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Showing posts from August, 2011

Crazy Comment Monday!

Today it isn't so much a crazy comment so much as a crazy thing to do. Though the hosts seem to be making a good income having MILLIONS of people watch them microwave things like spray paint cans, video game systems, and the like. Patrick warned me not to watch it because there is a lot of swearing on the videos, and "they swear like men swear. Just so you know." I didn't see that on this video (one "God" that was pretty indiscernable in with the blowing up stuff commotion) but you're forewarned before clicking through the whole series. WHO WATCHES THIS STUFF?? Patrick says that he watches it so he doesn't feel he has to do the experiments himself. Well, ok then. I suppose that these guys are making millions of Americans safe. I wouldn't want to be working for their local fire department, and I wouldn't want to be their neighbours, though...

Chess Preschool

Rose has expressed interest in playing chess for a good while. I was hoping we could learn the potty thing first, but ok. We start out learning how to place the pawns and the king on the board. Then we learn how the pawns advance on the board. When Rose gets a queen, our little game is over. Someday when she gets all the moves down, we will have to take her to the chess club. There aren't that many girls who play chess, but I figure that Rose is used to doing everything with lots of boys around and she'll be fine.

Poor Woodjie.

He woke up showing me, "Wook. A pink. Ee URT!" Poor little guy. Took him to the bathroom and had a closer look. He couldn't tell me what happened because despite saying hello, goodbye, "need eat" and the like, he can't do the "What happened?" or "Why?" sorts of questions yet. He had his hand X-rayed and the doctor's opinion is that this is "allergic contact dermatitis," likely from a bug bite or a plant. The thing is, he was FINE when we put him to bed and we didn't hear him cry or move about all night. He just woke up this way. I wasn't sure if it were possible to break a finger in your sleep... his hand DOES look awful... and I couldn't figure out what on earth happened. The X-ray came back just fine. Am watching him carefully though the doctor didn't seem very worried about it. He has medication and at my insistence, the physician wrote a note that he was ok to go to school. I know I can chat with the sch…

Dr. Burleson is Not Nuts!

He's just woefully careless, sending PEANUTS in mass mailings to people in my area! Only imagine if I had a severely anaphalactic reaction to peanuts and took special care to avoid them, only to have an entire package fall out into my hand as I opened the mail! Maybe I am over-reacting, but these little mini-packs CAN pop open in the mail, and people CAN die from touching peanuts. I might have thought the squirrel was cute, and considered using his office if our insurance would help cover it. We ARE looking into orthodontics for Emperor and we HAVE spent on orthodontics and dental surgery before. Let's just say that this is NOT the first impression I would want to leave on a prospective client.

Please Read...

Please read this post and offer your support to Blondee. She's a good friend of mine and I'm worried about her. People need to know that this sort of stuff is going on. And there is a reason why people way out in the country cling to their guns and their religion. Rifles and God got my pal through today, kid you not. :)

Elf Update

Elf has been very overwhelmed with his "tiresome" days at public school. His bus stop was half a mile away, which wouldn't be so bad if he didn't have locker troubles and have to carry ALL his books in his backpack. And bring his violin. I blogged a little earlier about how he was having a bit of difficulty this school year. I've met with his teachers and school counsellor this week to discuss Elf's adjustment. Elf has provided a list of things he wants the teachers to know about his troubles at school:

1. Lunch is too long. No one is allowed to get up and throw away trash or move from one table to another. I eat my lunch and then have to just sit and wait while everyone is talking. I don't know what they are talking about and I just want to leave.

2. I am listening, but not understanding the teachers when they talk. I am trying to do my work but it always winds up I DO THE WRONG THING and didn't do the directions right. Mom, it would be nice if you c…

Motivating Children to Learn.

Larry Ferlazzo blogged recently about how to "motivate" a student to learn in a classroom setting. There are some very interesting responses over that way, including 1) finding out WHY the student doesn't want to learn the material, and 2) not giving all the answers/making the student strive and accomplish on his own.

I watched the video and read through the other responses and it struck me that the fact that the student MUST be in that room and MUST take that class would set things off on the wrong foot, just to begin with. Just imagine if the state demanded that YOU learn high school chemistry every weekday for the next year, and "your future" depends on whether you do well. (Or so your parents/high school counsellor tell you.)

I'm not saying that in an anti-school or anti-teacher way, but really. What if that coercion happened to you for 12 years straight? And you copped an attitude? And the state's response is to keep you in school until you're …

Why Is This Controversial?

I don't know. Seems anything anyone wants to do is controversial.

Old lady wants to have "a shape," so she gets breast enlargements. She's 75. She says she's not fooling herself that she's all that like she was when she was young, but she doesn't want to look like a stick or an oatmeal box in her old age. I'm thinking that that is between you and your doctor. So long as I am not paying for it, I could care less HOW BIG your boobs are. Though seriously. Things like this raise the bar for the rest of us. Soon we will ALL need fake boobs as well as fake teeth. You watch! Even 20 years ago, no one "needed" a cell phone.

I guess the story itself isn't controversial (or shouldn't be), but I could not see myself talking about something like this in the news. Do you really want the little ones reading about Grandma's breast enlargement?

Kitty Klink

(Apparently popping a hand mirror over Hello Kitty's eye turns her into Colonel Klink.) You have to admit, our Hello Kitty is a pretty snazzy dresser. We bought this magnet set at the bookstore and popped it on the fridge. The younger children love dressing Hello Kitty after their meals. We also have a LeapFrog "farm" on the fridge. Woodjie's latest thing to do is to match silly pairs of things together (for example, a pig front end and horse back end) and then listen to the "silly" song that comes on. Or, he'll make a match and say, "Wook! I diy-yit! Dance a mee!" :)

Goodbye, PECS Book.

We got this beautiful PECS book when Woodjie was absolutely non-verbal and added to it over time. How it works is this: take several of these little velcro-backed pictures (called PECS) and pop them on the cover. I've organized them on different sheets: foods, toys, places to go, things to do (painting, play-doh), routine items (go to bed, eat, brush teeth). Woodjie can make a choice (for example, to play with bubbles!) and hand it to you. I know, you're saying to yourself, "If he can pick a choice from the board and hand it to you, shouldn't he be able to say the word?" and I'd have to answer, not necessarily. It's also useful to "show" the person you're communicating with what is going on.
Woodjie used this to make breakfast and lunch choices (sandwich or bagel? and so on) and communicate some of his needs for a long time. I was cleaning because Woodjie's preschool teacher was coming over and I wanted to pretend that the house is u…

Happy Birthday, Emperor!

For a little while, the cupcakes read, "Happy Birthday!" Everyone just seemed to get goofy with all the letters as the cupcakes were being eaten. Emperor had a lovely birthday and the cupcakes were a week late. He played chess at the club on his birthday and wore his new Spock shirt. I am guessing you are done with chess pictures for now, so I am (mercifully) sparing you for the present moment. You are welcome. Anyway, Emperor is now TEN! :)

The First Day of School, According to Elf

A small Elf was very enthusiastically telling me about his "tiresome" school day yesterday. This is his story, with my notes in parentheses:

I was running to the bus stop (half a mile away!) and Patrick came after me and ripped the tag off my backpack. (Patrick is a senior, and they started school the following day.) We waited and waited for about 5 minutes and a bus came, but it was not my bus. The next bus was my bus! I got on but I couldn't sit all the way on the seat. I had to keep my foot out in the middle between all the seats so that I wouldn't fall over. It was very crowded and there were no window seats.

At school, I got out my inhaler. I went to the nurse's office. There were people in front of me. I waited. Then, I gave the medicines to the nurse. AND! Went to my locker.

I knew the combination, BUT! The locker did not work. SO! I went to the counsellor's office. Hmm, hmm, hmm, there were some people in line so I waited! THEN! They helped me with my…

Dat YOU, Mommy! You Bee-Afull.

Wow! Thanks, Rose! I'm Round and I'm PROUD! I love this picture, even if I am depicted as swinging a lasso in my loincloth. Moms do all sorts of things in a given day they didn't quite sign up for, you know...

Crazy Comment Monday!

THIS kind of crap reinforces my decision not to go to church. I still believe in God, don't get me wrong, but I reallllly think pastors need to teach their flocks better. This is hardly a one-time visitor who doesn't listen to sermons posting the following on facebook:

"Don't buy the new Pepsi coming out with pics of the Empire State building and the Pledge of Allegiance on them. Pepsi left out 2 little words in the pledge 'Under God.' Pepsi said they didn't want to offend anyone. So..if we don't buy them, they won't be offended when they don't receive our money with the words 'In God We Trust' on it. How fast can you repost this???Amen!!"

Person 1: Sorry but this is a hoax. Pepsi is not doing this.

Original Poster: It sounded interesting so I posted it. Did not care if it was true or not. It was stating something I believe strongly about. How America has become so dismissive of God. It won't effect how I personally view my Pep…

Snap Circuits!

I was somewhat reluctant to buy this product because let's face it: it's expensive and you just never know if it will become a favourite or "keep in the closet and give away later" sort of thing. This is a *favourite* and if you're at all thinking about getting some sort of fun science-y kit for your child this year, this would be the one. The box says 8 and up and I think that's about right. Our Snap Circuit set came with three books. Every experiment has an OBJECTIVE clearly spelled out, a description, and a very clear illustration. So you bet I'm counting the time Emperor rigs these things up with Elf as his homeschool time. We are on Experiment #7... out of 500 or so. Yes, once I decided to go ahead and GET a set, I wanted a set that would have pretty much everything I needed unless I got super-super into it years down the road. I learnt my lesson after buying a *little* Erector set. You can build the bitty truck and then... well... you can build the…

Post-an-Accent Meme

Okayyyy. I thought I spoke like about everyone else here. Maybe I don't sound normal and unaccented like all the people on the video?? Missouri is pretty standard... I think I talk like these people... But I was talking with a friend I "met" through the blogs and had corresponded with for awhile for the first time today. She said I didn't speak as she thought I would. Later she told me I sounded a bit Southern, even. I thought that was strange and I told everyone so at dinner. My husband asked, "Well, where is she from?" and I told him New York. D said well, that figures, everyone is Southern to those people. "Unless we're talking about someone from Maine or Canada," piped in Patrick. G said that when he went to Ohio, people said his accent was Southern. Well, now, I don't reckon we speak like Sandy Cheeks, but for the rest of the meal? The children seemed to be in some sort of contest for "most outrageous and fake Southern accent.&qu…

The Most Important Subject

"Math is important, but it is secondary to language skills. In fact, math is dependent upon language skills. The math teacher teaches the concepts in words, and the mathematical symbols are used in place of words so they can be easily manipulated on paper. You can be pretty lousy at math but still be a truly educated person, because language skills are the measure of the educated person - one who can speak and write with clarity and has power over his native language, English." (Cheryl Lowe, "The Classical Teacher" magazine, Memoria Press. Summer 2011 p. 10)

Ummmkay. Suffice to say that I don't buy my math books from these people. Good grief, how bigoted of them. According to this logic, the most brilliant recently-arrived scientist from India is just some dopey boob because he can't "speak and write" English with clarity. And some very intelligent young men who can build complicated robotics equipment but not write beautiful prose... those people…

Assorted Stuff Post.

Odds and ends that don't fit in a whole post alone... Be grateful if you are not a "real-life" friend because seriously... in real life... I MUST go through my lists of "things I want to tell my friend" every time I get together with people. If I even recognize my friends. Most of them are pretty ok and will find me, or tell me exactly where to meet them. I'll sort of go "hi!" noncommittally and see what sort of response I get. Ever do that when you don't know if you recognize someone? My whole life is like that. So here goes:

1. What is UP with this "Hogan's Heroes" show? I do NOT find it funny. My husband has bought the entire series and just howls with laughter at Colonel Klink. I'm thinking Nazi Germany isn't funny, but from the cackles I hear from everyone else you would think "Schultz" is a comedic genius. Ok, I *would* watch this before yet another Barney rerun. But only because they replaced the original…

Adoption Nightmare.

Three YEARS after adopting, you could lose your children. No, not because of some ruling in another state... because of some international organization called INTERPOL.

I'm *serious.* See, here I thought INTERPOL was some bogus warning that was always posted on the old VHS tapes to discourage copying. Apparently it's a real organization and they do take children away.

A nearby family has two months to say goodbye to the child they adopted. The story is that the birth parents in Guatemala let their two-year-old play outside in the front yard, and she got stolen. And not to locate the kid for several years? Suspicious. Several comments allude to the idea that the parents just sold her and then changed their minds.

I dunno. But I guess the courts in Guatemala seem to buy this story. I'm afraid to think about it. Maybe it is true and the commenters are just poo-poohing the story because it's too horrid to contemplate. Things must be awful if the cops can't find your k…

Patrick's Senior Photo.

Ok, here's a picture of a picture of Patrick's senior photo. No, we didn't go with those super-expensive "photographer poses you in the leaves/near a city building with hardly any clothes on and a weird look on your face" kinds of pictures I've seen advertized. Sorry to disappoint you. For fun, I've included a little picture of Percy Albert, Patrick's great-great grandfather, taken around 1890. Despite (or maybe because of) having a strange name like Percy, he grew up to be one of those types you don't want to mess with. But when I saw Patrick's picture, I told him he looks *just like* his grandfather at that age. He disagreed with me until he saw this picture. The similarities, Patrick says, are "creepy." Yep.

School ID

It's basically a piece of plastic on a shoe string that has a small plastic buckle to one side. Do you feel safer knowing that G is positively identifiable in the photograph above? Apparently several students got similar IDs. I had to pay seven dollars for this "identification." It is a requirement that high schoolers wear their tags at all times. For safety and all. I told G that it was just his "emo" day when he had the picture taken. He is now more emo than the emo kids.


I swear, weeks like this it would just be easier to homeschool everybody. Back-to-school stuff is just hell.

Ok, ok. The "supply list" is not so bad for high schoolers. I will probably be on the hook for calculators and that sort of thing in a bit when the teachers get 'round to telling the students what they need. But most of Patrick and G's school supplies are the result of my insistence they not throw away last year's notebooks. Just rip the used paper out and voila! a new, smaller notebook. Cheap is "green," ok?

Oh, and I made them clean out their entire closet while I was at it. I made some lame "we want things neat for back-to-school" excuse. Not sure if they bought that argument. Once I used the even more persuasive, "we want things neat for back-to-school and there will be no video games if you don't," somehow it got done in pretty good time.

But back to registration. Registration is the process in which parents have to stan…

Age Discrimination.

I think sometimes it's ok. I do not want an 80-year-old teaching kindergarten, even if she's sharp, brilliant and a great teacher. Not without an aide. Sorry.

High school? Fine. High schoolers can go potty by themselves and get out safely if there's a fire. The good majority of them also know what to do in an emergency, which is pretty daggone important if the only adult in the room is over 75 years of age.

I realize it's an unpopular position to take, but depending on the job, I don't see where a physical exam shouldn't be required. If I'm in a burning building, I reallllly don't wanna hear about how Mr. Firefighter shouldn't be discriminated against just because he's diabetic and lost his sight. There really needs to be a limit there somewhere for safety's sake. I'm not sure just where that limit is, but I think there needs to be one.

This lawsuit sounds a lot like bull poopy to me. Listen to her doddering interview. Hey, the first senten…


A friend posted this online and I thought that it was an excellent demonstration of the principle of listening to students. Mind you, it's a demonstration and in no way am I advocating teachers feeling as though they need to subject themselves - and their students - to a big long string of cuss words constantly. I think the point the teacher was trying to get across was that when students feel respected, they are far less likely to cuss and act badly. There is cussing in the video, but I thought it was well-done and helpful. How often have I as a parent been focused on the disrespect I've received from a child rather than the actual complaint? Let's just say that I don't always employ the "listening nicely and respectfully" method. Sorry. But I would like to do it more often.

Assorted Picture Post

1. I know you're looking at this top picture and going, "Can this lady PLEASE quit constantly posting about Polish pottery and chess?" Answer: not in this post, sorry. This is my new kitchen pottery arrangement. Going with a "less is more" look. Had tons of pottery out before and it looked like the Teacup Vikings were displaying their armour, it got so busy-looking. P.S. Taking pictures like this makes me appreciate the Polish pottery catalogues even more. Getting pictures that show the pattern but not a glossy glare are nearly impossible.


2. Matlock and Emperor playing a practice game of chess. Not pictured: Matlock's mother. :)


3. Elf and Emperor at Bo Ling's in Zona Rosa near the chess club. They had SUCH a good time after a recent chess tournament, goofing off and waiting for the food to arrive. This is the big moment where Elf finally gets to try the pork dumplings he ordered. I did not snap a picture of him literally vomiting at the table in revu…

Civil Rights.

Sure seems like schools want to keep the football team up-to-date with good equipment and dang straight they don't stop transporting the players to games. Gotta spend that money even if the economy is tanked. But disabled kids? Well, they don't perk up the "image" of the school, they rarely if ever go do anything noteworthy in life and really, it's just cheaper to lock them in a closet when they misbehave. I mean, who cares.

Those people don't really matter. Look at it this way: what choices do parents of severely disabled kids have? It's not like they're going anywhere else, and if they do, well, yay! Less money we have to spend. I mean, unless parents are rich and can afford an excellent private school that deals with the child's disability, they have to put up with what they can get from the school or give homeschooling a shot. And depending on the disability and the number of other kids at home, that's somewhere between difficult and imposs…