Wednesday, February 28, 2007

If You Give a Girl a Riding Lesson.....

Have you ever read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? If not, run out to your nearest library right now, read it, then come back to this blog. Go ahead, I'll wait.....(waiting, waiting, waiting....) Okay, I see you're back, so now you'll understand this blog. It's really more of a "boy, ain't that the truth" type of book for parents, but I imagine it in a children's book format. BTW, if I CAN use this idea somehow to write a book, I thought of it first, so don't go stealin' it.

Based on my experiences:

If you give a girl a horseback riding lesson, she's going to need a helmet to keep her safe. And of course, she'll need riding boots and jodpurs. She'll enjoy riding, and get better at it. Because she's better at it, you'll want her to have a pony of her own.

If she has a pony of her own, she's going to need a place to keep it. You'll have to build a barn. The pony will want to eat, and you'll have to buy hay and grain. To get the hay home, you'll need a truck. Once you get the hay home, you'll have to unload it (picture of round bale in truck), so you'll need to buy a tractor. You can use the tractor to move great piles of manure around to hiding spots in your yard.

The pony will eat well and grow sleek and pretty. The girl will want to show off her pony, so she'll need a trailer to pull the pony behind the truck to horse shows. You'll spend lots of time at horse shows, trying to keep warm, and watching with pride the result of those horseback riding lessons.

And of course, as she grows, she'll need a better pony. She'll begin to complain a little about the trailer you bought with the clown decals on the side, the door that won't quite shut, and the duct tape over the window that fell out. She'd like a nice three-horse, slant load trailer. And of course, with a bigger trailer, you're going to need a heavier truck......

Just $5 a Month Extra

Did you ever try to get a straight answer from service technology folks? Through enough ads to wallpaper my entire house, I was convinced that by changing my technology package (phone, internet, and TV service), I could save billions of dollars per year plus they'll give me money outright. For the past two days, I've been on the phone checking and re-checking the details. No matter the company, the fine print is unbelievable.

One company promises a free four TV system and free installation. However, having four tv's on the system costs $5 a month extra. How's that? Well, the system and installation is included, but not the service. So add another $5. And, they'll give you free DVR, just you can't use it unless you pay an additional, you guessed it, $5 a month extra. And, you should go ahead and get the HD box in the event we ever replace the old tv's we have and upgrade to the modern age. Except, in accepting the box, you have the service which costs (are you getting the refrain?) $5 a month extra.

So I went back to my original company, declaring myself a loyal customer who'd rather not change companies, but was told sorry by Buffy that they had no reduced costs to offer me. The following day, I called to cancel my existing service and was told that they could offer me a substantially reduced cost to my current monthly bill. When I complained that I had been told the opposite just yesterday, they said "well, you didn't talk to the right person." Excuse meeeee. And I was supposed to know this?

I am going to change everything, which changes my email address, websites, channel numbers, everything that makes you feel like you are keeping up with the modern world to a small degree. Now, I am going to jump off the shelf in the ocean, not knowing how far down it goes. I'm expecting some serious disruptions for awhile, and will probably in the end wish I hadn't disturbed the status quo.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Heart of the Matter

Reading: There Are No Shortcuts by Rafe Esquith

Synopsis: How an inner-city eacher - winner of the American Teacher Award - inspires his students and challenges us to rethink the way we educate our children

Excerpt of the day in reference to some students that had chosen a less than desirable path in life and/or were angry with him:

"They taught me not to confuse academic excellence with character. When I came to the Jungle [inner city school where he taught], I was shocked and upset by the incredibly low academic achievement of the students there. Over the first few years I was so determined to inspire students to achieve academic excellence that I was confusing my best students with my best people. Now I'm focusing on students who strive to reach the highest levels of humanity, which means that I'd better reach those levels as well. "

Okay, I can't just stop with one quote:

"I knew that I had to be ther person I wanted the kids to be. I never want my kids to be depressed or despairing about any bad breaks or failures that they've had. Well, that had to apply to me as well. I now knew that if I wanted the kids to work hard, then I'd better be the hardest-working person they'd ever known. If I wanted them to be kind, I'd better be the kindest human being they'd ever met. Teaching must be by example, not by lecture."

Recommended reading: To Kill a Mockingbird
Next stop: the library

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Lazarus (Continued)

Back in November, a red tabby was hit by a car on our road (, but when I went to pick him up, he got up and ran off. In January, the same cat showed up in our barn. We decided to get his "wings clipped" so he wouldn't roam and let him live in the barn, kill the mice and varmits. Here he is catching mice:

Saturday, February 24, 2007

My Daughter the Artist

Anna is doing portraits to earn money for her trip to Germany. This was the brainchild of my friend, Christine, who commissioned the first (and second) portrait. I was truly amazed at the results. She is so talented! And the daughter of two engineers has this talent! God certainly works miracles.

My Son, the Drag Queen

We've always noticed the resemblance of my son to my second daughter. I guess I just never realized, until this week the depth of that resemblance. We were digging in a box of old photos for photos of our house, pre-makeover and happened upon a few of Anna at the exact age Wm is now. As soon as we saw them, we all busted out laughing, for they were photos of Anna when she was about to go onstage for a ballet recital in the makeup that the ballet studio insisted the kids wear. And for all the world, the photo looks so much like Wm in drag! We tried to convince him that it was his own self, in a dress. Wm was not amused. However, I'll let you judge for yourself.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Somethings Are Just Too Damn Funny

Had to share:

Cathy --


Sexually stunning

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at
Thanks, Kim, for the link. You've made my day.

The Eyes Have It

Outside of the exam room, people probably momentarily thought that the doctor was removing a twelve inch splinter from Wm's eyes. pulling it out slowly. In reality, she'd only put one drop in the eye to dilate it. The exam was interesting on several levels. Wm was fascinated with the poster of diseased eyes hanging on the wall and interupted the doctor frequently to ask her what was wrong with each one. Though mostly very patient with him, it began to wear thin with the fifty-third question.

Trying to distract him with the fact she was shining a light directly into his light-sensitive eyes, I jokingly asked if she saw worms in there. Wm then graphically described the scene last week from "House" where a 25 foot tapeworm was pulled from the stomach during surgery. The doctor turned to look at me. "He doesn't watch that show, really," I sputtered. "He walked in at that moment."

"That show is quite graphic at times," she said.
"Yes, I know, that's what attracts him to it." (All you have to say is something is scary or bloody or gross and he's right there. Normally, we tease him out of the room by letting him watch something upstairs with Anna.)

The only distressing part of the day was that the technician quickly gave Wm a color-blindness test, declared that he was red-green colorblind, and sent us back into our room. I sat wondering, what does that mean? What does he see? Questions flew around the room in the air. Finally, the doctor came in, confirming that he was red-green colorblind.

Internet junkie that I am, I came home and scoured the internet. Google-ing it, I found many references, many photos of what the world might look like to a person with this, considered a disability. All day, when I had a moment, I looked it up. No cure. Can be rejected for military -hmmmm maybe an advantage there. No fighter pilots - yeah! Oh, but what paintings look like! Will he not see the colors of the master paintings, the reds of a sunset, the leaves in the fall? My heart sank. As disabilities go, I guess this was one that we could live with, but not something you wish for a child.

As I continued to read, I found a website that said RG colorblind people cannot distinguish between red and green apples. Having both. I asked Wm which he preferred. He said he liked the green one. He also was able to see the lines of the online color-blind tests I found. I am now thinking that he isn't colorblind, that there was some communication thing going on or misunderstanding, and that they didn't take time to do more. Now, I'm pissed! They sent me off thinking that this was unmistakeable and unchangeable. I'll have to continue to investigate further.

Oh, and you people that make those little pictures for eye exams - telephones don't look like that and haven't for the past, oh, twenty five years. Time for an update. Wm creatively said it looked like a chair to him, and it did.

As for me, I survived my exam as well but went about the day with dilated eyes, looking like either a bush baby or drug addict. "I've been to the eye doctor," I told everyone I met, hoping to forestall their speculations that I'd gone over the edge. My kids had a good ha-ha at my expense. Glad to be of service.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Next, He'll Be Asking for the Car Keys

Wm turns five this week, and just today, I saw an important milestone reached (sniff, sniff). Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he learned to use the volume control on the TV remote. Before I know it, he'll have complete control over the TV. Oh, wait....he already does.

I love those child development charts, don't you? The ones that tell you if Johnny is progressing at age level and is ready to go to school? They missed a few really important ones:

  • Can play PlayStation for 8 hours straight without needing a bathroom break. Shows control of bladder
  • Can wipe his own arse, but may still need help washing hands to get "it" off of his hands
  • Speaks phrases of Spanish from watching "Go, Diego, Go", necessitating the employ of a translator.
  • Can make his own "manly" food, like microwave popcorn and chicken patty sandwiches. Makes them repeatedly without bothering anyone else for help, eating his weight in them daily.
  • Is adept at manipulating all the adults around him to do his beck and call
  • Dresses and undresses without help, fifty times a day.
  • Shows creativity in language development: "I knowed it because Aidan telled me."
  • Can snore like his daddy
  • Can quote SpongeBob

I'm sure those of you having experienced five year olds can join me in revising these lists, which are obviously missing key milestones.

Getting Warmed Up

A previous blog listed some of my reading and listening material right now. All true. But TC shamed me with her comment "You're much more refined than I am" because I realized that I hadn't told the whole truth. I also have "The Devils' Daughter" hiding under my bed with my chocolate stash. You, know the kind of book, the one where the woman is fabulously wealthy, gorgeous (though she doesn't pay any attention to that, tomboy that she is), and always lives happily ever after the life-threatening adventures that just make life so much more interesting.
I don't know why I read such crap, but I guess it takes my mind away from the fact that ocean levels are rising and the world is heating up.

I guess if I were shallow, I could say that the good news is that I won't have to buy a retirement home in Florida, which will be underwater. The beach is coming to me. That's convenient. Of course, all those people that live there now, will be migrating north and want to come live here.

All that talk of global warming seemed remote as cars slid into ditches on Saturday. Our roads weren't cleaned off at all and I wondered where all the tax dollars go. Though we live in a wealthy county (we're the poor relations), our roads were untreated. Dh said that we were just driving the wrong vehicle. In our county, you're expected to drive a Hummer when it snows. No road clearing necessary. It has warmed though, and we're about to enter my favorite (not) season - MUD.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

At the Tractor Show

Is there anything that can make a little boy happier?

It is 13 @(#*%& DEGREES FARENHEIT outside and we're headed to Lexington with the horses, if I can pull the trailer up a small slope through several layers of snow. Anna and I, both of us disliking cold, have decided that in our next life, the girls will have to take up some indoor sport - like bowling or ping pong. This cold, outside sport stuff is for the birds. The girls are calling, so I'm off. I need a bumper sticker: I rather be blogging.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Today, we didn't go to Lexington as planned. Several of us felt a little under the weather, and the threatening snow and cold kept us home. We had a beautiful snow. Dh and Wm still made it down to the Farm and Tractor Show, as the van drives well in the snow. (My whimpy truck pulling a horse trailer with two horses is another story.) Dh reports that he and Wm traded our house for a combine.

The girls and I stayed home and watched the movie, "Marie Antoinette". I finished watching the movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" by Al Gore.

Reading: Holy Lane, Whose Land by Dorothy Drummond
Listening to: The Three Muskateers by Alexander Dumas

Friday, February 16, 2007

Maybe He'll Be an Engineer

In my last post, I wrote about my five year old's problems with tolerating clothing. Though it is 6 degrees F here during the day, he's likely inside wearing only his briefs. It makes one cold just to look at him. TC wrote in response:

I think he's destined to be a brilliant but eccentric engineer. Those engineering guys are... quirky. My father-in-law is 72, and he's still fussy about underwear fabric, socks, and his t-shirts HAVE to be line-dried. Oy.

Well, there you have it. It's a genetic defect, double recessive. Both my husband (agricultural) and I (chemical) are engineers by degree (BS - meaning, bullsh-t). Just call me Quirky.

And for how I spent yesterday, visit the blog at

Note to self: Curse blogger, which is having trouble today.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I've written before why I detest shopping. Fish in My Hair detailed shopping with teens for jeans. (New reality show title, eh?) Honestly, I might as well stop blogging and just post a hyperlink every day:

It will save me a lot of time typing. We are evidently living the same life in a parallel universe. Only, she's funnier. I have commented to her that I vote her Erma Bombeck's replacement. Either she gets syndicated soon, or I'm going to have to steal her material and make some money on it myself.
To continue on the clothing theme, I'd almost rather shop for jeans than try to clothe my near-5 year old. He has some kind of clothing hypersensitivity. He literally crawls in his skin at night, and can only sleep in his underwear, no shirt. Shirts bunch up around his armpits, he says, and he can't stand them. Problem? He also kicks covers off, so in the middle of the night he's freezing and wakes up. As I try to read to him at night, he pulls and tugs and wrestles alligators.
The fun continues in the morning. He wears no socks, even on the coldest days, as socks bother him. They don't line up right, the line on them often slipping to the sole. Tube socks, you say? They slip down. On to shirts. He can only wear short sleeves, as he cannot stop himself from chewing on long sleeves. This bothers him, but he cannot stop, so short sleeves only. No zipper or velco closings around the neck, no turtlenecks. Still, this is easy compared to pants.
Pants can have no elastic around the ankle, as they ride up. With a long torso and tall, he's more slender than most and the pants we have are too big around the waist. And so on. We're down to about 3 pair that are acceptable. Today, he's wearing shorts, the only thing we could find that were "comfortable".
I picture him as an adult male, having to get a job where they let you wear a white tshirt and a pair of baggy shorts, since that's all he'll wear. Kind of narrows the field, doesn't it? At present, I think he's headed for a career testing PlayStation games, so maybe that will take care of itself.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Want some unusual, steamy verse for your homemade Valentine card? I can tell you where to look: The Bible. I'm serious. Go read the Song of Songs. Here is a sample:

I belong to my lover
and for me he yearns.
Come, my lover, let us go forth to the fields
and spend the night among the villages.
Let us go early to the vineyards, and see if the vines are in bloom,
If the buds have opened,
if the pomegranates have blossomed;
There will I give you my love.

How about:

O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you, let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely.
I note that my Bible does have a preface to the book explaining that this poetic form portrays the love of the Lord and his people, using courtship and marriage customs of the time the text was written. "It is a parable in which the true meaning of mutual love comes from the poem as a whole." It is also possible to see it as "an inspired portrayal of ideal human love...and a descriptions of the sacredness and depth of a married union."
So get out your Bilble and brush up on your Songs, and have a lovely Valentine's Day.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Anna and her riding partner, Kristen, have been chosen as the novice pair to represent the United States in Germany this April. Keep an eye on our new website for updates on our progress to raise money to send them there.

Pin Yourself on My Map

I found a fun item over at Bravenet. Click on this

Free Guestmap from
Free Guestmap from

to place a pin on your place in the world. I've put this in the sidebar under "Visitors" so that you can check back later to see who's been here.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

It's All in the Perspective

A law was passed recently in the county where I reside banning smoking in all public places. Based on irefutable data that second hand smoke endangers the health of bystanders, the county magistrates thought to clear the air.

Local business owners weighed in, complaining that they would lose business to the nearby largest city, which I doubt, as that city has imposed a similar ban. Yet, one magistrate in particular was able to get the implementation of the ban postponed in the hope of find a way to kill this law.

Smokers decry their right to smoke in a section designated for them. Not having any sense of smell left and having coated the lining of their nose and lungs with tar, they have little sympathy for those of us that get intense headaches and have allergies to the pollutant. Often, they compare their right to smoke with other activites that hurt only the user, such as overeating.

Dh says that the comparison doesn't wash. Smokers need a change of perspective. For example, let's say that a certain candy tastes very good to you, satisfies your oral cravings and nervousness, gives you a little (sober) buzz. Sounds good so far? Suppose this candy causes the user to have an outrageous amount of, shall we say, silent flatulance. You know the kind? The silent bombs? The ones that burn as they come out?

Let's say that not only is the smell unpleasant, but it penetrates your hair, your clothing, causing you to have to wash everything when you get home. The smell is pungent, giving you the feeling of a red hot poker near your eyes, which feel dry and itchy. Just about as the air clears, another wafts by.

In addition to the smell, it has been, let's say, been determined that these farts contain particles from, well, you know, and that these particles are known to cause colon cancer. And people die from colon cancer. And yet, the sulfur-causing candy is widely used, widely available, with users claiming to have a right to emit whenever and wherever they wish.

Dh says that the next time you read a letter to the editor from a smoker, insert the word "fart" for "smoke" and see if it doesn't make you see the light.

Kentucky Grammar

In a year and a half, I will have lived in Kentucky as long as I previously lived in Ohio, where I was raised. In terms of time spent living here, I will soon be a Kentuckian. I think the transformation has already occurred, as was evidenced by my (serious) discussion with my older daughter about Kentucky grammar.

We decided that your'alls is plural possessive: Is it in your'alls house?
Not to be confused, of course, with you'all, which is obviously a pronoun: Are you'all coming with us? Any well versed Kentuckian can also make use of the contractions where'all, as in "Where'all did you look?" and what'all as in "What'all are you doin'?"

Pronuciation has also seemed to take a turn for the, shall we say, country sound. Wha-d-jeat? often comes out of my mouth and my crisp "What did you eat?" has faded. In time, no one will know that I was ever ed-ji-cated.

I'm also told that directions to my house heralded my conversion to Kentuckianism: the barn is up closer to the road than the house and our driveway is blacktopped (not the norm in our neck of the woods).

My younger daughter, a writer and grammar-ologist, shook her head at us. I don't know what'all her problem is.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fifteen Years Younger

My dear friend, Becky, came by with a gift that could only be given in a truly cemented friendship - a book entitled Fifteen Years Younger. Next, she'll be secretly videotaping me and sending it in to that show that puts me in a box and judges my age before and after my makeover. Perhaps I could use it?

But I mislead you a bit. The book is on yoga, and how fifteen minutes a day of stretching can make you look and feel fifteen years younger. Becky said she could do fifteen minutes. A week has passed and I'm still trying to find that fifteen minutes. In an email today, Becky asked if I'd skipped ahead, (knowing me well, she suspected I had), and I have to admit I have.
I do have one of the postions mastered, however, showing my comittment to the program:


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