Sunday, November 28

Thanksgiving and Christmas

We'll go backwards from today-

Knitting is evil. That's all I'll say on the subject. :-)

Zorak got an early Christmas gift. We had to pick it up from Wal-Mart because Maryland's gun laws don't permit firearms in an open sleigh. He went out yesterday playing with it and harassing the deer. He's hoping for some whitetail mojo to rub off on this expedition. (There are a few pockets of whitetail deer in the southwest, but for the most part it's all muleys all the time! This is a different and exciting opportunity.)

M in VA and I have talked on the phone and emailed regularly over the past few months. Our correspondence has been such fun, and we've looked forward to meeting in person. As it worked out, Thanksgiving was the big day. She and her DH (who we'll call T- we're just going to go with initials here) invited our herd to descend upon her parents' place for the day. Zorak was willing to go because he's a good sport, and he's very patient with me. Boy there were a lot of people there! When they met us in the drive, she said, "OK, for the record, there are three people here we don't even know." (I think this may have been Karmic retribution for me introducing Zorak to my Mom at a family wedding. "Honey, this is my Mom... and 300 other relatives! Everyone, this is Zorak!")

There is always a certain tentativeness in meeting new folks. Are they weird in real life? Are we weird in real life? I can't speak for them, but after just a few minutes we felt like we'd showed up at an old friend's place. The boys were swept up into the flow of children, popping up every third lap through the house. M & T have a family that is comfortable to be around: conversation comes easy, laughter is common, and nobody is a stranger. More homes should be so warm and inviting.

M is so sweet and comfortable to be around that you quickly get over the fact that she looks like a Bond Girl and quit feeling self-conscious *almost* immediately.

The rest of the day is a blur of laughter and children and food. Of quiet discussions in the kitchen (yes, hovering around the coffee pot!) Of Zorak and I thoroughly enjoying every nuance of the day, occasionally wondering where the boys ran off to. (As a side note, all the children played so incredibly well together that there was very little intervention needed. It was nice, but left us feeling like we'd neglected our kids all day. The boys, on the other hand, had a fabulous time and have spoken almost non-stop since about all the great kids they played with and M's sister, Th!) M's family is wonderful, the epitome of Southern Hospitality (Papa M says, "You're only a guest for the first fifteen minutes"), and phenomenal cooks (the sisters laughed about not even attempting to make homemade crusts because their parents do it all from scratch and do it perfectly- everything was superb)! I'm actually having trouble blogging it well. If I were to recount all the highlights and humorous anecdotes, I'd still be blogging tomorrow.

Zorak thoroughly enjoyed the day, a pleasant surprise for him. (These get togethers of invisible friends are usually the women's ideas, and the men sit around staring at one another, thinking, "So. It was your weird-ass wife who thought this thing up?") Thankfully, this wasn't the case. The men fell into easy conversation and for much of the day the guys were engaged in a rapid dialogue of stuff. (I don't know what, just stuff.)

Oh, but I do have to tell you about these children! M and T have three children. We hope to do as well by the boys as they have by their children- and I say this honestly- these are great kids. Their oldest is a baseball nut, and he's so cute, er, cool. (He's at that age where "cute" probably isn't what he's shooting for- but he is, both cute and cool.) He's very quiet and somewhat reserved, until you mention baseball. At that point his face lights up and he becomes very animated. He LOVES this stuff! He was so sweet to John, showing him how to catch and throw (using paper airplanes, since they were indoors). Their daughter is the sweetest little girl. She spent some time with the guys, learning how to shoot a bow, and did very well with it. I think she's a natural archer. Zorak and I both were absolutely taken with her sweet demeaner and thoughtful ways. She has got to be an absolute joy to M & T. Their youngest is a ball of perpetual energy. You can tell right away that he's really creative. He was wrapped up in the traditional family activity, and so much fun to watch. He's a riot! He's got a great sense of humor and is fun to be around. He's also so nice to all the little guys roaming around (and there were many of them). Just truly great kids.

And then there's Q and W, E's boys (E is one of M's sisters- a funny, witty, energetic lady who's ever so much fun to be around). E's boys are four and one- only a few weeks apart from John and Jacob in age. W is one. Chubby, bright-eyed, sweet, full of personality. He has that happy glow of a much-loved one-year old. He and Jacob watched each other quite a bit, both fascinated by "this other little person". Q is... well, I hope E is paying attention to the ins-n-outs of homeschooling because she is going to have to homeschool this little guy. He's wise, on a deep and cosmic level. He reminds me a lot of James at four, to an amazing degree. He's hilarious, but he doesn't know it; he's just saying what comes to mind. My favorite anecdote from the day is one that E told (and we got to hear a bit of it from him while he was playing). Q watches a lot of documentaries, from the BBC, so when he's just playing on his own, he slips into BBC-Commentator mode, complete with very realistic accent! So precious! She's a great Mom, and those two boys are absolute joys to be around.

I think if we thought we could get away with it, we'd have brought all five home with us. But then, our three wanted to stay there, too.

M's other sister, Th, is a photographer. This woman is amazing! I'll post separately about her photography skills, because I don't want them to get lost in this big ol' post. She's also funny, down to earth, and has an energy and creativity that the really-cool-aunts always have - the kind that draws children to her the same way all the super fun things in life draw children. God bless her, she keeps up with 'em, too. I was exhausted just standing in the hallway during the Great Airplane Wars, watching! She got a deer after we left. Zorak was tickled for her, but let out a little whine of envy when I told him.

Anyway, I could just gush and gush about it, but I'll stop here. We appreciated the invitation and had a lovely time. We hope to reciprocate sometime soon with a good cookout at the beach or something nice for them. It was a great way to spend Thanksgiving. Thanks, guys!

Kiss those babies!

Thursday, November 25

A Year of Thanks

Wow, one year ago today (let's pretend it's still Wednesday, since I'm still up) we pulled into Maryland. It was darker than anything I could recall, and we felt incredibly small. We had no home to pull into. We knew not a soul, let alone anyone who might be up at three in the morning if we had. I pulled onto 301, a dark road with no lights or sidewalks, nothing in sight but the shadowy forms of trees overhead, and whispered to Zorak, "How do I get to the main road?"

"This is the main road. One of 'em, anyway. Keep going south." He fell back asleep.

I drove on, down to Route 5, and made my way to Route 235. We saw darkened buildings and rain, a lot of rain. For those of you not familiar with St. Mary's County, it's a small, mostly rural area with no big cities, and only one incorporated town. There are few main roads- Rt. 5 and Rt. 235 run North/South; Hermanville, Great Mills, Chancellor's Run, and Hollywood Rd. cut across to join them. These are pretty much all of it. It doesn't sound like much, and really it's all quite easy to navigate- in the light of day, after a few weeks to acclimate yourself to using new navigational techniques. When you're used to navigating by mountains and rivers, learning to recalibrate in the swamps is a bit intimidating. 235 is good sized, and cars move up and down it like 737's ready for take-off. It's no place for timidity, so I drove, looking for something familiar.

We pulled into the Denny's parking lot. Familiar ground at last. Denny's is the same everywhere. It doesn't matter that it's not great: they have bottomless coffee, locals who know which hotels to avoid, and a glimpse of the local denizens on neutral ground. And they're Always Open. I love Denny's.

Those who are familiar with the area are laughing at me right now, because the only Denny's around here isn't in St. Mary's County at all. It's almost an hour north of here, in Charles County. Still, I felt my knees regain their strength as I threw the Suburban into Park and woke the boys. "Wake up, boys. We're here. We're in Maryland." Sleepy, happy boys. Sleepy, anxious Mommy and Zorak. Hot coffee, scrambled eggs. We watched the sun rise from our booth and tried to gain our bearings.

For months afterword, John was convinced that Denny's was Maryland.

The next day was Thanksgiving. We spent it at Solomon's Island, watching birds and enjoying the rush of the Big-Scary-River. We put several hundred miles on the Suburban over the next three days, driving up and down the county trying to find a rental. Most of that time I think we were lost. We found this place and moved in Saturday. Home.

Eventually our furniture arrived. We found Jerry's Chinese food and figured out where the grocery stores are located. We met many folks and made a few good friends. Zorak started his first day at work and is soon to celebrate his first year there: a bonafide engineer. He hasn't taken a mid-term in over a year and that, he says, is one of his highlights of the year.

The boys have learned to swim, and learned more about aquatic life than I care to relate. James discovered he loves Maryland Crabs. John fell in love with trips to the beach for swimming and teriyaki on a stick. Osprey, Cobra, and flight-path have become part and parcel of our vocabulary this year.

James turned five with a great surprise party. John turned four and had a great bbq with friends. Jacob left his babyhood behind, learning to walk, talk, and climb.

It's very expensive here, and between the taxes and other regulations we haven't made the progress we'd hoped to make in financial realms. In some ways we still feel very foreign and out of place. We haven't been able to enjoy many of the things we cherish in life, and that has been difficult to absorb. We haven't made peace with humidity or with the governmental oversight.

Still, this year has been very blessed. We are a family. We are together. We have a good home and valued friendships. We have the joys of homeschooling as a family, and the joys of life when you choose to live it. We are fortunate to have come this far, and we look forward to the future with eager minds and filled hearts.

What will this next year bring? Surely birthdays and other causes for celebrations. Possibly sorrows and losses. Hope. Wonder. Amazement. Love. Yeah, a lot to be thankful for there.

Kiss those babies.

Monday, November 22

Quick Monday Blog

Ack- more overtime for Zorak. He's such a good dragon-slayer, but we sure do miss him when he's out slaying those dragons for us.

Found a few neat links to share- thought y'all might find them interesting, too.

For those in the MD/DC/VA/NJ/PA/DE... (how many states are there in this little junction???) vicinity, who happen to be studying the Ancients (or just get a kick out of re-enactments) there is a local group. (Think Roman Empire flavored SCA, I think. We haven't made it to one yet.)

Need Thanksgiving specific poetry? Try this lovely site. (Thanks to the posters at the WTM forums!)

What to read next? What will challenge the kids? What level books to pick? Well, Lexile has its own system. Pretty neat. Think of it as yet another great booklist! You can type in a title your wee one has enjoyed recently and get a Lexile number for that book- then do a book search for titles according to that level (little higher, little lower, maybe- have fun with it!)

Thank you all for sharing your favorite authors, fiction titles, and for those of you who admitted to being fiction-deficient, bless you. I don't feel like quite the alien now.

Staci, don't run. It's ok.
Patrica Cornwell.
Neal Stephenson.
Louis L'Amour.
Michael Crighton.
John Grisham.
See? Five authors I enjoy, right off the top of my head (and I didn't have to resort to listing the ones I'm reading right now, either. *grin*) I like fiction! Really, I do. I just evidently don't buy any of it for the house.

I will admit, though, that a good biography or a great historical analysis just gets me feeling all warm inside.

Speaking of warm fuzzies- today's school update:

It is a great feeling when your child, who has expressed on occasion that he doesn't think he has a very good brain, turns to you and says, "I love math, Mom!" Thank you, Math-U-See!

John has mastered place value and is moving into the "weaning from the green" (learning to identify the other colored blocks and getting comfortable substituting them. It is nice to use one long brown eight unit block rather than try to keep up with eight little green blocks. Less for the baby to spread around, too!)

James is reviewing multiplication facts. He'll be doing a chapter a day in Gamma until we come to the new material. Sometimes life sifts things in at a different pace, and he's spent a lot of time lately on other math concepts, as well. Fun.

(It is nice to be able to cruise ahead, hover, or go back according to the needs of each child.)

Latin is going well- we did it during lunch today. Nothing like a mouthful of pizza for improving inflection. I need to do non-speaking projects during lunch, I do believe.

Free reading today was the Just So Stories revisited. James is reading them to himself and to us. The stories are becoming much like old friends we enjoy seeing again. My plan is working... Muuuahhhhaaahaaahaaaa!

Science today: Speedy's respiration. Snails do just about everything in or under the mantle. Fascinating. Speedy seems, well, fine. He's a slug. It's not like he can wag his tail or tell us how he's feeling. Bodily functions are a "go", though, so I guess that's good for a slug.

The woolly slug (AKA "Spike") is not dead, but it was traumatized this morning when we dumped it out on the lawn. Oops. It was a little too cold. He has eaten most of the leaf, though, and seems to be recovering well. He's not much on personality, really.

*Side note to Mom- get rid of the 1001 things to know about human anatomy book. James informed Jacob today that he was not, in fact, a test tube baby, but rather came from an egg fertilized right inside Mom. ACK! Crud. Not... ready... for... AAAIIGGHHH!*

In the course of one week our tree has gone from a vibrant green to a brilliant yellow. We watch the tree daily and still it feels as though it happened while we slept. So beautiful. Seasons are for savoring, you know.

Kiss those babies, and enjoy the season you're in.

Sunday, November 21

It's Thanksgiving Week!

We have been busy. We've read stories, gathered and observed creatures, planned for Christmas, and enjoyed one another. I hope you've all had a similarly enjoyable weekend.

We have two new additions to the family: a woolly slug, and a spotted garden slug. The woolly slug may be dead- I'll check after the boys are in bed. It's not terribly active, and the only way to tell if it's dead yet seems to be to give it a little shake. If it balls up, well then, we're good. If not, ah, well, it happens to the best of us. (We all seem to be over the homicidal goldfish episode, which is encouraging.)

The spotted garden slug, however, is a happy little gastropod. He's quick, too. Since he survived two full days with us, we made his living arrangements a little more permanent. He now has a two-part condo with all the amenities the most discriminating slug desires. The boys have named him Speedy Stretcher Slug, "Speedy," for short.

I'm not nearly as grossed out now as I was two days ago, when I was feelin' pretty cool for having thought to bring the thing inside at all. Slugs are quite fascinating! We're hoping for babies. I'll let y'all know.


Spent the weekend reading Stephen King's On Writing. I need to buy this book. Big thanks to MFS & Staci for recommending it. Thank you, both.


In reading and pondering, I've realized something that's, erm, a little disturbing. Evidently I'm not naturally drawn to works of fiction. I had no idea. My recent flings with fiction (King's The Dark Tower series and O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels, in particular) have been enjoyable, positive experiences. So. What's the mindblock there? It's not intentional. Really. I only just realized this tidbit after an exploratory expedition this weekend. I perused all of our books, only to find, other than the boys' books (where fiction abounds!) I have, erm, *mumble, mumble*, four titles on my shelves.

Yes, four. We aren't bereft of books. We have history books, biographies, science writings, nature books, math of all levels. We have books on any trade or skill you could want to read up on, and books in several languages, as well. We have books in every (yes, every) room in the house. And only four fiction titles. Mm-hmmm. That's not good. That's a new goal for me. How can I extol the beauty of fiction to the boys if I don't venture into that world myself? Sometimes I worry about the kind of eccentric old lady I will become.

What fiction do you read and why? Discuss. :-)


We have a great week of school ahead. It will be short, as structured lessons go, but we have some lovely titles to read, a few exciting new lessons in math, another set of vocabulary words for Latin.

This week we began taking more in-depth looks at each article of the Bill of Rights. We've just taken one article at a time and explored it at the boys' paces. The discussions have been downright fun! I highly recommend this exercise for little ones. It's interesting how they comprehend certain things and draw parallels themselves to the hooks they've hung in their minds. Wow. Just... wow.


For those of you who come to the front porch regularly to visit, I apologize for having been somewhat sporadic in posting lately. Evenings have been filled with great books, wonderful family time, writing (yes, writing), truly superb one-on-one time with Zorak, and an overwhelming sense of settling down, working out the restless that has pervaded my soul as of late. This is the good stuff. This is what it's all about. It is, at least, for me. Sometimes, though, the night moves on and the computer desk just doesn't look as inviting as the couch or the reading chair. Sometimes, from under the fleece throw, I can't bring myself to move. I'm thinking of you, though, hoping all is well for you and yours, and hope to hear from you soon, as well.. Thanks for coming around and sharing some time here.

Kiss those babies!

Thursday, November 18

The day in quotes

So, is tomorrow Special Daddy Day? (ie. "Is Daddy off work tomorrow?)
This room feels like it's filled with magic. (Speaking about the dining room at supper tonight.)
I miss you when you're not near me.

Jacob, you're the best Smidget in the whole world! (I don't know what brought his on, but it was accompanied by a big wet kiss on the head for the baby.)
That's not worms and caterpillars! It's just potatoes and fishsticks. (So much for the "creative, adventurous supper we tried to convince him we were having.)
I'm glad we're a family. Maryland just wouldn't be the same without you. (Talking about family over supper.)

When he hears us say, "Oremus", he reaches out to those sitting on either side of him.
He lets out an excited squeal at "Amen" and claps his hands.
Mama Mama Mama! Ooooo Mama! (when he spied me coming in from the kitchen for supper)

(to the boys) Do you know where potatoes come from?
Do you know where fish comes from?

(to me) Do you know where I'm going with this?

You know you've been married a while when french fries and fishsticks qualify as surf 'n turf.

Another lovely day. We made cinnamon apple muffins using the modified recipe we've put together. They are, by far, the best! Again with the small loaves, and they slice up so nicely. John made peanut butter sandwiches with slices of it today. Zorak even choked one down and gave it a 7 (on a scale of 1-10). Cool.

We had lunch with Zorak at a great little buffet he found. We came home to read stories, make more leaf prints, play outside in the woods. What a great day.

Zorak is helping a co-worker with a math class, so he's been over a few nights the past few weeks. The boys so enjoy visiting with this gentleman. He's raised six children and enjoys remembering "those bygone days" while he visits with the boys. Tonight he brought them a movie, so we let them stay up late (although jammied and ready for bed) to watch a movie, camped out in the living room. They made a "special guest room" (it's a tent under the coffee table) just in case their new friend wanted to have a sleep-over. That was too cute.

Now all are asleep, co-worker just headed out. Zorak and I are going to brew a fresh pot of coffee, watch something frivolous and fun, and look forward to a nice, long weekend with the boys.

What are your weekend plans?

Kiss those babies!

Wednesday, November 17

Oh, what a day!

There are times I would appreciate a bit of rum, in lieu of creamer, for my coffee.

Things I Learned Today:

Missing an event you were looking forward to is sad, even when you're a grown up.

Knowing it couldn't be helped does keep things in perspective tremendously.

It is a wonderful feeling to inquire about bringing the children to a Bible study and hear, "Oh, yes, bring the children. We also have a homeschool room for the students to do their independent work during the study." Wow.

Zorak, Bringer of Starter Fluid and Slayer of Dragons, is very cool.

It's amazing how many of my memories are tied directly to starter fluid.

They weren't good memories when they were made, but they're kind of warm and fuzzy now.

Drive-thru car washes are really fun for children. (Knew this before, but had forgotten. Wonderful reminder today, though!)

Oil Changes get expensive when your vehicle gets older.

It's sad to think of The New Suburban as being "old".

"Please move the stack off the linoleum" is just a little too vague a direction to give a 6 year-old. You could get anything, trust me.

Toilet lids must stay down~ it's not a woman thing, it is a mother-of-toddlers thing!

No matter how much fun you're having playing with the children, when they start bonking their wee heads on the furniture with increasing frequency, it is time for bed. It will only get worse.

It's taken this full year, but I do believe we've begun to get the feel of this house - its best flow, and most efficient arrangement. We've found the groove, the auto-pilot, and we are finally learning how to maneuver the cockpit.

Now if we can figure out how to drain the swamp in the backyard, we'll be golden!

Kiss those babies!

Mid-Week Catch Up!

Well, The Mistress is turning out to be awfully high-maintenance in the cooler weather. Hmpf. I think she's just trying to get attention, but what can ya do? Anyhow, Zorak hasn't been able to take her out as much as he'd like just because she's so difficult to rouse in the cold, dark, early mornings. Hah. I don't blame her! And I get to sleep inside! We're hoping a heavy-duty battery will help.

We made blueberry muffins this morning. Actually, they're loaves. Buffaloaves. Not sure how we came up with that, but it brought on a tirade of giggles and it stuck. So from now on, they're Buffaloaves.

All is well in the land of the Zoraks. We had company last night, so the boys were in rare form. No, strike that. Not rare, very typical, actually: full of smiles and stories and sharing. Very cool. Company brought apple cider, so the boys got to stay up a little later and sip apple cider on the couch while they visited and listened to music. (Songs My Family Taught Me- a very sweet compilation of folk and '60's pop songs, sung by John Storms-Rohm.)

Today is the day of the big oil change. It's an outing, it's an adventures, it's an exciting thing when you're four and six!

Kiss those babies!

Monday, November 15


Ah, library trek tomorrow. We have got to get our book checkouts back in line. Every two weeks, or every week, but only on a certain day of the week- that, I can do. Right now things are just a hodge-podge of due dates. There are too many due dates for me to keep up without a printer! *ack* (Ours has, erm, "issues". We think we killed it.)

I am thankful for our public libraries, for bookshelves, and that someone took the time to teach me to read. I'm thankful the boys have that door open to them, too.

Thank you all for sharing your comments. Kim, I would love to hear more about Canada! You should do a weekly series on your blog. Maybe call it "Life in Canada, eh?" Or, well, without the dopey title. ;-)

I'm thankful that the internet can be used to foster postive interactions and better understandings of the world around us.

Tonight calls for a good book and a fuzzy blanket. It's cold! We turned on the heat last night. The boys all slept late. Hmmm, will need to remember this one.

Oh, I don't even know where to begin with that one...

Today the boys did their Latin and math at the kitchen table. It drove Jacob to drastic measures, what with all the blocks and crayons way up there out of reach. That child can climb like nobody's business!

I am thankful that my boys are healthy, happy, curious, creative, and thriving.

Reading, writing and running were covered next. Snacks, of course, and then, since it was so beautiful out, we went knocking on doors and let all the children play for a few hours in the afternoon. Wonderful Neighbor, New Very Nice Neighbor and I sat, chatting, watching the children, moving from spot to spot to stay in the sun.

As always, thankful for our Wonderful Neighbors all over this complex.

Been on a soup binge lately. A few nights ago we had a delicious lentil soup. Tonight it was a chicken and vegetable soup (from stock and leftovers of last night's roast chicken). I'd like to throw in a beef stew by the weekend. We'll see.

I'm thankful for nourishing foods, and a place to prepare them. Thankful for the joy of a meal and the ability to tend to my family...

For now, though, I'm off to switch out some wash, kiss the boys one more time, and enjoy the beauty of a crisp fall evening.

Very, very thankful.

Kiss those babies!

Big Cities, Little Towns

Perspective is a funny thing. I was talking with a friend this morning about stop lights and how the small town next to the small town I grew up in (I mean, there's small, and then there's s-m-all...) now has eight stoplights. She laughed and said they have more than her town does. Hers has four. Of course, her four stoplights are in a one-mile stretch of road, completely ensconced on all sides by structures and people and cars... the town I was talking about has its eight lights spread out over twelve miles of highway, with mostly dirt roads and horses at each intersection, and there are more spots of prairie land than buildings in between. Perspective. It's a funny thing.

Sort of like the emotional backlash from this election. I've tried my best to avoid it, and now it's just reached a ridiculous point. So, some thoughts on this:

Based on the behavior that's been exhibited recently, I don't think Canada particularly wants the blue states! Seriously, the crime rate alone in the blue states would be enough to make Canada rethink their position on immigration. Canadians, or at least the ones I've come across, are a kindhearted, helpful lot. They aren't big on being nasty just because they have free speech. Really. They don't riot and tear up their own communities when things don't go their way. (They don't riot and tear up their own cities when things do go their way.) They aren't big on divisiveness, and don't pack around cardboard and magic markers just in case there's something to throw a fit about while they're out 'n about. I think y'all might want to rethink that whole portion of the tirade. On an individual basis, sure, you're welcome here and there. But as a whole, I'm pretty certain Canada is glad they don't have to live with any of us, the way we've been behaving lately.

Then, Staci stole my blog topic for last night, too! Go here and read her thoughts.


My favorite quote (among many) is this bit:
I once made my home in one of these scattered dots of blue. I lived in the city, in the heart of a major medical complex. For seven years I lived and worked in this multicultural, multiracial area of the city, surrounded by the museums and centers of research and learning. People there worried about paying the bills and how their kids were doing in school. They discussed Monday Night Football on Tuesday mornings and what was on Seinfeld on Friday mornings. They were, in short, no different from the people I live amongst now.

Yeah, what she said. I'm truly amazed at the level of propaganda-like demonizing that has taken root in America. Have we forgotten that there are actual individuals on both sides of the political spectrum? Come on, folks. Enough. I've read such overblown things as folks being "afraid of" those who voted for Bush... mmhmm, really? That is the saddest thing I've heard in a while. And I loved, (I mean really loved) the F*** Iowa sign I saw the other day. What in the WORLD is that all about?

Truly, with the possible exception of a few on the fringe of the fringe (the hard-core Communists, the hard-core anarchists, and, well, almost everyone who marched in the "How Berkeley Can You Be" parade, but perhaps even some of them), we want the same things. We want to live our lives, pay our bills, raise our families, enjoy the life and love that we have been given, be involved citizens, and not be killed by our own government (or another government). Really. We do. On all sides. Left, Right, Middle, even those who use a different scale entirely. We disagree on how best to do that, and that's ok. That's why we have elections and it's a matter-of-course that when there are two sides in an election, someone is always going to be "disenfranchised" (which, to me, ought to be a term reserved for folks who get their Waffle House licensing pulled, but maybe that's just me.) Had the election gone the other way, these same groups would not be as gracious about winning (based on the outcome of two Clinton victories) and if the "red staters" behaved this way, there would be an almost deafening cry to quit whining (again, based on two Clinton victories).

I'm actually quite amazed at the amount of graciousness that's been shown, for the most part, on behalf of those who supported Bush. I didn't expect it, but am glad to have seen it. At least in the circles we run in, which contain both Lefties, Righties and Just-Stay-The-Heck-Out-Of-My-Life-ies, there has been no gloating and bossy in-your-face nastiness from the conservative end of the group. But there's been plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth and ad hominem attacks from the more liberal ones. Please just stop. Listen to yourselves. Is this the inclusiveness and diversity you support? Is this the respect and "live and let live" that you preach? It doesn't sound like it.

You know, 90% of Zorak's family probably voted for "the other guy", and yet I am willing to say with a certain amount of confidence that when we visit with them, there will be no tarring and feathering. There will be no burning in effigy or berating and abusing. I'm also pretty sure we won't have to sleep in the back yard or the driveway. There may be some good-natured jesting. (Uncle Fred loves to play devil's advocate- for either side- and he's intelligent enough to do it well.) There will be food. There will be card games. There will be hugs and laughter and happiness. Jesusland meets the United States of Canada, if you will. And I can't wait! We love these folks, and they love us. We certainly don't see eye to eye on, well, on just about anything when it comes to politics, but that doesn't mean we can't love one another and dote on each other's children. It doesn't make one side or the other awful human beings. How sad to think what we would lose if we drew lines of civility based on agreement with our philosophies...

Finally, please, please tell me that in spite of what the media has said, some of you out there do understand that many people who voted for Bush did so because on a very basic level, we just do not agree with the majority of the Democratic platform. We just don't agree with you, not socially or fiscally or philosophically. For many (more than I think you imagine), it wasn't about God or fundamentalism or even showing support for the so-called "Marriage Protection Act". Zorak summed it up well when he suggested we get two bumper stickers for the Suburban:

Follow me to Jesusland!


Smoke Pot and Worship Satan!

"Just to keep 'em guessing," he said with a smile. He said it in jest, but I think it reflects the importance of being able to keep your head, keep your sense of humor, and think for yourself, no matter what's going on around you.

Our kitchen table has room for everyone, and my ideal dinner party guest list would be beautifully diverse in many regards, but not-so-diverse in one aspect: it would be filled with great people I adore and admire. That may be the only thing many of them have in common, too. Enough with the bashing and the fearmongering- from everyone. Here, have a cup of coffee and some chocolate. We have children to raise and communities to improve.


Saturday, November 13

Never Again

Will I let Zorak within ten feet of a book I want to read before I've read it.

I'm just sayin'.

And if he doesn't quit laughing on almost every page, I may have to go buy myself a copy, too.

A Quiet Saturday...

Yes, I know it's Friday. I didn't, however, know that until after noon today. *sigh* So, we had a lovely Saturday a day early and we get a bonus Saturday tomorrow! WOOHOO!

The boys helped make a great breakfast of yogurt, granola, fresh muffins and fruit. Yum.

Then we read, and played trains, and read some more.

They watched a movie. I spent some time on the computer. They built tunnels and caves in the dining room. Zorak slept in. Jacob ran about making faces at himself in all the windows.

Oh- I made a hat! It's a real, honest-to-goodness hat! Donna, you'd be proud! I even used a pretty, sparkly yarn. I owe a big thanks to some of the wonderful gals at the WTM boards for helping me work out the glitches to crocheting in rounds. It's a baby hat for one of my niece's twins (due relatively soon). I don't know which one- I guess whichever is born first gets the hat? (No, I will make two. I think I have a month or two yet.) Anyhow, the neat thing about crocheting a hat is that it goes fairly quickly, in three distinct stages:
1~ nasty little larval looking knot of yarn
2~ wee tiny yarmulke for fairy-sized folk
3~ *poof* it's a hat!
Very fun.
Now to finish Gram's Autumn *ahem* Christmas Lap Blanket...

Friday, November 12

True Friends (PG for language)

This has been around forever, but now I think it's even more applicable than ever. In a time of gentleness, to which I aspire, I must admit that I don't often get there, and my true nature is a bit more, erm, well, adolescent? Smart-aleky? At any rate, nothing says, "I love ya!" quite like private haranguing or a wedgie in public.

I got this from my wonderful friend, Claudia, who would definitely do all of these for me. She loves me. And this is for you guys- y'all know who you are. *grin* (But I promise Linkobutfrus that I won't do #8, because she's pregnant and pregnant people are allowed to be clumsy!)

Here is a series of promises that really speaks to true friendship:

1. When you are sad - I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.

2. When you are blue - I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.

3. When you smile - I will know you finally got laid.

4. When you are scared - I will rag on you about it every chance I get.

5. When you are worried - I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be and to quit whining.

6. When you are confused - I will use little words.

7. When you are sick - Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.

8. When you fall - I will point and laugh at your clumsy ass.

This is my oath...I pledge it till the end. Why? You may ask. Because you are my friend.

Wednesday, November 10

Why Buy A Twinkie? Why Get An Education?

Hmmm. I was going to just go to bed without blogging, but then I read a thread that caught my imagination. (Or something like that. *grin*) The thread was great, the topic, timely; what good is education, and what do you *do* with an education? It's a fun thread, good for thought. There is one perspective shared which caught my attention, in particular. I can appreciate the point under the ire, certainly, but the anti-American, oh-aren't-you-a-bunch-of-spoiled-irresponsible-ninnies tone was a bit much for me to trust myself to post there... This perspective is that it's a complete waste of money and time to get an education for any purpose other than to get out there and work. Period. (Yes, the poster came right out and made the American connection, this isn't caffeine-induced paranoia on my part, honest.)

So, aside from the whole "collective" thing that came across pretty clearly, that staying home and teaching your children for 20 years is an absolute waste... when one teacher can teach the 30 kids in the classroom and you, my fine Comrade, have a duty to go forth and work. Don't waste your meager efforts on your few children... Emphasis is my words, my inference from the tone of the post.

My mother (who had an 8th grade education, and always valued higher education for us) regularly said, "Your education is one thing nobody can take from you. You earn it and it's yours." She was right-on with this one. You ante up your funds, spend your time, use your brainpower, and in the end, nobody can educate you except for yourself (by availing yourself of the resources within reach). So who do we *owe* for that? I can see a pre-arranged agreement, wherein someone else foots the bill and you then repay via working in an understaffed area or repaying loans. OK. But hook up to the Matrix and cash it all in? Mmmm, no. I don't think so. Not by mandate, at any rate.

Which is my point. I don't think anyone *must* do any one specific thing with something that she has earned, bought, striven for, or attained in any legal manner available. I don't even really agree that the idea is a Capitalist issue, as another fellow dissenter (whom I admire) suggested. Capitalism is a beautiful, lovely thing in my eyes. It's what makes a free market work.

So, going with the free market idea, and not demeaning the value of education at all, but trying to separate the emotion from the logic (for me), let's talk about Twinkies.

You see, if I have the desire to buy a Twinkie, and I have the time and the money to do so, then I might very well go down to the market and buy myself a Twinkie.

Then it's mine. ALL MINE. :-) I don't *have* to eat it, and I don't *have* to resell it for a profit, nor do I *have* to share it with anyone. There is no moral edict that compels me to engage in activity with my Twinkie beyond whatever purpose initially compelled me to buy my Twinkie. Granted, there may be women the world over who would love to have the luxury of buying a Twinkie, and perhaps this is a very American concept, this personal edification thing. I grew up licking the plate clean to the mantra of, "remember there are starving children in China". As thankful as we were to have the food we did, we still wanted the occasional Twinkie (and boy, did I savor it!) It's good to be responsible, certainly, but I honestly do not see how - or why - it is reasonable to begrudge one the fruits of one's labor because someone else's situation is different. How can somebody honestly believe that, in a free society, you *must* follow a prescribed formula for handling your Twinkie? Does it follow that we may also be told what type of Twinkie we may purchase, or in what quantity?

Is this a logic issue? Is there a fallacy of thought there that I'm missing? I see the Opportunity Cost in question here: was this the best use of my resources? Could I have instead purchased snowballs and shared one? Sure. *Should* I have done that? Do I have a moral imperative to make use of my resources only as others deem "fit"? Or am I ok to occasionally buy myself a Twinkie, put it in the cabinet and take it out and sniff it for the sheer pleasure it gives me? (We're assuming an inordinate amount of pleasure from a Twinkie here, I realize this, but bear with me.)

I guess this rubbed me the wrong way because it hit on the private ownership of property (be it real or intangible)? Perhaps I'm sensitive to the "village" mindset that seems to be lurking about, waiting to tell each of us, yet again, how every other culture and way of doing things is superior to the ignorant American? (Although in this case to the educated, Twinkie-buying American.) Is the idea of education for the purpose of creating a well-informed, articulate, noble, high-minded society an "American thing"? I certainly think not! I know Canadians, Mexicans, Germans who all value education as an important, core part of being. Period. Being.

Indulgent? Wasteful? Not committed enough to The Party? What is that?

So if you want to share your Twinkie, or plant it in the ground or write novels and teach others about the joy of Twinkieness, more power to ya. It is, after all, *your* Twinkie. You've earned it, by Golly. Enjoy it as you see fit.

So, what do you guys do with your Twinkies? And do you want more Twinkies? And do you hope your children will also buy Twinkies?

Kiss those babies!

Did you know...

Treacle is molasses.

Had no idea. James made me look it up.

Good stuff.


Books (again)

Ah, well, I promised more books, so here's our Current Reading List. First, though, a little public embarrassment is in order:

The phone rang yesterday. Relentlessly. Finally, out of frustration and a last-ditch attempt to maintain my sense of humor, I answered - in my old, "office manager" voice -
"Graham Central".
The voice on the other end said, "This is the Lex- *giggle* What did you say?"
Oh. Oops.
All I could do was laugh and apologize profusely. "Hi! You have a book for me?"
More laughter from the other end. "Yes, we do. We'll hold it for a week."

Reason #345 that I love our library system: they have such great attitudes there! And they don't hang up on me when I do something goofy.

That food book, y'all know how that's going.
Dumbing Down: Essays on the Strip-Mining of American Culture - yes, I know, I'm probably the last person on the North American Continent to read this.
Reformation and Society in Sixteenth Century Europe - I'm enjoying it. Zorak picked it up and asked for another book. "They have some really disturbing pictures in that one." (I swear he doesn't read books for the pictures!)
The Christ of the Covenants - good book, slow read. I needed to slow down, and this is good. The footnotes are just as integral to the book as the text itself.
Shut Up and Sing: How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the UN are Subverting America - preaching to the choir, but this is my loft. Haven't started it yet. Zorak said it's pretty reactionary, even for us. *hmmm...*
The Gluten-Free Cook Book - the pictures look delicious!

The Boys:
Cam Jansen Mysteries
Jigsaw Jones Mysteries
LarryBoy Adventures
Story of Hanukkah
(audio recording- very sweet)
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
The Groovy Greeks
James and the Giant Peach
(I grabbed the right version this time!)
Jelly Beans For Sale (James picked this one because of a jelly bean recipe in the back...)
Harald Hardrada and the Vikings
Allie, the Christmas Spider

Picture Books:
10 Minutes till Bedtime
Raising Dragons
Who's That Scratching At My Door
(picture book- cute)

Dr. De Soto (Spanish)

Read Alouds:
Black Ships Before Troy
The Water Babies
Ten Queens
Miracle: The True Story of the Wreck of the Sea Venture

It's been a fun few days for reading. Our new neighbors stopped by yesterday, too, with a box of books they've culled in their move. What we don't want to keep, we'll pass to the WonderfulNeighbors (a lot of boy-oriented books, so we got first dibs) and the box will make its round. What a pleasant, unexpected surprise!

Kiss those babies!
Snuggle and read, read, read!

Tuesday, November 9

She Had Me, Then She Lost Me

Wow. I picked up a book that looked simply delightful last night (in the shadows). Simple Food For The Good Life: A Collection of Random Cooking Practices and Pithy Quotations (Helen Nearing) is filled with delightful quotes from Lucilius (62AD) to Nan Fairbrother (1956), with wit and an open invitation to join around her uncomplicated table...

Until, oh, around the end of Chapter 3, when she lets rip with the bile of the narrowminded and singlularly venemous rhetoric that is, sadly, common among the "raw foods" enthusiasts toward "flesh eaters". (Nothing like being cast as a Beowulf extra at the dinner table, is there?) It's neither convincing nor interesting, but rather the normal fallacies and weak arguments that come of those who have cocooned themselves for way too long and are accustomed to making fine, noisy stump speeches up in the choir loft.

*sigh* What a disappointment. There may well be much worth savoring beyond this PETA-induced frothing at the mouth, but I doubt that anyone who might benefit from it cares to stand there with Ms. Nearing's spittle landing on their noses long enough to find out.

I think I'll keep reading, if only for the wonderful quotes she's dredged up from history, but it's not the pleasant read I had hopes for, and it seems there is far less worth reading than I could have imagined.

Kiss those babies (but for the love of God, don't eat them!)

Dy, The Flesh Eater and Whole Foods Nut

Monday, November 8

Big Day for the Zorak Clan

So much today! Goodness.

We began by getting nominal lessons done first thing this morning: math, reading/phonics, spelling, Latin. Ta-da! All done by ten. *whew*

Time for Spring cleaning. (Yes, I do it in the fall- it's part of my tendency to procrastinate.) The boys did the windows and the baseboards. They did a thoroughly enthusiastic job! Then they asked to read while I cleaned the carpets. They read for most of the time it took the carpet to dry. Scoured and rearranged the kitchen. Contemplated ditching the microwave, but decided to just relocate it perhaps. Love the new look!

Jacob tried something new! When Zorak came home, an excited and happy Jacob did his usual tremble and squeak, but rather than plopping down for his marathon tortoise crawl, he walked to Zorak and wrapped his happy little arms around Zorak's legs. I don't know exactly who was more thrilled with this development, but it was pure joy.

Then I - alone, by myself, without even the cell phone - went to the library. Returned books, checked out books, uttered a wretched screech when I realized our library does not have a copy of the third Aubrey-Maturin book (!!), reserved a few books, and then roamed somewhat aimlessly around the adult side of the library. Ran into a lady from church over in the 270's (go figure). She was also without her children. Homeschooling moms at the library without their children have a very, erm, special look to them. I imagine it's the same look I had once my junior year, the day I was spied by the principal while I was skipping English... to study for math class... it's not like you're going to get in trouble, but it feels so terribly decadent.

Returned home to the delighted squeals of the boys. Jacob shouting, "Mom-Mom", wriggling from his chair to give me nuggles; John frolicking in circles around me singing "Oh, thank you!" when I told him I brought not one, but two dinosaur books; James leaping from place to place, the veins in his head popping as I pulled several mysteries and The Complete Curious George, Anniversary Edition from the backpack. They cleared their spots and bolted to the living room, sprawled out with their new treasures, talking happily together.

Man, I enjoy our life.

I'm going to refresh my cup and go curl up with a neat little book I found while rifling through the shelves (sometimes that is just the best way to peruse the library). I'll fill y'all in on what I'm reading sometime this week- lots of neat stuff! And tomorrow morning, I'll be able to catch up on reading! I haven't quit, just haven't had much time and I can't get one eye to read a book while the other eye reads blogs. (So much for multi-tasking, eh?)

Kiss those babies!

Sunday, November 7

Shorter Days

Each day has 24 hours, it's true. Winter days don't give me quite enough daylight, though, and it's so much more enticing to stay in bed with a hot cup of coffee and a few good books. Ah, but for the lower temperatures and the hope of snow, I won't complain. I just need to tighten up my routine a bit to make sure the house doesn't up and run away with us.

The boys had KinderChoir tonight. Jacob was sleeping (teething and growth spurt- argh!) so Zorak took them. He came home beaming and he'd bought some soda to go with supper! Hmmm, wonder what happened? It turned out that at one point James had "the leaf" (they use it for a rhythm game), so it was his turn to be in the circle and lead the rhythm. He did well, and was to choose the next child to lead. There are several who beg and scream to go next every week, leaping from the circle and getting quite vocal, and they're usually chosen, while John just sits there, hoping against hope to be chosen (he never is, even from the director), then generally winding up near tears by the end of the session and the repeated disappointments. Well, not this time, James let John have a turn. John was on cloud nine! James was happy to see his brother happy. Zorak was ready to explode with love and admiration for both boys.

Today we did the piddly repairs that keep a home safe: the assassin towel rack that keeps leaping at our bare toes as we step from the bathroom has been replaced with a more loyal, less aggressive rack; a new toilet seat for the boys' bath has been installed so they are no longer in danger of sliding off into the tub on the single-hinged pivoting seat; nicer towel hooks for their bath were hung in lieu of the dangerous head-piercing screws the previous tenant installed. Yes, it was thoroughly utilitarian work today, but felt very good in the end.

Ah, time to coax the cranky youngin' to bed. He's so tired, but so uncomfortable. Today he walked around the house, shaking a bottle of Hyland's Teething Tablets, jabbering away at each of us in turn, trying to get someone to just OPEN THE BOTTLE. Nobody took the bait, but he was so earnest in his pursuit, it was hilarious.

Kiss those babies!

Saturday, November 6


Wow, good sports! The answers to yesterday's pop quiz are... (drum roll, please)

1) B or C: we think it was the parmesan cheese, but it could have been the rice. There were bodies in both and the two specimen were side by side. *shudder*

2) F: Good Call! Yes, I bleached the counter, cabinets, walls, floor, and the sink. The tray sat in straight bleach overnight. Before we divested the tray of its contents, however, we did pluck a few critters and laid them out. James drew them and identified the parts 'n pieces. Great drawing.

As an aside, today I found the tweezers we'd used on the critters had not, in fact, been set in the bleach water, but rather nestled into the Silly Putty. We are now one silly putty egg short. *blech*


On a totally unrelated and irreverent note...
Have y'all been following Yassir Arafat's health situation? He's been in a coma... or has he???

I don't know, it may just be me, but I burst into a Monty Python skit when I read this. "This parrot is deceased... He's shuffled off his mortal coil!"

"No he's not. He's sleeping."

Or in this case, "He's not in a coma! He's sleeping!"

Yeah. Weird.


And evidently I'm far, far out of the loop. I'm actually glad to hear this, because this little tidbit is just nasty. I mean, when we were growing up, getting brained meant someone got the living snot beat out of them, particularly about the head. Not anymore, evidently. Oy.

Some clothing line (not gonna put the name out there- go read the article, though) used the newly coined slang term brain (meaning, well, oh for pete's sake- my grandmother could be reading this! Go read the article, but it's not a PG topic), evidently "intending the double-entendre", but not being wholly forthright with transportation authorities about the tone of the ads until one sly septagenarian dog figured it out. (OK, I'm kidding. He was tipped off.)

*Zorak adds: Wow, that's even too stupid for Beavis and Butthead! "He, he, you said 'brain'."*


Today we made ships! A viking ship, and a little square ship... thing. They look very cool. They're made of wood and have the cutest little masts! We'll shellac them tonight and the boys can float 'em tomorrow after church.

We also finally assembled, routed, stained and otherwise finished the stepstool we bought at IKEA (yeah, yeah, months ago, we know).

OK, I should, in all fairness, rephrase that. ZORAK AND THE BOYS did all those wonderful projects. I did wrestle with the boys, make flags, make plans for sails, and do plenty of laundry. I also sat on my duff and read Post Captain, which is book two. It's been a day of me muttering from the depths of the pages,
*gasp* NO! Oh dear. They DIDN'T! They DID! *hoot, holler, guffaw* I SO didn't see that coming! Ohhhh, or that! And, oh... NO, no, no, no. Ooo! Wow.
I appreciated the break, and enjoyed watching Zorak with our offspring. It's been a good day.

I hope your Saturday was thoroughly enjoyable!
Kiss those babies!

Friday, November 5


Enough with the larvae!!! Can I just cry Uncle now?

So, last month (on the 6th, to be precise- thankfully we've learned to date our experiments) we did a project on water solubility. We used a nifty fishing tackle style box made of clear plastic, which is ideal for these type of control experiments: several sectioned containers to keep each sample separate, can view the results without actually opening anything, and if it gets dropped it doesn't shatter or spew! Wee. Experiment was fun, fascinating, and we all learned a lot.

Well, it seems that if you're the scatterbrained mommy I am, the learning never stops. So, it's pop quiz time!

Of the following items, which do you think would be most likely to spawn some kind of insect if left unattended, in water, for, oh a month or so:
A) Xanthan Gum
B) Parmesan cheese
C) Rice
D) Flour
E) Rainbow sprinkles
F) Veggie Stix

Now, for bonus points,
which of the following actions do you think Mama took upon finding this experiment this evening:
A) Found the trash can- and quick!
B) Bleached everything within a ten foot radius, even though the container was sealed
C) Plucked one unfortunate creature out for the kids to examine and draw
D) Asked Zorak to do HAZMAT duty
E) A and D
F) B and C

Check tomorrow for the answers!

James found a climbing vine today in the woods. He picked some and brought it to me. Once I made sure nobody was itchy or breaking out in a rash, I let them put it in water and we'll see if it takes root. (I know, some people just never seem to learn...)

Kiss those babies!

The calm before the storm

I'm sorry I've been rather quiet the past couple of days. Not much inspiration, truthfully, and no store of wit to substitute for it, either. After the election and - not having any television reception at all - sitting here, with several windows open, hitting "refresh" well into the wee hours of the nights... I think I'm a bit burnt out on the computer, as well.

All is fairly well here. Zorak is at work. He was going in "for a couple of hours" this morning, to which I just smiled. I told him we'd see him tonight and winked at him. He protested. It's after one now, and he just called to let me know he might be home by five. (Ever the optimist!) He's working doubly hard to make sure he has his ducks in a row before the Holidays are upon us. Of course, his ducks are always in a row- he's a natural duck-herder, to be honest. He's good at what he does, and he enjoys it. I love that about him.

He's chomping at the bit to visit the family over Christmas, and I hope that at some point during the season we can go. It would be so nice, not just for the boys and for Zorak, but for me, as well. There are so many people in both Arizona and New Mexico who we just want to hug and hold on to for a bit, to hear their voices in person rather than digitally reconstructed over the airwaves. (I'm definitely not complaining about phones- without them, we'd not hear their wonderful voices at all.) Some members of our family have been hospitalized this past week, on both sides of the family (mine and Zorak's), and we worry. We want to be there to offer comfort or help with food and cleaning... it's hard not to be there, to be able to help. We will be so thankful to be out there again.

The boys are good- as good as good. Happy. James is creating bizarre things from silly putty. John is floating miscellaneous toys in the sink upstairs. Jacob is out cold in bed. It's a lovely day and as soon as Jacob wakes, we'll head out front to play for a bit.

Been antsy lately- not sure why. Anyhow, I think it's just the calm before the hectic rush of the holidays, winter, travel, and time. Perhaps. I ought to go make good use of this time!

Have a blessed day, and kiss those babies!

Wednesday, November 3

Another Day

Tonight is calm here.

Jacob walks in circles, waves his hands in the air, happy to be more mobile and better able to keep up with his brothers.

John reads at the supper table. He has a thoroughly-waxed paper ship afloat in the downstairs bathroom sink. She's his pride and joy and he enjoys saying, "Ship-shape" and "Top form!"

James spends hours reading about blood grouping and incompatibilities. He draws a consolation card for our neighbor, who lost her father over the weekend.

Zorak is in "Chinese Fire Drill" mode with a project at work, so he comes home tired, but happy. We eat roast with onions and carrots in au jus, mashed potatoes and green beans- good food for the soul.

I'm tired tonight. Weary. Thankful.

Need to start writing, too.

The boys are down. Zorak is heading up for the night.

I have wash to do, a book to read, and then, to bed.

Kiss those babies!

Election Night Blog

Elections are not nearly as draining from the West Coast, as you just don't have to stay up quite so late...

It's been a l-o-n-g night on the East Coast, however.

It's 2:21AM.

Nothing has changed in over an hour.

I'm going to go kiss my sleeping babies and try to get some rest.


Monday, November 1

More Wonderful Neighbors!

Today was the first day I've felt the groove. James started Gamma today, and is thrilled. Of course, it's the same material we've covered in the last portion of Foundations, but this is the "new book", and somehow that's pretty special. John is eating up Primer and loves, loves, loves it.

After math, it was on to art, reading, history. Narrations.

Lunch with Zorak, and then off to run errands. I had to replace my base ID *sigh*. I've no idea where I lost the last one. The ladies in the Pass office were just as wonderful as they always are when we pop in- friendly, engaging, helpful. That's a great crew they have working there. Two of the gals got a chuckle when James told them, "I have Indian in me!" They chuckled and said, "Of course you do." Granted, he doesn't look the part, but it's true. They did believe him after he explained the lineage. What warmed my heart no end was how well he handled the situation. He didn't get frustrated or angry, he didn't take it personally. He just clarified his stance with a great big smile. He's growing up so well.

We did Latin and Bible in the car.

On to inquire with the landlords about the mystery guy who called about servicing the heating system. He was to show the following Monday or Tuesday and we never heard a word. This was nearly a month ago. She said that yes, he was contracted, but was to have done all their units before the end of October- and so far he has done only one. *whew* Well, on the upside, I'm glad to hear he'll still be coming!

Went to Michael's and bought two balls of yarn to finish Gram's blanket, and then took the boys to the park to play for a bit. The weather was gorgeous, and it was a wonderful time. John and I sat side-by-side at the swings, holding hands while we swayed gently. We talked about being four and what a wonderful job of it he's doing. He said it's not so bad sometimes, and sometimes he loves it, but on occasion it's very difficult to be four. Yeah, I understand, kiddo.

We got home shortly before Zorak, did some reading and a little writing, had supper by candle light, and then got w/ the Wonderful Neighbors to do the "Welcome Wagon" thing.

We decided to continue the tradition that sparked our friendship with the Wonderful Neighbors. After supper we rounded up the kids and took cookies and "Welcome to the Neighborhood" cards over. New Neighbors have four children, and are just delightful, particularly considering the awkward uncertainty of having a passle of strangers (five children and two adults) arrive on your doorstep the first night in a new house. I remember how terribly inarticulate I felt that night - the doorbell rang and my first thought was, "Did one of the boys get out?!?!?" My second thought was, "Nobody knows we're here!" I almost didn't answer the door. Sure am glad I did, though! Oh, and an interesting part of all this is that evidently our little corner of the complex is becoming a homeschool haven! Yep, New Neighbor homeschools her four youngin's!

That's about it. I'm off to enjoy some blog reading and then to crochet my heart out while Zorak watches a scary movie. *cringe* If I crochet when it gets scary, I get an incredible amount done. (Probably because just about everything in those movies scares me...)

Have a lovely Tuesday! Here's to the groove, may it last a good, long while.

Kiss those babies!