Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Guys- skip this post, it's chick stuff.

I read a few blogs on a regular or semi-regular basis. For some reason, I have on my list a couple of blogs written by young married women who are in the process of growing their families, a season of life I only see in my rear-view mirror. I have noted an alarming tendency over the last couple of years to announce a much anticipated pregnancy very early in the process. The new pregger tests seem to be able to detect those tell-tale hormones starting about ten days after fertilization - and that might be 2 weeks before the little momma misses her menses. The result of this is that thses eager ladies are jumping outta bed, peeing on the sticks, and running to the computer to announce that "We are 3 weeks pregnant with either Dustin or Alia! Too bad we can't find out what sex for another 8 weeks!" - seemingly before they have time to comb their hair and put on a fresh coat of lipstick.

My blood always runs cold at these announcements. Statistically, between 25 and 40% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, depending on where you get your statistics. The vast majority of these in the first 6 weeks - or within three weeks of the missed period, and often are mistaken for a late and heavy flow. Well, what if they've peed on the stick, gotten the happy sign, posted a picture of it on the blog, and named the baby while it was 32 cells big and not implanted - and then their body flushed it out? Now instead of a private grief or an unknown body glitch they have a very public trauma.

This happened to 'Lotus' this week. I read her blog mostly because she is funny, and takes great pictures. I know what kind of pain she is in right now, and I also know that pain would be less if she had been more prudent about things.

My advise is to keep it to yourself, your husband, and perhaps your mom until those perelous forst 12 weeks have passed. It hurts less, and who said it's bad to have a secret now and then?

Not that anyone is listening.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Liquid Gold

I've been pondering this morning about how our lives have changed since gas went to $3 a gallon - and how much more they will change if it goes up near $10 as some analysts predict.

In January we cut out the Tuesday afternoon gym day from our homeschool schedule. At the time it was because of time crunch, counting the cost of this - what is essentially Hannah spending two hours hanging out with friends - $6. for each class, about $6. for the gas, and 1/2 a day of school time, it just isn't cost effective so we won't be returning to the class after Scholastic Bowl Season.

I've stopped random errand driving nearly completely. I used to think nothing of running hither and yon for little things just because I like to drive, and getting out of the house is necessary - even if it is a trip to the bank that could just as well have been put off until tomorrow and batched with other errands.
We (mostly *I*) have stopped planning travel for the time being. I'm taking a wait-and-see attitude to see how far our budget goes.

For the future I've started thinking about lifestyle changes that might make significant changes in our fuel consumption. Major Grocery Stocking is one, so that trips can be reduced and Harry can pick up things we like fresh on his way home from work. Harry mentioned that the state allows a 4 day work week, that alone saves 20% of commuting. All 'West Side' errands will be done on Fridays in the fall, that is the day we go to co-op. I need to start scheduling things like dental appointments and allergy shots to match times we will be in town, not just any-old-time we're free.

We may have to stop purchasing things like delivered bottled water and out-of-season fruits and veggies as their costs spiral upward. We'll schedule fewer fun things like out of town fencing tourneys, day trips, and prehaps go for one or two long weekends in one place so we only drive there once.

For now, my goal is to not move my van at all three days a week. Next is that I won't make more than one trip to twon a day on those days I do go - that might take some planning.


ps... dinner tonight is Italian beef, cheesy potato casserole and green salad.

TeenPact: Day 2

So Far, So Good.

Teen Girls as a group, are pigs - But I suppose everyone knows that it takes more than 1 hour, 20 minutes to get out of the house in the morning. We - meaning the other mom I have staying and me - managed to get them herded out on time, but the detritus lies deep over the house. Someone even left a 1/2 eaten apple on my desk.

So, I'll spend a few hours today cleaning up and preparing for the evenings onslought. I've already rounded up the trash and removed it, loaded and started the dishwasher, started the towels.

my towel hint if you have large amounts of company visiting: Gather all of the used, damp towels and put them through a HOT rinse with a quart of white vinegar, dry, fold, and return them to their places. This stops the house from getting skanky from a dozen towels trying to dry, saves water from washing every day, and the repeated vinegar rinses makes them nice and soft by the end of the week.

Next, I have to do the cat boxes, vacuum, and work on dinner for tonight. After that? I'll have several hours to just relax...


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Homeward Bound

Hanata, Lucky, and Max (L to R) are headed home with a very relieved owner. Thank you goes out to Hannah for helping me with the mailbox flier blitz this afternoon. One of those made it into the right hands. They live about 3/4 of a mile from here.

Their owner solemnly promised to get them chipped and tagged. They had run away on a house sitter.

At least this one has a happy ending, my yard is a mess.


That Sense of Impending Badness...

A certain sense of impending wrongness has settled over me this evening. It's hard to pinpoint it's actual origin. It's not that the dogs are still here, and still making a mess of my lawn and gardens - that alone isn't enough to make my insides feel so heavy.

A woman who was an acquaintance of mine died today. She was young, and left two little boys. It's a sad situation, but the feeling is wrong for that, too.

I have company coming in tomorrow and Monday. The place isn't as clean nor as tidy as I'd like, and I need to get to the grocery to fill in the holes in the planned menus, but that's just a few hours of work that I'm avoiding.

I wish I wasn't the mom for a while. It would be a relief if someone else took care of the big things, had to be the one who took the long view, planned for the future, watched the budget, and fixed everything that went wrong in the midst of life.

sucks to need a vacation, and know fer durned sure I'm not headed anyplace for a long while.


Lost! I hope not dumped....

The two-footed one on the left is Meredith, and the Golden Butt on the right is our dog, Sherlock - in the middle are the poor lost souls who came by yesterday and decided to stay. Today I'm trying to find out where they belong. I've delivered the fliers around the neighborhood, and at noon I'm taking one of them to APL for a chip check.
They are a group of happy tail-waggers, I hope there is someone outthere looking for them. I hate to even consider that they are drop-offs.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Things to be cranky about:

1) We're out of milk. At $3.50 a gallon for gas, and $3:50 a gallon for milk, that milk costs me almost six bucks if I drive to get it myself.
2) Sherlock 'found' three big dog friends somewhere today and brought them home. They won't leave. I even took them on a walk around the neighborhood hoping they would find someplace else more interesting. They followed me back here.
3) I have a headache that is very possibly caused by the allergies I seem to be developing that I never experienced until last spring.
4) The house cleaning I've done this week in anticipation of having 6 extra people here next week seems to undo itself as soon as I turn my back.
5) Someone ate my chocolate.

Just to be fair, here's a few things not to be cranky about:
1) the bills are paid.
2) my hearing seems to be getting better, or I'm relearning what things sound like.
3) I found a kind of cookie that I like, but no one else in the house does - so I got to eat the whole box.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Maybe it's time for some real science?

I was pretty excited last night when I was talking on the phone with a friend. She told me that one of our Co-Op moms, Mrs. Scopes, was teaching a science class for 10-14 year-olds next fall. I spoke with H Girl on the ride into class about possibly being an assistant in the class if there was no class for her to take 3rd hour. I was dissapointed to see, on the class list: 'Creation Science' listed as a class. OK, so I suppose doing a little science from a creationist viewpoint ain't so bad... It seems like I'm the only one around here that is still trying to keep the co-op neutral territory, so that non-Believers feel welcome.

Then I read the class topics:
Is God Real?
Can we believe what the Bible says about Creation?
10 ways we know evolution is wrong
How old is the Earth?

So, this is not a science class at all. It is a religion class teaching the theory of young earth creationism to kids that can't possibly understand enough science to reason their way to an understanding of the topic - being taught by a mom who has no background in science at all - but bought some fabulous Ken Hamm books when she was at the Creation Museum in Cincinnati. Scientists of both creation and evolution bents have had a wonderful time smashing apart his books. They are a train-wreck of flawed arguements and scientific proofs.

The really interesting thing is that it is possible that a few kids could go from my second class-hour 'Critical Thinking' class to this religion class.

H Girl and I will be coming home.


P.S. Don't light up the fires yet. I do believe that God Created Everything, but I believe Galileo said it best: "The Bible tells us how to go to Heaven, not how Heaven goes..."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

For the love of Art

My Art History class is almost done. The sad part is that I've barely had time to convey the highlights to the kids in the class. The fascinating and important things I've had to leave out fill several random bookcases in my brain. (so, maybe they're called 'headcases', I know I am.) 50 minutes never goes so fast at any other time. I'm preparing my last lecture today: M.C.Escher. He was a brilliant master of impossible perspectives, tessellations, and topology; a true original in his art that has never been successfully imitated.

Next year I'm teaching Critical Thinking, Basic Poetry, and an Intro to Shakespeare. Those are all good classes that will benefit the kids, but I will truly miss flipping the lights off, powering up the projector, and helping them discover the joy of great art.


Monday, April 21, 2008

N.C.L.'s and the guilt for the rest of us.

I paged through H Girl's new Brio mag for a second tonight and came across a couple of reply letters to a short article they published a couple of months back. It was about Christian Girls that don't fit the 'Nice Christian Girl' mold. It struck me again that I'm not a 'Nice Christian Lady' and every time I decide I will be, I make myself pretty unhappy.

Don't get me wrong here. I am a Christ-Follower, and a very earnest one. I just can't seem to march along with those lovely ladies that people in Christendom so admire; I'd much rather see Ray Van Der Laan on video than Beth Moore, I'm much happier studying C.S.Lewis than Max Lucado. I'd sign up in a minute for a serious session studying something like a real book of the Bible, but just roll my eyes when the next 'study' in our Bible School class turns out to be the latest Zondervan pop-Christian offering. I just don't have any interest in Prayer Journaling, especially in a notebook pre-printed with uplifting messages on every page. Urgh.

Last time I blogged I signed up to be included in a couple of blogrolls. Most of them having to do with the stage of life I'm in- Motherhood, and the type of person I am - A Christian. I found very, very few blogs there worth reading. If I could get past the scrolly, blinkey, cutesy, crap at the top of the page - I was repelled by the saccherine content extoling cheerfulness and loveyness. They never spoke to the place I am.

I'm more often in the trenches with Murray, Miller, and Strobel. Unbelievably some of those N.C.L.'s even have a talent for making the Bible sound trite! A few times in my life I've decided that if that is what Christian Womanhood is all about, I'd better get on the band-wagon. Those were the most unproductive times in my whole spiritual experience.

Next week, I'm being forced into the perception of N.C.L. - hood again. TeenPact - which at its heart is a very good Citizenship and Leadership experience for homeschooled teens, has a STOOPID dress code that the teens and PARENTS attending MUST follow. For Ladies that includes; skirts or dressed- mid-calf or lower, loose tops with moderately high necklines and sleeves 1/2 way to the elbows. I don't even own clothing like this: I usually wear dress pants to Church, knit tops, nice jackets, Tshirts and Blue Jeans. The three dresses/skirts I would consider wearing anyplace else have higher hems, or profiles that are too slim. Because of this, I usually avoid staying at the classes, or even talking with the other parents. I do have to dig to the back of my closet for an outfit to wear for the first day's parent orientation, and for the last day's graduation. I feel like a hypocrite the whole time - which I'm not, and look like a doofus.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

What to do with a just plain, normal kid?

I read an article, forwarded on a homeschool list today about a homeschooler in Evanston who was accepted at Harvard - and Princton, Yale, U of C, Stanford, Northwestern, Columbia - seems like she would have made immediate admission to Heaven, God would have reviewed her admission papers and gave her a full ride scholarship.

She is the World Irish Harp champion for her age group - she went to Ireland every summer since she was 10 to study, she learned French at the Sorbonne, studied Classical Civilization in Greece, Attended Gifted classes at Stanford, Traveled all over the world, never missed a performance of the CSO or Lyric Opera, and aced the ACT, SAT, and all of the subject exams. This kid was admitted into these schools precicely because she doesn't need to go to college. She's already better educated than the vast majority of college grads I know.

It sounds cheery, but what does it say for those of us raising normal children on a budget? Here's how my daughter will stack up: Plays piano - pretty well but lots of people play better. Fences competitively - and always comes in the top 25% of the field. Is learning Spanish, but will likely never be totally bilingual. Enjoys occasional classical music and cultural events - but has more fun at Steak 'n Shake afterward. One of the best players on a mediocre Scholastic Bowl Team. Enjoys math, science, history and writing - but not enough to put in any extra time when the lesson is done, and 'StrongBad' has a new video up. Won't likely do better than high average on the ACT or SAT.

The Harvard Bound Young Lady's mother said she was worried about her daughter's chances of getting into 'a good college' in an interview. What's the mother of an 'average' homeschooled child to do? Perhaps I should just sign 'er up for CNA classes now so at least she can get a minimum wage job?

Baahh! ~M.E.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Yeah, and Blogger lost my first post.

That figures. Now you are just going to have to wonder what I said. ~M.E.

Tired of not having a place to make sarcastic comments

A couple of times in the last month or so, I've realised that I needed a place to post something and didn't feel like reserecting either of my old blogs. I blogged regularly for a couple of years, and randomly stopped late last summer - just got tired of it all - and busy. I'm not going to tell you where they are at, because I may want to reuse some of my best stuff, and not be accused of becoming senile.