I did it! I wrote a 50,000 word novel in a month! I totally rock!
We're off to Busch Gardens this morning! Pictures tomorrow!
I just made a very important discovery. You see, ever since we were dating, hubby has for the most part been better at board games than I am. He routinely whips me at Othello, Connect Four, and especially Monopoly (though that takes a while). He's one of those people who gets a strategy and then plays that strategy every time and it always works.
Yesterday my grandmother bought Connect Four at the toy store. Hubby spent the evening winning against the boys. Well, Isaac (3) beat him once. This morning, he pulled the game out over the breakfast table and challenged me. Normally, I'd just turn him down flat. But it's the holiday season, and I'm in a giving mood, so I obliged.
What I discovered is that hubby doesn't think as clearly in the morning. I beat him three times out of four! That is huge! One time I beat him with only five checkers total on the board! So now I know that if he wants to play a game, I should get it out at breakfast and say, "Bring it!"
I wonder if Gran's got Monopoly around here somewhere?
We are here at my grandmother's house now. We got in about 3 o'clock yesterday and she had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner waiting for us. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and that you've sufficiently recovered from your turkey-induced comas (of course, I'm speaking to the Americans here!).
The boys were amazingly good the first day of the trip. I suspect this might be because we drove all night and they were asleep. Yesterday we listened to a continuous chorus of "Don't look at me!" "He's annoying me!" and the ever popular "How many more miles to Tampa?" We, in response, had a repertoire of "Do we need to stop the van?" "Who wants to turn around and go home?" and of course "Nobody touch anybody!"
So we are looking forward to a nice restful week with my grandmother. We all climbed in the hot tub last night. It probably would have been more relaxing if there weren't four boys jumping around in it. But still, it was nice. We'll be heading to Busch Gardens next week at least once. I heard there's a new roller coaster and I can't wait to try it. Have a great weekend, everyone!
We are going to visit my grandmother in Florida for Thanksgiving. We had two options: fly down and then rent a van, or drive down in ours. You see, now that we have four children, we don't fit in her Lincoln. We decided it would be more
suicidal foolhardy economical to drive it. So this afternoon when hubby returns from work, we'll be off.
There are still
half a million a few things I need to do. I need to pack the boys' clothes and my clothes. I need to empty all the trash cans. I need to pack everything else in the house just in case we need it. I need to make a few phone calls. I need to pack the van. Did I mention I need to pack?
Packing is my least favorite thing about travel. I run around like a maniac trying to get things together, running through the list in my head (because though I think it's a wonderful, excellent and very good idea to have a handwritten or even neatly typed list, I just never get around to doing it). Do we have enough socks? Enough underwear? What about children's Tylenol? Q-tips? Nail trimmers? What am I forgetting???
At least I will have plenty of time to work on my NaNoWriMo novel while we're driving. I'm sure the screaming from the back regions of the van won't distract me at all.
All together now: Are we there yet? How much longer?
King James Version
Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish
plucketh it down with her hands.
The book of Proverbs is chock full of truths. The thing I love about it is that they apply to everyone equally. You don't have to be a Christian or a Jew, or even believe in any type of God. Much of Proverbs contains what I like to call Laws. These things work just like the Law of Gravity or the Laws of Thermodynamics. And they work every time they're applied, even in ignorance.
One of these Laws is the above verse. So, who is the wise woman and who is the foolish one? Let's look at the foolish woman first. I once knew a woman who liked to complain about her husband. She constantly put him down in her conversations at work. Eventually, a male co-worker caught on to this. Knowing she was unhappy at home opened her up to this guy's advances. They ended up having an affair, and it nearly destroyed her marriage. Fortunately for her and her children, her husband took her back and they were able to heal their marriage. She was not a stupid woman, but she was foolishly tearing down her house with her own hands.
So the opposite of that would be the woman who understands that whatever goes on between her and her husband is their business and no one else's. I'm not saying you can't periodically vent about the little things that drive you nuts. I'm not saying that you can't blog about the stupid thing he said the other day. But, and this is important, if you're going to do that, do it with his permission. What did she say? That defeats the whole purpose! Exactly! If you have to get his permission, you're going to have to talk about it. And that's some major house building right there.
Can I just tell you how great it is to know that no matter how big a disagreement I have with my husband, he's not going to go to work and complain about me? We work it out, and it's our business. He knows how to build his house. And he knows I do the same for him. Because if I start tearing him down just because I'm angry or annoyed, it's the same as taking a sledgehammer to the walls of my home. I might not hit a supporting wall the first time, but eventually that house is coming down.
I think this is why I always feel uncomfortable watching sitcoms in which the husband and wife constantly tear at each other. I don't get it. Why is it funny to call your husband stupid and then go tell everyone you know what a stupid thing he did? I'm sorry, but it just isn't.
Please don't take this as being judgmental, because it was not intended that way. I just started thinking about it last night at church because we were studying Proverbs 14. I hope you'll take this law to heart and start building your own house. Because I don't think there are any foolish women reading this.
This represents my present. I spend a lot of time on the computer. Between blogging, teaching, and NaNoWriMo, I'm on the computer pretty much all day. Also note the cup of coffee and the migraine relief medicine, both essential to my present.
This is my future. I thought I'd already be here by now, but hey, having kids tends to make other things more important. As the boys get older, I'll have more and more time to write. And then you will see my name there, in the #1 spot.
So there you have it! Did you play?
First of all, did you know that the #1 producer of chipping potatoes is not Idaho? It's Pennsylvania. This particular type of potato is used for several reasons, the first being that it is easy to peel. They just throw a bunch of potatoes into this bin lined with sandpaper-like material and roll them around until the skins are scraped off. Then a machine sorts them into large and small. The small ones end up in those little snack-size bags.The potatoes are dropped into a rapidly spinning cylinder lined with blades, which slice them into chips. Then they go through a bath to remove excess starch before they are baked. When they emerge from the oven, they are salted in precise amounts and then inspected. First they go through a machine with a photoelectric eye, which can recognize a dark chip and blows a puff of air at it to get rid of it. Then the chips are inspected by hand. Any bad chips are thrown away. From there, they go to packaging. If flavor is to be added, it goes on right before the chips hit the bag. Each bag is filled with a puff of nitrogen, which keeps the chips fresh 3-4 months longer than oxygen would. Then they are boxed and shipped out to your local store. So there you have it - the story of the potato chip. Naturally, we got free samples. Plus, at the Snyder's factory we bought many many bags of many different kinds of chips and pretzels. Now if I can just keep myself from eating them all in one afternoon...
In college, I hung out with the artsy crowd. I majored in Creative Writing and English, my roommate majored in English, and many of our friends were writers as well. We discovered early on that the English department threw the best parties. And they threw a lot of them.
At one of these parties, a bunch of us were sitting around talking and my friend Julie made a comment about having a strange dream the night before. She shared the basic plot of the dream and how it had ended. Well, my roommate then spoke up and said that she never had dreams with a linear story line like that. Her dreams were always just different images. A couple of the other girls spoke up and said that they, too, dreamt in images.
Then those of us who dream in story lines identified ourselves. As I looked around the group, I noticed something, which I quickly pointed out. All the story-line dreamers were the ones who wrote fiction. All the image dreamers were the ones who preferred to write poetry. Julie then spoke up and said that she dreamed both ways. And I told her that made sense, since she was equally good at both fiction and poetry.
To this day, I dream in well-organized story lines. In fact, I've gotten some of my short story ideas from my dreams. And every time I do, I think of that party. I wonder if anyone's ever done a study on this? Maybe everyone dreams both ways, but the fiction writers are more likely to remember a linear story and the poetry writers are more likely to hold on to the images. Or maybe there is some fundamental difference in the way we think. I don't know.
Maybe I should conduct my own study. Anybody want to fund my research?
So, how do you dream?
School is going well so far this year. Joshua, who is using the charter school, is picking up math and reading at an amazing pace. I've been able to skip many lessons because he just doesn't need them. He especially enjoys creating art projects, particularly if it involves painting. Caleb, who I am independently homeschooling, has amazed me this year with his positive attitude. He has actually given me a big hug after school some days and thanked me for teaching him this way! It was absolutely the right choice to use a less structured way of teaching him. Isaac is just dying to have school of his own, so I have a couple of workbooks I give him every now and then. I think it would be a mistake to make him do it every day, not to mention more stress on me.
Co-op is now over for the semester, although we do have our showcase tomorrow. Showcase is when all the teachers get to show off what their classes have done. It's not mandatory so I don't usually participate.
Wednesday, we are going on a field trip to the Utz factory and the Snyder's of Hanover factory in Hanover. We used to live there, so I'm excited to go back and especially to hit the factory outlets. Discount snack food, whoo hoo!! I don't know if I'll be able to take pictures or not, but if I can, you know I'll share them!
Have a great week!
Wow, I had forgotten how crowded we were in that house. You can barely even see the wall! This is way back when I only had two kids. Weird.
Kristine's Stuff Portrait Friday is as follows:
The last thing someone bought for you. This is my birthday present from my parents. I have really enjoyed it, especially the commentary on various episodes. The thing about the boar is priceless.
The last thing you bought for yourself: This is a new pair of tennis shoes. Or is it? Look carefully. What do you see?
Have you figured it out? I bought two different shoes. And yes, I tried them on. I just didn't notice. Not only are they different styles, they're different sizes! I can't even use the excuse that I was distracted by the boys because it was just hubby and me at the store. They are currently in the van waiting to go back to the store, where they can be reunited with their long-lost mates. Unless of course someone like me bought them.
And finally, your wallet. This is mine.
As a student of the English language, it has bothered me for some time how certain words have had their meaning stripped from them. Last night, I heard another one: ultimate.
We often hear this word used to refer to something really cool: the ultimate sports car, the ultimate roller coaster, the ultimate whitening toothpaste. How many people realize that this word means "beyond which it is impossible to go"? By definition, the ultimate is the very last. There will never be another better than the ultimate. The end.
So, do people really think that that sports car is the final culmination of automobile design and technology? That there will literally never be another car better than that one? I don't think so. I think that they don't know what that word means. Let's look at some proper uses of the word ultimate.
Mozart's ultimate work was the Requiem Mass. It was the last thing he ever wrote. Or, you could state an opinion and say, Mozart's ultimate work was Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. In your opinion, his musical genius was at its full realization when he composed that piece. Do you see? Mozart can have an ultimate work because he is dead. There will never be another work by Mozart, so we can pick which was his ultimate.
When people say that's the ultimate (fill in the blank), they are ignoring the future. And as a fan of science fiction, I choose to believe that there will always be a better (fill in the blank).
So I'd like to start a new word trend. Let's use the oft-ignored "penultimate" instead. It means next to last. This car is so amazing I can't imagine any car ever being more amazing, but because I'm willing to acknowledge a future in which there might be one, I will refer to it as the penultimate sports car. "That was the penultimate roller coaster, dude!" Because you know next year someone somewhere is going to build a better one.
And that' s my penultimate word on the subject.
- Jana, spokesperson for the Committee to Take Back Word Meanings, founded by Jana on Jana's blog
This is me sitting on some rocks by the shore in Acadia, in the great state of Maine. Future-hubby and I traveled there with his family (I shared a tent with his mom, in case you were wondering). This is the same trip in which we climbed a trail called Precipice and I got stuck at the top. I had no problem climbing up, I just couldn't climb back down. Fortunately, there was a "chicken" trail up the back of the mountain that I could walk down.
Same trip, different country. This is me standing on Point Wolfe near the Bay of Fundy in Canada. It is low tide. If it were high tide, this photo would have been taken under water.
The next summer, we went to the Bruce Peninsula. I had to include this picture strictly for the Star Fleet Academy t-shirt.
Here I am on a logging beach on the Peninsula. It was such a gorgeous place. And really, I was with future-hubby, so we could have gone anywhere and had a good time. This just happened to be a fabulous place to go.
Finally, here is the most outdoorsy picture I have. That's me in the silver jacket, white-water rafting! Future hubby is sitting next to me. This was a scant week before our wedding. My parents were sure I was going to break something and have to walk down the aisle in a wheelchair or on crutches. But I didn't. I didn't even fall out of the raft. We had a blast. I can't wait for the boys to get old enough that we can take them sometime. (BTW, those are my brothers-in-law in the back, but I didn't get permission to put them on here, so I blanked their faces. Hubby would say that I didn't get his permission, either, but I would have to point out that he's never complained in the past.)
So, there you have it. Thanks for stopping by, and let me know if you played so I can come take a peek at your outdoor activities!
I'm doing a little housekeeping today. Or blogkeeping. Whatever.
If you link to me and want a link back, let me know and I'll be happy to oblige.
If you don't link to me, why not? Consider adding me to your blogroll, just for grins and giggles.
And finally, whether you link to me or not, stop by and say hi! I see the same IP addresses in my stats over and over, so I know you're out there! Give a shout out!
When I get home from co-op, I'm going down my blogroll and visiting everybody to let them know that I'm still out there.
See you soon!
"You're very talented, aren't you?"
Saturday night, I suddenly remembered that I said I would play the offertory Sunday morning. I said this about six weeks ago, thinking I'd have plenty of time to work on it. I was forgetting that trying to rehearse any sort of musical instrument with my kids around is an exercise in futility. I had practiced a song on the piano a few times, but was nowhere near proficient at it yet. What to do?
I pulled out the old standby, the recorder. Yes, that little woodwind instrument your kids learn how to play in third grade. I discovered quite by accident that I'm pretty good at playing the recorder. I have played it in church several times before, and people always seem to enjoy it. So I grabbed my hymn book and flipped through it until I found a song with no flats in the key signature. It was Victory in Jesus. I ran through it a couple of times until I felt good about it.
Sunday morning, I got up and played during the offering. I didn't use music because I couldn't find the music stand. It wasn't perfect, but it was certainly fine. I finished to a hearty "Amen" from the congregation (we are, for the most part, a non-clapping church).
As we were leaving church, someone said to me, "You're very talented, aren't you?" How do you answer a question like that? "Yes, yes I am!" I don't think so. Plus, I don't think I'm all that talented. I have almost no talent compared to my dad. But whatever talent I do have, I enjoy using it to worship God, and I feel I've been called to do so. The minute I start answering that question with "Yes I am" is the time I need to quit.
So I just answered, "Whatever God gives me." Because I certainly don't deserve the credit.
This is my door mat. Nothing terribly exciting.
My rug. I have two large rugs in the house. One always looks dirty, even when it's clean. The other one always looks clean, even when it's dirty. I choose to show you the latter. It's in my "dining room," which I actually use as a room to keep all my books and my dollhouse.
My favorite socks. They have sheep on them. I especially like the black sheep at the top. They are warm and fuzzy and oh-so-comfy on a cold day.
And finally, this is my "I am exhausted, leave me alone" look, which I am definitely feeling today, especially with my ten-month-old screaming his stuffy little head off and acting like I'm trying to steal his soul every time I wipe his nose.
Of course, I discussed Dirk yesterday, but it bears repeating. H-O-T. Look at that smile. Couldn't you just eat him up? This is him in his A-Team days, prime crush time. Someone asked what he was up to nowadays, so I had to check it out. According to this article, after a 9 year hiatus, he is back making movies. I loved this quote:
Credit his son George, 17, for talking him into it. "I said 'I miss acting, George. But if I resurrect my career, I'm going to have to spend time in L.A. with stupid producers saying things like 'Didn't you used to be blond?' And the next thing you know, we'll be having big conversations about my hair.'
"And George said 'Dad, your hair was your career.' "
This is Matthew Laborteaux. Some of you may remember him from Little House on the Prairie. I fell for him during a short-lived show called Whiz Kids. He played a computer genius teenager. Now if there's one guy I go for over and above the blonde guy, it's the smart guy. I used to want to punch the girl on that show, simply because she stood too close to him. Mine! Back off! And I was really in heaven when they did a Simon & Simon/Whiz Kids crossover! I couldn't find much about him now, except that he's still acting. He's now 39.
And now, the youngest on my list. Kirk Cameron was actually born the same month as I was, October 1970. I think every girl in America found him either incredibly adorable or incredibly annoying. I fell into the former category. But with him it was more of a "Wouldn't it be cool to hang out with him?" than it was "Wouldn't it be cool if he were my boyfriend?" In case you didn't know, Kirk became a Christian sometime during the run of Growing Pains. He is part of a wonderful website here. He also stars in the recently released third film of the Left Behind series.
So, there you have it. I hope you've enjoyed this trip down hottie lane as much as I have!
I was 14 years old and there was a big car show in Baltimore. The paper announced that several celebrities would be available to sign autographs. They had the van from "The A-Team" there, K.I.T.T. from "Knight Rider," a very young Heather Locklear, a guy named Chuck Thomas from a very short-lived show called "Automan." And then there was Dirk.
I had been a fan of Dirk Benedict since his "Battlestar Galactica" days. Besides being extensively easy on the eyes, he had this great way of delivering his lines, and this crooked grin that just made me melt. So naturally, I asked my father if we could go to the car show. And being male, he could not turn down the idea of hundreds of cool cars in one place. So we went.
The line to see Dirk was pretty long. I happily waited in it, watching him all the while. He sat behind a draped table. At one end, a guy was asking people's names and then writing them on the back of a photo, so when they got to Dirk, he would look at the name, flip over the picture, and personalize it for that person. He stayed seated the whole time.
When I got to the front of the line, I noticed how everyone who got their pictures taken with Dirk had to lean way over the desk to get close enough to be in the frame. Now, this may sound like bragging, but I promise you it's true. When I got to him, Dirk stood up and leaned toward me for the picture. I don't remember what he said to me, I was so nervous. But my dad was videotaping from below and as I walked away, Dirk turned to his bodyguard and on the video you can see him say "She's beautiful!"
I stood there next to that table for at least another hour, watching him sign autographs. And I never again saw him stand up and lean toward someone else. I was the only one. Let me tell you, what an ego boost! I still get all warm and fuzzy when I think about it.
And that's the picture I've been dying to share.
I don't mean to scare anyone, but we are now entering the food season. It starts with snitching from your kids' Halloween treats and it doesn't end until the big ball drops on New Year's Eve.
In three weeks, we will be leaving for Florida, where my grandmother will have all manner of sweets and treats available twenty-four hours a day. No doubt she will prepare many tasty dishes for Thanksgiving, for which we will be very thankful.
Then comes the approach to Christmas. We will make cookies, which will be consumed almost as fast as they cool. Which will prompt us to make more cookies, which will be eaten almost as fast as the first batch. We will keep making cookies until we actually have a stash of them to put away. And then we will snack on them at every possible moment.
Christmas Day will find us at my maternal grandmother's house. She is a fabulous cook. My dad always jokes that he dated my mom so he could eat my grandmother's cooking. She will have a huge dinner for us, and a large supply of treats for dessert, including her own stash of cookies.
Finally, New Year's Eve will arrive. We will stay up until midnight eating pizza and snacking. Thus will it end.
Every year I tell myself I'm not going to eat too much. And every year, while I may not gain weight, I certainly don't lose any. And I never, ever weigh myself. So I'm going to say what I say every year, and we'll see how it goes:
I will not overeat. I will not overeat. I will not overeat. I will not...