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


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 (, 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


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.


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 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


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.


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.