Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Night Out, Mom Style

I went shopping for some fabric Monday night, at the store where the Quilter works. (By the way, did you know this blog recently came up #11 on by someone searching for "steppdecken Amerikanische comforter"?) Anyway, here's the fabric I bought. Now I need to get busy and make stuff with it!

After shopping, I took the Quilter out to Steak 'N Shake to celebrate her birthday. Mmmm, milkshake! We enjoyed our "girl time" so much that we didn't leave until after midnight!!

Glad the month of February is almost done.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Poking My Head Out

Yes, I'm still alive. No, I'm not doing my best, but I'm trying to pick myself up and dust myself off and start over again. Not much exciting going on here, mostly because I haven't been doing very well. My new medicine is knocking me out too much; I took a quarter of a pill last night and was drowsy for fifteen hours. Enough of that nonsense! I don't want to be a blog about depression or mental illnesses; I'll leave that to blogs like I Trust When Dark My Road. But when aspects of my mental state are affecting my life so much, I have to bring it up. Hope ya'll hang with me.

All is pretty mellow here at the moment. Even our cats, who don't all get along with each other, are all content and happy at the moment, because their bellies are full of tuna. My husband had some tuna and mayonnaise, and of course at the first whiff of tuna, the cats demanded their share. So now five members of my household have tuna breath. Oy.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Change of Pace

Today the four of us got to have lunch with my sister-in-law and her husband, who were in Cleveland. We went to Joe's Deli in Rocky River, home of the super-size sandwiches. This is half of the sandwich they serve you.

They did have a macaroni-and-cheese and fish special today for all you Catholics out there. :)

One of the nice things about homeschooling is the ability to do impromptu activities like this in the middle of the day. I'm also getting used to having the girls around me pretty much 24/7. They understand they need to give mommy her "alone time", but I'm dealing better with their presence.

After lunch, the girls and I ran a few errands. We picked up a catechism for the Scientist to use in her First Communion class. That was an interesting experience, as the church supply store we went too has closed their retail store and is mostly working out of a warehouse in the basement of the building. Fortunately, we were still able to get what we needed. Drat these translations! ;) I already had two different translations of Luther's Small Catechism at home; now we have three.

Then we ran to Michael's for a few crafty things and decorations for St. Pat's Day and Easter. Last item was the grocery store. I was glad to get home, but it was nice to get out today for a little, especially the lunch. Wish my sister-in-law lived here in town again, hint hint! ;)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Parental Angst

When, oh when, did my cute little daughter who looked like this

turn into my preteen this??

Oh, the joys of being a parent! Ah well, this too shall pass. I can only look forward to when my daughter has a daughter. (evil grin)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hard at Work

The sun is shining. The snow is melting. Hopefully, yesterday was the last day that we will feel so tired and worn-out getting over colds. We've already gone to Latin class this morning, then had the traditional Wednesday Lunch with Papa. Here we can see Wildchild and the Engineer working on their own schoolwork while their older sisters were in Latin class.

Now that we're home, the girls are buckling down to more schoolwork, and I'm getting caught up on stuff, including computer stuff, of course! Later comes ballet, then a quick dinner, then Ash Wednesday service.

I'm evening out on my new medication. Hopefully this will work for me. Today, the sunshine is helping too.

Monday, February 19, 2007

We're Having a Heat Wave

It's a balmy 42 degrees (6 Celsius) today! The snow is getting slightly mushy, and very packable, because it's starting to melt a little. Perfect for a...snowball fight!

Wildchild tries to stockpile ammo.

Mark Price for threeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Oh, um, the driveway got shoveled a little too.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

News From the Front

It's snowing. Like we need more snow. Oh, it's nice for my daughters and all that, it's just such a struggle to keep our driveway clear, and driving is difficult enough already with all the big piles of snow lying 'round. I want, I need to get out of the house, but I'm having problems finding ways to do it. And with all this white stuff, I'm become less and less motivated to get out, despite the fact that it would do me a lot of good! I guess I'm just blue.

My husband got me a few nice pressies for Valentine's Day, including an insulated cup, so I can take hot chocolate with me anywhere I go. I'm just not a coffee or a tea person. I have way too much of a taste for sweets. Things that my husband declares are way too sweet, I suck down without a problem. And Barb, I'm putting you on notice. I will be watching this cup when you are around. Susan, I'd worry about you if you were closer. Or I was closer to you! (shuts eyes and dreams of Florida)

Where was I? Anyway, there's some interpersonal stuff I'm struggling with right now, but I can't really talk about that, since it doesn't concern just me. Let's just say I feel like a fish out of water right now. Not sure where I fit in, where I belong. That tends to happen to me. I think I have good relationships, and then things seem to unravel, and I'm not sure why. My doctor also put me on some new medication that knocked me out all night and most of today, and caused me to have a long string of really strange dreams. (grumbles at doctor)

Grumble, grumble. Even something like ice skating is difficult right now, considering how far away the nice rinks are and how crowded the rink(s) are likely to be when I can take the girls along. And I love ice skating. For me, it's the closest thing to flying. Maybe I should dig a spot out in the back yard and run the hose for a while... (shuts eyes and dreams of ice skating.) And no, that's not me ice skating!

For right now, I'm hanging in there the best I can, surfing the net on my laptop and cranking music out of WinAmp that my husband just installed for me. And soon, I will be sampling hot chocolate-y chip goodness out of the oven. Yum. Hot chocolate chip cookies. What could be better on a cold day?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

On the Road

I had to venture out today, because the Scientist and I had doctors appointments. Wildchild loves doctors appointments, because she gets to sit in the kids' waiting area and watch kids shows until we are done.

The roads were not too bad today, especially the main roads. I was a little nervous leaving our street because I had to pull out blind. You can't see the left side of the street you go out onto right now past the big pile of snow. I was also surprised on the way home, when the four line highway right by our house suddenly into a three lane highway. The fourth lane was blocked by a gigantic mound of snow. Our driveway could also stand to be in better shape, despite a kind neighbor using his snowblower on part of it. It drifted pretty badly over that part of the drive.

I try not to talk about my mental ordeals too often, because some of my family thinks I'm a nutcase as it is, and they dismiss me as hopeless at the same time as they are telling me to just get myself together. Well, they were when I was still talking to them... Anyway, I just wanted to share that I'm taking a new direction in my struggles, with my doctor's help. That's a good thing. Sometimes I'm not sure I really want to hope again, when I've felt so many times that things would never get better. I guess Christians are just used to living in hope, huh?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Winter Is Here

with a vengeance. Last night.

This morning.

My husband called his supervisor to tell him he would work from home today because he couldn't get out of the driveway. Supervisor said he's also working at home today for the same reason. I don't think anyone has left our street today. Is it strange that I am thinking about the financial impact this might cause? I bet not as many people will be going out for dinner tonight. And if you waited until the last minute to get your sweetheart something for Valentine's Day, you might be in trouble...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Little Silliness

For a miserably cold, windy, snowy day. It feels like -9 outside, or -20 Celsius for my non-U.S.A. buds. :) I wanted to go out, but it's too cold to do so. Will I be stuck at home forever???

Happy Hearts Day

So all you chicks reading this blog, are you expecting anything from your boyfriend or husband tomorrow? Do you like to celebrate Valentine's Day? Or do you look at it as just another holiday thought up by the greeting card companies?

Husbands and boyfriends, does tomorrow fill you with dread? Do you know you're expected to come through with something to commemorate the day, but you know already it won't be good enough?

The cynical part of me wants to think tomorrow is just a day for florists to make extra money. The prideful, independent part of me wants to think that of course my husband and I don't need to do anything for Valentine's Day. We know we love each other, right?

However, there's the other part of me that knows that marriage is important, and wants to nurture it. Not that this needs to be done with expensive gifts or a fancy dinner. But why not celebrate love, on the day that is ostensibly all about love?

The International Women's Forum is promoting tomorrow as a day to Take Back the Date. Sounding very much in line with the premise about modern culture featured in The Thrill of the Chaste, the IWF's research has found that "college relationships are more often nothing more than awkward drunken make-out sessions." Ones that don't lead to anything further, but fill an inner longing, at least for a moment. So in contrast to modern feminists who want to make Valentine's Day all about their private areas, the IWF encourages women to let men act like gentlemen, for men to take women out on dates that involve more than the physical, to buy them flowers, open doors for them. Even to ask a guy out yourself if you are interested in him.

Yes, I know my husband loves me. But I like being taken care of by my husband. I like that he has chocolate stashes hidden away for me for those bad days. I like it that he will make me up a big chocolate milkshake, with chocolate shavings and an attractive dusting of cocoa powder, for those extra bad days. However he shows his love for me tomorrow, I need to appreciate it, and be thankful to God, that He brought us together and helps keep us together, and to my husband, that he wants to make me happy and take care of me. (Although, since my husband works for a major greeting card company, with a large greeting card store right inside the building, that ALSO offers fresh flowers, he really has no excuse. Love ya, hon!)

Women, we also need to take care of our men. They may not want a large bouquet or flowery card, but we can and should show our husbands that we love them. Maybe lots of big hugs, or a bottle of scotch. :)

Of course we should be showing love every day! But we're human; we all have bad days when we're grumpy or sick or tired or stressed. Why not take advantage of a day made to show love, and really show the man or woman in our life that we care? God is love, after all. Let's enjoy the gift that God has given to us, of loving and being loved.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Birthday Girls

Okay, they're going to kill me, and I know that at least one of my sisters-in-law reads here now, but Happy Birthday to my two sisters-in-law, Faith today, and Hope yesterday. Here's hoping they both enjoyed their special day. Even though we can't see each other as much as we would like, my in-laws are always there when you need them. I can't believe how quickly the years have gone by. Hope and I recently decided we met for the first time about seventeen years ago. Glad I married into the family!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

For the Presbytera

And anyone else who likes purple, really.
You Are Lavender

You are a sweet person with a very soft personality.
People become easily entranced with you. They seem to glow around you.
You have a quiet energy that can keep you active late into the night.
Even if you aren't the life of the party, you definitely keep the party going.

Friday, February 09, 2007

This Is Really Good

Monty Python Holy Grail. Done in LEGO brand building blocks.

Help Me Understand This

This article in Newsweek (via NewsBusters) caught my eye because it focuses on the Greater Cleveland area, where I happen to live. However, what I seem to get out of it is: "America is in trouble because we don't have enough socialist programs, the minimum wage is too low, and it's all the fault of the eeeevil George Bush." Otherwise, I don't really know what the point of this article is.

Let's start with the sub-title: "For the first time, poverty shifts to the U.S. suburbs." For the first time? Sorry, I don't buy that. To begin with, the two families discussed in the story are facing hard times because the wage earner(s) in the family are currently out of work. Yeah, I grew up in one of the nicest suburbs in Greater Cleveland, and we went through a lot of hard times when my father was out of work, too. In the end, my father ended up starting his own business because he couldn't find a job, and that left our family financially straitened for a time. To be honest, our family was never well-off. The only thing my family splurged on was a parochial school education for my two sisters and I. I'm not sure what the financial threshold was in the early 80's, but when I was attending high school, we even went through a time where I was eligible for free lunches at school, and we also received some food from the government.

Moving on to the first paragraph, we discover that our first token victim was making almost double what our Democratic saviors in Congress want to change the minimum wage to. So changing the minimum wage would help him how? Oh wait, his real problem is that he has no "safety net." No nearby food pantry, job retraining center or low-cost health clinic. Oh, how can those evil Republicans be so cruel? Okay, he was a 38-year-old fork-lift operator. Maybe he should have working on increasing his skills on his own before then? Or does that just make me cold-hearted? On top of the other problems, public transportation is "inadequate." I suppose we should just create a public transportation system that runs through every little nook and cranny of the suburbs, whether or not it is economically viable. We can just take the money out of taxes, after all. Then it won't matter whether the system makes money! After all, this poor man couldn't get a job in another suburb because the bus ride would be three hours each way. But he already has (or had) a car, and if he got a new job, couldn't he afford gas and car insurance again? Or at least after he'd been working for a while?

Then we move on to find out that for the first time, more Americans in poverty live in the suburbs than cities. This is a little different than the article's sub-title implies, and it only makes sense, at least in the Cleveland area. The city of Cleveland has long been built-up, while there has been lots of building in the suburbs. The house where I grew up, in which my mother still lives, has long since ceased to be "stylish" and the neighborhood does not house the same economic class as it did when I grew up. People have moved on to bigger, newer houses, further and further out. This can be seen as unfortunate, but unless we want to dictate to people where they can live, it will happen.

Next, we find out that the nation's manufacturing sector is "contracting," whatever that means. We don't get an explanation of why this is happening, however. Perhaps because our country has chased out much of its manufacturing, with high taxes and complicated laws?

Our next victim family ran into problems after only one month, when the mother was laid off of her job at a grocery store, and the father missed a month of work with a heart attack. From when my sister worked at a grocery store, I know grocery store workers usually make more than minimum wage rather quickly, so again raising the minimum wage would be moot here. And again, this is a family going through difficult times, for less than three months when this article was written. I would classify this very differently from "poverty." My husband could not find a job in his field for eight months during 2002, and things were very difficult for us financially. But we're doing our best now to recover and get ahead. And we live in the suburbs!

I can't even begin to comprehend this "living wage" versus "minimum wage" nonsense. As I pointed out already, none of the people above were likely to have been making minimum wage anyway. So were they making a "living wage"?

Every family will go through hard times when unemployment hits, and it will probably hit every family at some point. But this article offers no real hope at all, nothing but a sad picture of how hard life is without a socialist "safety net." Can we get a story next time about families who are making it?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Why a Third Party May Not Make It

Because people are too invested in themselves. Clayton Cramer (scroll down to Feb 7) marvels how Professor Volokh, of the Volokh Conspiracy, can claim to be a libertarian and yet defend making the HPV virus mandatory. Basically, what it boils down to is that people want to have the ability, as one commenter put it, to "screw like rabbits with a coke habit" without consequences. It's not enough for people to, you know, limit their sexual activities, perhaps even remain virgins until marriage. Or take the consequences for their own actions. Nope, we all have to get a vaccine, so that the disease can be wiped out and people can think they're safe while they keep doing whatever they want to do.

Yes, there are people who are against vaccines, period. Let's put that aside, if we can, for the moment. There are people out there who not only want mandatory vaccinations, paid for by the public, that have not been adequately tested for those in the target mandatory group, but some commenters there want minors to be able to get the vaccine without their parents' knowledge or permission. We as parents apparently don't have "rights" over our children. Just the responsibility to feed them, clothe them, house them, educate them, pay for any mishaps they do get into getting an abortion, contracting a disease, whatever. As the Chaplain wrote, man is not perfectible. People are showing an increasing willingness to dive headfirst down the slippery slope, and I don't think there's much chance of pulling the country back. Am I a wee bit cynical? Probably. But if you're going to argue I am, I need some really compelling reasons why.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Balancing Act

Yeah, you've heard it before. You live it. I'm just trying to do better at my current responsibilities, such as teaching the girls, keeping up with the house, running errands. I'm trying to spend more time with my husband and have just fun time with my children. I'm also trying to take better care of myself, and exercise. I'm also trying to do more fun things I enjoy. Think that's enough? (big grin) I can't do everything, can I? Can I?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Thrill of the Chaste

Tonight I was privileged to meet Dawn Eden, author of The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On. I have been reading Dawn's blog off and on for several years, and her blog is where I first heard about her book. Although Dawn and I are the same age, we are in very different places in our lives, but reading descriptions and excerpts from her book struck a chord with me. Unlike Dawn, I was brought up in the Christian faith by my parents, specifically Lutheranism. However, I had my own struggles living the chaste life. My parents' marriage fell apart just as I started college, leaving my mother absorbed in her own problems and cynical about men. I have always had a messed-up relationship with my father; I don't know if it can ever be healed in this life. Everything I've learned about men, I've mostly had to learn through the patient tutelage of my husband. Despite troubled family relationships, I know I am responsible for everything I have done wrong; thanks be to God that Jesus took the punishment for all of my sins. This is just my long way of explaining my interest in her book despite thirteen and a half years as a happily married woman; due to my own past, I seek a deeper understanding of living a life of chastity when it is part of God's will for us. And as the mother of two young girls, I would like to be able to really be able to talk to my daughters as they go through adolescence and young adulthood, and say more than "Don't do it until marriage, because God says so."

Dawn spoke tonight at St. Therese Church in Garfield Heights, and was sponsored by Fr. John Valencheck and St. Rose Young Adult Group. I felt a little bit strange there, 'cause, well, I'm not Catholic. However, I know we share many common beliefs as Christians, including a belief that God's gift of sexual intimacy is only meant for marriage. And since I've read Dawn's blog for so long and had an interest in her book, I wanted to take this opportunity to meet her IRL. :)

I also got to meet local blogger Saint Kansas; both he and Dawn were very nice and welcoming. He worked with Dawn on the YouTube video you can watch here. I'm hoping I'll get to meet Saint Kansas (and his wife?) sometime again in this great city.

And let me give a shout-out to Lilac Rose, aka Susan B. I know I found St. Kansas' blog via hers, and I'm pretty sure her blog is how I found Dawn's. Someday I hope to meet her in person as well.

And for Dawn, Saint Kansas, and anyone else who stops in, here once again is the origin of my blog name! It's based on an online quiz which sadly is no longer available. 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, February 05, 2007

This Is Awesome

As in the sense of inspiring awe. What a beautiful thing God's creation is. This pic is the Astronomy Picture of the Day, but I am linking directly to the photographer's website so the pic can be seen after today. I remember once seeing a thunderstorm coming in over Lake Erie, and it was a beautiful sight, but nothing like this once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Fireworks, lightning and a comet in one place.

You might want to bookmark the APOD. It's especially nice for those keenly interested in stars, black holes, nebulas, planets, all those fascinating things out there.


So right now it is 3 degrees Fahrenheit here, or -16 for you Celsius folks. Brrr. Schools and daycares are canceled all over Northeast Ohio, and I imagine lots of parents had to take off work to stay home with the kids normally at school or daycare. It is indeed a great day to curl up in a warm comforter with a mug of hot chocolate nearby. Hope all of you living up here in the Great White North are taking care of yourselves and your loved ones. Today's weather is only fit for...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Don't Say I Never Gave You Anything

So who's taking me out for ice cream? :)

For the Scientist

Since my daughter is a Colts fan (because they have a horse name), here are a couple of videos for her.

This one has a former Survivor cast member in it.

Da Bearsss

Until the Super Bowl actually starts, here's something for you to watch!

The Amplified Bears Super Bowl Shuffle:

Friday, February 02, 2007

Birthdays and Such

Today was One of Those Days. For the adults, anyway. But I think Wildchild had a good day, and that is the important thing, in the end. What would a birthday be without pizza,

cake (ice cream cake, difficult to cut)

and prezzies (winking at Kate.)

The Wildchild brought excitement to our lives right away, when it was discovered that she was sideways and needed to be delivered by C-section. This is why I am wearing the cap in the picture; I was still in the recovery room.

The Scientist loved her new little sister.

She was baptized so she could become a daughter in God's family as well.

Since then our family has made a lot of great memories together, and we are thankful for the happiness we have had.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Well, following a very spirited political discussion, you can still color me unimpressed. Of course, that's my opinion, but then, this is my blog. :) If I want throat-cutting, back-biting, devious, scheming sharks, I think I'll stick with Ugly Betty.

Tomorrow will be very busy, between a homeschool field trip and celebrating Wildchild's birthday. What really matters.