August 2009 Archives

Listening to

Kitty, Daisy, and Lewis, as seen on Jimmy Fallon. The meadow settings look just like the fields I used to run through with my cousins as a kid. 

We do a lot of this around here


... because there's a toy he wants in it.

Ewan has been carrying around a Target magazine from March because there's a toy advertised in it that he's been lobbying us to buy him. He was reading the prices aloud to Liam.

Ewan has been carrying around a Target magazine from March ...

Liam has already figured out how to subcontract his chores out to Ewan for a depressed wage. Ewan thinks any money, even a penny, is a miraculous thing, and he will put away all of Liam's clean clothes for two cents. 

"I hope he never learns math," Liam told me yesterday.
Liam likes scary stories

I told him that it would take Ewan for forever to buy the toy he wanted at that rate. (Sort of the idea. He has too many.) 

Liam sighed. "I'll buy it for him then," and retrieved the correct amount of money from his bulldog wallet. 

"Thanks, Liam!" Ewan beamed. 

First day of third grade

Day one

... and kindergarten, simultaneously. I've been gearing up to teach two children two different subjects at the same time for a while now. Even though we go year-round with a few breaks here and there, and our house is a lab of learning, today certainly felt like dress rehearsal for two was over. 


Thankfully Liam is patient and can tackle about any assignment I give him without problems. Ewan, on the other hand, likes to climb into your brain and scratch your out the walls of your skull like a squirrel in a tree. (I love him to bits.) He challenges you to challenge him and rewards you with a demonstration of just how smart he really is. He is the most strong-willed child I have ever encountered in my entire life and sometimes I wonder if he's possessed by Donald Trump. No, he doesn't want to write the letter U that way, what is wrong with you? He wants to write them HIS way. Later when he thinks you're not looking he'll write them the correct way and insist that it was HIS way all along. Oh, and also, YOU'RE FIRED. 


Liam resumes his art, Spanish, and gym classes shortly. In a couple of years he'll be old enough to take the science labs associated with our homeschool group, although, I have a secret desire to just order a bunch of lab equipment and turn the dining room into a mad scientist's lair. I did that as a kid; I concocted on-going "experiments" with all my mom's cosmetics and stored them under my bed. The old woman who sat for me one summer, Mrs. Shoe, found them and I thought she was going to whoop me to death. I outran her anyway; the way her knee-high support hose fell down around her ankles when she walked fast was a blessing. 


A few quick things while my afternoon coffee infusion kicks in:
- We're using ABeka this year, again. I love their curriculum and Liam has done so well with it. We are supplementing with Usbourne books, too.

Books on the piano bench

- I use Homeschool Tracker to log all my hours, keep track of curriculum, completed assignments, et al. I researched the various types of software before deciding on this one; it's easy to use, easy to add resources; the basic version is free and the paid version is a good value compared to some others I've seen. I highly recommend it. My only gripe is that there isn't such software for Macs; they're all for PC. I'm running the Homeschool Tracker off my old Dell which isn't the height of convenience, but it's better right now than trying to run it off Parallels or VMware Fusion. The Mac programmer that decides to create such a software for us homeschool Mac users deserves a ticker-tape parade. 

Logging software

- A couple years ago I tried to use a corner of the kids' playroom as the classroom but it was miserable and we hated trekking all the way up to the top of the house for it so we're all back in the dining room. I like it better here anyway, because I'm that much closer to my French Press.

It wasn't such a bad summer

late august evening

It is an evening in August. 

The orchestra of cicadas is all I hear, louder even than the boys in the yard jousting with sticks shed by the tree during last night's storm. They sound like some tiny 80s synth band hidden somewhere up high in the trees. The sound reminds me of shade trees and sitting near my grandparents' propane tank, watching the last Ozark summer sunset before leaving the next morning to go north to home, school. 

It's an evening fit for late September, not mid-August. The breeze is warm with only the slightest hint of chill. It's getting close to that time of year where I can literally taste the season's change in the air. 

It is the quietest, most unassuming evening I've had all summer. 

The boys officially start their lessons next week. They've learned a lot about civics these past several months. 

I tried to think of a non-dorky way to say thank you for the kind emails you've sent, but I can't, so just, thank you. That was so very kind. 

Stranger Danger


Thoughts I had upon viewing this video:

1. All strangers have crooked 70s sunglasses and pron-staches. 
2. I had that same blue Adidas jacket as a kid.
3. The guy singer uses an abundance of product. 
4. The girl lied about not knowing strangers. How can you not know but then know that your parents told you not to talk to them? YEAH. 
5. The guy in the red Corvette likely never got a date again after this. 
6. Many strangers look like Kenny Rogers.

Picture 4.png
7. Some look like Freddie Mercury. 

Picture 1.png8. The puppets were introduced too late and way underused.
9. The guy lost his magic towards the end of the video, but then I think anyone would when they realized that their public service video-rocketship to rockstardom was bogarted by puppets. 
10. My parents showed me every embarrassing coming-of-age video possible as a "learning about myself" tutorial. Had they seen this I'm sure they would've recorded it on the VCR.  

HCR with Sen. Gillibrand

My latest for Momversation on health care reform. Mind you, people like me don't oppose some measures of healthcare reform - portable insurance, tort reform, the freedom to purchase insurance across state lines, et al. - please take the time to read the Patients Choice Act which I think is a brilliant alternative to what is currently being proposed. 

I said that we're not opposed to HCR; what we are opposed to is this legislation as it grants the executive branch an exponentially unprecedented amount of power. These are the times when I wish the episodes could last for an hour because it's really difficult to explore such a complex issue within minutes.

I also dispute the approval percentage (and the 47 million statistic) given in the episode's description; the majority of Americans are actually opposed to this legislation:

My husband and I are also small business owners and we've gone through periods of being uninsured. We've had trouble attaining coverage due to Liam's asthma; oddly, too, when Liam was born, our previous provider refused to cover him due to his not be enrolled at the time of service. I know, right? Wrap your brain around that! 

The ultimate summertime song, period.


This reminds me of sitting on my aunt's porch eating a Fourth of July Bomb Pop, listening to my cousin play Will Smith on his portable tape deck and to the cicadas in the trees. 
While wearing jellies



"The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,

a violent breeze

And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before.


The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,
Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.


You could not tell, and yet it looked as if
The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff,


The cliff in being backed by continent;
It looked as if a night of dark intent


Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.


There would be more than ocean-water broken
Before God's last Put out the Light was spoken."

- R. Frost, "Once by the Pacific"

Reading in their shelter from the storm.

In exile-of-sorts

but carrying on. 


A new disparity in everyday tasks. 


I'm glad that the boys aren't aware of the awfulness which can exist out there, people who aren't liberal enough to accept diversity in thought. They will someday, though, and I hope their hearts are strong enough to take it. Sometimes I wish life was as simple as Legos and people were as kind and good as they were when we played make-believe as kids.


When you can't escape into that make-believe world anymore, that's when you grow up. 


It's both a good and a bad thing. 

Comments will be closed indefinitely and sadly I've changed permissions on many of my photos. When the winds calm ... perhaps.


I know things have been light here a bit; things have been a bit weird at home. 

OK, a LOT weird. 

I'm dealing with a lot of things right now, like this, and when you get various threats simply for exercising your First Amendment rights, the last thing you want to do is put out a glimpse of what is going on in your private life right now. 

I'm feeling too many things at the moment to put into words. How weird it is to be a blogger and part-time radio host and have to have help with your security because people don't like dissent? It's messed up. I'm expected to not talk about such things here. On my own website. Because I get hatemail and it gives the folks who don't know me but like to gossip on their sites anyway more fuel. 

I'm accepted and liked by some not as a whole person but only as a part. It was fine until bits of another facet of me began to pop up here and there in things I'd written. It's all good so long as I deny a part of who I am for the comfort of those who profess diversity. There needs to be more open-mindedness in this country. 

This site cannot be a respite for me if I'm expected to act like everything that's gone on in the past several weeks hasn't happened. It can't be good reading, either, if I have to censor myself. 

These are weird times. 

(If some of my photos don't come up it's because I changed the permissions on them. Sorry.)

Foam that remembers!

The other day we were at The Sam's and after buying lettuce and a sack of limes (mama needs them with her drinks!) we wound up in the lightbulb/mattress aisle looking at foam mattress covers.

We need a new mattress. We have not gotten one for three very simple reasons:

1. Mattresses are very expensive and I am very cheap. I wish I could just steal the Sheraton's mattress and get it over with but that means I'd have to DRIVE to get it home, as opposed to flying or some other faster means of travel, and I'm too lazy to drive through boring flat land for six hours for a mattress. By the way, I am cheap, but am also not rich, which is a polite way of saying that in this economy after paying bills and feeding kids and saving a pittance every month I am broke.

2. Our bed is one California king (why not Texas?) bed made of two beautiful antique wood frames and headboards situated together to make a cool-looking sleigh bed. Chris would have to CUT IT CUT MY BEAUTIFUL BED to modify it to fit a regular king or Cali king mattress and I just can't allow it for reasons that are unclear to me.

3. I thought I had three reasons but really, only two. Sorry.

I have spent the better part of five years watching Chris construct ways to hodgepodge the two twin mattresses in our room into one. Sunday we got this weird, thick, and heavy memory foam and some pillowtop thing to go over it, having flattened the other crap we had over it, and it made the bed heavenly. Not Heavenly, just heavenly. The Westin has Heavenly.

I worked from my bed all day yesterday. The boys were sweetly understanding that mommy had to work full time ll last week and most of the week before that, before she went out of town, so they knew that I had to sew my laptop to my head. Yesterday was the first full day back that I've had to decompress and I literally spend the majority of my afternoon in my bed with the memory thing on top and the pillow thing on top and ohmygawd my back felt so much better sleeping on that. And also my backside. I don't have a backside, I have two hambones fashioned together to make a derriere. So I sat in bed and worked and the boys brought me books and we read and then I tried to cajole Ewan into taking a nap with me but he said no. I let him color my fingernails with a red crayon and that bought me about twenty minutes of solid nappage.

My other nap tricks (all activities can be done while sleeping) include: Make a Portrait of Mommy, Operate On Mommy's Back (back massage FTW!), Sleeping Beauty (or Rescue the Sleepy Princess, as Ewan calls it) and Playing Dead.

It was a glorious day.

I want to move my entire operation to this bed. It's big enough to accommodate the entire family. It's in one of my most favorite sunny rooms in the house with a view of the entire block.

The memory foam stuff feels totally alien to me. I spent the better part of 20 minutes repeatedly squishing it with my hands right when we put it on the bed. Later the boys climbed on top to make memory foam angels, impressions of which lasted only seconds. When I sleep on it I don't toss and turn and get massive bed head trying to get comfortable. I went to sleep in one position and literally woke up in that EXACT SAME POSITION. That never happens. It was sort of creepy. I can't tell you who makes the stuff, having deconstructed the box and stuffed it into the recycling bin already, but if you ever have the opportunity to get memory foam anything, DO IT.

Powered by Movable Type 4.1




Dana asks: "Thanksgiving Traditions: Yours or Your Mother's?"