Monday, December 29, 2008

Random Observations:

1) When I was at the grocery today I lined up behind a young woman with two kids in tow. Her order consisted of; three quart bottles of Colt 45, a large bag of Doritos, two boxes of store-brand 'Lucky Charms',two of those cardboard thin frozen pizzas, and a gallon of milk. She stopped at the front desk to buy cigarettes on the way out. I'm sure that the stock of whole grain foods, fresh fruits and veggies, and high quality proteins were just fine in the house, and she just stopped by to pick up a few treats.

2) There have been six or seven people in my Sunday school class (out of about 20) with foot issues over the last few months. It has been noted after my Thanksgiving attempt to slice my toe off that it was a heck of a coincidence. My friend Kitty fell and shattered her ankle 10 days ago - upping the total by yet another out of action pedal extremity. Is it time to schedule a Blessing of the Feet in this group?

3) I have started easing my driving restrictions imposed during the era of $4 gasoline. I am going to have to remind myself not to fall completely back into those old habits. Today it was a lovely day to be out driving. The sun is shining brightly enough to pretend it is sunny and warm. I saw two foxes walking along the side of tower road, enjoying the weather.

4) There is an article in our paper today about recycling televisions ahead of the HDTV only start-up in February. The TV being dismantled by the technician in the photo accompanying the article was much newer and larger than the one we currently use, and several of the TV stacked behind him seemed to be the same. The article quoted him as saying "we generally get sets that are 8-12 years old and have been sitting out in the garage for a few years, and people just want to be rid of them." So, is the average life of a TV only 8-12 years, or is our 14 year old (still in use, one-and-only) set just the exception to the rule? I know there are times when a TV is just ready to be shot. My mom's set was laughable when she died. 30 years old and had been reduced to green-and-white, but I can't see replacing a TV every 8 years...

Anyhow. Have a Happy and Safe New Year Celebration, Everyone. May 2009 be the year that God blesses you beyond your wildest dreams. ~Marci

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

For God loved us all so very much, that he gave his Son to die for us. That we might believe, and have everlasting life.

In Christ is life, and in Christmas is a new beginning.

Blessings of this Holiday to every one.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Don't tell Ralphie!

But he's getting a genuine Red Rider 200-shot carbine action air rifle - with a compass in the stock. Hope he doesn't shoot his eye out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I know, It's been a while.

I haven't found the motivation to actually write anything recently. This time of year I have this ennui that comes with the short, gray days and specifically this year the lack of Christmas activities. There are no concerts to travel for, no big or little Church programs to do, and as far as I know no party invites. I really don't even want to try and put anything together myself, and I don't want to want to. Before you get all buggy-eyed and upset ( and you know who I'm talking to) no, you can't fix it. Some time in the end of February, or maybe earlier, when it is sunny and bright with snow, and the day light is lasting longer than 9 hours I'll find something that catches my interest and I'll find the inspiration and creativity that have deserted me in this gloomy winter. Until then I'll get along ok. I'll still smile and laugh - just a little less. I'll be happy with a day where I get the essentuals done, but it isn't likely I'll start any projects. If I do, they are just as likely to be abandoned. Don't take it personally. I should have been a hibernating animal. ~M.E.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Thanksgiving was a day enjoyed and partly just endured as a quartet of people that are related by blood and love that aren't all at the top of our games right now. You ever have one of those? I know, I know - We have so very much to be thankful for - but the 'thankful' day on the calender just didn't fall on the right date this year. Very soon I hope there will be a day that gives us some truly good news and I will make a turkey and all the traditional accompaniments for a real thanksgiving feast.

We had a Thanksgiving Day shoot in the swamp today. It was fun, the weather was nice, and many plastic bottles were repurposed as targets. (Insert pix here later)

I also managed to cut my foot with a utility knife. Good news is that PromptCare wasn't that busy, and it wasn't serious enough to warrant transfer to the ER. I think the Dr. said he put in 8 stitches, but I haven't looked very close at it. It hurts like crazy so I'm awake at 2AM with an ice bag waiting for the painkiller to kick in. (not that 2AM and I aren't well acquainted, anyhow.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


1) Gas at $1.53 - It just proves that the people who make a living predicting the economy don't know what's going on any more than us ordinary folk. It almost seems like we're in the grips of some sick, evil creature. Oh, That would be Satan. Good thing we have the shield of God's Grace.

2) I found a sappy, sad love song from the 80's playing over the sound system at the grocery particularly distracting today. Made me long for trite stupid Christmas music.

3) A couple of years ago Meredith and I saw a White-tail Buck walking on a railroad overpass on the south side of Springfield. Today I saw another using the same overpass to get between wooded places on either side of the freeway. It was about a ten point. (in Illinois parlance - that would be a 5 point for you Michiganians)

4) I wish I had an 'off' button. I really, really don't want to have to resort to chemically induced sleep. 4 to 6 hours a night makes each day a struggle. From experience, it takes 9 to keep me in the best shape.

5) Here comes another quiet, unexciting Thanksgiving Day. The curse of the small family. But I hear from those that have large demanding families that the grass is NOT greener on the other side. Does anyone really have one of those Normal Rockwell holidays? After our girls are off on their own, maybe we'll go on vacation out of the country over Thanksgiving.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Birthday.

You've come a long way, baby. Here's to the year ahead. May it be a Happy, Prosperous, and exciting one. May you follow the path made for you by God, and be showered with His blessings. May you continue to grow in wisdom, grace, and beauty.

Much Love, ~MoM

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I should post something about ....

This guy named Neil, who just completely trashed M. Girls heart. I had posted about him a bit back in August - how he had been in and out of the house all summer, and how he really seemed to enjoy our hospitality. How we had helped him out during a few difficulties, because that's what we do for each other. Something about hanging in there even in the tough times out of pure love.

Nope. Got nothing.

She and her dad are off shooting the bang-bangs today. Nothing like cutting loose some potentially lethal projectiles to clear the mind and steady the heart.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Shallowest Generation

Go Read This:

I don't agree with everything that this man has written, but his statistics are sobering. I certainly don't like his assessment that I should pay more taxes into the system, but I should certainly be putting more money into the bank and less into unnecessary 'necessities'. I think our family will also be looking hard at reworking our own funding for the retirement years. I know that as soon as I work myself out of my current teaching job, it will be time to get back into something with a pay check.

Oh, and someone please let me in on how to make hot links here..I couldn't figure it out.

At least it's not a HMV I.

26.5 miles per gallon

Created by The Car Connection

I thought for sure it was going to say mini-van. The numbers are about right.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

not feeling the love

I managed to embarrass and upset a student in class last Friday. I simply called him on his whining about not being able to do an assignment. Because of his learning difficulties, and I do admit he has some - I haven't made him put pencil to paper all semester. He informed me in class that he couldn't memorize the short piece of Shakespeare I assigned him. "Oh, Bull", says I, "your piece is easy and fun, I'm sure you could if you tried." I told him it was his choice, but that he wouldn't get a completion certificate if he didn't.
The kids have known about this, and have had their assigned pieces for two months already, and two weeks ago I gave this kid a much easier selection than he had originally picked. I spent class time on two different days, including last week, teaching memorization skills. I could have helped a three year old memorize his piece simply by setting it to a tune and making it a clapping song. But, NOOOOoooo, he's incapable of memorizing it. It's too hard! His mother, a member of the co-op board red @ssed me both over the phone and in EMail today, and pulled her boy out of both of my classes. She is honked off because I swore at her kid. "My husband and I do NOT speak to our children that way!" She is honked off because she has tried to help him, and he just can't do it.
IMHO, this kid does have some learning and social difficulties. It is also my opinion that he has learned very adeptly how to play his mom and dad like violins.
I have always enjoyed teaching at co-op, even though I do not believe I have the gift of dealing with kids. I do not get paid enough to do this job. If this comes up again, or she takes this 'to the board'. they will swiftly find themselves minus a teacher. I have better things to do with approximately 10 hours each week.

Yeah. and other things went poorly today, also. ~M.E.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Same Country, Completely Different

Here's an artist that I'd dearly love to own a really big, well made book of prints of his works. I can say that and know that it isn't a gift hint, because I don't think one exists. I've looked.

Caspar David Friedrich was a painter in the German Romanticism movement. Maybe 50 or 60 years ago almost no one paid any attention to him. His work has come and gone from fashion a couple of times since his lifetime - he painted from about 1790's until 1840 - in fact, his style of work had gone out of fashion by his later years, and he died almost destitute. I read that the German Expressionists took some inspiration from the German Romanticists, but if you only look at Freidrich, and my most recent artistic offering, Franz Marc, you will not see it easily.

This is Abbey in the Oak Wood. It's a little Gothic cliche, morose, creepy, depressing - but very utterly beautiful if you are in the mood to study it. It's a very November mood painting for me - sombre, cold, sad. It's the winter of the White Witch - always winter and never Christmas.

This is The Sea of Ice. It's much different in mood. There's a pervading stillness that is the aftermath of a great deal of turmoil. Like five minutes after something horrible and unexpected happens, that moment of ghastly clarity when everything stops and the survivors look around and ask themselves what the heck happened. Except here, there is no solace for the shipwrecked - so far from home and swallowed by the unforgiving ice, the rocks, the cold. There is no place here to rest your eyes for comfort, unlike the Abbey, where we see that the monks and mourners still tend the ruins.

It's a good day for Mr. Friedrich. He's an artistic version of a requiem. Seems very appropriate. Any suggestions on which requiem would suit best?


Sunday, November 16, 2008

It would be OK if you all wanted to pray for us this week. It might be another bumpy one. ~M.E.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gas at $1.82

Never thought I'd see that again in my life. We're not going to go back to the way we were driving before the huge price surge last spring, though. Too bad for the oil companies, they left the prices up long enough for new driving habits to form - at least in our family. Have you noticed that grocery prices haven't come down yet? they told us that transportation prices drove them up. HHmm.

I drove the truck to the west side of Springfield yesterday without feeling guilty every mile for the first time in forever. At the current prices that trip costs about $5.25. When gasoline was over $4. a gallon it cost about 12 bucks. ( I took the truck b/c the van was in the shop.)

I have to be happy with these little things. We were still able to spend a little cash on a few splurges: make-up, chocolate, a new CD of music... God is providing all of our needs, and a great many of our wants. Even if the lesson from the brokerage statements are that we have to trust Him for our future.

OK, let's just leave it at that. ~M.E.

Edit: Spoke too soon, $2.08 all over town this morning. what magic happened over night to make all the gasoline in Spfld worth .26 cents more this morning? No, don't try to explain it to me, I don't really want to know.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Status Updates

On Facebook, that internet excuse for real relationships, there is a line called your Status. It always starts with *your name* is... then you fill in the blank. You can replace the word 'is', if you wish. In one or two sentences you can tell your dozens or thousands of friends how you are doing. Those Twitter folk have it linked in so that we can see their every move and bodily function, and on the opposite end of the scale those that have what might be called a real life away from the computer screen may not use the function at all. In the middle are people like me. I try to make mine innocuous, vaguely interesting, and acceptable for all ages - since my 'friends' span the generations. I also try not to change it more than once a day, or every couple of days. I want people to *think* I have a life, even on those days when I use the computer as an excuse to hide from everything else.

Every so often recently I find myself thinking in Status Update Form. "Marci is...completely uninterested in making dinner, and wishes her family would revert to hunting and gathering their own food." "Marci is...going to leave these whiny hair-balls outside to freeze." "Marci is...inert, uninspired, and brain-dead." Yes, most of those that run through my brain are negative. You caught that too?

Today I'm trying an experiment. No More Negative Updates. Not on the 'book, and not in my head. For weeks now, I've let the negatives put the positives out of the picture. Part of this valley is of my own making, and it's time to start climbing out. "Marci is...going for a walk."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

It's War

Ah! What lovely leaves we had last week. For several days the weather was warm and sunny, and the trees were showing off after a very favorable summer. But now, it's time to get out the rakes, blower, the tow-behind lawn sweeper, and the shredder and start fighting.

I post every year about "The War of the Leaves" like it's a new thing, but obviously it isn't. Every year between the third week in October and the third week in November the very tall,very abundant trees that ring our home dump their leaves. Usually after the most beautiful show of fall color - the one which gave our house it's name: Goldenwood.

After the Fall of the leaves, someone has to clean it up. We're not fastidious yard keepers, but we'd be buried in leaves year 'round if we didn't. Here's the statistics on this battle: by the end of the season Hannah and I will have gathered, and Harry will have shredded about a dozen piles, something like the ones on the picture. See the bag on the shredder? Harry will empty that some 5-7 times per pile. So he could easily shred and empty 60 bags. Each of those shredded bags represents about the amount of leaves you could pack solid into about 4 or 5, 33 gallon trash bags ( or at least 3 of those paper lawn and leaf bags city folk have to use.)So picture if you had to gather and bag maybe 250 to 300 garbage bags packed fill of leaves. Yeah, that's what we do. Before today, he had already shredded 28 bags. Today he will do about 20 more, and hopefully after one more shredding day later in the week, 80% of the leaves will be down, and we'll call it good.

The shredder compacts the leaves by crunching them into chunks about the size of a dime. They are then deposited 20 yards or so back in the woods, well away from the house where they are left to mulch themselves back to soil, and they are no longer fuel for a potential brush fire that could sweep through our yard.

Here's a lovely pix of a few of the enemy combatants.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

posted for no reason

Other than I just noticed that this memory stick was in this particular computer. These eggs were in my fridge when I came home from Washington DC a few weeks back. ~m.e.

Incoherent thoughts after the election

So, It’s over. Finally. We’ve elected a new president. What a long two years. Whadda you know? We’ve got the one who is a big bite out of the far left side of the crap sandwich served up to us on the ballot by the major parties. At the very least it’s not Hillary Clinton. I’m profoundly relieved about that. If John McCain was the best the Republicans had to offer, they deserved to be booted from power.

I read that the new President is going to be inheriting the worst economy in about 70 years. Is this really the worst economy since the Great Depression? Wasn’t that stint in the ‘70s with its double-digit inflation, massive unemployment and ‘the energy crisis’ pretty bad? Well, Barack Obama seems to think he’s the go-to guy with the right answers, and he can change all this and make us all happy again. I wish him – and his friends in the House and Senate – a great deal of luck. It will be interesting to see what they do with all of the marbles, now that they have them.

The beauty of this all is that in spite of our differences, and the fact that 55.7 million American voters did NOT get their candidate elected, there will be no rioting in the streets, and the lights will still turn on at the flip of a switch – even in the homeless shelters. America is a great country.

God bless our new president. No matter if we voted for him or not. I’m not about to go around like the Dems did in 2000 and 2004 exclaiming that they wouldn’t claim GWB as THEIR president. At least we can agree that the dude who WON the election IS the POTUS. Besides, I live in Illinois, and on the front page of my morning paper they are gleefully anticipating all of the perks and pork that will be coming our way. It might be win-win here. Hey, they wouldn’t dare not give Chicago the Olympics now, and all the cronies he bundles off to Washington will leave room for a few hundred of those laid-off state workers to get their jobs back – as long as they’re Democrats.

God Bless Michelle Obama and those two lovely little girls. They seem to stand up well under the spotlights, let’s hope the media microscopes are kind to them. Good thing is that the oldest is only 10, so she won’t have to go through those awkward teenaged years in the Whitehouse like Chelsea Clinton or the rather unfortunate Amy Carter. At least not the first administration. Maybe their Daddy will take a page outta Rod Blaggo’s book and make them stay in Chicago and have normal childhoods. Yeah, Right.

Pack up the campaign signs! Put away the pundits! Stop the constant polling! empty the mailboxes of political junk mail! Maybe we’ll even start getting some real news on the TV.

I do have one very scary thought to leave you with. It’s likely that Obama and this new Democrat Majority will have three supreme court justices to replace, and they will change the face of the High Court for long after we find out that they, too, are bums, and we disgustedly flush them from office.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Miss Scarlett

Here's our merry murderess from the game 'Clue'. Why a lead pipe you ask? simple: It's not very PC to take your revolver out trick-or-treating. heh.


Goldenwood and other updates

* This is the time of year that our home was named for. The Hickory trees and the Sassafras are putting on a particularly lovely show this year, since they were so well watered this summer.

* I survived the Halloween party and so did everyone else. There is one broken camera, and some slight damage to the new painting that was sitting in the hall - the painting is fixable but the camera is a corpse. I may have to replace our stereo reciever, too. But it could have been out of order before and I just noticed it. The teenagers had a great time, and have already started planning for next year - when they have noted that Halloween is on a Saturday night.

* Harry is working hard on getting his #300 geocache before our third anniversary of starting to play the game. He is caching his way home from Chicago today, so he may hit that goal. We're pretty casual about this. Many teams get that many within their first year. We've got a life, though.

* November is my least favorite month. As of today it will start getting dark about 5PM, and I will start falling asleep at 6PM, no matter what.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fighting Forms

Franz Marc 1914

He painted this work on the eve of World War I, when he saw the war as a horrific necessity that would purify Europe of the evils that had enveloped it - even his own beloved country, Germany.

In 1911 he, August Macke, Wassily Kandinsky - and a few others decided to break off from the accepted German arts hierarchy and form Der Blaue Reiter, the seeds of German expressionism. They used strong colors, modified cubist forms, and stark, nearly abstract compositions to convey the very strongest human emotions extremely effectively. In his eyes, colors had certain emotions that could not be separated from the pigments. I wonder if he had synesthesia - a type of sensory cross-over in the brain, in his case where colors perceived through the eyes stimulated the emotion centers in the brain along with the sight centers. We all have some sort of emotional attachment to colors, but his seemed most visceral.

I have had a hard time taking my eyes off from his works the last few days. Fighting Forms in particular seems to sum up, in a way words can't the emotions rolling around in my country, my family, and in my own soul.

Franz Marc was included on a list of culturally significant men who were in the Army that were to be kept out of combat - painters, composers, writers, and the like. He was killed in 1916 at the battle of Verdun before this edict could be carried out.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

There are just 4 'working days' until the Halloween party that I SO GENEROUSLY offered to let Hannah, Amanda, and Nicole host here on Halloween night. I keep thinking of more things I need to do to get ready. The weather looks like it will be clear and cold, so the party will be partly out doors - but it will also be partly indoors. I finished off the costumes Hannah and Meredith will wear - Meredith has her own plans, including working at the Corkscrew on Halloween. I think I'll just plan on attending as a wigged-out mom. HHmmm. I'd better get to work.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Moving Back Home

Some homeschooling friends of mine are moving back to Tennessee. By the way Tessa talks when she's in a group, you'd think that this was something they had planned to do at this stage of their life all along. Truly a lady that has the proverbial 'stiff upper lip'. In our EMail exchange another picture emerges. She's a 28yo homeschooling mom of three whose husband has lost his job, and they are cutting their losses here in Illinois, and moving back home - literally in with her parents. She is selling everything she can and planning on moving 'lean'. Most sadly, she is letting go all of her homeschool items, and plans on putting her kids in public school after the move. Tennessee is a tough school to homeschool in, and with their money situation they will both be looking for work.

So, I personally know this one story about the economic downturn knocking a formerly middle-class family several rungs down the ladder. I'm sure there are dozens, even hundreds more just out of my hearing. It has me spooked just a bit. Not so much personally because at least so far our resource flow is stable - but for our kids, and their friends, and my friends and, and, and...


Saturday, October 25, 2008


It's a lovely day.

One of those days where the weather is good, the talk is frivolous, and the items on the agenda are all about ease and entertainment.

Our friend - and the best uncle my girls have - Garrett is here from Florida, and it always great to have him around. I hope to lure him back into Illinois as soon as possible.

We went to run some errands, stopped at the new place where Meredith is working for a visit during the '10 wines for under $10.00' themed Saturday tasting, and are planning on eating the best steaks I've saved from the 1/6 of a cow we purchased last summer for dinner.

Trouble is, the more I try and forget all of the little irritations that are rubbing up against my life right now, the more I think about them.

I need to have a stern talk with myself, and get a little perspective.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Check out my facebook for pictures from D.C.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Vermeer Spotting

Johannes Vermeer is one of the artists I admire most. His oeuvre is very small - only 35 accepted works exist. I've seen 13 of those in museums in the US and Europe in the last few years. I missed two when we ran out of time at the Louvre. There are 8 more in New York City. Some day I'll have to make that trip. I hope someday soon.


Sudden insight

Yesterday, our last day in the Washington D.C. area for this trip, we took a bus to Georgetown to do a little window shopping. It's a very interesting area. All of the very finest and most expensive of high-end of Generican shops have staked out a place along M st. NW or the surrounding cross streets: Black and White, Versace, 9 West, Sephora, Restoration Hardware, Lush, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Clyde's - there's all there. We saw some pretty neat things, and actually parted with a little cash in the Lush store (high end bath products)

One store, however stopped this hick mid westerner in her tracks. Dean & DeLuca. It's listed on the interweb as a 'Purveyor of fine foods, wine, and dinnerware'. It's the most upscale, exclusive, elite grocery store I've ever laid eyes on. They had Pavarotti playing over the Bose surround system. They had Prime cow for $40.00 a pound in the meat case. They had stacks of perfect fruit (out of season), cheeses from across the globe, only the finest Balsamic vinegars, oils, sauces and condiments, and blocks of several different gourmet salts they would sell you a chunk off from for your salt grinder. They had two (maybe more, I saw two) nattily dressed and name-tagged wine experts orbiting the wine section to help with the selection of the perfect bottle to go with that caviar you picked up to snack on in front of the TV tonight.

They were also very busy. People were hauling large arm baskets full of expensive edibles to the check outs, people with little kids in tricked out strollers and reusable grocery bags stocking up on tiny $12.00 jars of jam and artisan breads.

In the back of the store - near the confectionery - I suddenly had a thought: 1/2 of the world is starving. Many of the people who want me to pay more taxes and be more mindful of my own impact of the Earth are the liberals - politicians, bankers and lawyers, think tankers - who live in the rarefied air right here in Georgetown and places like it. And here they are doing their shopping at Dean & DeLuca.

I love little 'gourmet' treats occasionally. A trip to Chicago recently ended with a side stop at Whole Foods for some unusual cheese and a couple of bottles of wine I'd never tried, but Dean & DeLuca depressed me. I had a dollar in my pocket that I was saving for the bus fare. I covertly dropped it into the cup of the homeless lady in the wheelchair 1/2 a block up the street. It was a tiny bit of penance for living like I do.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's just Art.

It's hard to talk about how looking at stuff makes me feel. I'm a very visual person - so I really don't seem to have the vocabulary to express what it is I'm experiencing when I look at these things I enjoy so much. I've heard a few blow-hard lecturers go on and on about line, texture, tones, moods, colors, bleah, bleah. I've seen a lot of stuff hanging in grand museums that boggle me - and not in a good way - I wonder what they're doing there. But there's lots of great stuff that makes me just keep coming back and back. Things that I know so well that I can see every detail with my eyes closed. Stuff I enjoy so much it's impossible to talk about.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'd be thinner...

If I lived in the city - or if I visited more often. We've been walking everywhere. Well, everywhere we're not riding the Metro. The weather is great, Wish you were here.

D.C. Comments #1

~ flying on the 6:20 from STL pretty much bites. But getting to D.C. early on the first day here makes up for it mostly. The Hotle had a room ready for us at 9:45 AM. We didn't have to store our luggage, and could clean up some before we hit the town. Nice.

~ $40.00 for two (very nice) chunks of pizza, a good sizes salad, drinks and two little extra things. Welcome to eating in a town where everyone is either a tourist to be bled dry (like us) or expensing every dime ( like us, too.)

~ The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum is awesome. I wonder how they got all of the Soviet era stuff. Fire sale when the CCCP broke up?

~ The Hershorn Museum is the best 'Modern and Contemporary' art museum I've visited. I managed to spend about 45 minutes there without out and out laughing in derision at anything. Can't wait until Saturday when I can spend the day at the National Gallery and the Phillips Collection. Can't wait!

~ Today's plans include a tour of the Capitol arranged through Dick Durbin's office, Arlington National Cemetery, and The National Portrait Gallery.

cheers ~M.E.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

All that glisters is not gold

Meredith is staying in Springfield for the time being. The company in Chicago isn't all they presented themselves to be. 20 minutes of internet research likely saved thousands in moving costs, and much heartache. Now I understand why Neither she nor I had any peace of heart about this.

Off to Washington D.C. now - have a good weekend everyone. ~M.E.
M was offered the job in Chicago - I don't know what she has decided yet.
We leave for Washigton D.C. tonight
I'm awake at freakin' 3:30 AM.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

a batch of mixed feelings

By the end of next week it's very likely that I'll either be happy - but also a little sad, or I'll be sad and frustrated - but also relieved and a little glad.

You see, M Girl went to Chicago for a job interview on Friday. She fought her way through a bajillion resumes to be one of about 40 people to get an interview, and has made the cut for a second and final day-long interview next Tuesday. The company has maybe 4 jobs to fill and she was told that they are doing follow-ups with maybe 7 people.

Getting the job means a big step for her career, a decent salary and benefits, and moving to Chicago sometime before Thanksgiving. There's the Happy/Sad. I've enjoyed having her closer to home. I missed not having her around, and I'll miss it greatly again.

Not getting the job means working at the two part-time jobs she has gotten to pay the bills while continuing to look for a good career job and doing her on-line classwork - and staying in Springfield and thus close enough to hang around with us a little longer. There's the sad/happy.

So, all I can pray is that God's will in her life be done and that He'll bless her, and that He'll grant me peace either way.

I love fall. It features the best weather, best clothing and best colors in our woods. October is the month where we've transitioned from Summer back into a sensible schedule and are not yet being hounded by the upcoming Christmas season. It's a time of year to get along with stuff.

I'm not looking forward to the War of the Leaves. But that is a small price to pay. ~M

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Here's the progress on the project from a week or so back - just in case you're curious. ~M.E.
Happy Birthday Ken. Many more in your future. ~M.E.

A New Multi-Million Dollar Medical Facility

Today I had the pleasure of visiting, for the first time, the new Springfield Clinic 6th Street campus west. (insert appropriate if sarcastic awed sounds here) The first magazine I looked at was twenty-eight months old. Yup, they imported their dog eared, germy old magazines to their flashy spankin' new facility just to make us all feel at home.

Now, ain't that nice. ~M.E.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Almost exactly two months later....

Meredith lost her job at Design Ideas on 8/8. Today she has finally been able to but together a duo of part-time jobs in places she thinks she will enjoy working that will pay the bills. She is working at The Limited ( a mall clothing store), and as of next week will be working at The Corkscrew (upscale wine emporium). Between the jobs, at about 30 odd hours a week, and her full time on-line graphic design program she will be a busy person. Busy in a good way again.

Now, the only jobs she has to keep a look-out for are those that are full time and career advancing. It is easier to find a job when you already have one.

The other good news is that since her graphic design program is full time, we can put her back on our medical insurance until she is 23. That'll save her $300.00 a month.



'Every day is a gift....'

'a new and shining opportunity....'

'who knows what I could achieve....'


Yup. I've got a positive attitude.

I'm positive today would be a good day to just go back to bed.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Not into 'winging it'.

I'm in the midst of planning our trip to Washington D.C. We leave here on the night of the 16th. I like to do a good bit of pre-planning when I go on trips. I find it saves the family a lot of bumbling about, and often quite a good deal of frustration and money.

Things that I'll either know off my head, or have written down on the master plan in my pocket are; the open hours and Metro stops of the places we plan to visit, What there is to do with a teenager on Friday and Saturday night, and what things we may have wished to visit will be closed or not worth the trouble. In Washington D.C. it is also handy to know what things are free, so if we end up on the National Mall with 45 minutes to spare I'll know what's available.

Doing this also helps me know what to pack. Especially since I'm going to try to get everything in a carry-on bag. It should be pretty easy since I know all the packing tricks - but knowing that there isn't anything playing at The Kennedy Center in the evening I want to see means I can leave the posh, dressy stuff at home.

This trip has been made less stressful to plan because we will have another chance to visit the city next summer, so packing it in won't be the major goal. I'm really looking forward to visiting the National Gallery again, along with the Phillips Collection (home of Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party), The National Portrait Gallery, and the National Cathedral - none of which we saw on our last visit in 2005. Harry has requested the Air and Space Museum, and returning to the Natural History Museum - both worthy of extended visits. We've also applied for VIP tour passes for the Capitol and White House, but I've been told not to expect much from either tour. It seems that White House tours are self-guided, and very limited in scope (plus the security is so tight almost nothing is allowed inside. The Capitol tours are mostly lead by unlucky jr. staffers that may know almost nothing about the edifice or it's contents.

Hannah and I have tickets to a comedy show called Capitol Steps on Friday evening. I'm still looking for one or two other smashing activities to break up the museum hopping. ~M.E.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Politicians: right now I'd rather line them up and slap them than vote for any of them.

Economics: The only way I'd support this 'bail out' is if they wrote into the legislation that those found culpable would be publicly flogged, and left penniless. That goes all the way down the greedy chain to some real estate agents I know of that spent the past 10 years or so selling houses to schmucks that couldn't afford them, and bragging on how much commission they would make - even if the home ended up in a default.

Investing: why do we even bother. It seems like opening the statements is one of the most stressful things I do every month.


Monday, September 29, 2008

New Look

After things have settled a bit here's the corner of the main floor living room. Note the evil guardian camouflaged in the bucket chair.

To completely be able to imagine the room, you have to mentally add the footstool that IKEA didn't have, and this triptych - finished - in place of the Pendleton blanket that has hung over the stairs since we built the house. (If you can imagine what the painting will look like finished, you are better than Me at those things..)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The 'Help'

Yesterday was interesting. I threw a party for a friend of mine who had recently finished a long-time-coming kitchen remodel. The kitchen had not been updated since sometime in the 60's or generously the very early 70's and the work on this project started sometime last fall. Bit by bit over the last year her dad, son and various friends tore the whole thing out to the studs and renovated it. At times she would be without a sink, or without a stove, or the 'fridge would be in another room. But, now it's 98% finished, and we're all pretty happy about that.

So, yesterday I cooked, tended to the food, and cleaned up while she hung out and enjoyed the well-wishers. I actually cleaned up, packed up, and went home fairly early once I realised the party had found a life of it's own - and a life that could only be appreciated by a person who had jumped into the deep end of the Margarita Pool.

It's been a long time since I've seen that much food and so little nutrition in one place. Friends, party food, and a new kitchen. We should find a reason to celebrate more often.

Cheers! ~M.E.

Friday, September 26, 2008


How many times have you said to yourself - "If I knew then what I know now, Boy, would I have done things differently!" Consolation is that I will be able to get on with my own journey since the worst is over. I lost a lot, but maybe gained some, too. I've been through worse, and in the long run I'm glad for the insight I've gained. Some people don't change, and some people do. I'll end up on my feet because I have a God who never changes and a family who is vastly different than the one I grew up with.

Life is sweeter than a Chopin Nocturne on a new piano. ~M.E.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's arrived

The Piano is here. Very Cool. ~M.E.

An interesting time waster.

I couldn't get it to print mine, the HTML was messed up. I'm a centerist, social moderate - economic conservative.

Give it shot if you have the time, you might be amused. ~M.E.

They're taking over

If asked, we'll tell you pretty quickly that we don't watch very much TV. I didn't recognize any of the shows that won Emmys a few days back. But we do have our time wasting electronics. They are just as bad as TV or video games in their own insidious ways. We are a home of three people and four computers. When our 4th drops in, she brings another with her - and has a 6th at her apartment. When my Sis and BIL visit, they bring their own, too. There are very few days that ALL of our computers aren't powered up and used on the 'net at one time or another. Two live on desks in the office, a lap top floats around on the main level just in case someone is too lazy to even walk down to the office when they want to goof off, and the new red Dell notebook often sits on the red chair in case someone wants to surf and watch TV at the same time.

This morning my goal was to clean the main living space in advance of the piano being delivered this afternoon. What have I done? Checked out the news on-line, read a couple of blogs, peaked in on Facebook, checked my EMail, written a couple of replies, spent an hour sorting the pictures off my two compact flash cards, uploaded a couple of those and photoshopped a couple of others, and messed with the hand-outs I'm making for Friday just so I could justify the 90 minutes I've been sitting here.

Oh, and wrote a crabby blog entry about time wasting computers. Looks like some adjustments are necessary.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Social Experiment

Hannah was invited to the Tri-City Homecoming Dance this year. She and her girlfriends were all very excited at the prospect of their very first high school dance. This is even more of a quirky interesting thing if you remember that Hannah is homeschooled, and homeschoolers are supposedly horrendously unsociable, and never have the opportunity to have those 'normal' teenage milestones - like high school dances.

The girls were all very, very excited. The outfit planning and date hunting started back in August. The dresses, as you can see all turned out well - but only one of the girls ended up with a male 'date' and then it took massive amounts of coercion from the lad's youth ministers, which was totally unfair to him. The pre-party was fun. The girls got together to eat, dress, do hair and make-up and get pictures taken.

The reports I got from the dance were less than enthusiastic. The music turned out to be a mix of country and gangsta rap - and way too loud and profane. The general upperclass ( and I use that term very loosely)female population of the school seemed to turn out in sleezy dresses in which they spent the evening grinding up against each other and their leering, farmboy dates. They took their dancing lessons from MTV, along with their wardrobe selection.

Hannah was unimpressed, as I had a feeling she would be. You see, Meredith went to a high school dance herself about 5 or 6 years ago, and found the same thing. At least she won't have to wonder anymore. So, next year it'll be easy to talk her out of wanting to go, we'll just find something better to do - like throw our own party.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

One Blessing

A good thing about not watching TV and living in Illinois is that I am not continually subjected to political ads. When I have a curiosity or a need for information, I seek it out. I can find the bits I want to study from more-or-less neutral sources (ie: not paid political announcements)and not have to listen to the carefully crafted sound bites and smooth talking announcers for my 'information'. As an added bonus, neither campaign is spending much jack in Illinois, because they already know that all the dead people in Chicago will swing this state for Obama anyhow.

Which of these two proposed administrations will hurt us less in the next four years? That has become my criteria. No one - or no group will be able to "save" us or "Change" us in that length of time. The country is so far in debt - both personal and national - that even our great grand kids are screwed.

Biden said that it would be a patriotic thing to be willing to pay more taxes to put America back on track. What *is* he thinking?


Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The relatives are gone back to the south-lands to discover what joy, named Ike, has visited their habitation in their absence.
I wish I had a silent vacuum cleaner so I could make better use of the time I spend awake at night by doing chores that vex me during the day.
I should start a quiet project for when sleep eludes me.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

About That Piano...

I think that in a round-about kind of way, my mother bought Hannah’s piano. While she was living she would never, ever would have considered such a purchase. There was nothing in it for her. She simply would have thought it unnecessarily extravagant, much too expensive, and totally out of the question. She rarely in her life put aside her own wants and frivolities for the sake of something that would enrich the lives of her kids. Then there was the cost. Mom thought in little dollar signs. Most of her life she was pretty darned poor because neither of my parents handled money well and every dime that came their way was spent as quickly as it appeared. When they were older, and Dad made more money they were poster children for instant gratification. In mom’s later years she had some money in the bank, and often spoke of what she wanted to buy. I encouraged her to go out and blow it – but by that time she had become inert; too lazy to even spend her own income.
If I imagine the conversation while she was alive, it goes something like this: Me-“Mom, Hannah needs a piano, it’s going to cost X thousand dollars. How about buying it for her?” Her- “why would I do that?”
But, now she’s dead. If we do truly gain the perfect understanding of everything when we are taken into God's arms, and if Mom was sincere in her beliefs, and if God allows people to be aware of what is going on in the mortal world after passing, I think the conversation would go more like this: Her- “please, please, give my granddaughter at least one wonderful thing that I was too blind to give to my own kids, I wish I had understood, and done it while I lived.” Me- “Hey, I know, I’ll spend this inherited money on a really smashing piano for Hannah (...and Meredith) to play, this will spur them on to a skill that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.”
I had a dream last night. It was the new piano, but it was not new anymore (although it was still in my livingroom for some reason) A little boy was playing it. He sounded like Neil, although he seemed about 10. He was talking to someone I couldn’t see. He told them how much he loved ‘Grandma’s old piano’. I think the grandma he was talking about would have been Hannah, not Ruth. Dreams are funny things.
Thanks for the Piano, Mom. ~M.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Co-op starts today. Shakespeare at 9:00 am and Critical Thinking at 9:55. I'm ready, but I'm not really, really ready. Critical thinking looks harder to do than I thought. What if I get a whole class of kids that aren't willing to talk?


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Black Beauty

The trip to Chicago yesterday was successful, if you count getting what you went for as success. The monetary total was a bit alarming, but in the end, settling for less was not an option. I've rather inadvertently taught my girls not to settle for less in most cases, and when one falls in love, it is best to choose a quality beau.

We purchased a new piano, which was a surprise. We purchased a hand-made European piano, which was another surprise. We purchased one of the smaller cased pianos she tried, which was still another surprise.

What will be delivered next week sometime is a 45" tall, gloss black studio sized piano made by Bohemia. It is a company in the Czech Republic, who really specialize in much larger pianos, but up until this last year also made a few of these smaller models. Bohemia pianos are much more in demand in Europe than they are in North America - they are also relatively unknown here because there is only one distributor and they import less than 300 pianos a year.

Hannah loved the touch of this piano. Even being 'a little out of tune, and not yet voiced' it has a lovely, rich, big sound - that is also very capable of whispering. It's mate on the floor had already been worked over by the loving hands of the Cordogan technicians, and the voicing was amazing for what is considered a smaller vertical piano.

PS to Neil. If you don't like this piano. I don't want to know.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

Buying a piano.

I'm buying a piano. Really, I'm obsessively researching buying a piano. It's all about getting the thing that will not cause me to regret the purchase in a few months, and hanging onto the cash until I'm sure I'm sure about what I'm trading it for. It's about figuring out where the sweet spot of price and quality, and the needs of the musician, come into focus.

I get a little nuts what I do this. Last time I tried to buy myself a car, I spent so long researching that I didn't get the car at all, and I'm still - years later - driving the Stealth Van.

Last time I helped Meredith buy a musical instrument, we drove one dealer to exclaim that if we wouldn't commit to purchasing one of the very next lot of instruments she shipped for trial, she would ship no more to us. We ended up buying from someone else - someone more patient with my obsession to find the 'one'. Meredith now owns a rocking oboe without regrets.

We're driving to Chicago on Wednesday to a reputable piano dealer's warehouse. Locally, I have found only nice new pianos that I can't afford, new pianos I wouldn't own, and used pianos of dubious quality. One place here in town has a couple of dozen sad specimens that have been stored so poorly that I'm not taking a chance that even the new ones would shape up to being good instruments. It doesn't take many variations of too hot and wet followed by too cold and dry to permanently make a piano permanently unable to stay in tune. Another place stored their pianos in a garage that smelled of mildew. Wood mildews. Pianos are wood. Hannah is allergic. No dice there.

I'm sure my DH would be plenty happy if my purchasing process went more like this: I have $ XXXX.XX in my budget. Here is the first piano I see that fits that budget. Oh, Salesman, please deliver that piano. Look, we have a new piano.

That ain't happening. I'll let you know what does.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

pad da tissues

I'b god a cold. ~M

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Not One Picture.

I had my camera with me all weekend, and didn't take one picture. At times I even had it stashed in my bag. I suppose it is because we had no new stuff to document, and I didn't see anything flash-bang on anyone else.

I did come home with a rather extensive repair and 'to do' list, so I'm sure to get some pictures next time.

Attendance was down a little. I suppose because of gas prices and the economic impact on everything. there were only about 175 dancers - I've been to Labor Day Pow wows that have had well over 200 each night. There seems to be a big group of new mostly white hobbiest people. That's not always a good thing. This group seems to be of the variety that pins a shawl on lil' sissy and puts some leg bells on Bubba and just cuts them loose. We end up with a lot of trashy outfits and poor dancing in the arena. Particularly annoying to me was a group of girls in vaguely traditional outfits that decided to 'flash up' their dancing and boy, did they look bad. It's pretty easy, really; if a girls wants to fancy dance and doesn't have the whole outfit it is acceptable to put a shawl over modest street clothing (long pants or long skirt, full coverage blouse, substantial shoes that won't fly off.) and have a ball. Women of any age in traditional clothing of any sort should be graceful, regal, and reserved. Those aren't my rules, but the rules of the elders of the culture from long time back.

You interested in seeing what bad dancing by white folks looks like through Indian eyes? YouTube has a set of videos labeled something like " pow wow white people ( guy couple chick) dancing badly" some videos are not very complimentary, especially in the comments


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Having a great time.

Tipton, IN over the Labor Day weekend is a family tradition of long standing for us. Once a year we get to see people we've known for decades, who watched our kids grow up - and who are growing gray with us. It's the best. This year we lost an old and beloved friend; the 100 year old oak tree at the northern edge of the arbor area is gone, and it is a bit disorienting, and much hotter at the afternoon sessions. This is the one Pow wow we don't miss even when we have almost stopped attending them.

wish you were here.


Friday, August 29, 2008

What Matters

Sometimes it is hard to sort out what really, really matters from a group of convoluted issues. But it is funny how out of a whole slew of things for me, for right now the main issue shines out like a beacon.

To some people what matters most is love, integrity, and things like the Golden Rule. To other people, what matters most is money. Using money as bait will easily let you know where a person's heart is. It's no wonder that so much of the advise in the Bible is about not loving money.

I'd get more specific, but some people involved might read this blog, and the internet isn't really a place for private thoughts that might hurt loved ones. We'll just see how this one washes out.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

what/where is today? I feel as if I've lost my grip on the space/time continuum.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Oh! Woe! What have we come to!?!
(yeah. That's a dead chipmonk given to us by Dinah the Mighty Huntress, and I posted this as a dare.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Research Project

I am considering buying an acoustic piano for Hannah. She has outgrown the low-mid range digital we purchased 8 years ago. I am looking for a real instrument, not a nice piece of furniture, but it would be nice to find both in one.

So far I know something of how to spot a true basket case that will never again make music, and I know how absolutely breathtaking a $75,000.00 Steinway Grand sounds under the hands of a true musician.

Now I need to find the sweet spot where my rather paltry budget and an actual musical instrument will meet, so that Hannah can continue to spread her musical wings.

Wish me Luck. ~M.E.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Blame Game

HIGHLAND, Calif. — Authorities say a 16-year-old girl who died after losing control of her car had been texting on her cell phone moments before the accident.

Kayla Preuss, of Highland, was driving on the Interstate 10 Freeway in Redlands when she lost control of her car and crashed. She died of head injuries.

Authorities say Preuss had been driving drunk and was speeding. But another factor may have contributed to the crash.

Phone records show Preuss was texting just before the accident. Her cell phone, which was flipped open, was found resting on the floorboard by her feet.

Preuss' mother Kelly said she hopes the accident will make other people think before texting and driving.

Does this tick anyone off except me? The mom wants other teens to think before texting and driving? Hello? Do you see what else was going on?

She was 16 – that means she had her license for less than one year.

She was drunk – just a few more clicks reveal another news article that states her BAC was 0.18.

She was speeding - I couldn't find out how fast, or if she had been ticketed before.

The accident occurred at 2:40 AM – anyone ever hear of a curfew for young teens?

She was driving a sports car worth in excess of $40,000.00.

Her mother, bless her heart, states that she had warned her before about the dangers of texting and driving.

Texting while driving is not a good thing. It is a bad thing, however, bad parenting caused this tragedy.


Friday, August 15, 2008

comings and goings

~ Harry leaves tonight for Philly. I'm sort of glad we decided against going along with him earlier in the summer with the current state of events being what they are. He'll be back in a week, but these trips always seem about three days too long.

~ Ken and D.J. will be here tomorrow to start their yearly sabbatical. For the second year we have a place where they can shut the door and call the space their own. This year, it won't even feel like they are camping, because the guest room has furniture. I hope they love it.

~ Neil has left for the last time before he starts back to college for his last semester. It has been interesting having him ghosting in and out of the house all summer - not a guest, but never quite at home. I hear he is used to a more formal atmosphere. He may be back to help me with a project late next week for a day or two, but just as likely he'll be busy with one of his three jobs, the song cycle he is feverishly composing, moving back on campus, and starting classes.

~ Most of the job applications Meredith has sent out seem to be for jobs outside of the Springfield area - specifically back in Chicago. Quickly she has forgotten how she came to dearly loathe life in the City. All of the myriad daily stresses that it took months last winter to wash out of her psyche, and such a short time later she is willing to chuck it all and jump back into the fray. For what - money? excitement? - infatuation? No sense trying to reason with her, she'll have to learn this one again, on her own. No matter what I said, I'd be wrong.

~ I'm not going very far right now. I have some sort of - something - wrong with my left foot. It seems to be healing, but it's slowing me down. foo.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Harry

Today's the big day. 25 years ago I conned this kid into walking down the Church aisle with me and making a lot of promises in public. Guess what - he kept them. But what to do about it?

Harry bought me not one - but three nicely framed pieces of reproduction artwork. I'm now the lucky owner of a fake Klimt, a repro Blake print, and a framed Leonardo notebook page of cat doodles. He also randomly purchased a lovely and appropriate silver bracelet for me.

What did I find for the guy who has everything? A studio that he can once again be comfortable working in. Yup - the walls are done. Sadly, they are two different colors, but the good news is that they are *only* two colors.

Dear Harry,
Thank you for being a great guy. Thanks for putting up with all the junk that comes from living with three girls - and mostly doing it with great fortitude. Thanks for being a fine example of that disappearing species - man who takes care of his family. I love you


Monday, August 11, 2008

something new

I did something new today. I went horseback riding. I think I rode a horse once back in High School at one of those places that take you on trail rides on brain-dead animals. Today I rode with some friends on their personal critters. I had so much fun. The horse I rode, named Cowboy or Goober depending on who you asked, was a character. He, like most horses is essentially lazy, and wanted to stop and eat grass unless told otherwise. I kept talking to him almost nonstop - which confused him because his normal rider, a young guy named Ben, is a great communicator, but never actually speaks to the animals. Cowboy always had an ear cocked back in amusement, and mostly behaved better for me than he did for Hannah a few weeks back. Hannah rode a horse named Doc today. Doc is less docile than Cowboy and Hannah had to pay attention this time! It was a lovely day and the fluffy white clouds made me just want to head west and pretend to be a pioneer... at least until lunch time.

Our young friend Ben was kicked in the ankle by a cranky calf while we were there. He's one tough hombre. He was going to do some calf roping for us, but ended up on the sofa with ice bags instead. Some day soon we'll see that demonstration. He says he ropes calves from the horse I rode, and it's a different animal in the ring. I'd love to see that. He's a tough guy, and insisted on unsattling the critters, hobbling around taking care of things.


my friend Kate gave me some hot peppers from her garden. I cleaned one and put it in the food processor with the onion and cellery and green peppers to puree and add to our Meatloaf for dinner. I forgot about the hot pepper, and forgot to wash my hands right away. Now my nose, lips and the back of my neck burn - everywhere I touched before washing my hands. I bet it'll be yummy, if I can get my nose to stop running.


Saturday, August 9, 2008


a couple of posts back when I declared that I was about 40% done with the walls in the studio I was sadly mistaken. I've started on the third wall of the three that needed repaired, and it is deceptively bad off.

four words - the first two being unprintable and the last two being "varnish drips". Some project last winter included a couple of coats of clear sealant, and much of the wall has drips and splats of the stuff. It doesn't sand well, and I went through about twice as much of the heavy duty sandpaper as I had on the other walls. I pealed off some of the worst spots - along with the paper behind it. The first coat of plaster is drying, and I'm sure to need a second coat in at least a few places.

I may not get back to the project until Tuesday, but my shoulders and arms can use a break anyhow.

Going to the fair tomorrow, and going to a friend's house to ride horses on Monday. I understand the weather will be lovely.


Friday, August 8, 2008


8/08/08 wasn't such a good date for us. Meredith lost her job today. The tchotchke industry is anything but recession proof. She was let go for no real reason from an office that was already so short of help that everyone was missing deadlines and working 60 hours a week. Her boss has offered her a good letter of referral. It's little consolation to a young woman fresh out of college with big talent and big dreams who is now job hunting again in a worsening economy. There are hundreds of young diploma holders just like her. It's hard to have such a ego blow, and to go right back out and try to sell herself again to another company that may be in just as bad of shape as this last one.

We are so blessed to have all we have. We have resources to keep ourselves fed, clothed, sheltered, entertained, and so much more. As a family we'll stand together in this, but she so wants to be independent.

I can understand that. ~M.E.

while I'm at it...

Here's a not so great picture of H Girl finishing up the paint in her room last week. It went from a warm blotchy berry to this green with cream accents. We still have curtains to make. ~M.E.

smooth and cool.

I'm a little sore today. The artistic scraps that had adorned one of the studio walls have been erased in a two day assault of scraping, staple removal, sanding, patching, more sanding, more patching, more sanding, and painting. The floor is in the middle of the cleaning process - which included applying a nasty solvent, scrubbing and scraping up said solvent and now cleaning up after the clean up. I'm thinking about a coat of masonry paint because there will still be some residue.

For any of you that can't picture this, our 'studio' is a 25 x 30 open room on the downstairs level of our house that serves as a martial arts studio, project room, sometimes art studio, and all the time creeping storage in from the edges.

I'd say the job is about 40% complete - at least the restoration process. The paint won't come off from the mats. I'm really sorry about that. Then to reorg the whole joint. That'll be a job.

Ah, well. Physical labor is good for me. ~M.E.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I’m not gone; it’s just that my best computer hours are recently spent at the laptop and not the main box due to company. It makes it hard for words to wind their way out of my brain and down my arms.

It’s only a few days until the celebration of our 25th anniversary. I don’t feel that old and it seems to be too many years. There won’t be much of a celebration – but the date will be marked and acknowledged somehow, I’m sure. I still must find a something for the man who had everything he wants that we can afford, but I did have pity on him and steer him in the direction of something to buy for me that I wouldn’t buy for myself.

Ken and DJ will be here in a few days, and I’m just starting to make sure the place is in order. I like to do that so I have less maintenance to do while they are here. It’s pretty boring stuff, and not blogworthy.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Wm. Shakespeare may be my demise

Now my educational attention is focused on the classes I must teach in the fall at co-op. I have prided myself on closely tailoring my approach to the subject at hand to the students in the seats. I have been given the dilemma of essentially having two distinct groups in my Shakespeare class.

First there is a set of six little girls ages eleven and twelve. I taught a few of them in my Art History class last year, and have observed their friends and find them no different. They are a book smart, giggly, innocent, well behaved group. They would rather smoosh all into a table meant for 1/2 their number than leave anyone out. Like a school of minnows they wander about going hither and yon, but on co-op days always together, but always under the eye of one of two Alpha Moms.

Then I have six more students, three boys and three girls between the ages of 14 and 17. These are a mixed bag of backgrounds, interests and maturity levels - but don't cross-mix with the little girl gaggle.

Shakespeare wrote to entertain the rough workers, erudite merchants, and jaded nobles of Elizabethan England, and he did it so well that we still study him today. The works that would most engage the older group would be either completely over the head, or (ahem..) 'inappropriate for' the younger group. If I skip the bawdy jests, rough murders and bed-hopping for the whole class for the sake of the youngest ones, I'll get a big yawn from the group that I'd like to hook.

This is going to take more research than I had anticipated.


Monday, July 28, 2008


So, do you remember that infection I had a couple of months back I was complaining about? Well, poor Hannah's got the same thing on her leg, and Harry's fighting one off, too. What's it with these super germs, and how do we get rid of them?!?

Meredith's old bedroom is transforming into our new guest bedroom and study. The paint is just about finished - I have to take a fine brush after a few sections of trim and go over places where the old red paint still shows. It's now the color of a new clay pot - maybe just a touch lighter. And light it is! The room is so much more open and light. The red, although it was M's style when she was going through her medieval European castle stage, never truly suited the north facing room. I'll post pictures when I have the room completed. (or maybe not. Ken and DJ will be our first guests in the newly redecorated room in mid-August, and it would make a nice surprise.)

Homeschool Activity Fair is two days away. I think I'm ready - I just have a bit of printing to do and some organizing of paperwork. I'm not sweating it. It will go how it goes, and someone else will do it (or not) next time.


Friday, July 25, 2008


Found this entry on an old blog of mine. Thought it was good enough for a repost:
Have you ever read the book of Jeremiah? I don't mean " have you ever looked up some verses in Jeremiah in a Bible study, or hurried through him so you could check Jeremiah off from your Bible-in-a-year reading list." Have you ever picked up Jeremiah and read his words outloud - slowly - lectio devino ( is that spelled right?) style? After studying the weeping prophet as depicted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, I decided to try and listen to what God was saying through him, and what he was tring to to express himeslf to the people of Isreal - and just maybe to us today.

It's powerful stuff - as bad as Ecclesiastes in it's own way. He makes my boughts of blackness seem positively sunshine filled. Now a days we would tackle him, hold him down and shoot him full with psychotrophic drugs.
What do we teach our kids about how Christianity works?

" If you're happy and you know it, Clap your hands! ( clap, clap - Jeremy you're not clapping...)
If you're happy and you know it, CLAP YOUR HANDS!!( clap, clap - JEREMY clap, please...)
If you're HAPPY and ya know it, then your face will surely show it! ( See me smiling, Jeremy? If you believe in God, and are a good Christian, you need to clap and smile, JEREMY!)
If you're happy and ya know it, clap your hands! (oh, I GIVE UP, just sit there with your scowl and end up in Hell, see if I care...)"

No wonder kids fall away from the Church when they reach the teen years. They are told their confusion and moodyness is an indication of unbelief. maybe not outloud, but that is what they hear.

Have a nice day, all you happy Christians. I'm going to hang out here with moody ol' Jeremiah. He and I are going to be friends.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I find this interesting.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Northeast
The Midland
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

too much people

On Sunday, the guest minister at our Church explained that he was an introvert. He is exactly the same sort of introvert that I am, by his description.

In volunteering to be a runner for the World Changer's Springfield mission week, I have spent two long days in a pick-up truck driving circles around Springfield with a lovely lady that is a fully gregarious extrovert - and who just loves to hear herself talk. Then, as we made stops at our assigned work crew sites we'd chat to more folks, and team leaders would call me on the phone and ask for items to be fetched and delivered. We didn't have ANY down time in two days. We made 1/2 hour each day - under protest from our needy crews- to eat lunch. She talked through lunch.

I got home tonight and one of my very best friends stopped by - to talk. My kid wants to chat while I'm starting dinner ( she sat home all day and did nothing...) and my older kid, husband, and pets all need attending.

Then, there's calls and EMails about homeschool fair.

Finally, Finally everyone gets from me what he or she needs.

I am empty - poured out to those that needed me today -and too full of those very same people. I must find some silence and space. I will sit here and eat oreos, and contemplate Mme. Julie Recamier (by David) and The Astronomer ( by Johannes Vermeer) and try to regain my balance so I can do it again tomorrow.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Whoop-te-do for us

They opened a THIRD Wal-Mart in our town of 120,000 this week. We also have a Meijer and a Super Target. They made a big whoo-ha about the new Wally-World being 'green!'. Golly-gee, it's got LED lighting, recycled content in the flooring, sustainable resource wood in the cabinetry, and - drumroll please - solar panels!

They paved a farm field, and a couple of acres of wooded scrub to put up this thing, and the out-lots knocked down several more acres of trees. They built this in a previously undeveloped section of the area just outside the city limits, when we have two or three former commercial zones moldering into urban decay within just a few miles of there. I would almost have welcomed a Wal-Mart at McArthur and Outer Park Drive - for instance (a reference for my local readers.)

I detest Wal-Mart. I go there as seldom as possible, and buy as little as I can get away with. That machine is America's least common denominator. Harry will laugh at this because he knows I don't mind Sam's Club as much - and they're twin siblings. Sam's has great meat, fresh fruits, frozen foods, OTC meds, laundry and house cleaning supplies, and bakery goods that save a great deal more than the $35.00 buck a year fee. As you can see I'm still a total Capitalist, and inconsistent in my opinions.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I have no patience

The sale on my mom's house fell through ....AGAIN

The guy that's taking care of the estate gave back the earnest money....AGAIN

We're back to square one....AGAIN

He says he might have another buyer, but at yet another lower price....AGAIN

I'm flippin' sick of not being able to close the door on this whole stinkin' situation.....STILL

Thank God For A.C. and other random stuff

It's that time of year again. When the heat and humidity gang up on Central Illinois in such a way that being outside feels like punishment. Yesterday I put a sleeping bag out on the deck to air, and I had to run it through the drier to get the moisture out of if when I brought it in before I rolled it. I'm still patting myself on the back for insisting on this geo-thermal unit way back when we built this place. Kick the thermastat down and bring up some of Earth's luscious coolness from 165 feet below.

We're repainting Hannah's lair this week. Five years ago we surprised her by redoing her baby pink room into something more adolescent while she was away at camp. It's time for another change from the blochy berry and denim colors to a cool green and rich cream. I'd like to have the whole main floor repainted - it hasn't been done since we moved in - but due to many puzzle pieces that don't fit, that ain't happening real soon. **sigh** I need to repair and paint the studio walls, also. Good thing it is nice and cool down there...

Homeschool Activity Fair in two weeks from today. I'm on my third day of agressive pinning down of my presenters. That's the worst part of this whole gig. Why should I have to beg people to get their crap together, when this is for their benefit? It's not me who's making money here, it's them. Yup, this is my last year doing this, alrightee.

9:46 AM... H Girl is still in bed. I've been in her room three times since 8:20 to tell her to get motivated. Time to get cranky.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Funny thing is that while I was gone, I kept thinking of eloquent things I wished to write down someplace. Now... I got nuthin'. The Pow wow was good. It was steaming hot, there were biting flies and nasty no-see-ums, it poured rain the last night, I felt wonky, and a friend fell in the mud and shattered her wrist - but it was still good. Hannah had fun, and after some encouragement found some kids to run about with that didn't seem like hoodlums. The hotel was close enough for cooling off mid-afternoon. We didn't overspend our budget too much. We saw a lot of old friends we don't get to see much, and had a few laughs.

I took a few pictures of Meredith working at the squatter's studio. Lucky worshippers at RCC might get to see these Jerusalem sky line paintings if they get finished. I get the impression that Meredith works up there more than the professional guys that are supposed to be making their living at this. Slackers.
Don't expect much posting for a while except if I happen to be awake in the middle of the night - like I am now. I'm multi-tasking several projects and making up for those times I take unscheduled vacation days.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Today we're leaving for the once-every-three years event called National Pow Wow. It's at a county fair grounds outside of the sputtering city of Danville Illinois. We're lucky to live near because there will be Pow Wow people there from as far away as New England, Texas, The Carolinas, The Dakotas, and the Golf Coast. Pending people who can't make it because of the current gas prices, there should be about 300-400 dancers there. It started last night, and goes until Sunday. Last time, in '05, we were part of the staff, so we spent the entire week over there. This year since we learned our lesson we aren't part of the staff and we'll leave tonight and come back on Sunday.

Here's a picture of Harry carrying the American flag in '05. I don't remember which session this was for since a different veteran carries it every time.

Here's Hannah on the right. Isn't she the cutest lil thing? She tells me that at the end of the last NPW she remembers thinking that she'd be 'almost 15' at the next National, and that seemed impossible. Surprise! Although 14 2/3 is more accurate.

I'm a little sore from a back problem I acquired on our last trip. Keep me in your prayers. I'll likely have to see a physician for this when we get back, and most of you know how much I dread that.


Monday, July 7, 2008

An Exciting Day

Today Hannah rode a horse for the first time. It was a good experience. We visited the ranch of some homeschooling friends. Ben - the young man in the photo- homeschools because public school used to interfere with his rodeos. He is a champion calf roper and team roper. I think the team still ropes calves, but not being a rodeo person I'm not completely sure about any of this. Ben has won every saddle he owns - two already this summer alone - and has a showcase full of obnoxious prize belt buckles. Their home is a lovely turn of the 20th century farm house they have lovingly continued to restore since they purchased it 10 years ago partially done. They own about 15 horses. The ones that were ridden today by the kids were the 'pet' horses. The rodeo horses are kept in a different pasture like elite athletes. The horse Hannah rode is the easiest rider they have. In fact she would have liked a little more umph under the rump after a while since this horse was pretty much stuck in 'mosey' and liked to stop and eat grass every time Hannah's attention wandered. We've been invited back to ride again and to watch Ben do some 'roping' later in the summer. Maybe I'll ride then, but today I'm having back trouble so it would have been a very bad idea.

In other news, Hannah had her braces removed today. I didn't get a picture, since she looked a little 'post-horse riding' and would have been reluctant to pose for a close-up. She had a big wad of bubblegum in her face about 3.5 seconds after the dentist had finished removing the glue. Stay Tuned, I'll get a picture of that new smile soon.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

leaving on a jet plane

Monday at 6am M Girl leaves for Atlanta for her first official business trip with her company. In spite of all of the ways she manages to worry me, I'm very proud of her.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Pictures Revealed

In the sculpture garden, outside the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis , in one of the shrubbery 'rooms' there is a large display of hedges interspersed with glass panels of varying opacity. Some of them are nearly mirrors - like the one here on the left. Some like the one in the right photo are nearly transparent. Some of them have other effects. The one in the background in the right photo, which really is through the glass, had an interiour grid that made it almost opaque unless you were moving and then you could see jerky images beyond the glass through cunningly spaced slots. It was a fun piece of work. People reacted to it in varying ways from wondering where the sculpture was in this area to my idea to use it for a bit of fanciful photography.
The Walker Gallery its self convinced me that I should just give up on Contemporary Art museums. Those I have visited so far in this art voyage have been a vast disappointment. After a short while wandering around their stark white interiours gazing at the seemingly random weirdness that seems to be avant guard for the last 25 years I start getting snarky, then I forget to be quiet, then I get in trouble with the guards.
Visualize, if you will - You walk into yet another huge white room. The size is about 30 x 30 with 20 ft. ceilings. The walls and ceiling are an unrelieved bright white. The floor is of a white, slightly speckled commercial tile, and the lighting is glaring. On the far wall is a very large pink X - nothing more. In the corners are squares made of gray bungee cords that cast slightly interesting shadows (yawn) and on another wall is a massive white canvas that is covered with dark gray scratchy lines and reddish blotches. In the center of the room sits a blobby 'sculpture' about three feet tall that looks like an over sized child's play-dough creation with a few wires stuck in for fun. The room also contains one excruciatingly bored museum guard. Get. Me. Outta. Here.
So, if you are ever in Minneapolis - the free Sculpture Garden rocks. The adjoining art museum can be skipped.
Cheer! ~M.E.