Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Ever have one of those days/lives when it feels like everything is held in suspense? Or do I mean "held in suspension"? Because I started to type that first, and then thought that sounded more like what happens when you mix a solid with a liquid in chemistry class. Or is that "in solution"?

I have a jury duty notice for tomorrow. I am waiting for it to be after 5:00PM so I can call the automated system and find out if I have to go in. My number is 7. You know, the "good" number in the Bible (I think the lengths to which people can take Biblical numerology are a bit out there, but the 7 thing IS there in Scripture) so does that count for anything? If it was 666 maybe they wouldn't want me to come in, eh?

Jury duty isn't a BAD thing per se; it's just a disruption of my life and I don't do disruption very well. My body is used to waking up slowly and getting breakfast when it's good and ready to digest it, and having two big cups of tea before coping with school work...things like that. Getting up at the crack of dawn and running downtown to the courthouse (to stand outside in the cold till they let us into the secured building!) is just too painful to think about right now. So I'm fretting. It's 3:52, so an hour and a few minutes till I can call and learn my fate.

Then there's the election next week. I've wracked my brain to come up with way to justify voting for any of the presidential candidates allowed on the NC ticket. No go. I saw a blog post where someone described it as being not the "lesser of two evils" this year, but the "different of two evils". That really sums it up for me. Which form of evil do I want to support? Yikes!

Just getting to vote this year is a major ordeal because some people who have never voted before are coming out in droves to impact the election. Well, good for them! I mean that sincerely, and I hope, hope, hope they've educated themselves about the options before making their choice. But fighting crowds does not make doing one's civic duty any more pleasant or enjoyable to look forward to.

Lesser things to wait for...well, I guess I'm somewhat fretted about whether any of the rest of us will get Colin's cold. But it's not a big hairy deal. I always fret about what Colin may or may not do when he's sick, but since I try not to horrify people too much that's all the more I'll say about that.

Okay, typing that all out helped some, I think. Jury duty will either happen or not happen. Side note: I wonder if juries are still supposed to be composed of one's peers? How many forty-something home school moms are criminals? The only time I've done jury duty before was in Illinois, and there I ended up being an alternate on a rape trial. I most assuredly do NOT consider myself a "peer" with the hastily-scrubbed-up-and-trimmed-and-put-into-a-suit scumbag of a defendant. At least not in the legal or worldly the sense that he and I are both descendants of Adam and inheritors of Adam's sin I guess we were pretty much peers.

Hey, we went to a daintz Friday night! It was encouraging to be with other families who are attempting to train their children in the faith. It was fun to get to meet some of Natalie's bloggy friends and their parents. It was not fun to learn that the equation tom+extreme fatigue+no-doz+thumping music+spinning people+photography=dizziness. Again with the worrying, because when he told me he needed to go outside and get some air because he was dizzy the only thing I could think was that he'd gotten food poisoning or was having a heart attack. As it turned out, just getting away from the visual and aural stimuli cleared his head and he was fine from there on out.

It was great to watch an older couple who looked like they had been square dancing for decades. They kept up with the young people with absolutely no problem; I don't think they even broke a sweat. The young people seemed to have a good time. Natalie said one of her bloggy friends told her she didn't look the same as on her blog...she was probably giving him the homeschooled glare of death or something. But I know what he meant, because I had seen pictures of several of the people there and it was still an odd disconnect to put voices together with faces and to see the faces and bodies in motion. I also found that I built up personality "pictures" in my mind for a couple of people based on their writing styles, and had to suddenly drastically alter that picture upon meeting the people. Which is why it's good to get out and fellowship with people instead of relying on the Internet for socialization, I guess. :)

4:13 PM...less than an hour till the verdict on jury duty. Colin has just placed, using magnetic letters, an "I", an "A", a "1", and a "3" on the fridge and wants me to tell him what's missing. Uh??

Edited at 5:21 PM...they want jurors 81-256. Happy for me, not so happy for those folks...unless they wanted to go, in which case I wish them well. :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

When life hands you lemons...

Or when brothers hand you blog posts...

Jim's questions from the comments in replies with bullet points.

- Have you been practicing your "Men Without Hats" impersonations?

• I plan to act real rude and totally removed...and also like an imbecile.

- How did Dad get back through security? I'm glad this happened in Phoenix and not in some place like Chicago. Btw, how did they wind up routed through PHX? What sort of weird ticket is that?

•He showed his ID at the ticket counter and got duplicate papers.

•Amen! But they did it at O'Hare last time, too.

•It's the cheapest way to get to Bend without having two or three stops at places like Newark or DC.

•Ask your brother.

- What sort of dance is this? Will there be {shudder} body contact involved?


•It depends on how badly they trip over each other.

- Will there be an overbearing homeschool MWAP "in charge" who determines which of the fifteen verses of each Martin Luther hymn you must dance to? (Yes, now IS the time on Shprockets vhen ve dance!)

•We can only hope!

•Who skips verses??

- I have a denim jumper.

•With a whacking great flag pin on it?

- Whatever you do, don't wear the wrong trousers.

•Ex-NASA! Fantastic for walkies!

- Who/what is Colin dressing up as for All Hallows Even? Will you slaughter any livestock?

•We're planning on Joe the Plumber right now, but there's always the scarecrow option.

•If they come to our door!

- Why does Colin have a pink eraser? Perhaps he'd do better with something that's manly white.

•Because they don't make "Blue Pearl" erasers?

•Are you eraser-racist?

- Ten more days till DST ends, then our evening meals will be plunged into darkness and despair... and not because of the menu.

•Quit feeding those kids those awful hunks of meat, they want veggies!

See, that was easy. If I could do that every day I could do NaBloPoMo. Anybody want to volunteer to write lengthy comments for me everyday?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

You Can't Always Get What You Want

But if you try sometimes, well you just might find, you Wednesday bullet points?

•My parents made it to Oregon and back with only one incident...Dad went off in search of milkshakes at the Phoenix airport and ended up outside the security checkpoint without his ticket and boarding pass.

•Dad is not senile, he has always wandered off...usually at state parks, airports, or convention centers, and always leaving Mom stranded.

•The earliest wandering incident I know of was when he took me and two of my cousins for "short walk" at a state park and got us lost. I was young enough at the time that I have no memory of this, but my cousins and my mom remember it vividly.

•Apparently we are attending a dance this Friday. I was going to say we were attending it "en famille" but when I looked that up it turns out that means staying at home with one's family. We are attending "en masse".

•When I type the word "dance" consider it pronounced "daintz" or "dayuhntz".

•Because I said so.

•I am pretty much in a torment of introverted spazziness about this shindig. We are going to a town I've never been to, and meeting a bunch of people I've never met, and I will probably have to Talk To People.

•What does one wear to one of these things if one is not going to dance? These people are homeschoolers, some of them, and from a church somewhat like denim jumpers?

•Ha! Homeschool joke. :)

•I do have a denim jumper, but it's too big for me. I'm saving it for when the economy totally tanks and we need to reupholster something.

•Slacks would be most comfortable...I hate the word "slacks", and the word "trousers". But when you're on message boards with Brits they make fun of you for saying you're wearing "pants" because that means undies to them.

•Someone in this household is being obstreperous and objecting to cutting his/her hair to make his/her Halloween costume more authentic.

•We have a complicated and inconsistent family position on Halloween. Sometimes we let our kids go trick-or-treating and sometimes we celebrate Reformation Day instead.

•Should a homeschooling mother really have to tell her son, as I did just now, "Use your pink eraser to erase your desk!"? Math a la Colin.

•Fall is here, fall is here, fall is here!!! My favorite season of the year!!!

•Now if we could just get back on Standard time, life would be wonderful!

•In Arizona they don't switch to Daylight Saving Time. John McCain is from AZ. I wonder if he would make it law that the rest of us don't have to switch.

•Because I might could be persuaded to vote for him if he'd do that.

•Anybody who thinks getting $5K per year to purchase a family's insurance with is a good deal has not priced insurance lately.

•So there I go getting political again, and then I'll get sarcastic. And that's why I can't go out in public. To daintzes and things like that.

•Last night I stitched after not getting any stitching done for several days. But the two projects I have kitted up and in my bag are not thrilling me at all right now.

•They are things I will like a lot when I get done with them, but the stitching is tedious.

•Later today I'll pull out my Big Box O' Stash and kit up something else less finicky. I have this pattern, and I have fabric and floss to make it with, and I have a spot in the kitchen to hang it, and I have a frame to frame it with.

•So, that looks like one obvious choice. But maybe something else will catch my eye...we'll see.

•Okay, this is becoming an even more boring post than usual so I will put y'all out of your misery and stop!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Advent = Countdown???

Today I am doing some school planning. Mostly just sorting through the next few months' worth of schoolwork that Colin's going to do...making sure I have things I need, printing out some worksheets, requesting books from the library, organizing, that kind of thing.

But I needed a break for lunch, and while I was eating I looked at some crafty blogs and on one of them saw this. Do what??!

Okay, so maybe this one writer just made up this term to be cute. Google is my friend. Let's see: we have this here, and this here, and look...another one!

Now here's the Webster's definition of "advent":

1: the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by some Christians as a season of prayer and fasting

2 a: the coming of Christ at the Incarnation b: second coming

not capitalized : a coming into being or use Advent of spring> Advent of pasteurization> Advent of personal computers>

(Do you like how the Websters site says "not capitalized" for the 3rd definition and then capitalizes the word in the examples?)

So, maybe the 3rd definition works for these...these...Halloween Countdown Calendars. But if we stretch it like that then shouldn't they be saying "countdown calendar to the advent of Halloween"? Or "fun way to count down the days to the advent of Halloween"? But it wouldn't really be the "advent" of Halloween, now would it? The advent of this year's Halloween celebration? Maybe.

I hate to be cliched (actually I don't, do I?) but this is yet another Inigo Montoya moment. This word they keep using just doesn't mean what they think it means!

Advent Calendars are presumable derived from Advent Wreaths which were designed to commemorate Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas. Advent Calendars don't really celebrate Advent so much as serve as a countdown guide for anxious little kids waiting for Christmas Day. But they are at least tangentially related to the Advent and Christmas season.

I should clarify that I'm not arguing about this on a doctrinal or theological basis. We don't have proof that Christ was born on December 25th, and not all Christians celebrate Christmas, but some do, and both sides have strong arguments in favor of their way of doing things.

My gripe is solely about the appropriation and misuse of the word "advent". Words mean things, people. (Excuse me, I used to listen to Rush a LONG TIME AGO!)

I just read on the NASA website that the next launch of the space shuttle Endeavour (they use the British spelling?!) is scheduled for November 14th. That's also my brother's birthday...hmmm... Guess I'd better get my school work done quickly and get to work crafting a dual-purpose Endeavour Launch/David's Birthday Advent!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Jet Dry

Whenever I am rilly, rilly, rillllllyyyy in a hurry to get the dishwasher started it happens. I add the detergent, close the door, hit the start button, and kaboom... There's the "add rinse agent" light.

This indicator doesn't light up at the end of a cycle, that would make too much sense. You could see the little light and calmly fill the dispenser after emptying the dishwasher. No, that would be too easy. Even though it couldn't have gotten any emptier sitting there (evaporation? I am not listening to you!) it can only now tell you about its sad, empty state.

So it's empty, and it needs to be filled, and those of you getting ready to argue with me about that (Jim!!) can think about condensation and surface tension and why dishwashers with a no-heat drying cycle have stainless steel walls.

Dig around in the under-sink cabinet, think to self "Someday, SOMEBODY has got to clean this up, there is dust and crud everywhere!", find Jet Dry. Open flip-top, realize this is a new bottle, open screw lid, peel off little stickery-protection-from-doom-thingy, open dishwasher, open dispenser cover, attempt to fill reservoir with Jet Dry.

The reservoir is flattish and has a little plastic window thing that is supposed to indicate when it is full, and the area to pour the stuff in has a little dial and plastic arrow that can be moved around to dispense more or less of the stuff during the rinse cycle. The best way to fill the reservoir without wasting the Jet Dry is to squirt in a little bit, let it trickle in, squirt in more, trickle in, etc, etc, ad infinitum, world without end, amen.

However the bottle is full. It does not know the meaning of the term "squirt in a little bit", so even with a very gentle pressure it is pouring out enough to rapidly overflow the opening and douse the inside of the dishwasher door. Attempting to let the Jet Dry flow out of the bottle without exerting pressure is also a no-go.

So the thing is full, I guess. I can never see any difference in the little indicator window thing. But I've put A Quantity of Jet Dry in it, therefore it is full. Close the flap, close the dishwasher, press the start button again, off we go.

The Jet Dry bottle is labeled boldly with the inscription "New and Improved". It can't be both, can it? Or did they develop a new formula, discover it was awful, and have to improve it? The bottle doesn't say what was new and what was improved. I will testify that the bottle and dispensing method are neither.

New and Improved. The sign at the KFC says "New Original Recipe Strips". What part of that is new? The "original" recipe? In which case, is it "original" as in the first one they started with? Or as in "nobody thought of this before"? Or are the "strips" the new part? Or did they just cook up some new ones today instead of serving week-old ones like they did yesterday?

The dishes got clean. I didn't eat any "strips". Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hey, everybody look!!

Amanda (MandolinArtist) has a blog!!!

Go check it out and see her art work! And, yes, I realize NOW that it's been there for three days. I am clueless and senile and cannot take a hint.

Welcome to blogging, the pressure of a blogging lifestyle begins. :)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fair Results

First of all, not much sunburn but MUCH complaining about the smell of sunscreen. I despise the smell of sunscreen, so I don't use it unless I absolutely have to. But Tom was putting on some nifty new sunscreen and assured me that it didn't smell at all. He later amended that remark to "It doesn't smell at all...except to bloodhounds!" Yes, you can read that as being said in a very exasperated tone of voice.

We ate ribeye steak sandwiches and funnel cakes, with Colin subbing a corn dog for the ribeye sandwich part of the meal. We only managed to see one show, but I'm glad we saw the one we did. It was a family group called the Rhinestone Ropers. They did rope tricks, gun twirling and slinging tricks, and whip tricks. Colin got called up front with some other little boys to learn how to twirl a rope. And I found the perfect place to sit...propped against the wheel of a bobcat-type tractor. It even provided shade!!

Well, Natalie will probably provide more details about and pictures of the other things we saw. I'll get on with the exhibition results.

First of all, crafty stuff. In this picture are all the crocheted items I entered:

Results: pastel striped baby afghan--nothing; big ripple afghan--third place; purple scarf--third place; navy hat--second place; stuffed cat--nothing.

Then the cross-stitched pieces:

This was entered in the Flowers category, and did not win anything.

This was entered in the Animals category, and also did not win anything.

This was entered in the Sampler category, and got second place. That was exciting!

(My philosophy with all my craft entries is to enter things I want to make because I like them or am giving them to someone who will like them. Sometimes this means I win ribbons and sometimes it doesn't. Those of you who have seen the competition I had this year will know I was very blessed to get this many ribbons!)

Okay, now cooking entries. We didn't take any pictures of these entries, so you just get a list for this part. :)

Breads: light rolls--nothing white bread--third place hot cross buns--nothing

Cookies: gingersnaps--second place sugar cookies--second place peanut butter cookies--first place

Cakes: white--third place yellow---first place devil's food--second place cake mix--nothing applesauce--third place prune cake--second place

All in all, I am very happy with the results this year. I also have some ideas of what to do differently next year. The total premium check I'll get this year is $136.00...Christmas shopping money!!! Which is the third reason I do this every's not that I'm so fond of those little polyester ribbons. :) The first reason, when I'm thinking properly about this, is to glorify God and to keep up some skills that I can use to bless my family and others. The second reason is to promote homemade cooking and crafting and keep that part of the fair going.

Typing all this out helped me to feel encouraged about this year's fair. As is usual for me the day after the fair, I am sore and tired and feeling not-very-good overall. But when I look over the results and think about all the neat things we saw that other people had done I start getting excited about projects for next year. Time to start stitching and hunting for recipes!! (I think there was only one cake entered in the "any other spice cake" category---target selected!)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fannie Mae, you almost failed me, Boo...

We're at the Fair today...checking out the exhibits, seeing if we won anything, making plans and strategies for next year (QUICK, what's the difference between a "tactic" and a "strategy"?!), eating funnel cakes, watching whacko Wild West-themed shows, tipping the bathroom ladies, and getting a little sunburned. Because it's Fall now and it's COOL, just in time for the Fair. And the sun doesn't really burn your skin if you don't feel hot, right?

So, to keep you busy while you're waiting with bated breath for our ribbon count, here's a musical ode to the current financial crisis. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

To Do Today

1. Sleep Late

Status: done (slept till 8:30!)

2. Recover From Fair Prep

Status: purt near

3. Clean Bathroom

Status: done

4. Try New Brand Of Contacts Eye Doc Recommended

Status: in eyes now, fit well but slightly itchy

5. Wash, Dry, and Fold Three Loads of Laundry

Status: one completely done, one in dryer, one in washer

6. Kitchen Chores: Polish stove, make ice, put away folding table and extra baking supplies

Status: done

7. Check Online Accounts

Status: still to be done

8. Fix Easy Supper Involving Hamburger and Canned Biscuits

Status: hamburger thawing

9. Read Paper

Status: still to be done, probably this evening between suppertime and The Debate

10. Blog Post

Status: really close to being done

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Now the jihad needs containin'!

Since we homeschool we have some freedom to tweak our school days to fit around real life. So, one thing we do every year is take off school the week we turn in our entries at the Dixie Classic Fair. Monday, Tuesday, and part of Wednesday are spent frantically finishing our baking projects. In theory we should have all the crafts done before this week, but a couple of us were knitting and crocheting hats at the last minute. And one of us was very slooowwwwllly painting a foam core board to put his Lego project on.

You'd think Colin would enjoy having the week off. But, no, he is bored and doesn't know what to do with his free time. Monday afternoon he stomped in to where I was working and declared "I am going to have to GET A JOB because I am tired of having NOTHING TO DO in the Fall!!"

Turns out, he intends to be a tailor and make clothing for animals. Yes, we read too much Beatrix Potter, why do you ask? Unfortunately it took a long time for me to understand what his chosen career was and this only added to his frustration. He has trouble with the "th" sound, so I thought he was telling me (loudly) that he wanted to "make cloves". I think that's an understandable mistake for an old woman who has been baking cakes and cookies for two days straight.

We got all our fair entries delivered today, and by "we" I mean "Natalie". She delivered stuff and I cleaned up the kitchen. Pretty good deal, I think. She took pictures for me of my craft projects, but we haven't had time to tweak them and get them ready to post. I entered: a large afghan, a baby afghan, a crocheted hat, a scarf, a cat, and three cross-stitched pieces. I also entered six cakes, three kinds of cookies, dinner rolls, white bread, and hot cross buns. I didn't enter the new Official Burnie R. Little Scone category because I do not have the gift of scones.

When I started this post I had some sort of outline in mind and had a general idea of where it was going. No longer. I'm either really, really, really tired...or else my brain has become clogged with all the powdered sugar I inhaled this afternoon. My hands still feel sticky. Time to shower, read the paper, and crawl in bed. Tomorrow morning I can start thinking about what to make for next year.