Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Motherhood of the Traveling Pants

My black capri pants went missing again this morning for the second time. The first time I ranted and tossed things aside, as I'd looked everywhere. The only answer is that the capris had "traveled" to a teen daughter's room. If so, I'd never see them again. I won't go into why this is so, because that could have verbal repercussions from unknown persons that might or might not live in my house. I would only say that some people might wear the same size their mother might wear and/or sometimes do laundry and mix clothes together.

After searching for some time, and blaming everyone else (I'm sure you've never done this), I found the capris had "traveled" somehow to my lonely sock basket - you know the socks that had somehow lost their mate? That basket was in my bedroom closet where it lives. So, I was the culprit after all. I briefly thought about hiding in someone's room, and then claiming I found it there to not appear guilty of having laid blame elsewhere. But wait! Maybe, that is how it ended up in my basket of socks. Maybe they were planted. I've been framed!

But this morning, I knew that the pants had just been misplace by myself, but I could not remember where I had put them. I looked everywhere or, as I used to tell the daughters, I guess I obviously had not looked everywhere or I would have found them, but everywhere I could think of. I finally located them on a shelf which I never use for clothes in the laundry closet. I can only think that my mind is now traveling, for I seem to have misplaced it.
To read more on wandering things, go here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A No Noodle Day

I should have known what kind of day it was going to be when I opened up a can of chicken noodle soup and there were no noodles. Not a one. I looked at the photo on the label. Yes, it was chicken noodle soup. Right then, I should have gone back to bed. But nooooo, I had to soldier on.

William was feeling better, but Lauren felt a bit under the weather. After a little first aid on her, I dealt a little with the general house chaos before setting off to volunteer at the thrift store. There, mountains and boxes of donated items were overflowing everywhere. Broken glass, pure junk and Christmas items were mixed in with items of real value. Both my visiting nephew and my son wanted to come to "help", and yet were ready to leave after the first fifteen minutes. And, I would have been happy to have Lauren come get them, except the phone was dead at home, no doubt from the power outage we had for unknown reasons earlier in the day. I experienced my first on the volunteer job injury by accidentally kneeling on broken glass shards that I didn't see. I wonder if I can get workers' comp?

After the shop closed, leaving mountains of stuff still unsorted, we headed to the grocery to take evasive action so that nephew will not starve to death.

"It's obvious that we have different tastes in food," he informed me.

Yes, I told him, I don't only eat white things. And, I'm not a vegetarian. (As one comedian put it, if God didn't mean for us to eat animals, why did he make them out of meat?) Nephew will eat hot dogs, however, but asked me not to say how they made them. And hot dogs are not white, so one point for Nephew.

Driving home, we continued our luck by having a train roll through town. The track runs east-west, and I, going north, cannot get around it without driving a long way out of my way. So we sat. Once home, I prevailed upon the boys to give one last effort and carry up the groceries I had in a basket. Too heavy. So I gave Nephew the lighter basket, and he preceded me up the stairs. Poor thing, his Tourette's causes him to gag somewhat, and on the way up the stairs, he threw up. Into the basket. William had to run around to the front of the house to come in, fearful that he would get it on himself.

Gathering towels to clean up, Anna told me that she was not going to her art class tonight, as she was feeling bad now, too, with a headache and fatigue. Could I please call her teacher? Only, the phone still doesn't work. I cleaned up the vomit, fixed the phone (by unplugging and replugging in the answering machine which must have been zapped by the power surge), put away the groceries, found Tylenol for Anna, called the teacher, and found snacks for the boys, tired out as they were from all their hard work at the thrift store.

And then the final insult. I read my email and found that my YouTube video of the gelding of a miniature horse somehow violates their community guidelines and has been removed. I am on report. I read all the guidelines, and cannot see how it does violate it, unless some "wuss" thinks it is too graphic. Myself, I found it educational and had very many emails thanking me for it. All I can say is "WUSS". (I pulled that word from my childhood. Don't even know what it means. Don't tell me, it'll spoil the mystery of it.) If I mess up again, I'll lose my account. And then sign up with my dog's name.

It has just been a no-noodle day.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Guest Blog by my nephew, Joey

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Today's entry is brought to you courtesy of my nephew, Joey at Lifetime Adventures. Please bop over there to read about his adventures from hunting with his Uncle Joe to living life with Tourette's Syndrome. Please leave an encouraging comment for a new young blogger.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Fair - Continued

He's growing so fast. This slide occupied him for an hour last year, and he went on it over and over, his little face growing red with the strenuous activity. This year, a few times was enough to satisfy him, and he yearned for the rides for which he was not yet tall enough. Maybe next year, I comforted him, all the while happy that he was not yet tall enough to spin crazily in the air.

As to the rest of the people at the fair, I can only say that if you need to develop characters for writing a book, or just like people watching, the fair is your place. I peered at the faces of some of the younger fair ride operators and wondered how they got there. Was their face on a poster of missing kids at StuffMart? What landed these people to life on the road, living in a trailer, pushing red buttons to start a ride? Most seemed kind, yet very bored.

As the evening wore on, crowds of teens began to form and the blaring music began to get to me. Disappointed with the lack of entries in the arts and crafts, almost no entries in the agricultural division, and no other exhibits to view, we decided we'd seen enough.

You may ask why we bothered to attend? Well, to see Anna's art exhibited - taking first place in five categories in the junior division.! William also entered a painted African mask, which also took first place in the "other painted object" category.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Where's My Sense of Adventure?

Somewhere along the way, I changed. Well into my thirties, roller coasters couldn't go fast enough and spinning rides caused me to laugh continuously. This was, of course, in times before coasters could pull G forces sufficient to get you away from the Earth's atmosphere and on your way to the moon. Today's roller coasters no longer roll or coast, rather they test the outer limits of the endurance of the human body.
Sometime after the birth of my daughters, I noticed that spinning rides made me quite queasy, and I was ashamed of my new found weakness. My sense of balance or something changed, and I no longer enjoyed being centrifuged to a wall of a circular room with a floor that dropped away. Rather, I pondered while spinning around if I threw up if it would just drop to the floor, come back on my own face, or worse yet, hit the person across from me.
Sadly, I shake my head when my son asks me to take him on fair rides, and send my older daughter to ride with him. I stand below and pray that the "carnies" put the ride together well and had taken all their medication that day. You think I over-react?
While at this particular county fair, we stood in line to ride a "kiddie" roller coaster in which a sea serpent train traversed a tubular track. The ride operator walked over to a track support and as I watched, he hand tightened a nut on a bolt that had come loose.
"Alright, we're not going to be riding this ride," I told the boy as I dragged him away. "How about the nice slide?"
"Why can't I ride this ride. Why?"
I checked back later, and the nut was again at the end of the 3 inch bolt, ready to fall out. Several moms looked in panic at their kids on the ride as I pointed out the bolt to the kids. "See, this ride is still falling apart. You can't ride it." To my knowledge, the ride is still operating with the man still hand tightening the bolt when he thinks of it.
I bravely climbed aboard the Ferris wheel, figuring it doesn't really spin and I can still handle drops, just not spins. Sitting high in the air, I noticed that large cables hold it together, and I thought of the girl that had her feet severed at a local amusement park on a ride when a cable broke. A ride that my girls rode two $^&$%& weeks before the accident! I did manage to finish my ride and keep my lunch down.
Not so two poor souls that will forever remember the summer they, after a ride, threw up in front of their girlfriends. Not cool. Two young teen boys (at least I think they were both boys, the jury is still out on one of them) could not take the spinning either. Perhaps it's not just a sign of my aging. Perhaps it is a sign of un-coolness.
More on the county fair tomorrow.

Friday, July 25, 2008


In a country that is supposed to be a world leader, our educational system struggles. There are many causes in this complicated topic, and I don't deem to understand or have the answers to it all. I just chose not to be part of it. Reading the paper yesterday, however, I could not believe what I was reading. Locally, the contracts of 18 teachers were not renewed. This has gone to court to force the school district to renew these contracts. Note, I am not saying hire/rehire as from what I've read, these teachers are on contract.

The teachers' union maintains that even if there are serious charges and problems with a teacher, regardless of what happened, each teacher "was still entitled to that 12-week period of time to correct his deficiencies."

Sounds reasonable until you read about the alleged infractions of one of the teachers:

MR, a High School teacher who the district said chewed tobacco during class time, had absentee problems and allegedly was heard threatening to bring a gun to school on May 27, his last day of work. He is charged with terroristic threatening, a second-degree felony, which is pending in court. According to the criminal complaint, R was "aware that this was his last day of employment, (and) was overheard by witnesses commenting that he 'might go home and come back with a gun.' " The complaint states that R said he was "just kidding." Court documents also state that R tested positive twice for alcohol use while at work, and was discharged from a district-required treatment program for noncompliance.

So, it is alleged that he chewed tobacco, doesn't always come to work, threatened to bring a gun to school, didn't have the maturity to know that joking about guns at school isn't done, he's tested positive at work for alcohol and couldn't or wouldn't complete a treatment program. Yes, he certainly (I am about to throw in some satire folks for those of you that read the New Yorker and don't get it) is someone I want teaching my teen daughters.

And he deserves 12 weeks to get his act together? How about that detox program the school district sent him to complete that he did not? Was that not his chance?

Perhaps the school district completely made this all up. Perhaps he is a great teacher and someday someone is going to make a movie about how he motivated inner-city school kids to rise above and 100% of them went to college because someone believed in them. I highly doubt it. As for the union officials, I don't know how you sleep at night.

Disclaimer: this is just my opinion. I'm sure I know nothing about it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Above and Below

Not Yet!

As soon as we entered "Knobby Dobby", I began to feel anxiety. This is a store for shoppers, for people that decorate their house and are good at it. Row after row of decorative items pounded the hammer on my skull reinforcing that I am a decorating disaster. It all was so overwhelming. The tension increased as I helped a daughter pick out scrap booking materials, (her project not mine). I began hyperventilating. I don't do crafts.

Still, I need coat hooks for the front hallway. It really doesn't say much for a household when guests lay their coats on the bed and come back to find a nest of animals huddled in the middle of them. I headed down one last aisle, only to hurry back to my daughter.

"Quick we have to leave."
"What's wrong?"
"I'm going to throw up - they have Christmas stuff out, aisles of it, in JULY."

It was hard enough to try to keep up when Christmas started the day after Thanksgiving. I might as well throw in the towel.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Downward Spiral

It started Sunday morning with noticing that two big breasts of chicken (see, I told you I'd get that in future posts) prevented the door of the freezer in the garage to fully shut. Everything was thawed and blood and purple berry juice was dripping on the floor. We were on our way to a family gathering in another city, so I just shut the door, and we left.

Later in the evening, a line of thunderstorms and possible tornadoes lined the interstate we were supposed to take home. I knew we weren't going to get home before dark, so I called my friend to go lock up the chickens. By the time she had gotten there, a chicken was dead. The raccoon had struck again and it wasn't even dark yet. Likely, the raccoon wanted to go through the drive-through before the storm hit, but the friend and her children had interrupted her order, for the body was still there. When I got home, I confirmed my worst fear - it was Chicken Licken.

I lay in bed that night with the lyrics of "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover" replaced with "Fifty Ways to Kill a Raccoon". I fantasized with rat poison, pellet guns, minor explosives. I dreaded telling William, yet in the morning, he seemed to take the news better than I. He was very sad, but I guess the poor little guy is getting used to loss now and again as a way of life. I promised that we'd try to get another Silkie again. William brightened at that, but said perhaps it might be better not to name the new one Chicken Licken.

Monday was otherwise uneventful, taking Anna's art to the county fair was the highlight. As we pulled into the fairgrounds, it appeared that someone had spilled brownie mix or chocolate milk. Not so. Eugene now sports chocolate paint on his tires.

William also had an entry in the fair - a painted African mask. After handing it over, he began to tear up, having difficulty with leaving it behind. I assured him we'd get it back, but he was not buying it. He was having more difficulty leaving the mask than with the death of Chicken Licken, or perhaps because of it.

On Monday evening, an odor began overpowering the garage - the dripped blood, I would guess. Upon investigation, I found that some genius in freezer design had the drip pan welded to the compressor so that I had to use a spoon and syringe to get the coagulated mess out of there. To top it all off, it was evident that some mice had taken up residence under the freezer and were using the floor as their potty. Lately, I spend more time with Mr. Clean than dh.

Pleased with my efforts, I took a shower and got ready to make dinner. My brother, who is visiting, had requested grilled hamburgers for dinner. My luck continued as I ran out of propane gas halfway through cooking. I finished cooking them in the frying pan, William began to complain of a stomach ache and fell asleep in a chair. Thankfully, he waited until after I had eaten to begin throwing up.

Honestly, I'm afraid to leave the house. What is next?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Stats Up

I have various ways of tracking activity on my blog. Now, before you log off, worried that I'm tracking your every move, I can't tell which specific computers are on my blog, though I'm sure that technology is available. Rather, I look for information as to how a person arrived on my small corner of the blogosphere. Some are direct hits - they knew exactly where they were going. Some followed a link from another blogger's site. Occasionally, someone will Google a word or phrase, and my blog link will come up.

A few of the sites that give me information on site statistics, such as Google Analytics or the Feedjit map in my margin to the right, will actually tell me the keyword the user was searching when they stumbled upon my humble blog. I have learned, in studying these stats, that of the keywords most used, big breasts and sexy hooker shoes are pretty popular. This being a family-oriented blog, I'll not go down the road of what these people were seeking, but I bet it wasn't my blog. However, I think that I'll recommend to new bloggers that if they want a lot of "hits", that they should include the words "big breasts" and "sexy hooker shoes" in every blog.

The Feedjit map is pretty cool - take a look. It shows on a map the country of origin of the most recent hits on a blog.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A New Low

Touching base by phone with a friend yesterday, I hit a new low. Her husband was talking in the background. He said he had a proposition for me. Friend said she wasn't sure she wanted her husband propositioning her friends, but okay, what is it? He offered to come over, climb a tree, and for $5, he'd whistle as I walked by. Surely, that is a new all time low. I have to pay to receive a whistle. Yeah, I'm hot. I offered to bring him some watermelon.

William has forgiven me for the chicken massacre.

We had 9 teen girls, 1 pre-teen girl and one annoying little brother in the house last night for a sleepover, and I survived! (Actually, they were all a joy to have over.)

Dh and I made a fire outside last night, which Daisy loved. As darkness fell, the hackles went up on her back and she took off running - after the raccoon! We saw a dark shadow run towards the woods, Daisy in hot pursuit. Perhaps the dog can keep it away, rather than dressing like a chicken and hiding in the coop as Packsaddle suggests. Besides, my chicken suit is at the cleaners.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I've come full circle. I heard a whistle yesterday as I crossed the street in a downtown area. I used to get whistles. Then came a time when if I did get a whistle, I'd check to make sure my skirt wasn't caught up in the back or I hadn't just passed an octogenarian eating watermelon. Now, I bask in the whistle, knowing I am fully responsible and deserving of a catcall - which is for my two daughters.

Raccoons hit last night. Lost two young hens, fortunately not Chicken Licken. William will be very upset, and I dread telling him because it was my fault. I left one door down on the chicken tractor. That door isn't normally opened, and I am sad I forgot to close it.

...Like a River

As the evening sun played on the water, I thought about how much the river has always been part of my life. It's ironic that my father grew up along side this river, even swimming in it as a child, and now, though it is five miles from my house, I am living along side this same river. In my early professional career, dh and I both worked for a company along the river, and you could see it from my apartment balcony. One of our favorite restaurants while dating was on the river. We hadn't been there in awhile, so we went there to celebrate Lauren's birthday.
Sometimes, the amount of time that has passed shocks me. Just this morning, I was reading a literary agent's blog about "ageism" in publishing. That is, a publisher would rather have a younger author who, if successful, has time left to put out more books. So, if you are say, 50 years or more, it is best not to mention one's age. Not there yet, but a sharp intake of air might or might not have occurred.
Occasionally, I have these panic attacks. It comes on when I reflect on what I've accomplished in life compared to all the women my age that may have taken different paths - perhaps career tracks. And, I wonder, as we sometimes must do, when it is all said and done, what will be said about me? What will I leave behind? And then I remember:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my "little girl" who is now a young woman.
You are everything I dreamed for you and more.

He Flies through the Air With the Greatest of Ease..

William has added to his list of future occupations: trapeze artist. Where he got this, I don't know. I asked if he was going to be in the circus and he got quite agitated. No, I'm not going to be in the circus. I'm going to be on a trapeze. Add this to the growing list of occupations:

  • 'Struction Worker
  • Gymnast
  • Diver
  • Piano instructor
  • Olympic diver
  • Trapeze artist

Dh says it sounds more like he's trying to become one of the Village People. Well, and he does play ball for the YMCA. There you go.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I don't buy watermelon. Well, hardly ever. Occasionally, I'll break down and spend $6 on one piece of fruit to the refrains of "I promise I'll eat it this time". I heave the thing into my cart, and later, watch a child carry it into the house, expecting it to be dropped at any moment. Yet, like the last time I bought one, the watermelon takes up precious refrigerator space, leaking pink water everywhere and no one eats it.

A good friend of mine, however, says that it is one of her family's favorites and she buys watermelon frequently. So, after reading yesterday's news, I had to tease her to find out if there was a reason her family ate so much watermelon:

The nutrients in watermelon can "deliver Viagra-like effects to the body's blood vessels and may even increase libido," according to Science Daily.

On reading further though, I found the following:

The phyto-nutrient called citrulline that relaxes the blood Vessels is found in highest concentrations in the part you generally don't Eat...The watermelon rind. "Would it take like a whole watermelon rind to eat to do any good, you might get yourself sick before you do yourself any good.

Ah, but not if you are small. And are a rooster named Lester the Molester. You see, the family often brings the leftover watermelon rinds to Lester and his hens who eat them greedily. Now I understand Lester's, shall we say, enthusiasm. My friend, having witnessed Lester's brutal assaults, says she's "cutting him off".

No change in Ginny. The vets says it's likely a pituitary problem (with no cure) and may resolve itself.

Monday, July 14, 2008

It tastes...

...a bit bland, maybe a little salty. And, yes, I did.

Anyone for a café au lait?

When the girls come back from the barn, I always ask, "Is anyone dead?" Before you think I'm a bit pessimistic or morbid, with animals you never know what surprise lies in store for you each morning. A perfectly good morning can turn sour in an instant with, "Mom, (name of animal) has a huge cut on his leg" or "I need you to come look at (name of animal) because she's not feeling well". Or, as in the case of this week's challenge (are you up to it?), Ginny - a quarter horse cross - is lactating. That is, producing milk.

I don't mean she's dripping a bit. I mean you can hit someone across aisle in the barn with a stream. To our knowledge, she isn't pregnant. Well, there was that incident last March when the stud jumped the fence and had his way with her, but she'd have foaled by now if the shot we gave her hadn't worked. And he did jump the fence one other time (uh oh) before I threatened to sue the neighbor if he didn't cut off the horse's geld the horse immediately. Could he have made a midnight visit? Nah, she was locked up at night. And she doesn't seem otherwise pregnant.

We've scanned the Internet, because of course all the information a vet might have is on there anyway. Right? Well, it could be mastitis, a tumor on her ovary, a hormonal imbalance, a spider bite, too much clover, a phantom pregnancy, maybe no reason. Glad we have it narrowed down.

But it is milk. One website said that the taste of the milk (is it salty or sweet?) could help diagnose the problem. I told Lauren to let me know. Ewwwww! both girls replied. Yet, when they went to the barn, Lauren held some of the fluid in her hand and with Anna looking on, wondered if she could, maybe she would.... Anna cheered her on. "Do it Lauren, just do it."
In the end, she couldn't do it. Later, I told her perhaps it was a good thing. After all, it could be an infection, and the liquid could be pus. Everyone busted out with grotesque gagging noises and laughter. Who knows? I may have mare's milk for free. Anyone have a recipe for kumis?

Update: The vet says it is unlikely, given the date he gelded the neighbor's horse, that she is pregnant. It is more likely a pituitary problem, and will resolve itself. This might explain why she's had something behaviorally strange going on these last few months.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Junosmom's No Good Very Bad Night

Last night, The girls were at a party, William was already in bed asleep, and dh was watching golf with his eyes closed. After locking up the chickens, I sat on the back deck and watched the rose-colored sky through the trees. Lightening bugs danced around in the dusk, crickets sang, and I tried to think that this peace was what people must have experienced before there were too damn many people in the world.

Not a thought too soon: some moron began setting off firecrackers down the street, which set the redneck neighbor's hound dog to howling, all of which threw my dog, up until now sitting quietly, into a nervous panic as she began licking me to death. Mosquitoes simultaneously began trying to get blood out of turnip by poking me over and over. I gave up and retreated to the air-conditioned indoors. Perhaps I'll move to Australia.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Friday, July 11, 2008

Science Friday: Moths

One time, we found a caterpillar, and without looking it up, kept it alive a few days before it spun its cocoon. Finally, the day came, and out came a wasp-looking creature. What a disappointment. Last year, however, we were lucky enough to hatch a luna moth and a monarch butterfly.

William found this dead moth that looks like it's wearing camouflage:

Given our wasp-like experience, I decided to look up this colorful creature before investing any time in waiting for it to cocoon and hatch. Good thing. It makes a rather plain White-marked Tussock Moth .

Science Friday Challenge
These eggs were found on the topside of a spaghetti squash. What kind are they? (P.S. I don't know the answer! Please send a link.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Am I That Bad?

"You're not using that as a purse, are you?" asked dh.
I know that I'm not a fashionista, and I do fully expect Clinton and Stacey (of What Not to Wear) to abuse my wardrobe some day, but surely I've not sunk so low as to have people thinking I'd use a burlap sack as my purse? Or have I?

And for your information, it contains William's coloring books and crayons.

Me: We are home-based learners.
Anna: We are self-taught geniuses.
Dh: We are home school slackers.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Why God Made Little Boys

To remind one that even when you have bills to pay,
a house to clean, and things to do,
you must still take time to swing in the hammock.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Science Friday - Fungi

A walk in the woods provides a wealth of science studies for the home-based learner. As we walked, we took photos of things we found, wondering aloud if the world as we know it came to an end, could we survive in these woods? Could we find things to eat? Of course, mushrooms are easily found in the woods, but who dares to trust their knowledge of the edible ones?

Here is a photo of chicken or "chicken of the woods" mushrooms, so named because properly prepared, they have a chicken-like flavor. Supposedly, there is no other poisonous mushroom that looks like them.

I'd have to be awfully hungry to fry up some of those.
And these are Turkey Tail Mushrooms. Evidently, whomever named all the mushrooms was thinking about what they'd rather be eating than mushrooms. They aren't very appetizing, but do have a medicinal value, supposedly, (not that I'm recommending).

But one of the coolest things we found was yellow slime mold: Physarum polycephalum, a plasmodial slime mold. Can't eat that! But, what is interesting about it is that it is not a mold nor fungus. It is actually more like an amoeba, and does move, hence slime or a member of the Kingdom Protista. It eats food! It moves! Creepy. Read more here.

Science Friday Challenge
The forest floor is also host to a number of critters. Name this bug:

For really cool information on science, go to Science Friday. Leave a link in the comments for your favorite science website.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Few Clowns Short of a Circus

We call her "Roxie" but her show name is "Dumber Than Rocks". Before you think I'm cruel beyond measure, I love her to death, but you have to wonder about a horse that'll jump up on your back deck and can't find a way to get back down. She's finally learning to get off, but before she did, I'd sometimes come home to find her standing there, wondering how to get down.

It is in her nature to be sweet and loving to humans, but when it comes to intelligence, she's a few fries short of a happy meal. Still, I've never met a horse with a more loving and bright nature. She is perpetually happy and runs to see anyone who might be interested in scratching her or playing.

Which is why when I got home on Tuesday and saw her laying down in the yard I was concerned. Though sitting up, her breathing was shallow and rapid, and her temperature was up to 104.5 deg F, high for a horse. Lauren, who could be an awesome vet, went down to the house and checked our book, How to Be Your Own Veterinarian (Sometimes): A Do-It-Yourself Guide for the Horseman and the Internet. She returned with a theory that Roxie's illness was related to seeing her eating a branch with leaves the day before.

Ah, see the cicadas had caused "flagging" in the trees, the branches dropped down, blew five feet to the dry paddock where Roxie should have been eating her hay, but instead ate the leaves. Black walnut leaves. Which are toxic to horses, causing respiratory distress and eventually, founder if left untreated. These trees had never before posed a threat to our horses, located well outside of the paddock and pasture, and normally, keeping all their leaves on the tree.

Chiron, Roxie's brother and a good deal smarter but cantankerous, did not eat those leaves. He was fine. So what to do about Rox? A small dose of Bute, a pain killer, relieved her, and she remained fine all night. By yesterday, she was back to her happy-go-lucky style. The farrier came to trim her feet and said she appeared normal, except for her always twisted back hoof, common to mini's. Of course, she wanted that we would hold her while her feet were done instead of having to try to do the splits for the farrier who can barely get down low enough to trim her.

Who knew that cicadas could be so dangerous?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Well, she passed. My baby can now get into a car, merge onto the highway, and risk her life driving like the rest of us - all by her self. Just yesterday, she was my baby, so I don't see how this happened. Along with the bitter, there is the sweet. She can now drive herself to piano lessons, perhaps once in awhile drive her sister to art class.

I fought the adrenaline rush as we entered the courthouse, as I was about to encounter the "no pass/no drive" requirements and how that is administered to home-based learners (aka homeschoolers). By law, we are a private school and required only to submit a letter stating that our child has passing grades. It is clearly outlined in the law. Obviously, county clerks are only following direction of the elected official clerk, who is not a lawyer. I expected dull eyes and shaking heads, telling me that I needed a letter from the Board of Education (isn't if ironic that the sound "bored" is paired with education?) verifying that she is in good standing (like they'd know how she is doing).

The line snaked out the door and down the hall. Great, I was going to have an audience for my great debate. I did have that letter, which only verified that I had indeed written a letter last August stating that I was going to homeschool. Now, I had a letter saying I wrote a letter. It does have an impressive embossed seal that the administrative assistant squeezed onto it. I got it as back up insurance, in case they were adamant about having it and so Lauren wouldn't have to wait.

We quickly discovered that our difficulty was not going to be about homeschooling, rather we needed an appointment. Garrr....I'd missed that somehow, but we managed to get the last appointment of the day. We thanked them for fitting us in, and left. No mention of the letter or qualifications, despite a sign outside the door saying that proof of good academic standing was required. Perhaps the test administrator would ask? No. No mention was ever made of it.

Our next difficulty was Eugene, our van. Eugene is like someone that has lived to 100 years. While they may still get around fine, it is doubtful that everything works as it once did. Eugene, like some of us, has a little electrical problems now and again. His blinker to the left is frantic, not the steady blink-blink-blink you'd expect. Little did I know that it also meant that the outside front blinker doesn't work at all. Can't use this vehicle, the woman apologetically explained.

I begged for 10 minutes, time to run home to get the truck. It works! But oh, Lauren would have to parallel park the truck, something we'd not practiced and difficult for even experienced drivers. And the smell! Oh, the smell! Our truck is our farm truck, our drive our horses and dogs truck. And it leaks a tiny bit, okay a lot, when it rains and it has a rather musty odor. And the tester was wearing black pants! Can you say "dog hair"? All the other candidates had arrived in new cars.

Still, we hurried home and as Lauren drove, I covered the seat with a towel and rolled down the windows. The tester was there waiting, and I apologized for our vehicles. "My husband drives our good car," I said, trying to dispel the notion that when we finished, we'd go home to our trailer with a refrigerator on the front porch. They drove off. I sat watching clouds until they returned. She passed, with the tester telling Lauren that she wasn't sure she could have parallel parked the truck.

And so, from a little toddler who would stand and sing us songs, to a young woman that can drive alone, she continues to grow up and away.


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