Tuesday, May 30, 2006


I think about exercising - honestly, I do. A trip to the local county pool made me want to exercise even more. I mean, who needs terrorists when we are killing our own selves with junk food? I saw very few fit people there, including children.

I've tried getting up early, but William (aka "Radar") seems to sense when I'm awake. By night time, I'm too tired. In the middle of the day, well, they say a picture speaks a thousand words, so I'll leave you with this attempt to use Lauren's exercise ball (the orange shirt is William hugging my belly):

Monday, May 29, 2006

Questions from a 4 Year Old

"Can chickens bend their knees?" William asked. We were in the barn attempting to fix a stall door, or rather I was. William was peppering me with questions. That one pulled me from my concentration on the door mechanics. Do chickens even have knees? Preschoolers have a way of questioning the world that doesn't often occur to an adult.

He sat on the heavy wooden door, laid flat for these repairs, and petted his bantam chicken. "Did God make chickens?" he asked, delving deeper into conversation than chickens' knees.

"Yes, God made chickens," I responded, trying to remove a bolt from the door without removing a digit.

"Did God DREAM about chickens and then there were chickens?"

I thought for a moment. I suppose that's probably the best way to explain it to a 4 year old, so I answered in the affirmative.

"He just dreamed it and it happened?"


"No, he didn't."

End of discussion.

Baby Birds

Lauren returned from the barn with a baby bird. It didn't surprise me. This time of year, we often find baby birds and fledglings gone astray. The fledglings we try to guide to a place in the barn where they're not likely to be tramped on by my 1200 pound horse, but the baby birds are a different matter.

Each year, we find baby barn swallows out of their nest. Some are dead when we find them. It is often on the hottest of days, over 90 degrees F. Some are alive. We've heard that sometimes sparrows will push swallows from their nest, wanting the barn for themselves, but I've not witnessed this.

This baby she brought was viable, so I took it to the barn and put it back in one of the several nests there. Then, I began the work on the stall door.

The swallows swooped in and made a circuit of the barn. They swooped down on me, trying to scare me off. In their circling, I could see that they'd go close by the nest with the baby. They were looking. I wondered if I'd put him in the right nest. Then, I heard him peep. The barn swallow made another fly-by. I could just hear her thinking, "Peeper, is that you? HowEVER did you get over to that nest?"

Finally she landed, took off again and left the barn. She came back soon, though and fed the baby. Yea! I've not gone to look yet today, and I'm afraid to, but I'm hoping we've at least given him a chance to be raised by his own kind.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Over the Coals

It's Re-Run Sunday!

Taking advantage of an empty house, the girls down at their coaches' barn and Wm off to the county pool with dh, I am going to be doing bills, and am trying to resist the temptation to write.

If you are looking for some interesting blog reading, visit April 29th, 2005. I've had to alter it to fit the guidelines for reading as a commentary on the radio. Here's the edited version:

Over the Coals

My husband returned from a trip to the super-hardward store for three screws with a large box in the back of the truck. It seems while scanning the shelves in the hardware department, he came across the grill of his dreams.

It took both of us to unload it from the truck, not so much because of the dimensions but because of the weight of it. All stainless steel with sharp edges, I envisioned it slicing right through the palms of my hands. From the main body, two wings jutted out to the sides. "Can't it just fly itself up to the deck?" I asked. It has about the same number of controls as a small engine plane and it’s own fuel supply.I won't bore you with the cost of the thing, but suffice it to say that I could've replaced my refrigerator that is held together with packing tape and that has limped along for 15 years now. "I knew you'd say that," he laughed. Well, how could I not? I suppose the grill is a symbol of having arrived in the male kingdom.

After buying the grill, he of course needed the associated cooking instruments. We now have a spatula with a knife built into the side of it, so that you can use it to butcher the cow, chop the meat and then just flip it right on the grill. And of course, what grill would be complete without a hot chili pepper holder and tongs that are so large they take two hands to use?

So, I am retiring from cooking meat at least. We now have a summer kitchen, complete with a burner, rotisserie, and grill. This is good, because the back burner of my stove doesn't work anymore and sometimes the oven, for no apparent reason turns off mid-bake. (It displays an F2 error that I don't even want to decode in case the stove is cussing me.) I'll get a lot of mileage out of this purchase!

Note to readers: I have since replaced my stove, after breaking it just before expecting Thanksgiving guests at my house. But that's another blog.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Short on Judgement

They say crime doesn't pay, but perhaps I should rethink that. I'm only 5'1", maybe 5'2" on a good day, but it seems that short people don't have to go to prison. Didn't hear that yet? Yes, if you live in Nebraska, you can even molest a 12 year old girl, ruin her life, and not go to prison - if you are short. I wonder what else you can get away with?

Judge Kristine Cevaca gave Richard W. Thompson 10 years probation rather than a prison sentence because she felt that given his stature, he'd not survive in prison. Sorry, little fella, but I think you deserve to get a little of what you gave. Let's see how you like unwanted sexual advances. And if this isn't acceptable legally, perhaps there's a room in the solitary confinement ward.

In the Courier-Journal, an article said that he will be electronically monitored for four months. He's not supposed to be alone with minors, or date anyone with minor children. Excuse me? It seems that Mr. Thompson already doesn't follow rules, given that you'd have to be from Pluto to not know that it is against the law to consort with minors. If he ignored society's and the law's rules, why does this judge think he'll listen to her?

The thing that really gets me is that this judge is a mother. Of children, I mean. If a man was convicted and not punished for doing something to my child, I'd just have to make it my hobby to make his life a living hell. I picture protesting in front of his house, ads taken out in the paper, interview on the local radio. I'd plaster his photo on electric poles, toilet paper his house. How could a mother stand it?

No, I think the pervert ought to go to jail. Perhaps he can be some inmate's little sweetie and see how he likes it.

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Note From My Sister

My sister emailed me in response to my Chicken Little post with the following story about my three year old niece, Gracelyn:

Remind me to tell you the story of the lost chicken found in the trunk of Gracelyn's little [ride-on] car two days later, near death, having layed two eggs and broke one coated in rotten egg and drenched in moisture from the closed quarters. She survived, thank God. I remember the day she was found Gracie looked in her trunk probably thinking "I wonder how my chicken is doing?" and said, "My chicken is dirty!"
What Chicken? Ugh!

Note: See - she's in the In-Between times, too.

Happy Birthday to Diane TODAY! Lordy, Lordy, LOOK who's FORTY!!!
Email Diane with a Happy Birthday.

The Great "In-Between"

I'm in the "in-between" times, I've decided. You know the time between Ignorance and Forgetfulness. The times that no one ever tells you about when you stand blissfully ignorant in your white dress and pledge in good times and in bad. You envision a perfect marriage with perfect children in a house well managed. In this phase of life, one has often looked disdainfully at other people's children and thought them ill-mannered, ill-kempt, and generally annoying. Frequently, people in this stage have thoughts that their (future) children will not behave so.

Yes, as you stood before every one and declare in good times and in bad, little do you know that one of the best days of your life will be when your youngest has declared he will henceforth use the big potty and wipe his own butt. No one would have told you that this would cause immeasurable joy. You would not have believed them anyway.

No one tells you as you walk smiling down the aisle that one day, you'd be happy to take a nap at 5 p.m. for just fifteen minutes, but won't be able to until you get into Forgetfulness. Nor that you will reach a time when going out past 10 p.m. would keep you up past your bedtime, exhausted for want of a nap. Sequins sparkling on your dress's train, you did not think ahead to the day when you would not think it unusual for a child to throw up on you, pee on you, or worse. You would not have believed them anyway.

As you cut the cake and led the way to the banquet line, you would not think of the meal after meal after meal that you'll prepare and the dishes you'll do. You didn't know about the child that would stuff his mouth full of your culinary creation, spit it out into your hand and loudly declares, "YUCK!" But, you would not have believed them anyway.

And then comes the Forgetfulness, when you don't remember the aching tiredness, the stress, the lack of privacy in the bathroom, or at least you pretend not to. It is someone else's turn in the "In-Between" and you encourage them with words like "this is the best years of your life" and "they grow up so fast". But they won't believe you anyway.

Chicken Little

Right after I announced that we'd have to get rid of the chickens since we need the stall they consider their "coop" for horses, William decided that we could not. He LUVVVVVS the chickens, particularly the one that is "just my size". He refers to a balding bantam that is the size of a Rock Cornish Game Hen. Often picked on by her fat roommates, she is a sad sight.

Even sadder, she isn't fast enough to escape the clutches of SUPER-boy, and he carries her around the yard whenever he can. Wednesday, I caught him giving the poor thing a ride on his mini John Deere tractor. Driving with one hand and the chicken, black feathers blowing back in the breeze under the other arm, Will was having the time of his life. All the while, he is gentle with her. She lays lots and lots of eggs for him, you know. (He hasn't yet figured out that the giant green eggs aren't coming from this 2 pound chicken.)

So, perhaps she will be spared from being banished from the farm, and maybe, with the bigger chickens gone, she'll grow some feathers on her bald head.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Split Personalitities

Preschoolers have split personalities. While I have no degree in psychology, I have come to this diagnosis first hand. Here's my proof:

Day 1:
"Maaaahhhhhhhhmmmmm" he screams from his bed upstairs. I am recently arisen and trying to get enough coffee in my system to jump start my day. "I'm coming," I call back, wiping off the coffee I've just spilled down my front. "But MOMMMMMM. I NEED YOU." Upstairs, he's hiding under the covers and peeks out when I come. "I was hiding from you. Isn't that funny?" He smiles the brightest smile of a four year old.

Day 2:
As I sit reading my email and having my coffee, I hear the patter of his feet upstairs, the flush of the toilet. He comes downstairs, rushes into the office. "I dressed myself. See? Aren't you proud of me?" I smile at his interesting choice of clothing, and tell him that indeed, he is a big boy now and I am proud of him.

Day 3:
"MAAAAHHHHMMMM" he screams from his bed upstairs. I am recently arisen and trying to get enough coffee in my system to jump start my day. "I'm coming," I yell back, wiping off the coffee I've just spilled down my front. "But MOMMMMM. I NEED YOU." Upstairs, he is stretched across the bed, a pout on his face. He cannot move, he says. "Come, let's get you dressed." He groans. "You do it," he moans. So I get some new clothes. "NO, I don't want red underwear, I want white Daddy underwear." It is going to be a long day.

Day 4:
As I sit reading my email and having my coffee, I hear the patter of his feet upstairs, the flush of the toilet. He comes downstairs, rushes into the office. "I dressed myself. See? Aren't you proud of me?" I smile at his interesting choice of clothing, and tell him that indeed, he is a big boy now and I am proud of him.

Now you see the proof. I have not one, but two, possibly three personalities living in the body of my little boy, a little Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde if you will. I do hope they will merge soon.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


One of my bestest friends spilled the beans to her friends about my recording session today, claiming in her email that one of her girlfriends (me) was to be "infamous". I'm sure that's probably closerto the truth than I'd like it to be, since the definition states "to have a bad reputation". Still, I'm unlikely to be famous either after today, but it was a rewarding learning experience. (See, Becky, I told you that if you didn't read my blog, you'd end up in it, even if you DO know the difference between infamous and famous and are yanking my chain!)

So, what's it all about? Well, I sent in one of my first blogs, Tools of the Trade, to the local public radio station. Expecting rejection, I was shocked to get an email within an hour asking me to revise it to fit 330-350 words. This I did, and the returning email promised that Bobby would be contacting me to record my "commentary".

Looking like he just stepped away from the drums of a rock band, Bobby led me to a sound proof booth. With hands shaking, I sat at a desk with an enormous brown microphone and read my piece. After I managed to pull several frogs from my throat and wonder if I was developing sinusitis, allergies or was it just nerves, I began to calm down, and enjoyed trying to get the tone to sound just right. The interesting thing is that with digital recording, the entire program doesn't have to be perfect, but can be patched together to sound perfect.

It will be my first time on the radio. It was a TOO COOL experience. My mind wandered and I fantasized about working in such a clean environment where the desks weren't covered in ketchup, I didn't have to clear stacks of books and wadded paper to sit down, and no one was yelling, "MOM, I NEED YOU. NOW!"

Shaking off my delirium, I heard Bobby say that the last reading was fine and within the time allowed. My two minutes of fame, (what happened to my other 13 minutes?) will occur in June sometime. So, blogsters, get out your best blogs, polish them up, send them to your local public radio and you, too, can be "infamous".

Here's the revised blog that I read today:

"Harry* thinks we need to buy a backhoe now," commented my husband's cousin at the wedding reception table. We were catching up with family news. Harry and Donna* had moved into their own "money pit" this past year, escaping suburbia for rural New Jersey. As is often the case, there were a few little surprises in store for them at their new residence, including the state of the septic system, hence, the backhoe. Having enjoyed his experience with the borrowed machinery, Harry felt they should buy their very own backhoe, in the event of another ditch-digging emergency.

We laughed at the preposterous idea, while at the same time commiserating that there were costly tools in our very houses that our men had purchased so they could be prepared for just about anything. Donna laughed, "If I pull out both racks of my dishwasher at the same time, the whole kitchen tilts." Appliances used daily limp along while specialized drill bits gather dust in the garage.

My mother-in-law fares no better. While visiting recently, I could not get her dishwasher to start. "Oh, you have to lean against the door with your hip and jab the start button hard with the handle of a knife, " she instructed.

Our fifteen-year-old refrigerator, opened about a zillion times a day, is held together with packing tape. The interior is a cave without illumination, since the lights long ago stopped working. I hate to think what lurks in the dark corners. While I'm on the refrigerator, why is it that the little plastic shelves, which break off like saltine crackers, cost as much to replace as a new refrigerator?

My washing machine, which runs continuously, lasted fifteen years with several replacements of the agitator spline. It was a good machine, if you did not mind the sound of a jet engine just off your kitchen. It finally died from an overload of sheets and towels, and I stood agonizing over the models in the showroom. After much soul searching, I thought of Harry's backhoe, and bought the most expensive one I could afford.

*Names changed

Monday, May 22, 2006


I felt what Oprah calls "an ugly cry" coming on. My chin quivered, I wrestled with it, but my eyes leaked anyway. I comforted myself to know that my dh, sitting beside me, was also dabbing at the corners of his eyes. It was half-way through her performance of Chopin's Nocturne in E-Flat, and at that point, I knew that she had the magic that night, and she was going to do it. She played beautifully.

Some years ago, my dh and I saw another gifted young girl, Rebecca Bales, play this song so movingly that dh turned to Lauren and told her that if she ever could play that song in recital like Rebecca did, he'd buy her a grand piano.

The piano became available this past winter, and Lauren had not yet played the piece in recital, but had begun to learn it, so the piano was purchased. Last night, she more than earned her instrument and fulfilled a parents' dream.

Congratulations to Lauren for her performance and for completing all seven Suzuki Piano books.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Re-Run of Lime Green Shoes

It is Sunday, and my day off of writing, much as I love it. I actually would like to write today, but Lauren's recital is this afternoon, and there is much to do before that time. So, I am following my practice of re-posting a post that either received a lot of "hits" and/or comments. Today's post was first posted Wednesday, March 16, 2005. William would have been 3 years old. And, yes, I still have the lime green shoes. Click here to see photo.

Lime Green Shoes

My son, W, suddenly grew out of his new gym shoes, as children will and so, we made a trip to the local superstore. For some reason, young W loves to try on shoes. The most colorful catch his eye first. He admires greatly the red sparkly Wizard of Oz shoes for girls, the flowered sandles and yesterday, the plastic lime green shoes with bright yellow soles.

As I scanned the rows of shoes looking for just one pair of size 9 boys' gym shoes, W had made his choice. He had his shoes and socks off and was trying on the pair he had to have. I tried to distract him with the boys' shoes that lit up when the wearer walks. Uninterested, he asked me to tie the lime green shoes. He proudly walked the aisle. The shoe clerk who had been helping me walked up with an "oh, my!".

At $5 on sale, I decided that the easiest course would be to buy the shoes, and let him wear them around the house, getting the light-up Thomas the Tank Engine shoes for real wear. But no, he wanted to wear these home, and the helpful clerk said that it would be allowed, as long as I kept the tag for checkout. So, we made our way through to the front of the store, my son sporting undoubtably girls', lime green shoes.

Amusement fought with shame in my mind. What were people thinking of me to put my boy, decked out in grey sweatpants and a navy windbreaker, in lime green shoes?? W walked proudly, enjoying it all. Amusement won out. People definitely could see him coming. I briefly thought that if I lost him in the store, at least he'd be easily located by the color of his shoes.We went on our way to pick the girls up at their horse riding practice. The reactions of people we met cheered my day and made it well worth the $5 purchase price. I laughed all day.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Bugs: Mini-Poll

I'm ending my mini-poll on bugs in food in order to prepare for a new poll that will accompany my next post. The results are in!

6% said: No bugs! Give me the pesticides!
18 % would be willing to eat less than perfect produce, but no "wigglies"
0% chose: I'm willing to overlook bugs in chocolate only.
41% believes that: What I don't know won't hurt me! Willing to eat bugs if not visible and I don't know about it.
29% thinks: I'd rather have the bugs if it means less pesticides.
6% says we should all eat more bugs - good source of protein.

Based on the poll, I'd say that bugs in our food is not a major concern for most people.

Why is it.....

....that for years we've made fun of men that show their butt crack, but now with women, it's a fashion statement? See photo over at Polly's blog about dressing with dignity.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Blogging about housework instead of doing it

Well, I do have a good excuse. Anna is doing a test at the moment in the kitchen and surely I wouldn't want to disturb her with the rattling of dirty dishes. Yes, I do know there is a second floor to my house that could also use some cleaning, but instead, I wandered over to Ginabina's blog (who needs encouragement to keep blogging) From there, I followed a trail over to The Big Yellow House where Chris, who has plenty on her plate, has been requested by her dh to not serve from the stove (" the stove top is not a serving station ") and to use serving bowls.

In our house, we follow the Kentucky motto of housewives:

When you git home,
If the kids are fed,
And they ain't dead,
I've done my job.

Any thing beyond this is icing on the cake. Right now, I'm doing my best to get 4 yo William to come to the table with clothing on. He sees nothing wrong with sitting buck naked at the table after having checked out every orifice of his body. Buck naked is his favorite state of being.
See, after having Will present his royal naked self at the table, and God knows what the girls have touched, given that they have few reservations about touching much of anything (with the exception below), salad tongs are much more important than serving bowls.

Speaking of reservations about touching things, WHY IS IT that only moms are capable of cleaning out a toddler potty??? I mean, you would THINK that I'd asked them to handle nuclear waste. Even dh, but especially the girls, will let me know complete with rolling eyes that THEY had to handle William's business while I was gone. They look at me as if I am to congratulate them, give them a medal on a ribbon, and pledge my undying gratitude for this monumental and self-sacrificing task. You know what is the great thing about skin? God make it so that it's washable, and if you get something on you while helping your little brother, you don't have to scream at the top of your lungs. A little soap will take care of it.

Speaking of getting stuff on you, Wm is a minature George Kastanza. I know this isn't a rare thing, but it does seem to be a boy thing, for both my nephews did and my son must strip completely nude to do their business. I am hoping that unlike George in the Seinfeld show, Wm will outgrow this by the time he is older. His given explanation is that he doesn't want to get anything on his clothes. At home this is no problem, but when, at the orthodontist's office yesterday, he opened the door to reveal his full glory to the people working there....Well.

So, Chris, I'm in your corner. If we took a poll, I think we'd find we have a lot of company.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


I suppose I get my love of puns and word play from my dad. He recently sent me an email. When I asked for clarification, he responded that he was just pulling my leg, Joshing me (who was Josh, he asks), or jiggling my Jello. "Know any others?" he wrote.

At first, I couldn't remember the word I needed to Google this. In the recesses of my aging brain, I remembered something from French class - "maxim"? (Don't Google that, bunch of sites related to some magazine). "Axiom"? Finally, the light bulb clicked on. IDIOM. Not to be confused with Idiot. Idioms are intriguing because we've long lost how we got these expressions, what they mean, but everyone uses them.

So, I found a few. Feel free to add your own (within reason of course, kids do read this blog).

  • Blow smoke up my ass
  • Pull the wool over my eyes
  • Yank my chain
  • Pee on my leg and tell me it's raining.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Don't you just love.....

... a four year old's total lack of worry about how silly they might look?

Why is it......

....that perfect strangers think they can comment about the physical attributes of children? At the medical complex yesterday, we were joined on the elevator by a woman who smiled down at William and said, "Well, as petite as YOU are, and unless his daddy is very tall....." I cut her off. I knew she was going to comment on my boy's poor chances of being a tall man. "He's six-foot, two," I said bluntly. "Oh," she said as she watched my behind leaving the elevator. The nerve of people.

I suppose I'm sensitive to this because I spent Lauren's early childhood hearing "she sure is short (small, petite, enter your own adjective) for her age" and right in front of her. It didn't help that her sister, two years younger, was the same size, something that strangers also felt compelled to point out, as if we hadn't noticed. Adults have no reservations about making comments about children's appearance, height, age, etc. While I don't encourage my children to answer back disrespectfully to adults, I'd sure like to.

For example:
Short? Short of what?
Yes, we stopped feeding himso he'd always stay little.
He's really 6' tall, but he's in disguise right now.
We prefer quality over quantity.
He's trying to stay short because he wants to ride in the Kentucky Derby.

Oh, and Wm is in the 75th percentile on height.

Tell It Like It Is

Yesterday, I took William to a sleep clinic appointment. He snores loudly, seems to not breathe for a good while, then gasps, and generally makes our nights miserable for all by waking frequently. We evidently said the right things and got set up to do a sleep study in July. The question is, will I survive on little sleep until then?

While at the appointment, we sat in a waiting room devoid of magazines or toys. So, I engaged in people watching. The woman signing in at the receptionist was impressive. I admired her pink turban which brought her height to well over 6 foot. A dark pink tunic embroidered with roses flowed to her knees where it was joined by a matching pair of pantaloons underneath. Her girth was only hinted at by her fat ankles perched delicately on tiny pink heels, and I wondered that she was able to walk on them. But the initial impression was of an African queen, and one you dared not cross. I admired her style.

Willliam and I then discovered that there was a small room, closet really, that had a few pitiful toys and called itself a playroom. We went in there to look around. One boy already sat using the crayons. There wasn't much else there, but we were soon joined by the very imposing Queen and her two children, one adolescent and one about 2 years old. The adolescent was scolded for using a computer in there, as "we don't know anybody's business" and there was some concern for whether the computer was for public use. I understood that. But, fidgety in the small space, the two siblings began to annoy Queen, and she responded by loudly telling them to "shut up" and threatening what she was going to do to them if they didn't.

Afraid that it would escalate into our observation of her threats, I quietly encouraged Wm to follow me back out to the main waiting room to read some books I'd brought. Loudly, and within earshot of the playroom, Will said, "Why Mommy? 'Cause you don't want to listen to all that yellin'?"

Monday, May 15, 2006

A Week to End All Weeks

This week, there are a lot of events that are meant to close the year out. Kind of ironic, isn't it, that the school year ends just when the earth is opening up to new life and beginnings? We only loosely follow the traditional school calendar, but are happy to join in special events available this time of year.

As I type, the girls are upstairs getting dressed up for a cruise on the Ohio River with area teen homeschoolers. They've gone several years in a row and are very much looking forward to it. Wm and I are planning to frequent the museum at the Falls of the Ohio, a unique fossil area unlike any place in the world. He will enjoy the replica of the mammoth in the lobby, I am guessing. In the past, we've just played in the park, but it is awfully cold here. Thank goodness the boat for the cruise has an indoor area.

On Friday, our county homeschool group is having a "field day". I'm hoping the weather gets better, but we're expecting rain for the next six days.

On Sunday, Lauren will play her Chopin piece in her beautiful red dress. She will be awarded at the recital for having completed the curricula of the Suzuki Piano School and for having completed Level 8 of the Royal American Conservatory Examinations. To complete it, she had to take a practical exam, playing over 7 pieces by heart for an examiner, and this past Saturday, she took a written exam on music theory. I have heard that Level 8 is what some students strive to finish by the end of high school, and yet she is but 14 yo. We plan to go out to eat after for this momentus occasion, a graduation after many, many notes and hours of hard work. She will continue to study with the same teacher.

It is nice to have such special occasions to mark the achievements of the year. We celebrated Anna's thirteenth birthday yesterday by having her ears pierced, and she didn't even flinch! The man (yes, a man!) who did it kind of looked at me funny when I told him she had to wait until she was thirteen - a sort of rite of passage. Then, he seemed to get it. So much in our lives, maybe even especially as homeschoolers, goes on without celebrating, without making special occasions, without dressing in red fancy ball gowns and beautiful earrings. Maybe this week will be that week.

Oh, and P.S. My love to my family and especially dh for making a point of making Mother's Day special for me. You're the greatest!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Am I Getting Faster or Are They Getting Slower?

I know I've lost it. I've been talking back to the self-checkout computers again. "I DID put it in the bag, you moron." It doesn't let me go on with my order. I got into this mess thinking that the lines were so long, that surely I could get out of here faster by scanning my own items. I wave over at the pimply, teenage cashier, who is deep in philosophical conversations with the girl cashier who's been eating too much chicken raised with chicken breast growth hormones. (Speaking of, and forgive my aside but WHAT is with these chicken breasts these days? In my childhood, those were called turkey breasts and big ones at that.) Finally, he resets my station and I go on.

Moving the barcode over the window, it beeps and I place the item in the bag. But it will not read the next item. I'm too fast for it. While I put my hands on my hips and give it my most withering look, it says "Please proceed with your order" in a disdainful voice, as if I am standing there picking my nose and not paying attention. In the meantime, 4 yo ds leans on the bagging area, upsetting the computer yet again. In her best arrogant elementary teacher voice, the computer admonishes me to "Please remove the last item from the bag and scan it before placing it in the bag." I caution ds to step back before the awful lady inside the computer comes out and gets him. He thinks it's funny and if he had a barcode, I'd scan him as a bag of potatoes and let him sit on the scale if he'd let me "proceed with my order".

Next, broccoli. Hit button "Produce. No Barcode" (it's scary how many four-digit vegetable codes I've memorized). I don't know broccoli, so I have to choose a picture. Vegetable, right? No, according to this computer, broccoli is in the lettuce group. "Oh, that makes sense, doesn't it? Right," I tell the screen. Then, chocolate. Now you'd think they'd have it set up so that you could key in that you are about to purchase 12 Hershey's chocolate bars, because after all they're on sale 3/$1 this week, and a person insane enough to talk back to an automated check-out station is on the edge of insanity and needs THEIR CHOCOLATE!! But no, you have to scan each one, and let the %$^&#$% scanner catch up to you each time. "Come on, COME ON!!" I urge the computer.

By now, the people behind me, holding their loaves of bread and jugs of milk, and waiting for my station are looking at me kind of funny. I've got the bags stacked up all over the place because you cannot remove them from the scale, and they teeter, ready to spill out onto the floor. I slam the bags in the cart, only slightly more aware of the squishable things than the regular baggers. Checking myself out hasn't helped to lower my blood pressure OR get me out sooner. Now, where's that chocolate?
All this time, I've been missing out. Not only did I not know that it was LEGAL to hit your children with plumbing, but I was also unaware that I could make a living telling OTHER people to do so. Gee, and here I've been blathering about nothing when I could have been writing that book.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Bumper Pool

My girls and I enjoy using the classifieds in our town's newspaper for the study of English. We found the following ad under "Motorcycles" (why?):

trailer. Older model, good condition. Call 555-5555

Illustration by Junosmom.

Two Horse Bumper Pool

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Weather Terrorists

Our favorite show, of only two I watch, was interupted last night by weather terrorists. In graphics and computer animations of interest only to people that study weather, or perhaps to those in a direct path of the storm, the meteorologist go into over-drive trying to scare the living daylights out of people. We didn't even get a thunderstorm here. Why? Because the storms were in counties and cities hours from here. Some of the names I'd never heard before. And what? These people live where they don't get the weather channel?

I will grant you that there have been a number of disasterous tornados, deaths even, where a warning would have saved lives. This has given meteorologist license to take over the airways and see if they can out-do the other channels in pointing out the possible rotation of the possible tornado. Repeated warnings are shouted:

If you spot a tornado, move to your basement. Do not look out your windows. Do not go outside, use an umbrella and see if you can fly like Mary Poppins.

I know, I know, there are fools that are outside on the roof videotaping so that they can see their names mentioned on the evening news. If they blow away, well, it will improve the gene pool is all I can say. I miss the days when a watch or warning was announced with the graphic of a little tornado in the upper left hand corner of the show you were watching.

We continued to watch snippets of the show, trying to guess what happened while we watched the red colored rotation in 3D computer animation. While impending doom was announced, we tempted fate by fantasizing that maybe the tornado could take off our barn roof, leaving the barn and horses unscathed and justifying enough insurance money to re-roof it. No, we thought, better not wish for that as it might take the barn and horses with it. The top of the hour was nearing and my show came back on. I'd see the ending! But no - they cut back out at the last minute, with no answer as to who did it. If I were mean, I'd wish for that storm to head right for that news station.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I heard the woman before I saw her, but one glance told me that she could fling me over her shoulder with a flick of her pinkie. Perhaps I was influenced by the loud tatoos on her large upper arm, or the barbed wire one on her ankle, I don't know. She was spewing cuss words at a young, 9-ish age boy perched on the back of her red Mustang. As I filled my tank with gas, I listened as she used awful words to berate him for making a "mess" of the back window that he was trying to clean with the squegee often found at filling stations. I thought about windows. The nice thing about them is that unless you break them, they're easy to redo and hard to permanently mess up. It's easy to say "here, let me show you how to do that".

Surprisingly, the boy clambored down without a word and set to filling the tank with gas. "Do I press here?" he asked in a pleasant tone. She responded impatiently, telling him to lift the (beep) lever and then squeeze the trigger. No words were uttered until he told her that the gas had stopped at $5. Her voice actually got a little softer for a moment, as she said that it should, as that is how much she'd pre-paid.

Perhaps, I thought, she was angry at someone else, at the cost of fuel, at buying $5 of gas at a time (though it floated through my head that the red Mustang was a newer model). A fleeting thought, though, as she barked to the boy to get in his seat and put on his seatbelt. As she pulled off, curse words floated out her open window because the boy had not belted himself fast enough for her.

I dared not say anything during the encounter, as I'm sure she'd either use that pinkie to toss me or even worse, her acid tongue to lash me. But he was such a beautiful boy. But, perhaps this mom cared? The boy was during the encounter respectful and quiet. He was disciplined and did as she asked without question. I expected that her mistreatment would mirror in him, but it didn't. I hoped for his sake that she was having an unusually bad day, and it would soon get better. I worried for that boy, and all the other children out there that have to deal with such poor parenting skills.

Isn't She Lovely?

Today, I am the mother of TWO teenagers (and one little boy). Anna turns 13 years old today! It is such a pleasure to see the wonderful woman she is becoming. Happy Birthday, Anna!

Monday, May 08, 2006

There's A Naked Man Hanging from My Oven Door

...I thought that'd get your attention. Unfortunately, it's true. Mr. Black Ken Doll, a remnant of my daughters' early years, has a new career with my son. Strung up with the cord of a yo-yo, he is suspended for some unknown purpose. "He likes to hang there," I am told. Like his sisters were before him, W doesn't like his "people" with clothes on, which makes for embarrassing moments when going into the real world. I put my foot down when he heads out the door with a handful of naked Barbies.

Toys are amazing. When the girls were young, I stupidly set about having nice plastic storage containers to organize the toys and all the VHS tapes nicely arranged on bookshelves. Of course, I'd come back only a short time later to see all the toys jumbled together and the VHS tapes being used for building fences and houses. Their creativity was at an all time high, as was my housekeeping frustration.

W, on the other hand, delights in taking things apart, burying them in the sand, or filling them with water. Hanging things up and bungie cords also seem to be a treasured occupation. He doesn't, however, always like to play alone. (If he IS playing alone, be suspicious. He most likely has a permanent marker.) Dh and I thought that the days of talking toys were over with the maturing of our daughters. When I say talking toys, I am not referring to electronic toys, rather the uses of falsetto voices to have one inanimate object interact and "talk" to another inanimate object. Now, rather than Barbies talking, we have talking tractors. Both dh and I moan with dread when W says, after getting us to agree to play tractors with him, says "let's have the tractors talk".

Well, I best get to correcting homework for the girls and see if I can untie the naked man from my oven door. Bye for now!

My Evening Ride

Here's proof that I for once, went on that evening ride (and I managed to do it alone!) I say that because a certain 4 year old can talk a blue streak for two miles.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Re-Run

I promised myself to try to do two things a day that are just for me: spend a little time in my garden and spend some time with my horse. I've not done either yet today and it is 6:38 p.m.
So goes life, it seems that it keeps going even when you have other plans. So, because there is still a little daylight and I'd like to try to keep my promise to myself, I am posting a re-run, one of the blogs about which I got the most comments.

SAFETY WARNING AND DISCLAIMER: Do not try this at home!

First posted on:
Thursday, January 26, 2006

How Sublime
Today, we received a gift in the mail from Omaha Steaks. Now, you might think that the gift was meat, and certainly, there was some in the package. But the real gift was a bag full of dry ice. We were headed to the library, but I recognized the fleeting opportunity for a fun science experiment. So, I took it upstairs and cautioned everyone not to touch it! That was instant permission to squeal. We put some in water:

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We talked about CO2, how the solid sublimes directly into gas, whether hot or cold water was more effective. Then, we put out a flame with the gas. What else could we do? Well, we filled up some baggies and watched them pop. After the first squeal or two, that just wasn't enough bang, you know? So we tried something more: (note for you safety geeks, we were behind a protective door)

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So much fun. Life is like that you know? You have to catch those moments when you can.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

An Afternoon at the Zoo

What do you think he (she?) is saying?

A favorite photo spot.

The elephants, just before they threw dirt on us.

An old VW van they have at the African exhibit.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Of all the disposable things in this world, why hasn't anyone invented disposable socks? I mean, what else, maybe with the exception of underwear, is more disgusting than dirty socks. I remember my mom once saying that you really had to love a man to turn his dirty socks right side out for washing.

I've always had optimism about socks. Keeping them for the day that the mate to them might show up, I now have a giant bag of socks, none of which match. The bag continues to fill. I just know that if I throw out a sock, the mate to it will show up under a chair that I hadn't moved in a year.

It's bad enough keeping your own family's socks in the hopes that they'll be reunited in happy sock-imony some day, but it seems that we have socks that fit no one. Some neighbor's or relative's kid ditched his or her socks at our house, and his mom is at home saving the mate, but it's over at my house, with me, trying to figure out who wears this size.

I had to laugh at this show on organization. I watch it not so much for ideas as for laughs. For example, this woman had designed a sock drawer for this kid. Each sock ball had a little cubby hole in the drawer. Like THAT is ever going to happen. She suggested to the kid that he safety pin his socks together before throwing them in the wash. Ha hardy ha ha. Where does she think the kid is going to get a safety pin when ditching his shoes and socks in the sand box. Plus, with them pinned together, filling them with sand would be totally impossible.

I find socks in the most unusal places. Truly, we ought to either move to wearing no socks, wear disposable socks, or have socks that are biodegradable when left to the elements.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Getting Behind

I often hear the homeschooler's refrain, "I'm afraid they're (getting) behind." Homeschooling, in my mind, hasn't become a revolution yet for most people. A good number of people just brought school home.

Media often focuses on "what's wrong with education?" My thoughts are that what is wrong is that we, as a nation, are thinking of education as a destination, rather than a journey. It is something you have to complete - so you can get a good paying job and not be on the government dole. And, because there are so many people in the world, and some of them are bound to be exceptional, one is constantly seeing or reading about the Doogie Howser's of the world, the 13 yr old that made the pro-golf tour, or the 10 year old concert pianist, the 16 year old that just finished college, which sends panic out to those of us wondering if we are keeping up.

Truth is, I know loads of people that went to college and didn't stay in the field of study. Moi included. My dh started out as an agricultural engineer, ended up in Logistics and management. His only contact with agricultural equipment is when he uses our tractor to mow the field. Our neighbor is a pianist, but brings home the bacon as a human resources consultant. They found their way to what they were going to do with their life along the way. In my opinion, most 18 year olds, particularly ones shut up in a building for the last 12 years of their life, few have enough life experience to know what they want to do with their lives. Some have interests and there's nothing wrong with continuing to study those interests, but until we get away from thinking of education as a tool for getting a job, it isn't, in my opinion, really education.

Have you ever watched Star Trek? (If not, please don't tell me because I don't want to think less of you.) But, for all their advanced technology, they seem to have the same type of relationship problems that we do. I do hope that humans have become a little better culturally than ages ago, but sometimes it doesn't seem so. Slavery still exists in parts of the world, people are still starving, violence permeates our news, war continues, and divorce is commonplace. The world is becoming more educated and we have more technology, and though we've made strides, and I believe in the goodness of humans, what the world needs is more mature, good people. Ordinary people. People that love to learn and can live well in a family unit. People that have learned to get along in the real world with all ages. People that need people are the loveliest......Ooops, sorry.

The change we need is not in producing kids that completed a set study by a certain age. I'm not sure that the homeschooling world in general has made this mental leap. I'm not sure I have. But again, it's a journey, not a destination.


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