Monday, December 31, 2007

A new start

I got up this morning deciding to make tomorrow and the new year a brand new start. Well, not a brand new start, just a much needed adjustment to my attitude of late. I've been dragging around, down in the dumps the last couple of weeks and starting tomorrow that is going to change. (Actually, I've already started feeling tremendously better since I've decided to.)

I've often believe that happiness can only come from within. We all know those people, the Eeyores of our lives, who go around moaning and complaining all the time. We all have our days when we turn in to Eeyores too. (A few people never turn into an Eeyore but most of us real people have our less than stellar days.) But some are constantly down and trying to drag everyone else with them. Luckily I learned early on in adulthood that I am responsible for my own happiness and if I choose to be happy, then I will be happy.

Anyway, back to my point. The last few weeks I've been feeling really down and put upon by many people in my life. I think it started when I was sick. I just never really shook it. It seemed like everyone was trying to make my life harder than it needs to be. I couldn't get anyone to listen to me. I felt like people were ignoring me and not respecting me.

Well, I'm now not letting them dump on me. I am back in control of my life and my happiness. I am as happy as I want to be. And only I can be responsible for my happiness.

I know this is probably cryptic to some of you. I apologize. I thought about explaining all the stupid little things that I've been letting get to me lately. But I decided that would be counterproductive.

If you are looking for a great post about resolutions check out Ami Mental's blog. Her story about her friend Rosemary is a wonderful read.

Happy New Year everyone!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

No Smoking in Illinois

In what I think is the best law I've heard about in ages, Illinois is banning indoor smoking in almost all areas beginning January 1, 2008.

Of course in the papers and on the news you see all these complaints from smokers and restaurant and bar owners. I just shook my head at the bar owner saying more people are going to die from pneumonia because they had to stand outside to smoke, than people ever did from secondhand smoke. Way to not know your facts, sir.

I admired the local restaurant owner who said the ban is a good thing. Now people will be forced to choose their eating establishment based on food and service rather on whether or not they can smoke there. Sounds like he is up for that challenge.

The only bad thing I can think of is that we will have to walk through the clouds of smoke to enter buildings now. But we often did that anyway. And if people don't like having to stand outside and smoke they have two options: quit or stay home.

My New Year's Resolution

I finally came up with one. Something I can keep. Something that would be useful.

I resolve to be better about taking pictures and distributing pictures to friends and family.

My MIL is always complaining that she has no current photos. I tend to forget to take pictures. Then I forget to take them off the camera. It is so easy to do both. And easy to post them here. I'm going to try to be better about it.

In an effort to get off on the right foot, here is an oldie but a goodie. This is Violet and me in the dining hall at Girl Scout camp last summer.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Snow day

It snowed about 6 inches today. Mr. Incredible had the day off. He was originally planning on helping my dad install Leopard on his Mac, but didn't want to be driving that far with the snow. Instead he and Violet got out the brand new snowshoes and gave them a try. When they got back from circling the neighborhood, I tried them out too. Since I didn't fall immediately flat on my face, I ordered a pair for myself too.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The after-Christmas blahs

Can you tell by my new poll that I'm feeling a bit of the post-Christmas blues? I'm so glad it is over and want things to get back to normal again. By noon on Christmas day I was ready to take the tree down and put it away. Of course it is still up and will probably be up for a least another week.

We had a nice Christmas but I feel like I let people down. I didn't do much. I was determined not to overdo and stress out. No cards were sent. Didn't get as many presents. Didn't make a big dinner. Didn't go to any parties except 2 family gatherings. So while I didn't stress during the holiday, I seem to be doing it now. I was happy with our more simple holiday celebrations, I just wish everyone else could be too.

Maybe I have the Charlie Brown syndrome, when he gets so upset with the commercialization of the holiday. His little tree is quite acceptable to him at first. But no one else likes it. It isn't good enough for them. They want more.

We really need to watch our spending so I tried hard to keep Christmas presents in control. Now Mr. Incredible has asked to get a new car. He has a Mustang, and while he loves it, it is rotten in bad weather. He'd like to sell it and get a new Jeep. It is an extremely practical solution to our winter transportation needs. I just dread the new car payment. Sigh.

Back to work I guess. I need to clean up the house (still wish I could get that tree out of the front room!), take advantage of the quiet time to catch up with some work projects, and plan for second semester of third grade.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Who'da thunk it?

I am "Mrs. Clausy"! I think it was all my answers about wanting to just stay home. Oh, and I do like to eat cookies.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Around the World

Violet is in her last year of being a Brownie Girl Scout. We are making sure she gets a chance to complete any of the Try-It Badges that she wants to earn. The latest one she is working on is Around the World.

As I type this I am enjoying a wonderful scone she made. We found the recipe in The Kids' Multicultural Cookbook that we checked out from the library. There are a couple of other recipes in it that she is also eying.

Yesterday we read a book about Christmas traditions in other countries. The book had crafts in it as well, so she's going to pick one out to do for the badge also. I think she is leaning towards making English party crackers, but it hasn't really been decided yet.

She'll still have to do a couple of other activities to complete the badge. We were talking about learning more about Girl Scouts from other lands. But for now, we are enjoying our Scottish Scones.

Why do I do it?

I've been thinking about Ami Mental's comment asking why I put up with nonsense I get from the other Girl Scout leaders in our service unit. It was a good question and really got me asking myself the same thing. Why do I do it? Should I even bother? After all, Violet isn't in a troop any more and is very happy being on her own.

I came up with a couple of reasons why. The first is that I really like working with the majority of the women on our service team. They are a bunch of fun, we are always laughing, and they make me feel good about myself. I like being part of something bigger and to know what is going on behind the scenes. And I know it sounds crazy, but I like committee meetings. I miss regular staff meetings at work, since I now work from home. I guess it is how I can get my fix of adult interactions.

The idiots are few and far between. The vast majority are so nice and really appreciate any help I am able to give them or their troops. I loved that I was able to hook up a couple of girls whose troops had disbanded with new troops. And if I can do some of the committee work and free up the leaders to spend time with their troops then everyone wins. Having to put up occasionally with a few idiots here and there isn't so bad. The pluses outweigh the idiots!

I guess that's why I do it.

Sorry I've been away

I've been knocked out the last week with a nasty sinus infection. I'd never had a sinus infection before. Sure colds and bad allergies, but not this. Man, that hurt. I had no idea.

Looking back on the days before it hit me I can now see it was coming on. I was dragging around. I thought it was the time of the year coupled with the weather. I think it was the virus. Then by Friday, blammo, horrible pain on the side of my head.

I'm still getting tired easily, and once in a while the pain hits again. But nothing like over the weekend. Of course, none of my work got done while I was laying on the couch. So I've been frantically trying to catch up.

I also fell way behind in reading blogs, so I'll be by all of yours later to see what you've all been up to. And I've had a few ideas flitting through my brain, so I'll try to get caught up in my own posts.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's okay to say Merry Christmas

The "man on the street" question in our local newspaper was "How do you feel about people saying 'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Merry Christmas'?". Most of the respondents made comments about being upset about taking Christ out of Christmas. The whole concept of Happy Holidays versus Merry Christmas was lost on the morons in this very conservative area (yet another reason I so often feel like a freak).

The point of "Happy Holidays" isn't to diminish Christ or Christmas. It is to acknowledge that not everyone on the planet is a Christian and celebrates Christmas. It is okay to tell people who celebrate Christmas, "Merry Christmas." But for those who don't, I expect it gets tiresome to hear over and over. Stores proclaiming "Happy Holidays" are simply acknowledging that some of their customers are of other faiths or perhaps none at all. (Okay, I realize that most are actually just being politically correct, but you get my point.)

Would you want to be wished "Shalom" on Passover, over and over and over again, if you weren't Jewish? I'm guessing not. Or how about, "May Allah's Blessing Be With You at Ramadan"? Why must people cram their religion down the throats of others.

"Happy Holidays" simply wishes a joyful season (filled with many holidays from which to choose) to everyone. If you prefer to personalize your greeting to the person you are greeting, absolutely do so! If you don't know what holiday they may celebrate why not politely ask? I work for a traditionally Jewish accounting firm, clients don't always know my religious beliefs and on several occasions I've been asked if I celebrate a particular religious holiday. I've never taken offense. Besides, just because someone is of a particular faith, doesn't necessarily mean they celebrate each and every holiday.

So to all my blog readers, I wish you a Very Happy Holiday Season! I choose this option because I know you are of many different faiths and I hope you and your families enjoy time of year however you celebrate it.


We didn't accomplish much today. Every time we started the phone rang. I have two phone lines at home. One is my home office number. I use that for work, Girl Scouts, and anytime there is a potential for my phone number to get into the hands of a telemarketer. I am very good at ignoring that line and checking for messages when we aren't doing anything. The other phone line is unlisted and generally only family and close friends call it. I always answer that one.

Work people keep calling the home line. Another one did this morning. It interrupted the science lesson. Wasn't her fault, that's the number listed on the company directory. I've tried several times unsuccessfully to have them either change it to my work line, or add both noting which is which. Arggh. I resent the e-mail I sent 8 days ago asking it to be changed, but this time copied my boss on it. I'm hoping it will actually get changed this time.

The other calls were various grandparents. Rare that any of them call during the day, rarer yet that they call on the same day. Then the doorbell rang part way through something else. Since it was after the time public schools got out, and Violet's been totally itching to see her friend from across the street I got up to check. It was the UPS guy driving away after leaving boxes.

One of the boxes contained "The Feelings Book: The Care and Keeping of Your Emotions" and "The Big Book of Help" both by the American Girl Library. We've had some emotional problems around here lately that I'm beginning to accept are just part of being 8 years old. So when the Help book was instantly pounced upon, I dropped what we were doing and let her read.

I guess we were productive today. Just not how or when I'd planned.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sump pump woes

For those of you who couldn't give a Thin Mint about Girl Scout complaints, here's a second post for today.

Our sump pump is on the fritz. A few months ago it wouldn't turn off. Then it started working again. Who knows why? Tonight it was pumping and pumping and wouldn't turn off. So Mr. Incredible investigated and found out that nothing was going out of it. He jiggled things a bit, then thought that maybe with all this freezing rain the hose might be frozen. Bingo.

A few unsuccessful attempts to get the frozen clog out and finally he brought it inside and thawed it in the bathtub. Then he rehooked it up. Now water can flow freely in it, but guess what? The sensor got jiggled and broken and it no longer knows when to turn on. Uh oh.

Mr. Incredible showed me how to turn it on and off (you just plug it in and unplug it, luckily it was that easy). He is going to be home late tomorrow night so I might have to empty it during the day. I was glad he showed me how tonight, rather than try to explain it to me over the phone tomorrow when it is close to overflowing.

Mr. Incredible blames himself for breaking it. I don't at all. It is nearly 10 years old and wasn't working right a few months ago. He seems to have blocked the prior fritz out of his memory. For now we'll just plug it in and unplug it. Could be worse, it could not work at all. That would be bad. We'll figure something out later.

And who knows, maybe it will repair itself again!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

More bad weather

I'm beginning to think I am going to spend this entire winter blogging about bad weather. Friday's snow was only about an inch so we were able to go to my folks for the day. Violet and Grandma spent two hours out playing in the snow. Dad went with me shopping and we had a good time plotting Christmas gifts for Grandma and tricking the lady at Walmart into thinking he was stealing my stuff. (We didn't set out to trick her, she just couldn't figure out at first why he was taking my bags.)

Yesterday Violet had her last science class for a while. She DID NOT want to go. We made her. She had a good time. I think she needs some time off from classes. And with all the snow/ice we've had already this year, I don't think it is wrong not to make a lot of commitments but rather to go when it is clear.

She has said that everyone else her age can spell so much better than she can. I have tried to assure her that I have seen their writing, most of their words are spelled wrong. Mr. Incredible and I may not see eye to eye on a lot of things, but we are both in agreement that invented spelling is wrong. And we've obviously made an impression on our little perfectionist because she isn't comfortable with writing anything unless she knows for sure how to spell it. I write things down for her to copy a lot of the time.

But we've just started Sequential Spelling and I think this might actually work for her (knock on wood, rub a bunny foot, cross your fingers, say a prayer, and anything else you can think of). I've promised her that we will work steadily on her spelling and in a few months she'll be spelling better than many of them.

She asked why I think she has such a hard time at spelling. I told her I think it is because she taught herself to read at 4. We skipped phonics altogether because it seemed silly to have her sounding out "cat" when she could already read "catastrophe" and "feline". Now it is coming back to bite her in the butt.

Maybe she is just a naturally bad speller (I am), but at least this explanation takes the pressure off and builds up her confidence by remembering that she is far better than most at one thing (reading).

Well anyway, we are supposed to have freezing rain later today. I was hoping to run over to the library to get our interlibrary loan books. I think we still have another day or two on them before they fine us for late pick up.

I also want to get the rest of the Christmas decorations put up today, and get the boxes moved back to the basement. And we discussed making more cookies. Violet's book club is having their holiday party tomorrow and we need to take some cookies to share. They are also doing their Secret Santa exchange so we need to wrap the gift. (They exchanged lists of 5 different paperback books they'd like to own, each Secret Santa will pick one of the books off their recipients list to get them.) Book club has become her most favorite activity.

And a quick thank you to Ami for the nice comment yesterday! I was feeling so down about sending Violet off to class kicking and screaming and fighting with Mr. Incredible. It really cheered me up! Thanks!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

You can't predict anything

Wouldn't you know it, just when I think I have the theater all figured out, they change it on me. They didn't have all the homeschoolers up in the balcony this time. In fact, Violet and I had front row seats. We could hear the dancers feet hit the stage with each jump. Violet said she preferred this front row view over the balcony.

The show was good. I was completely distracted during a large chunk of it though because the nut from the first scene had been dropped on the stage. It sat there through the whole party scene and the fight with the mice. Finally one of the dancers kicked it over out of the way and scooped it up on her way off stage. I had thought for sure someone would trip on it and mess up their ankle but good.

Violet noticed that the show was shorter than The Nutcracker typically is and that scenes had been left out. I didn't know she knew the story that well. (I can't even tell you with certainty what wasn't it in.) The school day performances are always just an hour and have scenes cut. I guess most kids can't sit still longer than that in a large group. In fact the school group in the area next to us was getting pretty restless. I saw one girl about Violet's age completely flopped over in her seat. I guess I'd be too if I had to leave the theater and get back on the school bus and head back to that institution. But hey, our tickets are all $6 each. If we wanted the full show we could go back over the weekend and pay the full $30 and up for tickets. I'll take our shows just now, thank you very much.

Our next tickets aren't until February. We actually have 4 shows in February. We will be very cultured that month I tell you! The nice thing now is that at all the other shows this year we will know at least one other family there. There are 3 of us families who do a lot together these days. I guess you could say we've formed our own little support group. We are tentatively planning to go out after the shows to discuss them and enjoy lunch or hot chocolate or something. (We'll figure it out when it gets closer.)

As for tomorrow, we are supposed to go to my parents for the day. But as I type, it is snowing again. If Mr. Incredible needs a car that actually has traction in snow (he drives a Mustang - the last thing you want on a snowy road with the possible exception of a Camaro) then we'll stay home. We probably won't know until he has to leave to catch the train at 6 am. If our road hasn't been plowed yet, he'll take the Trailblazer. In theory, Violet and I could both get up and drive him to the train and be there to pick him up in the evening. We've never wanted to go anywhere badly enough to do that. We'd rather stay in. I'm good either way for tomorrow. I'd like to go to my folks, but staying home would be good too and we'll go next week. (They were the owners of both a Mustang and a Camaro in years past - they know all about bad roads and no traction. So there will be no questioning of whatever decision is made in the early morning hours.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Exactly our view

Actually, looking at my just posted theater picture, that is exactly the view Violet and I have of the stage. They've been seating the homeschoolers in that section of the balcony each time this season. Quite nice seats actually.

Sore muscles and theater tickets

I hurt all over tonight. I shoveled the driveway this afternoon. If you live in the South or another area where it doesn't snow, let me tell you 6 inches of wet snow is darned heavy. The worst part is the last 4 feet of the driveway where the snow plows have pushed 2 feet of snow and ice. And yet the road still isn't clear. Maybe they just move the snow from the fancier subdivision over here to the ends of our driveways.

I could have left it and Mr. Incredible would have done it when he got home tonight. After he'd been gone 12 hours at work. And after the sun had set and the temperature had dropped 20 degrees. But Violet wanted to go out and shovel, and it seemed the better solution to go out and do it before the snow all froze. Plus Mr. Incredible always leaves a big pile of snow at the end of my side of the driveway and I have to drive way over the side to get in and out. I'm really not that good of a driver. I prefer to go straight.

So we shoveled. Actually I shoveled, Violet threw snowballs at the house. Then she wimped out on me and abandoned me with 20 minutes to go. I just took a hot shower hoping to ease up the muscles. Didn't help. Next thing to try: wine. Even if my muscles still hurt, I won't care.

Tomorrow morning we have tickets to the school day performance of The Nutcracker at our favorite local theater. Violet has never seen a live performance of it. It should be fun. I'm going to try to post the only picture of the inside of the theater I could find. It is much more impressive in person. Quite beautiful in fact.

Snow Day

Wow, it is only the 5th of December and we just had our 3rd winter storm. If this is a sign of things to come, we're going to be stuck at home a lot this winter. Last night's storm left us 6 inches of snow. On top of the ice we still had from Saturday. Violet is going to be so excited when she gets up!

I thought for sure schools would be closed when I saw that very few of the neighbors had their driveways cleared yet and the road is still snow covered. I went to the emergency closing website, but they weren't listed. I guess school buses can plow through most anything.

On one hand that makes my still wanting to do at least a few subjects a lot easier. If Red were off today I'd encourage Violet to play with her out in the snow all day. After all, how many opportunities do you get like that? Well, maybe a lot at this rate. I'll still send her outside to play. But now we can still bake our cookies, do some math and spelling, curl up and read, all on our own schedule.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Freakmom's Favorites

I added a list of my favorite blogs and sites. If you don't wish to be associated with a freak, let me know and I'm happy to take the link off. (Freakmom respects the privacy of her fellow bloggers and won't mind in the least if you prefer to stay "off the grid".) If I forgot to list your site, let me know. I'm sure it was an oversight. I got mixed up and had a little problem part way through. That happens you know. If your link doesn't work, I messed it up, just let me know and I'll try again.

Basically, just let me know, okay? :)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Change of plans and stormy weather

Friday didn't go as we planned. I wasn't terribly surprised. The truck with the candy and nuts that was supposed to be at Archery Mom's house by 10am still hadn't arrived by noon. (The mom who is our Fall Product Chair also taught archery at day camp.) So helping her wasn't working out and she was stuck making her kids do it. (Actually she said her high school age daughter and two of her friends were huge helps, so that's good.)

But our day was thrown off. I did what any self-respecting mom would do and offered to take Violet out for ice cream. I was actually going to take her out to lunch since Archery Mom lives right by Arby's. But we got frozen custard at Culver's instead.

We did get a little school work done. I had Violet try Brainish for the first time and she liked it. It is a math worksheet site. We also did more history. We tried one of the Sequential Spelling samples and it looks promising. And we had a huge fight over Easy Grammar. How can you fight over Easy Grammar? I don't know, we were both having an off day.

Saturday we got hit by the storm. Mr. Incredible took Violet to her Code Cracking class at a nearby science lab (not so nearby, it is about an hour away). During the class it started snowing, then the temperatures increased and by the time they left the freezing rain and sleet was starting up. It took them almost 2 hours to get home and they didn't get to stop for lunch like they'd planned. Two days, two canceled lunches.

Turns out her class didn't go smoothly either. First she couldn't sleep the night before because she was so anxious about going. Then our right-brained, highly sensitive perfectionist had a melt down when she couldn't get one of her projects just right. They had to remove her from the class and take her into another room because she was crying so hard she was heaving. Mr. Incredible and the instructor talked to her about how everyone has to do things more than once to get it right sometimes. The instructor said something about Edison needing 300 tries to make the light bulb. (This may not be entirely accurate, Mr. Incredible said the instructor's story changed a couple of times). She is signed up for another class next Saturday, and we'll try that one, but after that we're going to think long and hard before signing up for the next.

Sigh. They got back home just as the weather turned really, really bad. But we were in for the night and just watched the ice accumulate.

This morning was warmer so things were melting and the roads were passable again. In the afternoon I went to Archery Mom's house to pick up Violet's orders. The Double Dipped Chocolate Covered Peanuts are as good as I remembered from last year. Violet got to sort her own orders out and made thank you cards for her customers. She got her incentives for selling: a patch, a stuffed dolphin, a stuffed seal, a t-shirt, a light up pen and a sparkle clock. She had a lot of sales. And we had my favorite meal for dinner: Super Nachos.

And once again, tomorrow starts a new week and we start all over again. I told Violet we'd be hitting the books again tomorrow and she said she was looking forward to trying the math website again. I had been thinking we'd do Miquon, but I'll take any math practice I can get from her.

Tuesday Pump It Up has homeschool day again, so we'll go and hope other kids come this time. And Thursday we're back to the theater for our school day performance of The Nutcracker. Have a good week everyone!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Slow school week

I have the feeling there isn't going to be a lot of book-learning going on until after New Year's. Oh well. Yesterday we did do 2 chapters of history. Just got on a roll. Today though, there were no "traditional" subjects being learned.

But she drew a picture for her great-grandmother in the nursing home (they moved her to a new room and lost the last picture Violet sent her!) We also experimented with making homemade suet cakes for birds. They are in the freezer hardening (we hope) right now. And Violet made the chicken pot pie that we will have for dinner. Plus she's spent the afternoon playing pet store with all her stuffed toys. We did go to the library today, that counts too.

I hope our suet cakes turn out. We want to give them to the grandparents for Christmas. We used vegetable shortening and peanut butter as the base instead of lard. I really didn't want to use animal fat. For some we used corn meal to thicken them and others we used oatmeal. They all got raisins, peanuts, dried apricots and bird seed as goodies. We'll put them out in the freezer tomorrow and see if anyone eats them.

One of these days we'll have to do some math again. Maybe tomorrow. Of course on Friday she'll get some real life math experience. We are going over to our service unit's Fall Product Chair's house to help sort of candy and nuts. (For those of you non-Girl Scouts, we're going to sort the candy and nut orders by troop for a couple of the surrounding towns.) That should count for something.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Life's better on vacation

We took a mini-vacation this holiday weekend. This is the first time we've ever traveled on Thanksgiving. We went to Thanksgiving dinner at the in-laws then headed to Minneapolis. We've spend the last 2 days at the Minnesota Zoo. We have a membership there. What can I say? We are zoo-ies. We love zoos.

It was really nice having both days to take our time and get to see everything. We did the bird show and the dolphin show. We rode the monorail. We got to see the shark feeding and the dive show. It has been very nice. And we got to take our time at the exhibits and not feel rushed.

In fact, not rushing seems to be the theme of the weekend. We did a little shopping the last two evenings after the zoo closed and amid the crowds and people, I didn't feel rushed or even uncomfortable. I usually panic with that many people around. But since I didn't have to get home to make dinner or work or clean, it didn't matter. I found a new pair of jeans. Violet and Mr. Incredible both found sleepwear (very different styles and patterns though, don't worry).

Tonight we stopped at a Target to get juice boxes and microwave popcorn for a snack at our hotel. We got a few other things too. Including 2 sweaters I snuck out to the car for Violet as a gift from Super Grandma (Grandma had requested we do that if Violet fell in love with anything - she did).

Mr. Incredible and Violet are watching Shrek 3 on DVD on Mr. Incredible's computer. I am relaxing, catching up on e-mail and going to raid their pop corn soon.

I hope you are all having as enjoyable a long week as we are.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Who is Freakmom?

I'm sure most of you already know my secret identity, but for those of you who don't and are actually curious, come to my homeschool forum and meet the me I hide behind. The real me is of course, Mrs. Incredible, Helen Parr, aka Freakmom.


Monday, November 19, 2007


Got the mammogram today. Glad that is over. Boy, do they squish your girls or what? Ouch. But it is for the greater good. I know that. But I am not relishing being over 40 and having to do that every single year for the rest of my life. I know, with mammograms my life could be way longer than without. I'll go. I'll do it. I just won't enjoy it. Just like every other woman, right? Hey! I finally found the great equalizer. So I'm not much like most of the women at the bus stop (I assume, I've never been there) or at the Girl Scout meetings or on the block or pretty much anywhere else. But we all dislike mammograms. Maybe I'm not so different after all.

Moving on, we did get a little school work done today. I'm at a loss on how to help Violet with math facts. I guess just more games with dice and dominoes and cards. Make her have fun with trying to remember that 4 plus 6 is 10. She's 8, she should know this cold! Sigh. I can't push her. She isn't me. She thinks differently and learns differently. She's a smart kid. Just doesn't have a head for numbers. Just like her father.

I think we checked out every fantasy novel in the library today. She gets that from Mr. Incredible too. I read mysteries when I was her age. Encylopedia Brown, Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew, even the really old Cherry Ames series the librarian had to dig out of the back for me. (Well, some of those are when I was a bit older than 8, but you get my point. I read mysteries, she reads about fairies and dragons).

Two more days until we leave on our mini-trip. Yippee! We'll try to get more work done tomorrow. Violet has the rocks class. I'll take a magazine and read. I guess I should try to clean up the house too. Nah.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bah humbug

Can I be the first to say it? I'm already tired of the holidays. I don't want to decorate. I don't want to buy presents for extended family. I don't want to send out cards (that one's easy enough, I haven't done it in years).

I do want to cook a turkey dinner though. I like cooking turkeys. And Violet wants to make turkey noodle soup with the carcass.

There are rumblings about going to MIL's family on Christmas. I don't want to go. I want to stay home. Especially on Christmas Day. I might be talked into it on a different day.

I don't want to exchange presents with people who don't seem to really know me anyway. At least they don't by the presents they give me. I don't need another picture frame. I don't need another ugly sweater. I don't need more bath gel. Donate the money to my favorite charity instead. Or heck, your favorite charity.

Or better yet give it to the family down the block who have just been laid off/diagnosed with cancer/had a fire/or another terrible thing happen. Every block has that family. Luckily it isn't us this year. I hope it isn't you either. It could very easily be one us of next year. I hope not, but these things happen very suddenly and without warning. Spread some good karma and give to those who need it. I'm fine right now. I can do without another candle or kitchen gadget.

Maybe I just need some egg nog. Spiked of course. I think I am already going through caffeine withdrawl waiting for the stupid mammogram. It has been 4 hours. 20 more to go. Wait, beer doesn't have caffeine. What am I doing here, when I could be drinking beer?

Going every which way

Once again I've been pulled in every direction but to my blog. Sigh, I miss it here. People here "get" me. Here's a short synopsis of what I've been up to:

Violet has taken a couple of classes at the nature center. She's enjoyed them. She was signed up for one tomorrow on Rocks, but it was canceled due to lack of enrollment. They did however give us the option to enroll her in the 3-6 year old class on Tuesday. (She's 8.) We're going to give it a try because it was material she really likes. I'm a little unsure about it. Is having her 2 years older than the rest really the group setting I'm look for?

Work has been very busy lately. I only have a few clients, yet it seems they all have had crises the last 3 weeks. I have to prepare a presentation for my boss today then it should be quiet until after Thanksgiving.

I had a dinner party! Yes, I had the girls over and we ate and gossiped and drank. We have a group of 10 all have worked at one time or another for the firm I work for. Only 4 of us made it this time, but in a way it was easier to all talk than when we're all there. Of course that meant cleaning the house, shopping, cooking, cleaning up afterwards. The house really needed the cleaning. I still haven't put everything back yet.

One really good thing that came out of it all was that I cleaned out the pantry and the fridge of old food. Mr. Incredible is so reluctant to toss out food past its expiration date. So what if it is stale, he might eat it. :roll eyes: He was out of the house, I got it all bagged up and tossed. There's still more, but I didn't want to raise suspicions. I'll do another round soon. Shh

On the Girl Scout front Violet sold over $450 in candy, nuts and magazine subscriptions! That has to be one of the highest sales in our region. She's also worked on a few Try-It badges.

It was so great being at the Service unit meeting last night. So many of my friends from day camp were there. I got hugs and "how are yous?" all night long. I have finally gotten what I really wanted out of it all, to be part of something and to get to know people. And best of all, I didn't sign up for anything new. We also had our Delegate meeting yesterday. There are some really big changes coming to Girl Scouts and our council in the next few years as we merge with 3 other councils. It is a really good time to have my foot in the door and already be involved at the council level.

Our last appointment of the year is tomorrow. I go in for my mammogram. We've done eyes, teeth, physicals. Violet got her braces off!!! Of course the every six months at the dentist starts up again in January, but at least we can get through the holidays with no appointments! Let's just not get sick.

Finally, Thanksgiving is upon us. We are going to the Grandparents in Wisconsin for the day, then on to Minneapolis that night. We're going to the Minnesota Zoo for a few days and hang out. We bought a membership there a few years ago. We try to get back once a year. We have to decide today if the cats and hamster will be okay for 3 nights or if I need to have the pet sitter come by and check on them. The hamster has escaped 5 times now. I'm almost more worried that if she tries to feed him the cage won't be closed up tightly (it needs to be extra tight or the little guy shakes his way out). Would it be weird to put a little food on the floor under the table his cage sits on, just in case?

That's the last 2 weeks in a nutshell. Hope everyone has a good Thanksgiving, in case I don't get back here before then!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Winnie the Pooh

Well, Violet and I both decided that we are definitely not too old for Pooh. The performance was a lot of fun. It was 4 performers and they each played a couple of characters. I like it when Violet figures out which actors had more than one part. That always makes her feel so grown up. They did the stories of Eeyore losing his tail on his birthday, Kanga and Roo moving to the 100 Acre Wood and Pooh and Piglet trying to catch a heffalump. They morphed them all into one story. I don't remember hearing the story of Kanga and Roo moving and Rabbit being scared of Kanga because she is big and new.

The rest of the audience was very young classes like preschool and kindergartners. I think Violet was a little worried when she saw she was the oldest kid there. But she really liked the show. We were the only homeschoolers there! Usually there are 5 or 6 families there. When the usher took us to our seats she pointed out the two we were assigned to but said we were the only ones in that whole section so make ourselves comfortable! They seem to be putting all the homeschoolers together this year. I kind of like that. Then we aren't smack in the middle of a big school group. Also nice that evil mom wasn't there. I'm just as glad to avoid dealing with her.

Our next performance is in December, The Nutcracker. I am looking forward to that too!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's over

Anyone else relieved Halloween is over? This holiday has just been dragging itself out. It is almost as bad as Christmas in terms of lasting forever. It doesn't help that while on vacation we went to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party in Disney World. That was a ton of fun, so I feel like that was the real holiday and the rest of this was just extra.

We did have a milestone this year. Violet went out trick or treating with Red's family and Mr. Incredible and I both stayed home. Red's dad and older brother ended up staying out with the girls almost 2 hours! Sounds like all 4 had a great time. Violet could barely carry her bag of goodies home. Violet has been off with Red and her family a lot lately. For a while there it seemed like Red was here constantly. Must be cyclical. I'll have to remember that next time it feels like I've fed Red as many meals as Violet!

The number of trick or treaters was down again this year. I don't really know why, but we don't get nearly as many as we did just 4 or 5 years ago.

In other news. It is day two of using the new toothpaste and I really think it is working. I still have the one canker sore I got a few days before switching but it seems to be healing quickly and isn't nearly as painful as usual.

Tomorrow Violet and I have tickets for the school day performance of a Winnie the Pooh musical at a local theater. It is a live action performance by a dance company. We are really looking forward to it, even if it does mean we have to get up early tomorrow! I am a little worried though that evil mom will be there with her girls. They seat all the homeschoolers together, or at least they did last time. I hope they aren't going. I know, if they show up I'll stick a woozle on them!

Violet's nature center class for Monday, "There's Gold in Them Thar Hills," was canceled due to lack of enrollment. Bummer.

Maybe tomorrow after the theater we'll actually get some school work done. The weather was so nice early this week I couldn't bare to make Violet come in from the swingset. Then today she was busy with all things Halloween. Well, before we know it winter will be here. It will be too icky to go outside and nothing will be going on. Then we'll worry about books.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Strange grocery lists

Have you ever gone to the grocery store and checked out with only a combination like: kitty litter, toilet paper and prune juice? I always wonder if the checkers think about it. Today Violet and I went to Walgreens and all we got was a battery operated Holly Hobbie toothbrush (for when she gets her braces off next week), toothpaste for me, and tartar control cat treats.

I went looking for toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulfate. I have a problem with recurrent canker sores. It seems I always have one. It affects my eating, speaking, gives me headaches. So I did some research this week (as I sat at my computer feeling miserable) and found that it is suspected that sodium lauryl sulfate might contribute to them. It is a detergent found in most toothpastes. All these years I brush my teeth more and more when I get these flare ups and it could be the toothpaste itself causing it! I was looking for a natural toothpaste, but those had the chemical. But Rembrant brand doesn't have it and even says it is formulated for "mouths prone to canker sores." (Of course, I saw that after I read the ingredients. Never take the easy route, do I?)

All these years I thought they were more stress related. But recently, my stress level dropped tremendously and I'm still getting them. I became determined to find a preventative measure. I'd previously read about avoiding caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods since they irritate them. But really, I can't avoid any of those. Let's face it. I have very little life. I'm not giving up salsa, coffee, chocolate, wine or salty foods! I have my limits. And I've read about the hormonal link, but that didn't seem to play out with me either.

I was really excited to read about the possible sodium lauryl sulfate link. I really hope this does it. The toothpaste I found still has fluoride in it. I really didn't want to exchange canker sores for a mouth full of cavities. Cross your fingers for me. I hope this works!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Supposedly we only have 3 cats living in this house. I think it is more like 30. Everywhere you turn there is one. Standing where you want to step. Looking for a handout. Scratching something they shouldn't be.

But the worst is at night when Big Red decides to stand on me. He'll stand on me and stick his paw in my ear. Or his wet nose somewhere on exposed bare skin. He woke me up at least 3 times last night. No wonder I want a nap and have been so crabby. He toss him off the bed, he hops right back on. I know you are all saying, put him out of the bedroom and shut the door. When I try that he does these really loud pitiful meows so I still can't sleep.

Our cats are indoor cats. The two boys were both strays and wouldn't go outside if you shoved them through the door. They've been there, they didn't like it on the streets. The girl thinks she's big and tough and is always trying to sneak out. But she lacks survival skills. And whatever that big thing is that comes over our back fence and leaves poop behind would tear her to pieces.

The problem should go away after we've been home a few more days. I think he's still missing us from when we were gone. Meanwhile, today looks like another good day for a nap.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

So much to do

Ever notice that when you go on vacation you come home to twice as much stuff to do as before? We got back Monday night and I'm still not caught up. There's still more unpacking and laundry to do. I have finally almost caught up with work. I have barely done anything for my Girl Scout volunteer positions. I finally looked at the homeschool stuff and came up with a schedule for next week.

Well, to be honest, it doesn't help that I'm moving like molasses. I'm definitely still in vacation mode, and honestly I don't want to come out of it. Things will get done when they get done. Someone doesn't like my time frame, they can do it themselves. Gee, no one has done it yet.

Violet has been enjoying the extra down time to just sit around and play. I don't think she's gotten bored yet. She did say that she wanted to take her Girl Scout candy, nut and magazine order form out and look for more sales. I really don't want to. Seems like way too much work. I know she wants to earn the giant stuffed seal, but I'd like to see what kind of sales she gets from Mr. Incredible's office first. I think she'll end up pretty close and then I'll just order a gift subscription of a magazine for my sister-in-law, I was talking about that anyway.

Speaking of Violet, I took her with me to a Mary Kay party last night and she is totally hooked! It was so funny how she really got into at the end. She even won a door prize: some Satin Hands lotion. I bought her the Velocity skin care line for girls. I think she really liked that I was getting her the stuff for teenagers.

Maybe today I'll get the house in order. Maybe I'll just take a nap.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sore wrist

I don't know if I've mentioned it in my blog or not, but my wrist has been sore the last few weeks. I think I strained it (big surprise) on the computer. Then I keep re-straining it when I go to pick something up awkwardly or grab a door that is slamming shut with it. The list goes on.

I woke up this morning and it hurt. This afternoon Violet and I stopped at Walgreens and I bought myself a wrist support. I am hoping that at the very least it will remind me not to grab that really heavy bag with my sore wrist.

We leave on vacation in a couple of days. I will have very little computer access while I'm gone. I am hoping that will give it time to heal. If it is still sore when we get home? Well, I guess it will be time to visit the doc.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Go ahead, make a scene

I've come to realize lately that I have a big mouth. Sure, I'm one of the quietest people you'll ever meet, but boy do I have a mouth on me.

When I was growing up my best friend would say to me "don't make a scene." Over and over again I'd ignore her and make a scene anyway. She'd roll her eyes or pretend she didn't know me, but I'd do it. If we don't stand up to injustice, who will? Maybe you can't fight city hall, but you can sure annoy them.

So tonight, I encourage all of you to make a scene.

Friday, October 5, 2007


On Tuesday I spent the morning at an anti-harassment seminar for work. No, I hadn't done anything to prompt them sending me to it. It was required of all employees. I think our new Human Resource Director is working on adding to her accomplishment list. No actually, I do know of a few instances at work where there have been problems and more than a few employees could really benefit from some reminders from the trainer.

So as I sat there I kept thinking about instances where I have felt harassment or other forms of bullying and intimidation. Not surprisingly most have not occurred in the workplace. I am rarely at my office, I work from home, part-time and deal with a pretty limited group of co-workers. But I have definitely felt harassment, bullying and intimidation in both the Girl Scout arena (where the bylaws and Girl Scout Law strictly forbid it yet it happens all the time) and in the completely unregulated homeschooling society.

Let's have a show of hands, who here has felt intimidated by a group of homeschoolers who all share similar religious beliefs that are different from your own? Either in person or online? Yep, I thought so most of us. Who has actually been put down either verbally or online because you disagree with someone's religious views? Let's expand it to differing homeschool styles? Or even differences in parenting styles and beliefs?

Yep, it happens constantly. If this were a workplace, that would all be illegal. At least the differences in religious beliefs, which I think we can safely extend to the creation versus evolution debate. I didn't ask the trainer but I'm pretty sure parenting styles and homeschool styles are not protected classes by law. I think he would have looked at me like I was a freak if I'd asked.

Have you ever sat through a homeschool park day or group meeting and not said a word because you disagreed with the beliefs the others were expressing? And how about when the others have been criticizing and belittling things that you do believe in? Have you done the little weak laugh when everyone else in the group was making fun of someone, because you really didn't feel up to standing up to them on that particular day? Have you ever left a homeschool forum because you were insulted or bothered by the negative comments being made about your religious, personal, homeschooling, or parenting beliefs? If so, you my friend have been the victim of harassment.

One big thing that was discussed was my company's zero tolerance for retaliation. You cannot retaliate against anyone for making claims against you. (I'm assuming this puts an end to my original plan if I were ever the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace. I intended to punch the offender square in the face and march straight to the office of one of the managing partners and tell him to keep his employee's paws off me. Well, I still might do it if the situation ever arises. It will be worth being fired over.)

Have you been left out of public homeschool events because of a personal dispute with someone about styles or beliefs? Fewer hands this time, but I'm guessing that's because we've chosen not to associate with those that have offended us. I have had holes bored through me with eyes after disagreeing with someone. I've been banned from a homeschool website that I had said I was willingly leaving because I found the other members' statements not only hurtful and mean but downright filled with hate and bigotry. (She didn't have to ban me, I had said I was never returning.) I guess we've pretty much figured out our own way of avoiding retaliation, we avoid the harassers.

Harassment occurs all the time in our homeschooling world. What kind of lesson are we teaching our children? We say one of the reasons we choose to homeschool is that we want to control what sort of social situations our children are exposed to. Then we expose them to this. You would think that since we are such a minority in society that we would be more supportive of each other. Yet we are not. We go past the simple lack of encouragement into the realm of intolerance and hatred. It is a real shame we can't put personal beliefs aside and get along better. Especially if we are doing this for the reason we say we are. For the children.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Nothing like a haircut

I've been wanting to get my hair cut for weeks now. Violet didn't want hers done, so I really didn't want to drag her with. But with the trip only a week away and my hair not getting any shorter on its own...

I was complaining to Mr. Incredible via IM that I didn't have any time to go get it done. Then I decided to stop complaining and just do it. I talked Violet into getting hers trimmed. And off we went to Super Cuts. We got in right before a rush so within a half an hour we were on our way back home, looking good in our newly trimmed locks.

That feels good. Won't Mr. Incredible be surprised when he gets home?

Much has been going on

I've been busy lately. I keep thinking how much busier I'd be if I were still involved with the Brownie Troop.

We went to the in-laws this weekend. They live in Central Wisconsin and the leaves were just starting to change. We went on a long hike at Devil's Lake State Park. Up and down cliffs. Me carrying my little pink purse. Passing troop after troop after troop of Boy Scouts at a jamboree. My own group even making fun of me for having my purse with. Well, I was told we were going over to the nature center. No one said anything about a 2 plus mile hike until we were well on our way. I had even pointed out back in the car that Violet and I didn't have the best shoes on for a long hike and something short would be appreciated. It is fine to change plans. I can be flexible, really I can. But tell a person so they can get prepared for it.

Same sort of thing happened when we were coming home. We were supposed to be back by early evening, so Sister in law who rode with could catch her train back to the city. Mr. Incredible and Sis decided she'd stay over instead and take the train back in the morning. Did anyone ask me if I had stuff planned for the evening at home? Nope. I had to finish my Sunday work assignments on Monday because we got back too late.

In other news school is going fine. We leave on vacation at the end of next week so we aren't starting anything big right now. Just doing little things and finishing up projects and studies. That laid back approach has been nice since it was also the Girl Scout registration deadline and I had 15 or so troops to process their paperwork. I love the registrar job, it is perfect for me. I just finished the last one this morning. I have a couple of more loose ends that will need to be tied up and I'm expecting a few late registrations to come in. But the bulk is done. In fact, I think I hear someone now at the front porch rattling around in my "Girl Scout bin" leaving or picking up something. Too bad Mr. Incredible isn't here right now, he loves to run out and check it after someone drives away.

On Monday I went to an anti-harassment seminar for work. It was pretty good. I have a lot of observations about how the entire homeschool community could really benefit from anti-harassment training, but I think I'll make that a separate entry later.

The next big thing is to start packing for the trip and doing last minute errands for it. The next small thing is lunch. Then maybe we'll actually do some school work today. I don't really feel like it though (and who is Violet to argue with me!). I think I am already in vacation mode!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Feeling better tonight

Well, I've warned you all before. My blog isn't pretty. It isn't sugar-coated. It is basically my therapy sessions. Just be glad I don't have all your phone numbers and spend hours on the phone pouring my heart out every time I get a little upset. I come here. I vent. And you can read or click next blog depending on how your day is going and how you feel. I truly appreciate all the kind thoughts and comments.

I am feeling much better tonight. I talked with Red's Mom a long time this morning (I have her phone number!) and she knows Violet really well and agrees that Violet is a fine kid. Sure she's more sensitive but that is what makes her her. And she does just fine in most situations and those that's she uncomfortable in, she'll get used to as she gets older. Just like all of you have been saying too.

One really nice thing she said was how much she likes that Red and Violet are best friends. They are so different in many ways. But Red's Mom said how she hopes that Violet's quiet, thoughtful temperament will rub off on Red, who (like the stereotypical redhead) has a quick temper and is louder and always very active. I told her that I hope Red's adventurousness and outgoing nature will rub off on Violet. If we could only put the two in a blender we'd get back the perfect kid.

The thing we both hope is that they stay friends as they enter adolescence. Red will make sure they don't miss out on any fun opportunities. Violet will make sure they don't get into trouble.

Red lives right across the street. The girls can see each other's bedroom windows from their own. Maybe I don't want to move after all.

(((Hugs))) to all my loyal readers and friends!

More to the story

After Violet went to bed I learned a bit more about what happened yesterday at the park. For once Mr. Incredible really got her talking!

The kids had been playing a version of "Red Light, Green Light" but they were playing by different rules than she knew. She wanted them all to start on the same line and go in the same direction, then go back to the line when they were "out". In their version they were starting anywhere they wanted. To her that must have been chaos. Rather than say she didn't want to play, or say "hey, I know another way to play" she broke down.

Turns out she's also sad that she and Schoolgirl have grown apart. They were good friends when they were younger, but it sounds like Violet doesn't really want to be friends with her anymore, not that they really have the opportunity. So she's dealing with crowds she can't speak up in and the loss of her first best friend.

I feel like I've inadequately prepared her for all this. After all, neither Mr. Incredible nor I are very good in social situations. We are both introverts who'd rather stay home. Some role model. I bottle things in for years then blow up and sever ties all at once.

She'd probably be going through all this if she went to public or private school too. I just wouldn't see it all. I'd just get the letter sent home "Mrs. Incredible, Violet broke into tears again today" or maybe a meeting with the school psychologist. Instead I worry about social workers being called. I'm sure that's irrational, but I'm not dealing with a completely rational person in Teachermom ("do you miss your mom?" I mean really!) I'm afraid if any authorities start looking at me too closely they'll decide I'm unfit to homeschool. Just my own insecurities. But we all have them.

I just want Violet to pretend to be normal in public. She can use and show all her superpowers here at home. Or use them in places where they don't know her secret identity.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I want to move

I want to go to a new neighborhood, a new town, a new state and just start over. Make new first impressions. Try again to make local friends.

There's a family on the block behind us. We used to be good friends with them. The mom is the president of the teacher's union. Ever since we decided to homeschool I've gotten nothing but loosely veiled criticism and dirty looks. Schoolgirl and Violet tried to stay friends. But it is hard when one set of parents so strongly disapproves of the other set. And when the freak parents dislike everything the other set of parents stands for.

This summer Violet went to Schoolgirl's house for lunch and to play. Teachermom had the carpet cleaning service in the same day to clean the carpets. I don't know if you've ever heard their truck or not, but you have to shout to be heard over it. Violet dislikes loud noises. It is one of the things she's highly sensitive about. Schoolgirl kept asking her over and over what she wanted to do, but never suggested anything. Violet's been taught not to ask to play with other people's stuff until it has been offered. A little while later they served lunch, macaroni and cheese. Violet doesn't care for it. She burst into tears.

What did Teachermom do? Was she sensitive to the issue? Did she use all her early childhood education training to smooth the situation over? No she asked Violet if she missed her mom. What kind of person immediately assumes an 8 year old misses her mom? Would she have asked any kid in her school that? As the first question? You know she wouldn't have.

I went and picked her up. Haven't seen or heard a thing from them until today.

The girl across the street, Red, came and got Violet to go to the park with her. It is at the end of our block. They went down (where Red's mom was waiting with little sister "Little Red"). Who was there but Schoolgirl, her little brother and dad. Schoolgirl starts playing with Violet and Red. Violet gets upset and starts crying. She hadn't played with Red in a long time and was looking forward to it.

I show up and Schoolgirl runs over to me to report that Violet just started crying. I don't need that sort of tattling, so I said let me just talk to Violet first. Violet never says anything, but Red's mom said that she knew all the girls knew each other and didn't know what had happened.

I just don't know what to do. I walked Violet home. I'm sure Teachermom will hear all about the unsocialized homeschool girl who can't even go to the park without crying. I worry so much that she's going to decide it is her "duty" to see to it that Violet is properly raised and call the authorities to check us out. Who are they going to believe up front? President of the Teacher's Union with a Master's degree in education or a couple of freak parents.

I had a talk with Violet. Told her that a lot of people would like to believe that homeschoolers can't get along in public or with other people. I said that's obviously not true. She'd spent the afternoon at Tinkerbell's house playing with her and her brother and sister. But people who don't like homeschooling aren't going to believe that. She's got to pretend. She's got to keep on playing and not burst into tears at the park when others are around.

I just don't know what to do. I'm afraid of Teachermom and the power she wields. I don't want Violet to be so easily upset and hurt. I want her to just get along with people and not cry so easily. I want her to look well socialized even if she isn't. I want to move away from them all and start over. I don't want to tell Mr. Incredible about it. He'll turn it around to be completely Violet's fault. She is largely to blame, it is a public park after all and lots of people play there. But blaming an 8 year old won't solve the problem.

I just don't know what to do.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

No Gardens today

This morning Violet, the Super Grandparents and I headed out for the Chicago Botanic Gardens. We got about 8 miles from home when the Oil Pressure light came on and the car slowed down and stopped. Luckily I was able to pull into the parking lot (across 3 lanes of traffic) of a self-storage place. We checked the oil, the level was fine. We waited and try to start the car again. It almost turned over once, then nothing.

Sigh. Time to call AAA. Grab the cell phone. None of us had a cell phone. No problem, we have OnStar. Push the OnStar button. Nothing happens. Does OnStar need power to work? Head into the self-storage office to ask to use the phone. The lady was pretty skeptical at first, but grew quite sympathetic as the call went on.

Mr. Incredible had taken the car in to Jiffy Lube for an oil change and new oil and gas filters Sunday morning. As the car sat in the parking lot leaking gas, we suspected they did something wrong.

AAA helped me arrange for a tow truck. But since the tow truck could only carry at most 2 passengers and we had 4, they also helped me arrange a cab. There aren't many cab companies in our area, so that was unusual. The other choice was a rental car, I wasn't ready to commit to that just yet. I just wanted to get Violet and Super Grandma back home safely.

Super Grandpa rode in the cab with them back to our house where their car was parked. I figured Super Grandpa might have to come get me at the car place if need be, and if I could find a phone to use. I waited for the tow truck and watched him load it on the back of the truck, then we chatted on the way to their shop. (His wife is expecting their first baby any minute now so he jumped when his cell phone rang. Not her. That was good, I didn't want to be ditched just so she could go to the hospital! I mean really! LOL)

Back at the repair shop it took about 10 minutes to fix it. Jiffy Lube didn't reattach the fuel hose correctly. Sounds like I was lucky they didn't break it all the way off. The Good Guys put on their invoice that it was incorrectly attached by Jiffy Lube, Mr. Incredible will be making a trip over there when he gets home tonight. He's already called.

Course my fun wasn't completely over yet. My bill was $89 for an hour of service. I had some cash but no checkbook. They charge an additional $10 for credit card payments. I gave them the $60 I had, they kept a copy of my driver's license and let me get more money. I went to the bank rather than all the way home. Thought I'd get money with my ATM card. My ATM card had expired. Back home (about a 10 minute drive, I had had AAA find me a place near our house in case it involved more than just a quick fix). Super Grandpa rode with me and we paid off the bill. Now to figure out how to get a new ATM card.

Don't get me wrong. I've spent most of the day saying how it could have been so much worse. We might not have been safely off the road in a parking lot. We might have been much farther from home. It could have been raining (that didn't start until this afternoon). We could have had non-refundable tickets somewhere. The lady might not have let us use her phone (I called the business back after we were home, and got the answering machine and left a message thanking her. Had I been the one in the office I would have been curious if the people made it back or not. She might not have cared.)

Perhaps we'll go to the Gardens another day. Maybe not. We're thinking about an Arboretum in Rockford instead. Not sure we want to try this again any time soon.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Why doesn't she like math?

We only did 2 pages of Miquon math this afternoon. It was all I could take. Violet hates math and really struggles with it. Or maybe I should say she struggles to get out of it.

She talked me into letting her sit in a small chair with her book on a regular chair instead of at the table. Then she spent most of the time falling backwards, staring at the ceiling, rolling around and otherwise not paying attention. Whenever she actually looks at the book and at the rods she gets it, at least fairly quickly. I keep promising her that there are absolutely no answers on the ceiling.

Maybe we need another new math program. I think she gets this one as well as she'd get anything. I think we need a new math attitude. I just don't know how to find that. Does Rainbow Resources sell those? I bet they are expensive if they do.

I absolutely love math. I'd do extra math problems and workbooks just for fun as a kid (yes, I was a freak even then). How can anyone not love math? At least any kid of mine? Sigh.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

desert diorama

We are just finishing up Violet's multi-week study on deserts. We used the Sonoran Desert lesson plans from My World Science. (I'd link to them but I can't figure out just now how to insert links into the new Blogger format, I'll work on that later.) We didn't do many of the student work pages, but we did a lot of the reading, watched one the DVD recommendations and did any experiments we could find. She really did learn a lot about the deserts.

To wrap things up she's going to make a desert diorama. I had her get started on it today even though it isn't technically a school day. Hey, I figure public school kids have weekend assignments all the time! I got out the self-hardening clay and she made a couple of cacti, including a saguaro complete with a hole for an elf owl to live in. She also molded a rock formation and a roadrunner nest. In a few days when they dry completely she's going to paint them. For one of the cacti, the barrel cactus to be exact, she used toothpicks stuck all the way through it as prickles.

I don't really know if we'll ever get the shoebox out and a background scene painted or not. But to tell you the truth my plan was only to have her do some clay cacti and leave it at that. The book suggested the diorama and Violet was the one to say that sounded fun.

Next week to wrap things up we're heading to the Chicago Botanic Gardens to see their cacti collection. It is over an hour drive, but my parents are coming with us and it promises to be a fun outing.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

She should trust me more

Violet and I are working our way through Janice VanCleave's "Dinosaurs for Every Kid." Each chapter has a few pages of reading, some quick exercises and an activity. We did the chapter on geologic time periods today. The activity was to use a roll of adding machine tape to show how old the earth is and how short of time humans have been on earth. (My apologies to creationists, but we are an evolution family.)

When Violet learned there was going to be no messy model making today or water splashing anywhere she was disappointed. Claimed she only likes experiments, not things like that. I said just do it anyway. It won't take long.

Part way through I hear a "cool!" from her. Later she's laying down next to the tape to see how tall she is among the time periods. Then she's got her toys out measuring them too.

Tonight when Mr. Incredible gets home I'll bet dollars to donuts she'll be showing him the whole thing too.

She really should give my lessons a chance before declaring them boring. I actually know a thing or two.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Nothing to complain about today

I guess I had a good day. I can't think of a single gripe.

We got through a nice amount of school work this morning. This afternoon Violet had her friend Tinkerbell over for the afternoon. They both love imaginative play and spent the afternoon as secret agent spies. I tried to get them to play outside because it was such a beautiful day, but they didn't last long. Apparently they had no spy weapons to protect themselves from the giant spiders they encountered.

I am currently caught up with work for my paying job. That happens so infrequently.

We made arrangements to send the weekend in a couple of weeks at the in-laws. They live in Wisconsin and the leaves should be just beautiful. I intend to soak in the colors and fresh air and come back even more refreshed.

The chicken is stewing away in the crockpot. There will be soup, chicken pot pies and chicken salad in our near future.

And in case I scared anyone away with my complaints about the Christian homeschoolers in the park yesterday, please see my comment I added where hopefully I explain myself better. I just need to complete my search for enlightenment on my own. There are already too many external components trying to influence me. I need quiet mediation rather than lectures at this point in my quest for answers. I do greatly admire those who have already figured out their answers. I will get there someday. That much I do know.

Violet is busy with Littlest Pet Shops, Mr. Incredible is on the train coming home from the office, Dash the Cat is sleeping (as are Dash 2 and Dash 3), and I'm trying to remember what I enjoy doing when my free time is actually mine.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Why is there an expiration date on soap?

I was just cleaning the bathroom and refilling the softsoap dispensers (I know the glamor just never ends!) and noticed an expiration date on my softsoap refill. Does the soap quit cleaning after that date? Does it start making things dirty? Should I be concerned?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Two microwaves

You know how some really good cooks will have two ovens and extra range burners? I think I need a second microwave. The first frozen dinner gets cold by the time the last one is cooked.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Must clean refrigerator

I pulled out a moldy cucumber this afternoon. It was squishy. I'm afraid to open the yogurts in there to recycle the plastic containers (Mr. Incredible insists on recycling anything even remotely recyclable). I don't even want to look at the date on the sour cream. And that last muffin from Trader Joe's? Well, they don't use preservatives, so I'm guessing that thing isn't very "preserved" anymore.

I feel like I'm back in college.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I avoided the Kool-Aid

I went to my first Girl Scout service team meeting last night. Back when I was still under the influence of the Kool-Aid I signed up to be service unit registrar. Our previous registrar has held the job for 30 years. I'm not following in her foot steps for that long! But the job is a pretty good fit for me. They have to bring me the stuff. I log it in, I turn it in. They don't get it to me, oh well. Not my problem. I don't chase them down (per the retiring registrar). I can do that.

I wouldn't let several of them leave last night until plans were made about how to finalize day camp. It isn't completely settled, but someone else (not me) is following up with the ones who wigged out on us.

But you will all be proud of me that I was in my Freakmom mask and did not agree to any new jobs or duties.

I have been attending my VA meetings regularly (Volunteers Anonymous) and I think I am doing okay at maintaining moderation. I would set up a chapter of VA in yahoo groups so we could all benefit, but I'm afraid that would be considered volunteering. My sponsor won't let me.

My name is Freakmom and I am a recovering volunteer.

I found my face!

Finally I feel like I can be me in blog-dom. Now I've even figured out who can properly represent me: Mrs. Incredible (because really, does anyone ever remember her real name?)

Friday, August 31, 2007

There comes a time to go to the Big Boys Room

How old is too old for boys to keep using the ladies' room with their mom? I know, men's rooms can be really scary places. And some should probably not be used by grown men let alone kids. But I get uncomfortable when there are 8, 10, 12 year old boys in the ladies' room. Yes, I am a prude. But I should get to choose who I am comfortable doing you know what around.

Yesterday we were at a big homeschool event at a public amusement park. So naturally there were lots of moms with lots of kids. And a large number of dads too. But I assume the family I'm talking about didn't have a dad with them. I went in the ladies' room and there were 2 boys standing by the sinks. Right by the stalls. Not even at a respectful distance from them. Not right by the doors, or around the corner, right in front of all the stalls!

The boys had to have both been at least 10. They couldn't have gone into the men's room together? With mom standing right outside the door periodically yelling in "everything okay in there?" She was in there with some younger kids too. The older boys could have waited for her outside the ladies' room door? There were two of them. It was a closed event. It wasn't that crowded or unsafe at all.

I know one mom of a 7 year old boy who says she'll let him go in the men's room (in most places) by himself. But she stands outside the door and if she decides it is taking too long will charge on in there yelling "Mom coming in the bathroom" to find out what is going on. She's taught him to go in, look around, decide if it looks okay and walk right back out if anything at all makes him uncomfortable. That seems like a perfect solution to me. And of course, you wouldn't send them far away to a men's room without an adult right nearby.

I freely admit I'm one of the most cautious and paranoid people on the planet. But there comes a time when children should use the bathroom of their own gender. Or find a family bathroom and go in there. Let me pee in private.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Follow-up post

I got my new title. I am "healthcare research specialist" now. Go me!

I took 2 demands to my review, both were met without hesitation (I'm also being moved to the proper place on the organizational chart). Damn, next year I'm going to have some back up demands just in case.

I want a chocolate cream pie delivered once a week to my house.

I want a monthly massage.

I want dinner brought in once a week.

I want someone to come clean up the cat vomit from the rug.

I want a driver and personal shopper.

I'd really settle for the cream pie.

I can't even talk to other moms anymore

Public school started today. We started our homeschool back up too. It went really well. Until the end of the day when the neighbor called to see if the kid wanted to go over and play for a few minutes until dinner. The weather had turned nice, after being cruddy all day, and they were getting some fresh air. I said she could go, she just needed to finish her last couple of pages of math.

Well, wouldn't you know I'd start getting ribbed. I know it was just teasing, but Freak Mom is tired of being teased. It is too much like being criticized. Freak Mom is tired of being criticized.

"You teachers are so mean."

Yeah, like you'd let your kids play if they didn't have their homework done. 4 pages of math had been on the schedule all day long. Granted we'd been busy with other work but I didn't see why she should let it slide.

If I let her out of her work then I'd hear about how all homeschool kids do is play all day.

She finished up and I walked her over. There were two of them talking. About public school, and how wonderful would be when the littlest ones were in preschool because they were learning so much already at home and they were so bored, so ready for school. Sigh, welcome to my world ladies. You try to make every single subject fun and interesting every day. Potentially for 13 years.

I mentioned I had to go back and finish cleaning up the kitchen. We'd been studying cooking and I needed to put stuff away before making dinner.

"If she wants to cook she should just come to my house, I make my kids cook all the time."

Thanks, you just belittled the one area of our curriculum that we are really, really excited about down to an everyday occurrence.

I know I am overly sensitive. But I am so sick of non-homeschoolers perceptions' of homeschooling. I should just stop talking to everyone.

Monday, August 20, 2007

We don't need more time together

This one is really getting to me. I try to tell people that the kid HATED daycamp, but LOVED resident camp and they all assume they know why. Which wouldn't bother me quite so much if it weren't for that freaking smug look they get on their faces while they nod knowingly. No you are WRONG.

At daycamp I was there volunteering, but I was not in the kid's unit and didn't see much of her. At resident camp we went 4 days/3 nights together in "mom and me" camp. I saw a lot of her. These know-it-all public school moms all assume that the kid liked resident camp because I was with her. That has NOTHING to do with it. In fact she would have liked resident camp better if there had been more activities where we were apart and day camp even less if I'd been her unit leader.

We see each other all the time. ALL THE TIME people. Constantly we are together. She is so ready for more time away from me. I try to arrange play dates at other people's houses as much as possible, but there is a limit as to how much inviting her over to someone else's house I can do politely. (I mean, would it really kill another mom to initiate things once in a while?) I sign her up for classes on her own and she LOVES them. She isn't clingy to me at all.

She hated daycamp because it was run by a bunch of meanie moms who were pushy and over the top. There was no downtime and it was exhausting. It was hot, it was rushed, there was bad weather, and she hated fishing and having to act in a skit. The high school girl "helpers" spent their time driving the golf cart and gossiping, never interacting with the girls.

She loved resident camp because it was run by a bunch of fun college girls who were the coolest things since flip flops. The pace was slow. There was plenty of time to finish activities. We slept in tents and ate in the dining hall. The high school girls who were there showed her several crafts and took her on a hike. They asked her questions and listened to her answers. She loved canoeing and archery. It was much more her pace.

So wipe that smug smile off your faces or I will do it for you. She is not a clingy mama's girl. She is just stuck with me because her father and I choose to homeschool.

And she thought your daycamp sucked.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Don't complain to me

A public school mom I know was just complaining to me about how ridiculous the school supply lists are. Uh huh, and why exactly are you telling me this? I don't care. Complain to the school. Don't just sit around complaining get off your butt and DO something about it. Go to the school board meeting, refuse to buy the extra stuff, send what you think your kid needs. Don't bother telling me.

She said they need all these extra supplies that go into a community bin in case some kid needs more or loses theirs. Yeah, that wouldn't be happening if I were the one sending my kid there. I'd refuse, that's ridiculous. I'll buy my kid what my kid needs. If you can show me a kid in real need that can't afford school supplies, I'll buy that kid supplies. But not just to go into the "extra bin". No way.

They need 36 pencils. No way I'd send 36 pencils in. 6 tops. When those break, get lost or wear down, you'll get 6 more sent in. Keep track of them. Let me know.

They need to have color coded folders so that when the teacher wants them to turn in their science homework she or he can just tell the class to turn in their green folders. The kids can't figure out "science folder." I say if the kids can't figure out what folder says "science" on it, maybe the teachers should worry a little less about how many extra pencils there are and worry a little more about teaching.

And if I may continue my rant just a little more, how exactly is this preparing them for the "real world"? We homeschool moms hear that one all the time. If we don't sent our kids to public school they won't be ready to handle the "real world." Let's see, does the bank tell me to bring my "green" folder in? No, I have to figure out all on my own which is my paycheck, which is my bank account and make that deposit. What if I run out of eggs, can I just go to the supply bin and get more? Well, if I'm in real financial need I can fill out paperwork and be put on welfare and food stamps. I guess that is the same. Even then I have to get into the system and show I have need and haven't just misplaced them. Then I have to take my food vouchers to the store and make my purchases. The vast majority of us, thankfully, never are on welfare and don't have to do that. We have to go to the store and buy more. Not just get extras from the neighbors.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Promotions were just announced at work. I hate this time of year. I'm not in the running for any sort of promotion. Probably never again. I can't do all that I do at home, which yes, is more important, and be out their working hard enough to get a promotion and a new title. It is just hard seeing those that I trained get them. They are getting new titles, new offices, new respect. I don't even have a cubicle in the office anymore since I work at home all the time. Yes, jealousy is rearing its ugly head.

I know, many of them would give all that up to be home with their kids and not commute in, and not have to deal with clients, coworkers, bosses, etc. on such a frequent basis. I wouldn't want to trade. That still doesn't make it easy.

I have my annual review coming up in a few weeks. (Don't get me started on who will watch the kid during it, I haven't begun to figure that out!) I'm thinking of asking if I can have a new title. That's going to be a big deal in our stodgy accounting firm. But the old one I've had for 10 years really doesn't reflect what I do any more. And since I'm never looking to get the next title in the regular path, manager, maybe I wouldn't be totally off base. I'm thinking Senior Healthcare Researcher. I'm the only one who does the majority of the research and they are always telling me what an important role I fill. It would really perk me up if they'd even consider it.

Just call me freak accountant.

lacking depth

I wonder if part of my problem is that we, as a family, are deeper than most of the seemingly superficial families around us. Sure they are constantly busy with stuff, but with what? They shuffle the kids off from one class or lesson to the next, but do the kids ever do more than go through the motions? They don't in our Brownie troop. They aren't interested in much more than the meeting and at those they seem to only be interested in running around playing tag before and after the meetings start. (I know, I'm the only freak leader who sees a real problem with this.)

The families on our block are constantly buying new stuff and throwing away perfectly usable stuff. Not even donating it, throwing it out in the trash. As in to the dump with it. This week there was a nice set of 4 chairs, a Little Tikes slide and a guitar in the trash. Why don't they give it away, sell it, fix it if it is broken, hold onto it for parts? I don't know. They don't think beneath the surface and throw it away.

The parents seem too focused on keeping their kids busy. Starting with preschool for two year olds, into full day kindergarten at five, then into activities four nights a week plus Saturdays. They rarely do anything as a family. I wonder how well they really know each other.

Well, I don't know if I've really made any sense or any points at all. Chalk it up to airing more of my increasing frustrations with society.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A freakmom walks into an office supply store

My kid wants a purple calculator. Who can blame her? Purple is cool. She's 8. Calculators are fun. Purple it is!

So we've been looking around trying to find one. You'd think it'd be easy. There are school supplies on sale everywhere. No purple ones to be found. I even asked at Office Max today. The kid working there thought maybe I'd have better luck at Target. I didn't tell him I'd already tried 2 Target stores.

The kid said maybe dark blue or fushia (the only 2 non-grey or black colors we've seen so far). Sigh.

Is it better to make her learn to give up her dreams at an early age? Or to raise a freak kid? I'm going with freak kid and am going to check the internet for purple calculators.


Hello. I am a freakmom. I don't fit in with the other moms. Perhaps you are the same? Or the same in your own different way?

I don't fit in with the stay at home moms, I work.
I don't fit in with the public school moms, I homeschool.
I don't fit in with homeschool moms, I work.
I don't fit in with the moms of many, I have an only child.

Where are all the work from home, homeschooling moms, who volunteer way too much time with Girl Scouts for their only child? They aren't living on my block.