Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Interesting Road Experience

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

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

Monday, March 30, 2009

Another Bloggers Meet-Up!

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

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

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Evil But Not Alone

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

Friday, March 27, 2009

Things That Help

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 26, 2009

End of an Era

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

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Life Is Strange

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

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I See the Light

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

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

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Can't Hide From It

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

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Life Goes On Without Me

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

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spam, Eggs, Bacon, Sausage and Spam

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

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Special Craft Project

For those of you who are crafty, *and* fans of the Second Amendment, a gun cozy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Wow, I haven't posted in a few days, have I? Life was kind of boring this week, as the girls were sick, the Dancer the most so. No dancing lessons, no horseback riding. Not much schooling getting done with the Dancer. Not much getting out of the house. Had a mini-breakdown over some struggles with the Equestrienne; was talked back into sanity by some friends. Looking forward to church tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How Should Christian Entertainment Work?

I saw this at NerdMom's, but my post doesn't really have anything to do with her views, so don't attack the messenger. Do you remember Veggie Tales? Mr. BTEG and I found them enjoyable and we let our girls watch them, although they do have detractors, with perhaps good reason. I don't really want to go into that, but into Veggie Tales creator Phil Vischer's big new project, called Jellytelly. I know that there are those who advocate Christians moving more into the areas where they are currently poorly represented, such as politics and the entertainment industry. However, watching Phil Vischer's video about what Jellytelly is, I wondered about a few things.

First of all, Vischer asserts that since kids are watching so much television, they should be watching better things than Hannah Montana. I say, first of all, why not encourage kids to watch less television? Second of all, shows like Hannah Montana are not *necessarily* bad. Watching Disney channel shows like these with my daughter, I am realizing that a) I preferred watching preschool shows like Blue's Clues and b) these shows are the food equivalent of a root beer float, sweet and fluffy but without much redeeming nutritional value. However, *if* you watch television with your children, parents can discuss issues with their children like dating, lying, respect to parents, friendship and more. It's not exactly worth watching the shows just to provide the opportunities for discussion, but kids like sweets, and they can be fine in moderation. Now, watching these shows, I can see why parents stick kids in their own rooms with their own televisions. :) However, I really don't believe that's healthy for kids, in more ways than one. I like being aware of what my daughters are watching and listening to, even if they're not my favorite things.

So, if Christians are involved in entertainment, what should it look like? Kids' television entertainment with religious storylines have been around since at least Davey and Goliath. Should shows have an explicit religious story and moral? These may have a place, but even there parents should be careful. Programs like Veggie Tales, that can have Evangelical messages confessional Lutherans may not agree with, may still have to be viewed with parental input. Can Christians also make shows about normal people who happen to be Christians, say, who go to church and pray before meals? Can it be done without the schmaltz of a 7th Heaven? :) Well, I don't know that my gifts run to these areas, so I'll just see what faithful Christians can come up with.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Keepin' It Real

Sometimes we don't get much of a real impression of people from their blogs. There are several reasons for this. For one thing, blogs are not private. Anything you say can be read by all the world. Facebook, with its privacy settings, is better for this, although you still should not discount the idea that anything you write on the Internet can be read by anyone. You also have to consider the privacy of others, and the feelings of those you blog about. Your kids probably don't want their specific misbehavior shared with a few hundred of your closest friends, and it's not fair to them or ethical to do it. Therefore, you can start feeling alone, that you are the only one with a messy house and trouble-making kids and financial limitations, and on and on. Well, just so you know, you're not alone. I'm not perfect. No, really. :) Nobody out there is, no matter whether we can see another's imperfections or not. We're all in this together. I'm thankful for online sources that, while they can sometimes keep us apart, can also let us know we're not alone.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Nanny State Comes After Chocolate

In Scotland there are calls for a high tax on chocolate, supposedly to fight obesity, and, of course, provide money for health care. Because there never has been, and never will be, enough money for socialist health care. Let's fight to keep the nanny state out of the U.S. and save our chocolate!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Spring, Spring, Spring

At last, it feels like spring out there. The girls and I had a "tea party" of home-baked chocolate chip cookies and milk out on our little front porch. I think the girls will have a hard time getting their schoolwork done today! On the other hand, it has inspired me to start some spring cleaning, and the house is airing out from the long winter.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

On Family, the Old World and Values

Joining Facebook recently and trying to find connections has made me think a little about family. Mr. BTEG and I discussed how families that come over from the Old World are very close to each other, their kids are all close to the family, but the third generation seems to drift apart. My grandfather had a whole bunch of brothers and sisters, and I dimly remember the annual family picnics where all of them would get together, with their kids and grandkids attending as well. Now the kids and grandkids barely see each other. I haven't seen any of my cousins in years. I wonder why that is? Does the assimilation into American life mean a rejection of some of the Old World values? Or does the gradual increase of prosperity of the later generations mean less of a need to cling together and support one another as family?

The other thing that seemed to disappear in these family dynamics is the language. My grandfather couldn't speak his parents' native Saxon. My father-in-law's first language was Italian, but my husband knows none of it. There seemed to have been a real pride in making sure the kids wouldn't be hampered by not knowing the native language of America, but what have we lost by discarding some of our past? Does it matter, since we'll never visit "the homeland" except as tourists? Thankfully, at least my in-laws have managed to retain a large part of their family culture. I read those "You know you grew up... when..." and totally relate them to my husband's family. My family did not retain so much of the culture. I think in my grandmother's case it was because they were wanderers in an alien land even where they came from, but I do wonder what life among the Transylvanian Saxons was like. I wish I could restore my few threads with the past.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I Can't Help Myself

We received a sales catalog in the mail from a large national toy store. One of the items featured was an electric bike. Didn't know they made those. Looks to be similar to the moped. Now, in addition to wondering why kids need electric bikes, I also wondered how they can tout the bike as Green!Clean! Why, oh why, is electricity clean? I understand that someday soon HopeyMcChange will magically fix this, but I was under the impression that currently, burning fossil fuels is not, in fact, green. Now, the kids just *riding* the bikes themselves? That sounds pretty green.

Monday, March 02, 2009

It's a Sign of the Second Coming

MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice performing together. In 2009. Hammer and Ice. Ebony and Ivory. Start storing food now.

h/t Innocent Bystanders

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Things We Do For Money

or the lack thereof, lol. Mr. BTEG is repairing the brake lines on my minivan. He's saving over $100 doing it himself, but it's taking him a while, because of course on an older vehicle the parts get rusted on good or otherwise thoroughly stuck. Plus he has to come in every so often so his fingers don't get frostbite. Literally. In the meantime, we have no working vehicle and I am going insane. The walls... they're closing in....