Thursday, December 03, 2009

...just sayin'






















props to Zintradi for making this his FB profile piccy...... :)

Friday, November 06, 2009

dinner fail

Actual comments from my family during supper tonight:

".... what's in the potatoes?"

"This is a 'floss' meal."

"The gristle's actually not too bad."

"So... when are we having pizza?"

"I'm gonna top this off with a bowl of cereal."


I concede that the meat was undercooked. My ravenous family, unwilling to delay supper any further, pulled the fresh beef brisket from the oven, sliced it and served it before it had cooked to fork-tenderness. In that case, c'est la vie--you get what you get.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Stolen bras recovered, but no bust made :: WRAL.com

Best headline I've read in a while. Don't really care about the story! lolStolen bras recovered, but no bust made :: WRAL.com

Shared via AddThis

Friday, October 09, 2009

towanda

With the soon advent of The Rain (this event in the Pac NW gets its own capital letters), A. decided today was "strip the garden day."

We betook ourselves to our garden plot, which, once The Rain comes, will become a large field of chocolate pudding, hazardous to muck boots and small children. We lost a child out there once. (We did eventually retrieve her.) So the goal was clear: harvest the harvestable. Strip the bushes of the remaining zucchini and crookneck squash. Uproot the carrots. Harvest every tomato 2" or greater in diameter; they'll ripen off the vine.

We brought three buckets and one box for corn and squash. We ended up borrowing two more buckets and using a laundry basket.

We are blessed, pressed down, shaken together and running over with tomatoes.

I beseech you, send me recipes. I only like fried green tomatoes in small batches. There's only so much relish and jam I can make.

A's job now is to find a way to set these tomatoes up so they do not go to waste while I determine what to do with them!

What would you do?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

begorrah

Something I've never noodled out before is the relative merits and deficiencies of bond weights of paper. Apparently 20 lb paper messes up our laser printer; 24 lb does not.

I am supposed to remember this from an apparent tragic occurrence in my distant past: 20 lb paper messes up the printer, and it's a pain to fix. I only remember this dimly. However, I strongly remember that someone in the family likes really really bright white paper.

I NEVER BUY THE PAPER for the printer. Until last night. When I failed to purchase the correct kind. It's mighty bright though.

Here's a linky that tells me about paper and weights. The metric system has us beaten all to smithereens when it comes to understanding this.

Now that I've been enlightened both as to my terrible memory AND how paper bond weight works, I will gather together the shreds of my tattered pride at coming in $1 under my budget, go and exchange the paper for the PROPER weight (24!!!), ENSURE that it also is bright enough, and peace will reign.

Or maybe not, now that I've posted this.
I sure feel better though.

Monday, October 05, 2009

scenes from P-town

My most recent wedding cake. The mother of the groom is a good friend of mine; I was honored to be asked to make this. The bride is German, so when you cut into the cake, it's layered to look like the German flag: from top to bottom, it's chocolate, strawberry, and lemon. Satin Ice fondant covering the cake-- (SOOO much better than Wilton. I will never put that rancid W stuff on any cake ever. again.)--and homemade fondant pearls. Gorgeous! Ahem. If I do say so.






















We have a wee bunny that creeps out at dusk to nibble on the grass. But can I actually OWN a rabbit as a pet? Oh no! It would eat things in A's backyard! I guess the wild ones get a pass for cuteness.














My daughter celebrated her 11th birthday at Tiffany's Skate Inn.
















"Put that thing back where it came from, or so help me....!"

Here's the wee kitten that followed D home from the park. He was adopted by our neighbor and renamed Mr. Darcy. Unfortunately, with such a name, he started to adopt the corresponding antisocial tendencies and an utter disdain for the other plebian cats in the home, so Mr. Darcy had to be removed to another relative's home, to live in proper isolation and splendor.








My garlic turned blue when I made dill pickles. I bought it fresh, but it still turned blue~!




















S won first prize at the Puyallup Fair for her squash that looks like a duck tucking its head under its wing. Notice D in the background? And these are S's new glasses. She likes to look at The Doctor, so why not look LIKE The Doctor, as well?













Below is what my darling husband did while kids and I trekked to California and back: ripped up carpet and put down laminate flooring in the entryway, dining room, and kitchen. SO much nicer to clean; so much better acoustically for the piano.



And that's a wrap.

(No, get it? See? there in the corner?......never mind.)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

movin' on up to the east side (well, kent, anyway)

When, in the course of family events, it becomes necessary for a homeschooling family to dissolve the scholastic bonds which have connected them with one another, and to assume, among the other taxpayers of the school district, the separate and equal station to which the laws of compulsory education in Washington State and our Sovereign God (to whom every parent answers) entitle them, a decent respect to my three faithful blog readers requires that I should declare the causes that impelled us, a completely homeschooling family for eight years, to make this decision.

........ahhh, I'm too tired to keep going in Declaration Style.

The previous year of homeschooling/virtual schooling was extremely clarifying for us as a family. The lessons I learned are as follows, in no particular order:
1) The Washington Virtual Academy has blossomed from being a family supportive alternative learning experience to full-blown bureaucracy and top-heavy management; unhelpful, inefficient office staff; and progress-based education rather than mastery-based education (which runs contrary to their parent company, k12).
2) Columbia Virtual Academy is much more relaxed - I set the learning goals, and I can use k12 at the pace I choose to. I am not demoted to being called a "learning coach" as in the other virtual academy. I do all the teaching work - why should I be just a "coach"? It's nitpicky, I know, but it's a subtle undermining of my authority.
3) I spent too much time sorting out sorties, sending the boxers back to their respective corners, and putting myself in time out, rather than actual teaching.
4) Testosterone is a powerful thing.
5) Our church is small. Boys are few. My son has no Christian friends his age. Friendly neighbor kids, but definitely "pre-Christian," if you will.

So back in June, we explored the options for putting D. into school. Seventh grade seemed like a logical time to make a switch, if one were to be made. He is now attending a Christian school in Kent, associated with a church whose pastor is a friend of A's from college.

Get this: D's class? All boys, except for one girl. School uniforms, check. Homework every night, check. Four different teachers to learn to relate to. Papers to try to organize and keep track of. Lessons to learn outside of home. I'm loving it.

I am not loving the (early) morning commute on 167. But that too has its benefits... I can listen to some really good, thought-provoking Bible teaching on the way home in the car.

I am loving having one kid to teach (using k12, enrolled in Columbia Virtual Academy). This way there's only two fallen creatures and their attendant sin problems to deal with, instead of three. :) We're on top, on track, and getting things done.

So we are now half-homeschooling, half-schooling.

I'm exhausted, but it's just fatigue, not stress. I'm excited because of all the possibilities that have just opened up for everyone in my family. I'm grateful for the Lord's provision for D's school tuition; for S's school fund that pays for TYC and violin lessons, and for the general fun time of life that my halflings are now entering into.

But it's after 10 p.m. - I'm about to turn into a pumpkin. Bedtime is 9:30 or 10 because the day starts at 6 am now. I know, I know, welcome back to the real world, right? :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"put that thing back where it came from, or so help me...!"

So apparently my son was "followed" by a kitten at the park today. It's a wee thing, so I'm sure it didn't follow him very far before it got picked up. Fuzzy and grey. I'm not holding out any hope for the kids, but it's coming on night soon so I guess it can spend one night here. Not like we don't have other animals around. Just not many mammals!

Tomorrow: Pierce County Humane Society.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

it's all about her

I just had D come and clean up what he'd left piled around my computer: a bowl of salad plus fork from lunchtime (much salad left); an empty bowl of Moose Tracks ice cream plus spoon (empty), and a small bag of gummy worms (empty).

D said, "Hey! Who ate the rest of my gummy worms?"

I told him the last time I checked, there was one worm left, and I did not eat it.

He stalked to the living room and confronted his sister.

"Did you eat my gummy worm?"

"Yes."

"Did you ASK?"

"No."

"Did you KNOW BETTER?"

"There was only one left! I thought it was meant for me, so I reckoned I could just eat it."


American Princess.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

color me pink




And I thought California was hot. :> SO good to be home in the nice, cool Pacific NW...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

too much fun

Last week we turned our children loose to summer camp. They went to Camp Wooten, which is near Pomeroy, WA. It's in the middle of NOWHERE. It took me and my friend 7 hours to get the kids there.....and then she and I turned around and came back home, all in the same day.

Tuesday I spent recovering from Monday.

Wednesday A. and I decided to tackle the household dungeon and get it cleaned up from past horrors. Other people might call this a garage, but they haven't visited ours. When A. moved the church office home, it went into the garage, thereby condensing usual garage things into a much smaller space. So Wednesday and Thursday were spent primarily cleaning up mice nests and their leavings, reorganizing boxes and books, Craigslisting what we wanted to get rid of, and Dumping or Goodwilling the rest. (My college English professor would make hay with that last sentence. Nerts to her.) Huge progress! I no longer have a dungeon.

Friday it was time to tackle my darling daughter's room. She is Creative! Artsy! American Girl-themed! Puppies! Dolphins! and just about any other cute exclamatory word you want to submit. I avoid her room, because the creativity is just oppressive at times. Paper. ugh. I have a thing about PAPER. I hate paperwork, I hate scrapbooking, I hate piles of paper, I hate bills and receipts and doing taxes....you get the idea. And this is precisely what S's room is made of. Indeed, the very walls are held up with her drawings and pictures cut out of AG or Cricket magazines... it's just overwhelming to me.

About two hours into the ordeal I realized I needed help with this, because I was gradually getting more and more irate - and that is really not the way you want to welcome home a child who has been away from home all week! ("Hi Mom! Did you miss me?" should not be replied to with "HOLY COW YOUR ROOM WAS A COMPLETE STY I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU LIVE THIS WAY!") So my dear husband came alongside to provide aid, support, and recycling. By the time the kids got home, we were mostly done, and I was able to appropriately welcome my children.

Turns out, about 5 blocks from home, S succumbed to car sickness, so my first greeting with her involved a quick hug and a run for some paper towels and cleaning solution for my friend's poor car. I chalked it up to overtiredness and a long day in the car. We took them out to Playa Azul for dinner (S only sipping Sprite and nibbling a quesadilla), and all was well. D fell asleep in the big chair about 9 p.m., S not long after.

12:30 a.m.: The Sixth Sense that all mothers have called all my other senses to stand to attention. A CARPET EMERGENCY had occurred! Apparently the quesadilla and sprite didn't want to stay put. I gave A. the less gruesome task of consoling and helping the daughter while I rescued the carpet.

7 a.m. - D is awake and running a 102.5 fever. He's not been ill like S has, but he's at least able to play a little Godzilla. I log onto the Net to find out how to remove lingering odors from the previous carpet emergency (baking soda, and lots of it!). I go back to bed.

9: 45 a.m. - Whoa, did I oversleep! Both kids now have fevers between 101.5 and 102.5 degrees. They must have had too much fun at camp. They've spent the day snoozing in various locations around the house while I tackle Mount Washmore.

Did I mention we three are going to California on Monday? Maybe not so soon. :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Saturday, June 20, 2009

strawberry shortcake forever

Today was the perfect day for jamming. June Gloom has currently overtaken the previous weeks of sunshine, so it was time to pull out the pectin, sugar, and jars and get some strawberries from Spooner Farms. :) 1 flat will make 3 batches of jam (about 4 pints each), just in case you didn't know. I, however, bought an extra half-flat so I can snack on berries. They're especially sweet this year; the hot weather has really helped bring out the flavor.

A. helped to clean and hull berries, while D and S measured out the sugar. I got to do the cooking bit - which is why I waited for a June-gloomy day, so I wouldn't melt. :)

Of course, with that extra half-flat of berries, I had to make strawberry shortcake, too, since tomorrow's Father's Day and since A. really likes shortcake! I have the official recipe from his grandmother, who has now left this earthly scene.

There's a story here, though, which can be filed under the category of Quirky Family Relations.

Long ago, Grandma Nell made ALL the pies for the family. (A. comes from a long line of pie-eaters.) One time, though, her daughter (my mom in law) ended up making the pies-- and Brep (that's the family "grandpa" word) raved about Karen's pies. From that point on, nothing was ever said about it-- but Grandma Nell never made another pie. Grandma Nell would not deign to acknowledge that there was an issue; she just stopped making pies.

Fast forward a score of years: I am soon to be marrying into the family, and A. tells me I MUST get the biscuit recipe so I can make strawberry shortcake. Grandma Nell most graciously gives me her prized recipe, and A. is happy with the results.

Fast forward another decade: Grandma Nell has passed on. Karen cannot find her old copy of Grandma's biscuit recipe; unthinkable horror! She asks me if I happen to have a copy. Indeed I do! I recite the list to her over the phone.

There's a long pause coming from Michigan. ".....That's NOT the recipe she gave to ME!"

Karen realized that her own mother, when giving Karen the recipe, adulterated it just a little bit so Karen would not become the BISCUIT maker of the family as well!

I love family politics!


Since I have no problems in sharing cooking glory, here's the recipe:

Baking Powder Biscuits

2 c. flour
4 heaping tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
**1/4 c. sugar (**I only put in the sugar if I'm making the biscuits for Strawberry Shortcake--sugar isn't called for in the original recipe)
4 T. shortening - cut into dry ingredients until coarse crumbs form
3/4 - 1 cup milk (depending on texture)

Mix until just combined, then turn out onto a baking stone and pat until about 1" thick. At this point you can use a biscuit cutter; I, however, just pat into a square shape and use a pizza cutter to cut into 12 pieces (4x3) - then pull apart slightly so each has room to bake up nice and crisp. That's my particular stroke of brilliance today - that way, you don't overwork the dough by rolling, cutting, and patting together. Who cares if your biscuits are rectangular, anyway?

Bake at 450ยบ for 10-12 minutes.

Serve with sliced strawberries and whipped topping. :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

new pigpig


Here's our newest addition named Squirt, partnered with Julie. She's overcome her shyness since being paired with Julie, and she's turning into a really friendly animal. Jumpy and fast, as all young cavies are, but talkative and interested in people.

Steve Williams posted a link to a Sims 3 ongoing blog. (I am still stuck in Sims 1 mode - it's an amazingly fun black hole of a time vortex, so I stopped playing it.) This writer set up his Sims characters to be homeless; one an angry, insane, repulsive man; the other, his daughter who is good and caring, but has extremely low self-esteem. The blogger then reports on the choices the Sims make. It's a good read----and probably another black hole in my online computer time. Interesting, nonetheless. You can read about the adventures of Alice and Kev here.

In other news...we planted our garden today. My "salad" row went in first, then the three rows of beans. Further out in the garden are the 4 hills of zucchini, 5 of yellow crookneck, and 7 tomato plants. The garden is so tame and innocent at this time of year, full of promise of succulent, tender shoots... the challenge is to remain on top of the workload so the garden doesn't turn into a monster.

We have a party to attend in 40 minutes, and the kids and I have not yet done our requisite math school for today. Looks like the garden activities of this morning have pushed school to a Friday night thing. Bummer!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Event

Flopsy pig pig died yesterday afternoon. It was very sad, but good for the kids to experience a small taste of grief, even if only for a beloved pet.

Her final resting place was a Grape Nuts box cut to size. A. let the kids pick where to put her grave, so they chose a spot next to the wisteria bush. S. put a little pot of grass on the spot and we went to Happy Teriyaki for dinner so we could have some Happy in the day.

At the kids' request, we stopped by Petco on the way home.

We now have a little black and white piggie that the kids have dubbed Squirt. She's bonding with Julie extremely well. When we introduced the two, Squirt ran up to the older Julie and stuck her nose under Julie's chin. Julie is being a surrogate mother to her. Squirt is already showing more personality, relaxing, and eating what Julie eats. (Until they were introduced, Squirt just hung out in the pigloo and wouldn't eat--at least that we could observe.) The transformation in Squirt was amazing to watch. These little creatures are very social.

Some remaining tears were shed over Flopsy today, but they're moving on.

Monday, June 08, 2009

flopsy pig pig

I am in here because it would be a sin to laugh right now. I am cursed with a tweaky sense of humor that crops up at inappropriate times.

Early this afternoon A. discovered our oldest guinea pig Flopsy: limp and prostrate, shallowly panting. It's warm outside, so we don't know if this is the result of old age, or if she's just suffering with heat exhaustion.

We gave her an ice pack and misted her with water, but she's still pretty limp, and not looking good.

Kids are distraught, of course. D is more stoic than S, as usual.

Here's the reason I'm banishing myself to my room: S got out a 100 piece jigsaw puzzle box and held it up with a calculating eye. "Is this too big?" she mused. I didn't see where this was going until she got out the box of Breton crackers - a long rectangular-shaped tube - dumped the crackers into a Ziploc bag and caught my eye: "Will this work?" Finally I cotton on to the fact that S is choosing an appropriate coffin for Flopsy's final rest. And the mental image of squeezing a guinea pig into that skinny lil' cracker box made me almost, but not quite, giggle.

So I'm in here, writing it out, so I can go back out there and keep it together and console the disconsolate. Flopsy has been a good pet, and I am rather fond of her. I'm praying for wisdom on how best to help the kids with this. We have been preparing for it for some time - the pig is 7 years old. But when it comes down to it, we aren't really prepared for The Event.

Latest: D and S are now working on a Guinea Pig Album and they want to put pictures together. I must go. Here's a pic of Flopsy last month:

Thursday, June 04, 2009

a series of common events

This morning, D. said his band at Maplewood was having an end-of-the-year party. Bring snacks. So I dropped the boy at band and drove to Safeway to get some suitable 9:30 a.m. party snacks. Only one register is open at Safeway, and they're stacked 6 deep with customers.... Success at last! Chocolate chip mini muffins purchased, I headed back to Maplewood. As I rounded the corner, I saw our minivan round the opposite corner, heading back toward home.

Oh. I don't have my cell phone with me. Apparently some plan went awry, or D. got his facts mixed up, resulting in a phone call to come pick him up. So now there are two parents out of the house this morning for the sake of band, which isn't happening, apparently.

I follow the van home. D says the party has been postponed to Monday. The muffins go in the freezer as I state, "these had BETTER be here Monday morning, because I am not buying any more."

S is cheerfully playing Mario Kart Worldwide with some strangers from France and England. Never mind the fact that the Wii is offlimits until all school is done, the opportunistic child was counting on my being gone for a longer period of time.

We turn the Wii off (I am kind enough to let her finish the Koopa Cape race), and sit down at the dining room table to begin math. The kids grab their favorite yogurt flavors to fortify their minds and their intestines. S, unthinking, sets hers at the edge of the table, and then promptly knocks the yogurt off the table onto the carpet. The yogurt flavor? Pineapple upside-down cake.

Delays, delays! I sponge up the carpet while she cleans her bare foot. She reapproaches the table, only to stub her toe on the corner. More delays for a pain rage fit.

This is our typical pattern of life. If I become a year-round schooler, it's not by choice, but by necessity.

Friday, May 29, 2009

sowing and reaping

It's almost June. Schools are winding down, the temperature is winding up, the neighborhood kiddie pools are filling up.

And my kids are inside doing school. Only now do they bemoan the wasted hours, the frittered time. My daughter is in a rage right now because the kids next door are making too much noise as they swim in their pool and slip on their waterslide. She wants me to go next door and tell them to be quiet.

S is at the emotional stage right now where everything is traumatic. The self-hair pulling, the hands clasped over her ears, the stompings and wailings and throwing of schoolbooks. Get over yourself, girl. You're reaping what you've sown. Plant something different next time.

That may sound like I lack compassion, but that's not the case. I'd rather be done, too. But this experience, too, is school, and she needs to learn that choices have consequences.

I hope the lesson sticks.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

pulpit fail

We receive many emails from different organizations of varying Christian stripes - so much so, that they tend to blur together.

This morning, however, we received an e-newsletter from a church where I personally was familiar with their pastor and his ministry. Since it made a blip on my recognition radar, I clicked on the link and had a look around.

Apparently they have a new pulpit - a gift from a like-minded church located in Hammond, Indiana (with which, sadly, I am also familiar).


"THAT IN ALL THINGS HE MIGHT HAVE THE PREEMINENCE" is boldly proclaimed in all caps on the front of the pulpit, over a white cross edged with glowing blue. . .

Now, please tell me, while looking at the photo --exactly WHO will be preeminent as the pastor stands in that pulpit?






Riiiiight.



Now, I am 97% sure that this was not considered when the pulpit was being designed. However, there is that cynical 3% within me that makes me just shake my head, when I consider the source-- which displays that stripe of thought that the Pastor is God's Man, never to be questioned, challenged, or held to account for sin; the giving church worships their preachers and a particular Bible version and pushes the grace of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the background. So - to my cynical 5% (it's growing) it's interesting that the man is stationed ABOVE the Cross of Christ.

That in all things HE might have the preeminence.



Sigh.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

deadline

30 days hath September,
April, June, and November...

Just wanted to get one post in for the month of April, since it is now April 30....


Harking back a bit, one month ago today I was in Quebec.

I still have travel photos on my camera to upload, and travel stories to tell before I forget them (for instance - from Minnesota to Western South Dakota........it pretty much sucks. No offense, or anything, but Dudes. Get some trees. And I mean trees that ARE trees, not some weasly little things that poke out of the ground. The only saving grace was Wall Drug....which must be where all the trees went, to make billboards. Pennsylvania's got the right idea in the tree department, but they go for numbers rather than height.)

But those stories are not for today. I must get my children back on track doing school. We all have a severe case of Spring Fever.

... so I'd better get to bed, if I'm going to do any serious catchup tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

guest book review: Don Quixote

This is for Rebecca, who's been taking stabs at reading this.


D. read an abridged version of Don Quixote for school, and here's his assessment (and I quote):


"I can tell you the entire story in very few words.

He reads too many books. He becomes a nut. So then he gets a squire, and he trains his squire to become a nut. Eventually he dies because he's a nut."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

context, context, context.

A and I are enjoying a quiet evening in the living room. He's reading, I'm playing games on my laptop. Here's the conversation:


Me (playing Scrabble online): "I'm only coming up with four-letter words."

A: "Why? Are you in that bad of a mood?"

Monday, March 09, 2009

spring is not icumen in

Spring is not icumen in
Lhude sing poo-pooh!
Snoweth snow and Bloweth nose
And Groweth impatience anew...
Lhude sing poo-pooh!

**edit** Apparently my song reference above is too obscure. I based it on the old Madrigal song written in Middle English, "Sumer is icumen in." Here's the original poem with a performance of the song. Enjoy! Now, back to your lives, citizens!**

I awoke to a winter wonderland this morning. Late this morning. I had to recover from a long, busy weekend and a lack of sleep following the time change.

3 inches is usually more than enough to keep the Puyallup School District from functioning--however, school was NOT cancelled. I learned this AFTER D. missed his band class. He was truant - playing in the snow.

A. figured we might as well let the kids play outside - it'll be the last snow of the season, likely. So, no school today yet. Instead, I'm cleaning house and doing more vacation planning. Road trip!!

Friday, March 06, 2009

mother hubbard

A, just moments ago, commenting on his inability to find a suitable lunch:

"I'm beginning to understand why tigers drive away their offspring from their territory... otherwise, there's no prey left."


He further queried:

"What do you call something that just lies around, causes trouble, and eats food?"

(Me: "A cat.")

"No. A parasite. A lawyer."



He'll change his tune once I rustle up some suitable grub. Seems I'd better get to it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

thoughtfulness

My son has just brought me a cup of my favorite tea: Ginger Peach, by the incomparable Republic of Tea. I love it hot or cold.

I wonder if he's trying to soften some blow that will fall shortly?

... and I hate being all suspicious like that, but these children sometimes exhibit my worst behaviors, and I have been guilty of buttering people up.


Maybe I should just stop fussing and drink my tea. Good idea.

**UPDATE**
I found an empty carton of ice cream next to the teapot. Okay, not COMPLETELY empty... there were about two bites left. Tea with ice cream: who knew?

on kitchen countertops

There's nothing like having a freshly scrubbed kitchen countertop, pristine and cleared of clutter.


It's a battle, though, to keep it that way. There must be an inner compulsion in each member of this household that drives us to put things on the countertop. The empty space beckons us to spread out one's cartooning supplies, the monsters made of Sculpey, the assorted recipes that we'll be using to keep the family fed and content. The mail from yesterday. The avocado pit, stuck with toothpicks and balanced in a small juice cup of water, in hopes that we can get it to sprout--aptly named "Sputnik" by my daughter. And one mustn't forget the cups, plates, bowls, and flatware that never quite make it to the dishwasher, but instead stack up on the countertop, awaiting Somebody's attention.

I hope Somebody gets here soon. I'm running out of space.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

my business is picking up

Last night, on my daily walk-thru before bedtime, I discovered:

* an open gallon of milk, sitting in front of the linen closet

* General Grievous and Obi-Wan Kenobi, facing off on my bathroom floor next to the box of shoe polish supplies, also on the bathroom floor for some reason

This morning, I encountered:

* a pot of Earl Grey tea, with copious amounts of sugar speckling the surrounding countertop

* a saucepan on the stovetop, containing bright vermilion cooked crayfish staring blankly at their surroundings

* folded clothes in various piles scattered around the flat surfaces of the living room, making it intraversable (at least they were folded)

* a ringing phone, but the handset was not on the hook, and I don't know where it is...

Believe you me, my business is picking up.

Monday, February 23, 2009

snippets

"Auuughhhh!! What's the point of science without LIQUID NITROGEN??!"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

(insert clever title here)

First off, let me just say a big howdy to my three faithful readers. You probably already know the basic jist of my life because you're on my Facebook friend list! :)

Lately I have really been feeling the strain of homeschooling through a particular virtual academy. I love the k12 curriculum, I really do. And I love the people I've met at the Washington Virtual Academy. But the daily grind of making WAVA's required monthly goals is sapping the joy out of this whole educational journey. We are schooling from morning until bedtime.

Add piano, choir, band into that mix, and the academic hours are shortened even more, adding to the crunch. We don't have AWANA or a comparable program at our church, and sad but true, I'm thankful, because that would be Just Another Thing To Do That Takes Up Time.

I'm snappish, short-tempered, and --yes, oddly enough--weepy! Me! (The snap and short-tempered bit is not so strange, but the weepy bit is the strange part).

So we really need prayer as to where we go from here. I am certain that I need to rely more on God's supply of grace. That's a definite. But: do we leave the virtual academy and remain independent homeschoolers? Do we change virtual academies? Do we send a kid off to school? If so, which school? Christian or public? Should I give up the piano studio and resume classroom teaching?

Leaving things status quo is taking a great toll on our lives. AGAIN, I know I need to rely more on God's power and provision. But have I overloaded my plate with things that God has not intended for me to bear? He promises to provide enablement for what He has ordained, not necessarily what I choose for myself.

So that's the latest from here.

We're off to a piano recital. I have 5 students in the recital, and both D and S are playing for their teacher Sharon, so it'll be a Kodak moment. :)

I'll sign off with the current meme. Feel free to just stop reading here if you find these things completely uninteresting!

Things I have done during my lifetime:

(x ) Gone on a blind date
(x ) Skipped school
( ) Watched someone die
( x ) Been to Canada
( x ) Been to Mexico
( x ) Been to Florida
( ) Been to Hawaii
( X ) Been on a plane
( ) Been on a helicopter
( X ) Been lost
( x ) Gone to Washington, DC
( x ) Been to the Smithsonian
( x ) Rode The Metro in DC
( X ) Swam in the ocean
( ) Swam with Stingrays
( x ) Fed/petted stingrays
( X ) Cried yourself to sleep
( X ) Played cops and robbers
(x ) Recently colored with crayons
( ) Sang Karaoke
( x ) Paid for a meal with coins only
( ) Been to the top of the St. Louis Arch
( X ) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't
( x ) Made prank phone calls (Is your refrigerator running, better go catch it)
( x) Been down Bourbon Street in New Orleans
(x ) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose
( x ) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
( x) Danced in the rain
( x) Been to Europe
( X) Written a letter to Santa Claus
(X) Been kissed under the mistletoe
(X) Watched the sunrise with someone
(X) Blown bubbles
( ) Watched a Mardi Gras parade in person
(x) Gone ice-skating
(X) Gone to the movies
(x ) Been deep sea fishing
(x) Driven across the United States
( ) Been in a hot air balloon
(x) Been to a music concert
( ) Been sky diving
( ) Gone snowmobiling
() Gone jet-skiing
( ) Lived in more than one country
(x) Lay down outside at night and admired the stars while listening to the crickets
(X) Seen a falling star and made a wish
( x) Enjoyed the beauty of Old Faithful Geyser
( x) Seen the Grand Canyon
( x) Seen the Statue of Liberty
( x) Been to New York City
( ) Been in a Haunted Place and experienced something
( x ) Gone to the top of Seattle Space Needle
( ) Gone out with someone you met online
() Toured Alcatraz aka The Rock
(x) Drove down Lombard Street in San Francisco
( ) Been on a cruise
( ) Traveled by train
( x) Traveled by motorcycle
(X) Been horse back riding
( ) Rode on a San Francisco cable car
( x ) Been to Hollywood
( ) Been to a taping of a live show
( ) Listened to Dueling Pianos in person
( x) Been to Disneyland AND Disney World (both)
(X) Truly believe in the power of prayer
( ) Been in a rain forest
(x ) Seen whales in the ocean
() Been inside a castle
(x ) Been to Niagara Falls
( x ) Rode on an elephant
( ) Been to San Diego's Gas Lamp District
( ) Swam with dolphins
( ) Been to the Olympics
( x) Seen redwood trees
( x) Been to Busch Gardens
( ) Walked on the Great Wall of China
(x) Hiked a mountain trail
( ) Saw and heard a glacier calf
( ) Been spinnaker flying
( ) Been to Waikiki Beach
( x ) Been water-skiing
( x ) Been snow-skiing
( x) Caught fireflies in a jar
( ) Been to Waikiki Beach
( ) Been to Westminster Abbey
( x) Gone white water rafting
(x) Gone on a picnic
( ) Been to the Louvre
(x ) Swam in the Mediterranean
( ) Watched the fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas
(x ) Been to a Major League Baseball game
( ) Been to a National Football League game
(x) Played a sport
( ) Swam with sharks
( ) Fed a giraffe
( x) Gone camping in a tent
(x) Seen both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
(x) Been to Knotts Berry Farm in Anaheim, CA (duh! I'm a Californian!)
( ) Been on a horse and buggy ride
(x) Traveled to more than 20 different states
(x ) Been to an NBA game
( ) Been to an NHL game
(x) Have eaten dessert first
( ) Been to Australia
() Been to Williamsburg, VA
(x) Read a book with more than 500 pages
( x) Met someone famous
(x) Went to a symphony (in concert)
(x) Seen The Nutcracker Ballet in person

Thursday, January 29, 2009

education matters

I will never stop learning as long as I live.

I have some good examples before me. I have a friend who is in her 70's and still taking piano lessons. She's a retired missionary to Colombia who homeschooled five children on the field. She continues to play piano for solo/ensemble competitions, as well as take lessons. Her wisdom and humor make piano classes fun.

I had a piano lesson this morning. Well, it ended up being more of a kaffee klatsch, since I find myself with little in the way of spare time to do anything more than sight-play some easy Chopin or Bach. Winnowing a work down to its harmonic structure, and digging the meat out of the melodic line, forget it. Not when I have literally been teaching school until 9 or 10 p.m. nightly.

Anyway. Good piano/klatsch today. Mimi was very encouraging. Or maybe I was just out of the house, no kids to harangue, and talking with an adult about Life, the Universe, and Everything. I can learn something just by sitting at her Steinway B (note that she sits at the Steinway D, thank you very much, plays like chocolate silk and sounds like amber-colored honey...I digress...) and discussing the teaching in my own studio using the literature my students are working in.


Yeah, this late night school thing is really getting me down. As a matter of fact, I kinda was on strike today. Not in a defiant, in-your-face picket line sort of way, but more like Bartleby the scrivener, in that I "preferred not to" teach. Instead I made heart-shaped cutout cookies, covered with Toba Garrett's cookie glaze. It's flood-consistency frosting that dries to a nice sheen. I added some silver dragees and had some fun imagining selling them for $15 per cookie like Toba does. (no, seriously, go see. www.tobagarrett.com. And no, my cookies didn't look as good as all that.) I allowed S, who is battling some cold/virus thing, to help me with the decor. I figure by now we're all exposed to the germs, so why not? Indeed, A. had it first, and now D has a 99.something fever. S will end up being a baker, that one. Her life involves quite a bit of planning parties, hosting parties, or making party favors and party food. Maybe her life here is too boring.

Meanwhile D wants to educate me on the finer points of playing Godzilla: Unleashed on the Wii. So far I have escaped his clutches on the grounds that if I don't have time to practice the piano because I'm too busy teaching HIM, then he doesn't get Wii time, nor do I (unless, of course, it's Wii Fit...exercise is an acceptable use of time, you know.) This evening, though, since I was on a Bartleby-type of strike, we enjoyed to the fullest: watching a tape of The Doctor(Nine)save Rose Tyler and battle the Daleks--then doing Wii Fit (Super Hula Hoop rocks)--then D.(as Godzilla, naturally) battling Megaguirus and some seahorse-lookin' thing whose name escapes me at the moment, though I know D. has told me several times. (The training of Mom clearly has not stuck). He also did some internet searching on how to unlock a particular monster called Biollante. Just as he completed the necessary steps to unlock Biollante, though, the program did just the converse: it locked up and we had to reboot the system. Lost!

In other education news, A and I have been noodling when best to take a trip to upstate NY to see his dad and then up to Quebec to see his aunt and uncle, who are now in their 80's. We've settled on the weeks that straddle Spring Break. And, Providentially, I have a car waiting for me in Detroit. So the plan is to get one-way flights to Detroit, see the Mom/Grandma and the Brother/Uncle and family - then hop in the car (I have actually ALREADY done the paperwork and tranferred title)- then drive to New York, drive to Canada (passports in process of being renewed - $75 each, such a deal /sarcasm) - then the real fun and education begins when we drive back across the whole flippin' US of A from NYC to SEA. The route will send us from New York City (2 days) to Indianapolis, to Chicago (2 days), to Sioux Falls, to Casper, to Missoula, and then Home. We will learn MUCH on this trip, oh yesss. Even if it is merely in areas of self-control and biting our tongues, or how to count antelope factorially when we are in Wyoming. If you live near any of these cities, be warned that you might just get to see us. Or you might have to come up with excuses not to see us.

The other educational experience that looms in my future is that I get to do my own taxes this year for the first time ever. My dad--in the tax business for 38 years-- retired. He gave me notice over Christmas that he's done. He bought me Turbo Tax and said he'd be available for questioning.

Ugh. Numbers AND the Government. Could anything be less enjoyable?

I wonder if, come April 15, I could simply write, "I prefer not to" at the top of my 1040?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

the longest day

I marvel at my children's ability to procrastinate. I can very clearly set forth a well-documented chart of things to do, the order in which they could most efficiently be done, and hold out a "carrot" if the things get done, to reward the kids.

11:21 p.m. Kids not done with school. Kids comatose. Mom frustrated. Dad going to bed.


I don't know about this whole piano teaching gig. I love it, plus we need the money. But school just doesn't happen well on piano days.

So maybe Tuesday and Wednesday will be the kids' weekend, and we school Thursday through Monday.

Oh wait. Where did my weekend go?

I'll think about that tomorrow.

Definitely these kids are mine, though. Masters of procrastination.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

ooh, shiny! a blog!

...I wonder how long it's been here, unattended?

Working on a new header. ^That one is ancient and unused. And what is more, I can't seem to link to it from photobucket. They've redone the site and I don't feel like investing time in it to relearn how to post the img.

More important than a new header, though, is CONTENT.



Working on that, too... in between schooling 2 halflings and doing the wife, mom, and piano teacher thing. :)


I'm also playing Lexulous online with Cabcree and Mrs. Blythe. PRIORITIES!