Jack of all trades and master of none

I liked to dabble in different things even as a child. It drove my grandmother a little bonkers, I think, because a main memory if have of her is her reciting the phrase I used in the title. This always made me feel a little badly... as if I was doing something wrong or wasn't serious enough. Then M. (who shares my need to explore a lot of different interests discovered that there is a second line. The whole couplet goes:
A jack of all trades is master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.
Now, it was nice to here that this phrase had a more positive spin, but there was always a small part of me than still felt a little badly about not being a specialist in anything. Enter the new book I finished a couple of days ago, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein. It was both fascinating and a balm to my generalist soul. The author makes a pretty decent argument that in many domains it is far better to have a broad scope of knowledge than to sp…

Ren fair in the rain

We have made some new friends over the past couple of months. It is a family who signed up for one of my horse classes and our children just clicked. They all love being outside, bugs, insects, amphibians, building thing, books, Greek mythology, writing stories, etc. The mom and I agreed it is so nice when others 'get' our children. We will all miss seeing each other on a weekly basis now that the class is done, but have vowed to get together so everyone can just play. 
Today was one of those times. We were invited to the Renaissance Fair they were having in their backyard today. My children (okay, some of my children), spent the weekend getting ready with appropriate costumes. K. made a Minotaur mask (which I didn't get a picture of), and G., L., and Y. made use of their cloaks that I made them a few years ago. 
That's L. in the armor (also made this weekend), with G. as her squire next to her. Y. was content with her cloak, and R. and H. opted for now costumes.
J. and I…

New project

Remember when I took a quilting class a couple of years ago and made this?

I had some fabric left over as well as some of the squares I used to make the zigzags. In the book I bought at the quilt store in Michigan, there was a cute pinwheel quilt that seemed as though I could handle. In looking through my stash, I realized that it might be fun to use the leftover fabric (because it is really nice fabric and I like it) to make another quilt. Plus, it would fulfill my cheapness in that I would be getting another quilt out of some fairly expensive fabric. I did need to buy a background color, but that was better than having to buy all the fabric. 
Today, I finished doing the initial sewing, so I could start to see what the quilt will look like. I will need to do a lot of playing around with the squares to get the colors in the right place, but here is a little glimpse into what it will look like.

I will be a lot of fun to play around with the colors when I get all of these blocks cut,

and pr…

Friday bullets - Oct. 16, 2020

The week has felt full and I'm glad it's Friday night. The biggest news is that P. will be heading to Aiken, South Carolina in a few weeks. She has been looking for a working student job at a horse stable for the past several months. Last weekend she flew down to Aiken to interview with someone about a position. Now, if you are wondering what a working student job is, it's pretty much what it sounds like. Usually a working student gets a place to live and a small stipend in return for a lot of work (doing stalls, feeding horses, turning out and in, etc.). The plus is that there is a lot of learning and training that happens as well. P. actually ended up with two job offers, and chose the one she visited last weekend. I think it't going to be an amazing experience for her, plus she'll be in Aiken, SC, which is the epicenter of the hunting/eventing world. Our trainer here said she may never come back. Sending her to another state seems a lot easier then sending her ar…

(A much belated) Meal planning - Oct. 13 - 19, 2020

I had thought about skipping this week because it was late, but it's been a busy day and this is about all I can manage.
Tuesday, Oct. 13
Sausage risotto Wheat rolls      From dough in the freezer Salad
Wednesday, Oct. 14 (H.'s birthday)
Cha ca      A Vietnamese dish Rice noodles Cucumber salad Root beer floats
Thursday, Oct. 15
Sausage, pepper, and shells      A favorite from my favorite Italian cookbook. It involves a red wine reduction which vegetables simmer in along with a dried hot pepper. Garlic bread Spice cake with ice cream and caramel sauce      I had quite a bit of caramel sauce left over from making the caramel apple pie filling. One of the jars looked as though it lost too much liquid so I decided to make a cake to use up the jar of apples and served with with ice cream and the heated up caramel sauce. It was very good.
Friday, Oct. 16
Char Sui Banh Mi      Another Vietnamese dish with pork simmered in a char sui sauce in the crock pot and served in sandwiches with crispy onions and …


Today is H.'s birthday. Her 18th birthday to be precise. Eighteen?! It seems so unreal! For her birthday breakfast she chose cereal, which is kind of a major treat around here as I don't normally buy it. For dinner she chose cha ca, which is a Vietnamese tumeric catfish dish served over rice noodles with root beer floats for dessert. 

Her birthday gifts included a couple of puzzles, some graphic novels which she enjoys, a set of gel pens (which she specifically requested), and a children's cookbook because she is interested in learning more about cooking, having perfected various eggs and fried rice. K. gave her quite a stack of Pokemon cards from his own collection which went well with the binder that TM had given her with plastic sleeves for the cards. Add in a very soft sweater also from TM, and you end up with a pretty happy young lady. 
I still cannot believe she has hit this milestone. It seemed so far off for so long, yet here we are. We are so happy that H. is our da…

Freak of nature

I'm not sure listening to current events is good for my blood pressure. As I was driving to my riding lesson today, I caught a bit of the senate judiciary hearings. I think they probably struck me a little differently (and more forcefully) than other people. I want to spend some time explaining why. (And as an extra note, this will be rather partisan. I make no apologies for that.)
If you hadn't noticed I have a few children; some are biologically related to me and others were adopted. (Sound like anyone else you've been hearing about recently?) So here's the thing. I am treated differently by a good 80% or so of the people I come across. (And really, I completely made up that statistic, so it is certainly not verifiable, but use it as a benchmark to describe my personal experience.)This usually works one of two ways.
Scenario #1: I meet someone new. We talk. I appear normal and conversation moves along as any conversation between new acquaintances does. Inevitably, thou…