Wednesday, October 31, 2007

If You Could

be in our neighborhood tonight, you might see Tinkerbell and a veterinarian running around!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tagged Again!

This time by Indiana Jane. I have to “devise a list of 5-10 courses you would take to fix your life. It’s more fun to be in classes with friends, so include one class from the person who tagged you that you’d also like to take. Tag five.”

Picking the course I'd take with Indiana Jane is easy: German. I majored in German in college; I studied it for five years (not all in college :P.) My skills have gotten, not surprisingly, a little rusty since I have not been speaking or reading it as much. I'd like to get better again, especially because I am teaching it to my daughters.

Art. Say, watercolors or pencil drawing, preferably with colored pencils. My younger sister was always pegged as the "artistic one," but I do have some artistic talent, and I'd love to see if I could expand it. I'd like to study figure drawing too, as that would go well with my next course.

Fashion History. I've discovered a real interest in fashion history over the years. I'm especially interested in the period of about 1893-1912. I've learned a lot on my own, but a class would be great.

Sewing. Specifically a course on draping and fitting, and drafting my own patterns.

Jewelry Making. This is one of the things I am interested in that I do not have time, money or space to do.

Acting. Just because I think it would be fun.

Dance. To give me more grace and better posture, and for the weight-loss aspect.

So now, I'm going to tag: Barbara, silvermine, Elephant's Child (yes, I know, but you're likely to get tagged with this one sooner or later anyway!), Lilac Rose (I haven't tagged her in a while), and um, Deb, I guess, but only after she gets back from vacation and tells us all about it!

The Role of a Mother

Towards the end of a very bad day yesterday, the oh-so-insightful Scientist made a comment that really made me realize that my responsibilities in the home do not just lie with making sure the dishes are clean, the dinner is cooked and the laundry is done. It even goes beyond bringing up the girls properly and teaching them well. In some ways I am responsible for the emotional tenor through the house as well. Of course the girls need to learn self-control of and responsibility for their thoughts and actions, but if Mom is mopey or snappish, that atmosphere, as it were, will carry over to everybody in the home. I need to think about what kind of tone I am setting for my children's days.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Planning Ahead

I'm a little conflicted. I think it's insane that, when we went to Target last night, they were in the process of taking down the Halloween decorations and going all out Christmas. If only Thanksgiving really did have a turkey tree, perhaps we could forgo this rush to Christmas.

On the other hand, I'm already starting to plan Christmas presents, and I'll probably buy some soon as well. It's nice to spread out the cost in gift buying. I'd like to get some stuff out of the way early, like addressing Christmas cards, so during the holiday season I have more time for fun stuff, like baking cookies, and driving around to see holiday lights. Why shouldn't merchants cater to the desire to plan ahead for the holidays?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Oh Fabric Gals...

I don't know how many of you have heard of/bought from Denver Fabrics, but they're having a big clearance sale. I think someone else is taking them over, so they're liquidating their inventory first. See if you can find some good buys!

And for a place to find lots of fabric links, you gotta love the name Ah, adding to my stash....

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Teaching With Television

I think I'll give up teaching science and just have the girls watch every episode of Mythbusters. :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Downside of the Beach Life

Apparently, Avon Lake, a city here in Lorain County just west of Cleveland, and right on Lake Erie, had higher cases of melanoma than expected from 1996 to 2002. Sure, living by a lake, it's fun to hang out at the beach, go boating or jet skiing, or just walk by the lake and enjoy the beautiful scenery. But we do live towards the north, so we get cold winter and grey days, when people aren't exactly out working on their tan. Maybe water reflection combined with the sun's rays has an even stronger effect than one would think?

Your Predictions?

Homeschooling parents obviously are not enamored with the public and private school systems. But if you look around, there are lots of blogs written by teachers and parents who are also not happy with what public schools, especially, are providing. Private schools do have to face some competition, and so I think there is a bit more catering to "the customer," which ultimately, I believe is the parents of the children being educated. But even in public schools in wealthy suburban neighborhoods, parents are not always pleased with the curriculum chosen, the way the school communicates (or doesn't) with them about what happens within their walls, and a myriad of other things.

But will this dissatisfaction with public schools ultimately lead to anything? Some parents who can't or don't want to homeschool are fighting the system by expressing their concerns to principals, superintendents and school boards. In the meantime, well-off and well-educated parents can afford to plug the gaps in their children's education with afterschooling or tutors. But these parents eventually leave the system. School boards can be voted out if enough parents are dissatisfied, but principals and superintendents can always hope to ride out the malcontents until their children move on.

So what will happen to schools in this country? Will public schools eventually get left to only those children whose parents are not educated enough to help them, or who are too busy to work for better solutions, or too poor to provide alternatives? Will parents who are already fighting from within, and homeschoolers who vote, manage to get some sort of competitive program, with vouchers or something similar, created, or will homeschoolers continue to be on the outside, and parents in the school system just give up once their own offspring are through?

You see, I'm seeing a real growth of unhappiness with the way education works in this country. And the internet enables us to link up with like-minded parents not only in our area, but all over the globe. I see real potential for change, but wonder how long it might take to reorganize such a large system so entrenched in many of our childhoods. Perhaps it will take the current generation of homeschooled, afterschooled and tutored children to grow up and make things different. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Vanity, Vanity

One of our vehicles needed a new license plate, so my husband took care of it one day while coming home from work. He surprised me by getting a special "vanity" or custom license plate just for me. Check it out!

Doesn't he spoil me? :) I guess I can't quit blogging now!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Festive Fall Weekend

On Saturday we went to a pumpkin patch. We went on a hayride, Mr. Evil Genius and the girls made it through a corn maze, and we bought over 70 pounds worth of pumpkins, some for carving, some for painting, and some for making pumpkin pies later.

We also brought home other some local produce: corn, apples, tomatoes, and yummy apple cider.

We had a big pumpkin painting party when we got home. Mr. Evil Genius cleverly created a "reverse" pumpkin.

Then yesterday we went down to the Akron area to celebrate my sister-in-law and her husband's 25th wedding anniversary. They were included in a special Mass for people who had been married 25 years or more. There were over a hundred couples there; one couple has been married 71 years!

After the Mass, we went to a lovely restaurant. It was nice to enjoy the weekend and forget about baseball. :(

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Baseball Talk

I thought some of you might be interested in Paul Byrd's take on being a Christian in the major leagues, and the personal struggles he's faced. He's got a book coming out and I might get it; it sounds interesting. This is a nice article about Byrdie too. He may not be our ace, but I hope he's earned some respect for his pitching ability.

Also, I just discovered on Let's Go Tribe that first baseman Ryan Garko has a playoff blog. He's had some interesting quotes during the playoffs, so check it out if you want one Indian's perspective on what they're doing. How can you not like a guy who says, talking about what he did before the last game they played in Boston, "I spent my day at the food court eating chicken fingers with my cousin, Corey “Big Body” Erb." :)

Cat Magnet

How many of you out there have that big cat magnet attached to you, the one that draws all the hard luck feline cases your way? The biggest cat rescue we ever pulled off was when a feral cat gave birth to four kittens in our back yard. We managed to snag Mama Cat in a humane trap, got her spayed and got her a round of shots, and let her loose at the local grain elevator, with the blessing of the owners there. Two of the kittens went to a good home, and the other two went to a shelter where presumably they found good homes as well.

We've been living where we're at for about four months, and I guess it's taken that long for the "Cat Signal" to come on, because tonight a beautiful black cat showed up at our door. Using our extensive cat knowledge, we discovered that a)it's a girl and b)she's in heat. So she's spending the night in our garage, safe from any boy kitties that might happen to be around, and away from our four kitties in case she has any sicknesses, or fleas, for that matter. We figure she's about seven months or so, and this is probably her first heat. We're also guessing that her owners got tired of her caterwauling, and dumped her. Those kind of people disgust me. Hopefully we can get her to the local no-kill shelter tomorrow.

Wake Me Up When the Game Starts

I really hope the Indians finish up and win the pennant tomorrow, because all these late night games are making me tired! I took a nap today; that's the second one in about a week. I think Scottius can commiserate with how I feel, since his Cards took the Big Enchilada last year. So here's for winning against Boston tomorrow, and sweeping the Rockies in the World Series! Go Tribe!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Truth or Dare

So I've been tagged again, and I need to come up with seven true things about myself. Since when has an evil genius ever told the truth? Well, you won't get the Whole Truth (grins evilly)!
1) I've waded in the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea, but not the Atlantic Ocean. Need to rectify that with a trip out east sometime.
2) I enjoy bicycling. Too bad there's not a lot of suitable area for it where I live.
3) I love buying fabric.
4) I love buying and selling on ebay.
5) The longer I homeschool, the easier it gets and the more I enjoy it.
6) I enjoy lots of quiet time.
7) I need to work on getting things around my house organized.

Um, now I'm supposed to tag seven people, and tell them I did. So, who should be my chosen victims?

1) Presbytera, 'cause she hasn't blogged in ages.
2) The Mom. Same reason.
3) The Young Explorer. Again.... And because she's my daughter and I can make her do it.
4) The Elephant's Child. Because she did the other one I gave her so promptly. :)
5) Scottius. Because it'll be great to see what he comes up with.
6) Des Moines Girl. She's got a great sense of humor.
7) Blonde Moment. She's fun.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

For All You Princess Bride Fans

Since I know there's several of you, I'm putting the URL here on my blog. Which one of you will get the URL? :)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Full Weekend

A fun Friday night started off with picking up my husband from work. As we were pulling out of the parking lot of his building, which is definitely in an urban area, although close to a park, we saw two does.

Wildchild, my husband and I went to Jacobs Field last night, along with several thousand others, and watched the Indians play on the big screen. It was a little chilly, but a fun night, except for the fact that CC was off, and we lost rather decisively. Oh well. We had a good time, and we were bundled up well so we didn't get too cold. Even Wildchild's doll, who came along to keep Wildchild company, wore a lovely hat and sweater.

Then today Wildchild and I met some friends at a farm park in Lake County, where there were activities such as pumpkin painting and cornhusk doll making. We had a fun time, and dinner afterwards with them was nice as well.

I think Sunday after church will definitely be a day of rest!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

They're Coming to Take It Away

A little background first. Metropolitan Cleveland occupies a large area; like many large cities it now occupies more than one county. The city of Akron, south in Summit County, is arguably a suburb of Cleveland. Metro Cleveland expands eastward into Lake County, all the way out to Painesville. And on the west side, everywhere out to the city of Lorain has become a suburb of Cleveland. I feel especially well qualified to talk about the west side of Cleveland, because I've lived there for most of my life. I spent the first twenty-four years of my life living in Bay Village, a suburb of Cleveland at the very edge of Cuyahoga County, the same county the city of Cleveland occupies. For the past six years we've been living in Lorain County.

There's lots of housing being built in Lorain County, especially in the cities closer to a)the lake and b)the city of Cleveland. Shopping and restaurants are popping up like mushrooms at one exit off of the interstate in Avon, OH. And there's been talk for years of building another freeway exit in Avon, a little further east. All this is good for Lorain County, whose mainstay for years was and to some extent still is automobile plants. As we've seen lately, these plants aren't reliable places to base an economy on, and in any case these jobs will likely become more obsolete as automation takes over.

Now to the interesting stuff. There is apparently a regional planning group called the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) which votes on measures concerning the local interstates. As I wrote above, Avon would like to build another freeway exit. Fortunately for Avon, the Cleveland Clinic wants to build a family medical center there. Unfortunately for Avon, the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County mayors want their cut. For 10 years. And those in Cuyahoga County on the NOACA are threatening to veto the freeway exit proposal, even though the city of Avon and the development group that owns the land currently would be paying for the project.

From my point of view, Cuyahoga County's demand for money is nothing but unmitigated greed. When the neighboring city of Westlake (in Cuyahoga County) was growing like wildfire along the interstate, did they offer to "share" their profits with neighboring cities? I would guess not. And mind you, this growth has occurred not only within my lifetime, but a great deal of it has taken place within the last twenty years. Does the city of Westlake owe the city of Rocky River tax revenue from its swanky and flourishing shopping development, Crocker Park? After all, the recent shopping and restaurant development in Westlake may very well have helped put the final nails in the coffin of Westgate Shopping Center in Rocky River, which is now a distant memory. For that matter, if Avon is "sharing" taxes with Cuyahoga County, does that mean that Avon residents could be allowed to use the city of Bay Village's lovely pool, or Westlake's fancy recreation center? Both of these are currently for city residents only. If Avon is paying taxes into these cities' coffers, shouldn't Avon residents be able to take advantage of these cities' benefits as well?

Yes, the city of Cleveland, and Cuyahoga County, are bleeding. They're losing hundreds of thousands of people, and losing jobs. However, instead of trying to reach out and grab what others are getting, perhaps they should take a good look in the mirror and try to fix their own problems. No, they'd rather just take from an area that is doing better. You know, this whole scheme sounds very familiar. I'm not surprised that the city government of Cleveland and the Cuyahoga County Commissioner are all from the same party. You guess which one.

And If the Last Quiz Wasn't Nerdy Enough...

I am a d20

Take the quiz at

Via Pauli.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Can Haz Free Healthcare?

I guess we've been doing it wrong all this time. My husband should quit his job, become a woodworker, and then we too can live in a 3,000 square foot house, drive SUVs, send our kids to tony private schools, and get free healthcare for our kids off of you sucker tax payers. I guess we can drop our auto insurance too. Yeah!

Michelle Malkin has a pretty thorough run-down. Don Surber chimes in also.

It Can Happen Here

So I was just about to post about my own trivial little happenings when I see that yet another school shooting has taken place, this time right in Cleveland. I'm glad to have my kids at home with me right now, and I'm glad there seem to be no fatalities from this, apart from the shooter. Although it was of course wrong to shoot people, I'm sorry the young gunman seems to have taken his own life. I'm wondering when we'll start hearing about how this kid was never in trouble, etc.

I suppose the mayor will now call for stricter gun laws, or security at the school building, or something similar. I would want my children to hide from someone running around with a gun, but I would also want there to be someone similarly armed who could protect my children in a dangerous situation. Here's some great quotes: "Schools are supposed to be a safe place." With all the shootings that have happened in schools, can we really think like that anymore? Also, one parent says about security personnel that used to be in the school: "To take away the only source of protection is just not right." Well, if they allowed teachers who had a concealed carry permit to carry a firearm during the course of their work, there would be another source of protection, and without the cost of extra security. Isn't it time that politicians and school boards learned that simply forbidding guns in school will not keep guns out of schools?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Natural Consequences

Of course it makes sense that a woman who shoots herself in the stomach and killed her unborn child may not be charged for murder. After all, she could have just had it sucked down a sink without any consequences at all, right? At least, no *legal* consequences. Ironic that a woman is being charged for drowning her two children in the bathtub at the same time. She should have just killed them before they were born. Then she wouldn't have to deal with all this.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Yeah! It's Friday!

I notice that I've been posting quite a bit on learning-related matters lately. I don't want this blog to become a strictly homeschooling blog; I like being able to talk or rant about whatever is moving me. At the moment, teaching the girls and planning their lessons is taking up a lot of my time and interest. I'm also fascinated by the egregious failings within the public educational system. Of course, I can afford to find it fascinating because I don't have children whose educations are being ruined in the system. In the big picture, though, it is not good for our country's future to have children receive such poor educations. But then, I can't do anything about our country's system of education, and I certainly don't have all the answers in any case. All I can do is make sure my own children are learning, to the best of my ability and theirs.

Frankly, the political scene right now is rather discouraging to me. It seems as though there is a lot of cheating, back room deals, lying and everything else being brought to light, but nothing is coming of it. Ah, well. The wheels of God grind slowly.

Still waiting to get our van back. I'm tired of driving the old beater I'm in right now. Thus, I hate going anywhere.

Mr. Evil Genius had asthma as a child, and it now appears as though some of the things he's suffered from as an adult stem from that. His doctor is starting him on some asthma medication. It's discouraging to be tied to medication and pills, but we're hopeful that he can improve his physical state now that this has been diagnosed.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I Don't Think So

It's bad enough that parents who have their children in public schools may have to have them tutored to help them understand the material, or tutor them themselves. It's sad that some parents are afterschooling, teaching them what they want them to learn outside of school, like art or music, or even afterschooling to cover gaps in the public schools learning curriculum. Now it's cool for a teacher to assign parents to read what their children are reading in high school, and have the parents comment on it? Um, no. Read about it here; use Bugmenot if you don't want to create a log-in yourself.

This is not to say I don't read things myself. As a matter of fact, in some areas I feel I've given myself a better education than even college gave me. I read The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Buccaneers for leisure reading, just for examples. But if I'm going to, or have to, go to the trouble to read everything my child reads and discuss it with her and comment on it, I might as well just teach her myself. I can tell you there wouldn't be any "hip-hop poetry" in my dream high school curriculum. And “I take it as giving back to the teacher what he is apparently giving to our kids, a lot of attention and a lot of requirements.” Um, wouldn't that be called "doing his job"? Maybe not.

Via kitchen table math, the sequel.

The Joys of Homeschooling

Having your daughter come in to show you her latest art project while you're in the shower.

(Yes, this does sound rather like The Joys of Mothering. But then homeschooling is a lot like mothering, which is another one of The Joys of Mothering.)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Doll Discussion

Wildchild is ready to "move on" from Bitty Baby and get an 18" (or so) doll. I'm not sure I want to get her an American Girl doll, both because I feel the American Girl company under Mattel has gotten into political advocacy through the dolls, and because it's my understanding that the dolls are made in China now, and the price is rather high for that. However, it seems that some of the other high quality doll makers, such as Götz, have gone out of business, and there is not much of a selection out there other than American Girl. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

Update: Apparently Götz was rumored to have gone out of business, but hasn't. Now if I could find a dealer, and if Wildchild likes the dolls...

A Project Completed

Yeah! Wildchild's ballet bag is finally complete! As a special touch, I put in a cross-stitch design of every little girl's favorite dancing mouse, Angelina Ballerina. My little ballerina will be so happy to carry her things in it to ballet class tomorrow.