Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vultures are circling

I am sick. It started Sunday with a fever. Monday night it turned into an achy, fever-filled moan-and-groan fest. Yesterday, I couldn't talk except in a sqawky, raspy, barking sort of way, and then only for short periods of time (I tried valiantly to discuss Poe with my lit class, though). Today, my voice is still not back, I have a cough and runny nose, and my head hurts too much to sleep.

My children, like a pride of lions following the wounded antelope, smell blood. They know I feel terrible. This is clearly the time to ask Mommy for all sorts of ridiculous things, knowing full well that she will say yes just to get them to go away and let her get five more minutes of uninterrupted rest.

No, it's not the best parenting strategy. But I have been mostly on my own for over two weeks now. All my resolve is gone. I just want to lock the bedroom door and let them fend for themselves. Sure, one or two of them might survive solely on candy and sugary cereal, but that's how it is in the jungle.

Now if you'll excuse me, I and my box of tissues are going to go read a book in bed.

Monday, October 27, 2008


NaNoWriMo starts Saturday. If you take a peek over in my sidebar, you'll see that I've not only participated the past three years, but I've completed a 50,000+ word novel every time.

I enjoy the discipline of it. I really do. To make myself sit down and write at least 1,667 words a day for the entire month makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something.

My biggest problem is revision once I'm done. I've spent hours and hours trying to rewrite things that seemed not quite right and still don't have a finished work to show for it. But that's okay. Sooner or later I will, and then it will all be worth it.

So, are you thinking of participating this year? What are your strategies for "winning"? Do you have a plot? An outline? Or do you wing it like me?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, October 24, 2008

Carnegie Science Center

Here are a few pics from our recent trip to Pittsburgh. Enjoy!
Daddy and the three year old play with blocks! The point here was to make a structure that could withstand an earthquake. Naturally, Hubby the engineer managed to do it!

The super-awesome food science demo, in which we learned that flambe can be fun!

On the deck of the USS Requin, a real Cold War-era submarine.

Luckily, these guys were not part of the Cold War-era crew.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Things I learned this weekend

I had a rare day to myself Saturday and decided to do what anyone with a free day would do: clean the house. Here are some things I learned:
  1. A three year old with a marker can mark up to approximately four feet above the floor.
  2. If he finds a chair, this changes to six feet.
  3. Even washable markers will stain the wall.
  4. Permanent markers really are.
  5. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers really do remove marker from the wall.
  6. They do not, however, remove the indentations in the wall where the marker used to be.
  7. Likewise for ball point pen.
  8. Pencil comes easily off of tile floors.
  9. Pencil does not come so easily off of curtains.
  10. One container of garlic sauce from Papa John's cover approximately four square feet of floor.
  11. Papa John's garlic sauce doesn't dry out when left overnight on a tile floor.
  12. The sound of my Scooba cleaning the bathroom floor is eerily similar to the sound of my children screaming at each other.
  13. And finally, if I had ten Saturdays to clean my house, I can tell you that it still would not be clean. I barely scratched the surface. But I feel a whole lot better now.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Precious

It is tiny and golden.

Battles have been fought for it.

Every human who sees it is possessed with a strong desire to have it for his own.

Once you have held it, you must hold it again.

And I must admit, it is Precious to me.
The One Thing that rules us all.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Culinary expert - NOT

From top to bottom: Ramada Inn logo, 1982-2004...Image via WikipediaOverheard at Walmart:

"I don't like lasagna. It's too cheesy for me."
"Yeah. All that Ramada cheese."

There are so many jokes I could make here. How about you? Leave your joke in the comments!
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, October 09, 2008


There are so many reasons I don't get into politics here.
  • I know what I believe and my principles aren't likely to change.
  • I don't like inviting trolls around for supper.
  • I am anti-argument - I don't like starting them or participating in them.
  • There are many, many people on the internet who express my particular point of view much more articulately and knowledgeably than I ever could.
So I have not commented on what I think about the upcoming election. I have not expressed my disgust at the debates (but I can tell you I won't be watching any more of them). I have not railed against the lies and deception I see happening.

But what I will say is that whenever this word "hope" is thrown around, I shudder. This is a powerful word. It shouldn't be used lightly. And it should never, ever be used in the context of a political candidate, because no one person can live up to how every individual in the country defines it.

My hope is not in any politician, or organization, or government. My hope is in my faith, in the knowledge that no matter what happens, how bad the economy is, or who ends up in the White House, I am saved for all eternity.

So if you're losing hope in the light of everything happening in the world today, allow me to borrow a line from an old Michael W. Smith song:
When things get bad,
And you can't stand to look,
It's time to read
To the end of the Book!
Don't put it down
'Til you get to the end
When Jesus comes
And His kingdom begins!

That's what I call hope!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Talking about teaching

Pardon me while I gush about how much I love teaching my high school English class.

About half the kids in there don't really care that much. But the other half make every Tuesday morning a pleasure. I have been so HUGELY impressed with their writing, the thought they put into answering the literature questions, and even, on occasion, the discussion (though this is still slow in coming).

We're now getting to the part of the book with 19th century writers. These are some of my favorites - Hawthorne, Poe, Emerson, Longfellow. I hope the kids can sense my enthusiasm, that perhaps it might even be a little contagious.

And the writing assignments have been so fun! There is some real talent there. I'm going to put together a literary magazine full of their work at the end of the year so they all have something to be proud of. I know I'm awfully proud of them!

I'm sure if I had to teach every day of the week it would get old, but this once-a-week class is just perfect for me. I'm loving every minute of it!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Marriage Monday - 10 Tips for Frugal Living

Happy birthday to me! Yes, it's my birthday today! And the perfect gift would be for you to go read my post at Inspired Bliss, if you haven't already, and leave a comment!
1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis
Want this button?

And now it's time for Marriage Monday. This month's topic is finances. This is never a fun topic for me, but it's necessary for every marriage. I think overall Hubby and I do pretty well with our finances, though here lately things have been tight because we're trying to sell a rental house (which means it's empty with no income). But if I had to give frugal living tips (and eMom says I do :) ), these would be my top ten:
  1. Plan your grocery shopping ahead of time. If you have a list, it's easier to avoid all those "extras" that end up in your cart. When the kids ask for something they see, you can have them check the list. If it's not there, tell them to remember to add it next time before you leave home.
  2. Run all your errands at one time. If you're going to town, think about all the stores you usually visit in that area. Do you need anything from them? This will save both time and gas money.
  3. Shop at Goodwill. This is one my grandmother taught me. Things like t-shirts and shorts are usually cheaper at Walmart, but for dresses, coats, jeans, pantsuits, and other items like them, you can't go wrong at Goodwill.
  4. Cut your boys' and man's hair yourself. A nice pair of electric clippers and a comb is all I use. It might take a little practice, but it's not that hard. And then you can spend a little extra on your own beauty regimen! (Though I would like to point out I haven't had my own hair cut in about a year).
  5. Buy used cars, and buy them with cash. We have never had a car payment (though to be fair we have borrowed cash from relatives a couple of times, but we always paid it back quickly). Then, once we buy a car, we put aside a couple hundred a month in the bank and start the process all over again.
  6. Buy used everything, for that matter! When I buy books, DVDs, and similar items, I buy them used off of Amazon, homeschoolclassifieds, or anywhere I find them. I've got a huge wishlist on Amazon, where I keep a watchful eye on the "used" prices.
  7. Every little bit helps. Does anybody really need to pay for a newspaper anymore? Do you have to have the name brand of That Product, or will the store brand do just as well? Could you have your coffee at home instead of Expensive Coffee Shop? Every time I'm tempted to go out for ice cream, we go to the grocery store instead and buy whatever kind we want because it's still going to be cheaper than going out for it.
  8. If there's an Aldi nearby, you need to go. I've been shopping there for almost 12 years and have never been disappointed by the quality of the products. Their prices are almost always cheaper than every other grocery store. Our local one has milk for $1.99!
  9. We also happen to know someone who raises beef cattle. Not only is the beef superior to store-bought, but the price usually comes out to way less than the store. And it's the same price per pound whether I have ground beef or steaks cut, which makes it an awesome bargain.
  10. And this might be the most important one: talk over any major purchase (anything over $100) with your spouse. You need to both be in agreement or you shouldn't be buying it.
I hope these have been of some use to you! Every little bit helps, right?

Friday, October 03, 2008

I'm published!

Hey, you!

Have you been checking out Inspired Bliss?

Well, today would be the perfect day, because my first post is up! Drop by, leave a comment, stumble it, etc. Hope to see you there!

Loads of work ahead

It looks like I will be going to China with Hubby in December! I'm very excited, naturally, but now I have a lot of planning to do. I have to lay out all the lesson plans and assignments for my high school English class (my co-teacher has just let me do the work so far since I majored in English and writing). And I have to do this better than I usually do it for myself, since she needs to be able to follow my notes.

I downloaded the entire novel The Scarlet Letter last night from Librivox, which is a free audio book site. I'm thinking I might give each student a copy and have them listen to it as part of their assignments. And they must enjoy it. It's my favorite classic American novel and everyone should read it, but I know some of these kids have reading issues, so I figured an audio book would be just as good.

So today, I have a question for you: what book were you assigned in high school that has continued to be important to you throughout your life? And what book do you think everyone should read?
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Fat chance

If Dancing With the Stars trivia on Twitter thinks they're going to stump me... they are so, so wrong. Bring it on, @ABC_DWTS!!

BTW, you can follow me if you want @Jana_C