Tuesday, April 29, 2008

14 Years Ago Yesterday

I woke up at 4:30 having contractions, but calm, cool and collected despite the fact that the hospital was ONE HOUR away. Waited to wake up Greg 'cause I figured we had lots of time. We finally got on the road at 6 am. Got into the room at the hospital at 7. Joel was born 30 minutes later, after only 2 pushes, all 10 pounds, 8 ounces of him. 8 hours later we were heading home with our new little guy. Easy-peasey, lemon-squeezy.

I have a theory that my labor and births correlate with the personality of the child. In Joel's case (more about the others another time), that is so true. He is an easy-going, happy, laidback guy. Labor and birth were all of those things as well.

What a joy this boy is to us. Thanks be to God for the blessing of Joel!

Doing Things the Hard Way

I have a computer and it has Microsoft Excel on it. I'll bet that's a really cool program, but using Excel for a recent project not only led to me doing 6 times the work, but also I made SIX mistakes. Since this project was about crediting people's tuition accounts, everyone was hoping to get the real amounts. Not only did I make mistakes on SIX accounts, but ONE of them was MINE (shorted myself over $150!). One conscientious person questioned her total and so I redid the project, WITHOUT Excel, and got the right answers. Of course it's not Excel's fault that I don't know how to use it and of course it's not Microsoft's fault that the book I checked out of the library on how to use Excel WASN'T FOR THE MAC.

I'll tell you. Sometimes computers are more trouble than they are worth.

Nascar Fans being hit Hard with Gas Increases

I listen to talk radio while I cook supper. Today a well-meaning tree-hugger called in with an idea: Let's have the Guv'ment BAN Nascar for 2 years to SAVE ON GAS. The two hosts thought it was a pretty stupid idea, but I think that was mostly because the guy didn't have any of his ducks in a row. Didn't know how much gas the cars even use. One of the callers after him said HE had heard them Nascar racecars actually get NEGATIVE gas mileage. Didn't explain how that was possible, but wow, what a concept!

Interesting idea, but let's not have the government involved in this, hey? Do we REALLY want to give control of this over to the people who think it's a good idea to spend $41.8 MILLION dollars on a letter to say, hi, you'll be getting an economic stimulus payment sometime, maybe, but we're not going to tell you how much or when. See ya later.

Read more about the woes fans are experiencing here.

Perhaps some of the fans, especially the guy who can't believe his fuel cost is going to actually exceed his BEER cost, might consider not going to the races cause it's expensive to drive big ol' motorhomes that get like 4 mpg.

I admit I'm not a Nascar fan and I wouldn't drive 1/4 mile to see a race. Probably wouldn't even go out the back door if the race was right in my backyard, but I am surely not a Nascar Fan. I also am not denigrating Nascar fans in general, but I have to admit some of them say some pretty amazing things. Nascar is probably pretty darn cool if you like that kind of thing, so there's a place for it.

But, I'd say, let's let the Nascar teams worry about how much the gas is costing, let the motorhome drivers worry about how much it is going to cost to get to the races, and the rest of us can figure out how in the heck we are going to continue to pay those prices at the pump.

I'm feeling like it's time to get creative.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fine Arts Night

Last night, my daughter's hard work in chorus saw fruition as they performed at the Fine Arts Night program. Students played the violin, piano, electric guitar, harp, flute and several students sang, beautifully. Student artwork was displayed around the room - wow, can some of these students create some beautiful stuff or what. I was proud to be associated with an organization that is dedicated to preserving and displaying beauty in a time when a lot of what we hear and see is not beautiful.

New Song on my Playlist

I've added "Untitled Hymn" by Chris Rice. I love this song. Last night, I attended the Fine Arts Night of our homeschool group. A recent graduate danced to this song. It was very beautiful. I hope it encourages you.

My First Movie Review: Lars and the Real Girl

Don't watch it.

Musings about Ryan Gosling

He stars in a movie called Lars and the Real Girl. LATRG wasn't bad, exactly. It's just the second movie I have watched starring Mr. Gosling and I have realized that he must choose his movie scripts based on the following criteria:

1. I don't have to say many words. As few as possible.
2. I have lots of opportunities to make great facial expressions and express my innermost thoughts just through the contortions of my face.

The other movie was one where he played a teacher who was a drug addict.

So, even though LATRC had some sweet parts and a relatively good story, the acting wasn't great, the movie was kind of weird, and you had to wait a long, long time to get to the resolution of the movie.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Since I Last Wrote

Well, it's been a quiet weekend around here. Compared to my friend Carla, who started Saturday morning with a piano recital at 8 am, then headed off to a soccer game for her older son, then got a phone call from the lady at the state competition for piano who informed her that her sons were coming up soon in the program and she should get there asap (she had forgotten about this). Then when they got home, they had company for dinner, and the company stayed late so they didn't get to make their pinewood derby car so they had to do that Sunday morning. Ugh. I am so glad I don't have such a schedule.

So, Friday night I attended a concert for which my mom was the accompanist. Saturday night, we attended a Seder dinner at my mom and dad's house. Sunday, we went to church and out to lunch, then I spent some time with my dear hubby in the afternoon but only after we delved into some v-e-r-y s-c-a-r-y territory where he mentioned that he doesn't actually like or dislike what I wear; he just accepts it. This revelation came at a time when I am feeling like everything I wear looks terrible on me because I need to lose some serious weight. You have to understand that Greg is not your stereotypical husband who is clueless in many areas, and/or demanding in many areas. He is a kind, loving, caring, thoughtful, supportive guy, pretty much 24/7. So it was a shocker for him to acknowledge that maybe there's something to be desired in how I dress.

I used to dress nicely. I used to have a lot more places where it was the norm to dress nicely. But since we have been going to an ultra-casual church for 5 1/2 years and I don't work outside our home, most of my dressy clothes have gone by the wayside for one reason or another. Finally, it got to the place where I had only one nice outfit for colder weather, and no nice outfits for warmer weather.

Coincidental to all of this, I realized that taking care of my appearance is one of the things I have relegated to the back burner, as I have gradually done away with more and more things that really take care of me, or things that I enjoy. That realization came last week and I went right out the next day and bought some things that are not t-shirts, not jeans, and actually could be considered pretty. Went out again Saturday and bought a couple more things. So when I went to church Sunday morning (at the new place) I chose to wear a skirt. I felt better about myself, having taken time to choose something pretty to wear.

The other big trauma from the weekend was clothes shopping with Val, my 15-year-old. Perhaps because of my example, she dresses very casually almost all the time. And with few to no occasions that require anything dressy, her wardrobe is very casual. Her choir will be singing next week and she needed a black outfit. So off we went to get her one. We did great on the top and skirt part, but things got very grim when we went shoe shopping. I was determined to buy something inexpensive because I have bought several items that have been worn once or even nonce and I know she does not like to wear dress shoes. I had something specific in mind, and felt like I chose a pair that was a reasonable compromise between what she would like to have and what I felt like was appropriate. I am not pushy when it comes to clothes. I was getting tired though and wanted to be done with shoe shopping especially because I could see we probably were not going to come to agreement. I declared that THESE were the ones we were going to buy.

Her reply was . . .

"You can buy them, but that doesn't mean I'm going to wear them."

This did not sit well with me, and more words were exchanged between the two of us, and then silence ensued. I did not buy them. I pouted in silence for a couple of hours until I finally calmed down enough to realize that the amount of trouble she gives me is miniscule and the amount of pleasure and joy she brings is vast and I was wrong to be holding on to my anger.

The next morning she and I were walking on the trails at the park, playing our "what If" game where we ask each other hypothetical questions. One question came up which gave both of us the opportunity to acknowledge that we would like to take back what we said around and about the shoes issue, and forgiveness was offered on both sides.

So, we are back on track. She has black shoes to wear Friday night (some I already had), and I am reminded of what a joy she is to me.

Today, instead of my fat jeans/loose t-shirt outfit I have been wearing incessantly, I put on a pretty shirt, and a pretty pair of pants, and NOT running shoes. I even put on earrings, and felt like an impostor adult for a little white. Amazing what clothes can do for you.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

When I Relax, I Feel Guilty

That's the title of a book written sometime in the last 20 or 30 years. I've never read beyond the title, but the concept resonates with me.

More than 3 people have told me that they don't understand why I am so hard on myself about reading novels. They look at me with confused faces and ask what could be so bad about reading a novel? Indeed.

Well. IF you have a to-do list that ain't to-done, and IF you have a special needs child that will do well with one hour of personal attention from mom in a day and even BETTER with two or three or four hours, and IF you homeschool four students, and IF you are a stay-at-home mom who never is caught up on laundry, meal planning, cleaning, or decluttering, I SUPPOSE a case could be made that you don't really have time to relax.

But I SUPPOSE a case might also be able to be made that ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES SIOUXSIE A DULL BOY. Not to mention a FAT BOY, a STRESSED-OUT BOY, and an UNHAPPY BOY.

And we know that if MAMA ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. Eh? Full of pithy sayings this a.m.

Well, MAMA ain't happy.

In a big-picture sense, I have an appreciation for the blessings I experience every day -- my cool husband, my great kids, my comfortable home, my excellent health, music, sunshine, sweet memories, and many more too numerous to mention. In a day-to-day sense, though, I see that embracing the idea that I SHOULD feel guilty when I relax really sucks (sorry mom if you read this). REALLY. sucks.

I made a list last night of things I have enjoyed over the years, such as singing in a band, working out and lifting weights, spending time in the wilderness, wearing clothes I really like, making things, playing games, and others. I found that many of the items on that list are not things I am making time for right now. Why? Is it because I don't want to be happy, as a friend suggested yesterday? Is it because I am afraid that I am doing something wrong if I don't have my Responsibility Meter in the red zone? Is it because I don't think I deserve to do things that I enjoy? Is it because it's a lot easier to choose things that provide momentary pleasure, such as ice cream, and really only take a minute or two, and can be stuffed into a responsibility-driven day?

I'm just back from a walk. I feel great. I'm listening to my blog music -- all songs I really love. Walking is relaxing. Listening to my music is relaxing. Blogging is relaxing. There's a little nagging feeling in there that says I BETTER get moving since I'm supposed to be somewhere at 10, actually two places, or even three, but I'm only planning to go to the one place.

Today the step I will take to treat myself nicer is to send my ipod, which currently is in a coma, to iRescue to see if it can be fixed. The music on my ipod makes me smile. And I think smiling is something I want to do a whole lot more of.

Enjoy your day. Take good care of yourself. Love yourself and the people who are in your life. I will if you will.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


That is the sound of a whip. Pretty good, eh?

Have come to an important realization today that when I was a little bitty thing I got this idea that I should not have fun because I needed to be very responsible for many things in the life of my family. Actually, I already knew that. What I realized today is that I have, in a sense, put myself into that same place through decisions made as an adult. More later. I just didn't want to forget this idea because changes are necessary. (That's not what the whip is about. I'm just usually feeling behind and guilty and the whip keeps me in line. Sort of.)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Visited a New Church Today

As my huge blog readership knows, we have been at the same church since September 2002. It is a medium sized church, meeting in a school, and is made up of many 20-somethings, and a very few people over 40. Not that there's anything wrong with 20-somethings, or people who haven't read the Bible (not necessarily the same thing), but after 5 1/2 years of going to a church where there are few to no people on the same road as us, and after 5 1/2 years of sermons, I mean "talks," directed toward very young Christians, I thought maybe we should check out another place.

There is a church about 15 minutes from here where we know a LOT of people -- more actually than the church we have attended for 5 1/2 years. The reason we know so many people is that there are many homeschoolers who are in a similar place in life as we are. Also, our beloved basketball team has many families who attend this church.

I grew up in a fundy church, which although it had its problems, it definitely gave me a church home. We shared so many things with the people in our church, and we met Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and Wednesday nights. So, the people we went to church with were part of our lives more than just Sunday morning. At our present church, we rarely if ever see church people outside of Sunday morning, and I find life to be so busy that I must spend time with people I am going to see naturally, due to school or activities.

So, this morning we visited the new church. I had heard they have a special needs Sunday school class, and I was keen to take advantage of this for The Little Guy. He is with us, pretty much 24/7, and I am needing a break. Maybe that sounds terrible to those of you who only go to church to worship God and give of yourselves. But I prayed this morning that I would not continue to feel so alone at church. We were greeted warmly and accompanied to the sunday school rooms. I saw numerous people I know. I felt comfortable at this church.

Sunday school was looming large and scary for The Webkin Queen, but I had determined if the greeter offered us Sunday school I was going to take advantage of it, because I wanted to accept what was offered. TWQ was really sad and really did not want to go into the classroom, and the teacher brought one of the other girls out, who was very friendly and kind, and TWQ told me afterwards that she was really glad I had made her go. This was a great relief to me -- I want her to have some experiences with other Christian friends, and I think she can have that at this place.

I can't remember my pseudonym for my 12-year-old, let's just call him "Eli." His class was a little different. His teacher had some pretty black and white beliefs and Eli came out with some questions about whether or not Catholics are really going to hell because they pray to Mary. Ouch. We all went out to lunch and discussed the things he heard in his class and I think it ultimately was a good thing for him to be exposed to that stuff as long as we were able to debrief it. Not sure it's going to be a good thing for him to be exposed to it week-in and week-out. We shall see.

The older two kids went to our regular church, but my daughter is keen to go to the new place next week when I mentioned that I had seen one of her basketball teammates at the new place.

Maybe we sound really shallow, but I suspect that the only ones reading this know that we are not. Life is busy, and in order for me to be able to contribute to a church, I am going to have to be somewhere where I can build relationships that are not just separated from every other aspect of my life. It's too hard to be so spread out, with homeschooling the kids and having THAT group of acquaintances and friends, and dealing with special needs and having THAT group of acquaintances and professionals, and being on sports teams and dealing with THOSE groups of acquaintances and friends. Sounds just so lovely to me to have some of those groups overlap.

We're going back next week.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Family Room of Our House

My dear husband, Toyota T., bought this house without me even seeing it. I think he did a great job. He loved two things about this house: the yard, and the family room. This room has windows on three sides, and is on the west end of the house so it gets some lovely natural light all year long.

When we first moved in, one wall was red brick, presumably the outside wall of the house at some point, the floor was 1950's green patterned linoleum, there was a screen door between the kitchen and the family room and the counter opening between the two rooms was divided with some fancy plexiglass panels. 9 years later, we have painted, added carpeting, removed the door and plexiglass, and incorporated it into the rest of our house, year-round.

Since we all love this room, we have added more and more stuff to it. Finally, at the breaking point, we had two couches, the tv and components, the tv cart, a dresser, several little drawer units, a toy corner, a bookshelf, a telescope, a tub filing cabinet, both computers, a glider, and, finally, a 6 foot by 4 foot desk for me to use (translate: cover completely with stuff). I had added the desk because I thought my problem was that I didn't have any drawers at my desk. That's a good one.

As you can see from the above photo, we had this room jam-packed. I finally realized that the drawers in the desk apparently weren't doing me any good at all since my desk was constantly covered in stuff, and I mean deep.

When I decided to apply "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful," I saw that my really big desk was turning out to be neither useful nor beautiful. I began to transport almost everything out of the room. I've read that in several books -- take everything out of the space before figuring out what you want there.

After removing the majority of the stuff in the room, I ended up with the two couches, the dresser (now holding the tv instead of the tv cart), one table holding two computers and two printers, the tub file, and two drawer units. I also gleaned a table from my mom which fit perfectly in the corner and is now holding several houseplants.

The room is now open, and everyone loves being in here. I think the clutter was really getting to everyone, and even though no one had to use my desk for anything, the heap of stuff was frustrating everyone. I think the thing that finally got me to make a change was that I could never find anything I was looking for. I spent so much time looking for things. It drove me crazy.

The good thing about this room now is that it is REALLY easy to pick up. To get this photo, I had to pick up a wristwatch from the table, and a pair of socks. Otherwise, there's nothing else in this end of the room and this is where we all sit to watch TV.

The only secret to my success that I can claim is that I have a lot less stuff in this room and it is very easy to see when something is out of place. My family can even easily clean up this room because it is so obvious when something doesn't belong. I highly recommend it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Decluttering Update

I know you must be wondering what the next step is in the decluttering road I've taken.

It's called: hit a roadblock.

I haven't yet told you all my wonderful success of clearing out the family room and part of the basement, and the kitchen. But I've had some wonderful success clearing out the family room, part of the basement, and kitchen.

That was on spring break. Since then, I have realized that my newfound love of decluttering is having to be subsumed to the minutiae of the day.

Today I will spruce up the decluttered family room, give a nod to the part of the basement that has been cleared out, and tell myself that I am STILL decluttering even if I haven't taken a carload of stuff to Goodwill lately.

And, I j-walked this morning, so I'm good for exercise today. (J-walking is interval training consisting of 200 steps walking, then 200 steps jogging. I love it. It's not pronounced jaywalking. But jwalking.)

I have been worrying about whether or not to go lo-carb again. I realized this morning that a high protein diet PROBABLY isn't any worse for me than a high junk food diet might be, so I'm back on high protein.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Update on The Fragrant Car

I've been in the car twice today. The first time I didn't notice any smell at all. The second time I put my nose on alert when I got in the car and I smelled the faint fragrance of the dryer sheet. So, either the whole dryer sheet as deodorizer thing lasts 3 days per sheet, or it calms down after one day and leaves a nice subtle fragrance for awhile. I vote it's the second one.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Dryer Sheets

I just read a handy little household tips book and learned that you can just toss a dryer sheet under the front seat of the car to freshen it up from the stale french fry smell. I gave up dryer sheets for Lent many years ago and never picked them up again, but I thought this sounded like a cool idea. At the grocery store, The Absent Minded Professor and I gave the generic dryer sheets the sniff test and unanimously chose "Fresh" instead of Mountain Spring, Spring Flowers, or Hand Spring. Today, we tossed a sheet under not only the dryer sheet, but also the passenger seat! If one is good, TWO must be better!

The rest of the day, every time I got in the car, I thought to myself, "Hey, was someone in this car? It smells funny." I will give it a few more days to see if I can get oriented to the "fresh" smell. If not, I'll really toss the dryer sheets. "
The car didn't even smell in the first place, actually. I've heard it said, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it." But I really really do not like unpleasant smells. On the other hand, I really really do not like fake smells.

I'll let you know as soon as I decide!

Read About This in the Waiting Room Today

So, if you don't have time to follow the link (click on the title of this post), I'll just summarize. A "man" who used to be a "woman" is now "pregnant." I saw this in People magazine. He looked pregnant to me. I hesitate to comment on this story since it's relatively bizarre, but I thought you should know.

Really, my favorite line was when he said he couldn't find any "manternity" clothes.

Commandment #9


Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness (Lie)

Sorry. I've been telling people for quite some time now that The Little Guy threw away one of our tv remotes and one of our telephones. I really believed what I was telling people. I didn't mean to lie. Does that make any difference? I would certainly think so.

Turns out that missing phone (missing for several months) magically reappeared in the kitchen on Sunday. No one in the house seems to know where it came from. Hopefully, none of them are bearing false witness. Two wrongs do NOT make a right, I know.

So, the truth is, I don't think he threw it away. Cause we still have it. The remote is still missing. Not only that, but our DVD remote also recently disappeared. What do you suppose happened?

I am Woman, Hear Me Roar!

Hey, guess who just exercised? Yes, ME!

I tried to find a good photo of a fit babe on the internet, but got all tangled up in wondering if I was going to be stealing someone else's copyrighted work. So, you'll just have to use your imagination.

And yes, I do feel better.

And yes, I do feel stronger.

And yes, it is much easier to eat pizza and chips. They don't make my feet hurt. Ever.

However, I am proud to say that I -- MOTATED!

Have a good day.

More on Exercise

I actually love to exercise, especially once I've done it for a week or two.

I love that way it makes me feel like I am taking care of myself.

I love being outside and experiencing the elements, whether cold or hot.

I love the feeling of strength that exercising gives me.

I love seeing the scale register a lower number when I exercise.

But am I currently exercising? No. I was walking in the mornings last week with my daughter, VVV, but she inconsiderately got a blister which made it impossible to walk a mile in my shoes (which she was wearing at the time).

I have a treadmill in the basement. I hate the treadmill.

I have a park near my house, but it's boring to go by myself, especially since my ipod is currently in a coma, unable to communicate with me.

So, here are the things that are holding me up:

1. I want to have the perfect set-up; time of day; clothing; type of exercise; temperature.
2. I feel like I weigh so much now that exercising is hopeless.
3. Exercising takes a lot of time out of my day, which already feels like it's squashed into a smaller window than 24 hours.
4. I'm embarassed that I have lost significant weight twice now and gained it back. Why keep losing it if I'm only going to gain it back?
5. I think there is some magic philosophy out there that if I could just find it I could exercise daily forever without ever missing a day and could reach the perfect, most comfortable weight, and stay there forever.

Do I sound like a 6-year-old or what? Sometimes I don't want to be all grown-up. Sometimes I feel like my responsibilities are overwhelming. Exercising TAKES CARE OF ME, but I still find it easier to eat leftover pizza and Tostito's than to exercise. Well, guess what. It IS easier to eat leftover pizza than it is to exercise.

I've inspired myself, believe it or not. Me and the TLG are going out for a walk right now. See you later!


No, I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, thank you. But enough that I had a dream that left me pretty angry. And I've got this list of "plagues and nuisances" (thank you EJ for that fine list title) that are plaguing me and annoying me greatly.

1. I have alertly trained The Little Guy to go to sleep in my arms, drinking water from a baby bottle. He's like 27 months old, so the baby bottle thing can't last forever. I actually like that he takes the bottle to go to sleep because I have this fear that he isn't going to get enough to drink otherwise since he's not big into cups. But I think I've really put myself in a pickle. He can also go to sleep riding in a car, and very occasionally, lying on the floor. He can even fall asleep for his nap while watching a Veggie Tales video. For the present and immediate future and distant past, we have climbed into bed together in the evening and I have perched the bottle across my chest, while he has snuggled and happily gone to sleep. But, I don't really want to go to bed with my baby every single night. Some say this won't last forever and he's only little for awhile. But since he has DS, I wonder how I am going to get him to give this up, now that I have so firmly entrenched it in his understanding of what it means to go to sleep.

2. I lost some weight last summer, using my tried-and-true low-carb eating method. But, as the other times I have used this method, after awhile, I think I am going to literally starve if I don't get more food. Sadly, I gained all the weight back over the course of the fall and now I am SO uncomfortable. It's mainly that I've gained a lot of weight in my stomach (ba-a-a-a-d place to gain weight), and I find that very uncomfortable. But at this point, do I do low-carb again? Do I modify it to stave off the feeling I eventually have of starving? And how do I fit exercise into my life? A few times up and down the stairs isn't going to cut it!

See, I told you I was grumbling.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Fussing About Education for THIS Year

Having to post a bit of a rant here. I'm sure I've mentioned the AMP (Absent-Minded Professor) here? My 13-year-old son? He has one class, Composition, that he doesn't really enjoy much. That mystifies me because he truly loves to write. I have TWO kids in this program, and between them they have NINE teachers. THREE of the teachers changed partway through the year. TWO of the teachers are shared by both kids. ONE teacher is shared during the same hour. ONE teacher is shared but on a different day. Got all that? Every teacher has their own method of communicating. Some email the parents AND the students. Some email the parents only. There is no standard method of communication. So, I have NINE teachers to keep track of. Here's the problem. More than ONE of the AMP's teachers tells him different things at different times. The AMP does not take notes and never has any written documentation to take back to the teacher to say hey here's what you said last time.

VickiVonVicki overheard AMP's composition teacher talking the other day about how AMP isn't going to make it next year if he doesn't start engaging with what he's doing. And AMP's history teacher told me the other day that AMP is drifting off to sleep during class. AMP says he only looks like he is sleeping but he is actually taking notes, which he showed me today.

My irritation relates to two things: 1. changing assignments, and 2. issues staying unresolved so long that "proof" papers have been discarded or lost.

AMP had a quarterly reading project due at the end of third quarter. The syllabus was unclear and I made him do it the first week of third quarter. At that time, he had a long list of possibilities for the assignment. He did one of the possibilities: "Write a two-page summary of the book." He turned it in. The teacher gave it back and said it wasn't due but he could turn it in later. Which he did. Here are the comments on the paper: "AMP, This is a summary of the book, which I don't need. The assignment was to give me a paper on the themes of the book or the way the character grows throughout the book, in 3-5 pages. I need a new draft, edited and with the changes. It is due in 2 weeks." On the syllabus, however, here is the assignment: "Write either a prologue, afterward, or alternate ending." The original full-page list of possibilities, handed out in late December, has been lost or possibly thrown away.

I find sorting all of this out very very confusing and frustrating. The kid did the assignment ages ago; we no longer have the library book obviously; and I think the two weeks is coming up right pronto, but there are no dates to look at.

I like this teacher, but what I'm making up about his attitude toward AMP is that he thinks AMP is a slacker, and should know how to do these things right the first time. His notes often say things like "We went over this in class." "I already told you this."

On his last grade report, he says he did not receive a bibliography assignment, and consequently the AMP only received a C+ in the class. He suggested that if AMP could show him the graded bibliography, the grade could be brought up from a zero to whatever he received on the assignment.

AMP is severely challenged to get THIS week's assignment turned in THIS week. To ask him to come up with something he did or may have done 6 weeks ago is out of the question. This grade does not reflect the abilities or efforts of this child.

And that is my biggest frustration with this program that AMP and VVV have been in this year.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Musing about Educational Options for Next Year

We used to say that we would take each child's needs into account each year and do whatever was best for each child, educationally. One year, Kids 1-4 were in public school until fourth quarter, when we withdrew ActionJackson. This was when TheLittleGuy was a newborn, but this was clearly the best thing for ActionJackson.

This past year I have had two children VickiVonVicki (age 15) and The Absent-Minded Professor (age 13) in a homeschool co-op type thing, but it's more like school "light." They go to class two days a week and then work on assignments the other three days. (Theoretically.) ActionJackson (age 12) and WebkinQueen (age 9) have been home full-time along with TheLittleGuy. There have been both pros and cons, but a RILLY RILLY BIG CON has been all the driving I have had to do.

A typical week had me driving the kids 12 miles Monday morning to their classes, working the morning at a part-time job, then hanging around until 2 to drive VVV and her friends another 9 miles to practice. Drive 9 more miles home, then leave shortly thereafter back to class location to pick up AMP from Spanish. Total Monday driving time: 2 hours. Tuesday total driving time: about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Wednesday: 2 1/2 - 3 hours. Thursday: about 1 1/2 hours unless we had a game in Timbuktu -- add an additional 2 hours. Friday: about 1 to 1/2 hours plus another 2-4 (yes, driving) if we had a game. Did you get all that? Let's add it all up: Some weeks I drove as many as 12-14 hours JUST driving the kids here and there.

After basketball season ended, I began to regain some semblance of sanity, slowly. And I started thinking that maybe it's not worth it for me to drive the kids to these classes twice a week. Maybe I should actually homeschool them at home. I began to look into Sonlight Curriculum.

What I have loved about their classes is the strong emphasis on a Christian worldview. But I don't think this has been the very best setting for the AbsentMindedProfessor. He finds the classes relatively boring, and has a very very hard time getting his work done and turned in all in one fell swoop. I have been a super duper micro-manager this year helping him get his work done and into his backpack.

The schedule for next year is finally posted on the internet. There are two locations for this program and we have gone to the northernmost one, even though the other one is much closer to home. This decision was made due to social considerations.

The closer location has a great schedule next year. VVV would get to take a Christian worldview class from a teacher I GREATLY respect, and AMP could take Spanish III at this location (but not the other). Also, the closer location's meeting days do not conflict with basketball practice days, which would be a great bonus. Another bonus: AMP's composition class would be taught by another teacher from whom I would LOVE for him to learn. Cons include having to get to know a whole new group of kids, and missing friends from the northern location. Plus, at either location, it is a relatively expensive program.

I'm leaning toward putting them back into the program but at the closer location. I know VVV wants to be home full-time, and AMP wants to go back to the farther location, but I would like to have them closer and go on Tues and Thurs rather than Mon and Wed.

Those are my musings for today. VVV and AMP read my blog -- no decisions have been made kids. These are just my thoughts right now.

A Few More Alphabet Letters

K is for Kung Fu Fighter. So far, in my 46 years, I have not taken any martial arts classes at all. I have observed one of my children taking Tai kwan do lessons, but I haven't gotten around to taking any karate classes. The only thing I think I would really like to do is take a women's self-defense class, but I've heard one of the things they teach you is to yell out some profanity at your would-be attacker, and I wonder if I could do that. I'm not much of a kusser either.

L is for Lawbreaker. Once, about 20 years ago, I was shopping in a major department store here in town. I was carrying a large bag I had just gotten for Christmas. All of a sudden, store security took me by the arms and insisted I accompany them to the security offices. When we got there, they sneeringly said, "Do you know why you are here?" I raged back, "I assume you think I took something!" "Please empty your bag," they suggested with a knowing look. I started slamming everything down on the counter, piece by piece, "Here's my PURSE. Here's my JACKET. Here's the shirt I'm RETURNING to American Eagle. Here's the CAN OPENER I just bought and here's the RECEIPT." They looked at each other. "Shoot," they whispered. Their crack security chick was sure she had seen me put a shirt into my bag. And I was sure they hadn't. So, they let me go. Even now, my entire family laughs about this because of all the people to detain for shoplifting, I'm not the top choice, you know?

M is for Medical Professional. Not even close. I can't imagine spending my day around sick and/or dying people, although I have great respect for people who do. It actually amazes me the amount of stuff that doctors and nurses know. I do wish sometimes that I could be a fly on the wall of a treatment room for a week or so. I think doctors and nurses must hear some pretty outlandish things.

Now This is the Place to Get News!

Toyota T. (my husband) finds the most esoteric and interesting things on the 'net and sends me all kinds of strange links. I enjoy the news I find on this website.

Their claim to fame: "News Fairly Unbalanced. We Report. You Decipher."

Friday, April 4, 2008

I'm Still Here!

Wow, where does the time go?

I thought maybe I'd better post again since it has been 6 days and my immense readership might get discouraged if there's still nothing new to read.

The other night, just days after the giant LEGO shipment went away, my son brought out a LEGO set! Hey, I didn't know we had any more of those?!

I was finishing up going through the photos, and as soon as I finished, I became his "LEGO butler." I looked for the pieces for the next step and had them in a nice little group for him. As he worked, we had a really nice talk about life and stuff. And I realized I had NEVER once worked on LEGOs with the kids over the years. I wonder if that was because there were just way too many.

One little mystery that arose. This set was bought by us on Ebay and did not include the mini-figures. I guess those mini-figures must be bigtime collectible or something. I did have a moment where I wished we had been able to save out a little guy for this set, but we didn't, so I am moving on.

I hope to jazz up my blog this weekend and write some witty and amazingly unforgettable posts as well.