Saturday, September 30, 2006

Bedtime Blogging

The Evil Genius family went to a birthday party today for The Original Trouble. Lots of birthday parties to go to, but it's nice. My daughters went to a lot when they were in parochial school, so now that they are being homeschooled, this fills in that void. Actually, it's better because they are better friends with the kids they know now. It's also that oh-so-coveted chance for me to get out and see other adults, and for my husband to do "man stuff" like grunting and watching violent movies. (Love ya, hon!) Anyway, we had a good time today.

We also received some very good news. My sister-in-law is starting a job in this area (a promotion from her previous job) where she will be traveling around between various stores in Northwest Ohio, with our immediate "neighborhood" being the furthest east in her area. They're putting her up in a hotel during the trial period for this job, since she doesn't currently live in this area, and she just found out that her hotel will be a lot closer to us than we had hoped, only a couple of freeway exits away! (I suppose that's the big-city suburbanite way to measure things, "freeway exits.") So we will be seeing more of my sister-in-law, probably even more than we had hoped. That will be very enjoyable.

A pair of readers very shrewdly ascertained that all was not completely kosher in the realm of the Evil Genius, and I was asked about it today. Well, for them and anyone else who's wondering, it's true that the last couple of weeks I've been not quite myself. Some of it is caused by external stressors with no clear end in sight. Some of it you would probably need the DSM to figure out. This kind of thing is hard to just chat about in a blog, and I don't have always everything straight anyway. I do enjoy blogging and sharing stuff with the big wide world, and I like hearing what all of you are up to! So I will keep on trying at my myriad of tasks, and at sharing my own unique take on life, the universe and everything.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Beautiful Colors

The red food coloring did not show up well, but the rest of the carnations turned out very nicely. The green carnation in the red cup is the one where I had split the stem between red and green. But the half of the stem in green broke off, so now the whole carnation is in red. We'll see what the green carnation does now! The green splatter on one of the yellow carnations is where Wildchild got a little too enthusiastic while painting something else!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Classic!

When the Scientist was younger, we did the classic experiment of placing white carnations in water dyed with food coloring, to show how water is pulled up through the stem. Wildchild was too young to really remember the experiment, so we are doing it again now that Wildchild is learning about the parts of a plant. I split a stem in half that has two carnations on it, and stuck half a stem each in two separate colors. I will update you on what happens. Science!

Update! The blue and green colors are already starting to show on the carnations. The carnation on half a stem is also showing some green, although not as much as the one where the whole carnation is in the green water. Here's a photo of the blue carnation, as it is the best picture I could get tonight. I'll get more tomorrow, and maybe the red and yellow will be showing up well then also.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

You Gotta Love...

a man who cooks! My husband found this pizza dough at his last trip to the grocery store. (Yes, he grocery shops too!) So he and the girls had a fun time rolling out the dough, spreading the sauce and cheese and artistically placing the pepperoni. My husband is a born cook, and also well-trained by his Italian grandmother.

C.C. will be donating a lot more money to Strikeouts for Troops after tonight's game, won't he? Go C.C.! Hey, we have to salvage what we can out of this Indians season. Like being the ones to knock the White Sox out of the playoffs. Oh well, there's always the Browns the Cavaliers!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Too Great Not to Share

Since I know many of my readers are interested in baseball, I'd like to let you all know about Strikeouts for Troops, with a hat tip to the Anchoress. You can read about the details on their website, but basically major league players (with a couple minor leaguers) are donating money for our troops being treated at military hospitals. Pitchers are donating per strikeout; hitters per hits, homeruns and RBIs. I'm proud to say that our very own C.C. Sabathia and Matt Miller are involved, although Matt Miller's out for the year, but hey, he did sign up at least. We also have a former Indian, Mr. "That's just Manny being Manny" Ramirez himself. Scottius, Lucy, think you could get Albert Pujols involved for next year? :)

As the Anchoress pointed out, this is something that should be making bigger news, but isn't. Sadly, the Anchoress is not surprised. It would have been nice for the Indians organization to say something about it, unless I just missed it. Anyway, I'm proud of our troops, proud of our Indians, and think this is a great idea.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Everybody's Doin' It

Well, at least the Quipper and the Die-Hard Equestrian are, and since I got such a good result, why not share? I, my friends, am super-cool.

Am I cool or uncool? [CLICK]
You are Super-Cool!
Woah! Step back - the future's so bright for you it's blinding me! You are the coolest of the cool. Everyone looks up to you as the benchmark for being coooool. The fonze was your grandfather. Any cooler and you'd freeze! WOO it's chilly in here.
Cool quizzes at

Perhaps when my husband gets home from work, I will get him to take a picture of me in my shades. After all, the future's so bright...I gotta wear shades. :)


Insomnia sucks
But at least I have written
Another blog post

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Does anyone else think this ironic? I recently heard an ad for an organization that purports to help people be more responsible with their money...followed by an ad for an online company where you can bet on sporting events.

Doesn't it stand to reason that after I stood outside in the cold rain (with an umbrella, at least) and fixed the windshield wipers on our car because I was sure it was going to rain the rest of the day, that it would stop raining?

Why go to a doctor that you don't trust?

I hate incomplete news reports. There was no point in reading online today that two men in chicken costumes were protesting the political debate between Ted Strickland and Ken Blackwell, without hearing what they were actually protesting. I was, on the other hand, informed that the chicken heads were removed before the protesters were put into cruisers by police for blocking traffic. Well, I'm glad they didn't get those chicken heads banged up! I didn't find out until a news report on the radio tonight that they were protesting the exclusion of the Libertarian candidate in the debate. I wasn't, by the way, impressed with either of the two debaters' answers about funding for public schools, at least the clips I heard.

Does anyone else just not care about television programs anymore? I used to get into certain shows, feel interest in the new TV season. Now I just find it all boring. I watch TV when I have absolutely nothing else better to do. I'd rather be posting rambling comments on my blog. :)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Facing Fall

So you guys with kids have all your kids' fall wardrobes together right? You have all your own fall clothes together, right? Ha! Neither do I. :) I bet Kate, however, has got her family's spring wardrobes all set up. :)

Wildchild's TV cartoon comic education has moved on from X-Men to Spiderman. The Scientist's favorite subject is, well, science! Who needs a son?

Other than that, I'm getting back on my feet after being sick. Latin tomorrow morning, and then two glorious days at home!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I'm So Jaded

Frankly, I'm ready to go live here. Not because I'm expecting all heck to break in this country anytime soon, but because being in situations with other people makes me wretched. My husband tells me that, like my Evil Genius moniker states: "Few of your peers know you very well--even those you have known a long time--because you have expert control of the face you put forth to the world." Thing is, I've gotten so good at this expert control that even when I think my feelings are obvious to outsiders, I discover to my surprise that they weren't. I think I'm being totally out there, and instead I'm hiding behind a wall I've built up that I can't even see anymore. I'm a misunderstood social misfit, and I don't want to deal with the hurt anymore. No expectations, no disappointment.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

An Interlude

My next "real" post will be after the big Beer, Brats and Bride fest! In the meantime,

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Merino Wool.You are very easygoing and sweet. People like to keep you close because you are so softhearted. You love to be comfortable and warm from your head to your toes.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

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Which Flower are You?

You are an Iris:You are logical, analytical, dignified, and wise. You are studious by nature and may prefer books to people. You tend to be a serious person but are capable of making others laugh with your dry sense of humor. Friends always benefit from your advice.Symbolism: Over the centuries the iris has come to symbolize faith, wisdom, hope, and promise in love.
Take this quiz!

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More of the Same

I wanted to update everyone that yesterday I received the books I ordered from Book Closeouts. I ordered them late Friday night, so they made it here in good time, and the shipping is not overpriced either, which is how some places with low prices "make up the difference." I did have the items sent UPS; media mail will take quite a bit longer but is of course cheaper!

On the subject of books, what do all you parents with school-age kids think/do on the subject of "reading" in the higher grades? The Scientist devours any book within reach, and her comprehension is fairly good. Is there any more to it than that? She doesn't always see the "deeper meanings" English classes are so fond of; you know, like "What was the author trying to say with the thunderstorm during the argument of the two main characters?" yada yada yada. But I think she's a bit young for that yet. By the way, she's ten, eleven all too soon!

Another question for you Ohioans, or anyone who knows of a good source for maps. I am doing some history of the state of Ohio this year, and I would like to find a good size map that shows important roads, cities, historical places, etc. A road map might work but is really a bit cluttered for what I ideally want. Also it would be great to have a topographical map where the girls could see, for example, how much flatter the land is here in the northern part of the state than down south. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!

On the Big Government front, it is of course the national government's job to get all obese children in this country to lose weight, right? And yet experts are bemoaning the government shutting down "a promising program that portrayed exercise as cool." So let me get this straight, kids are supposed to resist every temptation to smoke cigarettes, but these "slick ads" encouraging kids to exercise were working so well? Of course, the government did basically force cigarette companies to quit running a lot of their "slick ads." Obviously our children just need the proper advertising, and at a cost of $59 million last year, what a steal! State and local projects do seem a little more promising, and more appropriate at the local level, like new bike paths or a community garden. Still, I dislike reading quotes from "experts" that talk about "full-scale" social change being needed. And of course they should be in charge. Sorry, but no. My husband and I will decide how our family should live, thankyouverymuch!

I'm also disturbed by the reaction of a woman's family to her sentence of 8 years for starting a fire in her home and keeping her two daughters inside. Fortunately, neighbors managed to save them. The woman has problems, yes. The family admitted she was schizophrenic and off her meds when she almost killed her daughters. However, I disagree with what her stepfather said: "She needs help more than jail time. You know, I thought the system would rehabilitate people, not incarcerate." Well, if she needs help, where was her family? Why weren't they making sure she was taking her meds? Maybe she shouldn't even be living alone with just herself and her two daughters? For that matter, where is the children's father? Hello, the Criminal Justice System's job is to incarcerate! How can "the system" rehabilitate her? How will they magically insure she takes her meds once she is free? There are plenty of psychiatrists out there, and even financial assistance if you can't afford the payments. Perhaps her family should make sure she starts seeing one when she gets out of the joint. And I say this as a person who has seen mental issues/problems with being off medication/not admitting you have issues at all. But the first responsibility lies with the individual, and then with family/friends when things become difficult for the individual, and they can, and probably will. I wouldn't trust "the system" to "fix" anyone.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Juggling Act

All too quickly, we've gotten back into the busy routine of the school year. Wildchild started ballet today. I don't have a picture yet, but that's okay. She wanted a skirt to wear with her leotard, but I told her to wait and see if any of the other girls had them. They do, so next week she will have her skirt too, plus a bag to carry her shoes and clothes in. At the moment, she is taking the class in the morning. There are mostly children a few years younger, as the children her age are largely in "regular school," but there is another homeschooled girl in there for now. This may change later as this girl has four older siblings at home who are also involved in activities, and the mom juggles the schedule around! We may change Wildchild's classtime then too, although I love having it in the morning and getting it done with, not to mention avoiding the heavier traffic later in the day! Plus working dinner around, say, an activity that starts before 5 or ends after 6.

The Scientist started gymnastics on Saturday. I hate having a Saturday class, but she is in the beginner's level class, and that was the only time there were several other girls her age, and not just a bunch of much younger children (the Scientist is ten.) At least classes at this gym run on something like an eight-week schedule, so we may be able to get a different class next time. I like to leave Saturday completely open for family fun and relaxation.

Then the Scientist has Latin once a week, and Wildchild goes to Brownies twice a month. This isn't really a lot, and I think these activities are useful for the girls, but sometimes it all seems like too much! Of course, part of that is my personality, I suppose. I do need to get out, but mostly I like being at home. I hate it when my time is regulated outside of my own control as well. Yeah, I'm just a control freak. :) There are also some other places we need to go this week in addition to the regular set, which adds to my feeling that we'll be living in the car! :) I'm glad gas prices have gone down, at least!

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Few School-Related Things

First of all, I discovered to my surprise today that Target had a decent selection of school supplies marked down on clearance. I mean basic stuff, like tape, pencils, pens. And scissors! Scissors are always disappearing at our house. I was happy to get a good price on stuff we go through like crazy anyway.

And speaking of good prices, check out the prices on books here! One caveat, their website does not operate in real time, so a book on their site may not actually be available. Five of the six books I ordered were in stock though, so not bad. When I get the books, I'll let you know how their shipping service, etc. was.

Lastly, for those who love to gaze at the sky and the stars, the Astronomy Picture of the Day offered by NASA is always a fun and informative look. Here's some pictures of a lunar eclipse that my girls stayed up late to see with their father in October of 2004. Their mom also spent some time outside watching it. :)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Trying to Escape Punishment

Scottius Maximus says, "Don't do da crime, if you can't do da time." However, the idea nowadays seems to be, do the crime, then try to cop a plea for a reduced sentence. Scottius presents us with the case of the 72-year-old ex-Governor of Illinois, George Ryan, who received six and a half years of jail time for corruption. His lawyer gave a sob story of how his client needed time to be with his family before he dies. Well, he should have thought about that before he lined his own and his buddies' pockets, shouldn't he?

Recently in this area, a man had the stones to stand before a judge to try to get his two-year sentence reduced. He was convicted of dumping his newborn son's body in a quarry. The mother only received six years for killing her son. I think they both got off easy. Stabbing and beating your newborn son to death, then dumping his body, requires a heartlessness I can't understand. Old George Ryan up there is getting worse, and there were no lives lost in his case.

Then, a man on his twelfth convicted DUI kills two teenagers and leaves another to suffer physically, not to mention emotionally. Yet Mr. DUI tells the judge, "I'm not the monster I am made out to be." Fortunately the judge didn't buy it and gave him the maximum sentence, 38 years before being considered for parole.

Wanting to escape punishment is normal, starting as a toddler caught "red-handed." But when you get older, you are supposed to learn to face the consequences of your actions. Aren't you?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Run Run Run!

Yesterday the Scientist had her first Latin class of the 2006-2007 school year. We also needed groceries desperately and the Scientist needed shoes desperately. So we took care of those tasks. I also signed the Scientist up for gymnastics classes. She starts Saturday.

Then today, my sister-in-law and her husband came up to Cleveland for a medical visit. When she was done, I picked up my husband from work and we met for lunch at Don Pablo's. And especially since my in-laws grew up in Youngstown, what could be better for dessert than some yummy Handel's! My brother-in-law was familiar with the store, as he has worked on installing the air conditioning and refrigeration system in every Handel's. As franchises out of Youngstown, I guess they use the same Youngstown firm every time. Here's my great sister-in-law with her loving nieces! Oh, and Lutheran Lucy, this is the sister-in-law who also Loves Lucy. Notice the red hair color!

Then I had to buy tights and ballet shoes for Wildchild, who is taking ballet this year. We had to drive to downtown Craphole Elyria, which I am going to try to never, ever, do again. The traffic is aggravating, the lights are annoying; it was just a pain. But aren't these ballet shoes so cuuuuuuute?

And speaking of ballet, after reading my post about the book Ballet Shoes, a (currently) anonymous blog reader and member of my church loaned me these three books to read to my daughters. I'm looking forward to it, and very thankful for the loan!

Fortunately, I have no place to go tomorrow, so we can really dive into the schoolwork. Not that I haven't been taking advantage of all the time in the car. The Scientist read all of Island of the Blue Dolphins today during our trips around town!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My Labor Day Adventures

Well, I now have some pictures sent to me by the Die-Hard Equestrian, who was kind enough to share the fruits of her labor. So now I can share with you my fun day yesterday! We met her, her parents (Die Steppdecken des Quilter und Die Schreiben von Schreiber), and her little siblings who don't have blogs yet :), at the National Air Show, which is an annual event at Burke Lakefront Airport over Labor Day Weekend. Actually, we sat in the parking lot across the street from the airport, from which we still had a fine view of the airplanes in the sky, although we were woefully ill-prepared with our tailgating supplies. The highlight, of course, was the awe-inspiring precision of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. Here's some pics.

After hanging out for a while waiting for the majority of the crowd to leave the Airshow, we had dinner at Eat 'N' Park with the von Trapp Terrors. :P If the Die-Hard Equestrian had gotten into the picture, she coulda been Liesl, but she preferred to be on the other side of the camera. Oh well. "We hate to go, and miss this pretty si-ight!"

One advantage of having so many kids along, they got their own booth, and the adults (with the exception of Little Trouble and Liesl) had their own booth! Woo hoo! The kids actually behaved rather well, for five enthusiastic young ones between the ages of eleven and four.

And since Heather has asked about the origin of my blog name, it's based on an online quiz which sadly is no longer available. I'd love to see how some of you turned out! However, you can read about it in this post and following comments at baldilock's place. Here's a summary of me: You are an SEDF--Sober Emotional Destructive Follower. This makes you an evil genius. You are extremely focused and difficult to distract from your tasks. With luck, you have learned to channel your energies into improving your intellect, rather than destroying the weak and unsuspecting.

Your friends may find you remote and a hard nut to crack. Few of your peers know you very well--even those you have known a long time--because you have expert control of the face you put forth to the world. You prefer to observe, calculate, discern and decide. Your decisions are final, and your desire to be right is impenetrable.

You are not to be messed with. You may explode.
Since the above is all too accurate, I started calling myself the Evil Genius, and thus this blog! Don't you feel better now that you know?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Let's Talk Cleveland

Had a very nice day today, but I will talk more about that when I get some pics emailed to me. I was too lazy and disorganized today to bring a camera along on our adventures.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a frustration of mine. My youngest daughter has become interested in Balto, the lead sled dog on the last leg of an urgent trip to get diphtheria serum to Nome, Alaska. She recently watched the movie loosely based on his adventures. As I feared, the scene where men are crafting coffins for children who might die due to the disease was a little unsettling, but not overwhelming.

Anyway, we took a trip to the bookstore to fill in a few holes left in the homeschool curriculum, and I bought my daughter an "early reader" type book about Balto. Now why do so many books and web articles talk about a statue of Balto put up in New York City, but do not talk about how the city of Cleveland put together $2,000 (in the 1920's) in the space of two weeks to rescue Balto and his teammates from a vaudeville owner who was mistreating them? The dogs then happily lived out the rest of their lives at the Cleveland Zoo, and the Cleveland Musuem of Natural History now has Balto's body, which has been stuffed, periodically on display. I suppose they don't think little kids should read about Balto being mistreated, but why not give Cleveland some credit here? We need all of it we can get!

As a matter of fact, I discovered that the Cleveland Museum of Natural History will be having a presentation early next year about Balto's trip. Ironically, it is on Wildchild's birthday, which is also the day the sled dog team finally pulled into Nome with the serum. At least my daughter will have something to associate with her birthday beside Groundhog's Day! I'm thinking a homeschool trip to the presentation might be fun. Anyone else think so?

Saturday, September 02, 2006


For a team that's not going anywhere this year, the Indians are sure giving us a show! Tonight Kevin Kouzmanoff became only the third player in Major League history to hit a grand slam in his first major league at bat, and the first one to hit it off of the first pitch. Wow. Good thing mom and dad were there to see that.

And Mastny has shown he has the chutzpah for a closer, for sure! I didn't see that close call at the plate, but Mastny still deserves props for keeping himself together.

I thought the season was dead, but our Tribe keeps pulling out more surprises for us! Good for them for their hard work.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Working at It

I've been promising that I would share more about my homeschool dilemma, but I just haven't known how to explain it. I've been thinking it over, and even found some mothers online who are or have sent their children to public school although they think homeschooling is optimal. That has helped me focus my own thoughts and made me feel braver about expressing this. I have been to homeschooling blogs that say, if you can't homeschool your kids, there's something wrong. It helped to hear from other moms who said, we were having a problem at the time and here's why.

First of all, I am not a very organized person. I find it hard to implement a schedule on my own, although when I was a student and even in the work force, I managed working with an externally imposed schedule. Now I know I can improve my organizational skills, work on creating a schedule, etc. But I still feel my abilities will be below those to whom this sort of thing comes naturally, and I think these skills are important for effective homeschooling.

Also, I just don't feel like my personality as a teacher is optimal for my children's as students. Sure, I did help them learn things throughout baby- and toddlerhood, but in many ways their father, for example, is much better at explaining things to them, getting a point across. This can lead to a lot of butting of heads during teaching which makes things more difficult and less enjoyable. I'm also a real introvert, and I need lots of alone time. The girls are not always good about working on their own, and I am sometimes frustrated about all the direct supervision I still have to give them.

The other side of this is, my daughters, the Scientist especially, did not always thrive in a school environment either. The Scientist attended a Lutheran school from preschool to second grade, and she had the same problem throughout: concentrating on her work. She always had trouble getting her work done on time, and of course the higher up in grade she went, the more important it became. There were other things we were dissatisfied with, but this is the one that would plague her in any school environment. We're working on it with her, but we her parents are much more suited to tackle this than a teacher with twenty or so other students.

Wildchild, well, she suits her name. She finds it hard to sit still. She is not as in to learning for its own sake as the Scientist; she needs to have an extra bit of interest, such as the book we went through last spring about princesses. She likes princesses, so the stories kept her attention. I can't always make it "fun" for her though, and when she doesn't want to learn something, she fights me tooth and nail. And some things just can't be put off. Like say, reading. I'm not sure how she would do in an outside school environment. Probably get in trouble all the time for talking too much and not sitting still.

The teaching content part is not actually that much of a problem! My husband and I balance each other well in that regard. He is a computer science geek and mathematician; he also thought of majoring in physics and was a lab assistant in high school chemistry. I studied German and Spanish in high school and college, I was good at English, I've written copy and proofread text, I've studied a little piano and art, and I come from a very artistic family. Oddly enough, I feel I could probably teach them through most of high school with my husband's help, and there is a community college right down the street to fill in the few gaps. It's just our personalities and styles that are an issue!