Tuesday, September 30, 2008

700 billion dollars

If the government really has that much of our tax money to give away, why don't they give it to the Americans who are losing their homes because of these bad mortgages? I'd rather they have it, and pay off their mortgages. Then the mortgage companies would have their money back, and they wouldn't have to fail. Crisis over. AND the people get to keep their houses, which is always handy.

Instead, the Treasury wanted to go ahead and let those folks lose their houses, and give the money over to the companies who are foreclosing on those houses. You know, the ones who GOT the houses, when the people were kicked out of them. I know the houses were overvalued, but hey, why should those companies, and the companies behind them, get BOTH the collateral and the cash?

I LIKE this woman, and she's a Democrat :)

I wanted to post the 3 Youtube videos directly here, but I don't know how to do that. Old age - sigh. Finally - some good plain common sense on this bailout fiasco from Wall Street.

Do you, as an ordinary American, feel a bit pushed and pressured by all the "panic" of this situation? Listen to her take on it.

Anywho... I'd strongly encourage you to click on the links below and hear 3 short Congressional speeches from Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio. Boy, has she hit the nail on the head, over and over!

Here's a 5 minute address. It was given on Sept. 17.

Here's another 5 minute address, given on Sept. 22.

And here's her last, 1-minute plea to America, given on Sept. 28.

Monday, September 29, 2008

reply to Ellen

Hey Ellen -

Yes, hubby DID make that cake himself! It was a mix, and store-bought icing, but he did make it. I think a cake in round layers is so much prettier than a 9x13 pan. We hardly ever bake cakes from scratch anymore. I have a Mississippi Mud Cake that I make from scratch a few times each year, because the kids love it. Otherwise, it's mixes for us.

I looked for you on Facebook, using the address you gave, but I couldn't find you. I think it only took me to my own home page. Sorry! I don't really know how to find people there, except the folks they recommend based on where I went to school, etc. Not a great way of finding folks, IMO.

I'm grading:

21 tests today and tomorrow
24 research paper rough drafts - coming in tomorrow afternoon

Life as we know it, is over. At least for the time being.

This is why they pay me the big bucks - HA!

Rescued by supper on the table. We're having scrambled eggs, hash brown potatoes, homemade biscuits and ham. The only thing green in this meal will be your envy as we eat it ...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rain, rain...

...Go away??
I say that with great hesitation, because we had such drought last year.I don't REALLY want it to go away, just take break for a few days. We had another solid deluge this afternoon. Even our resident tortoise, whom I've named Teddy, had too much of the damp earth, and decided to rest himself for a few hours on our patio yesterday.


Doesn't he have lovely coloration? He lives in the way-back in our yard, where Adam has lots of yummy clover growing. He eats our strawberries and tomatoes.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

All in a Saturday

Let me start with some GREAT deals I found. First, I got the end-of-summer shoe sale at WalMart. I don't like most of their shoes, but they do carry Dr. Scholl's. I found 2 pair, for only $5 each! I'm putting them in my closet, brand new, and I'll wear them next spring, when everybody else is buying $25 sandals.

More WalMart finds - These tanks were on a close-out for $1 each. The green is my favorite.

Reality hits. In the form of LAUNDRY. Argh. A weekly occurrence. Thankfully, ALL my children do their own laundry, so my laundry load is greatly reduced. But...because I do have 4 kids in the laundry room regularly, it's a frightful mess.

Today's also my designated day for swapping out my summer clothes for my winter ones. Time to open up the old trunk. This old trunk was left in a house in Virginia that we lived in when I was a little girl. I've had it ever since.

Can you say, "Sweet Hubby"? I expressed a desire for chocolate cake the other day. Voila! Chocolate cake appears. Yum. A freshly-made, very-moist, all-for-me cake. Well, I don't think I'll actually eat it ALL myself. But I did start with a big slab.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Facebook

Is a little bit fun! I think that folks my age are on there because their teenage kids are there. In about 2 days, I've got 35 friends. Now I'm playing with the photo albums, and putting together a "family photo" album. Philip is helping me, of course, since a 45 yo woman is no match for a 3 yo Macintosh and its applications.

Anna and Peter are off to Bonclarken this evening for a youth retreat. Peter is excited about seeing some friends he made this summer during Music Conference. I LOVE LOVE LOVE having a denominational conference center where folks meet year round! What fun.

I'm glad the work week is over. A teacher's 3rd frustrating topic? Dress code.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Chilly weather

I love autumn.

Home football game today.

Sweaters and chilly wind.

Hot chocolate and cupped hands.

Homemade biscuits and sausage gravy for supper. Oh my, it doesn't get any better than that!

Before we know it, I'll be treated to fire in the fireplace :)

And tomorrow's Friday. Ah.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Oh, to be young again...

I finally did it.

I joined Facebook.

Yeck! I feel like a teenage wannabe!

But since Alynn said she was having some fun over there, and since my son is already there every day, I figured I might as well.

So, if you're over on Facebook, look me up!

Lacey's surgery

Lacey has needed surgery on her right eye for awhile now. We finally did get it done, after finding the right vet. Thanks to our friend, Dr. Howard, for giving us advice on finding a vet who won't drain the checking account!

She has to wear this collar for about 2 weeks. Glad to have her home!

Last Saturday's Pizza

I forgot to post this pic! Adam started heating his bread oven in the morning, probably around 9:00. And the result was an oven that was finally hot enough to crisp the bottom of the pizza! Tada!

You can see the outline of the oven bricks on the bottom :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I won my first blog award!


"Blogging Friends Forever" - that's the name of the award. I got it from my friend, Marian, who lives in the Netherlands. Here are the rules for this award:

1. When you receive the award, you may then award it to five new people.
2. Four have to be dedicated followers of your blog.
3. One has to be a new follower of your blog, or live in another part of the world.

Thanks so much, Marian! This is rather cool!

So, I'll pass on this great award to a few other friends:

Marie
, who is a GREAT bloggin' friend, and lives in France too!
Tammy, my dear cousin in Texas
Jeannette, a dear old friend whose blog I love
Annie, because they don't come any sweeter!
Alynn, who's too busy to post, and does anyway

Congrats, girls! Feel free to hand out this award to your friends too!

And the answer is...

(Jeannette, you clever girl...)

Administration!

My hubby, a long-time teacher, also got that one on the first guess.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A 1-question quiz for teachers:

After troublesome parents, a teacher's next biggest stress comes from what source?

In which I am a shameless thief:

I agreed so wholeheartedly with my friend Jeannette in her sentiments about today, that I have swiped her words, and do humbly give her credit here:


"WELCOME FALL!!! Or Autumn! Or Harvest! Or Whatever you are!!! I just love you! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you!!!!!

Welcome MY FAVORITE SEASON!

Bring on the pumpkins! Bring on the leaves!!! Bring on the acorns! (maybe, just maybe, THIS will be the year that Ellis will learn to love acorn people with their jaunty hats)
Bring on the chai!! Spices!!!! Bring on cozy fleece jackets! Bring on the stews and soups!!!

I LOVE FALL!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Yes, Jeannette! You have expressed it perfectly!
I now have: Chai, Constant Comment tea, hot chocolate mix, and apple cider mix in my classroom. And a vanilla candle burning. AND I had Christmas music playing today for the first time. Some of my (romantic, female) students loved it. Others thought it was a bit . . . weird.

replies

Nick - I don't recall your failing my class. Didn't you graduate from Cono? You didn't retake any of my classes, I don't think?

I don't fail students FOR laziness. They have the laziness, and it results in their failure. I see a difference there.

Marie - Julia was reading The Bellmaker by Brian Jacques. She devours his Redwall series again and again.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Julia's favorite Saturday relaxation:

Trimming the Vegetation

The short azaleas that line our brick walk have grown leggy with lots of sticking up parts.



Now the walk is tidy. See how short they are?

The ivy had grown so long that it covered the wall, and was about to root into the bed below!


That's better.

Resting from a weary week

I've made the morning pancakes, and played the Christmas music for Julia, and now I'm heading out to those azaleas. Maybe I'll give you some before/after pictures later. It's a lovely cool day, we haven't run the AC in days, and I think autumn is just around the corner!

Apparently I hit a raw nerve with my comment about students and parents. In my teaching experience (I first taught a class in 1986), the parents who interfere with my teaching, trying to "protect" their children, actually end up derailing their children's education in one form or another. And the parents who give me a smile of encouragement, but back off and let me do my job, are the ones who help their children's education. I speak only from my experience; I don't make claims for all teachers. Parents who try to compensate for having spoiled their children, giving them too much freedom, not mentoring reading and intellectual curiosity for them, and not teaching them simple moral values like honesty or hard work, by lighting into me and telling me how I must teach the child they have already handicapped -- that drives me nuts. The child needs discipline. They don't want him disciplined. They don't want his feelings hurt. The child needs to take possession of his own education. They won't let him do that. They must advocate for him. They can't accept the fact that I actually do know what I'm doing, and when it comes to teaching their child, I do know how to do it better than they do.

If you are a homeschooler, some of that may be antithetical to your educational views. That's fine. We can disagree.

Actually, teaching at Cono for 5 years was something close to teaching at an orphanage, because the almost all the parents lived pretty far away, and were not near enough to interfere. It gave me more freedom to work with the students. And considering that a goodly number of the kids were there, not because they were disfunctional, but because their parents were, they made amazing progress away from their parents, and with the help of staff who had their best interests in mind. I learned there that, if you wisely challenge a student to accomplish more than he thinks he can, and give him the tools he needs to succeed in that challenge, he will do it -- if he wants to. I never, ever had a child fail a class, except when he was lazy. Hard-working students always pass. Students work harder when their parents are not at their elbows, eager to make excuses for them and pick up the balls they drop.

That's not easy parenting, letting your children make and face their own mistakes. But it is good parenting. Just my opinion.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A little quiz:

Who am I?

I am under 45 years of age.
I love to fish.
I love to hunt.
I love to exercise.
In general, I love the outdoors.
I am a Republican Reformer.
I have taken on the Republican Party Establishment.
I have a large family, and I spend a lot of time with them.
One of my sons served in the United States Army.
I was selected on the national Republican ticket as an unexpected Vice Presidential nominee with less than two-years experience as the governor of a large state.

I am...







Theodore Roosevelt, Governor of New York, 01 January 1899 to 31 December 1900

25th Vice President of the United States, 04 March to 14 September 1901

26th President of the United States, 14 September 1901 to 04 March 1909

Dinner for Two

See that? Know what that means? That means that all four of our kids are off somewhere else, having a grand time. Quiet dinner for two.

As a word of encouragement for those of you who are crowding your young herd around the dining table and smacking little fingers, those young bread-snatchers won't be around forever. Enjoy the noisy days while you can. The quiet days are coming.

I told Adam I can't even remember the pre-baby days when we ate, just we two, on a daily basis. Too many moons ago.

I think that teaching would be perfect,

if none of the students had parents.

There. Got that off my chest.

Off to the Capitol!

Julia's class went to Raleigh today.

Here she is, before the bus left, with some of her friends. Note their matching class t-shirts! I hope she's having fun!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Long Day

Long week

Standardized testing

"Dress down" days. Another phrase for "ill-behaved students."

Stressful conversations

Disorganization

Miscommunication

Anxiety

On Saturday, I just want to squat on my front walk and prune azalea bushes. And forget that I'm a teacher.

Baby by Mail

I must tell about a crazy dream I had the other night. It involved an old friend of mine, Jeannette, and her baby, Ellis. Actually, Ellis is now 3 years old, but in my dream, he was about a month old, again. Oh well. J - I don't know why I didn't dream about Marlow, but for some reason my brain said, "It's Ellis."

Anyway, Jeannette sent Ellis to me in the mail. In a brown cardboard box. I don't remember the actual 'delivery,' but I do recall in my dream thinking this was rather odd, and mentioning it to my husband. We both thought it was strange. But since the USPS did deliver, we just shrugged our shoulders and moved on. Apparently, Jeannette sent her baby to me so I would take care of him for awhile, since mothering was becoming a little overwhelming for her (with 2 little ones, it has been a bit rough lately for J. Perhaps that was in my sub-conscious?)

So I tended to the baby. I especially remember nursing and nursing the baby; I think I was trying to fatten him up. After awhile, I was supposed to mail him back. That was the most disturbing part, and I remember finding that rather difficult.

That's all I recall :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A window friend

This little guy startled Julia yesterday when he smacked into her bedroom window. He then sat down as you see him, on the ledge, and proceeded to stare at us, ruffle his feathers, and fall asleep. We were worried about him, walked outside to look, and he flew away. Whew! Julia was afraid that Annie, the neighbor's cat, would get him.

Julia has a very particular love of birds, and always has. So this little friend was a lovely experience for her.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

On this first cool day,

I took a walk in the backyard.

This is the last apple on our tree. Will the bent boughs straighten themselves again before next year?

I did finally buy my yearly pumpkin for the front porch. Unfortunately, it lacks a stem, but it does have a nice shape. I'm rather picky.

The first leaves are falling on the patio by the house.

And, again, when we put up the pool, we put down this patio area in its place. It looks nice, but we haven't sat here yet because it's been too hot and buggy.

I'm not a begonia lover, but this little beauty has kept celebrating life. What a lovely greeter on our patio!

Is there anything more weary than an old tomato plant? But it still insists on producing.

And I think there may be a few beauties left out there still.

Monday, September 15, 2008

For a painfully chocolate day...

You know. The day when you must have a healthy (?) dose of chocolate, or your life will fall apart. Here's a recipe for you:

[I must begin by saying I haven't made, or seen the recipe for, this dessert in a least 10 years. So I'm going on memory here. But they were happy memories :)]

Belz Bash

In a 9x13 oblong dish, cover the bottom with oreo cookies. Then cut a half-gallon of cookies and cream ice cream (or the flavor of you choice) into 1/2-1 inch slabs and lay on top of the oreos. Press in so that the ice cream fills in the gaps.

Spread cool whip on top of the ice cream, and then generously drizzle Hersey's chocolate syrup on top of this.

Go through all those steps again: oreos, ice cream, cool whip, syrup.

Freeze solid, preferably overnight, although it will be painful to delay the gratification that long.

Cut in bars (as the Midwesterners say), and enjoy.

And NO, I am not becoming a recipe blog. I just like food. Can you tell?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

If we're not eatin'

We're not meetin'. That's the unofficial ARP motto :)

[ARP, for those who don't know, stands for Associate Reformed Presbyterian, which happens to be the church denomination we belong to. Nice people. Love to eat.]

Today was our church's 43rd birthday and Homecoming Sunday. We did fun music (a jazzy version of "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms") and had a HUGE covered dish afterward. I did wish ardently that I had a camera to let you see the dessert table. Oh my. There must have been about 20-25 items there, cakes, pies, trifle, gooey chocolate, cookies. And the casseroles, salads, etc. As I get older, I like the casseroles better, and the sweets less.

I took this dish. It's so easy, and I LOVE the flavor. This is Paula Deen's:

Corn Salad

2 cans of whole kernel corn, drained
2 cups of grated cheddar cheese
1 cup of mayonnaise (yeah, you read that right)
1/2 cup of chopped green pepper
1/2 cup of diced red onion

Mix these thoroughly and chill in the frig.
Then, right before serving, add:

1 9/5 oz. bag of Fritos, the Chili Cheese flavor. The flavor is important

The corn/cheese/onion flavor combination is wonderful, and the added crunch of the Fritos is yummers.

Unfortunately, today my corn salad had the unappreciated location of being well beyond 1/2 way down the food table. At covered dishes, the first 6 dishes or so, are scraped bare by the end. The further down the table you go, the more leftovers there are. But everyone is so stuffed after the first plate or so, that the leftovers are . . . left over.

Well, I'll enjoy it myself :)

Adam made his matzo bread, and I added a chocolate chess pie to the sagging dessert table.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Walking through Wal-Mart

this evening, I felt a little overwhelmed and over-socialized. TOO MANY PEOPLE. TOO MUCH STUFF.

I had a great longing to live in the country somewhere, and shop a couple of times a week at a tiny little village grocery for about a dozen items.

Sigh.

I am just NOT a city girl. Anybody else ever feel this way?

You can't teach an old dog...

or can you?
Here I am, practicing the organ! I've always wanted to learn, but never had an opportunity. I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Some replies...

Nick - It's been nice to hear from you :) I'll tell my students your advice. Adam says hello.

Marie - I'd like to see a picture of that rosemary bush. (hint) Our two bushes are spindly.

What they did today:

I've always required my students to memorize. It's an uphill battle, and nobody likes it. The parents really hate it, and they fight me on it, but I've remained stalwart.

They used to memorize definitions for vocabulary words for the SAT. Bleck.

Then I moved up to making them memorize literary terms and their definitions. Ick.

Then we moved on to . . . poetry.

So, here's what all my seniors recited today.

That's 34 lines of Shakespeare.

And my 11th graders? They spent today learning how to make a PERFECT Works Cited Page, in MLA format, including how to do an online entry. No easy task. We go through this torturous exercise each semester. Because NONE OF US remembers how it's done :)

On being an introvert

Sister-in-law Anne asked a good question. Am I really an introvert?

Twice, Adam and I have taken a Myers-Briggs personality inventory test (once for work, once for going on the mission field). Both times, I tested as a distinct introvert.

Introversion was explained to me this way: it doesn't mean that you can't do the "crowd" thing, even do it successfully. The criterion is -- does it wear you out. Being around any group of people wears me out - is emotionally and physically draining. Saps the energy. I'm enough of an introvert that I MUST have alone time on a regular basis, a fact that drives my clingy, affectionate hubby a little nuts.

I asked an extroverted friend once, how she felt when she walked into a room of, say, 50 people, whom she didn't know very well. She said it was like walking up to a smorgasbord. She just couldn't wait to talk to everyone. Just being there energized her. She left the evening feeling more perky than when she arrived.

All that to say, I can be perky and chatty. But it wears me out. And being in front of 45 teenagers each day has that effect too. I'm energized by being alone.

That, for some reason, sounds rather sad!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A visit from the Queen

Queen Lacey, that is.

By popular demand:

Clementine Chicken

1 whole chicken, cut up into its parts (You can use any other assortment of chicken pieces that you like, about equivalent to a whole chicken in volume, but I like the assortment of light and dark pieces for flavor.)

Brown the chicken pieces in a large cast-iron skillet, with a good dollop of butter (about the size of an egg).
As the chicken browns, add a few cloves of garlic and some slices of onion. Don't let them burn. Brown the chicken well on its "pretty" side, and then turn.

Place a few sprigs of fresh rosemary on top of the chicken. I prefer this to dried rosemary, because you get the aroma and taste, but can remove later.

Pour 2 glasses of wine into the skillet after you've browned the chicken on both sides well and turned down the heat. Use as much wine as you prefer. I don't use red wine for this because it turns the chicken rather purple.

Place a lid on the skillet if you want to cook it on the stove top, or place the skillet right in the oven on about 300 or so. Cook it gently for 30-45 minutes until fully cooked.

Place the skillet on the burner again, on low, and pour some cream into the skillet to make a gravy with the wine. Do not let the gravy boil or the cream will curdle. I'd add at least 1/2 cup of cream. Don't use low-fat. If you're worried about that kind of thing, don't make this recipe. Thaw out a weight-watchers frozen dinner and call yourself done.

Serve with rice. I try not to turn the chicken pieces any more, after I've browned them well, because you want the tops to be as crispy as possible, and they will get soggy if you pour the gravy on the tops or turn them again.

Eighty years ago today

My daddy was a newborn baby, one day old.

{That's a clever way of saying his birthday was yesterday, and I should have posted this then!}

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

We did visit him last weekend, as you already read. 80 years is a pretty impressive mark for anyone, and we're very proud of and happy about his life, well-spent!

"lucky, lucky woman"

Thank you, Scooter. I need to be reminded. And...it's never too late to go back to school! I had a prof in graduate school who got her doctorate while in her 60s!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

And later that day...

I went this evening to rehearsal for our local community chorus. I spoke with our director, a very nice Southern gentleman-type. He asked if I still taught at my school. I replied, yes, I teach high school English. He said, "What a waste! You should be teaching music!"

Hum. I've never had anyone tell me that my teaching English was a waste. Now, he was only being very sweet, and telling me that I could contribute to the musical world. A pleasant thought. I responded to him that the grading load was rather heavy for me, and he added that there's little grading as such, for a music teacher.

Tempting. I've never had formal vocal teaching, but I could teach piano. Still, I think I would miss the literature. Literature is just academically HEAVY. There's a lot of material, the reading is increasingly difficult for modern teenagers to comprehend or enjoy, and the sheer weight of being responsible for training them to write well and to understand their literary history, is a yoke upon the shoulders.

Why IS teaching so tiring? I ask myself that. I only work 8 hours each day. I have 1 1/2 hours to myself, for planning and grading. I have a large, pleasant room, books around me, a laptop and other tools given to me by the school, well-behaved students who hang on my words. But it's so much harder than sitting at a desk somewhere, or filing or typing. I have to be ON - in charge - I have to constantly know more than they know and be able to answer all their questions. I have to control the classroom with my personality for 1 1/2 hours at a time.

That's hard for an introvert.

I often think I'd rather be a librarian, gathering dust among the bookstacks somewhere.

A Lesson on Work

Here I am, at my desk in my classroom. I work, basically, 7:20-3:15, M-F. Not too bad.

But, unfortunately, discontentment often rears its ugly head with me, and I grumble in myself about going to work. I dont' like getting up early. I don't like being away from home.

Having a nice, aromatic candle in the classroom is helpful. Makes it smell homey. Makes some of my students hungry too, when the scent is "Christmas Cookie."

I'm trying to comfort myself too with a "hotpot." Remember these from college days? This way, I can make hot tea for myself in the winter time, right in my classroom.

A cup given by a former student, a tea bag of Constant Comment. No styrofome or plastic for me; that would ruin the effect.

Our pastor has preached for 2 weeks on our theology of work, and I feel duly reprimanded. I DO view teaching as God's calling on my life. I should not allow myself to be disgruntled with it. It should be a joy, and often is. Only selfishness makes me want to sit on the couch at home, relaxing instead of working. Besides, we need the money, and the kids are all at school.

I think...I think I'd like it better in my classroom if my windows could open, and I could hear the rain and the birds outside.

Clementine Chicken


Okay, so this dinner doesn't look like something from a five-star restaurant, but I wanted to post a pic of our FAVORITE CHICKEN DISH. If I've already done it before, I don't remember, and I have the excuse of the aged.

I got this recipe from the fun book, "Clementine in the Kitchen." That's another issue. But this dish is so easy and yummy. It starts with "butter the size of an egg," and continues with "a glass of white wine." Those are favorable measurements. The gravy is TO DIE FOR. We always make it with rice, and put the gravy in the rice. Last night, Peter ate 3 bowls of the rice, with the gravy. Couldn't get enough in that hollow leg.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

In my spare time

I've been pretty deep into this book, "Bright's Old English Grammar." Adam had this textbook when he took Old English in his single semester of graduate school in Mississippi. It's a rather strenuous study. And goodness, "3rd edition, 2nd corrected printing" - those folks are serious about their book!


Tonight I enjoyed an episode of that great British comedy, "Jeeves & Wooster." We finally bought one season of it, on sale (40% off) at B&N. Maybe I should show a little Jeeves & Wooster to my students before we travel to England in January?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Everybody needs a home...

A Little Light Shopping

Seemed in order this morning. For me, that means a slow stroll through Salvation Army and/or Goodwill. Today, I opted for both. Here's what I found:

These gloves are made by Norstrom, real leather with 100% cashmere lining on the inside. Brand new, they cost 78$
At Goodwill? $1.07. I felt like a thief as I walked out of that store!

These shoes are almost brand new, from LL Bean. $2.00 at Salvation Army. I want to break them in for my England trip.
This was 50 cents. Couldn't resist.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The ups and downs,

of being a teacher:

Up? I went to the local post office today to apply for my new passport!!! Woohoo! In January, I will be going to England with 10 students from school, as the official chaperone. What a lovely lark! We're well into the planning stage, have reserved our airline tickets. I'm so excited (finally). I don't like leaving home, really, but this is what I get to do during our Winterim, 2-week intensive school session. And a new passport - that's a fun thing to have. And I must say that my new passport picture is an improvement over my 1985 version...

Down? Adam told me this afternoon that his group of sixth graders this year had NEVER heard of Samson. You know, Samson in the Bible? Samson and Delila? And this is at a CHRISTIAN SCHOOL. Not a single student in the class. This is indicative of the trend in churches these days not to teach the Bible to children, but to do fun activities, and trendy cultural studies. And it shows the trend of "Christian" families not to take their children to Sunday school, not to read the Bible at home.

Up? Cross Country Practice today. Adam's runners are getting faster and faster, and cutting loads of time off their runs. He's excited about that.

We're off to the grocery, our nearby slightly-upscale WalMart. I'd rather shop like they do in Europe or Japan, at little local stores and markets. But Wally's sure is cheap. Cheap and exhausting.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'm about to go watch...

Sarah Palin's Convention Speech from last night. Have you heard that almost as many Americans tuned in to watch it on TV, as did with Obama's speech? And she's just a VP pick? I'm excited to watch her -- not only because she's a woman (there are plenty of them), but because of the kind of woman she is: articulate, fierce, honest, straight-thinking...but when I look at her, I see someone who could feasibly have been my best friend: soccer (okay, hockey) mom, PTA member, interesting, educated, opinionated, managing a house and a busy job. She resonates with women in America. Okay, so I'm off to watch...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It's time for some COMFORT food

And tonight it's beef stroganoff. Ymmm.
Adam and Julia made the pasta themselves, which was fun. And the old ploy of getting your child to help prepare the food, and it will get them excited about eating it? Worked like a dream. I think Julia used the word "lovely" about 6 times, in reference to this dish.



I am absolutely wiped out after my first 12 days of school. I fell asleep on the couch this afternoon. This ancient body must adjust soon, or else!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

And before the camera died:

We arrived at the mountain home, where much work was done. Philip helped his dear grandmother with some huge rock moving and birdhouse straightening.

Anna played with some ants.

And Grandfather headed to the backyard to begin the Great Brushpile Burning event of the fall. We did burn a lot of brush. Unfortunately, the camera batteries died at that point, so I couldn't show you Philip wielding an axe with a loose head, or both boys heaving large logs onto the fire, or my extremely red face from standing too close to the flames. We had a great time. And we ate 2 meals in one afternoon. Which just goes to show you that Jo Ann can still sling a spatula quite efficiently!

And a few more pics...

of our picnic, which included football throwing, playing in the stream, falling into the fountain (Anna), and eating watermelon generously given to us by another picnicking family:




I'm back!

On our way to the mountains, we stopped at Old Fort, NC, for a picnic at the Andrews Geiser. We had so much fun, and it was great having all 6 of us together on this trip. Here are some fun pics: