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.