Saturday, March 17, 2007

Fat Birds

The title of this post is one of my favorite lines from Mary Poppins: "Feed the birds and what d'you get? FAT BIRDS."

However, I'm sidestepping the underlying point of this line from Mary Poppins here, and thinking this afternoon of American Christianity. We have SO many churches available these days in our country, and I do praise God for what religious freedom we have been granted.

But instead of making us stronger, more faithful, more grateful and service-minded as believers, instead we have become Fat Birds. American Christians are not service-oriented. We have a consumer mentality rampant in our churches. We look for churches that will "meet our needs," rather than our finding a church WITH needs and offering our gifts and talents to build that work.

Fat Birds. Feed me. I have to feel like my needs are met, or I'm not happy.

How sadly unlike our Jesus, who did not come into this world to be MINISTERED TO, but to MINISTER, and to give His life as a ransom for many.

Just my Saturday afternoon thoughts.

God bless.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

March 14 is Pi Day!!

I never knew that until today. Get it?? 3/14 is Pi day... like 3.14.... okay. I guess you have to be more geekish to appreciate it fully.

I'm going to solve my grocery shopping dilemma by not thinking about it. I realize it's an ostrich solution at best, but it's what I can manage on a Wednesday afternoon. Thank you for commenting.

So, to close with an appropriately-themed limerick for the day, by Harvey L. Carter:

'Tis a favorite project of mine
A new value of pi to assign.
I would fix it at 3,
For it's simpler you see
Than 3 point 14159.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


.....that should be my licence plate number.

But as I sit here this afternoon doing my budget and entering expenditures in my money program, it's becoming very clear that the grocery budget needs some reining in.

I noticed a link on my MSN Today screen: How to slash your grocery bills. So I clicked it. It took me to an article by the head honcho of the Women in Red, a group of women who are trying to become debt-free, and are doing so publicly, via the Net. I was familiar with them, so I read on.

They recommend as a way to find out the sales in advance and organize your shopping, etc. And at couponmom, they recommend the Sunday papers and the Tuesday circulars as great sources for coupon bargains.

I hate newspapers. I don't subscribe to them. They're inky-messy, they never fold up just right, I don't have time to read them, and then I have the trouble of recycling them. But that's where the coupons are.

And the more I browsed around Couponmom, the more confused I got. I really have a mental block about all this. I desperately want to manage our money well, but can't someone else do the shopping and coupon organizing for me? I'm just literally overwhelmed at the thought of it all, shaking my head in a dazed way.

HOW do you coupon chicks make this work for you? I know some of you out there are queen bees at this life skill. The thought of carrying around fluttering bits of paper clutter in my wallet just is not me, but I'm afraid it might HAVE to be if I am going to get this monthly grocery bill under control. And even worse, that I will have to do all the shopping. (****screaming and hyperventilating****)

My sister-in-law Penny has walked out of grocery stores richer than when she went in. The cashier literally paid her to get out of the store- all because of coupons.

My friend Audra's cousin spends about $100 a MONTH in groceries. I do NOT know how she does it. Is this even possible, or do you think she is living on Jiffy Corn bread mix and cheap knock-offs of Kraft macaroni and cheese?

I'm mentally nauseated. I'm going to the chair in the living room to study. Kindly comment away, that I may glean of your wisdom.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Another Lazy Post- Book Meme

(I like to do memes when I have nothing original to say!) This was harvested from my friend Tammy, who harvested it from the popular mom blog Rocks in my Dryer, etc. etc., and so it goes....

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?

Amazon or brick and mortar?
Depends! Amazon is convenient, but there's just something about used book stores. A. must visit every used book store in an area, whenever we go on vacation, and I'm not usually adverse to the idea, unless we've already been to three...

Barnes & Noble or Borders?

Bookmark or dogear?
Sometimes bookmark, other times I leave it open, face down. Terrible, I know. Nero Wolfe dogears books that he doesn't consider worthy of keeping on his shelves.

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?
Living room bookcases: Alpha by author. My personal bedroom bookcase: by subject.

Keep, throw away, or sell?
Keep! It's why I have so many bookcases around here.

Keep dustjacket or toss it?
Keep it. Do you know how valuable that will be later on? Money in the bank, my dears... ...when the book achieves "classic" status and YOU happen to have an edition with a DJ, ooh, shiny!

Read with dustjacket or remove it?
Remove it, or use the flyleaf as the bookmark. :)

Short story or novel?

Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?
Hm. I'm not fond of short stories. Not enough time for character development, and I'm left wanting more.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
Harry Potter has a very clear delineation of right and wrong, good and evil. Lemony Snicket is more relativistic, muddying the waters unnecessarily for the age group it's written.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
Chapter breaks, if I've never read the book before; when I'm tired, if I have read it before.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
Once upon a time.

Buy or Borrow?

New or used?
Used!!! D'you know how much money you save?

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse?
All of the above. I usually find an author I like and read everything by him/her.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
Tidy ending.

Morning reading, afternoon reading or nighttime reading?
Bathtub and bed.

Stand-alone or series?
If it IS a series, I like each novel to be able to stand alone.

Favorite series?
Anne of Green Gables, and the Nero Wolfe detective series.

Favorite children's book?
This is a hard one. Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
Argh, who am I to know what you've heard or not heard of?

Favorite books read last year?
Holes, by Louis Sachar, or Red Scarf Girl, by Ji-Li Jiang

Favorite books of all time?
Pride and Prejudice and Emma, both by Jane Austen.

Least favorite book you finished last year?
Princess in Pink (Vol. V of The Princess Diaries), Meg Cabot

What are you reading right now?
This morning I just finished The Lady's Confession *(formerly called Paul Faber, Surgeon), by George MacDonald.

What are you reading next?
I don't know yet!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Polly wolly doodle the current song everyone in the O. home is singing or whistling. Reason? We watched "You Can't Take It With You," with Jimmy Stewart, as our Sunday Night Feature. I can't believe I'd not seen it before! It was a hoot, and good family fun. We only watched part of it Sunday night (it got too late to continue), so we finished up tonight. This is a movie I want to own! One of the few times that I'd seen Lionel Barrymore as a lighthearted good guy (I can't escape the vision of his "Mr Potter" character, the scurvy little spider of "It's a Wonderful Life.") Oh, this film is a Frank Capra film too, so it's chock full of feel-good moments.

I found a very useful/useless web site yesterday, with useful/useless Latin phrases like, "Quid agis, Medice?" (What's up, Doc?). Or, how about: "fac me cocleario vomere" - "Gag me with a spoon!" Another good one: "cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscripti catapultas habebunt," which, being translated, is, "when catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will own catapults." I was surprised to see that there are quite a few goofy Latin web sites like this around. Latin is on my list of languages to learn, actually (yeah, go ahead and roll your eyes) - because it's just so darn useful for understanding English. Yep, dead languages are cool.

Math is breezing along charmingly right now. It's all about inches, feet, miles; cups, pints, gallons... and metric stuff too - cm, dm, m, km; g, kg; L, mL. SOOOOO nice to polish off three math lessons in 30 minutes. Enjoying while I can, because NEXT on the math menu is multiplying/dividing with factors/divisors above 5. Sigh. I am going to make them complete the multiplication table EVERY DAY so the patterns sink in.

And what lovely weather today! It was difficult to stay inside to teach piano. I'm pointing a few of my students toward WSMTA's "adjudications" (this used to be "auditions," Crystal, did Mimi ever do this to you?) - where the students present two memorized pieces of contrasting style and/or period to a master teacher, who evaluates not only their playing, but my teaching. At any rate... I had planned for 6 students to be in this... but now I'm down to three. One is playing sports and isn't practicing right now; another one just isn't interested; and I learned today that a third student will be taking off the final quarter of the school year from piano. She plans to come back for summer lessons. Joy, a tuition gap to fill.

Gruff. These are all my higher level students. I have a couple of really bright kids coming up, though, so in a year or two I'll have more intermediate/late intermediate players. And the not-so-bright students...can keep going along as usual, so long as they love music and love me. :) :)

We just had a laundry folding bee in my bedroom. I know Flylady says not to put clean laundry to be folded in your bedroom, but this is my house! Anyway, A. tossed the clothes to their owners, while the rest of us folded/put away. He matched socks for me (woot!) while I folded towels. It's a good system, and lovely now that the kids are old enough to fold their own clothes.

And, on the subject of putting things away--here's a great idea I stole from FlyLady: The House Fairy. The House Fairy comes and checks the kids' rooms from time to time and leaves them a treat if their rooms are neat and clean-- or an encouraging note if they are not. D. has kept his room picked up now for a month. He's gotten 3 or 4 treats out of the deal. I'm pretty sure he knows I'm the House Fairy, but we keep it on the QT. This way I am not nagging them to clean their rooms, it's all the HF's deal. S. has gotten a couple of treats, but she simply doesn't see the piles of clothes or toys in the corners of the room. The HF has gently pointed this out in a note or two... "Great job..keep up the good work... what about the toys under the piano?" - but so far it hasn't paid off. Oh well, in time. And the HF's visits are totally random...meaning, whenever I have a treat handy and the kids aren't expecting it.

Which reminds me, The House Fairy is overdue. Probably tomorrow sometime!

D. has just come into my room to show me his latest monster drawings. It's 10:30 p.m. No wonder the kid doesn't sleep at night... his thoughts are all of monsters! But the drawings are pretty cool. What will this child grow to be, I wonder?

Wordsworth's answer, of course: the child is father of the man.

Ergo, he'll be what he is now, just bigger.

May God help me!