Sunday, January 29, 2006

Snurgles and--surprise, surprise...rain showers!

This a.m. D. woke up with a plugged nose and a gross, chunky sounding cough. I kept him home from church so as not to share the blessing with others.

It was a nice, lovely quiet morning; I was able to have some quiet time and relax, listening/watching the rain fall, then I did some exercises on the body ball to strengthen my weak lower back and abs.

Enter the rest of the family home from church. It ceased being a quiet day at that point! D. may be battling the effects of some cold bug, but he certainly hasn't diminished in the ability of making his sister angry. I have spent my day refereeing and sending various children back to their corners of the ring.

To calm things down a bit, I read Little House on the Prairie to them. As I read on, my living room became filled with 4 kitchen chairs and assorted blankets covering the chairs, to simulate the Ingalls' covered wagon. S. grabbed some dry kindling and firewood and made a suitable "campfire" and they played in and around their wagon as I read. 4 or 5 chapters later I had to bow out, hoarse.

So next came the Atari game that S. got for Christmas! I love this thing for nostalgic reasons. The whole game is contained in the joystick. You plug it into your TV and voila! you have Yar's Revenge, Adventure, Breakout, Pong, Carnival, and several others. All these games I played at my best friend Karen's house when I was a kid! (she always got the cool toys) D. and S. played Adventure for a bit. It's a maze-type thing; you have to find the arrow to kill the dragons, find the keys to unlock gates, find the chalice that's guarded by the dragons, etc. The kids have done pretty well at figuring out the secrets and codes, etc., but it wasn't too long before one was irritated with the other for not playing the game "right." Begorrah! Turn OFF the TV and GO TO YOUR ROOMS. but first, take down the wagon!

If we can keep a truce going long enough, we'll watch A Day at the Races with the Marx brothers. D/S love these guys and so do I :) But any more sniping and the halflings will go OFF TO BED while A. and I enjoy a nice evening on the loveseat!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Beeping Slooty and a rant about powdered sugar

By the way, the rain finally ceased last Saturday, after 34 days of measurable rainfall. Sunday took itself literally, Monday and Tuesday copied their predecessor, and Wednesday a new storm system moved in. But three days of sun helped IMMENSELY.

I have been meaning to post for the last week but I haven't gotten to this screen. So you know, I decorate cakes for fun and profit. Mostly fun, but the profit is mighty nice too. (Go see! Sweet Finales) ANYwho, 'round Christmas time someone borrowed Betty (my mixer) and my last 2# bag of C&H powdered sugar, since she only had 1# of the store brand called Western Family pwd sug. and she needed to make a double batch of frosting.

Long story short: I had a birthday cake to make last weekend. The ever-popular and best selling caramel apple spice cake with cream cheese frosting, for Al's 82nd birthday. I pulled out the Western Family powdered sugar, butter, cream cheese, vanilla, etc. and went to work. Hm. runny texture. The recipe calls for 3 cups of powdered sugar, mind you, and a pound of powdered sugar is a little over 4 cups. I emptied the remaining sugar into the bowl. Runny. I grabbed an open bag of C & H I've had for a while - added 2 more cups of sugar. A little soft, perhaps, but should work for covering the cake, even if not for piping. I frost the cake and smooth it, and put it in the garage fridge to set up.

In the morning: the cake looks like the saggy baggy elephant! AGHRGGH! So I chop pecans up, press them into the sides of the cake to hide the multitude of frosting sins, and attempt to do some "finish work" - shell borders, writing, etc. on the remainder of the cake. The shell borders do not hold, but rather form a nondescript blobby pool at sequential intervals. AUGHGHHH!!!
THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER use anything but the BEST - C & H Pure Cane Powdered Sugar From Hawaii Growin' in the SUN! western family is on my blacklist for powdered sugar!!

When Tracy came to pick up the cake I told him this was NOT representative of my work and I would not charge him the full price, but when he wrote the check out, he went ahead and gave me close to the original price. He's a guy; what does he care how it looks, as long as it tastes good? Still, my resolve is firm. C & H for me. I should do their commercials.

Also last weekend, pre-cake, I went out to my old teaching/coaching haunt by the request of the current cheerleading coach to help her cheerleaders with some stunting. They seriously needed to get back to some fundamentals, so we went back to basic shoulder stands, as far as how bases should pull down on the back of the flyers' calves just below the knee for added stability and support. Also in how to get OUT of stunts, "shake right, shake left" - the hand grips needed and the proper support to get their friends SAFELY down to the ground. I then showed them a "cooler" way of getting into a shoulder stand via a calf pop. I'd show you what it looks like but I don't see any examples of it on Basically the base stands in a forward lunge position, and the flyer uses the base's back leg as a sort of mini tramp to get up to the shoulders. One pair of stunters was able to get this technique so I felt that was a job well done. That, in addition to teaching them the proper grip. I firmly emphasized the need for them to go to a good cheerleading camp to get proper training in technique to spare themselves injury, if they plan to do stunting like they want to do. Becky (the coach) mentioned that they couldn't do an elevator extension so after watching the girls try a couple of preps, I made a few suggestions (they really could do it all along, they just didn't know they could, you know?) and the first time they tried it, ZING, right up the flyer went, locked and held solidly in her first ever extension. You know, in cheerleading that used to be a BIG deal, but now it's a pretty basic stunt. The thing a squad needs to be elite nowadays is a ground-up liberty extension. I think *one* stunting team on my squad got that one down, but I don't think we used it in any games because it was a little shaky.

OK, that's enough cheerleading. A. would rather watch grass grow than have anything to do with it, but I can't help it, I love it, especially the stunting and acrobatic parts.

Today we went up to the Seattle Children's Theatre and saw Sleeping Beauty. This was not the Disney version. It had more Scottish overtones in it (accents too!) and instead of three fairies trying to undo the spell of Maleficent, there were two sister witches ("one bright, one dark") who, in their personal conflict, make Briar Rose the fulcrum of their success/failure. The dark witch was rather a conflicted soul; the writer of the play made it clear there was personal bitterness between the sisters. "I am who I was made to be" I think was a line repeated more than once. I don't think I'm quoting it correctly.
Anyway, after that we went to the Pacific Science Center and goofed off there for a bit. I don't know what the most popular exhibit was for the kids, but I was having a good time looking at the digital human scans/3D computer anatomy.

And now I am wondering why I'm sitting here fully dressed when I could be in jammies with a bowl of popcorn......or, ooo, hot chocolate, that sounds even better. The kids are watching Lilo and Stitch and I just might go watch it to see Lilo educating Stitch on how to be a model citizen like Elvis.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

yeeeeep.... 31 days

Amendment to my post earlier: it's raining. So now we're at 31 days of rainfall.

here comes the rain again

Well. I woke up at 4:30 this morning, flopped around until 5:30, gave up sleeping as a hopeless endeavor, and came out to the living room to tidy up, do some laundry, make some coffee, read my BIBLE WITH NO INTERRUPTIONS and in general have some alone time.

I will pay for this substantially later on, I know, but for now, it's all good.

I love having a laptop with a wireless connection!

My new thing:

South Sound Classical Choir! I love this so far. I've been to two rehearsals and we're doing some lovely works:
  1. Awake The Harp, Haydn (from The Creation)
  2. O Domine Jesu Christe, Palestrina
  3. How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place, Brahms
  4. Zion's Walls, Copland
  5. The Last Words of David, Thompson
  6. Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace, St. Francis of Assisi, music by Rutter
  7. Libera Me, Faure (MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE - incredibly rich melody in Dm)
  8. "See, the conqu'ring hero comes!" from Judas Maccabeus, Handel (you might recognize the tune in your hymnal as Thine Be the Glory)
  9. "Sing unto God" (also from Judas Maccabeus)
  10. In Paradisum (from Requiem), another Faure.
57 people in this choir, and it is bone-chillingly beautiful. The choir already knows Awake the Harp and Zion's Walls, but the other 8 songs they are just beginning to learn so I'm not too far out of it. Fortunately I sightread well and I'm a pretty quick study. Still, this isn't going to be a cakewalk; I am way (!) out of vocal shape. Where did my breath support go?! It'll come back, though.

And another nice thing is I'm being exposed to composers I'd only heard of (Faure) and now I want to hear more more more.

Now, technically I think our rainy streak ended at 27 days, because Sunday at SeaTac they didn't get enough to measure. BUT it rained in Puyallup. So though "officially" the streak has ended for Seattle, it hasn't quit here; although yesterday there was some occasional (very occasional) sunshine. And oh yes, rain. Looking out the window right now in the early morning light: ground is wet, but I don't see any drops splashing in the puddles in front of my house right now. So as of yesterday, 3o days of rain in Puyallup. Gads. I need a light box, therapy, something. I mean, for a California girl, I'm pretty acclimated to the Pac NW now, but this is getting very challenging. I'm having pity on those with S.A.D. I can fully understand the desire to move to Tuscon. Get back, Jo Jo. (gratuitous Beatles reference).

Hm. almost 8 am. Still silent in the recesses of the house. Better grab myself another cuppa before A wakes up and filches his 75% of the Daily Brew. (Sideline comment: I love the word filch. And I love the character Argus Filch in the HP series - well no, not the character, but his name is just so darn appropriate, KWIM? Argus, the mythological creature of thousands of eyes; Filch, to take, steal, commandeer, what-have-you.....and you have the perfect name of the caretaker at Hogwarts who snoops around the halls and corridors looking for students who have fanged frisbees, dungbombs, etc.) That was a long parenthetical aside, boy howdy.

This am is our monthly Chapter meeting of the WSMTA. Business meeting at 9:30, then I have a student coming at 10:30 to demonstrate the adjudications process with Dr J. My lovely student will play one of her pieces, then Dr. J. will demonstrate how/what an adjudicator will do. This will be very helpful for both me and my student: adjudications are new to me this year, as well as my student. So we get a free trial run, so to speak. Plus my student gets to skip classes at school, always a benefit! :) I think I'll get her a McD's Arch Card for her willingness to be a guinea pig.

I've babbled on long enough; time to refill my St. Elmo, CO mug and start the wakeup process of the rest of the family. Yeah, we get up late around here. Lazy Homeschooling family, u know.
I always sing the Silly Song "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" but make some changes:
We are the homeschoolers who don't do anything--
We just stay at home and lie around---
If you ask us to do anything...
We'll just tell you.....
We don't do anything!!

What a laugh though, our schedule is packed with lots of things! :)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Bumper Sticker Chuckle

You've all probably seen the bumper sticker that says "Run, Hilary, Run"

But what you DIDN'T know is that the target market is for BOTH Democrats and Republicans!

Democrats put it on their back bumpers--
Republicans put it on their front.

New Year, Restarting

I meant to post this last week but was too darn sore. I went to the gym last week and took the PowerFlex class for the first time in 3 mos. Wouldn't you know it, it involved tons of squats and lunges. That used to be my strong point; I could go on forever and carry on a conversation with the person next to me while the other fitness gods and demigods were dropping like flies.
NOT this time! It was starting from ground zero for me, like a year ago. Quivery and weak when finished. Ok, I can handle that, the key thing is to keep moving, right? So the very next day, I wasn't going to lift weights, oh no, I was just going to get a good cardio workout in the Cycling class.

*smacking head* LEGS, numbskull, LEGS.

Two hour-long classes in two consecutive days contrived to make me walk like Herman Munster. And excuse my lack of discretion, but THEEEEEE worst part was trying to sit down on the Necessary. Took me 3 days to get back to normal.

I waited until today before heading back to the gym, same class. This time I was more cautious, but the focus was more on upper body, chest, shoulders and arms. I can handle that. Who cares if I can't lift my fork to my mouth? That's a good thing, right? :O) And tomorrow I will be doing advanced step aerobics, not cycling (don't wanna get up that early).

Following the Powerflex class I met up with Audra for our weekly Starbucks encounter. I had the caramel apple cider drink. yum.

School today consisted of "art" and "organizational skills" - translated, clean your rooms OR ELSE.

25 straight days of rain here! The front yard feels like a sponge.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Ac-CEN-tuate the positive, E-LI-minate the negative...

So as I reflect over the last several days of SAHM bliss, I was thinking there wasn't a whole lot of bliss, rather, BICKER. So rather than post all of that, which is non-edifying and non-helpful, I will now be POSITIVE and CHEERFUL.

Having typed the above, I paused for a full 30 seconds to reflect.

I remember a quote from Nero Wolfe, I forget which novel, in which The Rotund One says (paraphrase) an optimist is perpetually disappointed. The pessimist is always pleasantly surprised.

So I guess I need to be more pessimistic about things.

On Sunday following the morning service I was talking with a lady, who in an offhanded way said that a friend had given her a newspaper clipping re: a local classical choir seeking new members. The friend told her, jokingly, she needed to join the choir and get a life. They meet Monday evenings at Aylen Jr. High. HEY! that's MY neighborhood. **I** need a life! So I phenagled the information from her and called up the director.

So last night I went to my first rehearsal with the South Sound Classical Choir. They do "real" music there! OOOOO! and I get to SING and not have to PLAY! OOOOOOOOOO! And it's CHALLENGING, not hokey! OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

And yes, the other lady came too and she also joined. So I have a Monday night outing now.

Must rework schedule for cleaning Dr J's though; I must say being out from 1-5, then again from 7-9 is not a good thing for my poor dear husband. Will try to do cleaning in AM, then homeschool in the afternoon, then sing in the evening.

```````````````````````````long time break inserted here; disciplinary issue. Resolved, yes; but a continuation of how this day has gone.

Argh!! I need to be more pessimistic about things! :)