “lilac”:

1625, from Fr.¬†lilac¬†“shrub of genus¬†Syringa¬†with mauve flowers,” from Sp.¬†lilac,¬†from Arabic¬†lilak,¬†from Pers.¬†lilak,¬†variant of¬†nilak “bluish,” from¬†nil¬†“indigo” (cf. Skt.¬†nilah¬†“dark blue”), of unknown origin. As a color name, attested from 1791; as a scent, from 1895.

I find it interesting that a quintessentially English/American flower would have a Sanskrit/Persian/Arabic origin to its name.

And there’s your linguistics lesson for the day. ¬†Go gather ye lilacs and lilies while ye may (with apologies to Robert Herrick).

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…quite a bit happened that has interest for me. ¬†NaBloPoMo‘s theme for this month is “look up”, which I interpret to mean looking up something interesting to post. ¬†The last few posts were just suggested by things happening, but I thought I would Google May 5th to see what happened on this day in history (never mind the obvious Cinco de Mayo). ¬†Of course, I’m only putting down things that have interest to me — there was a lot more going on in previous Mays than I could even try to talk about. ¬†Here’s the short list, then:

Now to explain what they all have to interest me!

Kublai Khan interests me mainly because of the gorgeous poem by Coleridge, which I wish he had been able to finish, as it’s the one I like best of his poems. ¬†Probably most people do.

The first woman awarded a patent is, of course, worthy of mention in our so-paternalistic society (!), and a patent for something involving silk and thread — just gravy to my cross-stitcher self!

The opening of Carnegie Hall is a great day for any musician, and since my brothers and friends have played there on numerous occasions, it is even more special (though I have never attended a concert there myself).

The Scopes trial is of note for obvious reasons, especially given my definite support of literal creation.  Not theistic evolution or any other such panderings, but the real six-day, God-spoke-and-it-was-done deal!

The crowning of the present King of Thailand in 1950 is meaningful to me because we were there in Bangkok in 2006 when they celebrated his 60th anniversary of accession to the throne and saw all the glitter and events, if not live, then on live TV.

The caning of the American teenager in Singapore is interesting for several reasons — first, because it was considered “too harsh” by Americans, whose society that is steadily losing control over the young; second, because it was partly for polluting the environment, if even in a small way; and third, because I taught at a Singapore school and know people from there.

The birthdate of John Rhys-Davies is a good one to remember for any Tolkien fan, since he was cast as Gimli the dwarf in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, which, while it drastically changed some parts of the books and left out great swathes of material, nonetheless is a great movie set and really gives the flavor of the books, if not remaining completely true to the original.

Michael Shaara, who died on this day, is the author of several war novels, including the epic Killer Angels, a retelling of the events at Gettysburg, which the movie Gettysburg is based on.  A must for any high school history teacher or Civil War fanatic. *cough Kent and Ian cough*

Of course, being married to a Dane, I must notice Denmark’s celebration of the end of World War II. ¬†I am glad my Danish husband comes from people who put up such a stout and constant resistance to Hitler’s regime.

And now, channeling Garrison Keillor once again, here is a poem for today by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And ‘mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And ‘mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!

The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight ‘twould win me
That with music loud and long
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

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I have been interested in the Hubble telescope’s views of the Orion Nebula for a long time. ¬†When I was little and learning to identify constellations with my grandmother, she told me that Jesus would come from behind the star in the center of Orion’s belt, which, as an older student, I later took to mean the Nebula. ¬†So I have always loved the pictures of the Orion Nebula, mostly the views that look like the Nebula “turns a corner”, like the one above. ¬†I like pictures down paths, through gates, and around corners anyway, and this seems to me to be the crown of them all.

In her vision of December 16, 1848, Ellen G. White recounts what she saw relating to the verse in the Bible that says the “powers of heaven will be shaken” (Luke 21:26).

I saw that when the Lord said “heaven,” in giving the signs recorded by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, He meant heaven, and when He said “earth” He meant earth. ¬†The powers of heaven are the sun, moon, and stars. ¬†They rule in the heavens. ¬†The powers of earth are those that rule on the earth. ¬†The powers of heaven will be shaken at the voice of God. ¬†Then the sun, moon, and stars will be moved out of their places. ¬†They will not pass away, but be shaken by the voice of God.

Dark, heavy clouds came up and clashed against each other.  The atmosphere parted and rolled back; then we could look up through the open space in Orion, whence came the voice of God.  The Holy City will come down through that open space.  I saw that the powers of earth are now being shaken and that events come in order.  War, and rumors of war, sword, famine, and pestilence are first to shake the powers of earth, then the voice of God will shake the sun, moon, and stars, and this earth also.  I saw that the shaking of the powers in Europe is not, as some teach, the shaking of the powers of heaven, but it is the shaking of the angry nations (Early Writings, pg. 41).

Some people have used this (and other) quotes from Ellen White to try to discredit Adventism by saying that there is no ‘open space’ in Orion, since it is composed of stars that lie light-years apart and form a constellation only from our viewpoint here on Earth. ¬†Now that we see such clear pictures with the Hubble telescope, I should think that the naysayers would feel somewhat short-sighted. ¬†She didn’t say the constellation, but just ‘Orion’. ¬†To me, that means the Nebula, and that does indeed have an open space. ¬†Of course, people will always have something to say about things they don’t want to believe, especially when it comes to believing that there is a God out there who is planning on returning, and that very soon.

For myself, I love looking at those pictures and imagining the day that Hubble, or whatever telescope replaces it, ‘sees’ the Holy City coming down out of the open space in the Orion Nebula, turning the corner, as it were, and sliding down the blackness of space like a glowing jewel. ¬†There will be no telescope there then, of course, but I’d love to see it from that vantage point. ¬†Not as much, however, as I will love being in the City as it descends to Earth from the door of Orion.

All images from spacetelescope.org.

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