Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Yet another birthday for my eldest. Sweet sixteen this year! She's moving towards independence at a slightly faster clip now. Hope we can keep enjoying our times together!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Visions of Sugar Plums

Went Christmas shopping on Saturday, including a visit to a Toys R Us. I can totally believe that Christmas spending will be down this year, just based on the state of the economy, but the stores are still busy and traffic is still heavy around here. Maybe people are buying less? Also, many of the people I saw at Toys R Us appeared to be grandparents, with glazed expressions and a list of what the grandkids want clutched in hand. Grandparents will always want to give something to the grandchildren. It just might be something smaller this year. Not that I am happy about this state of affairs, just trying to explain what I am seeing versus predictions. And lots of people out there are hurting economically, just based on the employment numbers and the demand for food stamps, etc.

I was also surprised and a little irritated by the emptiness of some of the store shelves. I've heard that stores are cutting back on how much they have in stock at a time, due to, you guessed it, the slowdown of the economy. I would think for Christmas they would ramp it up just a bit.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Living Under the Law

Let me say from the start that I hate neighborhood covenants. However, we were rather limited when we were forced to look for a place to live. The girls were thriving in their current school district, and had made some friends. We were determined not to make them start over in a new district, so we had to find the best place we could in this town. Which is why we wound up here.

All of my readers who are Christians should know about the difference between the Law and the Gospel. And what I'm about to write should make perfect sense to you. The Law, in this case the neighborhood covenant, has turned some of the people in this neighborhood into Pharisees. Even I am becoming nitpick-y. Because if we're going to get "busted" for having our garbage out on the lawn before 5 PM on the day before collection day, or sniped at because we still have our Christmas lights up (although not lit) in late January, than yes, I'm sorry to say that I have started watching like a hawk, and recording all of my neighbors' transgressions, at least mentally. Because that's what living under the Law begets. "Thank you, God, that I am not like this tax collector." Point out the mote in my eye, and I'll be more than happy to show you the beam in your own. How much better to live under the Gospel! To bear one anothers' burdens, to forgive others' faults even as they forgive you yours. Lord, save us from the burden of the Law.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Starting Over. And Over.

Crazy week. Not more actual activity going on, but being slightly sick for a good part of the week made things tougher. Actually, we got fewer things done. But the week is almost over, which is a relief.

I consider it rather Providential how many opportunities we are given to make a "fresh start." A new day, a new week, a new month, a new year. Because there are chances for self-improvement. Not in the theological "God wants me to be a better person" kind of way, but people can make positive changes. Eat less. Stay off the computer more. Spend more time with the kids/spouse. And every day, His mercies are new, and we have a chance to change something. Even if it was messed up the day before.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Unintended Consequences

eBay has apparently started charging ten percent on shipping costs that sellers charge, as well as taking its cut of whatever the item itself sells for. Supposedly they are trying to get people to offer free shipping. But you know that crazy law of unintended consequences. What some people are doing instead is jacking up the shipping costs to cover the ten percent extra, and informing the buyers as to why. And I don't blame them.

Yes, shipping items can be a pain, because the Postal Service can get expensive, and unless you go flat rate, it can be hard to tell how much an item will cost to ship. And flat rate has become outweighed by cost over convenience, especially when you're selling items, and buyers want to pay as little as possible. Is eBay trying to avoid the hassle of buyers overpaying for shipping by "encouraging" sellers to offer free shipping? Or just taking another slice of the pie? I don't know. I do know that by offering free shipping, most sellers will end up tacking the shipping cost onto the selling price instead, and that creates issues of its own. Simply because of the difficulty in estimating shipping, how much easier just to be generous in your estimation and raise the selling price a little bit higher than your guess. Whereas lots of sellers, including myself, pride themselves in providing accurate shipping costs and refund any overage.

When it comes to my particular eBay interest, dolls, there seems to be a particular price range for various items. If you're charging more for your item, but offering free shipping, will buyers be astute enough to do the math and realize that the cost evens out? I don't know, because I've become cynical and think its hard to underestimate the intelligence of the masses. I also hate overtinkering to manipulate others. It generally doesn't end well.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Writing Experience

Every time I begin a blog post, and look at the last date I posted, I chide myself for not writing sooner. The thing is, I think about writing something, and I talk myself out of writing it, for fear that it is stupid, or I can't put together some thoughts in my mind, so I drop it. But what I am remembering is my college experience. When I had a paper to write, I always, but always, put it off until the last minute. Even in my freshman humanities classes, where we had to write a rough draft and go over it with a classmate, I never used the rough draft when I wrote the final paper. Instead, I usually became inspired around eleven or midnight the night before the writing was due, and pounded out a paper on my electric typewriter, which usually got a pretty good grade. I don't have to have The Great American Blog Post planned out in my head before I start writing. As in other areas of life, maybe the most important place to start is by just showing up.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Hope today's sewing adventure goes better than yesterday's. Spent a good bit of time cleaning up after the last project, thoroughly cleaning the lint out of the serger, getting the cutting table re-organized to get space to work. Only to have the serger stubbornly refuse to serge. The threads kept getting snarled and breaking, and I couldn't really see a reason why. So I pulled all the threads, and I'm going to try to absolutely thread it from scratch. I really hope it works, or it's going to kill the positive, productive mood that I'm in.

ETA: I did get the serger working, and I got some sewing done! One or two of the tension discs feel a little bit loose. Wonder if that is normal, or how they could be tightened. Yes, the machine could use a tune-up, but I'd like to wait until after the holidays, and until our financial situation improves.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Okay, Not So Up

So much for getting my netbook back. Linux seems to running fine on it, BUT there is something wrong that makes the computer shut down unexpectedly. Don't know if it needs a new battery or what, but that kind of stuff (that costs money) will have to wait. Trying to be more careful when I use Mr. BTEG's computer, since I am using it in his personal space, his den.

After seeing all the tragic stories coming out of the Penn State scandal, I am more than ever confused about why anyone thinks a larger government is a good idea. In cases like this, trying to put a stop to such illegal and disturbing activities would have been as "easy" as calling the police. For various reasons, a whole network of people did not do what would have been the right thing. I am not naive enough to believe there is any group of people in power with complete immunity to corruption. So in something as large as the federal government, what do you do when people are misusing the power with which they have been entrusted? Who are "the police"? Will everyone behind Solyndra and Fast and Furious, for example, be brought to justice? Will money funneled from the public till be restored? Lives that were lost can never be given back. So why entrust anyone, ANYONE, with so much power, prestige and privilege, that they are willing to, at the minimum, look away from evil to keep what they have?

Monday, November 07, 2011

Up and Running

Finally have my netbook back, although Mr. BTEG still needs to get my email client running. Getting used to all the different fonts. Do different fonts in software, from the ones that you're already used to, bother anyone else? I'm not liking the font I'm seeing while I type this; I like it the least of everything I've seen so far. It's very much like a plain old electric typewriter font. Boring.

Mr. BTEG pointed out to me, and I had meant to say, that the title of my last post was very Dr. Who-ish. While I was referring to the idea of "Don't blink or you'll miss it," in regards to how quickly days and weeks can slip by; still, a little Dr. Who reference is always fun. :)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Don't Blink

The days are going by incredibly quickly! It's fun, until I look around the house and see what's not getting done, while I'm out running errands or going places for the girls. Ach! Definitely can't have it all, so I might as well have fun with what I have.

On a related note, sometimes bipolar people, when in their manic state, will do crazy things, like go on a shopping binge for shoes and clothes. Mr. BTEG showed me something I hadn't seen, which was that while I don't go on shopping sprees to that extent, I do have my shopping weakness. I occasionally buy some organizational bins, drawers, etc. on a quest to organize. Could be worse!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Merry What-Mas?

I am aware that secular families put up a Christmas tree at Christmas; many people who are not Christian do indeed celebrate this holiday. However, I found it interesting to see a Buddha ornament among the Christmas ornaments at my local World Market store. Celebrating Christmas as a "generic winter holiday" is one thing. Throwing another religion into a religious holiday is... different. Maybe something like adding Shinto practices on to Rosh Hashanah. But I suppose once people start redefining Christmas, they can just go on redefining it. I'm happy to be celebrating the birth of my Savior at Christmas.

I would have taken a picture, but the picture gallery on my phone is acting strangely.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Well, my netbook is still being worked on. I'm going to have to sneak on to Mr. BTEG's computer more often and post. I have to admit that I love the giant monitor and full-sized keyboard. I just wasn't set up with all my own things on this computer before.

I've been pretty down lately, and I'm trying to climb back out. I would love to have a local friend, someone with whom I could talk just about every day, besides Mr. BTEG. No matter how often I "reset" my attitude, it's easy to fall back into negative thinking when the only ones I have to talk to are the voices in my head (grin.) This month has been incredibly busy, with marching band season in full swing, but I haven't developed any friendships or even good acquaintance-ships with other parents. Sometimes it seems like the luck of the draw. The moms whose daughters are in the dance class the next step up from the Dancer's, for example, all sit around and talk while their daughters are in class. With the girls in my daughter's classes, most of the moms aren't even around; they drop their daughters off at the beginning of class and arrive just in time to pick them up at the end.

I *am* enjoying fall; it's my favorite season. I've been doing a little bit of "nesting," wanting to get our place organized better for the holidays and birthdays that are approaching. A less cluttered environment would probably be a big mood booster.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

(Waving Frantically)

I'm still here! Mr. BTEG took my netbook and updated it. Windows was being a memory hog to the point where I couldn't even run my virus checker anymore. Mr. BTEG installed a flavor of Linux on there instead, so now the computer should work much better. This does provide an example of why so many people love Macs, though. Not everyone has live-in tech support, like I do. :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I Will

No, Sheila Jackson Lee, I will not shut up. I will not go to hell, Maxine Waters. I don't blog about politics often, but I blog about whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like it. If I want to say that people only vote for you out of greed and stupidity, I will. If I want to say that America should come first, and not the color of our skin, I will. If I want to say that I hope the voters kick both of you out on your asses and send you to the unemployment line where your policies have already sent so many, I will. I won't be intimidated by the likes of you.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Getting It Done

To do a to do list or not to do a to do list? :) I go back and forth. If I have a list, I can start to feel pressured and overwhelmed. If I don't have a list, I often forget things that I wanted to accomplish for that day. Getting into better habits might help overall with not forgetting things, but one day isn't like another around here anymore! I'm liking this stage of my life, though, however busy. I really enjoy being around my girls.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How the Other Half Lives

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week, I spent a lot of time away from home because of various responsibilities. I wasn't a working mom, but I did feel a lot like it--the extra stress, not being home to do chores or cook meals, less sleep. We did eat out and eat take-out. When no one is home to cook, you have to eat somehow. The dishes we did use at home piled up. By the end of Thursday night, I couldn't think straight. I missed casual times of talking with the girls. I even missed running the dishwasher! I don't think juggling a 40-hour work week would be for me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Goodbye Sunlight

I may have to up my Vitamin D intake; I really crashed hard today. Mr. BTEG and his sister both suffer from levels of Vitamin D that can get low enough to be dangerous. It may have a bigger impact on our health than we think. It would help explain why people in third world countries don't seem to get autoimmune disorders, if the Vitamin D were a cause and not just a symptom.

Friday, September 16, 2011


I'm finally getting around to expressing my concern about the lack of reading comprehension in our society. If someone can't read a simple sentence in a newsgroup correctly, what are the odds that they will be able to understand all of the facts given in something important, like an article or blog post sharing serious news?

Today, I'm reading the latest messages on a doll newsgroup. First poster talks about a certain doll just featured in a magazine. First of all, she gets the last name of the doll mixed up with the adjective used to describe the doll on the magazine cover. Okay, not going to quibble about that too much. Both words are commonly used in talking about sewing, and she got the name of the magazine right, so you can always go look for yourself. But then she says that the face paint on the doll looks like it was done by a kindergartener. To which the next person responds, yes, she does look like she could be in kindergarten. Um, what? I really don't think that's what person A meant/wrote. It's like that game we played in grade school; the farther along the road you get, the more "off" things are.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Modern Sewer

Anyone else have an Android phone and not an iPhone? I got an issue of my sewing magazine the other day, and one of the features was ten sewing apps. Before I even turned to the page, I said to myself, "I bet most of them will be for the iPhone." Well, I wasn't *entirely* right. In actual fact, 9 out of 10 were iPhone exclusive. Mr. BTEG tells me that there as many apps out there for the Android as there are for the iPhone, but not for the stuff that I'm interested in. I have found one knitting app, called County, which helps you keep track of which row you're on. I can't even find a grocery list app that I like.

Another problem I have with sewing magazines is that too many of the projects assume you have an embroidery machine. And the embroidery is a big part of what makes the project. It just makes me feel poor and out of the loop, and I hate that.

On the other hand, there was a "survey" about how much fabric people have in their stashes. I'm a total piker compared to a lot of these women, but that, I'm totally cool with. I feel guilty about how much of a stash I have as it is. Although I'm getting to a point where more and more of it is leftover bits that are big enough that I don't like to throw them away.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Quick Complaint

I hate it when people are more interested in riding off on their hobby horse than actually listening to what you are trying to say. Especially people whose job involves listening, ostensibly.

Friday, September 02, 2011


One of the only things that keeps me going, is hope. Yes, I have a wonderful husband and two great daughters, and we live in a nice area of metro Cleveland. But in a lot of other ways, we are struggling. I don't want to stay where we are for the rest of my life. I want things in some areas to improve. And without hope that better things might be coming, I could very easily fall into despair.

It's important to say, though, that I can't depend on anyone else for this hope, besides Mr. BTEG. We share common dreams and goals, and work towards things together. Yes, God does send his blessings to all. But things won't necessarily fall out of the sky either. Sometimes God provides for us by giving us the means to earn our daily bread instead of dropping manna. And depending on an other human is a sure way to be disappointed. The dreams that Mr. BTEG and I share are very personal to us. To hope that some great consortium of people will accomplish exactly what you desire is to forget the complexity and conflicting interests of humans. And to hope that there is some benevolent being out there, besides God, who will just give you everything you need, is just a pipe dream. Not even God gives you everything you need with no effort on your part. And you definitely don't get everything you want, either.

I'm going to accomplish a few things today towards some of my dreams!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life's Little Oddities

For a desperately needed mental lift for the Evil Genius, three members of the Evil Genius family went to our nearest Winking Lizard restaurant. As we were seated, surrounded by large televisions, I was irked that the baseball game on was between the evil Red Sox and the even eviller Yankees. So we get the game on our TV turned to the Indians. Heaven. So there I am watching the game, eating a delicious Angus burger, jamming to a cool song (it was Pulling Mussels by Squeeze if you must know) and I realize my husband and the Dancer are not really into the game (or the music.) Not only that, but I start watching a preseason football game on another television involving the Evil Team that my husband roots for, and he's not interested in that either. I love Mr. Evil Genius more than anyone else, but not only am I the biggest sports fan in the house, but the man of the house isn't really all that big on sports. Heh.

Oh, and my family really hates it when I jump up and down screaming while one of the Browns runs into the endzone. Yelling and sticking my hands up in the air when an Indians player goes yard is slightly more tolerated.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wondering Why

Oh dear. I'm frustrated, and sometimes angry, and sometimes even getting scared. The only way I can describe is that it feels like there is some bad mojo somewhere. Of course that's not Christian. But to say one feels under Satan's attack seems over-dramatic. And then I do feel like such a small insect in the vastness that is God's creation.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Facebook Etiquette

The Musician hung out over the summer for a day with a friend from another town, and on the way back she gave me a lesson on Facebook etiquette. When you've been somewhere with a friend, you have to post about it on Facebook. But not right away. But definitely later that day. Also, the exhuberance of your post depends on whether the person is your *best* friend or just a friend or whatever. If the person is your *best* friend, your post will go along the lines of "Just had the BEST day EVER with Jane!!!" "Had fun with Jane today" works if the person is just a regular friend. It's like modern day Victorian calling cards!

Monday, August 22, 2011


I'm starting to wonder about myself. Well, not really, but I am starting to wonder if my "cycling" is normal. Not the bipolar cycling, which I expect, but just getting through the day cycling. There isn't a day lately where I don't feel discouraged or depressed for at least part of the time. I can usually work my way up to guardedly hopeful, which is the best I get these days. Whether it's because I'm trying to protect myself, or because I see lots of bad signs about the future, I don't know. I do know that the more I do, the better I feel. Climbing out of depression to "do" is the hard part.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Running Again

I found my machine oil. It was in a little crate with some other bathroom items. I keep it in the bathroom because, where else is easier to clean up if some of the oil happens to spill?

We're going to be very busy for a while here, and I hate having so much on my plate. Curriculum night at the middle school tonight, ice cream social for the high school marching band tomorrow. Fortunately, Daddy will be the one taking the girls school supply shopping on Saturday. I will probably be the one taking the girls shopping for a few new clothes. Next week, marching band preview night, then the first day of school. Then the football games start, then the dance classes start. I guess it will keep me out of trouble. :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Needing Dusted Off

I'm really trying to be good and get some sewing done, but I can't find my sewing machine oil, and both of my machines really need it. Mr. BTEG says he has some out in his shop that I can use, but the whole day will be gone by the time he gets home. His shop is nowhere organized or neat, which is why I have to wait for him. It's really important for me to take advantage of times when I feel up, because I have far too many down times when not much gets accomplished.

I'm also tired of how dusty things get. I hate having to dust things around here before I can use them. I'm starting to think I would love to have everything in big cabinets with doors. Maybe some of them could have glass doors so you could see what was in them, although we have a bookcase out in the garage that still needs a glass door replaced after the Dancer broke it many years ago. We'd just have to make sure the cabinets reached all the way up to the ceiling, so the tops wouldn't gather... dust.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Nostalgia For What Wasn't

I am going through some of our homeschooling books that didn't get a lot of use, so I can sell them. I remember all the plans I made and looking forward to using the books with the girls. I am sorry that my plans never really worked out. Oh, the girls did learn somehow, since they were able to transition into public school. But most of the plans I had didn't work out. The girls and I did have some nostalgic moments, however, going through some of their old work, especially the art work. Which is funny in a way because they don't do much creative art work on their own, but they did seem to enjoy what was assigned to them. So I'm thankful for what we did have, but still feeling a bit of nostalgia for what never was.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Garden Woes

The container gardening hasn't been an entire failure, but it hasn't been as successful as I envisioned late this spring. I think we'll get one pepper off of the pepper plant. Anyone know if this is normal? We are getting tomatoes, but due to a failure to stake the plants better as they got taller, we won't get as many tomatoes as we should have. The Dancer is at least enjoying a few tomatoes every few days. The oregano looks rather sad. I suppose we may be able to chop what there is, up. Strawberries failed to materialize.

The problems as I see them were: 1. An especially rainy spring. The plants got overly soggy to the point where they were sitting in water. We did our best to drain the containers and moved the plants in when it rained, but the responsibility of lugging containers around, I think became discouraging.
2. Our patio faces south. This discourages us from spending much time out there, thus kind of forgetting about the plants. I would like to get some kind of large umbrella or other shade, but the cost is rather prohibitive.

Oh, and I planted some lilies-of-the-valley in front, in the shade. There didn't seem to be much to them, just a scrawny bit of root. I have lost all hope of them since the landscaping crew that maintains our development came and dumped a bunch of mulch on top of these little twigs sticking up. I wonder if transplanting some larger plants from someone who has some would work better. I think I mentioned before that I tried lilies before many years ago and got nothing then as well.

The price of food being what it is, I still think it is worth giving container gardening another try next spring. Actually, I would like to get some more containers so that we can grow more food. We'll see where things stand next spring. I will also put some ornamental bulbs in this fall.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Quick Question

So you're sitting outside with your friends on a summer evening. It's a lovely, if slightly humid, night, in a peaceful neighborhood. A little alcohol may add to the enjoyment, but does being drunk and loud really add anything?

Monday, August 01, 2011

I Want My MTV

I was just about to start my eighth grade year when MTV debuted. It was the coolest thing ever! I hadn't remembered the MTV logo flashing on the moon flag, but I found that so awesome back then. Now so much of it looks so cheesy! The open shirt on Mark Goodman! Oooh, edgy!

Sirius Radio already features four of the original MTV VJs as the hosts of the 80's on 8 channel. They did a tribute show today, playing the songs in order as the videos appeared on TV. They also had guests in like Pat Benatar. The reactions of the VJs ranged from "Good times, good times" to "I can't believe we played this dreck." After hearing Nina Blackwood back then versus Nina today, I also think she's smoked about two packs a day since then. Here then, is the first ten minutes of MTV.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Dreary Night

Sometimes I hate the night. Often I feel a disconnect with normal life. Nothing seems to have any value. I wonder why anything is worth putting in any effort. Trying to get to sleep at home after I got out of the hospital was particularly difficult. Everything seemed empty and meaningless, yet I needed to think of something positive in order to get to sleep.

My medicine can often make me very drowsy at night, which means what little "nightlife" I had is pretty much gone. I can certainly put off taking my meds to a later hour, but when your body is used to feeling drowsy at a certain time, it can still be hard to mess up your schedule. It's best for me to stay on a good schedule, anyway.

I actually feel better typing this post. Just knowing that you all are out there is comforting. I suppose it doesn't make a lot of sense, but I don't feel alone with my family spinning on a little ball out in space. There is companionship and fellowship out there to pull me out of myself.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Down Day

Tired and discouraged tonight. I've been busy for the last few days, however, so I'm expecting to feel better tomorrow. I am disappointed because I thought I'd found a support group for people with mental illnesses, but they don't appear to still be running, or at least not on the schedule that I found. Why is it so hard to meet people? Too tired to go into any detailed analysis of my thoughts on the subject, so discuss among yourselves. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Just Keep Swimming

Too darn long since I last posted! I've been getting busier with enjoyable things, like going to the pool with the girls. I have no idea why I haven't done that sooner. Especially since no other exercise plan looks like it will work out this summer. We can't afford a bicycle or even good walking shoes for me at the moment, so swimming is a good alternative.

I'm actually so busy that I've barely touched my computer lately! I'm sure there will be plenty of time for that this winter, though. I just need to write here more often. Life could be seen as outwardly boring because we haven't been doing "exciting" things, but I think we are all enjoying the summer. The girls have spent lots of time swimming, bicycling and hanging out with their friends, all good kid summer activities. No need for admonitions to come in when the streetlights come on, however. If the girls are at a friend's house that late, it usually ends up being a sleepover!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

East End

I live on the far west side of Cleveland. When I meet up with my friend, we meet on the far east side of Cleveland, because my friend lives even further east, outside the greater Cleveland area altogether. We usually go window shopping after we eat. This past time, we went to a different mall. It was really amazing. I mean, there are rich people on the west side of Cleveland, judging by the number of big, expensive homes. However, the east side must have people that are even richer. Nowhere on the west side are there stores like the east side. A Swarovski crystal store, with a male sales attendant wearing more makeup than my friend and combined. I don't know how he could even move his face to speak. Saks Fifth Avenue. Nordstrom's. (Us poor folk on the west side have to get along with Dillard's and Macy's and JC Penney.) There was even a LEGO store. I wonder how long the economy will be able to support having such stores. Even the uber-wealthy are going to have to feel it eventually, I would think. Dang, I'm such a pessimist!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Out of the House

Had a Girl's Night Out with a friend tonight. Every time I have one, I realize all over again how much I need them, and resolve to do it more often. Well, my friend and I probably will be meeting again soon, but I need to get out more as well, with family or friends. When I'm at home I think I tend to turn inward too much, and brood. Yes, my family, and I, have problems, but fretting over them won't do anything to solve them. Of course, I don't have any ideas for solutions, either. But I'm tired after my big night out, and Tomorrow Is Another Day.


Very tired. Drove to Toledo and back tonight to pick up the Musician. She attended the annual Higher Things youth conference with a church group from that area. I'm hoping I will be able to slow my mind down enough to get to sleep soon. Having to stay awake and alert for several hours only to try to go to sleep soon after is frustrating.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Future

I'm feeling better today. I need to find someone that I can "dump on" when I'm feeling frustrated or confused. Although I should also journal more. Writing things down is really a good way to get things out of my system. Like Karen, I'm starting to feel like I have church issues. Which is surprising. Our church is liturgical and traditional, which I like, and the pastors are great. But is it wrong to want to have friends with some of the people that you go to church with, instead of just everyone being a bunch of people that you see once a week? Distance is also getting to be an issue, with the price of gas, and also because I would like to have some kind of local feeling at my church. We leave at least twenty minutes to a half hour away from most of the people who attend the church. And I am also really not fond of the new location (long story.) I think Greater Cleveland needs more than one confessional Lutheran church!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Need Advice

What do you blog about when you are cranky and you can't say what you really want to say? I mean, yes, I'm evil, but people look at you funny when you let your evil flag fly. Sigh.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

A Change

After four hours of work by the installers this morning, we finally have air conditioning again. I'm feeling relief with my skin, although it will take a while to heal. One positive side effect is that I am drowsy tonight for the first time in a week or more. That feels really good. Actually, I'm too tired to really type much more of anything coherent, so, goodnight!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


I'm tired. Very tired. Wishing I could stop.

Saturday, July 02, 2011


I'm unhappy. I seem to have developed some kind of skin allergy to something outside. I base this on the fact that, without air conditioning, I'm feeling like I have chicken pox or something. My skin has been rashy and itchy even on the days that it was cooler. Today, some of my skin has even transitioned from itchy to raw feeling. And Mr. BTEG forgot the Benadryl when he went shopping this morning.

I've always had sensitive skin; I'm sure I've mentioned this here before. So I'm already using the soaps and laundry detergents for sensitive skin. I'm guessing that I haven't seen this skin issue before because we usually spend the summer in air conditioning. But thanks to the Air Conditioning Saga, I get to spend almost a week more feeling itchy.

We're spending some time over the holidays with my in-laws, but even then, a lot of the time we will be outdoors at a family picnic. We'll see if whatever it is that I'm allergic to will affect me there.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dancin' the Night Away

The Dancer and I had the first Mother/Daughter dance class that we have done in two years. And I enjoyed it just as much. Which is kind of bad, because I would like to find a place where I can take ballet as an adult, but not an adult who has been taking dance her entire life.

The Dancer has, as she told me, matured, so she understands better that Mom, who has not had years of ballet training and is not as young as she used to be, is not going to be a spectacular dancer. But we enjoy it.

I've certainly not been exercising as much as I could or should, but I must be in better shape than I was two years ago. I was not nearly as wiped out as I remember being before.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Circle Comes Back Around

The Musician is the one who made the choice for her current name on this blog to be: the Musician. I think she picked this name because the big extracurricular interest for her in high school at the moment is the high school marching and concert band. She enjoys being with her friends but she also does want to play her parts well.

I forget what made us get the Musician started taking piano lessons. I think it was because she wanted to take guitar, and honestly, Mr. BTEG and I felt that piano was a better choice to actually learn to read the notes and learn about scales and chords. I imagine we were open to her learning guitar but we wanted her to have a sound musical foundation first. She did well; she even performed in front of judges for a competition, which I thought was impressive considering she was only about seven or so.

Her piano teacher was also a former opera singer. The Musician sang the words as she played some of her piano pieces, and her teacher suggested she take voice lessons as well. She didn't do the voice lessons for long, but to my lay ears you can tell that she did have some training. She also picked up a few extra instruments and played around with them: a flute carved out of wood, a Scottish whistle, an Irish drum. She wasn't a prodigy; we never thought music would be her life, but she did show a musical bent.

So what happened next? Well, she didn't want to practice. I suppose we could have forced her to do so, but it seemed like a really good way to kill any little interest in music that she had left, and it would have been as much work or more for us to make her do it.

She still played around with instruments occasionally, inherited a student guitar from a friend of ours and picked up some chords. Fast forward to public school in eighth grade, when she decides she is interested in learning percussion. We didn't have an extra lot of money lying around, so we advised her to ask her music teacher (from whom she was taking general music) if he knew someone who could teach her percussion inexpensively. He suggested she join concert band and she did for the second half of the school year. She lacked experience but could still read music fairly well and picked up percussion quickly, leading her to being in pit in the marching band, and playing bells and similar in concert band.

Now a friend of ours, who has a musical background, has starting giving her voice lessons after hearing her sing in church. He will also be teaching her how to play the cornet. She borrowed that from a friend whose mother used to play it. She's also expressing interest in playing the organ, although goodness knows how she'd practice. She'll still never be a professional or anything, but her father and I are glad to see a deeper interest in music coming back. And that those piano lessons we paid for were worth something!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Selling Online

I like to surf eBay, checking out the sections that sell stuff that I am interested in. Sometimes I buy something if the price is right. Mostly I just look. I would really love to email some of these people privately and ask them why on earth they have their auctions set up the way that they do. I could probably create a book or a DVD on how to improve your online auctions, but since I'm a giver, I'll share a few tips for free.

1. Rotate your pictures to the correct view. It's really hard to get a good look at an item when it is sideways. I'm not sure what viewer I use to see my photos (hopefully Mr. BTEG will chime in here) but I can rotate pictures there easily. I think eBay even offers you an opportunity to rotate pictures while you are uploading them. Find a way to do this.
2. I am interested in dolls and things related to dolls, which means taking pictures of small things, preferably close up to get a better view. Seriously, if your digital camera doesn't have a macro feature, find someone who has one. Make friends with someone who has a camera with this feature, just because he has it. A blurry picture, or a picture taken from far enough away to keep the picture from being blurry, does not really display your item to its best advantage.
3. Pay attention to the lighting. A blurry picture is only better than a blurry picture taken in the shadows. Some people who sell big ticket items very seriously online, have a photo tent with lights placed at several angles, to get the absolute best effects. This isn't an necessity. Take your item to a window and use the light from that big thing in the sky with which God has blessed us. Use a bright light inside your home, or even two, if it's winter or whatever.
4. Be descriptive. Believe it or not, there are people who sell something like, say, doll furniture, where measurements are really important, who don't offer any measurements in the description. OTOH, if you are selling a well-known brand of doll, you don't really need to give the height of a doll. People generally know what size the goddess of pink plastic is.
5. Pick a good background. People really don't need or want to see everything on your kitchen counters, or all the assorted piles of papers and whatnot in your computer area. There has to be a blank wall somewhere in your home.
6. Pay attention to where your auction ends up. Every now and then I see an auction for a full-sized adult piece of furniture in the doll furniture section, or something similar. eBay does let you search for the right category by typing in keywords, but it is up to you to make sure your item is in the best category, or even the right category.
7. Don't throw stuff into your auction just because you want to get rid of it. I wonder about doll furniture auctions where a doll, sometimes a very obscure or ugly doll, is included with the furniture. Maybe some people say, hey, I'd like to buy a piece of doll furniture for which I have no doll that I could display with it. And I have no preference on what kind of doll I would like. I would imagine this doesn't apply to the majority.

I also have the observation that sales in the doll sections really seem to have decreased. Some items are still popular, and some are absolutely incomprehensible to me. I don't understand why people would pay up to $100 for an outfit for a Titanic doll, especially when there are multiples of the same outfit listed at the same time, and more being listed almost every day. But in general, things are just not selling. You can scroll through a page of almost 200 items where most of them have no interest. I wonder if the auctions for, say, practical items like kids' clothing have gone up as people are looking to save money there.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Saga Continues

Since I'm tired tonight, I will just give a quick update on the Air Conditioning Saga. It was determined that we need a whole new air conditioner. Air conditioner wouldn't even run; it tripped off the breaker every time instead. Fortunately, it has been fairly cool, although rainy, which means running around the house closing the windows when it rains. Good thing the weather has not been too unbearably hot, since the air conditioner is not scheduled to be replaced until July 7th.

Unfortunately, my skin has been unusually itchy. For a while I had some good heat rash going on, but that hasn't been so much of an issue the last few days. Since we're getting rain just about every day, the humidity is high, so I'm guessing it's some sort of outdoor allergy. I'm using cortisone sparingly and looking forward to closing the windows to see what happens.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Good, the Bad, the Not Really There Yet

Today was a difficult day. Some of it was due to... stuff that happens. Like the battery dying in our car, so that the Dancer and I missed her first summer jazz class and our first Mom/Daughter summer ballet class. The Musician not being careful enough with bleach, so my only wear-out-shirt now has bleach spots. But some of it was related to my old enemy, bipolar. It's a difficult line to walk. I'm not the kind of person to just go off her medication. It's not really any fun in the long run. Heck, since I tend to cycle rather quickly, it's not very fun in the short run, either. But the medication does not exactly make you normal. Some of the parts of you that were good can get lost on the medication, and you miss them. I'm going to have a chat with my psychiatrist and see if a change might help. At this point, I'm willing to try a little medication roulette if I can get back some of my energy and enthusiasm for life.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Do you all of you out there know what reborn dolls are? They are mass-produced dolls that are redone using paint (down to tiny veins,) rooted hair, and appropriate stuffing or filling to imitate an actual newborn baby. Magnets can be used to give the baby a pacifier. It's not my thing, but then most people would probably think I was strange for collecting dolls at all, so there you are. But tonight on eBay was a first for me: a reborn baby vampire doll. Creepy! Not to mention, how do vampires have babies anyway? Besides that whole Twilight thing which is probably at fault for a lot of this current vampire craze anyway. I suppose some people would like the sweetness and innocence of a baby combined with the darkness of a vampire--or they want to pretend they have Edward Cullen's love child. It just seems a little too ghoulish for me.

Our culture seems to be ever more fascinated with death, darkness and things that go bump in the night. It may be more of an issue to me because of my illness. If I am not careful, I can get pulled into the abyss easier than most. But thinking of the idea of "the culture of death" that some have thrown around, due to the acceptance, and in some cases encouragement, of abortion and euthanasia, I wonder. Non-Christians have every right to collect a doll created after the Death Tarot card, or be drawn to gloominess and cemeteries. Am I overreacting to wonder if our culture can wonder too far down the path into darkness? What do you see in your world?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hanging On to a LIttle

So. I got a lot of stuff about school out there yesterday. It seems kind of strange and disjointed, perhaps. All I can say is, the feelings homeschool moms have when they are told they are ruining their children or doing something wrong or whatnot? I have those feelings too, but in this case it is about my kids being indoctrinated and not getting to explore their own interests and not getting enough depth, and on and on. Mr. BTEG and I know that we are doing what is best for our family, so I don't exactly feel guilt. I just want to say that there is room, and use, for the basic public school idea. There are a lot of things that could be changed about schools, and I think the addition of charter schools and more freedom for homeschool would be great. But the large school really fits our needs at the moment. It doesn't have to stay "public;" it doesn't have to be the only game in town. But I'd like to see something similar stay around.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thoughts on Schools

I've been mulling over this article by Zombie and accompanying pictures for quite a while. Taking your students out of school for a day to lobby for higher pay for you *cough*andsocialism*cough*? It's awful, and I absolutely believe it is true. I do see it as a bad sign for our country. I just don't see something this extreme happening outside of self-segregated leftist enclaves. YET. My daughter was in no higher than second grade when she informed us that there was now a camera on her school bus. We of course called the school district right away to find out what was going on and why we weren't informed. Is the Musician a little more apt to notice such things than the average kid? Yes. But with all the kids at that rally, aren't the odds high that there would be some child that came home and told mom and dad, "We went on a field trip today?" If the moms and dads weren't on board with this, it couldn't have happened.

I just keep coming back to personal responsibility. Mr. BTEG and I talk a lot to our daughters, not only about what they are learning in school, but about world events, what we watch on television, what we and they are interested in. We are also blessed that in our school district we do get to see most of what they are learning. The Musician can bring any of her school books home, and so can the Dancer. Projects the girls did were proudly displayed before being taken to school. The Dancer's school sent home piles of completed schoolwork. The Musician did find one of her teachers this year seemed to be a little leftist, but it barely came out during the course of the school year. Neither of the girls was ever told to tell her parents to support the local school levies. If they were told that, they would know we as parents make up our own minds about things. They do get the evolutionist line in their science classes, but they're going to get that everywhere even as adults. They're learning the valuable lesson that what adults tell them, even teachers, isn't always true.

Are there socialists at my daughters' schools? Probably. Are all of them socialists? I doubt it. What are the odds? Do I believe that everyone in this town is a socialist? Despite the fact that we are in a suburb of Cleveland, in some ways this really is like living in a small town. Lots of people who grew up here, stay here and have their own families here. Teachers live in our neighborhoods. Some of them are from prominent families in the area. We get to know them. One of the teachers at the high school has a daughter who takes a dance class with the Dancer. I was very shocked when I and another parent were talking about all the chaos done by the teachers' union in Wisconsin, and his reply was that Fox had just made all that up!! But I don't think he's a socialist. He's just an ill-informed man. Other Parent and I were very quick to inform him how good teachers currently have it. Tenure? Guaranteed yearly raises? Health insurance completely paid for? Retirement pay? Ha! Who in the private sector has seen those things in decades? But I got to have face-to-face communication with this teacher, and tell him where I stand. I doubt that the parents of those children at the rally get the same privilege. If they even want it. We do have to fight for schools that actually teach facts and useful knowledge instead of political mantras and slogans. But we aren't all hopelessly lost out here in public school land.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Something I Like to See

My town seems to really be stepping up and dealing with economic reality. Local teachers have agreed to a pay freeze, step freeze, and paying more for their health care. Police, firefighters, city council and the mayor are also not getting raises for the next year. I'm proud! How many of you or your loved ones have gotten raises any time recently? I don't even remember the last time Mr. BTEG saw a raise. It's difficult for everyone, but if our family's income is not increasing, I don't want to lose more out of our paychecks for local services. That makes sense, doesn't it?

Don't get me started on health care. I will say that I posted a while ago on how adults up to 26 years old will be able to be on their parents' policies. A teacher at our church, who works at a small parochial school, has now lost her health insurance for herself and her daughters because of this. The school cannot afford to pay for the extra people who would have to be covered, so they just dropped health care insurance altogether. We are really helping "the workers," "the little people," aren't we?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Should Have Known

that the air conditioning issue was indeed going to turn into the Air Conditioning Saga. Repairman came out today, only to find that the unit is shot because it ran out of refrigerant at some point. It is recommended the whole thing be replaced. At least we don't have to pay for that! And speaking of paying for it, the HVAC company somehow managed to not have any records about our landlord, so I had to give the repairman our credit card number. Fortunately, that issue seems to have been resolved already, so we shouldn't even get charged.

The repairman was worried about how I was taking the news because my hands were shaking. I didn't realize it was always that obvious. They have shaken for as long as I can remember, because I remember kids in grade school making fun of me about it. (Everybody remembers what they got made fun of for in grade school!) I think low-ish blood pressure is the cause, although I don't think the medication I am on helps.

I was always a lot of fun when donating blood. I had to wiggle my feet and my toes to get the blood to flow at a reasonable rate. I haven't donated in ages, however. The last time I gave blood, I was completely babied; laid down the whole time, had my cookies and lemonade brought to me. (When you tell them that you passed out the time before, they tend to take it easy on you.) I was still sick for the rest of the day.

Repairman is supposed to come out tomorrow to do an estimate. I will give you updates as they occur!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Looking Around

I hope this doesn't turn into the Saga of the Air Conditioner, but there was a mix-up and we didn't have a repair guy come out today after all. Now we're looking at Wednesday, sooner if someone else cancels. Fortunately, the weather will not be too stifling in the meantime. Sadly, I wasn't feeling too well today, so I won't be posting anything very exciting until at least tomorrow. :) I hate not feeling well so often. It makes it worse when I compare myself to other people, because of course I look at the people who seem to accomplish everything and never have any problems. Then there are certain forums that I visit and I am reminded that everyone's life is not perfectly smooth all of the time. It's a constant go-round!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Cooling Off

I feel normal again today! Our air conditioning unit needs a cleaning/tune-up/whatever. The HVAC guy is finally coming out tomorrow. In the meantime, we've been suffering in the heat. It's amazing how much the high temperatures sapped not only my energy but my interest in anything. Mr. BTEG and I have been seriously depressed this week for no good reason; we can only attribute it to the heat. Today, the outdoor temperature was much more... temperate, and so I think I might make it, after all. I cannot even describe how awful this week has been; it was very surprising. After all, I survived hot summers as a kid, without air conditioning. I don't know what the difference is now, but I will be so happy to be able to have air conditioning back!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Slipping Away

Last week a member of Mr. BTEG's family passed away, and the funeral was on Saturday morning. This man was a first cousin of Mr. BTEG's father, although Mr. BTEG always referred to him as an uncle. This man was also Mr. BTEG's godfather. His death was sad, as death always is. But what made me particularly melancholy is what appears to me at the moment as a sad march through time. It seems not all that long ago that the older generation was passing on: Mr. BTEG's grandparents and others of that generation. Mr. BTEG's own father died relatively young, so he was out of the pattern. But now not only is more of that generation is being lost to us on earth, but we are losing connections and seeing our own mortality more clearly in the big picture of life. This uncle had four children, and they and my husband and sisters-in-law saw a lot of each other as children. It was a happy time when everybody was getting married and starting a life of their own. But that new life also brings new family and responsibilities that change family dynamics. My husband and his sisters weren't sure of all the names of the husbands and wives that had married into the family, not to mention the names of all the children and which children belonged to whom. Grandchildren are even starting to appear.

I thought of cousins and second cousins of my own with whom I enjoyed good times as a child, mostly at family functions. As I married and had my children, I wanted to keep up some of those relationships, and integrate my own family in. But most of these cousins I don't even keep in touch with anymore. Everybody has their own immediate family and their own commitments that involve so much time. I look at my wedding photos and think about how much I miss some of the people in them, and the relationships that we had. But that was when I was a young girl. Now I am a grown woman, and I am moving to the other end of the tier of relationships. I am happy to have my own children, and nieces and nephew, and so it goes.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Another Chapter Ended

The Evil Genius family took to the road this weekend after the death of a family member. Now we're home, and I'm tired, depressed, and thinking about more things than I can deal with. Hopefully my mood will improve tomorrow after a good night's sleep at home, and I will be better able to sort through the experiences of the weekend.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Mr. BTEG, until recently, worked downtown. I would drop the Musician off at the high school, take Mr. BTEG to the nearby Park-N-Ride, then come home. In the mid-afternoon, I would pick the Musician up from high school. Then, about an hour and a half later, I would go get Mr. BTEG from the Park-N-Ride. I hated the way it broke up my day, and that I had to get up so early (for me, anyway.) But it wasn't until Mr. BTEG got a new job that is not downtown, and started driving our car to work, that I realized how much of a burden our schedule was on me. I feel much happier and freer, even without transportation during the day.

Of course, having one car presents its own difficulties. I'm going to have to drive Mr. BTEG into work and pick him up on the days when the girls have activities. But hey, Mr. BTEG is making more money, too, so we're hoping to pick up a pre-owned vehicle in the not-too distant future. And for what we're saving on bus fare, we can buy more than two tanks of gas. And I can be more productive at my own work here at home!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Holiday Parade

The family attended the local Memorial Day parade today. The Musician marched in the high school marching band. The Dancer's friend rode on a float created by the local dance school. (I like the school the Dancer attends better.) Lots of flags and red, white and blue. Also lots of candy tossed by paraders. After the parade there was a small program at the local cemetery. I have blogged about the cemetery here.

I'm getting over awkwardness at thanking a member of the military in person for his service. I still find any kind of Memorial Day tribute I can put into words, embarrassingly cheesy. Still feeling it, all the same.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Too Much of a Good Thing

Remember that little container garden that we started earlier this spring? Well, we have been getting so much rain that we have to drag the containers under shelter so they do not get any more water. I can only hope farmers' fields are draining better than our little pots. We don't need the price of food to go up more than it has! As it is, I'm hoping we can plant more containers next year. I discovered our town has a small community garden, but I think all the plots are taken. There is still a bit of open land in this area, now that I think about it. I wonder if more of it will be reverting back to farmland?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Get Me My Rocking Chair

I'm asking for your input today: what do you think about people who work in service jobs (cashiers, waiters, bartenders etc.) who have facial piercings or a myriad of visible tattoos (facial or otherwise)? It seems to be more and more accepted and I find it off-putting, and therefore perhaps not acceptable for a job where you interact all day with the public. Mr. BTEG broached the idea that perhaps this is just because I am getting older. While this is certainly a possible solution, I still harbor this crazy idea that permanent additions to one's face or hands, especially, might be a little different. This trend of increased piercings and/or ink will probably continue (they currently have at least one cable show about a tattoo parlor,) and prove me wrong. But I'd like to know whether you find such bodily decorations bleah, meh, or yeah.

On that subject, yes, the girls are wearing their skirts almost impossibly short at the moment. That doesn't alarm me so much; girls have been trying to shorten their skirts for decades. They've been trying to slyly break the fashion rules to attract the opposite sex for centuries. What I don't understand is why adults seem to be letting it slide. Everyday I dropped the Musician off at school, I saw girls with skirts that barely covered their posteriors. During a concert/fundraiser for the school band department, one girl was sitting in the front row, wearing a skirt so short that you could see all the way up her legs. Fortunately, she was wearing black tights, so there wasn't really all that much visible. But is this how the band director wants his band represented? Does a school's dress code (or lack thereof) mean anything anymore? Or have we been flashed by so many celebrities that it's all just old news? Is this when I start yelling at kids to get off my lawn?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bad Weather

Our little bit of excitement for the night was going to the Dancer's orchestra concert and being told before the program started that everyone needed to get to the basement. Seeing how the weather was shaping up on the way to the school, I was really not surprised. Before everyone got down the basement, however, the superintendent showed up and told everyone that the concert was canceled and everyone should go home, as the bad weather went by us. The Dancer was not pleased about having her concert canceled almost literally at the last minute, but I imagine they will reschedule it.

This has been an awful spring, hasn't it? So many people have lost their lives, have lost family members, pets, possessions, their homes. The Evil Genius family has its own problems right now, but we also have so much that is good.

Just heard the emergency blurb squawk from the television. Going to see what's up now. May be just a flood warning, though.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Work, School, Family

I care a great deal about children and how they are brought up. Yes, it's important to our future, but children can also be so very vulnerable, and a great deal of their future health and habits and outlooks on life can come from their upbringing. Children need people who care about them, love them, look after them.

It's bad enough that the state of California may need to cut some weeks out of its school year, although not surprising given the long record of financial mismanagement. What made me sad was that the first thought seemed to be not, "What about our childrens' education?", but "Who will watch our kids?" Why is this a bigger issue? I just don't understand it, perhaps because I know so many moms who do manage to stay home with their children, and so many families where when both parents work, they also blow a lot of money. Many of the dual-income parents at my daughter's dance school, for example, have two cars, take a lot of vacations, and pick up pizza or fast food for dinner on their way home from a late afternoon crammed with activities. If more moms stayed home, or worked from home, or worked part-time, etc., day-care slots would not be so "scarce." Of course, sometimes both parents do have to work, or sometimes there is only one parent. But the people who really needed help might find it easier if everybody else, who maybe didn't have to, wasn't going to work also.

For that matter, what do these parents do with children over the summer? This question is never answered. Of course a lot of day-care centers, churches, etc. offer "summer camp" which is basically a glorified day-care for older children. I'm sure they'd love the chance to make more money by extending this service. I also find it odd that the one mother quoted solved the problem of a week off in October by taking her children on vacation. She protests however, that she can't take the kids on vacation for five weeks. Strangely, she is not quoted as saying she can't afford it, or she doesn't have that much vacation time, but "How many times can I go to Happy Hollow?" Is this really her biggest concern, or is she poorly quoted? I have, sadly, seen parents who don't really like being around their children. Is this the case here, where they have to be kept busy on vacation or she gets unhappy being at home with them?

The other thing that stands out to me as making this article poorly written, is the quote at the end by a high school sophomore that points out that there is not much work done at the end of a school year anyway. I won't argue that point. My youngest daughter is taking several field trips, having fun days, and spending some extra time in school practicing for end-of-the-year concerts. But if you shorten the school year, you won't really get rid of "that end-of-the-year mentality." You'll just move it up a bit.

There are lots of things to discuss when deciding to shorten the time our children spend on education. I just think this article didn't emphasize the right ones very well, and made me sad about how we look on watching out for our children.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Let's Have a Party

I miss the big old-fashioned weddings. No, they're really not practical, especially not in a recession. And of course the marriage is more important than the wedding. And the actual wedding ceremony is more important than the reception. But large wedding receptions did something also--they created memories; they stood out. You'll never forget spending time with your friends and family celebrating a momentous event in a family's history. In a time when extended family seems to be drifting apart anyway, getting up to dance and act a little wild and move from table to table or even to a bar (horrors!) seems to me more likely to create some small ties than sitting at a table staring at each other. Sometimes we need to put on our fancy clothes and our impractical shoes and go out and party. It seems there are fewer and fewer opportunities to do so. Why not for something as great as the creation of a new family?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I See We're Back

Just a quick post to say hello now that Blogger appears to be back up most of the way. I see a few missing comments, but it looks like home sweet home otherwise. In my misspent youth as a COBOL programmer, I remember a few occasions when a programmer would accidentally take down the mainframe that was located a few miles away. Good times, good times.

And since we're talking about blogging, I've been meaning to write about how much I have seen my writing skills improve over my long years of blogging, especially since I've picked up the pace again recently. I like writing, but I'm not in a good place right now to do much else other than blog, if I ever got the notion to do more. But it's still nice to improve a skill.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Nothing New Under the Sun

As the Dancer's parents, we received a letter from the principals of the local intermediate, middle and high schools. It contained a urgent plea that parents become aware of what their children are texting, and what they are saying on Facebook. Apparently enough students are affected by rumors and threats posted in these two venues, that their school attendance is suffering, and the schools want the behavior to stop. What the appropriate authorities see when they have stepped in (after kids stop coming to school) is language that is "beyond inappropriate," X-rated, slanderous and/or threatening. Schools are right to be concerned about this kind of activity. What I find interesting is how negatively they look at texts, and Facebook (which word they put in italics for the entire letter.)

Kids have been mean to each other, well, probably since Cain and Abel fought as young boys. Anyone remember Nellie Oleson and Laura Ingalls? It's beyond stereotypical, the mean kids and the nice kids. The only thing that is new is the medium. Granted, texts and posts can reach the entire class with one click, whereas it took a little longer for the rumor mill to work back in the old days. But kids who wish to hurt someone else badly enough are not even shy about saying unkind things to their classmates faces, either. Did you all see that video that went viral a few months back, of the overweight kid hauling off and punching one of the boys who had been teasing him for years about his weight? The aggressor was going so far as to physically push his victim. The Dancer knows very well who the "cool" kids and the "popular" kids in her school are, because they have no compunction with going around and saying so.

Are teachers and school administrators right to be concerned? I think so. Would you like to go to work after the guy in the next cubicle threatens to beat you up at the end of the day? (Sub sandwich commercials notwithstanding.) Or loudly calls you a slut while everyone is in the lunch room? Children should not dread or be afraid of coming to school. But texts and Facebook are not the enemy, and reading all your child's texts and postings (as the letter suggests,) will not stop the malice and the desire to hurt others that lies in the hearts of children.

That's the real problem, you see, that we are all poor miserable sinners. The school can't say that, of course. But what parents really should be doing is teaching their offspring kindness and self-control. We're never going to like everyone. We probably all think unkind, negative things about people. But we should be taught to curb our tongues and not say hurtful things aloud, or seek forgiveness if we fail. If we're Christians, we should even go as far as recognizing that our very thoughts are sinful, and seeking forgiveness from God for them. The real problem is ourselves, as it has ever been.

Monday, May 09, 2011

A Little Piece of Land

I've been feeling kind of cruddy in the mornings lately (don't go there!) but yesterday Mr. BTEG and I did go to the garden center at a local big box hardware store. We're living in a condo at the moment, so a big garden is not feasible, but we are doing a little container gardening. We were successful with tomatoes and green peppers a couple of years ago. This year, we're trying tomatoes, green peppers, strawberries and oregano. We also discovered mint and some kind of onion in the bed at the back of our place.

The front of our home has enough shade that I am going to try some lilies of the valley. I've only tried them once before and they didn't really take; I'm hoping I'll do better this time. I love the smell of lilies of the valley.

We moved into this place last November. It is amazing how much more at home I feel getting a few plants growing and prettying up our entryway outside. We may never have an enormous garden, although goodness knows it would be economical, but it is nice to have a little bit of the outdoors as our own.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Mother, Madre, Mutter

How will you celebrate Mother's Day? At La Casa de Evil Genius, we'll have a meal with my favorite foods: steak, potatoes and bread. Yes, I'm still a Philistine when it comes to food, and I don't think that will change.

Honestly, I never wanted to be anything other than a wife and mother. Yes, I do have my own interests and activities, but I wanted the main focus of my life to be caring for my family and for our home. Most of the time, I don't regret it at all. Sometimes I feel like the world has left me behind, but one of the benefits of having a loving family is having the strength of the others to draw on when one member is feeling discouraged. And after all, my husband and daughters are the ones for whom I work, so if they are happy, I can't be doing too badly, I suppose. :)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Go Kasich

Our governor gave a very good reply to our president, who likes to meddle in state politics; basically, it was that the president better get his own policies in order before he criticizes anyone else.

Also, the president's remarks about shared sacrifice and the burden not falling on just one group of people, infuriates me. The rest of the people here in Ohio that have to work for a living are already suffering. The people who are fortunate enough to even have jobs are finding it harder to make ends meet, while our president plays golf, throws lavish parties, and jets around the nation to appear on talk shows, and the world to give our hard-earned money to other nations. It's about time that union workers see what the world is like for the rest of us.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Hot Air

Since I mentioned the box of sandwich bags that was partially produced via windmills the other day, I thought I would share this little article about how cost and energy efficient windmills actually are. The sandwich bags box implied that windmills provided about 40% of the energy necessary to make the bags. This article, and several other works I've read on the subject, seem to belie that claim. Ask your liberal friends why "green" proponents hate poor people. Higher prices are harder on those who don't have a lot of money (rather a duh statement but some people don't seem to get this stuff.)

Oh, and we have tried the store brand sandwich bags. They didn't really seal. And of course there are plastic containers that can be re-used, but they also need to be washed in between uses, which uses hot water, detergent and electricity to power the dishwasher. And yes, I use a dishwasher; I have skin issues. Why do you hate people with skin issues?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Christians, to the Paschal Victim

A friend who does hymn podcasts has come out with his first hymn video. You can check out his blog here. By the way, one of the churches featured in this video is the one where the Dancer received new life in baptism.

Monday, April 25, 2011

How Does This Work Again?

Liberals are at times pretty open about actually wanting higher gas prices. They want to force things on the public that the public doesn't really want, like little impractical gas-saving cars, preferably hybrid. I have a post simmering in my mind that I may put up when I am not too tired, concerning this desire. However, right now I want to make a quick observation about the unintended consequences.

The main reason liberals want us to drive smaller cars and use less gas, is to "save the environment." Product manufacturers are responding to a market for "green" products. However, green products come at a higher price. Part of this is because recycling is not always cost-efficient, and so products using recycled materials tack on the extra cost. I honestly don't know enough about the manufacture of dishwashing or laundry detergent to know why the green stuff costs more, but generally it does.

However, the sandwich bags I saw at the grocery store today really made me laugh at the craziness of it all. There were two types of bags, made by the same brand name company. One was the regular bag moms have been using in brown bags for years now. The second bag is the new and improved "green" bag. It uses less plastic (better for the environment) and real wind-powered energy to produce the bags! (When the wind is actually blowing, that is. Otherwise, they have to use plain ol' electricity off the grid just like everyone else.) Even the cardboard used to make the box is recycled.

Anyway, after checking to see that they were truthful about the windmill issue, since wind technology is nowhere near being able to steadily power a manufacturing plant, I took a look at the price. What I forgot to do is check how many bags came in each box. I do know that the prices for each box were... equal. A quick trip around the internet seems to suggest that you actually receive fewer green bags for your buck than non-green bags. You get less plastic, reused cardboard, no skyrocketing electricity costs, for a higher or equal price.

So here's the kicker. With gas prices, and necessarily food prices, being as high as they are, how many people are going to shell out the extra dollars for a recycled sponge or flimsier sandwich bags? How many people are looking to cut things out of the budget as much as possible, and will just reach for the cheapest item on the shelf? For that matter, how many people will even take the time and spend the money to drive to a specialty store, where a lot of these special detergents and so forth seem to only be located? Can greenies have it both ways, with higher prices for everything? Human nature being what it is, I doubt it. Lower gasoline costs, and a large percentage of the population will go right back to their minivans and SUVs. The only way I can see it working is if they force non-green products out of the market too. But that, well, that would have consequences too intricate to deal with at the tail end of this post!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Where I Am Is Not Where I Want to Be

I've had a bad week, physically. I know a lot of other people can say this, but right now I am just so resentful of all that my health issues have taken from me. I suppose part of it is a mid-life crisis thing, but I look at how much of my life is gone and how little I have done of what I wanted to do. I'm married and raising a family, which I wanted to do, and I didn't have any big plans for traveling the globe or whatnot until the girls were this age or older anyway, but a lot of my little personal dreams and goals seem to have been set aside so often due to mental issues and their effects on me. And yet I'm still oddly hopeful. Next week, for example, the girls have their Spring Break. I'm hoping it will be a good week. Hoping I feel better for this special weekend as well.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Going On and On

There is so much debate and anger and vitriol going on about schools lately. In the end, what I am thinking about it all boils down to a few things.

1. More money does not provide a better education. You've probably heard this over and over, but my school district is pushing the opposite like crazy since the state is cutting back on funding for all public schools. That is, they are pushing for more money from the local taxpayers by asking us, "You don't want to lose the great school district you have, do you?" I'm not sure if they are deluded enough to believe more money makes a better school district, or if they just want the money. I mean, all of you know that here in the USA, many of the school districts that receive the most funding per child, like our very own Washington, DC, perform the worst academically.

I won't deny that this whole formula can be complicated. There are many wealthy families that live in this school district, which could be used as an argument that of course our schools are better. But my family is far from rich, and there are many less than wealthy neighborhoods in this town. The main issue, I think, is people wanting their children to perform up to their potential. Some parents here do ground their kids for less than an A. I don't agree with that, but I think my kids are more than capable of doing mostly A and B level work, and I wouldn't be happy if they were consistently getting Cs and Ds. Mr. BTEG and I also expect them to pay attention in class, study for tests and do their homework, which goes a long way.

Sure, wealthy families and fancy technology and flashy new textbooks can contribute to a good school district. On the other hand, kids from wealthy families can also spend their time doing drugs and having sex. And a teacher who can't educate without an electronic whiteboard and the latest textbook doesn't really deserve the title of teacher.

2. Teachers cannot be immune to economic downturns. I can understand that teachers don't like the idea of no raises, and/or having to pay more for their pensions and health care, maybe even taking a salary cut. But when unemployment is high and the economy is bad, teachers just can't expect not to have to suffer a little financially as well. It's not always about "greed." Look at how your neighbors are doing, how your city is doing, how your state is doing, before you complain.

Oh, and a pet peeve of mine. Teachers are important. So are firefighters, policemen, EMS workers, doctors, nurses, etc. A small collective of people paying salaries simply can't afford to pay all these important people an "important" salary. An actress can't save a life, but she can get more people to see one of her movies on one day alone than a doctor can see in an entire year. For that matter, I think being a mother, the kind that works hard to raise decent human beings, is the most important job there is. But there is absolutely no pay at all for us. Salary does not equal overall worth.

A lot of words for only two points! But this topic is so loaded that I wanted to make myself clear. Thank you if you made it this far!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Running Away

Many years ago, when my girls were still rather young, I used to have a strong desire at times to pack up what would fit in our minivan, drive off as a family, and start another life. Somewhere else, anywhere else. Now we've committed to one place, getting the girls through one school system, for the next six years. However, I still have the desire for something new. I don't feel like I belong anywhere. I'm tired of being hurt by people, by not connecting with people. And I'm releasing my frustration here, as I really don't have anyone else to talk to about it besides Mr. BTEG. He's great to talk to, but of course having only one person to talk to is not always good enough. So here I am, getting it out. Hope this makes me feel better.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I have little to no energy during the day. I get major things done, like dishes, shopping, and driving Mr. BTEG and the girls to where they need to be. Otherwise, I'm a slug. Then, too many late evenings, I am wide awake and full of energy. I'm already taking all of my medications at night, because they can cause drowsiness.

I'm trying to exercise during the day. It's not going very well. Walking bores me to tears, so I have to force myself to do it, and I don't have good shoes to walk in. I am trying to do some ballet, because I actually like that, but my body was complaining, so now I am trying to do stretches beforehand. I feel chunky and awkward doing ballet, even though I find it interesting, but it is not exactly aerobic, either. I used to love to bicycle, but don't have a bike and can't afford a bike, plus it's not practical for a good portion of a year in Ohio anyway. It's not a sufficient excuse, but I don't really have an athletic body. I am not only short, but I have short legs proportionate to my body as well. I feel awkward and funny-looking.

I'm trying to eat better, but it's difficult being such a picky eater. I have to literally force myself to eat a few grapes or some broccoli with dressing or butter. And those are tastes which I can live with. I wonder if my eating affects my energy, but I'm not sure of a correlation. For example, I got no real exercise today and my eating was only so-so, I was blah today but right now my mind is racing and I'm feeling more awake than I have all day.

I'm seeing my psychiatrist soon, so I will talk to her, but I'm not sure what will come of it. The main issue seems to be that I am mostly stable. Other than that, you get told to exercise or handed a pamphlet on healthy eating. I need a little bit of extra help and I'm not sure where to get it.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Stepping Back

Now that I am in my forties and have several decades of life experience, I wish I could talk to my grandparents, my maternal ones in particular, with new eyes. My grandparents died at a time when I was still relatively young; I didn't realize then that many people's grandparents got to spend more years with their grandchildren. My grandfather passed away when I was in high school, my grandmother when I was a senior in college. And my grandmother was never the same after my grandfather died. Sadly, my grandmother never seemed to be very content with her life or her past, which was one of the reasons I think we never talked about it. For most of the time that I really knew my grandmother, she was ill with leukemia. However, she also seemed bitter about her youngest days, spent in Europe in grinding poverty, and her life as a young adult. Understandable, but there could also have been tales of endurance and overcoming hardship.

My grandfather also had a hard life, although typical of the poorer families of the time in this country. He didn't seem to relish much about his past either. So while my youth kept me from even knowing how to ask the kind of questions I would like to ask today, my grandparents also weren't eager to share their experiences.

Which is a long lead-in (whew!) to say that I have been thinking of them quite a bit lately. What we are in now may not match our vague impressions of the Great Depression (no dust bowls, no long unemployment lines), but things are certainly tight financially for so many families. High gas and food prices, high unemployment, real estate markets dried up. If my grandparents could bear to talk about it, I'd love to know what it was like to try to raise a family in those days. What ways did they use to get by? I have ideas of how things might work out today, if life gets harder for the majority, but I'd like to know if my thoughts about a possible future in any way resemble what was in the past. Automobiles, phones, televisions, so many things are different now. Maybe someday I can share wisdom with grandchildren of my own.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


I think I've mentioned before that my attention span is something akin to a toddler's. I also need to have more than one thing going on. I have an awfully hard time getting projects done. I generally only knit, for example, while the Dancer is in one of her classes, because I can multi-task. Watching the Dancer, listening to the music and knitting occupies all of my mind. Just sitting and knitting would bore me immensely. I have two projects I ought to get done before the Easter weekend, as they are birthday gifts that are already rather belated. It just occurred to me the other day that I should make myself a case for my glasses. I have to take them off when I am doing anything close up. Isn't that the opposite of what is normal? Anyway, a case would give me someplace safe to put them. I don't like to just stick them in my purse where my keys and so forth are.

I also do better even at household chores when I have music to listen to. I'm so thankful for satellite radio. It's not that expensive, and I can listen to it on my phone. It is hard to pick up radio stations out here, even though we're definitely part of metro Cleveland. And talk radio, you guessed it, bores me. Plus, the quality of "old school" radio is decreasing. Like so many other things, there is less offered for what I'd imagine is the same amount or more in advertising intake.

Speaking of music, I find it funny and heart-warming that the girls like older music and not just the current pop stuff. The Musician likes AC/DC and GNR, and we can rock out together to "Don't Stop Believing." The Dancer is singing "Footloose" as part of her school concert, so she's all "Been workin', so hard, I'm punchin', my card." It's nice to have things that bring us together. :)

Monday, April 04, 2011

On This Economy Thing

I thought I might as well mention where I get a lot of my economic news from, in case you're interested. I enjoy reading Monty's work at Ace of Spades. He makes things simple for people who are interested in where the economy is going but who aren't steeped in the minutiae of economic policies. Kind of Economics for Dummies. :) On the other hand, he does use a lot of facts and links to make his points. Unlike leftist economic articles I have looked at that say, the economy is not doomed, because shut up, that's why. No concrete evidence or specifics. Here is an example of his latest work. Be warned; Ace of Spades very often has a locker-room atmosphere. But there are also has a large number of readers who consistently comment. Not only are they very knowledgeable, but they are there day after day, so if someone says, I own my own business and we're not hiring until the economy improves, you are more likely to believe a regular than a drive-by commenter.

Here is a good place to get economic analysis in a little bit more detail. He also offers a lot to back up his claims.

Thomas Sowell and Walter E. Williams are economic professors, regular columnists for various publications, and good reads. Here Dr. Williams recently took on the Broken Window Fallacy. In this article he writes what I also believe, that government cannot keep spending at its current rate.

Mr. BTEG pointed out something interesting to me when I was complaining about the leftie friends we have. None of them are what is referred to as a Trustifarian, but they have all lived comfortable lives. They may have never heard, "Sorry, we can't afford that right now." Which probably explains why when I try to talk economics with them, I can't get anywhere. Their argument seems to boil down to: we need it. We need NPR. We need a social safety net. We need, we need, we need. Mom and Dad will pay for it. Or as a rioter in Greece put it, let the rich and the bankers pay for it. There will always be someone to pay for it.

Sunday, April 03, 2011


I'm having a hard time blogging lately, and I feel at times like just giving it up. The problem is that blogging is one of the few ways I currently have of interacting with the outside world. I've been hesitating about how to write this, because I don't want it to sound like a big Pity Me thing. It's just that I have always found it hard to create real friendships, relationships. I used to think poorly of myself and blame myself for this. Now I wonder if the bipolar is mostly behind it. Becoming more aware of people who are bipolar, at least on the internet, shows that many of them have very few friends, among other things that we have in common.

Oddly enough, my parents did not have a lot of friends either. The people they socialized with the most were a group they had known since they started a "Young Couples' Club" at their church. They were fortunate I suppose in that all the couples stayed intact and in the same area for so many years, even after leaving for other local churches. My mother also is friendly with a former high school classmate, but they had lost track of each other until this classmate became the kindergarten teacher of myself and my sisters. My mother's closest friend all these years is a woman that met my mother at a vacation camp when they were young and single. My father really only seemed to have one friend from his past, and that man sadly killed himself about twenty years ago. Now that I think about it, it's odd that my father didn't keep up any friendships with, for example, people with whom he served in the Navy. Can you believe that only occurred to me while I was writing this?

I've thought about going to bipolar support groups in the area, but never seriously looked into it. I've had bad experiences trying to get involved in groups, and I have to admit I've made excuses about not going without knowing if they are valid, such as location or meeting times. I wonder if I would "click" better with bipolar people?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

All Good Things

I love the Greater Cleveland area. I've lived here for most of my forty-something years on earth. I wanted to live here for the rest of my earthly years. But as my readers in this country probably know, the state of Ohio is on the downturn, and the city of Cleveland is trying hard to be the next Detroit. Here's the latest on our race to the bottom: enormous water fee hikes. And why? Because of "falling revenues and declining consumption." That's right; there is less water usage so you get to pay more. Not only that, but most of the increase will be "a fixed fee charged to all customers regardless of how much water they use." So you won't be able to save money out of the new enormous fees even by cutting back on what water you do use.

I also see that the water company is a billion dollars in debt. How does a company that provides a service get that far into debt? In the real world, a business that was losing that much money would go under or cut drastically. From both first hand and anecdotal knowledge, the water company is terrible at both billing and customer service already. But is the problem not enough workers, or incompetent workers? If you've ever dealt with bureaucracy before, I bet you have an answer for that.

So I'm starting to think about our options once our daughters are out of the local school district. It would hurt me for the rest of my life to have to leave this area, but you know what happens to all good things....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Then and Now

The Musician just asked me today if I thought that clinical depression has always been as prevalent as it seems to be now. Of course we can't be sure, but I opined that it has probably always been there at a level at least something close to modern levels. Famous people throughout history are now being diagnosed as having been clinically depressed based on their writings and actions. Abraham Lincoln, for example, showed signs of severe depression, even as a young man. In 1835, according to a biographer, he was so depressed after a death of someone close that he had people with him most of the time to make sure he did not harm or kill himself. But it was probably seen as more of a personality trait than a chemical issue at that time. I'm also thinking of people like the fictional "Mrs. Brewster," with whom Laura Ingalls Wilder boarded as a young teacher. She was definitely heavily depressed at the very least, very likely assisted by gloomy winter days and isolation.

In Julia P. Gelardi's book, Born to Rule, she writes about the behavior of Princess Beatrice, youngest daughter of Queen Victoria, after the death of Beatrice's husband. She would be "crying one moment, raging at a picture of her dead husband the next. After this, the despondent young widow went out to ride her bicycle in heavy mourning. Then she read a book on piety or talked for hours about the small economies being made on all the candles in her homes." Sounds very like bipolar mood swings, or some other mental disturbance.

Then today I also started re-reading Agatha Christie's The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side. And there is a description of famous fictional movie star Marina Gregg: "It's more that her ups and downs are so violent. You know - far too happy one moment, far too pleased with everything and delighted with everything and how wonderful she feels. Then of course some little thing happens and down she goes to the opposite extreme." In 1962, when the book came out, this was put down to "temperament." Today abnormal highs and lows are bipolar.

John Fixmer asserts in his online article that today Lincoln would very likely not be elected President due to a stigma of mental illness. I'll have to think about this for a while. My moods may fluctuate, but I am still as smart as I have ever been. I read about politics and economics, as well as history and light reading like Agatha Christie. My daughters are turning out to be decent people, based on compliments by others and not just by my biased maternal self. :) Still, stress can severely affect my mood, more than is normal, I think, and I try to avoid it as much as I can. I might want to avoid a press conference or meeting with a foreign leader if I was in a raging manic state. On the other hand, now that I am aware that I do have a chemical imbalance, and the world is not a horrible stinking rotten place even if I feel that it is, I have managed to be in public and not show what is churning inside. Maybe if I felt that leading a country was important enough, and I wanted to do it, being bipolar might not be an issue. I certainly try to control it to be a wife and mother, which I feel are far more important than being a national leader.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Last Stage Is Acceptance

Many of the political-type writers online that I think make the most sense are saying that a financial collapse is coming for this country. I find their arguments, and the facts they use to make those arguments, persuasive. For one thing, there are several countries in Europe that are well ahead of us on the race to bankruptcy, and we're doing the same things they did. Meanwhile, we're piling up debt in our own country like a soon-to-be divorced woman using her husband's credit cards. What I'm coming to accept is that a lot of people in this country will refuse to see this until we are completely out of money. I don't know why I am surprised. People were making fun of Noah until those raindrops started falling. People were probably making fun of those who predicted bad things at the turn of last century (or so) when we started our slide towards socialism.

There are two things that bother me. One, is that we are very likely going to have to take this ride all the way to the bottom. There are just too many people who don't see impending disaster, who think we just have to "tax the rich" or raise taxes to make things all better. That bothers me because it will not only affect people my age, but my children, grandchildren, and possibly my great-grandchildren. I don't want that for them.

The other thing is, even if my little family manages to prepare adequately (and in this economy and with other difficulties we've had, it's questionable) it's going to be hard watching other people suffer. It's going to be a big shock and there's going to be a lot of unpleasant things to deal with. At least I have an idea that bad times are coming. Some people won't know until those first raindrops start falling.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

She's Got Personality

It is fascinating to me to see, now that my two girls are approaching maturity, how much of their characters they have retained even from babyhood. I won't give too many details, to protect the innocent (grin), but here's a few examples.

The Musician has always been extremely laid back. I like to think my good parenting helped with this, but she was an extremely easy baby to care for. The only times I ever remember her getting upset as a baby was making her do something that she didn't want to do. By this I mainly mean things like when I held her down while a dentist corrected her frenulum (she was tongue tied like her mommy.) Let her hang out and play with her toys, and she was fine. She also decided around the age of two, that she was not a girly-girl, and she still isn't.

The Dancer, on the other hand, has always been rather active. That's why I started her in gymnastics in the first place, to positively channel her energy. You might remember that her first nickname on my blog was Wild Child, and she has always deserved it. When she got a little older, she chose ballet for herself, and now she is taking three dance classes per week and assisting with another dance class, and loves it. She spends a lot of her time bouncing and dancing around the house.

I also love seeing bits of myself and Mr. BTEG in some of the things they do, things that seem more inherent to their natures rather than learned. I tried, for example, not to let my picky eating create bad food attitudes for the girls, and fortunately neither of them learned food dislikes from me. Sometimes I wonder if the nurture part of the whole nature/nurture balance consists mainly of teaching them polite manners and things like respect for others. Other than that, they really seem to have chosen their own courses. Of course, Mr. BTEG and I decided before they were born that we wanted to give them free reign, up to a certain point, to develop and express themselves. I know that sadly a child's personal growth can be messed up by such things as an overly strict or overly lenient parent.

Lastly, about the tongue-tied thing. I always thought, because it passed through my maternal grandfather all the way down to my daughter, that it had a strong genetic component. I only know of meeting one other person who was tongue-tied. I find that interesting. I did discover recently that Jeremy Brett, mainly of Sherlock Holmes fame here in the States, also reported himself as tongue-tied, although different sources seem to describe it differently. He was also bipolar and left-handed (they used a "hand double" during scenes where Sherlock was writing although he is shown during one episode boxing left-handed.) I would have loved to meet another tongue-tied, left-handed, bipolar person!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Unrest in Ohio?

Honestly, I haven't been following Ohio's S.B.5 as I should have been. Of course, I don't trust Cleveland's local rag to tell anything but the far-left side of the story, so I avoid them as a source of news. I'm thinking I should get on some sort of news feed to get stories in which I have an interest.

I was glad that S.B.5 passed, but I'm wondering about this story from The Other McCain, in which a lawyer representing the Ohio FOP tells a Ohio Senator who voted for the bill, "Funny thing about cops, they hold grudges." Fortunately, the guy was dumb enough to do it on Facebook, where it was screencapped for posterity. Does this sound like a threat to you? Should Senator LaRose be looking out for a horse head on his bed next??