For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Moving On, and see what else has been going on.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Home Made Pizza

One of my most useful cookbooks was one that was given to students in my junior high school home ec class, many winters ago.  It's called Recipes for Young Adults, and had been given out to home ec students, courtesy of the Manitoba Sugar Company, for decades.  The copy I have lists the first printing in 1959 (5,000 copies) and the fourteen printing in 1975 (30,000 copies).  When I first moved out on my own, I took the copy that was in my mother's cookbook drawer, which was actualy the one given my sister when she was in school - 10 years before me.  They were identical.  Eventually, I wore that one out and went hunting for the copy I got, which is what I have now.  The cover is in tatters and the pages worn and dog earred.  The paper is yellowed with age, and more than a few spatters from whatever it happened to be near while cooking.

There was another version of this cookbook that I got a couple of years later.  It was an updated version with metric measurements and new recipes.

I hated it.

What I loved about the old version is that the recipes are far more practical, and it was filled with all sort of other advice.  In the front, there are pages of abbreviations, substitutions and equivalents, and even diagrams for table settings.  At the end of the book, there's information on preserving food in general, different canning methods for fruits and vegetables, including recipes, and even sections on laundry - with a wash 'n care chart - and a guide for selectiong pots and pan.  The recipes are very basic - no convenience foods for short cuts.  The sections include beverages, fruit, soups, salads and salad dressings, eggs, cheese dishes, and so on. There's even a chapter on "Luncheon and Supper dishes" and in the Party Suggestions chapter, there's a section on "How to estimate for a Tea" based on the number of guests, with quantities given for 50 people.  All this in only 103 pages!

The downside is that it's old.  Which is good if you're looking for "from scratch" recipes, but people generally can't find rennet anymore, and don't need instructions on how to care for their wringer washer.

Today, we decided we wanted pizza.  Usually, we order in, but just don't have the budget for it.  While doing my grocery shopping, however, I splurged a bit for toppings.  When it came to the dough, I found a curious problem.  Most of my pizza recipes called for frozen pizza dough!

Recipes for Young Adults to the rescue!

The recipe in the book is for Italian Pizza, with the ingredients divided into mixture's A (the dough), B (the sauce and C (the toppings).

All I was after was the dough.  Here is the recipe for it (though I didn't bother pre-sifting the flour):

1/2 c lukewarm water
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 envelope active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 T oil
3/4 c sifted all purpose flour
1/2 c sifted all-purpose flour

1. Measure into a bowl the lukewarm water and stir in sugar.
2. Sprinkle with yeast and let stand 10 minutes.  Then stir well.
3. Stir in 1/2 tsp. salk, 2 T oil and 3/4 c flour.  Beat until smooth.
4. Stri in an additional 1/2 c flour.
5. Turn out dough on board floured with 2 T flour.  Work in flour and knead until smooth and elastic.  Form dough into a ball.
6. Knead lightly on floured board and roll out into a circle about 18 inces in diameter.  Place on greesed cookie sheet and turn edges up slightly.

Then it goes on into the instructions for the sauce and toppings.

We doubled the recipe to make a dough for my 9x13 cookie sheet/jelly roll pan.  The pan was lightly oiled and sprinkled with corn meal so the dough wouldn't stick.  For that size pan, the double recipe made for a thin crust pizza.

For the sauce, I used a commercial pizza sauce in a squeeze bottle.  This is one of those times where getting the ingredients for the sauce would have been more wasteful, as we like our pizzas very light on sauce.  This way, we could just use a bit and I wouldn't have an open can of tomato paste and nothing to use it on (we're not big on tomatoes in any form in this household).

For the toppings, I picked up some Gypsy Salami, which has a peppery coating on the outside.  That went on all of the pizza, as did a blend of mozza and medium cheddar cheeses at the very end.  Half the pizza had sliced black olives and mushrooms added, and 1/4 of the pizza had artichoke hearts (it was on sale) and blue cheese (which I've never actually bought before).

Once it was in the oven, we figured it just wasn't going to be enough, so we whipped up a triple recipe to make a second, thick crust pizza.  This one went on my flat cookie sheet, so it was kinda, sorta rounded.  There was only enough salami for half the second pizza.  That half also got olives and mushrooms.  The other half was just cheese.  We didn't use the blue cheese this time, as only Eldest and I like it.



This is what's left of the first pizza - and my husband wasn't feeling well, so he hasn't had any yet.

The quarter section with the artichoke hearts and blue cheese was incredible!  Eldest absolutely loved it.  She says it's the best pizza she's ever tasted!  The cheese and salami only section was for Youngest, though the pizza got cut into thirds lengthwise, so only two pieces were truly cheese and salami only.





Here's our second pizza, waiting for this evening.

I noticed the flash made both pizzas looked far shinier than they really were.  They're not at all greasy, which can be a problem when cheeses are cooked for too long.

Eldest has asked that we never order pizza in again. :-D

It really didn't take long at all to make the pizzas.  The dough took maybe 20 minutes, and that counts the 10 minutes waiting for the yeast to do its magic in the warm water.  That was enough time to shred the cheeses and slice the mushrooms and artichoke hearts (the canned olives were already sliced).  Baking time was only 20 minutes.  So in about the time it takes to figure out what we want, phone in an order and wait for delivery, we could make one pizza ourselves.

It's toppings that we don't usually have.  Sure, we usually have cheese in the fridge, but not usually mozzarella.  I pretty much always have dough ingredients, but never the sauce.  Most of the ingredients for a home made sauce are standard pantry items for us, but not the tomato paste, which I just don't have much use for normally.

The small hunk of mozza I bought cost $10, and we used it up entirely on the two pizzas.  The Gypsy Salami cost a little over $6 for about 130 grams, and it covered 1 1/2 pizzas.  We got the smallest package of blue cheese we could find, which cost almost $4, though there's still some of that left since we only used it on 1/4 pizza.  Adding up the cost of the other ingredients, and trying to calculate for the portions used, I'd say it cost about $25-30 dollars to make those two pizzas.  It's still cheaper then ordering in, but with the place we usually order from, not by much.  Definitely a savings compared to the more gourmet pizza places we've tried over the years (which is where I got the idea to try the artichoke hearts).  On the other hand, the grocery store deli has a variety of large size fresh pizzas, needing only to be baked, for anywhere from about $5 - $7 each.  The most expensive one is a deluxe that has 3 kinds of meat, plus olives, mushrooms, green peppers and onions.  Frozen pizzas are more expensive than the deli pizzas, but still cheaper than these home made ones.

This definitely becomes a matter of taste over price.  These are better pizzas, but they're not necessarily better for the budget.

Walking update

I haven't written about my walking lately.  Mostly because in the last while, we've pretty much stopped doing the formal walks.  I haven't stopped walking, but it's more around the neighbourhood.  Unfortunately, it hasn't been as often as it was before. 

The beautiful weather is one reason we've stopped doing the mall walking.  The other is that things are a bit tight right now and I couldn't justify using the gas to drive half way across the city to an empty mall just to walk around it. 

There's one more reason my walking got cut back a fair amount, though. 

Pain. 

For a while, things just sorta went down hill, and I don't know why.  My knees started making some pretty alarming crunching noises.  The bone spurs in my heels were sending stabbing pains up my lower legs.  My metatarsals were moving around in ways they really weren't intended to - not quite enough to dislocate in the balls of my feet, but they sure felt like they were about to at any moment.

The frustrating part is it didn't matter if I was up and about, or if I'd been off my feet.  I could be sitting down for a while when, without warning, pain would start shooting through my feet and up my legs.  It wouldn't stop for hours, no matter what.  It's not like I could just put my feet up and wait it out, either.  I need to keep walking, no matter how much it hurts, because if I don't, the joints all stiffen up and it becomes even more painful to move around than it was before.

It did subside after a few days, but for a while I was back to taking the maximum doses of OTC painkillers.

I'm not sure what triggered it.  Usually, it's either because I'd overdone things again, which I've been careful not to do, or when the weather changes to damp and dreary.  Which is the opposite of the weather we've been having lately.  Dietary sensitivities have been suggested to me, but the only change in my diet lately has been the addition of California Rolls.  I normally don't like sushi.  Cold rice grosses me out, for starters, but for some reason I've suddenly been wanting to eat them.  With pickled ginger and a light dip in soy sauce.  Dh thinks menopausal hormones might have something to do with it. *L*  Anyhow, it's been a couple of years since we've deliberately cut soy (can't say if any's been hidden in some foods), but I am loathe to blame re-introducing such a tiny amount eaten so irregularly for the pain.  That and there doesn't seem to be any connection between when I've eaten some and when the pain hits. 

Whatever triggered it, it certainly made things unpleasant for a while, and I'm relieved it's worked itself out. 

Meanwhile, I'm going to be picking up a second hand Gazelle  from a friend that's moving.  It's even coming with a tv/vcr combo and some video tapes to show how to use it.  A friend of mine has been using one lately and seems happy with it.  I'm picking it up mostly for Dh, as it's supposed to be a low impact thing.  Between his old injuries come back to haunt him and his other health problems, he hasn't been able to do much of anything.  It's driving him bonkers, as he'd always been very physically active before his health crashed.  I'm planning to make good use of it myself, as low impact would certainly be a benefit for me, as well.

I'm hoping it's something the girls will be willing to make use of, too.  One of the downsides of not being able to get out and about myself is that they tend to get stuck and home, too.

We'll see how it works out.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sourdough bread

We've started up a new sourdough starter recently - we weren't using the last one often enough after a while to warrant keeping it going.  It's still a young starter, but old enough to start using.  The starter is about as basic as they come.  A cup of flour, a cup of warm water, a bit of sugar and some yeast to get it going (the commercial yeast isn't necessary, but depending on where you live, the wild yeasts in the air may not result in a good sourdough).

One thing different this time is that we are no longer using the quick yeasts that are so prevalent these days.  I actually found a grocery store that sells the old style dry yeast - in the big, vacuum packed package, too, rather than the little jars.  So I've got enough to last us a good long time.  I've since discovered they carry wet yeast cakes, too, which I definitely want to experiment with.  The store carries them in blocks the same size and shape as a pound of butter.

The quick yeast that most grocery stores carry now do not need to be softened before being added to the bread.  That makes things faster and more convenient, but there is a definite difference in how the bread rises.  We prefer the old style yeast.  They come in the same little round granules, but the old style yeast granules are much larger.  The faster acting the yeast, the smaller the granules.  Some look almost like a fine sand.

Anyhow.  Back to the starter.

We like to give a new starter at least 3 days to a week before we start using it for cooking.  (Reminder: when working with sourdough, avoid metal bowls, implements, etc.  Glass, plastic or ceramic containers that can be loosely covered, never sealed, are fine to keep your starter.  When actually cooking with a starter, try to stick to wood or plastic tools.)  It gets fed a bit of flour, water and a touch of sugar every day for the first few days, then ever other day or so, or after each use.

Usually, when we bake bread with sourdough, we just modify our basic bread recipe.  This time, I tried a sourdough bread recipe from The Sourdough Cookbook by Rita Davenport.  It has a lot of excellent recipes, including different types of starters, and I highly recommend it.

The main difference between this recipe and others I use is the overnight sponge.  Not something I've taken the time to do before.  The overnight starter is as follows:

1 cup starter
2 cups warm water
2 1/2 cups flour

Mix it all together in a large bowl, loosely cover it (with a cloth is fine, but my bowl has its own lid, which I just placed on top, without sealing it).  Leave the covered sponge in a warm place overnight.  We use our oven with the light left on. Don't skimp on the bowl size.  The sponge will expand quite a bit, then settle down to a smaller size.  The overflow is not easy to clean up! *L*

For the rest of the recipe, you'll need:

1 cup milk
3 Tbsp butter (the recipes adds "or margarine" but really... ew)
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
6-7 cups flour
oil for tops of loaves

Scald the milk (heat it until bubbles start to form along the edge of the saucepan, but don't let it boil), then melt in the butter.  Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.

After 5 minutes, put your yeast into the warm water and leave it to soften and bubble for 5 minutes.

Add the softened  yeast and cooled milk and butter mixture to the overnight sponge.  Beat until blended.  Beat in 3 cups of flour until smooth.  Cover loosely and set aside in a warm, draft free place for 30-40 minutes, or until almost doubled.

Stir down the dough and start adding the remainder of the flour a little at a time.  When the dough is too thick to stir in any more flour, turn onto floured surface and knead.  Add more flour if necessary.  A sourdough dough is slightly wetter and stickier than regular bread dough, but it should still be easy to knead.  Keep kneading for 8 or 10 minutes.  Get a good arm work out in. ;-)  The dough should be smooth and elastic when it's ready.  I find this particular recipe has a wonderful, satiny feel when it's ready.

The recipe says to divide the dough in half, but I didn't bother.  Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.  Prepare your pans while you wait.  You can use two 9x5 loaf pans, but I used a 9x13 baking tray.  I only have 8x4 glass pans, so the amount of dough was too big for 2 of my pans, but too small to use 3 of them.

Form your loaves and place into your prepared pans.  I made two loves by rolling half the dough into a long rope, then folding it in half and twisting the two ends around each other.  After pinching the ends together, I lay them on my baking tray.  Lightly oil the tops, then cover your loaves and let rise for about an hour (we needed less then that).  Preheat your oven to 375F (190C). (Remember to reduce the temp by 25 degrees if you're using glass loaf pans.)  Bake for 45-50 minutes if you're doing the 9x5 loaf pans.  Our loaves, stretched out as they were, took about 35 minutes to bake.  With loaves, if they're already golden brown by 30 minutes, loosely cover them with a foil tent for the remainder of the baking time.  You can tell if they're ready by removing them from the pan and tapping the bottom.  If it sounds hollow, it's done.

Though it's not necessary, I've taken to keeping a foil pie pan of water on the lower rack while baking.  My oven has some pretty drastic hot and cold spots.  The steam from the water helps keep an even temperature throughout the oven, as well as making for a nice crust.

The bread we got with this recipe was much nicer than our usual breads.  The texture is just lovely.  As a white flour bread, it's a bit too delicate to for a hearty sandwich, but is great with soups and toasted.  I think I'd like to experiment with this recipe using blends of different flours.  It's definitely a winner with the family, though, just as it is!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Learning to read without schooling

I've recently discovered Peter Gray's blog, Freedom to Learn, at Psychology Today and have found it excellent reading.  In one of his posts, he has asked for stories about self directed learning.  One of the topics suggested is learning to read without schooling, and I thought it Eldest's story was an appropriate example.

When Eldest was about 4 years old, she adamantly insisted that she did not want to learn how to read.  Ever.  I asked her how she would go about living life without learning to read, since there would be times when she would want to seek out information in books.  She answered that she would get me or Dh to read to her.  I did point out that we wouldn't always be available, but she still insisted she was not going to learn how to read.

Now, one thing I learned fairly quickly with Eldest is that she wasn't the sort you can sit down and "teach" things to.  Attempts to do so tended to backfire. (She's better able to tolerate it now that she's older, but it's still far from her ideal way to learn.)  She has always had high expectations of herself, and when she couldn't pick things up perfectly the first time she tried, she was by far the hardest on herself than anyone else.  One of my biggest challenges as a home schooling parent was to help her accept failure as a path to success, and that it's perfectly normal and acceptable to not get things right the first time.  There would be a great deal of anxiety, and she would immediately pull back from the topic, no matter how interesting she found it, or how motivated she started out.  I remember having similar feelings (still have them, actually), and I definitely remember the almost physical pain such feelings involved.  So the last thing I was going to do was make her learn how to read.  Nor was I going to give her a hard time about her proclamations about never learning how.  On the contrary, I knew that if she was going to learn how to read, the best thing I could do was just read a lot myself - either to her directly, or for my own pleasure in her vicinity.

Dh and I have always been bibliophiles, and even with all our moves, our homes have been filled with books.  It was the natural thing for us to get lots of books for our daughter.  One was the set, My First Steps to Reading, which we have since passed on.  Each book in the set followed a child who was Little "a" or Little "b" and so on through the alphabet.  On the inside covers was an image of all the little letter children in alphabetical order, with a few things near them with names starting with their letters.  We'd read these to her, starting out by singing through the alphabet, asking her if she could find the different children (each wore their letter on the front of their shirts), or some other object around them.  It was a fun game we had with her.

When Eldest was 5, she was still insisting that she didn't want to learn how to read, but every now and then, I would catch her teaching herself to both read and write.  I remember walking into a room and finding her with one of these First Steps books.  She was looking at the children in a row on the inside cover, then copying the letters on their shirts on her chalk board.  Thankfully, she never noticed me coming into the room, and I immediately backed out.  If she had seen me, she would have immediately stopped, and probably wouldn't have tried again for a long time, in the off chance I might walk in unexpectedly.  Other times, I would be busy with something or other and she would walk into the room with  book, asking me about a specific word.  I'd tell her what the word was, she'd thank me and leave.  I knew not to try the usual recommended suggestion of asking the child to sound a word out, think it through, etc.  If I'd done that, she would have stopped asking for help, and stopped trying to read. She didn't limit herself to children's books, either, and with the exception of some older, more fragile, books, we never restricted her access to any books we had. 

By the age of 6, Eldest was fully literate, no longer needing to write out the letters and words to figure them out, and reading well beyond her age level.  She was also a voracious reader, diligently working her way through our home library.  At age 10, one of her favorite books was a university Sociology textbook we picked up at a garage sale.  She rarely needed to ask me how to read a word, or what a word meant.  Today, she loves words, and her favorite books include dictionaries, a thesaurus, and Elements of Style.

Youngest is also largely a self taught reader.  It took her a bit longer, and she didn't develop an actual love of reading until a year or two ago when, during our weekly library trips, she discovered her love of mythology.  She's not the logophile her sister is, but few people are. ;-)  Her learning to read was so gradual, I really can't pinpoint any age when she went from being illiterate to literate, nor can I even succinctly explain how she learned to read.

I do, however, remember the day I myself became a reader.  We weren't big readers in my own home, though we had many books.  My parents didn't have time to sit and read to me, and if they did, it wouldn't have been in English, a language they still are not comfortable reading in.  I started school in first grade with absolutely no familial preparation for reading.  I remember sitting at my desk holding a book with a line drawing of a young girl.  The teacher asked me to read that page.  I told her I didn't know how to read.  She asked me to say, "Mary."

"Mary," I repeated.

"There," she told me.  "You just read that page."

The teacher then continued on with the class, but I remembered looking down at the page in awe.  Suddenly, that strange group of lines under the image of a girl was the name, "Mary."  Something had clicked in my mind, and it was like a revelation.  It wasn't long before I was able to delve into the world of books, and spent much of my school years nose deep into some novel.  I actually got into trouble for reading too much, and reading ahead of the class.  I didn't care.  Once that door in my mind opened, nothing else mattered.  Books had become a major part of my world. It saddens me when I think of people who leave school swearing never to read another book again, having been traumatized by being forced to read throughout their school years.  Reading, to them, was something painful, and they couldn't wait to get away from doing it.  How much better could it have been if, rather than forcing kids to read because it was decided that kids should be reading at specific levels based on their ages, they were allowed to learn to read at their own pace, based on their own initiative and interest.

Sure, they might not all have become bibliophiles, but at least reading wouldn't be something hated, and to be avoided for the rest of their lives!

Friday, April 09, 2010

On the teen front.

You know, I really like having teenagers in the house.

Just a few things that have been going on.  On Tuesday, while I took Youngest to her voice lesson, Eldest stayed home and sewed herself a skirt.  She had no pattern, though she's planned it out on paper.  The sewing machine was giving her troubles, too.  For some reason, it would suddenly "burp" at her, and the thread would get all tangled up or break.  Then the needle suddenly broke.  I guess the "burp" noise was the needle hitting the metal base plate or something.  Thankfully, she was almost finished and could hand sew the rest of it.  We do have more needles for the machine... somewhere. So she now has a light, flowing summer skirt for herself.

Meanwhile, Youngest has been helping me crochet a huge, ugly blanket to keep in the van.  We used up all our cheap, virtually indestructible acrylic yarn.  Some of it was left over from projects, others we just never found a use for.  It's got at least 10 different colours in it.  By the time we were done, it was quite huge.  Despite it's incredibly fugliness, both girls love it.  Youngest has decided to make another one for herself.  She's been slowly buying skeins of Bernat Satin yarn in pairs of colours, without really knowing what she would do with them.  She liked the colours.  She's made a couple of pairs of slippers, and she and Dh have both made attempts at knitting with them, but that's it.  So she's gathered it all up and will be using them to make another blanket for herself.  The one she made for herself before used chunky yarn and a cluster stitch.  This one will be much simpler.  She's working from the middle, out, in rounds until the yarn runs out.  Who knows how big it will end up being?

Today, Eldest and I went to the monthly meeting with one of the home school groups we're members of.  I've only been to one meeting before, and I can't say I felt very welcome there.  I know some of the members in person from park days, but most I meet only through the email list.  Today didn't have most of the people who were there last time.  The president of the group made it out, which was great.  She's such fun. :-D  I got to meet someone in person that I'd only spoken to on the phone before, though I realized later that I'd already met her son before.

The meetings usually have specific subjects to discuss, but this one was different.  There was a panel of teens, ages 14-18, that were willing to answer questions from the adults in the meeting.  The idea was for people to ask questions, then each of the teens, or those the questions were specifically aimed at would provide answers from their own perspectives.  Eldest was on the panel, which turned out to be really great for a new person to the group who has recently taken her kids out of school.  One of them is less than motivated and, from the situations she described, he's just like Eldest, except that he's dyslexic.  I think she came away from the evening feeling more reassured and confident.

The questions they got were interesting.  Those that had also gone to public school got a chance to describe their experiences, and the good and bad of both.  They were asked what future goals they had, if any (the youngest of them talked about her interests, but had no specific goals yet - and rightfully pointed out that no one can really say what they will, or won't, be doing in 5 or 10 years).  The new home schooling mom asked what motivated them, and for advice on the situation with her son.  They were asked if they felt home schooling was preparing them for the next stage of their lives, and if there was anything that they would change or do differently if they could. All in all, it was quite interesting.  I really enjoyed it.

The teen years are something that have been on my mind a fair bit, recently.  No surprise, since I've got two of them, but the thing that comes to mind is that I don't really think of the girls as "teenagers."  Eldest may be chronologically a teenager, but as far as I'm concerned, she's an adult.  Sure, she might not have a lot of life experience yet, but she has all the capabilities, skills and maturity of an adult.  (Actually, more than a lot of adults I've met over the years, but that's something else entirely... *L*)  Youngest isn't there quite yet, but she doesn't have far to go. 

Whatever roads their lives take them, I have every confidence they're going to do just fine.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

A good Monday

I hope everyone had a really great Easter. :-)

My husband was able to take today off, so it was a 4 day weekend for him.  Nice that he could do that.  Easter Monday is generally a quiet, just us, day.

The only downside I had over the weekend was that I was just a touch under the weather... Okay, maybe more than a touch.  Maybe I was having the menopausal cycle from hell that had me using a week's worth of TP in 2 days.  It made things a little bit uncomfortable. ;-)

It also left me feeling rather anemic, but today, I was feeling desperate to get out of the house and into the beautiful warm sunshine!  Eldest and I grabbed our cameras and headed into the valley to see how much I'd recovered, while Dh and Youngest went WoW'ing together.  Thanks to someone giving us an old 15" flatscreen monitor for free, we've been able to set up the old computer again.  It still needs some work, but Dh cleaned it out enough that it's functional again.  Since it's able to handle WoW, that means we can have 2 people playing at the same time.  Joy. :-P

While they were busily manipulating pixels, Eldest and I did a bit of hiking.  Some of the paths we used to take are closed due to erosion, but they're still being used.  We found a place where we could clamber down to the river's edge and get some photos.  Clambering up was a bit more difficult.  My feet were NOT enjoying it.  I keep trying to tell myself that I'm still not recovered, but I was really unhappy with how quickly I got out of breath, and how often I had to stop and rest.  This is the first walking trip I've made that wasn't a library trip (sidewalks only) or a mall walk since fall.  I wasn't impressed with myself.

Since my feet were very clear that clambering up and down river banks was not a good idea, we headed in the other direction where we could get part way up the valley without doing stairs, then between a combination of stairs and a complex with an escalator, eventually make our way up to street level.  While Eldest waited at the top of some stairs while I hobbled up, she happened to look up and see someone that looked like a friend of hers.  When we popped into the building so I could use their public washroom, she kept an eye out.  Sure enough, it was her friend, hanging out with a friend from school.  She went out to say hello, then we went our seperate ways.

After we continued our walk, we decided we needed to get something to drink, so we turned around to use a predestrian crossing, only to run into her friend again.  So we invited them along.  They hadn't been to a particular place we go to fairly regularly, so that's where we went.

Four hours later, we were still there!  It was quite a lot of fun, and we talked about all sorts of things.  At one point, when we were in the middle of a discussion of philosophy and various forms of government, a guy sitting behind Eldest turned around, excused himself, and joined our conversation. *L*  He couldn't help but overhear us, and found it really interesting.  He turned out to be a Marxist Kurd from Turkey, who tried to rail a bit against capitalism, and blame manufactured crisis for the war in Iraq.  It was a bit of a ramble, and I couldn't quite see what his point was meant to be at times, but it was interesting.  Then he commented on how glad he was to hear us discussing such things before going back to his laptop to wait for the woman who joined him later.

Interesting, the people you can randomly meet at cafe's. *L*

Eventually, I figured I'd better get home and see about supper, if necessary, and left Eldest to stay with her friends.  They were trying to decide where to go next when I left.  By the time I'd got home, Dh had called my cell phone (which I'd left with Eldest, since she didn't bring it along - we were just supposed to go hiking together! *L*), so he knew she wasn't with me already.  I was happy to discover Youngest had cooked supper, and they were already eating when I got there.  After I finished eating, I went to upload the photos I'd taken (far fewer than I'd expected) and check my email and so on.  I changed my facebook status, joking about how long I'd been out and that Eldest was still out.  Shortly after, I get a comment from her friend's mom, saying it's good to see her again.

Turns out, they'd gone to her house for pizza and a movie. *L*

Some time later, Eldest calls for a ride home.  Dh answers and says sure thing, but doesn't ask where she is.  That confused her for a bit, so she told him anyway.  He just said yeah, and that I'd be there soon (he doesn't know where they live).  Once she found out about the facebook thing, it all made so much more sense. *L*

When I had the chance, I left a quick wall message on her friend's mothers facebook, thanking her for having Eldest over.  Her daughter answered and there was a bit of banter about how we knew where she was, even though she hadn't told us, then joked that I was cyberstalking Eldest on facebook, and she doesn't even have a facebook page!  Which is pretty funny, when you think about it.  I have a couple of her friends on my list, and sometimes they find out about things from me before she's had a chance to tell them herself.  *L*

All in all, though, it was a grand day.  Beautiful weather (well... not for Eldest.  She doesn't like heat or sun. *L*), good friends, and a nice, relaxed time together.

Life is good.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

Wishing everyone a blessed and joyful Easter.