Stuffed Shells

We recently made stuffed shells, but I said something to the effect of not being overly fond of them, on account of that just being too much ricotta in one place. So we modified the recipe, putting in spinach and mushrooms and motzarella and a good deal less ricotta. And lo, the stuffed shells were actually good.

I should have changed the recipe sooner.

Three Flats

I haven't said much about the piano lately, so here's an update. I'm now playing melodies on the piano in E-flat major (three flats on A, B, and E) on the treble cleff straight out of the hymnal. I can't play in this key very *fast* yet, but I can play in it well enough to start practicing.

I'm getting better at moving and reaching up and down for higher range, too: I can now play things that I can't sing properly, because my vocal range isn't wide enough. For congregational singing, I have to wrap the higher notes of some of these songs around into the same octave as the lower ones, or some days I just can't hit them at all. But on the piano I can reach over and actually hit them. It's cool.

Finally, I think the previously mentioned course book is about ready to start me in on chords in G Major (one sharp on F); until now I have played chords only in C Major (all white keys except for marked accidentals, which do occur e.g. with the G7 chord), but I think that is about to change. G Major is pretty much a breeze now for playing melodies, so chords in that key is a logical next step. Soon. Later this week, perhaps.

Hairdressers, Bartenders, and Librarians

I'm not sure what it is about the public library that attracts people who just need to talk about their problems, but they'll stand there at the desk for hours, telling you all about their messy personal issues. It's not just a few people either. I'm starting to think we should change our mission statement from meeting the "educational, informational, and entertainment needs" of the community to the "educational, informational, entertainment, and counselling" needs.

Do all public libraries see this phenomenon, or is it peculiar to our community?

Snow day? Work on VBS!

The library was closed on Tuesday, because they couldn't keep the walks clear, and on Wednesday due to the level 3 condition. Besides taking Puff for an hour-plus walk, shovelling a lot of snow, and visiting mom in rehab, we also worked a little on assorted bits and pieces of our Bible School Materials.

We now have patterns for the preschool sheep bank craft. The Saul & the Sheep filmstrip craft still needs the three pictures from the lesson, but we have the frame pattern done for it.


We've combined two related concepts: regular lasagna, and vegetable lasagna.

Ordinary lasagna typically has (besides the noodles) a tomato-based sauce, ricotta, ground beef, motzarella and parmesan cheeses. Sometimes there are other ingredients (e.g., mushrooms), but those are the basics.

Vegetable lasagna is typically made with a different sauce, usually something white (e.g., alfredo), no meat, but lots of vegetables. It may or may not have the cheeses, in some cases just one of them.

So we made it with the usual tomato-based sauce, ground beef, and motzarella and parmesan cheeses, but also inserted broccoli, peas, and carrots into the recipe. This is good. We'd have used a little ricotta and also spinach, but we didn't have either, and Sarah wouldn't let me substitute collard greens for the spinach. I suspect the spinach would have improved the flavor if we'd had it, but it was good as it was. (The ricotta I can take or leave, but Sarah was disappointed we didn't have it -- not disappointed enough to make a special trip to the 24-hour grocery four blocks away, though, so she must not have wanted it too badly. I could also take or leave the beef, but we browned, drained, and rinsed it before putting it in, so it didn't really hurt anything much.) I also might have liked to add kidney beans and mushrooms, but Sarah was against including these ingredients, so we didn't.

I must say, even with the missing ingredients, I like this a lot better than traditional vegetable lasagna. I guess I like the tomato-based sauce a lot better than the traditional white or alfredo sauces. Pasta without tomato sauce tends to seem a bit off to me.

Windows Vienna development updates

Microsoft has already made two announcements (that I'm aware of) about the next version of Windows. I'm tracking all these developments by adding comments to my timeline article on the subject. Long story short, it seems Vienna is on, if not ahead of, schedule so far. I'll be tracking further developments as they arise. If anyone notices any articles or press releases containing announcements or developments I have not covered, feel free to chime in with them.

When Vienna is finally released, I'll have a full history of all the developments, which we can analyze in retrospect, use to make predictions about the subsequent release, laugh at, poke fun, et cetera.

Mom in rehab

I mentioned previously that my mother was having joint replacement surgery on her hip on the seventh. That went well, better than the doctor expected, the surgery being completed in only two hours with minimal loss of blood.

However, when they were evaluating the possibility of sending her home, a test revealed that she is a bit anemic, so they instead transferred her to the rehab unit in Galion hospital. This makes it easy for us to visit, and once she gets her hemoglobin count up she'll hopefully be able to come home.

(Even then, of course, she will have a considerable amount of recovery to do, but that is expected.)

D Major makes four key signatures.

I'm now playing (on the piano) melodies written in C Major, G Major (one sharp on F), F Major (one flat on B), and D Major (sharps on F and C).

This last key is technically a two-sharp signature, but it effectively means sharps in three places, since the same melody often hits both middle C# and also the next C# above it, in addition to the F# between them. Obviously that's possible in the other keys as well, and there are additional occurances in the bass cleff, but playing just melodies I didn't run into that often in those keys; in D Major, I do.

Also with this new key signature I for the first time am no longer using the crutch of introducing myself softly to a new key signature by highlighting the notes that are sharp or flat. I just started finding two-sharp pieces in the hymnal and playing them directly, and I found that I am able to do it.

Playing in this key is a little slow going at first, but not too bad.

Memory verse lessons complete.

With the addition of the preschool verse, the memory verse lessons for God's Sheep are now complete.

Promotional materials for Bible School are online

Yesterday we worked on a poem that we intend to use as a dramatic reading in the church service, to announce Bible School to the congretation. We also finished up the fliers. So this morning I put our promotional materials online, or, at any rate, what we have done of them thus far: the poem, the poster, the fliers, the invitations, and a sample invitation letter similar to what we plan to mail-merge.

Any additional ideas for things we can do to help our congregation get excited about inviting children to Bible School this summer?

The living room is ready

Well, we had to measure everything and play around with a graph paper scale model of the room and construction paper furniture to get it all figured out, but the actual furniture has now been shuffled around as necessary, and so the living room is now ready.

Ready for what? Oh, yeah, this will be the first time I've mentioned it. My mom's going to have joint replacement surgery on her hip, on the seventh. When she comes home, she won't be able to go upstairs to her bedroom for a few weeks, so we set up a bed for her on the main floor. Also we had to be sure that the walker, which is wider than you might think, can go everywhere she will need to go. This is now done.