Saturday, March 31, 2007

I Guess I'm Not a Christian

At least from the point of view of some as expressed by this blogger, who explains in greater detail James Dobson's statement that Fred Thompson is not a Christian, in that Thompson is not an evangelical Christian. Reading this blogger's explanations on how baptism can rate below asking Jesus into your heart, making a decision, etc., makes me sick to my stomach. It takes me back to one of the worst times in my life, when a teacher at my Lutheran high school was pulling the same song and dance, that being a Christian or not depended on what I did, not what God did for me. I was miserable, upset, confused almost to the point of insanity, wondering if I was pleasing God, if I meant my prayers, if I was really a Christian when I couldn't point to an experience in my life when I was "saved." I knew deep down I didn't need one experience to point back to in order to "prove" my Christianity, but I still felt like I must not measure up in God's eyes. Well, if my Christianity, my standing with God, my eternal future, depend on what I do; then I'm eternally doomed, because I can't do anything on my own. All my righteousness, all my "sinner's prayers," all my "decisions" are as filthy rags before the one true and righteous Judge. Instead, I am clothed with Christ through baptism, united with him in His death and His resurrection, and I daily put off the old man and put on the new. Simul iustus et peccator.

I'm Not Just Evil, I'm Sinister

I enjoy hand sewing, finding it very relaxing, and I'm trying to get into more hand sewing and embroidery as my daughters are involved in more activities where I am sitting around waiting for them to be done. As I have worked on increasing my hand sewing proficiency over the years, the book in this picture has been a great help, since sewing for me is backward from the way you so-called "normal" people do it. I'd like to find a book on doing embroidery stitches left-handed, because I'm experiencing frustration trying to make attractive stitches right now. Maybe it just needs practice.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Ho Hum

Life seems a little bit boring right now. I'm getting a lot done, cleaning and organizing the house, and sewing some spring and summer clothes for the girls, but nothing exciting is happening on that front. I plan on posting pics of some of the clothes I make for the girls, and also my new sewing/doll room when I get moved in and get it set up, but there is not much going on on that front.

I'm looking forward to Easter, but with the weather looking like we may get snow on Easter Sunday, maybe the girls should re-wear their Christmas dresses! It's pretty much official that it will just be the four of us for Easter dinner, which is nice, but then again not out of the ordinary. At least we won't need to buy a big ham.

I've been sleeping too much, again, so I've cut back on my medication, again. Between that and my computer dying periodically, blog time has been cut back. But it looks like my husband has fixed the computer problem, and if I can stay awake and active, blog time should be going back up.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

New Toy

My technology-loving husband is taking the opportunity of a new cell phone contract to upgrade our cell phones. I got the first new phone, and although I was hesitant to change over from my "tried-and-true," I have to admit I like this new phone a lot. It can take pictures and video, and also play MP3s! Oh yeah, and you can make phone calls on it. I suppose I will be busy for a while now learning how to use it, but I think I will enjoy all the features of this phone, once I figure them out!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

One of Ours

Via The Dawn Patrol, a great musical answer to Al "Mr. Electric Bill" Gore, done by fellow Clevelander Saint Kansas.

Postal Problems

Our mail carrier was too lazy or too much in a hurry to get out and walk up to our front stoop to drop off a Priority envelope, so now the over-a-hundred-year-old picture I bought off of ebay has a nice crease down the middle, from where the mail carrier bent the envelope to fit it into the box. Grrr.

Monday, March 26, 2007

More Cat Blogging

While I'm on the subject of cats, let me introduce you to Callie and Champ, mother and son. Callie loves to drink out of the faucet in the tub, and whenever one of us humans heads upstairs, she vocalizes that she would like a drink. And since I'm guessing that she has some Siamese in her, based on her body type and the fact that she has calico coloring just where a Siamese would have "points", she can vocalize with the best of them.

Here's a picture of Champ's adorable face.

Next, we have Molly, who knows how pretty she is. Unfortunately, she is very high-strung, probably as a result of bad experiences we don't know about from her previous home. We got her as an adult.

Our last cat is Cedric, who not only knows how pretty he is, he likes to pose and have you tell him that he is pretty. He is the old man of the house, 14 years old.

And here is Tabitha, a cat we took in for a short period of time many years ago. This picture is soooo cute I had to throw it in. She got onto the porch of my daughter's dollhouse all by herself.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I'm Having an ADD Day

I feel like I'm being pulled in about twenty different directions. I can't do this until I do this but I can't do that until I do this. I'm going to wander up to my sewing room in a bit and just cut out clothing pieces, I think. And then pray I get the pieces sewn together before the kids outgrow the clothes. :P

Friday, March 23, 2007

Furry Friends

I'm saddened by the loss of pet animals, and the almost absolute certainty that more will be lost. I'm very disturbed by the fact that the pet food that is killing animals appears to have had rat poison in it. I'd like to make my animals' own pet food, but I don't always have the time or energy to make home-cooked meals from scratch for my own human family. Still, does anyone know a good recipe for home-made cat food?

In memory of my dear Hobbes, who we euthanized at age 7 due to kidney failure, seven years ago.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Round and Round the Blogosphere

From the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, a case that makes me worry about the fate of Germany. A woman wants a speedy divorce from her husband (both come from Morocco) because her husband has beaten her and threatened to kill her. Guess what religion they are? However, the judge did not see this as a hardship case worthy of overthrowing the normally required one year between separation and divorce. Siting the Koran, the judge basically said, "Hey, men from your cultural background beat their wives all the time. No biggie." Such wonderful support for multi-culturalism and freedom of religion makes me want to barf.

From the The Wide Awake Cafe, another German denizen should be put to death, or so the activists for so-called "animal rights" say. Yes, just because a baby polar bear's mother has abandoned it, Knut, a polar bear cub who lives in the Berlin Zoo, should be killed instead of being hand-raised. Where do they find the loony bins who could advocate for the death of an animal? Well, I suppose if you keep in mind that many of these people call for the death of unborn humans, and that PETA routinely kills shelter animals (see this YouTube video for just some of the information that is out there), I guess it's not really that surprising. Language warning on the video.

Lastly, from JunkYardBlog, an interesting set of ideas on why perhaps we should rethink the decriminalization of marijuana. Now, I agree with Ace of Spades that "the plural of anecdote is not data," but I coulda told you a long time ago that marijuana fries your brain after talking to the sister of a guy who used it. He'd basically wiped his memory, not being able to remember such things as his own high school graduation, or going to visit his sister in the hospital after she gave birth. A former co-worker of my husband's, when he waited tables, went from straight A high school student, to high school dropout, to stripper, to waiting tables after getting pregnant while high (the stretch marks pretty much ended her stripping career). Props to her for having her child, though, and she and her husband (and the father of her baby) did try hard to be good parents. Now of course, libertarians also want to do away with the nanny state, but in the meantime, we might also want to think about the effect of kids throwing away their futures and ending up on the dole because of indulging in a so-called "harmless" drug.

And from yours truly, just because it's fun, some rehearsal footage from Phantom of the Opera on YouTube, with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. Very cool, if you love or even like the Phantom musical!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Little Discussion

I'm very tired. I spent most of the day running, put over 100 miles on the car today alone. All important things that were accomplished, but still, I'm worn out. So here's a little something I've been thinking about. Was there any class in high school that you still find of practical value today? For me, it's touch typing, for obvious reasons! It helps so much when blogging and IM'ing. Not to mention all the papers I wrote in high school and college that I typed. Did you know that I'm so old, that when I started college, I used an *actual typewriter*? No, really! By the time I graduated, though, the college had a computer lab.

Somehow, my husband, who works on computers for a living, has managed to create his own sort of touch typing. Kind of the Christopher Columbus method, find a key and land on it. I didn't make that one up! No, really!

I did take computer programming in high school, so I guess I can't be *that* old. Okay, it was on an Apple IIe, and we learned BASIC, but still. It helped later on when I actually had a job programming in COBOL. Yes, I'm ashamed to admit that. :)

What about what high school class(es) you most enjoyed, helpful or no? I enjoyed history classes, for the most part, and German and Spanish. I've used my German and Spanish, even went on to major in German and minor in Spanish in college. I don't know what I would have done with them, but I've used them in lots of non-career scenarios. And I'm teaching my daughters German now, so that's useful. I got to know my husband partially by being his German TA, which was *very* useful! ;) Plus the ten-week trip to Germany/Austria. I probably would have learned most of the history on my own, because of my own weird interests in reading. But I suppose it's just as well they be required, for those who don't/won't read on their own.

The classes I think were the least useful, you can guess, were the math and science classes. As a matter of fact, I forgot all the formulas I was supposed to learn for chemistry before I even took the final. Which is why I flunked the final. I think I would do better in science and math classes today if I re-took them. I have more life experience, and being around my math and science geek husband for so many years now does not hurt. Actually, I wonder if style of teaching does not contribute something, because I actually did fairly well in Algebra II. Of course, I don't remember any of it now. Explain to me again why we need advanced math and science courses for everyone?

Oh Good Grief!

Why, oh why, oh why, oh why, must President Bush's every move be met with such major upheaval? Unless you people hadn't noticed, we're in a war here!!! Once again, what you do is only wrong when you have an R after your name.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pet Food Recall

This pet food recall in the U.S, with over 90 brands of cat and dog food listed, concerns me. Thank God, our cats are not affected. It still makes me wonder. Will we be told the source of the contaminated product when all is said and done? Why will the FDA not identify the supplier of the wheat gluten? Is it paranoid to wonder exactly how this contamination occurred? In the meantime, I feel sad for all the people who have lost beloved pets due to this.

Article above via Lucianne.

I Love Being Lutheran

I know not everyone who reads here is Lutheran, so those of you who aren't can just disregard this post, but Dan at Necessary Roughness has just posted a great essay on the good points of being Lutheran that I wanted to share with those of you readers who are also.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

My Visual DNA

Via Lilac Rose.

Signs of New Life

Like there is at Scottius Maximus' place, there are signs of new life outside our house. My crocuses are starting to appear. For some reason, it is especially pleasant this year to think about spring appearing, with the promise of warmer weather, and summer to come!

My husband is also bringing his garage/workshop back to life. Tonight he finished staining the first of a set of three endtables.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Just in Case

Maybe I really could homeschool my kids through high school! :)
You paid attention during 100% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

Happy St. Patrick's Day

If today wasn't a Saturday, and the weather so cold, we might consider heading to downtown Cleveland to check out the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. As it is, there will probably be a lot more drunken idiots downtown than usual. We can just watch it on television, if we want. One of my grandparents was Irish. Woo hoo!

Check out the Aardvark for a history of St. Patrick's life. And from, some origins of words commonly associated with this holiday, like shamrock, leprechaun and beer!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Éirinn go Brách

Today the girls and I took a field trip of sorts, to Mr. Evil Genius' place of employ. At noon, in what is called "the Square," between the card shop and the Starbucks, students from the McCarthy-Ryan Academy of Irish Dance performed. It was a very enjoyable experience.

Some of the music was taped, and some was provided by a live violinist.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Guilty Pleasure

I have to admit it. I love the television show Supernatural. I love a good ghost story, which Supernatural often is. This week's episode, though, felt kinda like Ghost Whisperer. Only I think Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are better looking than Jennifer Love Hewitt. YMMV, of course.

Peace, Love and Rock 'n Roll

Okay, I wimped out and got a Photobucket account, so I could post some video of the 2nd HALF appearance that my husband and I went to, way back in January. The videos are loud, so you may want to turn down the volume on your computer. And yes, the videos are dark. That's what it looked like in there. It's amateur video, taken with a digital camera. Whadda ya want? Enjoy the cool music.

March Is Fickle

Yesterday when we went into church for the Lenten supper, the sun was shining and it was pleasantly warm outside. Just as the Lenten service was ending around 7:45, lightning was flashing in the sky outside the stained glass windows, and a hard rain had begun. It rained in sheets, turning parking lots into lakes and creating dangerous standing water in low-lying roadways. Now this morning, I wake up to this:

Still, there is much to be thankful for. An actual tornado touched down in Lorain County yesterday, close enough to where we live that it's scary. But it appears no one was hurt, which is the most important thing. We were home a few years ago when a tornado went through just north of us, and I'll never forget the sound. It does indeed sound like a freight train passing through, which is what everyone seems to say when they're interviewed on the TV news after a tornado. Not an experience I want to repeat!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Good News for Ohioans Who Carry

Here is everything you need to know about Ohio HB347, which goes into effect tomorrow. Makes the ability to protect ourselves and our loved ones easier.

Vote for Emily!

I'm feeling lazy right now; I'm not gonna type in too many details. Emily is a homeschooled girl I know who wants to win a contest sponsored by a local radio station, and if any girl deserves to meet Chris Daughtry (whoever that is; yes, I'm old), CinderEmily does. Go here and click on Q-Tube in the sidebar to view her video and the other schmoes who think they have a chance of beating her. Then go back here to vote for her (again, in the sidebar.) Only one vote per IP address allowed, so I can't tell you to vote early, vote often. Darn. That's so much fun to say.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Romans 8

I'm continuing this from Innocent Bystanders, where a post on Daylight Savings Time quite naturally turned into a discussion of Romans chapter 8. (Yeah, they're weird over there. But then my husband and I value weirdness in friends. I should post about that...) Anyway, reading over this, I have a few points for discussion.

1. From Romans 8:1, what does it mean to be in Christ Jesus, and therefore not able to be condemned?

2. Does the concept of once saved/always saved go along with the concept of predestination?

Since I'm Lutheran, I'm linking to a Preface to Romans, by none other than Martin Luther, for further reading and though

Shake It Up

Did you feel it? Apparently, if you live in southeast Cuyahoga County and northeast Summit county you might have felt an earthquake a little after 7 P.M. It was 3.6 on the Richter scale and the center was near Ravenna, OH. That's near where my husband and I went to college. For reference for those out of the state (and/or country!) Ravenna is about an hour by car southeast of the city of Cleveland. The only earthquake I ever felt was during my senior year in high school. I could feel a vibration through my body and the desk on the second floor of my school building.

In other local news, Eric Carmen, who was with the Raspberries in the 1970s and who also had a solo career, and who now lives in Gates Mills, Ohio, was charged with DUI. So how many of his songs that he wrote or performed do you know: "All by Myself," "Hungry Eyes," "Almost Paradise," "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again," "Go All the Way," and "I Wanna Be with You" (the last two with the Raspberries.)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Spring Weather Is Here!

Hope you all got to get out and enjoy it today. It's good to feel the new life of spring stirring.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Unintentionally Funny?

Spotted on a SUV: "I've given up searching for truth. Now I'm just looking for a really good fantasy." Also on the back of the SUV: "Hillary '08".

In the News

Okay, this is why I don't want to send my children to a public high school. And this isn't even taking place in, like, San Francisco, or Lakewood or anything. Yeah, who am I kidding. They're just trying to keep the students and teachers alive in Lakewood. And yes, I was less popular in high school than the one boy in high school that I now know is/was gay. But then, playing Nathan Detroit in "Guys and Dolls" is a sure ticket to popularity, yes?

And for you 2nd Amendment people out there, what may be a positive step in our right to keep and bear arms.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Truly Meat, Right and Salutary

So, according to the U.N., animals raised for food generate more greenhouse gases than all cars and trucks combined? Well, Glenn Beck is hot on the story, complete with pics of those hypocritical celebrities and politicians who decry global warming and yet see nothing wrong with having a nice beef sammich. I say, if you want to reduce your "meat footprint," dig all that top sirloin, porterhouse, prime rib, and heck, even the ground beef, out of your fridge and give it to me. Pass me that chocolate milk, too.

Of course, if animals are producing so much, um, output, can we blame global warming on all our agrarian ancestors who raised animals for food and clothing, and used animals as beasts of burden and for transportation?
Hey, don't look at me

Cool Food

Found a couple of neat new items at the grocery store. First, a fruit called the kiwi berry. On the inside, it looks like a kiwi, but on the outside it is soft and smushy like a grape. It's also considerably smaller than a kiwi, more like a grape in size.

So just for you, Kate, five little kiwis! :)

Secondly, we found LEGO brand fruit snacks!!

Makes you want to play with your food. :)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Yeah, Yeah, Whatever

Today's not a good day for blogging. It's my busy day to begin with, Latin in the morning, then lunch with DH, and ballet in the late afternoon. Plus a Lenten service this evening. And I'm just not in the mood to care about anything today. Let the world go on as it will; I'm in my own world and I'm not coming out!

I have had fun with the blog party; I've gotten to "meet" lots of new people. So I'll still give you a big smile if you stop by!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Girl Talk

One thing I've noticed while I've been cruising the Ultimate Blog Party is that a lot of you are homeschooling moms. So I'd like to have a little bit of a chat about homeschooling, and also about the concept of "unschooling." Maybe it's because I had the traditional school education myself, although I went to a parochial school and not a public one, but I can't wrap my mind around the concept of school without some kinds of "paper work," at least in the younger grades. Even with oral drills, how can math be taught without doing exercises on paper, for example?

Perhaps it is merely a difference between children. I learned a great deal from my voracious reading as a child. I learned to read at a very young age, and my reading was quite varied. My father told the story of how he found me at age 5 reading Reader's Digest, and upon asking me what I was reading, I informed him that I was reading about a soldier in Vietnam behind enemy lines. When I see a movie I like, I promptly go read the book, if I haven't read it already. (Yes Kate, I've actually read The Princess Bride!)

However, my two children are different. The Scientist was also an early reader, and is still a voracious one. However, she doesn't seem able to pick up as much when she reads. I am still laboring to teach her proper grammar and punctuation, for example, and this, at least for me, requires worksheets and practice to make the point. She struggles over writing assignments, and while they are fine when she does complete them, the grammar and punctuation is still an issue after a few years of writing. Thus the need I feel to bolster her writing with language workbooks.

Also, she doesn't seem to have much "curiosity." She loves to read but doesn't have a desire to find out more about what she's read, or to explore much on her own. If I didn't direct her schooling, she'd probably stick to Saddle Club books and playing with her hamster. How do you know she will develop an interest for more later, and isn't it important to build the foundation while she's still young?

Wildchild is requiring even more work, as she dislikes reading, period. She is capable of doing it; she just dislikes it, by her own admittance. I am having to coax her with phonics exercises and viewings of Between the Lions to get her to read at all. I know she can, and so I am doing everything possible to make it easier for her. I've heard many moms say that kids learn at their own pace, but if reading is the basis for so much of learning, she'd best learn to do it well for herself (she's eight and doing mostly "second grade" level work.) And Wildchild has even less of a spirit of inquiry than her sister.

I don't feel guilt for my schooling choices, but I've noticed that "unschooling" moms are mainly ones that seem to wax rhapsodic about their schooling choices, so maybe I'm wondering if I'm missing out on something. :) Also, I'd like to know what kinds of books you choose. Or do the kids choose?? Grab a drinkie and chat with me!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Jack Bauer Joins the Blog Party!

Hey there, ladies.

In honor of 24 being on tonight, Jack Bauer has graciously agreed to stop by the Ultimate Blog Party. No, wait Jack, you don't need to torture those balloons for information. Jack, put down that pin...

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sunday Night Trivia

So. It's Sunday night. I'm tired. I was going to post something longer tonight, but it will have to wait until tomorrow. Instead, a little bit of trivia. The homeschool group that I occasionally do things with will be attending a puppet show that will be featuring, among other poems, The Pied Piper of Hamelin. So did you know that I am descended from the children that Pied Piper of Hamelin led away? Really! :) I have mentioned on this blog before that my grandfather's people are Transylvanian Saxons. The last two stanzas of The Pied Piper of Hamelin Town, by Robert Browning, are:
"In Transylvania there's a tribe
Of alien people who ascribe
The outlandish ways and dress
On which their neighbours lay such stress,
To their fathers and mothers having risen
Out of some subterraneous prison
Into which they were trepanned
Long time ago in a mighty band
Out of Hamelin town in Brunswick land,
But how or why, they don't understand."
Legend has it that this tribe is the Transylvanian Saxons. Neat, huh?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Evil Genius Rocks on Ice

Today I finally got to go ice skating again, which I haven't been able to do in a while. We went to Winterhurst Ice Skating Rink in Lakewood, OH. Winterhust has the neat feature of being two side-by-side rinks. The ends can be raised to make one giant rink, which they usually do for open skates. That's the way it was set up during today's open skate. My daughters skated with me; DH watched and photographed. I love the feel of gliding over the ice (quickly or slowly), the sound of the blades scraping the ice, the cold air going down my throat like a cold drink. The girls re-adjusted quickly to ice skating (they've been a few times before) and I got to practice my Mad Skating Skillz. I took lessons for a while as a young adult, and I love recreational ice skating. It's great exercise, too!

Just for fun, I'm including this picture that was up on a wall at the rink, showing Timothy Goebel executing a quadruple salchow jump. Goebel trained at Winterhurst Ice Skating Rink for a time during his skating career.

Partyin' Like It's 1989

Last night I was out at the Boneyard in Broadview Heights to watch The Quipper and his fellow band members in Running in Circles. Last night was a sort of birthday celebration for The Quipper as well; he is celebrating his mmmmph birthday. There were even brownies with chocolate chips, which makes a party anywhere. And yes, Running in Circles did play some "music of today," but what really got people out on the dance floor was the older tunes. That, and large amounts of alcohol.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Perfect Invention for Lutherans?

Via Dave in Texas. Hey, I'm giving him credit here!

Get This Party Started

Hey ya'll! Through the lovely Kate, I found The Ultimate Blog Party, hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom, and decided I wanted to take part, 'cause I love a good party! I'm going to *try* to do something interesting every day with the party theme; we'll see how it goes.

My name's Barb; I'm married and have two lovely daughters, the Scientist, who's 11, and Wildchild, who's 8. When I'm not homeschooling them, I try to find time and energy to sew and cross-stitch. I usually end up sewing for my daughters

and dolls, theirs and mine!

I also love roller coasters, music, ice skating and reading a good story. I'm looking forward to having a good time this week. I can use something to lift my spirits!

Howlin' at the Moon

Despite the fact that March has come in like a

with cold, windy weather and rain that might be turning into snow tomorrow, we in the Eastern U.S. and Canada have another chance to catch an interesting phenomenon in the night sky. Between 5:44 and 6:58 PM EST on the evening of March 3, the moon will experience a total eclipse. Click here for all the info.

The last time we were able to witness a total lunar eclipse was October 27, 2004, a bad night for Scottius Maximus and Lutheran Lucy, but a fun night here at the home of the Evil Genius! We were all set, with a ringside seat in the back of a pickup truck, and a little telescope. Plus, since that was our first year of homeschooling, I didn't care if our girls stayed up late to view it, since they didn't have to catch a bus early the next morning. Here's some of the pics we got.

As you can see, it was windy that night too, though not as cold.