Sunday, April 28, 2013


Again.  It seems all I do is run, run, run.  I'll be glad when our school year ends and I have one less thing to do for a few months.  We have a list of subject matter that we want to get through before calling 8th grade over.  In the next couple of weeks we should start making good progress towards the end.  I hope to have most of it done by mid-May, and everything done by mid-June.  Pre-Algebra will take into June to complete.

Tomorrow we have Juliettes.  Just one more meeting after that one.  Tomorrow is garden stones, painting clay flower pots and making s'mores bars.  The last meeting is "ironing day".  They can bring their sashes and I'll help them iron on their badges and patches from the year.  Also, they'll bring back their pillow cases that they started during the last ironing day.  They trace designs on iron-on paper, iron them on the pillow cases, then use the fabric markers to decorate them.  It was a huge hit last time and they wanted to do more.  Also, we never got to the fuse beads last time, so I'll get those out again if they want.  (The link has the full description from before.  It is basically the same plan.)

Wednesday we're going to my folks' house for the day.  I've got an eye appointment with my eye doctor from way back.  My dad likes to drive me to the mall where his office is, hang out then have lunch afterward.  And since they always insist on dilating my eyes to the point where I can barely see to sign my credit card slip, I appreciate the lift. 

It is finally starting to get warmer and stay warmer.  Maybe.  The rains have mostly stopped, but there is still a lot of flooding around.  Our yard desperately needs attention.  I'm hoping next Sunday I can get to it.  During the week I have homeschool, work and activities every day.  I spend all day Saturday at the office.  So that just leaves me Sunday.  Today I spent the day cleaning the house for Juliettes, getting out projects and helping to make a super hero costume.

The movie Mr. Incredible is making with Violet, Butterfly and Wright has Violet cast as a superhero.  We made her a cape today.  She made her own mask.  Her character is a normal teen who fights crime, so we just had to find her a pair of jeans and a shirt that would work with it.  Violet had designed this character a few weeks ago in her digital art class.  Then, as they were writing their movie, the kids all said "we need a superhero" and Violet said, "I have a superhero character I can be."  Let's just say the movie experience has been very good for all 4 involved.

Have a good week. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Paint Induced Magic?

Violet and I recently finished reading the Psammead series by Edith Nesbit:  The Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet, and The Story of the Amulet.  In the series the children experience all sorts of magical happenings including meeting a sand fairy who grants wishes, a flying carpet that will take you anywhere you want, an amulet that will take you to any time you want, and a phoenix.  The books were written in the early 1900's and are considered classic children's fantasy.  Definitely a read worth your time.

As we got towards the end of the last book, we found the children sitting at home painting.  Then they started eating the paint!  Yes, the books clearly state that the children we sucking the paint off the end of their paintbrushes and tasting it.  The various colors of paint tasted different.  They only did it a couple of times, and the text made it seem like it was just normal.  But it had Violet and I looking at each other and wondering:

Is all magic in early children's literature simply a result of lead poisoning??

It would explain a lot.  Narnia:  nothing more than brain damaged hallucinations.  Oz: Dorothy and the others who "visited" probably were peeling the paint off the walls shortly before their trip.  And why don't most children today get to experience such out of body adventures?  We've eliminated virtually all toxic children's art supplies.  I think this is worth exploring.  Perhaps when Violet is in graduate school it can be her dissertation thesis. 

Until then, we are theorizing that the sand fairy was a stuffed monkey, the phoenix was a parrot, and they simply hallucinated time and space travel from within the nursery.  And never eat your art supplies.  Just in case.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Losing my Gung Ho

Well, I started out great walking.  Made it 5 days in a row.  Then the temperatures dropped and it started hailing, icing and snowing.  It is not supposed to do that in April!  Especially the second half of April.  And yet, here we were the last couple of days being snowed on by little icy pellets!

Yes, Sabrina, it will eventually warm up here in Illinois.  In fact, it will likely go from this icky, cold, wet weather straight into hot and humid.  So keep your shorts and sandals around. 

The flooding is crazy here.  I know several families with leaking basements and/or roofs.  Luckily our sky lights are holding up so far.  The fields are flooded.  A couple of nursing homes had to be evacuated.  Roads were closed.  Did I mention, it rained a lot.

So, I haven't been walking in 3 days.  I just couldn't bring myself to go out in 30 mile an hour winds with periodically heavy rains and ice pellets coming down.  That doesn't cooperate with your umbrella very well.  Sigh.

Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer and sunny.  (Today was sunny and cold, but I was at work all day.)  I must take myself out for a nice walk tomorrow.

I've got to get my gung ho back.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

It has rained practically non-stop for weeks now.  Everything is flooded.  My phone keeps getting flood warning alerts.  (I'll have to tell you about my new smart phone, I finally joined the rest of the world - but don't tell Violet I said that, she claims she's the only one on the planet without a cell phone at all.)  The backyard is soggy.  The bird feeder has an inch of water in it.  The fields all have ponds in them.

Today it was thunderstorms with hail.  Lots of lightning.  Huge thunderboomers (for those of you native Chicagoans).  So what did we do?  We headed out into it all with our umbrellas and tried to see the taping of Restaurant Impossible.  We did see it.  We spotted Robert and Tom both in the restaurant they were rehabbing.  We saw their tents and crews.  So far they hadn't taken the stuff out and we have no idea where they are going to put it.  Perhaps when Mr. Incredible gets home from work he'll have an update.

So there we were standing in the park across from the restaurant, under trees, with umbrellas.  BOOM!  We went to a used bookstore.  Violet scored some Sisters Grimm books she's been trying to find.  We stood under the awning with a bunch of other people debating what to do.  We went for it and walked around the square, peering in the restaurant.  BOOM!  We walked a little faster through puddles and raging waters on the sidewalks and streets.  Then Violet and I went home and Mr. I. went back to work.  Shoes, socks, jeans all soaked through.

Was it worth it?  You bet!  Because you know that story is going to get built up over the years until we practically have Robert and Tom stopping by our house for coffee and cookies.  Wish the weather were better for it.  But hey, if you watch the show, you know the weather always stinks on the days the rehab a restaurant!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

These Keds Were Made for Walking

I've logged in 2 miles a day for 4 days in a row now.  I just go in a big circle around our subdivision.  There's no place to walk to around here that doesn't involve crossing a dangerous road.  Eventually I might try it.  But for now, I'd rather walk peacefully and not be a flap jack on the side of the road.

Tomorrow I am going to take off from my walking routine and wear my pedometer when we go to the Square to try to see some of the filming of Restaurant Impossible.  I plan to park a couple of blocks away, and Violet and I have some used book sales to check out, so I should log at least a mile.

I splurged and spent $25 on a new digital scale.  It was the rest of my gift card money from Christmas and other things.  I wanted a better readout than our old scale which measures in "ish" increments.  You know, I weight 165-ish right now.  I want to weigh 150-ish (well, I really want to weigh 140-ish, but one step at a time).  It is hard to see how you are doing through a dust-covered, 25-year old scale which is difficult to make out the little lines on.  So I splurged.  Now I can see if I am really making progress or not.

I am racking up the points at Walgreens.  

Monday, April 15, 2013


I have been reading a lot lately.  No, I mean A LOT.  I think I am escaping reality.  Okay, so no my reality isn't that bad.  But dammit, I've worked so hard, played the rules, did everything like I was supposed to, and now I just see it all going away.  Why did I bother?  And I don't see any end in sight.  I'm going to be working like this for years.  Probably until I drop dead.  There will be no retirement for me.  No social security check or Medicare benefits.  Those will all be used up and driven into the ground by the buttheads who call themselves our representatives.

Yeah, I'm bitter.

So at night, I sit and read.  And read.  This year I got the idea from some fellow bloggers to track the books I read in 2013.  I read their "50 books in 2012" or "100 books in 2012" posts and thought, that would be fun but I'd get no where near that!  Well, April 15th and I have completed 22 books so far.  Some were personal, some were homeschool related read alouds, some were for Abigail Adams Academy.  And I have another 5 books in process.  (Reading multiple books at once is a habit, good or bad you decide, I picked up over at Abigail Adams.)

You'll see patterns there, like I've recently discovered the joy of Stephanie Plum novels.  And that Edith Nesbit is our current read aloud selection.  But this is where I've been since January 1st:

1    The Good Earth,  Pearl S. Buck
2    Being Washington,  Glenn Beck
3    Martha Washington: An American Life,  Patricia Brady
4    You Learn By Living,   Eleanore Roosevelt
5    One for the Money,  Janet Evanovich
6    Grand Finale,  Janet Evanovich
7    Two for the Dough,  Janet Evanovich
8    The First Ladies,  Margaret Truman
9    The Enchanted Castle,  E. Nesbit
10    The Five Children and It,  E. Nesbit
11    Three to Get Deadly,  Janet Evanovich
12    Why Leaders Can't Lead,  Warren Bennis
13    Great Son,  Edna Ferber
14    The Phoenix and the Carpet,  E. Nesbit
15    Four to Score,  Janet Evanovich
16    Man's Search for Meaning,      Viktor E. Frankl
17    The Four Agreements,  Miguel Ruiz
18    Queer Little Folks,  Harriet Beecher Stowe
19    High Five,  Janet Evanovich
20    The Kingdom Keepers,  Ridley Pearson
21    The Story of the Amulet,  E. Nesbit
22    Chomp,  Carl Hiaasen

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Catching You Up

I know, I've once again disappeared for a long period.  I'm still here.  Still hanging on.  Working too much.  Stressing too much.  Generally making it through the day but that's about it.

Work.  I often feel bad after I go in.  I don't fit in.  I'm not part of the team.  Makes me sad.  If I have to work so hard, I'd like to at least feel like I belong.  But I have no choice.  Maybe it is in my head.  I shouldn't care.  But I'm not good at letting things go.

School.  We're starting to wrap up subjects and looking towards next year.  High school!  Can you believe it?  Seems like just last week I was trying to figure out how this whole homeschool thing would work for kindergarten.  I'm looking for a new math program for Algebra I for next year.  We've like Teaching Text books, but have stopped using the CDs.  Violet says it doesn't always explain things.  I think the problem may be that if it varies at all from the example, she freezes.  We've been reading Danica McKeller's books, "Kiss My Math" and "Math Doesn't Suck".  Violet really likes them and they do explain concepts in fun, easy ways.  She's also started watching some related videos on Khan Academy and that has helped explain things she struggles with.  The big struggle is confidence.  I'm going to have her practice more on Khan. 

Activities.  We've quit all the ones she wasn't enjoying.  Now we just have 3 more Juliette meetings this year and 1 more digital art class.  She'll take art again over the summer, her instructor is taking the next session off.  Next Friday the Juliettes are meeting to go to 2 art displays on the Town Square.  One is the Little Women's art show, art by girls ages 7-17.  The other is a local watercolorist.  And Mr. Incredible is going to do a 3 or 4 part workshop for Violet and her best friend Butterfly and Butterfly's little brother (we'll call him Wright - he was obsessed with airplanes when he was younger) for the girls to earn the Digital Movie Maker badge.  Sometime we plan to start karate lessons for her.

Volunteering.  Me.  I'm counting down the years until we retire from Girl Scouting.  Why do I keep doing any of it and not quit now?  Because it is easier to deal with as an outsider (meaning one who has no connections to a school - they claim it isn't related to schools but that hogwash, plus all the other parents are so wrapped up in schools and school schedules - it is completed school-focused) as a volunteer instead of trying to find out what is needed for the things Violet and her girlfriends want to do.  I'll just put up with it a little while longer.

Volunteering.  Violet.  She is busy volunteering at the library.  Most Thursdays she's there either at her Volunteen meeting or helping out with a program.  She's signed up to volunteer with the summer reading program starting in June.  She's logged enough hours to earn the Cadette Community Service pin.  She loves it!  I love that it is so close to home and that she's so comfortable there.  The librarians all know her.  She likes the other teens who volunteer too.

Big event coming up.  Restaurant Impossible is filming on the Town Square this week.  Across from where Mr. Incredible has his office.  We plan to go over and attempt to walk around and see something.  Us and probably everyone else in town.  And I complain about parking during Farmer's Market!  Violet and I plan to park a few blocks away near the library and walk up.  Then on our way back stop in the library and check out their used books they always have on sale.  When we heard what restaurant they were rehabbing we all said, "never heard of it."  No wonder it needs help!  Of course, we've walked past it a million times.  Never thought to go in.  Just as well, the few people we've talk to who have eaten there have said they felt sick afterward (one is a local chef we know).

Exercise.  I'm going to start walking every day.  I started yesterday.  Did you know you can log your miles at and get point for every mile?  That's what I'm doing.  I also ordered a new scale.  I'm hoping to lose some weight and get in better shape.  I hope that will help me to feel better. I could use a pick me up.