Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No, Really, I DO Have a Life...

For some reason all my posts lately have been work-related. I guess that's 'cause I have been working six days a week. At any rate, this post will be no different...

Fun call for the day:
"Thank you for calling _____, may I have the name on your account?"
"Hello? Hello?"
"Hello, can you hear me?"
"No, I can't!"
There are some customers I am just not able to help.

I WON the pie throwing contest. Let's see, that doesn't sound right...I won a contest and the prize is that I get to throw pies at one of my supervisors. Unfortunately the prize is non-transferable (or I'd have given it to the other supervisor, who puts up with this one admirably). Also, it means I have to go to work on a day that I would not otherwise be there, as I am taking tomorrow off to sleep in and rest. I need it, I am fighting a sinus infection, and I am worn out, and if I don't use my leave tomorrow it expires. On the flip side, this means I can take Nate with me to the pie throwing. How did I win? By being the best of my team for last week :-)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Work News

Alert! My assignment has been extended to at least Jan. 31st, with a possible 'regular' job in my future...I also have a job interview with another company next week, but I would much rather stay where I am at.

Our company has this neat feature where every time you call and talk to us, you get an email that asks if we helped or not, and enables you to leave comments. We can actually go back and read all the comments people leave about us, and I do that in my 'spare time' (ha!) I love this, it can be so much fun, so I thought I would share a few:

"This cust. service young lady(Jennifer) helped me ...Also, she did not make me feel dumb;which I am."
***that one cracks me up. He called me a young lady. Of course he can't be dumb!

"I am happy to say that I got the best help I could ever have wished for and the lady I was talking to was just an adorable new acquaintance!!"
***there you have it, folks--I am adorable! On the phone, at least.

"The agent who I spoke with on the phone was very helpful and friendly. Appreciated her good attitude."
***It's official--I have a good attitude. Now don't tell me otherwise!

I also read the negative comments. My favorite? The customer who answered the question, "did we resolve your problem?" by clicking on 'yes' and then commenting, "NOOOO you did NOT!!!!!!!!" Guess he doesn't know I am judged by my percentage of 'no' clicks, huh?

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm the Grinch

Or is that Grinchess? Grinchette? Mrs. Grinch?

I ruined someone's Christmas today. I made a totally stupid mistake in an attempt to fix a problem and instead of fixing the problem, I destroyed any hope of doing so. I nearly cried.

They told us in training that this would happen, but that doesn't make me feel any better.

I think I would much rather deal with the Angry Russian than do that over again!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reason # 26: Why I Love My Job

I have worked at a LOT of jobs, and the most frequent complaint I have had is that those on high would hand down protocols, systems and software that were designed by people who CLEARLY had NEVER used them and never would.

Not so with my current employer. Having been there a mere five weeks, they pulled me for a brainstorming session this morning with one of our software programmers to share problems we have seen with a certain area of our business, solutions, and things we would like to see done in that area. Five weeks, and already they have paid me for my opinions.

It really doesn't get much better than that.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snow, Blowing Sideways

We have had unusually cold and snowy weather for our area. I live in a desert, and we do sometmies get snow, but it melts right away. This time we have had snow on the ground since Saturday, with a little more added on top each day. It was -3 last night and the high today was about 15.

I happen to love this weather, but I seem to be the only one! I hauled Nate out for a walk in the snow and the last of today's sunshine after work today. Silly kid didn't even wear a coat! Our cheeks and ears were beet read when we came in but the walk felt so good. Until today it's been far too windy for that kind of recreation.

It seemed like a week for comfort food, so we are having, among other things, beef stew, Italian Bean soup, turkey noodle soup, tuna casserole, and crockpot burritos this week.

Tomorrow is Grilled Cheese and Soup day at work and I can hardly wait. I work in one of the coolest places in the world. This week is Castle Building--and we are building them out of sugar cubes! Friday was Chili Day, and there's nothing better than a bowl of hot chili with all the toppings when you have spent your morning with sobbing grandmothers and screaming angry Russians on the phone. Especially when someone else does the cooking and the dishes.

I am behind on my Christmas sewing. This month has gone by far too quickly for me. I can't believe we only have a week left, and here I was planning on being done with a week to spare! I am only working four days next week, which will be a near vacation after the 6-day weeks that I have had lately.

I hope all of you out there in blogland are having a great week and are remembering to keep some rest in this busy season.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In Search of the Perfect Dress

When I come home from work lately, I want to change straight into my new jammie pants. This is a bad thing, especially when one gets off work at 3 in the afternoon! I have good reason for this, though. My new jammie pants, in addition to being pink camo, are the softest fleece I have ever felt, and the most comfortable piece of clothing I own.

Additionally, putting together enough work outfits to last six days a week PLUS a church outfit on Sunday is wearing on my small wardrobe.

So you can see why I am searching for the perfect dress. It has to be a dress, because then I don't have to have more than one piece. It has to fit me, which dresses rarely due since apparently as you gain weight you are also supposed to grow taller, therefor all dresses in my size are made for 9 foot tall women or chunky cross-dressers. The bust hits me at the waist, the waist at the hips...let's just say it doesn't work well. It needs to be extremely comfortable, as I sit at a desk 8 hours a day talking on the phone (no, seriously, I get paid to do this). It needs to look really good as I work with about 200 men, but more importantly, I need to feel cute every day. It needs to be warm and cozy, for those days when I really did not want to get out of bed and need desperately to feel like I am wearing a security blanket.

And I need it in seven different colors. You know, just so people don't think I wear the same outfit every single day.

Customer Service

I still love my job. But some days are certainly more difficult than others. My voluntary overtime shift is Monday mornings, for instance, and apparently this shift was available because hundreds of customers feel they have to wait until then to call in, only by that time they are pretty steamed about their problems. Seriously, folks, if a business is open 24/7, it's ok to call on the weekends.

Today I had a customer call to complain that...everything went right. Yes, I typed that correctly. He had received his order, in good condition, on time, and he called to complain. Because things happened just like we said they would.

I also had several customers with problems that I just couldn't fix. I hate that! My job is fixing problems and making people happy and when I can't do that job, I am just as upset as they are. Dude next to me actually leaned over during on call today and said, 'Oh, that call was so SAD!' He was right, too.

On the other hand, I get to hear about people's kids, see what others are getting for Christmas, find out what the weather is like everywhere from Denmark to Kuwait to Florida. I am getting pretty darn good at pegging accents, too! And I have sure learned a lot.

Still adjusting to the new schedule. Don't ask me how I am feeling for a least a week. I am sure I'll take at least one nap in the next few days! But Nate says it feels to him like I 'get off early' every single day, and that's a blessing. Yesterday he even forgot I was working a half shift and was quite surprised when I came home in time for lunch!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Difference Between Boys and Girls

Those people who say there is no difference between boys and girls clearly aren't paying attention.

I work near the mall. Yesterday on my lunch I decided to run over and see what CJ Banks had on their clearance racks. On the way I did my daily lunchtime check-in with Nate.
"What are you having for lunch?" He asked.
"I don't know. I am going to go to the mall and see what CJ Banks has on clearance."
"You mean you would choose clothes shopping over eating?! What kind of NUT are you?!"
"Female."
"Female is Latin for 'weird,' you know."

CJ Banks has great stuff right now, btw. The colors are amazing. I had to make a hard choice--longer denim skirt, black and red plaid skirt, and a blue and black dress that looked far better on me than I expected when I grabbed it. I went with the denim. Boring, but versatile, and the only one of the three choices that did not require black shoes. And all those choices were under twenty bucks. Imagine what I could have bought if I had money! LOL

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Decompression and Math

Just when I thought I was in the swing of things, work-wise, it changed.

I really love my job. Honest, I do! I have had frustrating jobs where I didn't get to help people, and I don't like that. My current job is all about helping people. I love that! And unlike working in JoAnn's, I only have one customer at a time. Should be easy, right?

Somehow, though, the mere doing of my job raises my blood pressure and makes me tense. On my short breaks there is no time to decompress and on my lunch break, about the time I am breathing normally again, it's time to head back.

After work, I have to sit for 30 minutes. I can't watch a movie or anything, because I am still so tight from work that I wouldn't enjoy it.

I am not sure how to combat this. Breathing exercises? Who knows.

Sorry the posts are so few and far between these days! Should get a bit better when my schedule changes next week...perhaps I can post in my sleep, lol.

Nate seems to me to be mathematically gifted. Problem with that: He abhors rounding and repeating decimals. It bothers him to no end that the answer is imprecise. On a certain level I sympathize. On a certain other level I want him to get over it, lol.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Spirit of Something

So, Christmas shopping has already resulted in the deaths of at least three people. Two men shot at Toys R Us and one employee trampled to death at Wal Mart. Um, pardon me, but did you all miss the part about Peace on Earth?

I did not shop today. First off, I worked 7 to 5:30. Secondly, I am doing Christmas for $50 this year and pretty much have everything bought already. And the traffic at 6:30 this morning was insane.

I did take my very first phone calls on the job today and lemme tell ya, it rocked! My job is so much fun! Even the people I can't make happy are fun, lol. And boy does the day go faster when you are talking to people than it does in the classroom.

Btw, the power stayed on all week long and all is well...eh, except the dirty dishes that have taken over because Nate worked part of the week, as well. Thanks to those who prayed!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Re Figure

Having a rotten day.
First, I have an ear ache.
Secondly, I had to spend all of THREE breaks on the phone with a government official who has the power to make my life very difficult, and I believe intends to do so.
Thirdly, because of the time I spent on the phone with said official, I forgot to pay my power bill and my understanding is they will be turning the power off in the morning.
Yes, the day before Thanksgiving.
Yes, it is cold and rainy.
Yes, we will be putting a note on the meter informing them that my check IS in their drop box, but somehow I don't think it will help.
Fourthly, I have a terrible crush on someone I should NOT have a crush on, and he totally wore exactly what he should not have worn today, and of course looked very good in it.
Fifth, I have to make a big batch of cinnamon rolls and a pair of pajamas before I can go to bed tonight.
Sixth, my son was decidedly NOT proud of my ability to pick out Pierce Brosnan's chest from a chest lineup on TMZ.
I can't remember the rest of my complaints. Which is probably a good thing, as I decided on Sunday after our sermon that I need to be more thankful and obviously I am already failing at that.

On the flip side, they are not changing our shifts after all, so that is good news.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It Figures

It figures that about the time I get adjusted to, and even excited about, my new shift schedule...we find out that our shifts have all gone out the window. Or not. They aren't sure.

I am so exhausted that I really don't have much to say. Sad, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

5:45

I got the shift I asked for. This means that in three weeks, I will be working at 5:45 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. No, really.

I know that I can do this, because we had that paper route for a year and a half, and so we were up at 3:30 every morning, with only five days off in that amount of time. But it still seems like a terrible, fearful thing. I am trying to figure out how to work this one. Do I get up at four and do my usual morning routine? Do I go to work in my pajamas (this is allowed. Now, if you are late three times they will fire you, but you can come to work looking like you are still in bed, and there's no problem with that!)? Do I shower the night before so that I am clean? If I do this, may hair usually looks awful. But hats are allowed. Do I eat breakfast at home, or start packing them like I do my lunches, and just eat at my desk to shave off another 20 minutes? How low should I allow my standards to sink?

The good news is that I will be off before three every afternoon. Of course, I will be in bed by 4:30 in the afternoon...well, maybe not that early, but I am sure I will WANT to. And definitely, no matter how much Nate begs, there will be no more staying up late watching movies!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Brrrrrring!

I was awakened this morning by my phone ringing. Far earlier than I would have liked! In my dazed state, when I looked at the caller ID I thought, 'That number looks kinda familiar' but could not place it. The caller sounded quite baffled.
"Hello?"
"Um...huh...uh...who IS this?" (I always love it when people call you and ask you who YOU are)
"Jennifer"
"But...um...well...never mind!" *click*

Once I was fully awake, I looked at the caller ID again and realized the number was 1 digit off from my own. Poor guy thought he was checking his voice mail and was a tad surprised to find it had a life of its own!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday

It is dreary, wet and cold today. It's also a holiday of sorts (I can't figure out what is running and what isn't today. The college is in, but the schools are not? No mail or library but the gov't employees at the plant have to work? Who makes all the rules and why are they falling down on the job?) and one would think we could take the day off schoolwork and do something holiday-ish, but that's not how it's going to work. We didn't get nearly enough done yesterday, and Nate is about to take his final-final-last-ever Key to... end-of-book test. I don't want him to break right before a test, for obvious reasons, even though no one but me will ever see the score. And even though Teaching Textbooks Math 7, which he is also working through, is about to review the same subject matter.

Fortunately, Nate and I found a Geometry book that will last him a couple months, since the thought of doing only one math program at a time is a bit foreign to him, and he keeps saying he needs more challenge. This Geometry book is very hands-on, no proofs or anything, just fun with shapes. I want that for him before he goes on to in-depth Geometry. He is considering doing TT Algebra and TT Geometry at the same time, and Mr. Pevensie, who was once a PS math teacher, said that is perfectly acceptable. Nate will begin TT Algebra in Feb. according to our current schedule. I already have that program, since we used it with Brandon, so I would only have to buy Geometry with tax refund money.

I loved Geometry when I was in high school. My teacher, Mr. Presto (is that a cool name or what?), had a great policy. You could choose to be graded in one of two ways: 100% of your grade from the test scores, or 50% from test scores and 50% from homework. Quite a progressive PS teacher, IMO. Since I thought homework was basically useless and I always got good test grades, I went with the first option. Mr. Presto stuck me in the back corner of the room with the following year's math book and left me to myself. He was a really thoughtful guy. We had an assignment to draw a pictures using only a straight edge and a compass. I still think it was the best piece of art I ever produced. He hung all the pictures on the wall without names and had the class line up and go from picture to picture rating them on a 1 to 10 scale. I got a 10. I would NEVER have been given a 10 if the kids had known whose picture it was, but he did it in a way that mostly avoided popularity as a grade.

Mr. Presto also let my mom sit in on his Alg. 1 class when she decided to go back to college. I thought that was a very brave thing for her to do. Only two problems--my boyfriend at the time was in the same class (and boy did I give him strict instructions to behave!) and Mr. Presto called me by my mom's name for the rest of the year.

So, I think schoolwork, hot cocoa, and maybe a movie is on the list for today. And maybe I will grab Nate's straight edge, compass and box of colored pencils and make some memories.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Is It Cold In Here, Or Is It Just Me?

For the last few weeks I have worked with real, live scientists. It was cool. Brought back memories of my days working in the high school chem department, wearing a powder blue lab coat (because I couldn't figure out where to buy one that I could tie dye!), turning down dates with guys who only wanted one thing from me (access to chemicals), and finding new freckles when I went outside after spending the morning reclaiming silver.

Anyway, the other day I overheard one of the real, live scientists say something about polar ice levels being very high, as high as they have been since I was kicked out of preschool. I was fascinated. It sure SOUNDED like this real, live scientist was saying something that I had been very careful not to say in that building...manmade global warming is a hoax!

I tentatively broached the subject with him and indeed, there are lots of crazy people like us in the world, many holding science degrees. He shared some links with me that I, in turn, am happy to share with you. That last one might be especially fun, if you can figure out what it says (set your homeschooled middle-schoolers on that).

Greenie Watch
Watts Up With That
Solar Cycle

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Downsides of Working

This time of year is especially hard to be working full-time because I am at work during all daylight hours. Very frustrating when you want to go for a walk, shoot hoops with a kid, etc.

There is a house behind mine. I can see it through nearly every window. It is green. A terrible shade of acid green, to be frank. I have absolutely no idea when it became this awful color, because the last time I saw it, it was white!

Life goes on while I am at the office. I hate to think of what else I am missing. I don't understand why women worldwide long for this. My longing is to be home. I really wish I knew how to do that.

Friday, November 7, 2008

You May Say I'm a Dreamer...

Apparently a lot of my frustrations in life come out through my dreams. I don't mean Joseph-in-Egypt dreams, I mean, well, weird dreams. Like once I dreamed that my kids were pregnant...my male children, ages 4 and 6. That was my oddest dream yet...until last night.

Last night I dreamed, and I cannot quite remember the order these events happened, that:
I was on a trip.
I ran into my friend, Mary.
Mary's hair was long (I have never seen her with long hair). When I said, 'Mary, your hair is so long!' she said, 'Of course, I just got it cut.'
I ran into her in a hair salon/hotel/restaurant.
She proceeded to give me a very LARGE bottle of wine, pouring one glass for me, and told me to drink it (the whole bottle).
Oddly, I very much wanted to. I thought it would be fun. (If you know me...you know this is SO not me)
But, before I could give in and become an instant alcoholic, Mary's car ran away. On its own.
We all ran outside to chase down the car, and when it got to the bottom of the hill and stopped, I looked up and saw the Aurora Borealis in the sky. I yelled, 'Look!' and when everyone looked up, the Northern Lights turned into a fireworks display that looked like microscope slides of bacteria. Still moving.
After this, Mary and I went back to the hotel, where we inexplicably shared a room, and even more inexplicably had to enter through a series of doors that kept getting smaller and smaller like in Alice in Wonderland, until finally I thought I would never be able to fit through!

At this point, I woke up, and found that my blankets were all over my bedroom and I had to go to work. I have given up on trying to figure out this dream, but you are welcome to take a stab at it.

I emailed Mary and told her to set her parking brake. She said she had a dream about me last week involving a large, uber-cool new house that had all glass appliances so that we could see the electronics working. Now THAT makes sense!

Take Your Kid to Work Day

What? You say it isn't Take Your Kid To Work Day?! Well, it was at my house. It was now or never!

Today was my last day working at this temp job. Unlike 'the hay place,' this was a job Nate wanted to visit, so he took the bus out and got a personal tour through the labs from a forensics expert. Way cool, huh? And now I will have a week home before the next job starts, which is a mixed blessing (time home is good...unpaid is not! LOL)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Daily Grind

Since I have started working again I have begun to notice that not only is it difficult to feed myself when I am hungry, but it is difficult to notice my hunger. Recently I have begun grinding my teeth-something I have never done!-and finally figured out that it almost always occurs when my body needs food and isn't getting it. This is carrying over into the off-work hours, as well, much to my annoyance. Somehow I have GOT to learn to notice these signals before they reach that point, and I also need to be more diligent about having food on hand while at work. The only stuff available there is a snack machine with almost nothing in it that I like or that would help my tummy, and the school cafe, which is across campus and also doesn't have much in the way of good food (good here meaning enjoyable food, since food is morally neutral in my kingdom).

Intuitive Eating is turning out to be a much longer process for me than I thought when I began and made so much progress so quickly. It seems every week something else pops up in my path. That's ok, they are learning experiences, right? I am grateful that I can eat at my desk (if I am prepared to do so) at this job, although I still struggle with feeling like people will be saying to themselves, "Look, that fat girl is ALWAYS eating!"

I was talking to someone who mentioned that Halloween candy can be kept in the freezer and handed out the following year. This may be fine for some people, but I simply cannot do it. When I was a girl, my mom couldn't 'control' her own eating, and so she spent a lot of time controlling mine. One of her tactics was to take away all my Halloween candy, put it in the trunk of her car, and eat it herself. It would be perpetuating that dysfunction for me to do something similar. Nate didn't trick-or-treat, so the candy we have leftover from the goblins who visited is the only candy around. Interestingly, he has declined the opportunity to purchase gummy bears (his fave treat) or take candy from grandparents' leftovers--his reasoning being that he has plenty of Starburst and Skittles here at home to eat still. His attitude is so normal that it stuns me sometimes. Of course he doesn't have to horde and grab. No one is trying to take his candy away!

Friday, October 31, 2008

What's up with That? (and other news)

I love fall, because it's the beginning of the Soup Season. Yesterday Nate put in our first batch of Italian Bean Soup. The night before, he put the beans and water in to soak. Then yesterday morning he drained them and added the rest of the ingredients. Last night at dinner time...the beans were still hard! I left the crock pot on all night long and finally this morning they are just about ready, but this has never happened before. I don't know if my crock pot is dying or if the beans were defective...I mean, you are supposed to be able to dry the beans just so they can be kept for a long time, right? So 'old' beans shouldn't be a problem, should it?

Job News: Looks like I have only two weeks left on this job. I had to take another job offer, for another temp job that doesn't pay as well and isn't as nice, but the people where I am at can't guarantee that they can keep me, so I really had no choice.

Whine for the Morning: I want to wear a blanket to work. I am cold and crabby. I did not want to get out of bed. I don't like the outfit I picked out for today. Thanks for listening!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Socks

So, I have this beautiful purple cardigan (Walmart, sixteen bucks, woulda bought it in four colors if budget had allowed). It is very flattering, soft and comfortable.

I have black skirts with which to wear it, but my only pair of black shoes are indescribably painful to wear, so I decided to wear it with a jean skirt, purple tights and my brown shoes. Right? Wrong. Except for online (www.welovecolors.com), I can't find plus-sized tights in anything but black and brown. Fat girls, you know, are supposed to hide themselves. So I turned to my second option: Knee-hi socks. I actually love these. They make me feel cute. But I had the darnedest time last night finding a pair to go with this outfit. No, I don't want fuzzy, dangly balls on them. No, I don't want purple and black (remember--brown shoes). Finally I chose the least of the evils--dark purple socks with narrow blue, green and raspberry pink stripes. These pink stripes are BRIGHT. But I wore them today in my determination not to be an invisible fatty.

Boy did I get comments! All of them good. But my favorite came from the only male commenter:
"LOVE your stockings! It's like Kelly Osbourn Goes To Church!"

Not what I was aiming for...but thanks anyway, lol.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tempted to Throw a Tantrum

There is a lot to like about being a temporary employee. I meet a lot of people and learn a lot of new things, and if I don't like a job, generally I just stick it out for a while and then don't have to worry about it. But there is one thing I greatly dislike: being disposable.

No, I don't mean people see me as easy to get rid of. I mean people see me as unnecessary to think about. Like the office manager who never once spoke to me until a foreign dignitary was visiting, and then all of a sudden he was upset that I didn't run to the door to greet them. Sorry, buddy, I thought you would be embarrassed and unable to introduce me since I had no reason to believe you even knew my name!

So, this morning I come to work after a weekend home. I don't want to be at work. I want to be with my kid, who misses me and who didn't get any schoolwork done over the weekend 'cause his dad was visiting. I come to work, and I find stacks and stacks of paper with post-it notes in various places with half-written instructions on them that make nearly no sense to me. Half my desk is covered in half-unpacked boxes. My garbage can and computer have been moved, my speakers are missing so I can't listen to music, I can't find the items I carefully left on my desk so that I could work on them when I came in, someone has gotten into my spreadsheet and deleted whole columns, the maintenance guy is here about a job I didn't know we needed done, and no one else shows up until two hours after I do.

I am a good employee. I am a cheerful person. I show up on time and get my work done. But I am a person and it would sure be nice if people treated me like one.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Eye Rolling

No, not the teenagers rolling their eyes. Me rolling my eyes at a teenager.

Nate did not remember/tell me that he had a COSTUME PARTY tonight until two or three hours prior to said party. Now, this child said he was too old to dress up, but all of a sudden he needs a costume.

Here's the problem: I own several decent costumes. He won't wear them. Won't be an Indian, won't be a baseball player, won't be Moses, nuthin'. His idea of costumes? Army Guy (this is where he wears his every day clothes, plus the camo hat he wears every day, plus the military belt he wears all the time, plus all the accouterments he is always carrying including his WWII surplus rucksack), Karate Guy (wherein he wears the Gi that he wears twice a week for karate), Hunter Guy (same as Army Guy except no military belt), No Costume Guy (party pooper...not that anyone could tell). Right, Nathan going to a costume party as....Nathan. Gee, they'll never be able to figure out who that boy is. (this is where you insert me rolling my eyes)

Why did I save boxes of costumes from my stage days? Somebody, give me some grateful children with dramatic impulses, will you?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Groundhog Birthday

Nate turned 13 twice this week. Well, not really, of course, but his first birthday, on Tuesday, was a dud! I had to work, we tried The Great Puppy Experiment (concluding puppies are not for us right now), he didn't get promoted in Jukido like he hoped he would (although, his attitude is SO good about it..."If Sensei didn't promote me, then clearly I am not ready, and he knows better than I do about it"), we didn't have time between TGPE and Jukido for me to make his selected dinner, and so when I asked for his second choice and he picked KFC and we went there and they were out of mash and gravy, I knew we had to have a do-over.



So we did it again yesterday. I still had to work, of course, but there was no puppy, still no schoolwork or chores, we didn't have to go anywhere, and I was able to make his dinner, after which we curled up and watched this week's NCIS and two episodes of Diagnosis Murder, his choice, while he ate gummy bears.



All in all, I am glad we did it again.



Interestingly, his dinner choice was Mediterranean fish with mashed potatoes and gravy (I had pilaf). This is the only fish recipe I have used that the kids request, so I thought I would share it. It originated with Saving Dinner, I think, but as I haven't seen the recipe in years, my version might be pretty far off the mark. Here it is, nonetheless:



Mediterranean Fish

About a pound of halibut or cod. We buy the frozen fillets.

1 can of Italian-style diced tomatoes

1 can of olives, cut in half (each olive...not the can)

Few cloves garlic

1 lemon, sliced thinly

Dash of balsamic vinegar

oil



Crush or mince garlic, saute in the oil. Lay the fish fillets over the top, pour the tomatoes over that, add the dash of vinegar, lay the lemon slices on top of the fish, toss the olives on, put the lid on the pan and let the fish cook for a few minutes on med to med-low (know your own stove!), turn the fish over, put the lid back on and cook until done.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Left Hand, Meet Right Hand

So, I know it's Monday, but could ya'all please drink your coffee?

Let's start with our favorite brown shipping company. Mr. Brown has a package for our office that we really need. Mr. Brown took this package to a city 20 miles south of us. He put it on a truck and then drove it to a city 150 miles North of us, passing through our town on his way. The package will then go on another truck, come back to this town tomorrow, and finally make its way to our office on Wednesday. Um, ok...

Then there's the order I need to place. I called one store to ask if we could have the products delivered by the end of the week. The man on the other end told me we would actually have to come to his store and place the order before he could tell me when it would arrive. I said, "so there's no way to speed it up?" and he said that we could speed the order up but after we placed the order the computer would tell him the soonest it could get here. Um, ok...

Finally we sent someone an hour south (past the brown truck!) to pick up an item...that the company in question then sent a duplicate of with a person who had to drive an hour north to bring it to us...even though we already had it. Ok...

So this is what I am saying: I would rather change diapers. At least they make sense.

Garcia



Penelope Garcia is my new hero. And when I say that, I mean the character specifically, not the actress, about whom I know almost nothing. Penelope, on the other hand, has grown nearer and dearer to my heart as we've watched the Criminal Minds series (which, unfortunately, CBS is not putting on their website this season and that, to be frank, majorly hoovers!).


Garcia is fat. Not Hollywood fake-fat, but actually fat. And, she doesn't try to cover it up, she doesn't hide herself away (well, she is hidden away in her office, but she is out and about town on non-work hours). She has experienced some negative feelings (that men aren't attracted to her), but in general she seems unashamed. And she definitely has style. While my hair will never be pink or blue, I appreciate her influence in my life. It's ok to wear bright colors, be fun and sassy, etc, despite body size.


I also appreciate that the writers have not, at least that I remember, portrayed her as a cheesburger-eating, lazy couch-potato fatty, nor have I seen her diet. Hooray! A normal, beautiful, wonderful woman who isn't a size 2 on TV.
All that to say that my outfit today is in Garcia's honor. It isn't blue or black, it isn't fade-to-wallflower-unnoticeable-if-I-am-invisible-no-one-will-see-my-fat plain. It's bright, it's horizontally striped, there are dark red tights involved, and it's just plain fun.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Day of Rest

I seem to have a problem. Apparently while my heart is that of a Sunday-worshipper, my body is a 7th day believer.

This is what happens when I work full-time. I get absolutely nothing done on Saturdays! Which means that Sundays are a scramble, and never long enough, partially due to spending half the day in church. Today we actually skipped church because we had family coming over for Nate's birthday dinner at 1. It went well, but missing church is not good.

So Nate is at youth group with Li'l Sis and normally I would be, oh, taking a bubble bath, reading a novel, or something like that. Instead I am washing laundry, making my bed, ironing, figuring out what on earth I will wear to work in the morning, folding laundry, packing lunches, drawing up school assignments for the week, etc. Not so fun or restful.

Somehow I have got to re-adjust my thinking so that Saturday is a work day (home work) and Sunday is the lazy day. We all need a lazy day (it was God's idea for a reason!), it's just that when I am lazy on Saturday, it throws off my week. I think some of it is rebellion. I am angry that I have to work (don't get me wrong, I am grateful for my paychecks!), especially since I SO miss being home and seeing the kids. Yesterday when Nate woke up he came out into the living room and said, 'Oh, yippee, you get to stay home today!' Part of it is actually physical exhaustion, as well. I'm not sure how to solve all of this, but I am darn well gonna try.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's My Fault

Many of my kids' traits are their father's fault. All those relating to testosterone and farting, for instance. But one is mine: the tendency to sleep-walk and sleep-talk. In the years we were together, I can't remember my ex ever doing either, but I know I woke him in a panic on at least two occasions--once to ask who some girl was that was calling for him (premonitions, anyone?) and once to say, "J, J, that roll of film you're looking for is underneath you!" to which he replied, "No, that's just an elephant" and I said, "Oh, ok"and rolled back over. He was not asleep, there really was an elephant underneath him. I don't know how I knew that, though.

I also drove my father crazy because he had wake-up duty on school days and he could never be sure I was awake. He had a series of maneuvers. First he would come into my room, turn on the light and say, "Jenny, it's time to wake up!" and go back to his paper. If he didn't see or hear me he would come back and remove my blankets, and go back to his paper. If he STILL didn't see or hear me he would send in Brownie, my German Shepherd-Doberman mix. I had a waterbed. This never failed to rouse me.

So no one can blame the man for not realizing that one morning after Stage 1, when I came into the kitchen, opened the fridge, closed the fridge and walked back to my room, he didn't think anything of it. Until an hour later when he realized he still hadn't seen me since then...and found me back in my bed, still asleep.

Anyway, all this to say that I have gotten what I have deserved. As a baby, Nate would begin talking about 5 a.m. Apparently he was hungry, as he was always mumbling about oatmeal. He also had a tendency to get up to use the bathroom, only since he wasn't really awake, frequently he would think he was in the bathroom when he wasn't. I woke easily and quickly in those days, ready to re-direct the child at a moment's notice. My dad would have been proud.

Brandon once came into my grandmother's guest room one night when we were staying there. I said, "Brandon, you should be asleep!" Ha! He said, "I will, but first tell me what to do with the nail-like thingies." The conversation lasted a while, until finally I realized he wasn't really all there and sent him on back to bed, promising to take care of the thingies in the morning.

The other night I woke up to Nate calling at me from the hall. "Um, Um, Um, do you plan to...to keep the light...hang on a second..." he took a break to use the facilities, and since I was now awake, I saw the wisdom of that action, so I waited by the door. He came out and I asked him what he needed. He said, "I need to know if they have that gun in a larger size."

Gee, I hope not.

What To Do If Child Swallows Thumbtack

Someone googled the title to this post and got my blog in response. At least now they know they aren't alone!

The answer, btw, is to call the doctor and/or take the child directly to the ER to be x-rayed ASAP! If the thumbtack punctures the esophogus surgery must be performed, and if it makes it all the way down to the stomach, feed them white bread and follow it back and forth across the abdoment with a metal detector as it travels through the intestines. Oh, and go digging when the kid quits beeping.

That's what we did, anyway.

In other search engine news, lots of people seem to be googling my name, a couple Jukido googles, and then there was the 'what to do if I have mosquitos in my grass'....well, I am sorry I was no help on that one. Oh, and the person with grass stains on their gi? Oxyclean is the answer. Lots and lots of it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

May I Have Some Cheese With My Whine?

So, this is Day 3 on the job. Complications of a sedentary job are beginning to set in.

My desk/computer setup is one of those monitor-under-the-glass-desktop things. Who invented this? Someone with no neck?! I stare DOWN all day and it's getting painful. Additionally, it's just far enough away that it's a strain to see it without glasses, but it's too close to wear my glasses. I am forever leaning forward and squinting.

Also, my back and arms, butt and legs...yeah, basically all of me except my feet...are protesting my lack of movement. I don't know how to solve this problem. I am SO tired when I get home from work, and there's schoolwork to correct, dinner to fix, jukido and basketball practices to go back and forth from. All I want to do, of course, is lay on the couch or go straight to bed, and that won't help in the movement department. I wear skirts and dress shoes to work, so walking on my lunch doesn't seem like a good idea, either. I'd have to completely change my clothes, and then there's the sweat-and-smell factor. hmph. Come to think of it, perhaps the reason the last two days were more comfortable than today is that I spent half my lunches walking all over campus filling out paperwork and visiting offices. Maybe a leisurely walk would work?

In trying to decide what certificate to aim for, perhaps I should conclude that office work isn't actually for me. I'm just so darn good at it, though! Fortunately, I don't have to make that decision today.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Happenings

Sorry for the absence. First we had the Pevensies over (well, half of them) and there wasn't a moment to even think about blogging. Mrs. P got her hair cut and had to dress up for that evening and wowee did she look great! P2 and P3 ran around with my Nate having a blast.

The next day I had one job interview (and several exams) and one temp job offer. So on Wednesday I began at the temp job. It's only supposed to last a couple weeks, so hopefully the other job will start soon afterwards.

As a lovely welcome to the new job, I got my first parking ticket 5 minutes after I walked in the door! You see, the company I work for is located on a college campus, and them folks are really strict about parking passes! I have one now, thankfully. I was thinking about auctioning it off when I am done with the job, but it has an expiration date and....

I will still be driving out there occasionally since I enrolled myself in the college on my lunch break today! I don't start until at least January, though, and maybe not until April.

Two complaints: I only need another three classes or so to get my AA, but I have to take at least 30 credits to be allowed to graduate from this school (since all my other credits are from other schools) and this school actually requires PE. I am trying to do everything via distance ed, and PE is difficult to do that with. The other choice is to take a diet class. Since I am vehemently anti-dieting, um, I am thinking not, thanks anyway.

So, that's my news. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Great Toy Sort

I am housekeeping challenged. This is a nice way of saying I am a Messie. However, I have made great strides over the years. I have gone from unliveable to liveable-but-I-sure-hope-no-one-stops-by to where I am now, which is that I am no Martha Stewart (thank goodness) but if you knocked on my door without warning my first instinct is usually to smile. And I would definitely let you in!

However, we have moved three times in four years during this transition, and the results aren't pretty: Boxes and boxes of who-knows-what! Especially boxes and boxes of jumbled pieces of various toys that my kids have collected over the years. I have been, understandably, putting off dealing with these toys, but since we thought all the Pevensies were coming to visit this week, and Edmund is not yet four, we figured we had better have items on hand that he could play with when he couldn't keep up with the Nerf wars and game-playing that my Nate and the middle two Pevensie children (his fave people in the whole wide world) would be immersed in. As it happens, it seems Edmund won't be coming, but it's too late--we already began the Great Toy Sort.

What this means is that if you came to my house this weekend, you would find us in the middle of Toyland. We have bins for Lincoln Logs, bins for K'nex, bins for Legos, bins for Playmobile (the Union and Confederate armies have hopefully called a truce, 'cause they are all going in the same box!), a bag for who-knows-whatsits, ziplocs of magentic letters, a box of blocks (really cool--my grandmother bought a set of blocks when her munchkins were munchkins, and they are on their third generation. I used to have the cardboard box that said 'bon marche $2.50' but that did not last through my boys), a bin of brio trains, and various other toys.

The problem I keep having is that Nate will find a set of toys and start playing with them. Currently he and the Union army are building a fort. Last night it was Lincoln Log villages. He says we "totally scored" 'cause most of these toys are things he still likes playing with, even though he's *gasp* going to be a teenager in a week.

Anyway, if you can tell a K'nex from a Tinker Toy, and you like to watch mysteries, you are welcome to help sort. I promise I will smile when you knock.

Gobble Gobble

So I am early on the turkey leftovers triumph, but here's the thing--turkey was half the price of chicken, which was cheap compared to beef and pork. So when I found such a deal on a 21 lb turkey (16 bucks) I couldn't pass it up! After three meals (just turkey, turkey soup, and turkey salad sandwiches), I now have in my freezer 12 cups of chopped, cooked turkey, 20 cups of turkey broth and a quart of turkey noodle soup. I'm pretty proud of myself. I'm about out of freezer space, though!

Friday, October 10, 2008

People Making a Difference

It isn't often that I cry when reading the local paper. But I have been following this story for a week and today the news is amazing.

Burke Jensen and his wife, Heidi, bought a house in a new development. They were given a year to landscape the yard (2.5 acres!). Unfortunately, Lt. Jensen was a military reservist and was called up and sent to Iraq, leaving his pregnant wife behind. Instead of, you know, being sympathetic and thankful to someone who has risked life and limb for the rest of us, the developer has taken action against this family for not getting the landscaping done in time. 'Cause, you know, grass is so much more important. Riiiight.

This man would not back down and has made several rather rude and just-plain-stupid comments to the press. But now, it won't matter.

Because now, dozens of people and businesses have banded together to landscape the grounds, install a flagpole, and treat this family the way they ought to have been treated to begin with. I pray God blesses them greatly for it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Heart CJ Banks

Most of my clothes are pretty casual, so while we were out getting Nate a new winter coat (which was among the entire wardrobe he outgrew in 6 months), I stopped by CJ Banks to check their clearance racks.

Seriously, I think they are the only place I've been where a girl can buy a 40% off clearance skirt for 11 bucks and STILL they wrap it pretty and tuck the receipt in a little envelope and you leave feeling like a millions dollars!

Nate did not have as much fun as I did, though. He says I need a daughter, but I think what he means is he desperately needs me to have a daughter, LOL.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Typical Day in Our HomeSchool--October

I frequently hear both homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers wondering what a typical homeschool day ‘looks like’. That or they think it looks like public school, which is rarely true. So I thought I would share a day from each month, to give people an idea.

Note: I am currently unemployed. Actually, I have been unemployed for far too long and it’s a serious problem, but that isn’t the point of this post. Obviously, when I am working, our days are quite different.

Up at 9 a.m. We have been staying up rather late at Nate’s request. I think it’s puberty, ‘cause he used to be quite a morning person. Now he needs about an hour to laze around after he gets up, before he can accomplish much with any enthusiasm. So this morning he put on a Magnum P.I. episode while I checked my email and fixed breakfast (smoked sausage, eggs and hash browns). After his show was over, he got dressed. Handwriting comes first nearly every day. I am using a modified version of
Donna Young’s instructions for making remedial handwriting lessons in a composition notebook (handily acquired for 25 cents apiece during the crazy back-to-school sales). Today I will also have to make more entries for his handwriting book, as he will run out tomorrow. I use tongue twisters for his practice sentences because I find them funny, they are easy to Google and they tend to repeat letters, which is good for practicing. His handwriting has improved quite a lot in the last couple months, and that is a relief! (I used her printable worksheets first, and then moved to the composition book method when we ran out of the worksheets)

After handwriting I gave him his
Key to Percents book. He’s on the very last one! (Some other day I will share my theory, scope and sequence of math ed. with you.) Today he did three pages, and completed them with few mistakes and plenty of cheerfulness. But wait! It has not always been so. He used to complain at nearly every Key assignment, beg to do one or two fewer pages than my schedule called for, promising to make it up tomorrow (when I knew he’d beg again), and take two hours to do the work. However, not long ago, something in his brain finally clicked and not only is he enjoying his math, but he is ‘seeing’ things that he was not ‘seeing’ before. That is to say, he could follow the processes and do the work, but he is now discovering for himself WHY things work the way they do.

Then break time—for Nate that means heading downstairs to play on his computer, and for me that means doing the dishes and putting a load of laundry in. Since I had to go downstairs anyway, I commandeered my son to help me work on the still-packed boxes from our move over a year ago. I have a theory: if I can just spend 10 minutes working every time I go down, eventually I will actually make progress. Nate vacuums.

Once we are finished with that, we find it is noon, and thoughts of his coming hunger haunt me, so off to the grocery store we go. Come home, eat lunch, and then work on grammar. On Mondays I have him do
Spelling and then Grammar is spread throughout the rest of the week. While he does that I organize school papers and such.

Because it is Tuesday, we have a bit of a time crunch. In addition to Jukido Jujitsu class in the evening, we know that DVDs are coming in the mail from Netflix. Since we haven’t gotten any for a few days now, and we don’t have regular television, when they arrive it is difficult to get the kid to concentrate on anything else. Fortunately the mailman doesn’t usually show until late afternoon!

Tuesday is also a typing day. I am not as militant about that as I would like, but I am improving. He will also do his
Teaching Textbooks Math 7 program on the computer. He will take out the garbage, put away the clean dishes, and then be free for the afternoon.

The movies will arrive, during which I will probably strip the turkey I roasted the other day and put the carcass in for stock. Dinner is turkey and rice pilaf. Because it is my sister’s boyfriend’s birthday, we will bake some cookies, as well. Off to Jujitsu, home to feed the boy once again, probably stay up later than we ought watching the presidential debate (I know I said we don’t have regular TV, but we have bunny ears and can get OK sound and a really fuzzy picture of four candidates. Yes, I know the rest of you can see only two. That’s my point.) and something off the DVDs.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Note to my Forums Buddies

I am not ignoring you or too busy, I have been banned. Apparently, telling someone that continuing strife an bitterness makes the Enemy happy is against the rules. Too bad it's true.

Wonderful!

I saw this story on our local newspaper's site. I am thrilled! Not only is this mom making a difference for other moms, but she is getting good reception from the local businesspeople.

I hear so many times that moms should not breastfeed in public, but that attitude is rooted in ignorance and the terrible mis-use of breasts in the media. New mothers are terribly uncomfortable doing one of the coolest things possible, and that's a shame!

I am far past the breastfeeding stage with my kids, but I can remember getting dirty looks, my grandmother talking of nursing in a bathroom stall (ew!), etc. Society needs an attitude shift in this, and the mom in the story above is helping make that happen.

Thank you, Brittany Hansen!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Boys Will Be Boys

My friend, Kathy, says that boys are genetically predisposed to battle, and we moms just have to live with it and not try to suppress their instincts, and if we do, we'll be sorry, because then who will protect us?

In any case, from the 'Things I never thought I would do... until I gave birth to sons' file...I just placed an order on Soldier City Dot Com.

Unfortunately, they don't have any NCIS gear, or the kid would be in heaven. What I actually ordered were belts. His is falling apart, and he refuses to wear anything but military issue cotton web belts with a slide buckle. Go figure.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Incredible, Edible and Picturesque!

Huh. Somehow I have gotten out of the poultry craze, but if you are interested, both Mrs. Pevensie and Dalyn have recently posted proud pics of their eggs! Well, not THEIR eggs...you know what I mean.

Unfortunately, I am too far away from both to beg any.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Grace and Back Pain

Of the many un-lovely things I inherited from my mother*, a very weak trapezius muscle is one. Every so often, with no warning and seemingly without cause, one or the other of my shoulders (and sometimes both!) is rendered useless and painful, affecting my neck, back and arm. I can barely lift myself, can't turn my head, cannot get comfortable in any position, and the only medication I can find that will help it also puts me instantly to sleep.

Today is one of those days. It is also the day I chose to have 6 guests for Sunday dinner. Poor Nathan has had to do the work of three people, both his own, mine, and that of my personal servant. At this very moment, I am eating a piece of pie with whipped cream that he dished up for me. He puts straws in my drinks so I don't have to tip my head back. He picks up things I drop. He rescues me when the stubborn cat keeps crawling on top of me every time I lay down and I can't defend myself.

I feel like a major Ms. Whiny-Butt. It isn't that I am overplaying my pain, it's just that it is ever-present. Earlier when I tried to sit up I said, 'This REALLY makes me want to say bad words!' (I said this instead of the bad word that I wanted to say) and Nate clamped his hands over his ears and said, 'Go ahead, but repent when you are done!'

He's a sweet kid.

*(in the interest of being fair...I also inherited a very nice, um, set of mammary glands from the same parent, and I do frequently wonder if the two are related...no, not those two, the two inherited traits)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Standardized Test Scores

'Real' teachers must have to take a whole class on reading standardized test scores in order to be certified, I am sure.

Anyway, Nate's scores came in the mail today. So did an instruction sheet on how to read them, thank goodness! It was his first fill-in-the-bubble test, and I am pleased with the results. He scored average or above average in everything. His average Stanine score is a 7 (with no score lower than a 5), and his average grade-level equivalency is a 10.6 (meaning that he scored on this test what a student in the 10th grade, 6th month would be expected to scores on this test).

He is just beginning the 7th grade.

I don't think the math computation section is an accurate reflection of his skills, but other than that the only thing that surprised me was his spelling score, which was higher than I had expected.

All in all, I guess I haven't ruined him yet!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Abundantly Blessed

A few weeks ago a friend asked if I would like to audition for a musical. Well, I would love to...but it just isn't a good time for that, and the musical in question was not really God-honoring and worth the time I would have to take away from Nate and home in order to participate. And when it's over, it's over, and what have you taken away from it?

Still, it pained me to forgo involvement in anything musical, as it's been a long time since I have done anything in that area. So I decided that I would take the time that I could have spent on that musical, and use some of it to re-learn the piano and the guitar, instruments that I used to play but had not bothered with in years.

One problem: I owned neither instrument AND I don't even have a job, so merely paying the bills is a challenge, forget buying luxuries! So I figured I would work with my 20 year old Casio keyboard and take every chance I could get to practice on real pianos elsewhere, and make do!

Well, since then, I have been offered both a guitar and a piano free of charge. The piano is in sorry condition, but far better than the keyboard I have. The guitar hasn't arrived yet. Still, I am so abundantly blessed!

In addition, on Sunday, perfectly free of charge and actually a help to the people who brought it, an air hockey table was delivered to me. It might seem silly, but I have wanted one for years, and the kids love them, and it brings back memories of my own childhood. We didn't have an air hockey table, but we did have a pool table and a ping pong topper for it, and my friends and I spent many happy hours with them. I am hoping to eventually get a ping pong topper for the air hockey table, too, but in the meantime, it's already brought a lot of giggles to this house.

I hear people say that God exists, but isn't really involved in our lives. I beg to differ. Times are hard for us right now, but still the care given to the details of our lives is quite obvious to me!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Engineering An Empire

Nate and I have been enjoying the Engineering an Empire series by the History Channel (through Netflix since we are TV-free). What an amazingly cool show! This is history for boys! It actually covers ancient empires from a civil/military engineering persepective. So far we have watched the segments on Carthage, China, Russia, Greece and Greece in the age of Alexander, and the Aztecs. We have been astounded at the feats these peoples accomplished, and it has spurred a unit on Carthage, which my own education sadly lacked. Why do they skip such a wonderful piece of history?

Engineering an Empire is not directed at kids, but we have found that at 12 Nate understands nearly everything being said (and besides, there is a pause button for when he doesn't) and is fascinated by how things worked and how advanced some people were. It does cover a lot of military history, so there is some talk of bloodshed, and in the Aztecs section there are re-creations of human sacrifice (you don't actually see anyone being killed, but you do see hands holding hearts). There's a teensy bit of historic facts about prostitution and such, but nothing shown, and it's really not dwelled upon.

We are halfway through and Nate is begging for more, so if you have kids who need a little something to catch their interest in history, this might be a good choice for you. I would also recommend the corrosponding segments of the Drive Thru History set by Focus on the Family, for a more Biblical perspective (not available for all segments, though).

Enjoy!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fun Stuff

As I type this, Nate is taking the very last section of his CAT test. He just said, 'So, public school kids take this all in one day?' (it's taken us a week). I said yes. He said, 'Now I know why kids bring guns to school.' Yeah, some days I worry about that kid.

So, to celebrate the end of the test, when he's finished, we are getting into pajamas (well, I am at any rate) and watching Hangman's Curse (from the Frank Peretti book of the same name) which was Nate's pick since he has just finished reading the Veritas Project series. I believe we have both red and black licorice plus gummy bears and gummy cola bottles to aid in our celebration.

And, if we still need fun after the movie is over, we can try out our new air hockey table that was delivered this afternoon. Only, we will have to find something to use as a puck and two somethings to use as strikers, as the table did not come with any. I've always wanted one, though, and when it was offered free of charge with delivery included, how could I turn it down?

Apologies & News

I apologize for any inconvenience my month-and-a-half-long break from blogging has caused. Basically, we had stuff going on that caused me to not really want to share. I think I'm over that now.

Brandon is spending a few months at his dad's and going to public school for the very first time. I hear he's doing well there.

Nate is still here with me. While I have been largely unemployed this summer, Nate just finished up four weeks' work on the house up the street--basically being the grunt. His boss said he's a good grunt and a very careful worker (which Nate blames on my grandmother and me, you know, like that's a bad thing). The boy has been lamenting the lack of a 'real job' for years now, but I think he learned a lot from having one, including that it's much more fun to be a kid! He and I are both happy that he can go back to his much more laid-back schedule this week. And he has saved up almost enough for a new laptop in the process.

Annual testing--only one student taking it this year. Normally I like to have it done by the end of August (since we school from Sept-Aug) but this year with everything going on, it didn't get started until a week ago. It's Nate's first year taking a fill-in-the-bubble test, since in the past he's had a non-test assessment. This is more time-consuming and less flexible. On the first day I laid down the rules and he was a bit put off by them. "Why all these new rules all of a sudden?!" he asked, and when I explained, he said, "Well, can I have gum?" and I told him that was fine so he said, "Do I have to bring enough for the whole class?" LOL He's gotten quite a way through his pack as the only student.

We purchased our test from www.familylearning.org btw.

I promise not to disappear again anytime soon, thanks for reading,

Jenny-Fair

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Consumer Warning!


In case you did not know, the Mars company is now making M&Ms for grown-ups!

That's right, fancy M&Ms, called Premiums, are now on the market (and when they say Premium, they mean it...but I hit a sale).

However, the box should come with a warning: These candies do NOT have the melt-in-your-mouth-not-in-your-hand candy coating that we grew up with! And trust me, you don't want to find this out after you have snuck them into the movie theater (which I cannot believe I am admitting to after my last post, LOL) and the place is dark and you pour a bunch into your hand. Also, the bag has a neat little 'open here' reclose-able thingabob that you also can't see in the dark.

Other than that, all I can tell you is that the Raspberry Dark Chocolate Almonds babies are yummy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What Are We Teaching The Children?

Matthew 18:6
But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
So, on a forum where I spend far too much of my time, various parents are debating various 'social networking' websites in various contexts. Now, neither of my kids have-or even desire-one of these personal pages. But the thing that bothers me the most is many of these parents helping their children to defraud the owners of these websites. The parents sign in, agree to the terms of service, and then hand the page over to their kids...who are explicitly not allowed to use them according to the terms of service which the parents agreed to. But the parents say, 'All their friends have them!' Well, I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, mothers told their kids, 'I am not your friends' mother, and besides, if your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump off it, too?'

Now I guess cool moms help their kids lie and defraud so they can be just like their friends! What does this teach the kids? And why on earth would we think that, after teaching kids to lie, they are going to tell us the truth? Hey, everyone, the truth matters!

Brandon has a new friend. She's a nice girl, from what I can tell, and they enjoy each others' company. He has invited her to various things, usually youth group activities or whatnot, but she can never go. Today I found out why: Her parents decided that their children should be raised without religion, so that they can make the choice for themselves when the are grown. I can tell you what choice they will make!

The childhood years are the years of formation. What you teach a child is still ingrained in the adult. Even when an adult recognizes harmful thinking or behaviors, it can take years to overcome, and that is with hard work. Left alone they will continue on the path their parents set them on. And children learn by example, as the saying goes.

I am by no means a perfect parent. I may not even be a great one. I hope I am improving, but most of all, I hope I am instilling, by example, ethics that will carry on through my kids' lives.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Proud Mama Moment

Brandon just brought home a blue ribbon. Swim meets are sometimes confusing, and so we didn't even know he'd taken first place in the backstroke! Can't wait to see him at tomorrow's meet after a week of stroke clinics.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Guess It Could Be Worse...

So Brandon took 8 emergency trips to the hospital just to get born, and then an emergency transport afterwords. When he was 12, he had 12 emergency hospital visits...at 13 it was 13, at 14 it was 14...and he turned 15 in April. I thought, oh no! LOL But so far we've been ok. We still are, except tonight he got whacked in the teeth in Karate class and his tooth is loose. Thank the Lord it is the tooth that is already false! Yes, an already false tooth...that would have been the 13th trip, I think, when he broke his wrist and snapped off his front tooth in a scooter accident. In any case, I will be calling the dentist first thing, and let's just hope he doesn't accidentally swallow the tooth in the meantime. You know, like he did the thumbtack when he was 12.

For the Birds


Here you see two of the six geese with whom I became well acquainted on Saturday. They belong to my mom's friend, L, who graciously hosted a birthday party with me for Mom. The goose on the left thought my pretty green toenails were berries, I think, and tried to take a bite. All six pecked and chewed in some manner, and I now know why being goosed is called being goosed! Geese have fascinating mouths, in case you have never been up close--no teeth, but they do have funky ridges that feel rather strange. I have no idea why they chose me--no one else at the party got this special goose treatment. They would not let me pet them, however.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

For Pity's Sake!

This article from fellow blogspot blog JunkFoodScience highlights one of the stupider results of our culture's fatphobia. It discusses a new proposal to screen TWO year olds for high cholesterol and use statin drugs on CHILDREN. Um, pardon me, but these are kids. Kids whose brains are developing. Brains that are composed of cholesterol. Sorry, Johnny, you have too much grey matter potential coursing through your veins....yeah, this drug might make you dumb, but at least you won't die of a heart attack...as if. My grandmother has been on statins for years, and along with those drugs, had a very unhealthy fear of all things fat and cholesterol. She caused herself to starve out of this fear, going down to 95 lbs! My 12 year old weighs more than that. I am firmly convinced that lowering her cholesterol to unhealthy lows (yes, I said unhealthy LOWS), which doctors now seem to be aiming for, hastened the onset of dementia. I will say it again--our BRAINS are made out of cholesterol. We NEED cholesterol. And young children need it most of all.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Mastery Approach and Grading

I tend to use the mastery approach...you know, keep at it until the child understands it well, then move along, and don't worry about grades. But I am having trouble now that Brandon is in high school with grading. Specifically, in math. He is using Teaching Textbooks Algebra right now. We really do like it. There are only a couple of complaints that I have. The first is the flipside of the reason I bought it--I don't have to teach Brandon. That saves me tons of time and energy BUT it also keeps me from knowing where he's at and what problems he's dealing with. Unless he is having trouble, in which case I jump in kind of blind. That happened this week. He had low scores on his last two lessons and so we just went over nearly every problem in both lessons. I can see that he has made tremendous improvement and to be honest, I am not sure why he had such low scores. Perhaps he was tired? Grumpy? Still getting used to his summer schedule? I dunno...but it brings me to my second problem: Do I make him keep the really low scores in his gradebook, bringing down his year's average, or replace the low scores with an A now that I have seen him do the work with few difficulties?

I don't know the answer. At least what I DO know is that Brandon is getting the hang of algebra and seems to be over his fear of math almost completely. And that I can still do most of those problems in my head, LOL. If you have any ideas, PLEASE share them in the comments, because I am pretty open to suggestions right now!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Since When is it About Easy?

Twice in 24 hours this subject has come up...do you teach your kids to do things like chores, or do you do it yourself? Both times the mother in question has said, 'It's just EASIER to do it myself.' (in defense of one mom, she now sees the subject differently and what she said was part of a compliment she was giving me)

Well, OF COURSE it's easier! But since when is parenting about easy? No, very little about parenting is about ease or comfort. One problem I see more and more is that parents see their task as taking care of kids instead of shaping adults. Today's kids are tomorrow's rulers, after all. And tomorrow's criminals, lawyers, bakers, doctors...you get the point.

This mindset brings with it several effects, none of them happy. First, you get kids who think the world revolves around them. It is not healthy for a child to believe this (past the normal egocentric age that begins at birth, that is), and it really is necessary to their self-worth to feel like they are contributing to the family rather than being served by it. Secondly, you have a young person who graduates school and goes to college (or not) not realizing that their fairies aren't coming with them. You know--the Laundry Fairy, the Dishes Fairy, the Toilet-Scrubbing Fairy. These young people are impossible to live with, both because their roommates are suddenly thrust into multi-fairy mode, but also because they have that attitude-the Princess attitude...all good things come to me, because I am me! You also have kids who don't respect their parents because they haven't learned that their work is respectable. I suspect these same kids won't feel they need to be doing any respectable work anytime soon.

I'm a proud holder of the Mean Mommy Award. Yup, I make them do the dishes over and over if they can't seem to get them clean. We have company coming today and both had to do extra chores. They suffer consequences when they make mistakes. And one day, they'll thank me. Or at least their wives will.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Son, the Genius!

Actually, I happen to think BOTH of my children are brilliant, but this morning Nate figured out what was wrong with the air condition, without which we have been suffering for a week, and it's in the 100s right now!

A Tip: The vents really do need to be open. I am guessing that with the exit vents closed, as soon as it started blowing cold air and that air was trapped in the unit, it tripped the thermostat? In any case, I will now be able to live through my birthday, which I had my doubts about after yesterday.

And now...back to my sushi snack before my birthday party. I think Safeway made these crab and avocado California rolls just for me, LOL.