Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye Old, Hello New

We survived Christmas and even managed to drag ourselves over to our friends' house for dinner after church. We then proceeded to sleep the next two days. At last the girls and I got ourselves to the doctor's a couple of days ago for antibiotics and cough syrup. The Equestrienne and I are also treating pink eye. I will definitely do my best to avoid getting sick the rest of the winter season.

Christmas was enjoyable, just tiring. It was fun watching the girls open their gifts. Church was great, as always.

Once again, I have made several New Year's resolutions. Since I have been sick I have lost ten pounds. One thing I would like to do is keep that off and get rid of more weight. There is a treadmill in the garage that needs to be down the basement. Mr. BTEG has had too many health issues of his own to move it. Maybe my brothers-in-law can help with it when my in-laws come over tomorrow. My sisters-in-law are bringing most of the food, which is a blessing since we are still resting a lot here at our house.

I didn't post nearly as much as I wanted to this year. 2008 was a very slow posting year due to being in the hospital and all the emotional difficulties before and after. I was hoping to do better in 2009. I can always hope 2010 will be better, at least partially because we are not crammed into a tiny living space anymore. I pray we have good health and also pray for good health and happiness for my readers. Blessed 2010!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'll Be Sick for Christmas

All of us here in the Evil Genius house are fighting off a cold/flu bug. Not very festive, is it? I'm worried we may have to pass on celebrating Christmas outside our house. I'll be disappointed. Not to mention, the dirty dishes are piling up, the few remaining Christmas cards are not being mailed, the living room is full of scattered bows and wrapping paper, and all the carpets need vacuumed. Also our cupboard is starting to look pretty bare. Hope at least one of us is well enough to pull things together before Christmas Day.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

How Long Before This Is Mandatory?

So they're offering a free gym membership and discounts on healthy food. Who's paying for this? Mr. BTEG's law of economics says that the end consumer always pays for everything. So I suspect in the end the long-suffering taxpayers of Cuyahoga County will be forced to pay the bill. If public, single-payer health care becomes law, I'm also wondering when stuff like this will become mandatory. You know, they force you to go into the gym three times a week, you get measured once a week, grocery stores are only allowed to stock "healthy" food. Welcome to the end of the world as we know it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Saddened and Confused

I was reading a thread on German royals who were active in the Nazi movement and I had to quit fairly quickly in as I was so disgusted. Over and over, the theme was, "How could people be involved in something so horrible, like killing babies and innocent children?" This coming from people who are cool today with innocent unborn babies being ripped out of their mother's wombs. Who are probably okay with Planned Parenthood telling women that what's inside the uterus "isn't a baby" and that abortion is so much "safer" than childbirth. Well, Nazis were able to do the same sort of moral gymnastics when they killed off Jews and minorities. Never mind that minorities are disproportionally represented among abortion statistics today.

These are people who praise the Crown Prince and Princess of Germany for not hiding away their daughter with Down's Syndrome, while Down's Syndrome is becoming practically unseen today because so many unborn children diagnosed in the womb (it's not 100% accurate) are being aborted. And believe me, these people are not shy about their politics, so either they agree with these things or they're stupid; that is, the politicians they support are definitely not shy about utter and absolute support of abortion at all times. That princess would be lucky to be born today, forget about being hidden from the public. How do people manage these contortions with a straight face?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Give Me Something to Believe In

Silly me. I used to think people could be persuaded through facts. That you could provide evidence, and unless the opposite side could refute the evidence, their side would be proved wrong. Now I'm starting to see the world like C.S. Lewis' Wormwood: "At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning. But what with the weekly press and other such weapons we have largely altered that. Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn't think of doctrines as primarily "true" of "false", but as "academic" or "practical", "outworn" or "contemporary", "conventional" or "ruthless". Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don't waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong, or stark, or courageous—that it is the philosophy of the future. That's the sort of thing he cares about."

There are those who are using "climate change" to obtain power. They can control how people live their lives and accumulate a tidy profit through "carbon credits" and so forth. They can tell everyone what is and what is not allowed (except for themselves, of course!) Our "betters" will still be tooling around in private planes and limos and munching on caviar when we are heating our homes with dung and scavenging for food. Why everyday people can't figure this out when it has actually happened already in Communist countries (that is, the ruling class gets everything while the vaunted "working class" gets nothing) is beyond me but then there's that whole problem with reason and evidence again.

The people who are still clinging, shrieking and kicking, to the idea of "climate change," that I don't understand, are the ones who will receive no benefit from it. These people are willing to bow to their so-called superiors and do everything they say. Why are they willing to greatly reduce their standard of living just because someone tells them they should? That is, why are they willing to listen to one set of people and close their ears to the rational arguments of anyone else?

AGW has been described as a religion, because you need faith to believe in it. I agree with this premise, but I want to take it one step further. It has often been posited that people that natter on about "saving the planet" and "social justice" and so forth want to feel good about themselves. And why do they want, or need, to feel good about themselves? From the Christian point of view, it seems obvious. Nobody in reality can feel good about themselves. We all mess things up; we all make mistakes; worst of all, we will all continue to mess things up. We may conquer one flaw only to have three others rise up. Christians, though, can say, no, we can't feel good about ourselves, but we trust in One who took care of things for us. We are not good, but God is, and Christ has wiped out our sins and our messing things up, with His death and resurrection.

For the non-Christian, though, what is there? Without Christ, you have to do for yourself. You need to believe that you are "making a difference." And if something as simple as changing your light bulb or driving a different car makes you feel self-righteous, hey, it's all good. Little old you can "save the planet." It's probably a very powerful and addictive feeling. Too addictive to let yourself be confused by the facts.

Neo-neocon says it takes a very long time for people to admit that they were wrong. I suppose it can be very hard to realize and accept that you were wrong about something for years. I hope enough people will be willing to look at the facts and not just how good something makes them feel.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I'm Peeved

The Dancer's teacher insists on holding the every-other-year dance recitals on Father's Day. That pretty much guarantees that a good bit of our family and none of our friends can attend. Plus I don't really think it's fair to the fathers of the dancers. The day should be about *them*, not about their progeny. I'm tempted to boycott, especially since we'd save the big bucks that get spent on costumes. On the other hand, the studio buzzes about the recital for the most of the year, and the Dancer really enjoyed the last recital. She'd probably hate to miss it and it seems unfair for her to be left out of all the excitement. Maybe we'll just have to put up with this one and think about something else for 2012.

Monday, November 23, 2009

It Worked Out

I was nervous last week about the very first parent-teacher conference I'd gone to in years. This one was for the Dancer, and as her only teacher for so long, it would truly be a reflection on me. Her teacher did say that the Dancer had a little bit of trouble in the early days, with math facts and with keeping up while writing answers in class. I'd tried to drill the Dancer as much as possible in her multiplication facts, but I had a hard time memorizing them as a child also. So while I felt a little guilty about that issue, I *had* worked with her on them. As a matter of fact, she's still working on them at home. As far as the notes, the Dancer's handwriting has never been copperplate, but I suppose the biggest issue is just that she had never learned to write things down as quickly as you need to in a classroom setting.

The good news is that her teacher says she is a good student and a hard worker, and that she is now completely integrated into the classroom. She also told me that I did a good job. That's great news for me. I didn't ruin her by all the years of homeschooling! I'm very proud of her and glad we had our time together.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Looking Ahead?

The Equestrienne was sharing some of her humorous hopes and dreams with us the other day. She asked me what my hopes and dreams were, and expressed surprise that they all seemed to be related to her and her sister's futures. I realized that this was true and started thinking if I have any hopes and dreams that are not related to my children. For so many years my life has revolved so much around taking care of my children. From making sure they had adequate nourishment and dry diapers and the necessary attention, to making sure they are receiving useful educations and learning to know them as people and helping them develop into capable, intelligent Lutheran women, there is a lot to think about and do. My work with my daughters is not complete, but as we settle into our new home, I seem to have more time to create more of a life for myself.

In many ways, I am in a place of satisfied contentment. From my youngest days, I wanted to be a homemaker and have a husband and children. So you could say I am "living the dream." But I still have quite a bit of my life ahead of me. Is it normal not to have a lot of plans and dreams for one's life for the future? I don't know. Perhaps some of this is related to my bipolar issues. When I was at my lowest point I had little hope for my life at all and saw the future as something to be avoided. To avoid spiraling again into a negative, destructive mentality, I have put most of my focus on the present. And to be honest, I have no way of knowing what could happen in the future. I know that my parents-in-law had plans and dreams for their life together until my father-in-law died a year before my husband and I married. In the same way, any plans I make for my future could be changed in an instant by something over which I have no control. Perhaps then I am afraid to make plans, knowing as a mature adult that "bad things" can happen to anybody at anytime. Perhaps also so much of what I want seems so far in the future. For example, I would like to travel with Mr. BTEG when our children are grown. But our youngest reaching her majority is still over seven years away. A great many things can happen in these next seven years, and anyway any dreams for that far in the future do not provide much sustenance for life in the here and now.

It may seem silly to some, but most of my current wishes for own life involve things in the creative realm. Sewing more, learning to knit better and make more things. Maybe learning to crochet, to draw or paint. Perhaps selling some of my creative endeavors. I would still like to do very amateur ballet, if I can find a studio that takes grown women with no figure for serious dance and little experience. (grin) That will likely have to wait until next year, as I missed getting into a current dance season. I also have a few ideas in the world of writing, although I am not as attached to these ideas. So while conquering the world may not happen just yet, I suppose my life is not completely devoid of things for which to plan and look forward to. And that makes life interesting!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sidetracked

I have a long and thoughtful post rolling around in my head, but in my head is where it is going to have to stay until tomorrow at least. Spent most of the day at doctors' offices with Mr. BTEG dealing with issues related to his many auto-immune disorders (four to five or so.) Our bodies are indeed fickle things. I'm glad there is so much out there that can help him, though.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Germs

I suppose it's due to the girls being in public school that we seem to be sick more often this fall. Although I think Gino was the one who brought the H1N1 virus home, the Dancer is the one who first developed the current germ going around the family. I don't have her cough but I spent most of the afternoon dozing which is definitely not normal. On the other hand, there has been lots of coughing going on during her dance classes. One girl was especially sick a couple of weeks ago and her grandmother was urging her to go out and dance. I couldn't see why the grandmother brought her in the first place. The dance teacher thinks the grandmother comes from the tough-it-out school. It's very annoying to me when people knowingly expose my child and myself to illness, especially for something as nonessential as a dance class. I won't go as far though as one mom who pulled her 3-year-old out of dance class and preschool until H1N1 is over. Germs and sicknesses will be floating around all winter! Hope we are not fighting off illness until March!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Twenty Years On



Hard to believe that it was twenty years ago that I woke up to the news on the radio that the Berlin Wall had fallen. Not only was it fantastic news, but it was personally thrilling for me because Mr. BTEG and I would be in Berlin a month later. I hope we still have what is necessary to take on communism and win.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Nanny-State Nonsense

This story breaks my heart. A newborn baby in Great Britain taken away from her parents, along with six other children, because of "concerns" about their weight. The precedent this sets scares me, but what scares me just as much is most of the comments at the end of the story. Most of these people are cold and judgmental and have no idea about weight gain or loss. I say this because there is a girl in one of the Dancer's classes who is, frankly, obese. She takes three dance classes a week, and I believe she assists for at least one other class of younger students. She has been taking dance for years. Her conditioning is good; she is never out of breath or even sweating hard after a dance class. Yet some of the commenters at the original article think sticking the kids in the story in some sort of activity like dance class for the *three month* probation period would have magically cured their weight problems. Now, I don't know. Maybe this girl from dance goes home and stuffs herself with Twinkies in front of the television when she's not dancing or at school, like so many people insist fat people must do. It seems more likely to me that, just as there are people who need to have a 3,000 calorie diet to even maintain their slender figures, there are other people who have the opposite problem and will struggle with overweight all their lives, just as the comment at the top from the article pointed out. The prejudice upsets me and the fact that these kids' lives will probably be completely ruined for nothing is a sad commentary on what happens when we let the state control our lives.

And as NRO's The Corner points out, a little state control can easily lead to a lot. The current administration is against gun-owning, Bible-believing Christians like us. When will they come to take our kids away to keep them "safe"? Will those who look down their noses at this poor family find the government coming for their kids next?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Invisible Me

Elephant's Child has rightly pointed out that if you don't post regularly to your blog, your readership will decrease, and I have seen this happen. I'm trying to post more and get my readership back up. The problem is, since we've moved, I'm too busy living! Not that people that blog regularly don't have a life. It's just that my life has expanded quite a bit since we are in a new place. I'm trying to keep up with the day-to-day chores, and there is more of it here. There is a lot more carpet to vacuum, for example. I'm also trying to unpack and get things in place. And since we have so much more space here, it's not just getting things back to their old places. It's figuring out new places to put things, and temporarily coping while we save up to buy new furniture we need, such as bookcases.

I've also lost a big source of blog material, which is homeschooling. The girls are happy and doing well in their schools, but I don't have as much to write about since I am not directing their everyday learning activities. I'll still write if something happening at their school strikes a chord with me.

I have kicked back into gear with the knitting, since the Dancer is back to her three dance classes a week. For now, I'm only knitting to give me something to do while I'm at dance class or the doctor's office. I don't seem to knit very much at home. This precludes projects like socks or sweaters, where I would need to concentrate more. At least I would for now, since these would require new skills for me. I'm better off sticking to dishcloths. I have finished a dishcloth and a cell phone sock recently. I should take pictures of them, at least for my own records. I like to keep track of what I make.

I have given up on the idea of being a "political blogger." Well, I'm not sure how serious I was about it, but it is a good route to high readership if you can write well. While I am interested in politics, I don't have enough of a background in either political science or psychology to make it my main focus. I will still write about specific issues that interest me. I guess that still describes my blog. I will write about what interests me. I just need to look for lots that interests me to talk about!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Puzzlement

The Dancer has started taking violin lessons at school this year, and she seems to be enjoying it, so I want to get a violin for her American Girl doll for Christmas. I may not like the direction the company is going, but I must admit the products they make for the dolls are lovely. Other stores for 18" dolls offer a violin, bow and case. American Girl's set also includes a pretend block of rosin, two music books and a music stand. I thought about checking out eBay to see what I could get there. Oddly enough, incomplete sets are going for only a dollar or two less than you can buy the set for from American Girl. What's up with that? Granted, the last auction I watched *said* that the set was no longer available in stores, but a quick check of American Girl's online shop would refute that. Back in the old days when bulletin boards reigned, people would buy things from stores and sell them online for a profit, with the argument that some people didn't have a Wal-Mart or a Target close by. Nowadays when you can get everything online, I don't understand why people are willing to pay so close to retail for sets that don't even have all the pieces. Do people not search online, or do they not want to buy directly from American Girl? Those are my only two thoughts.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Reformation Day


I stole this picture from Dan, who apparently stole it from someone else. :) I like it, in any case. Hope my Catholic friends can at least appreciate the humor. :) If you like LEGO, there are also two Luther-themed LEGO depictions of his life, here and here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Need Some Knitting Knowledge

Okay, knitters, where do you go when you are looking for a pattern for a specific item? If I was looking for a sewing pattern, it would be easy, but I don't know much about the world of knitting yet.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More Susan G. Komen Antics

Their conference on breast cancer, held in Egypt, is a no-Jews allowed zone. Yet Egyptian officials at the event continue to brag about world unity. Don't you mean, world unity once Iran nukes Israel? And are Jewish doctors in the United States paying attention? Or is everyone still pretending everything is fine?

h/t watersblogged!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Environment

The girls are really getting settled into their new schools. Not only in regards to making friends, but also as far as their studies. They're rather like me in regards to their schoolwork; there are some classes they are breezing through and others that they have difficulty with. I'm not sure about Mr. Evil Genius' career as a student except that he will not do his best for you if you bore him. Perhaps he will chime in here. :) The Dancer made an interesting comment. Basically, she does her best school work at school because it feels like school. Despite the fact that she had been homeschooled for five years, apparently she still felt like an institutional school setting was "real" school. Or something like that. All the kids she knew at church were homeschooled, but she saw the kids in our neighborhood(s) far more often, and they all attended some sort of formal school. Perhaps that influenced her thinking.

The girls are also quickly becoming bonded to our new locale. School probably has a lot to do with it, but I am amazed at how quickly they have come to feel this is home. The Equestrienne likes going to high school football games, and although most of that is likely related to opportunities to socialize, she does seem to be turning into a loyal backer of her future high school. The Dancer likes to spot all the signs in people's front yards that indicate that a local sports player lives there. She also wants a shirt featuring the school colors, like most of the kids at her school have.

I also am settling well into our new home. A bigger kitchen makes it much easier to do real cooking as opposed to just throwing something frozen into the oven. Not being crowded in makes it much easier to mop and vacuum. Our much bigger laundry room makes it easier to sort laundry piles. We really did try to take care of our previous abode, not wanting to perpetuate the negative stereotype of renters, but it did become very difficult due to lack of space. Of course, my husband will tell you I can feel guilty about just about anything, but I do wonder if I could have tried harder at our old place. But it's in the past, where it should stay. :)

ETA: In fairness to myself, I should also note that halfway through our time at our old place is when I was hospitalized because my bipolar got out of control. This didn't help anything!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oh Snap

I've been doing a lot of thinking since reading at Laura's about the homeless American Girl doll. This doll has been out all year, but her being homeless is never mentioned in the description of the doll in the catalog or online. One has to read about or watch the movie about the main doll of this year's three-doll Doll of the Year set, in which Gwen the homeless doll is included, to find out the backstory, it seems. Probably why it took so long for outlets to latch on to this news.

Most people who objected to the doll took issue only with the fact that no proceeds from this particular doll went to help the homeless, although American Girl the company does apparently support various charities. I think there is more to it than that, however. Of course, every historical doll in the American Girl series has a "message;" all stories convey some sort of overall meaning. For Addy, the escaped slave from the 1860s, the overarching lesson learned was obviously about the suffering incurred with slavery, although being for young girls the books do not go into details of beatings and so forth, but more about how the family is temporarily broken apart as they escape to the North. Through Samantha's best friend, Nellie, girls can learn about some of the hardships of factory life at the turn of last century and how even children had to work to support their families. However, these were historical themes, and the main idea behind the dolls was to teach girls about history and how girls of long ago were not that different from girls of today. Now American Girl seems intent on turning their line of dolls into After School Specials, with a Very Special Message for every one. Do we need a toy company to teach our children that Being Homeless Is Sad and We Should Help Our Homeless Friends? My daughter retches every time she sees the commercial on the Disney Channel about some sort of environmental crusade that viewers are urged to take part in. More of that self-congratulatory We're So Special and So Concerned That We Will Come Together and Fix Everything. Do they feel the yoke of sin and choose this to try to expediate their guilt? Do they need to feel better about themselves?

Also concerning, as I scanned American Girl's site for information about Gwen, is that the Kirsten doll is being discontinued. This will make two dolls from the original set of three to be canceled, as the Samantha doll and all her things are long gone. Is American Girl going to phase out every historical doll and just become about dolls of today? How sad that the original vision of Pleasant Rowland is being swallowed up. I definitely will not be interested in buying anything more from this company. We'll have to get the things the Dancer wants for her American Girl doll from other sources if possible.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Paranoia?

I'm definitely not the first person to look at our current times as being similar to the state of Europe in the late 1930's. Living on the edge of a precipice, about to get pushed over, powerless to do anything about it. Does anyone else ever feel scared? Wonder what we might have to live through? No, I don't usually indulge in these feelings. Only sometimes, when I wonder how much more insane things can get. Wanting to know I am not alone.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Things That Make You Go Hmmm

While out and about the other day, I saw a bumper sticker for breast cancer that really gave me pause. It said, "Everyone deserves a lifetime." My first thought was, everyone? Really? What about all the millions of babies that have been aborted? Don't they deserve a lifetime too? Why does someone with breast cancer deserve life more than someone with Down's Syndrome, or even someone who could be born perfectly healthy, had he not been conceived at an inconvenient time? Also ironic is that the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which raises funds for breast cancer research, also financially supports Planned Parenthood. I guess they don't really believe that everyone deserves a lifetime.

While searching through breast cancer paraphernalia to get the exact quote for above, I also found a shirt that was off-putting to me. I do believe that prayers can avail much in our earthly fight against illness and death, but putting a pink ribbon around the cross seems very wrong. Ultimately, Jesus died to take away our sins, not for his cross to be co-opted for the cause de jour. What do you think?

Lastly, while reading a blog's comments, the subject of religion came up, and a member of the Eastern Orthodox church declared that Orthodox believe that Jesus died to destroy death, not to pay the price for our sins. Is this really what Orthodox believe? Does anyone know?

Monday, September 21, 2009

School Days, School Days

Having the girls going to public school is weird, although oddly enough, having the Dancer attend is weirder than the Equestrienne. The Equestrienne went to a parochial school for kindergarten through second grade, so there seems to be a certain familiarity with the concept. The Dancer attended only a year of preschool and a year of Pre-K at the same parochial school, something I'm glad we did. It was only half a day, and not all five weekdays, so it was mostly just a time to have fun and have books read to her and eat snacks and be around other little ones. She, of course, thought she was all that, with her shiny backpack, but that was part of the fun. Anyway, I've been so used to homeschooling the Dancer that this is feeling a little strange.

There are some good things about her attending public school. She will be receiving group violin lessons; the only cost to us will be renting the instrument, and what we pay can all go towards an eventual purchase if she decides to continue music. She is also making friends, and riding the bus has helped her meet kids that live in our neighborhood.

Despite the local tax support, there are fundraisers. That's one of the downsides. Turning in boxtops is not very hard, but magazine sales are another story. Who knows what else will take place later this school year? The cost of publicly educating children continues to astound me.

Mr. BTEG and I are also still rather involved in the Dancer's education. There are some subjects she needs help in, although she hates to admit it, and in the end it is our responsibility to see she learns what she needs. One thing I am seeing with the Dancer is that, although she can read quite well and with comprehension, she is not picking up much from reading in regards to grammar or spelling. I am going to supplement her education here at home to keep her at or get her up to grade level. I don't like the social studies the Dancer gets instead of history, but I will concede that she is learning useful things about maps and climates and so forth. I would have rolled it into history studies, but I'm not teaching now. It's been a little hard for me to deal with! The Equestrienne is assigned projects on the computer, which her father helps her with, and he also helps with math.

Knowing so many other homeschoolers now makes me feel awkward and out of place. I have no doubt that outside schooling is best for the Equestrienne, and I can see advantages for the Dancer, but I still have stirrings of guilt. Perhaps with good reason, I think there is still defensiveness on the part of homeschoolers, but it disturbs me slightly to see all the "Homeschooling Is So Great!" posts. It comes down to what is best for our family at this point in time, and it will help me to remember that.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

This Post Brought to You By the Letter

Arrrrrr! Yes, once again it is Talk Like a Pirate Day! And how convenient that it takes place on the same day as Beer, Brats & Bride, an event started by a group of crazy Lutheran homeschooling moms where groups of friends get together to drink beer, eat brats and watch The Princess Bride at precisely 4 PM. The Dread Pirate Roberts takes no prisoners, matey!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Settling In

At last I am back! The move itself was very tiring and hectic, but I am enjoying settling into our new home and getting things organized and put away. It's funny, we would not have picked this floor plan out ourselves if we had the opportunity, but we are finding it suits our lives very well. The Dancer is thrilled because her bedroom has a door opening on to their bathroom as well as another door out to the hall. The master bed and bath are a little separate from the rest of the house, and the Equestrienne's bedroom is a little off to itself as well. I'm a little scared by how much I love this house. It seems too good to be true. Very fatalistic of me.

The girls are both in public school this year and are enjoying it. Both girls have friends, although the Equestrienne is and always has been more of a social butterfly. The Equestrienne is doing well in all her classes and recently tested at a post high school level in reading. The Dancer is also doing well although her struggles with math continue. I still enjoy helping the Dancer with her homework; the Equestrienne mostly works alone. I am pleased that both girls have made the transition to public school and are doing so well, especially since the Dancer never had formal schooling before this year.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It'll Be Great If I Can Get Through

So, we've found a new place to live. Great, except we can't move in until a few days before the lease on our current place expires. We really were hoping for more time, but there's not much we can do about it. I just keep reminding myself of how wonderful it will be after we move to keep myself going.

On top of this, the girls will be going to public school this year, and we're trying to finish up the paperwork/school supplies/new clothes issues. I'm finding it very stressful, not to mention how early the girls will have to get up to get to school, plus the packing lunches issue. I hope this truly is a break for me this year like Mr. BTEG wants.

I'm having health issues that need additional testing to decide how bad they are. At this point, I may be anemic, which is a wonderful state to be in when you need to pack up all your belongings and move. I'm not exactly worried about the health issues because they aren't deadly, but the additional distraction and possible fatigue are unnecessary!

I'd like to think I can keep blogging through all this but I probably won't. Hopefully if I don't blog soon I will be able to come back when things calm down to let you know I've survived!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Friday, August 07, 2009

I Iz Edumacated

My good friend Elephant's Child suggested I post this on my blog, after I shared it on Facebook. It's got a limited shelf life, since it is a house for sale, but I decided it was indeed good enough to pass on to you, my readers.

First of all, I must tell you that the realtor's page where you will see this is NOT the realtor who has this lovely home up for sale. However, I can't find the house yet on the actual realtor's webpage. If it shows up, I will pass it along. Anyway, go here and search for this MLS: 3055743. You should see the house in question. Click on the link, then read the description. Yes, it has a beautiful finished basement, complete with "naughty pine." We are becoming a nation of semi-illiterates. I see so many mistakes like this everywhere! It's humorous and sad at the same time. Also of note is the HUGE number of abbreviations used in this text. Yes, realtors use abbreviations all the time, but I think there is an extra-large (or should I say xtra-lg) number here. Non-homeschooling parents, please pay attention to what your kids are learning in school and shore up their education when needed! At least, parents who *aren't* semi-illiterate.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Book Review: I Trust When Dark My Road

A Lutheran view of depression, by Todd Peperkorn. I can't give this book the kind of review it probably deserves, since it is written from a pastor's point of view as well as a Lutheran one. He does make excellent points about a pastor's particular burdens that can exacerbate depression, even though I've never lived them. As a layperson who has dealt with depression, I think his descriptions of what depression does to your mind and body are very good at conveying the issues to someone who has never had clinical depression. Clinical depression is so much more than "feeling sad" and Pastor Peperkorn illustrates how this mental illness can take over your life, robbing you of your ability to appreciate the many blessings you have and your ability to enjoy and grow your most important relationships.

I wish I could have tried the two weeks away from duties and responsibilities that Pastor Peperkorn experienced. I ended up hospitalized as a last resort, not seeing any other alternatives. While it did help ease my overwhelming desire to end my life, and the new medication prescribed by the hospital psychiatrist has helped me manage my bipolar symptoms, it was largely mind-numbingly boring and in other ways difficult to live through.

Like Pastor Peperkorn, I received help from several great people during my recovery. I was blessed that my pastors knew that my mental struggles did not stem from a lack of faith, and that my place as a saved and loved child of God does not depend on my feelings, nor my ability to perfectly execute my vocation. Indeed, if one were to take a single thing away from I Trust When Dark My Road, I believe it should be that no matter how dark the road may seem, God is there providing for us. The intense suffering can go away, but God never will.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Who Is In Charge

I read a bulletin board which is mostly dedicated to discussing the many formerly great palaces of Russia, as well as the Russian imperial family, but also discusses other former and current royal families. I have mentioned before that I am interested in Victorian and Edwardian history and dress, and that I like to read about and look at pictures of the royal families of that time period. However, I do occasionally read about modern royal families too, and so I came upon this quote: "Am not impressed by either William or Harry (British heir to the throne and his younger brother-BTEG) but (as the mother of a 26 year old son myself) I know just what a terrible culture of cheap and freely available alcohol can do. Here in the Uk (I don't know about the US where I thought the law was far more stringent), the Government just will not address what is an extremely serious issue."

First of all, I think this speaks to how modern culture is putting off growing up for longer and longer periods. This woman's son is 26, yet his mother seems to still be worried about his alcoholic escapades, just as the two princes and other members of the upper class in Britain are often photographed in the wee hours of the morning leaving bars or pubs or whatever, in various stages of inebriation. While I see nothing wrong with drinking alcohol in moderation, repeated drunken binges speak to a desire to keep acting irresponsibly, instead of in a more adult manner.

Her concerns about circumstances in Great Britain contributing to this culture are reflected here by the chief constable of the Cheshire police, who says: "Alcohol is too cheap and too readily available and is too strong. Young people cannot handle it." I'd like to know why young people in particular cannot handle alcohol, at least in moderation. Young adults are perfectly capable of the maturity required to do this; whether they are encouraged to be mature is another issue.

Although written in 2005, this writer also points at the culture as a reason for outrageous behavior fueled by alcohol. "The relentless expansion of the student scene has resulted in a section of young society that has disposable income gained from disposable jobs, and little to do with their time. The rise of singleton society and the falling birth rate have contributed to the erosion of domestic life - your thirtysomethings getting drunk all night with their colleagues don't have homes to go to, so they stay in the pub." While they may not have siblings, shouldn't people in their thirties have spouses and children to go home to? Again we see a lack of desire to grow up and take on the responsibilities of marriage and children. Prince William is a great example of this. In his late twenties, having dated one woman (on and off) for what I believe to be about five years, why on earth shouldn't he be ready to marry? If this woman is not who he wants to spend the rest of his life with, surely he ought to have figured that out by now. Either he doesn't want the responsibilities of marriage, or he does not want to marry this woman and is just hanging on for the monogamous sex which is less likely to lead to disease or his face splashed across the tabloids like Hugh Grant.

My last question is, why can't the culture be countered? Is it too easy for me, a person who has a faith and a large support group of fellow believers to fall back on, to avoid cultural traps? While Christians certainly do sin and have temptations like everyone else, one of the fruits of the Spirit *is* self-control. We have a built-in counter-culture, as opposed to the mother in the first quote, who seems to see her son as a helpless culture victim, from which only the Government can save him. Especially as parents, let us train our children and model our lives based on what we know is right, not on what the world tells us is cool. Let's promote personal responsibility.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Good For the Soul

Since we were on the subject of jealousy, I must confess to being jealous of one of the other mothers at Mother/Daughter ballet who obviously studied ballet for a very long time and still has a dancer's body. On the other hand, Mr. BTEG would not have been attracted to me had I been built like a dancer. I have to remember that God made me as I am and treasure all the things I have in my life.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Irish Pride/Ohio Pride

Students from the Burke School of Irish Dance perform to Ohio's "theme song" at the Irish Cultural Heritage Festival yesterday. I like going to the festival just to see the dancers. Burke is a top Irish dance school which has produced a world champion, although not at its Ohio school. Great achievement since it is my impression that it is very difficult for non-Irish (nationality) dancers to win worlds. We were lucky to get seats; the place was packed.
ETA: Hello Innocent Bystanders!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Envy

I don't understand advertisements for products that say "You'll be the envy of your friends and neighbors if you own this (home-car-watch-etc.)" Are there really that many shallow people out there who want their "friends" to be envious? Of course I know they exist, and maybe they're the only ones with money, especially right now. This kind of marketing is a total turn-off for me, but then I'm trying to cultivate better relationships with human beings, not inspire jealousy. Especially since I believe human relationships will last beyond our tenure in this world.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I've Gone and Done It

I never wanted the hassle of more than one blog, and I've managed to keep this blog a pretty even balance of commentary, family news, my hobbies, our activities and so forth. A little something for everyone. But I am starting to want to get serious about sewing doll clothes, with an eye to hopefully selling some, so I have created a blog where I can post pictures and progress with doll costumes. I know a lot of you won't be interested, but for those of you who are, check out my doll blog from time to time. Hope to keep seeing the rest of you here.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Accomplishment

I haven't felt much like communicating, and that includes Facebook. It's not like I am ignoring this blog while pouring out my heart over there. Not sure why I am feeling less sociable lately, but going incommunicado will not help me in the long run.

So I'm going to brag that I actually got a project done in time for the event it was planned for! I ended up skipping the Simplicity pattern and using the book I have instead, and the pattern went together very smoothly, so the Dancer and her doll were both able to be dressed up for Fourth of July. I'm sure all of you who sew or do other crafts will know how gratifying this felt, beyond the joy of creativity.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Let's Use Our Heads

I've been gone for so long, I have a lot to talk about, but I just want to express my frustration with something I just saw, and that irks me every time I read it. That is the old canard "Baseball/football/basketball players make millions, so why can't teachers/libraries/other good things?" Okay, let's think about this. Does a classroom or a library serve tens of thousands every day they are open? Does a classroom or library earn huge revenues from television? Do classrooms or libraries sell $7 beers and $3.50 cotton candy to their patrons? Do people buy jerseys and hats from their favorite library? Professional athletes get paid so much because the money is there. People pay to have the MLB or other networks to watch their favorite sports. How exciting would the Library Channel be? Yes, stadiums are subsidized by taxpayers, but so are libraries and school buildings. And I'm sure we spend more on state and local taxes than we have on the sporting events we have attended this year, although we watch lots of sports on television. I'm not arguing that teachers and libraries are not worthy causes, just that they don't have the enormous revenue base that professional sports do. Close our state libraries down to two, like we have two professional baseball and football teams in Ohio, and I'm sure those libraries would be the most wonderful since Alexandria. But who would want to drive potentially hours and fight with half of the state to use said library? We need a sense of proportion on this. Unless we're talking forced confiscation of earnings, which I am adamantly against, people should get paid based on what gets brought in. Sports just have a larger fan base and therefore a bigger revenue base.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I Grade It an F

Since I emailed my state representative about online charter school funding being cut, I guess I am now on her mailing list. I got an email from her a couple of days ago which is long on style but short on substance. Maybe representatives don't want to go into detail in an email, but this email did not thrill me.

"It is vitally important for our children to have the best education possible. I believe that preparing every student for the 21st century is the only way we can improve our current economic situation." If people really wanted children to have the best education possible, they would go with the methods that have actually been proven to work, instead of whatever is new and shiny. And I can think of many other good ways to improve our current economic situation.
1. Don't spend our money like a drunken sailor and do work on cutting the deficit.
2. Cut taxes so businesses will want to be in your area. (See Cleveland, Ohio for what not to do)
3. Quit trying to hurt small businesses with things like high taxes and inflated minimum wage. Also, don't hurt cottage industries with ridiculous restrictions like CPSIA.
What exactly does "preparing every student for the 21st century" really mean? I can't even say it sounds good any more as I am immune to catchphrases and buzzwords.

"While this is a significant reformation, a transition phase of ten years will make sure school districts have adequate time to adjust to all aspects of the new education plan." Okay, *what kind* of significant reformation are we talking about? That was not made clear at all. And ten years is long enough for schools to weasel out of changes for as long as possible and hope something new gets passed later. What on earth is so difficult to implement anyway that it will take ten years to do so?

All-day kindergarten will eventually be required. That's good. You are already doing a poor job in education, so let's require the students to receive this poor education for longer periods. Haven't they read that "advantages" like Head Start eventually are lost a few years down the road? How exactly will extra school hours for little ones, who should still have more free hours, help?

"We must continue to discuss Ohio's diverse education needs." Again as a good Lutheran I must ask, say it with me, "What does this mean?" All kids need to learn, and to retain at least some of what they learned. I say at least retain some of, because I certainly have not retained a great deal of what I was taught in school over the course of years. This is evidenced by my inability to help the Equestrienne with all of her grade school math, at least off the top of my own head. How much real "diversity" is required?

In the email there is a link to the governor's Conversation on Education. Sadly, my alarm bells are being set off here. For example: "A modern education must be directly linked to economic prosperity. Ohio cannot thrive without understanding that world class schools will produce a talented workforce, and a talented workforce will attract and create jobs." Ding, ding, ding! Yes, let's get that little proletariat started young. I don't think people are fleeing Ohio in droves because they don't have work skills. I think they are leaving because Ohio is doing its best to kill local jobs. (see above)

"We cannot address our education challenges without strengthening our commitment to public education. As a practical matter, the vast majority of Ohio children are and always will be educated in the public school system." Always will be? Goodness, I hope not. There are wonderful options such as homeschooling, charter schools, parochial schools and private schools. Let's think outside the box, people! Okay, charter schools are technically public, but they have a much better track record *overall* than your average public school.

"We must strive to develop a specific, personalized education program that identifies how each individual student learns and use the teaching methods appropriate to that student's needs and abilities." You're joking, right? A homeschool mom can do that, although not so much out of an inherent superiority (giving dues to public school teachers) as the fact that she has fewer students, and she knows them very well. The parochial school my daughter was in years ago offered personalized education. They didn't follow through.

"Our schools must excel internationally in our ability to foster creativity and innovation. Our educators must teach students to think past the limits of what's been done, and imagine what could be done." How about we just give them an education with a solid foundation, and they can grow and imagine from there? D-Ed Reckoning is a good place to go to find out how poorly trying to "foster creativity" works out in actual use. You can also read lots of discussions, as well as collected data, on what kinds of education work and what doesn't.

"We must educate the whole student. Education must be viewed as a joint responsibility of families, educators and communities." I'm all for a family being invested in its own children's education, although many teachers and schools really don't appreciate parental input. However, what are communities to do to help educate "the whole student"? I'm afraid "provide money" is largely the idea here. Maybe not.

Lastly, "we will reduce the property tax burden on local taxpayers by increasing the state share of school funding to 61 percent when the reform plan is fully phased-in." So, you're reducing local taxes only to increase state taxes. This helps me how?? Not to mention creating another layer of unneeded bureaucracy.

Children get the best education right now because parents either have enough knowledge in a subject to help their child out, or because parents are wealthy enough to afford tutors. For story after story on this subject, check out Kitchen Table Math. Is this fair? No. Should we depend on bureaucrats to fix everything? Definitely not. Honestly, I don't know for sure whether parental investment is necessary in a child's education. If so, there will always be children who just have parents who aren't willing to put in the effort. Yes, some parents did not get a good education themselves, and obviously most families can not afford to hire tutors. But there will always be some parents who just don't care. For those who do care about the education of children, I think I would tell them to look to the example of homeschoolers. Many parents teaching their children at home are doing so on a shoestring, without a fancy curriculum or lots of field trips. There is such a wealth of free information available to all, that those who want to learn can do so. And this goes along with my whole philosophy of not depending on the government. Why trust a suit in the capital building to take care of you? Nobody is as invested in your child, and what is best for them, as you!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Belated

Too tired after the game to post and put pictures up. Sorry Scottius.

For now I will just put up this picture from our wedding that took place sixteen years ago, yesterday. We celebrated quietly.

Monday, June 08, 2009

For a Daughter and a Doll

I'm getting over the cold I've had to the point where the Dancer and I spent extensive time in the sewing room yesterday. I finished up a pair of shorts for her. Please do not look at the clutter on the stairs behind her. I need to get photo editing software on this netbook. :)

We also worked on a doll dress for the Dancer's American Girl doll. It's a Simplicity, which is not one of the best patterns, but please rest assured I paid no more than 99 cents for it. I bought it in my early sewing days. Next time I will send her searching elsewhere in my pattern stash. The only thing that really has irked me so far is the fact that I had to gather the head of the sleeves although the pattern doesn't call for it. Sewing gathered sleeves into a teeny little armseye is a pain. I should have basted the first one in, like I ended up doing for the collar. I have to fix the first sleeve only a little; the second sleeve will be basted first. At least the Dancer is learning a lot about sewing! It's fun to be sharing this with her.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The List Keeps Growing

It seems to me that people used to get together most often in winter during olden times, and barely saw each other in the summer. I imagine that was due, at least at first, to all the farm work necessary in summer, and later, to the Victorian/Edwardian propensity for going to the country in the summer. Now it seems that people hibernate during the winter, at least after Christmas, and do all kinds of things during the summer, at least in the greater Cleveland area where the winter can be long and tough and the early and late summer can be very pleasant.

Tomorrow a fellow church member is having a garage sale to raise money for a youth group trip. I would have liked to be there today so the Equestrienne could help get things ready, but she has school to do, and I am still not feeling one hundred percent. Not only do we have the garage sale tomorrow, but one of the Dancer's friends is having her end-of-year recital right in the middle of the afternoon.

Tonight the Equestrienne is going to a birthday party, with an 80's theme. What fun! I remember years and years ago some girl saying she dreaded having her daughter come home and tell her that tomorrow was 80's day at school. It's the circle of life!

Next Saturday is a work day at church, for which we will not be able to stay very long, because we are going to an Indians game with a tailgate party beforehand. It's a birthday get-together for a local geocacher.

Here's a picture of the Equestrienne from last weekend, which was a busy one also. I really do wish there were close to as many activities in the winter as there are in the summer! Winter is when I am at my bluest and need human interaction!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Online Virus

Well, actually I'm the one with the virus. I'm finally going to have to give in and admit that I am sick. I'm disappointed and frustrated, as there are things I want to do and I just don't feel up to doing much! I think I will be resting a lot instead. I suppose I became susceptible with how busy the weekend was. Too bad this weekend will be just as busy.

Monday, June 01, 2009

It's June Already

I spent all of May looking forward to the Equestrienne's confirmation, and the month just flew by. Her big day went very well, with lots of family and good food and talk and baby-holding. I hope to post pictures soon, as well as a few more baseball pictures for Scottius. I was so tired today that I even took a nap. The weekend was so busy that my sleep was compromised, so I suppose it's not surprising. There are lots of fun things coming up this summer, so there's still lots of things to look forward to. I need to get blogging more. I'm on track to blog more this year than I did last, which was a goal, but I only posted nine times in May!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Baseball Report


The family attended a Cleveland Indians game last night. It was sponsored by the department where my husband works, so the tickets were less expensive, and it was Dollar Dog Night, so the overall food cost was not so pricey.

It rained quite a bit last night; the tarp was actually pulled over the field for a rain delay at one point. We had planned ahead and brought hats, jackets and a blanket, but they were not waterproof, so eventually our stuff got soaked through. We weren't planning for such a deluge as we got, and anyway, we don't own serious rain gear. Eventually we ended up a little further back of our original seats, under the roof. From there we were dry, but couldn't see the big screen, so I missed when my youngest daughter was once again briefly on it. The stadium was relatively empty last night; whether that was related to the economy, the weather, the Indians' lackluster season or all of the above, I don't know.

"The Prog" is not nearly as cool of a name as "the Jake", but the Progressive Insurance SUV they have near center field by the home bullpen adds some fun to the game. For every home run and at the end of the game (I presume this is only when we win), the car spins, the doors open and shut, the hood goes up and down, and items such as T-shirts are shot out of the top of the vehicle. There was also a big spray of confetti at the end of the game.

Speaking of home runs, as you can see from my husband's picture, we were near center field so we had a good view of every home run that got hit, and in a 5-1 finish every run was scored by the long ball, mostly solo shots. I was rather surprised and pleased when the Indians pulled it out last night. It's always more fun when they win!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Family Time, Me Time

It's relaxingly quiet around here at the moment. Mr. BTEG took our two daughters and the Equestrienne's overnight guest to see A Night at the Museum 2. Current report is that the Dancer found it very humorous. They are bringing home pizza for dinner.

I haven't really been a movie person in a long time. Perhaps I just don't have the patience for a movie. I also hate the way I can get involved in a movie emotionally. I don't want to feel depressed after a sad movie. Movies on television at home are not so bad, but a sad or scary movie can still overly affect me.

I got a little bit of work done in the sewing room today, both actually sewing and putting away and organizing. It felt very nice to accomplish some things. I keep telling myself I need to spend more time in there and then I don't! As school and other activities wind down for the girls perhaps I will actually do this.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Here I Am

I'm keeping my promise to myself to sit in front of the computer and type something! Today was not the best day from a physical standpoint, but the sun was shining and my family was together and it's the start of a three-day weekend, so that makes it better. We also went to a restaurant for dinner, where we were Rickrolled. :)

Anybody have any exciting plans for the weekend? I think just relaxing is going to be enough for us, although the Equestrienne is going to have back-to-back sleepovers with her friend. I need to hit the sewing room soon. The Dancer has just hit one of those points where she has suddenly outgrown almost everything she wears. Believe it or not (and it's probably not if you've seen my sewing room) I do not have enough of many cuts of fabric to make clothes for myself or my daughters anymore. Fortunately, there is at least one beloved baby in my life, so perhaps I can use up some of the fabric on cute baby clothes. I'll have to try to do it before she gets too big. :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Knowing Myself

So, I'm not going to be a high-traffic, well-known blogger any time soon. That's okay. I'm not sure I really want to be one, but I suffer from the occasional "blog envy." On the other hand, I like to keep my traffic up, and posting fairly often is the best way to achieve that. But when I have days like I did yesterday, when I'm doing all I can just to cope with life, a blog post may not happen. It might be good for me to at least try to write something everyday, though. I don't always have to write creative, insightful, perfectly crafted posts. :) Just put myself in front of the screen and see what I produce. It might give me something to do this summer since I've pretty much given up hope on the Indians season. Call me a fair-weather fan, but it's heartbreaking when your team's season is over in May. No excitement for the rest of the summer, at least not from baseball. I'm hoping we'll get to a lot of the fun festivals in the area, though. That will even give me something to blog about!

Friday, May 15, 2009

What Are We Saving?

One of my daughters' favorite shows is Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman. Ordinarily it is a very good show, incorporating history, science and other topics in an entertaining format. Today, though, it irked me. Half of the show's focus was on saving electricity, which is a good thing in and of itself. However, the reason purported for saving energy was to release less CO2 in the atmosphere, and CO2 was tied to "global warming." Come on. As time goes on how much evidence do we really have that this is occurring? Even many global warming champions have switched to "climate change" as a safer explanation of why we must follow their plan.

Two of the kid contestants measured the amount of electricity in watts it took to do certain tasks, such as blowing leaves to using the blender. A high number was greeted with dismay. I wonder how many watts it uses to provide the bright lighting for their filming studio, the cameras, the computer-generated dog, and the televisions kids use to watch the program all across the country. Yes, it's a bit snarky, but seriously! I'm tired of being lectured by television shows and actors when their livelihood is based on using huge amounts of electricity.

Of course, they did give us an alternate method of powering the television: pedal power. Practical to a certain point. They also showed a good option to using the blender: mashing guacamole yourself. Okay. They showed a solar-powered radio and fan, but I think the current drawbacks of solar power were displayed by the fact that the panel needed to run a small table-top type fan was about the size of the Dancer. And when one of the kids stepped in front of the panel, the fan sputtered. We get very few cloudless days here in Ohio.

They also switched to one of those bulbs containing mercury, which in my mind is still controversial. The funniest thing was washing clothes by hand in a metal pail. I know many of my readers like hanging clothes on the line to dry, but how many of us would like washing all of our laundry by hand? Even the Amish wringer washer uses a gas or electric engine. Made in Saudi Arabia! Even if I lived someplace where I would not get stoned by my neighbors for hanging up clothes outside, I would still use the dryer 1)for things like towels that get nasty air-dried and 2)in the winter. Heck, I'd like to see the rich and famous in Beverly Hills have their servants start hanging laundry outside to dry. Or would they get too many people trying to steal the bedsheets of a famous actress? :)

So, yes, there are ways to cut back on electricity. But can't we do it just for the monetary and resource savings, or must we do it to "save the planet"?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mental Illness and What It Means

A friend of mine was surprised that I mentioned on Facebook that I am bipolar. Partially through blogs like I Trust When Dark My Road and Lilac Rose, I have come to see mental illness as nothing to be ashamed of. Mental illness is no different than any other type of bodily illness, such as Crohn's or asthma. Some people will look down on those suffering from mental illness, but life is best lived not caring about what other people think. I have lots of people in my life to whom I can turn if my illness starts becoming unmanageable, and thanks be to God that I have these people and medications to help handle symptoms. I pray to never be in as dark a place again as I have been, but in the end I have to live on faith.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Stress

It only occurred to me yesterday that the fact that we are planning a move might make a difference in my mood and view of life. That seems rather silly of me considering that moving is one of the big life changes, although not up there with death or divorce. I think the fact that this will be a *good* move (we're not moving until we find some place we're really happy with and that is larger) helped me forget about the stress part of it. After all, I've been looking forward to this move almost since right after when we moved into where we are now, since we had to make do with the best we could last time. But there is still stress in packing, deciding what is worth taking and what isn't, finding a new place, balancing our wants with our budget, and encouraging our daughters to sort through their messy bedroom. I need to be aware of externals to make sure I'm not just beating up on myself as I so often do.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Game Pieces


Two very popular hosts of a morning radio talk show here in Ohio have been let go. Clear Channel states that it is for economic reasons, but I can't really believe a company which seems to basically own all the radio stations in the country is hurting over and above. They are saving money, however, since the replacement DJ apparently has his show beamed from Los Angeles. The thing that saddened me was when I realized that all the people saying they will no longer listen to 106.5 don't really matter. If they listen to any other radio station instead, it is probably owned by Clear Channel also. What will really hurt Clear Channel is if people just start listening to their ipods or mp3 players or CDs instead of radio, and maybe people are already doing that. But if that's the case, why not keep what makes you different -- the talk show hosts? Without a live host, why listen to a music station that has become, in one commenter's words, a "jukebox" when you can tailor what you want with modern technology?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Tired Out

The main living area of our home is being thoroughly cleaned this weekend, and it's been very stressful and tiring. Mr. BTEG has been doing most of the work, with the Dancer as his right-hand helper, and the Equestrienne and I have pitched in some. Three of us also managed to ding ourselves up a little in the process. I tripped over some boxes and scraped and bruised my right wrist. I'll be glad to get things back in order.

I think our 16-year-old cat Cedric is showing his age. He's becoming more insistent about being around me, and about fresh clean water always being in his water dish. However, physically he's still in great shape, taking on the young cat in our house, Sabrina, and winning. I will be sad when he eventually joins our other cats who have passed on, but at 16 he has lived a long life for a cat.

Nothing too deep this weekend due to the aforementioned housecleaning. Hoping to have a nice and not too stressful day tomorrow. I may end up going to the doctor for an ear infection, though.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Moody

The laptop I use for my online needs finally died on Monday after lots of problems. So after a little time shopping I am set up with a new netbook. I miss the big screen of a full size laptop a little, but the netbook looks like it will work well for me, plus it has a battery that will last longer than 20 minutes, thus not tying me to a cord constantly.

I'm feeling rather moody. Perhaps it is related to my bi-polar, although my mood swings are much easier to relate to the illness when they are more dramatic. Thank God, medicine keeps mood swings from going too far, generally. However, my counselor and I have been discussing something which I've been thinking hard about today. Can a person be friends with someone with whom they don't have a lot in common, or perhaps they completely disagree on a major issue or two? I have a difficult time doing this, but some people do seem able to accomplish it. And when I get in a certain mood, I feel like giving up on people all together and picking up my toys and going home. Not very productive to burn bridges, but sometimes my inner self urges me to do it. I've been able to stick to the more prudent option of keeping bridges intact so far, but this whole people thing just confuses me sometimes.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thoughts on Higher Education

A friend sent me this article on how student loan debts for higher education often end up weighing down those who took them on, and the possibility for increased wages with a degree often do not offset the debt load adequately. The entire higher education system in this country seems, like so many other things, to be a big, overgrown mess.

As always, I look for non-government solutions. The big Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debacle illustrates to me all too clearly that the government should not be in the business of loaning money. I also don't think a higher education is so necessary that the government should simply be financing it. A university education does not make you smarter or more productive or a better citizen. I don't want to get into this too much, since then we could tear apart the whole public school system, but I just want to cover what might seem the "obvious" answer to some.

If enough people try to find alternate solutions to college, perhaps colleges and universities will drop their prices to attract more customers. Government loans have definitely not helped the situation here. The more people who get loan-savvy, the more schools of higher education will have to make their prices more affordable. Also, potential students need to be more discerning about their chances of doing well in college. The article mentions universities who deliberately inflate their diversity numbers without revealing that most of these minority students will never finish their degree. Here's another tip: if you have to take a lot of remedial courses perhaps the university is not for you. Or, perhaps you could find less expensive ways to cover your educational gaps. The homeschooler in me says, search out ways to improve your education yourself! At least to get yourself to the point where you don't have to spend big bucks at the university level taking remedial courses.

In our own family, I'm glad Mr. BTEG went to college. In computer work, anecdotal evidence says there are ways to get a start in the business without a degree, but I think the broad computer science courses gave my husband a better foundation and helped him get ahead faster. Myself, I didn't know what I wanted to do when I went to college; I only went because of familial pressure and because that's what smart people did. I can't complain too much because I met my husband there!, and two of the jobs I had before getting married were ones where a degree was required. Knowing myself better now, I likely would have studied other things in college, but then I would have attended a different school and probably never met DH, so it's all for the best.

The Equestrienne is presently considering a course in Equine Studies; big surprise there! If she still wants to be a vet, this could be a pre-vet course, or she could just take it with an eye to having her own stable in the future. If she could get a real job with someone who has their own working stable, like the people she rides with now, college could perhaps be skipped entirely. College would cover things, though, that her stable doesn't do. And her riding coach is talking up the college that she recently graduated from, so we'll see. I don't know enough about owning horses and giving lessons to know whether a degree would be helpful enough.

The Dancer wants to be...a dance teacher. So predictable! Her own teacher took education and dance courses in college. Again, I don't know enough about the dance world to know whether a degree is a necessity or not. I suppose it would sound better if the Dancer were trying to begin her own studio. A lot of research needed before we send the girls off for more education!

Boy, this is long, isn't it? :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Kids at Work

Thursday was yet another Take Your Kid to Work Day. During the morning, they were a test audience for pilot episodes of television shows. Alex had PastaPalooza for lunch, which she loves. You pick vegetables and/or meats to go in your pasta and choose from several types of sauces, and the chef makes it all up right in front of you. In the afternoon, there was face painting and lots of crafts. The girls also came home with large goody bags. It was another nice day with Daddy.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Art of Blogging

I'm feeling blogger envy, of all the people who can write extensively and heart-stirringly about subjects. I'm not going to say I can't write, but I don't know that I'm a good essayist. I tend to be rather brief and to-the-point when I express myself in writing, and I'm afraid it makes me rather boring. I also see my readership dropping, and a lot of hits on my blog are coming from people merely finding a search match to a certain phase or picture on my blog. I still have opinions on a lot of things; I'm just having a hard time putting them into words right now.

Oddly enough to me, life is seeming more demanding than it did when the girls were little. Yes, they can do more for themselves and help out around the house, but there are all the activities they are involved in, wanting to go to friends' homes (wishing we knew some kids who lived closer), concentrating more on schoolwork as the girls get older, especially the Equestrienne who will be starting high school in a little more than a year and needs to be prepared.

I also tend to be a bit in a fog lately. Not sure if it is age, or my bi-polar meds, or the craziness of life, but I'm struggling to put coherent thoughts together. Not ready to give up yet though. If anything, perhaps getting complete sentences and paragraphs out might help my brain-fog.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Together Again

Our cat Callie and her son Champ are reunited. I never thought she would leave us so soon after her son. I'm typing this through tears. I can't believe she's gone.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Nifty Knit Kit

We were at Jo-Ann Fabrics and the knitting set in this picture caught the Dancer's eye. As you can see, there is a pattern book with instructions to learn how to knit and several princess-y projects. There are also two sets of size 8 princess needles, two crowns to go on the end of needles, a pair of scissors, two yarn needles, and pink and blue stitch markers. We got it with our super-special Jo-Ann coupon (waves at Deb) and so we even saved some money on it. As you can also see, the Dancer has learned how to cast on. She is still learning how to knit stitches from there. This set really caught her imagination!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Cinderella Story Is Always Nice

but I love this quote: When will our culture stop judging others by their looks, age and social status and begin to see the beauty, goodness and unique talent in each one of us?

Go here to see an incredibly talented person.

Monday, April 13, 2009

How I Spent My Easter

All the cousins on my DH's side of the family together. Technically, the little boy is a cousin once-removed, as he is the son of the woman in the picture.

My niece being reborn in baptism. I love the look of love and joy on my sister-in-law's face.

My niece with her parents and godparents, my sisters-in-law and their husbands.

My niece with our Easter gift to her, a stuffed bunny. Of course we also gifted her with a couple of special things for her baptism.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Joyous Occasion

Yesterday evening the Dancer partook of Holy Communion with her family. Most of her extended family were there for the event, and most of us went out to Hoggy's afterwards. (Dan, there is one in New Albany!) I got to hold and feed my adorable niece, who will be joining the family of God this Sunday. The girls had fun entertaining their other little cousin during dinner. I felt very blessed yesterday.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

After a Long Day of Shopping

what better way to relax than to soak your feet and read a book?

The Dancer has wanted a certain girl's pedicure set for ages. We found it today for about $5 less than we normally see it, and she grabbed it. Then of course she had to try it out as soon as we got home.

Being the little house-keeping goddess that she is, she also hand-washed the new first communion/Easter dress that we found today. The Equestrienne, amazingly enough, also found a dress she liked, and a little bolero sweater for the cooler spring weather. So we are set for the next few special days, except for me. :( Perhaps I shall dig through my stash and see if I can fashion something.

Which brings up another point, which is why I did not do any sewing for the holiday. Well, I had been dragging a little bit here waiting for spring. I did not want to put any anxious pressure on myself by trying to get a dress done in time for tomorrow, or Easter. Now that spring is really coming, I am becoming a lot more active and feeling better emotionally. I am praying this will mean more creations coming from the sewing room!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Blogging With ADD

There's so much I want to write about, and it's all floating around in little bits in my mind. Especially since I went shopping today and found a whoooole bunch of stuff to rant about, lol.

Okay, for starters, the bookstore I went to had a sign on the counter about thinking of the environment before asking for a bag for your purchase. First of all, this is a BOOKSTORE. How many trees get cut down every year for them? Secondly, this store was in a mall, and I think mall security would appreciate customers having their purchases in bags. Maybe I should just carry a big bag around with me in case I decide I want to buy something. I'm sure mall security would love that. Or they could just use paper bags, since they obviously have no objection to cutting down trees. In any case, I won't visit that store again. I have no desire to be preached at when I'm favoring a store with hard-earned dollars.

I'm sure there must be models out there who become pregnant at some point. Can we get some of them to model pregnancy clothes instead of sticking a fake stomach on a size 2? And ladies, did any of you ever get the urge to wear three-inch wedge heels while you were pregnant?

I tried on my usual Easter dress, and it doesn't fit. :( I've gained a lot of weight with the bi-polar meds I'm on. I don't know what I'm going to wear for Easter, and I still need something for the Dancer to wear on Maundy Thursday and Easter.

I'm bummed that the Indians lost their first game, with our Cy-Young award winning pitcher. On the other hand, seeing this back cover of the New York Post

helps just a little bit!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Books, Books, Books!

Mr. BTEG wanted to stop at the bookstore while we were out today to look for a particular book. The bookstore we visited had many books on sale, and they were also buy two, get the third free. We needed no further prompting to add some books to our home library. One of the books I picked up was Crocheting for Dummies. I would like to try to learn how to crochet at some point, and an extra reference book is always useful. We also picked up an American Girl Mystery Puzzles set. There are four puzzles, and you put the puzzles together to solve the mystery. The Dancer and I are looking forward to trying this out. Perhaps the Equestrienne will join us.

Our main purpose for going out was to get dance clothes and dance shoes for the Dancer. She needed new ballet slippers, new jazz shoes and some new dance wear. That stuff really adds up, but fortunately she doesn't need it all that often. She *really* loves dancing, though, so it's worth whatever we can do to help her.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

National Felons' League

The accidental death of a human being is a sad thing. I just wonder why millionaire football players don't hire a limo if they are planning to drink. So much grief could have and should have been avoided.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Interesting Road Experience

We saw a huge column of black smoke floating up to the sky while the Dancer, Mr. BTEG and I were on the way home tonight. When we came around a curve, we saw that it was an older mini-van going up in flames. Not only was the fire spectacular, but sparks were also shooting up every so often. The Dancer correctly surmised that it was very likely a lack of engine coolant that started the conflagration, but then we had a little episode of our own with our radiator leaking a couple weeks ago. Fortunately, we did not have our engine get hot enough to catch fire, and also fortunately, we were on the opposite side of the freeway from the fire, so we slowed down only enough for everybody to drive by and get a look, and take pictures with their cell phones.

The funny thing was that I was attempting to get over to the middle lane so Gino could attempt to take pictures. I turned on my turn signal only to have the car in the middle lane behind me speed up and honk at me. As he went by, I saw that he had WWJD on his license plate. I wonder how Jesus would drive, lol.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Another Bloggers Meet-Up!

Once more the Evil Genius clan gets to share a meal with Dan at Necessary Roughness! We had a very good time at our last meet-up at a German restaurant. This time we're going to a tavern. At least there will be German beer! Wish more regional bloggers could join us.

Update: Had a very nice dinner. Is it just me, or are things getting nastier on the roads? I slowed down going into a very banked cloverleaf loop, and the huge vehicle behind me *instantly* cranked on his brights. Then passed me on the right, in the shoulder, as soon as we were going straight again. What's up with that?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Evil But Not Alone

Surfing around the internet I find I was not alone in wanting to have all the lights and the appliances in the house on non-stop yesterday. Do these environment-lovers not realize their shrill and self-congratulatory proselytization is the Christian equivalent to the guy standing on the street corner telling everybody they're going to hell? It just makes you want to do the opposite of whatever they propose. Honestly, I try not to waste gas or electricity just because they cost money! Not like some who tell us we should cut back while they use more fuel in one month than we use in a year. I'm fed up with being preached at.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Things That Help

Hearing from those of you who helped me assure myself that online schooling is not the end of the world.

Finally getting my new clothes in the washer. When the Dancer is bored, she does laundry, cooks and bakes. I know, isn't it awful. ;) It does mean sometimes I have to "fight" her to get my stuff in the laundry.

Finding out that the budget is not as scary as I thought. Although I just found out that the office where my counselor and psychiatrist are has been handling my billing wrong for a year!! That will mean extra money for us to pay. On the other hand, we just found out that the orthodontist never actually *billed our insurance* for the work we've already had done with the girls. I wish these professionals could hire *professional* record-takers and bookkeepers.

The beautiful warm weather and sunshine. And having the Equestrienne bring some daffodils into the house.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

End of an Era

It looks as though I will not be homeschooling for much longer. The Dancer would like to join the Equestrienne in online schooling next year. Since we like the Equestrienne's online school, that is not a huge problem, but there a couple of difficulties I'll have to get over. One, feeling like a failure for not homeschooling anymore. So many people that are pro-homeschooling are also rabidly anti-everything else. This makes me feel like maybe there's something I could have done or should have done to make homeschooling work out. I also found the picture of the homeschooling life attractive. Trouble is, it didn't work out this way very often in practice. I don't know if it was my daughters' personalities or mine, or both, but we never had anything resembling my ideal Little Homeschool on the Prairie.

Secondly, a lot of the social networks I know revolve around homeschooling. I also don't know many stay-at-home moms that don't homeschool. And it's hard to find people with any time at all to socialize, much less moms who work outside the home all day. For some reason, there does not seem to be a lot of online schooling activity on this side of town, either. I'm afraid I'll end up very isolated and that won't be good for me. I hope I can work through these issues.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Life Is Strange

Right now I feel like I'm just existing. Going through the motions. I feel like I'm spending most of my life in the car, and I don't know how much more I can stand this.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I See the Light

Today I of course partook of the Sacrament, which makes it a good day, but I also sewed a little on a shirt for me that I'm working on. And Gino took me clothes shopping! There was a 40% off sale at my favorite store, and I really needed some new clothes for the warmer weather. Plus, we spent the money alloted for Christmas gifts for me last year towards our trip to Great Wolf Lodge. I was glad to do it, since we needed to get away, but Gino promised he'd make it up to me later. Today was it.

I'll try to get some pics up on Facebook, Kate! X

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Can't Hide From It

I am officially suffering from depression. This does not mean I feel particularly sad, although there are some things weighing on me. I just do not feel like doing anything. I have no motivation or interest in any activities right now. I am the boring-est person in the world. I achieved a big milestone when I got through the end of February/beginning of March this year, but I am not entirely immune.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Life Goes On Without Me

Other than the fact that we are largely over our illness, very little is happening here. I have said before that I am largely ignoring the news; well, I am still doing that. It just discourages me. I haven't done anything lately in knitting or sewing. I'm just stuck in a rut. Today and tomorrow, though, I don't have to drive Mr. BTEG to work. I hope that will make a difference.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spam, Eggs, Bacon, Sausage and Spam

It's interesting now that I am on Facebook, I am getting Facebook related spam. But not only on the email I use for Facebook, but my other email address which I keep a little more private. Alas, this email address has also fallen to the curse of spam, but not nearly as much. I just wonder if spammers have the two addresses related somehow? Perhaps Mr. BTEG knows.