Monday, November 23, 2009

It Worked Out

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

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Looking Ahead?

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


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

Thursday, November 12, 2009


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

Monday, November 09, 2009

Twenty Years On

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

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Nanny-State Nonsense

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

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

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Invisible Me

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


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