The State of Things

14 10 2011

I’m completely out of coffee this morning. My loving hubby has offered to run out and grab me a cup, so I’m waiting for him to finish his workout first. Hahaha. At least I can smile about that, right? I’ve been depressed for some time, as I made the decision not to go for that expensive BS in Alternative Medicine that holds no great promise for a job to pay back 60K in student loans. Smart – I know. So I didn’t register for classes; the summer was simply not enough time to sort it out, since I didn’t take summer off last year and so have not had a break from school through a run of semesters: Spring, Summer, Fall, Spring. Whew! What was I thinking?

I’m breaking now, though, like it or not! And I didn’t like it one bit, at first. After starting on some herbal therapy, though, I’m having a different outlook. I still am not sure of the path I’ll end up taking, but I feel better, and am looking forward to finishing some unfinished projects in the weeks to come.

Those few weeks of public school at the end of the last academic year didn’t scare my daughter into staying home one more year – not that I wanted it to scare her, really – just hoped it’d be less than she’d hoped. So she’s back in this fall, and I am all alone again…without classes for myself! It’s been very hard. I’ve continued with the belly dancing, missing class a few times when I was way in the dumps. I’ve taken a quilt-as-you-go class and finished a small lap quilt with a great deal of satisfaction. I’ve loved quilts for as long as I can remember, putting them together for my babies when they were small, from the directions in books and just my own common sense – no masterpieces in the small collection, but they hold memories for me and for the kids, and they love them, despite the fact that they don’t show great skill. I’ve learned some very useful things now, and have the resources to take classes, and of course there’s the internet with its video tutorials and such to turn to – so this go at learning to quilt should prove to build real skill if I work at it. And I think I will.

We’re watching our children suffer the harms of growing up, offering advice and lots of hugs, wishing we could just make it all go away. Sometimes I really can understand why people join these eccentric communes and alternative societies, because what they are searching for is truth in people and real community. That never turns out well, so I guess I’ll keep treading water in suburbia.

I’ve always been a great patriot, but as much as I try to deny it, there’s less and less to be patriotic about. It makes me sad, what America has sunken to. History in schools is certainly not the same history I taught my kids from home. Now they focus on whether Alexander the Great was homosexual, which presidents had STDs, and label the Sons of Liberty as terrorists. It truly makes me want to vomit. Americans today are always asking what their country can do for them. Parents don’t parent any more – they send the kids to school all day and put them in activities that use up every evening so they don’t have to parent; by the time the day is done, they just plop them in bed. No wonder todays kids are angry, confused and expect everything to revolve around them and life to be easy. To make matters worse, God, who offers refuge, love, and guidance, has been shoved into a nice little box so as to not make us feel guilty for our choices or afraid of the consequences of our actions. No wonder this country is spinning out of control, and on a downward spiral at the same time. Honestly, I do feel like I don’t even belong in this time. I know that technically, I do, because God put me here, but it is impossible even to try to witness to people these days – Christians cannot tell people the truth, not just because they don’t want to hear it, which has always been the case, but because now, they are actually accused of being judgmental and closed-minded. They don’t realize that these are not Christians’ opinions – they’re God’s!

I try not to get all worked up, but when my children are bullied or hurt because they are conscientious and my husband abused because he has a good work ethic and Christians are labeled as fanatics when they speak of Godly values, it just makes me angry. What’s wrong with people?

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Life and Jelly

9 09 2009

Why is it that there can be so much going on in my head, but when I place my fingers on the keyboard they sit motionless while I struggle?  I suppose it’s just hard to know where to start sometimes…

“What have I been up to?” you ask.  Ok, so you haven’t ask, but for posterity’s sake, let’s pretend.  I need someone to ask today, and since there’s no one around, I shall indulge myself in imaginings 🙂

I’ve been up to lots of things.  I’ve been trying to be a full-time teacher to my sixth-grade daughter, for one.  I have found it easy, as a home educator, to leave my children on auto-pilot for a few hours each day, while I keep other responsibilities under control, but I’ve discovered that this approach doesn’t work quite so well with this child as it did with the first.  Siblings can be so different!  That’s another conversation entirely, and I’ll stay on the current one.  Staying near my daughter as she works, being available to answer questions (she won’t search the house for me like her brother did), asking about her progress regularly (to inhibit daydreaming – or whatever it is her mind turns to), and moving her from one task to another (to eliminate the time wasted when she fails to come to me when she has completed what I have given her) is sooooooo difficult some days!  In case you haven’t concluded so yet, today was one of those days.  By the time we finished the school day, it was 4:50, and I truly thought I would implode before dinner was cooked.  Some momma-chosen tunes and self-control, along with the cooking assistance and companionship offered by my love helped put out the fuse!

I’ve really slowed down in the hobby area, simply because of the lack of time.  I’ve set up and made only a handful of postcard trades since school began a month ago, and letterboxing was completely ignored  through the entire summer (although I did think about it many times).  Hiking is not happening, either, but I have probably spent more time dreaming/planning about where and when I can hike than any other single pleasurable think I have been able to allow my brain to escape to these last few weeks.

My mom and niece came for a visit over the weekend, and it so happens that I had been planning to make apple jelly on Labor Day for two weeks.  My daughter expressed a desire to know how jelly was made, and see the process, so the homeschooler in me delighted at the chance to indulge her curiosity and delight in her eagerness to learn something new, and I forged ahead with it!  Although my mom had made jelly many times when I was growing up, I don’t remember ever helping past the point of helping gather the fruit,  so I had no experience making jelly from fruit.  In college, I made jelly from canned fruit juice once, but that was the extent of my experience with jelly-making.  So, I became excited easily about the prospect of going through the entire process using fresh apples from a local orchard.  That my mom just happened to be here to see the process along and share in the fun, was just perfect.  The jelly turned out great, it is delicious, and though not a requirement, it is  absolutely gorgeous!   But out of the whole experience, I was most excited to learn that you don’t have to have whole apples to make apple jelly.  It may not be a surprise to you, but I was elated to learn that all you need to make apple jelly are the apple scraps!!  The cores and peelings alone result in wonderfully tasting, beautifully colored jelly!  The first batch we made was made from whole apples,  We left on the peels, but tossed the cores and the result was a very flavorful, light peachy-pink jelly, perfect in sweetness.  When I looked at the huge bowl of apples remaining and began to discuss making another batch with my mom, she suggested that I freeze or dry some of the apples for other uses, since there were really enough apples left for two more batches.  It was during this discussion that she revealed that all we needed were the scraps from the apples we  would freeze or dry to make another batch of jelly.  I couldn’t believe it at first, and then it sunk in as we discussed the ‘old way’ and how it would never have allowed for the ‘waste’ of good fruit just for jelly.  True.  And I couldn’t wait to try it.  I am still ecstatic with the result 🙂  And I still think it’s so cool that you can make lovely, sweet, scrumptious jelly from the parts I usually throw away!!!  And to make my new knowledge even more amazing, the ‘scrap’ jelly is much deeper in color – never again will I think of peelings and cores as garbage!

Check out the difference in the color…(the taste is pretty much the same, I think, but my tastes of each weren’t within moments of one another, so there could be a slight difference).

Apple Jelly  Apple Jelly

This jelly still needs a name.  I just haven’t been able to come up with something creative enough – it’s one of those “I’ll know it when I hear it” sort of things…suggestions are very welcome!!

In case it helps, the apples used were Empire, Jonathon, and Cortland.  “Think, think, think.” says Pooh.  😉

We also canned two whole pints (hee-hee) of the jalapenos growing so well in the garden.  I promised you pictures when it was all in full green…sorry about that; I never took photos and now it’s in that not-so-lovely stage, where the lettuce is gone, the tomatoes and bell peppers, some scallions and herbs are still green and producing, but mostly just the jalapenos are thriving!!  Maybe I’ll get pictures during it’s peak next year. 

I’m also getting ready to start back volunteering in the children’s ministry at church.  Not writing for them as I had hoped, but God has other plans for my writing 🙂  I’ll be teaching Kindergarten boys – such cute little bottles of energy and curiosity, and I am very excited about it and implementing the changes that have been made in the progression of the hour we have them.  I am working on a postcard-sized newsletter to send home weekly to update the parents on what their boys are learning and encouraging them to help reinforce it at home.  I need a few creative group activities to use with them in a whole-family group setting, so if you’ve got any ideas or suggestions, they are welcome!

Even though the preceding barely touches the surface in attempt to tell you what I’ve been up to, I’ve sat still long enough and have to move on to something else.





Speeding Through Summer

8 07 2009

I can’t fully comprehend how it is that I find myself nearing mid-July, when I have little recollection of the preceeding summer months.  To say that summer is speeding by would be a simple enough statement.  This July 4 was spent relaxing with extended family at Cherokee Lake in Tennessee.  It was very nice.  The weather was warm and sunny, with only a little rain on the last day, so I can’t complain about the weather, for a change 😉  It’s always so great to have all the cousins together, playing and to listen to their conversations.  I find it absolute pleasure that they seem to just pick up the relationship in all it’s ease, even if it’s been months since they’ve seen or spoken to one another.  Wouldn’t it be nice if adults were so free in their meetings?  We always hold back, wary of the possible judgement or hidden agenda held by the other.  That’s what comes from experience with people, I suppose.

I’ve neglected my site here to lavish time and effort on the postcard trading hobby – it is very enjoyable, and affords me the chance to meet peoples from all over the globe, who have similar interests and agendas for our dealings.  It does take quite a bit of time of organizing, having to keep my online trade album updated with what I have in stock, keep up with addresses, preferences, and such, but it is fun.  I’m indulging myself with more time to spend with the hobby right now, because I know that when school begins, I will have to seriously cut back.

Speaking of school, I am elated that our school district has decided that middle and high schools should begin school an entire hour later than in previous years, but still release at the same time!  I can’t exaggerate the good things that means for our household.  This past school year being the first that we’ve had to deal with considering “out of home” school schedules in 9 years, was quite an adjustment for all of us.  Since I will not send my son, who never seems to be full of belly, out of the house on a meager, cold breakfast, I raised myself from the bed every morning (there were about a dozen exceptions – most exusable because of surgery), to cook his meal at 6am.  Now, you may consult any home educator about this – 6am is early!  Three to four mornings a week, I went back to bed after my son and husband left, which meant that I slept later than I would’ve if I had  not gotten up to cook and laid back down, which meant that home school for my daughter started and finished later than we’d like.  For my husband, this change of schooling type meant that he got a hot breakfast every morning, which he loved, but it also meant that he had to take our son to school and deal with traffic he could otherwise avoid if our son missed the bus.  Even though our son managed the earlier beginning and later ending to his day quite well, he will savor every minute of that extra hour he gets to sleep!

I am also researching Kentucky and its history, which has taken me away from regular hobbies and things.  Right now I’m particularly looking for quirky facts and quotes by Kentuckians.  It is particularly difficult to find quotes from KY women in history, so if you are interested and would like to help me out, it would be greatly appreciated!





Gettin’ on the Soapbox

12 03 2009

For a quick update on the last post, the stamp illustrating my opinion of what makes Kentucky beautiful is coming along.  My son did know someone who is an excellent artist, but I wavered and then changed my mind about getting help.  I determined to do it myself for two reasons, the first one being purely sensible:  my son pointed out that I couldn’t very well ask this person to design a stamp for free.  I hadn’t thought about that – my only thought had been getting help 😉  Then after I had agreed to compensate the artist and tried to convey to my son what I wanted, I struggled to believe that I had a great chance of being 100% happy with the work, and could end up paying and still not having a stamp image, not to mention that I’d be pushed for time with the days spent depending on someone else (and I am not good at that).  So I commited myself once again to the task and am on the verge of having on paper what I had in mind.  Most importantly, the work will be entirely mine, which was the other reason I changed my mind about getting an artist – I really want it to be mine, even if the artwork may not be noteworthy.

I have lots of little errands to do today which will do much to clear my to-do list of  nagging interruptions in regular duties.  Though I typically put such things off till the last minute, it is always completing them that makes me feel most satisfied with the day’s accomplishments.  So why don’t I just do them as soon as they go on the list?  Pshaw, if I knew that, I could council others on their procrastination!

I got an email this morning directing me to a news article about a North Carolina judge forcing a homeschooling mother to enroll her children in public school this fall.  Without recapping the story or expounding on the apalling comments he made (because you can google it yourself if you’re interested) I must say that I am utterly disappointed in the increasing incidence of loss of rights in this so-called free country.

Now before you go making assumptions about my views on every aspect of freedom, let me say that this is just one more area, like gun-control and socialistic tax reform that some people’s views on are seriously off – and it ain’t mine!  This is America – a country that was founded on rebuking unreasonable control by government, and we are inching closer and closer to becoming exactly what our founding fathers were rebelling against!  It will be a dark, dark day in the Land of the Free when law-abiding citizens can’t buy guns, while the criminals would continue to get them the same way they always have, when wealth earned by hard-working, motivated tax-payers is “spread” to those who refuse to get off their butts and realize that the world doesn’t owe them jack, or when families who spend their own money on their own curriculum, often sacrifice a second income so one parent can teach, strive to offer their children an educational advantage in a competitive world, and commit themselves to being solely responsible for their children’s morals are told that they cannot choose this path.

Parents can beat, molest, neglect, and/or mentally and emotionally abuse their children and the government carefully tiptoes around their “rights”, often to the detriment of the child; but parents who choose to homeschool, which is in no way easier than plopping them in a government school where books, food and transportation are all free and if the kid doesn’t fare well in life, responsibility can be blamed on someone else to boot, are being targeted.

What is this country coming to?

I’m gettin’ down from the box now 🙂  I feel better!





First Day of School

20 08 2008

My 14-year old got on the bus this morning for his first day of public school after having been educated at home since the first grade.  It went well.  He was up ridiculously early…5am! LOL  I wonder how long that’ll be the routine?  When I got up at 6:15 to make his breakfast and pack his lunch, he had taken out the dog, fed her, showered, dressed and was packing his lunch himself.  I made all of us a hot breakfast and then he headed out the door.  I handled it fine 🙂  I almost had a moment after he hugged me goodbye – but I didn’t 😉

Yesterday was very frustrating trying to have school with my 5th grade daughter with him at home.  He interrupted worse than a two-year old all day long – it was God helping me deal with his leaving today 🙂  My daughter and I are having a quiet, productive school day so far (despite her grumpies from staying up too late every night for the Olympics and having to get up so early this morning). 

The guys wanted to play disc golf last night, so we got another shot at finding two letterboxes that we attempted earlier, in the same area as the course.  One we simply couldn’t try for because its suspected location was crawling with people, and the other, we just couldn’t find.  The clues were a bit vague, so we gave it another try.  No luck.  After searching every place that even came close to matching the clue description, we gave up.  The other box was not tried for again, because again the area was swarming with people.  <sigh>  Another day, another try 🙂

My son had to turn in a paper on the first day (today) for the honors English class.  I had been worried about how/where to draw the line on helping him with it.  I’ve been teaching him for all these years, but I didn’t want to “grade” the paper before he turned it in – that just doesn’t seem right, but I figured he’d ask for a proofreading of it.  I was determined not to over-do it.  Oh, but teenagers 😉  I don’t know why I worried.  He wanted to read it to me several times as it progressed, but he did not want any specific advice – just my overall opinion.  And when I suggested that if he stumbles on the wording when reading it aloud that he should consider changing the wording for a better flow…the attitude came out.  When the computer printer “wasn’t working” (because he’d clicked Print apparently a dozen times and confused it), and I couldn’t help but notice a word that had an apostrophe “s” instead of the plural form (one of my pet peeves) and pointed it out to him…the attitude came out.  So heck with him, I said to myself – he’s on his own!  I guess that’s the best way for him to learn, anyway.  Parenting is so darn frustrating, sometimes! LOL

I’m getting very close to finishing a letterbox series I’ve been working on for a couple of months.  This week, I’m hoping to have time to put covers on all the logbooks (they are all already codex-bound).  This weekend and next week, I’m going to try to carve the last three stamps and decide whether or not to mount them all, and start on that.  My goal is to have the entire series ready to plant by the end of the month.  I’ll let you know how that goes 😀

Well, K is ready for me to read our Read-Aloud, “Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze” – an excellent read!  I get to read all these wonderful books twice, since the kids’ grade level is too far apart to study the same material.  So that’s all for now, folks!





Misty-eyed and sentimental

7 08 2008

Hmmm.  My kiddos are growing up.  It doesn’t matter how many times over the years that I have had this revelation – each time is like a new feeling.  I was doing fine. 

Yesterday I finally just went to the school and asked if I could register my son on the spot.  All this frustration with trying to figure out which day is the “right” day to register…there’s New Student Registration Day and Freshman Registration Day, and then there’s an evening “Freshman Orientation” and also a three-half-day Freshman Bridge Program.  <sigh>  Is it just me, or do we just really make things more complicated than necessary?  Why?  Good grief!  Anyway, my son spurred me on, because of his own frustration with questions about classes, and I guess he’s less patient than I am.  And patience is supposed to be a virtue!  Maybe I take it to far by not pushing where I should sometimes. 

So we are headed out to run some other errands, and I voice my confusion/frustration with all this once again, and he just says, “Mom, just take all my papers and let’s go to the school right now.  This is ridiculous.  We’ll just get me registered today.  It’s not like they’re gonna say ‘no’!”  And we did.  What a relief.  And even though the course catalog says that 2 years of foreign language are required for the diploma he wants to get, we found out that it’s actually 4…which is kinda good to know, since there are only 4 opportunities to take a year!  < cheshire grin, here>….ow, I bit my lip!

The day was productive and I felt fine. 

He went to his first “high school” age party last night, too, (the kind you don’t dread…with most of the kids from youth group, several parents and the youth pastor attending…smores and hot dogs over a yard fire, cake and ice cream and socializing) and even though the thing was to last until 2am, we picked him up a bit before midnight and we parents and he the teen were happy with that.  I was still fine. 

We drove back on the quiet streets after picking him up, listening to his account of things, and I was still fine, but sorta remembering the parties with balloons and giggles.  Then when he hugged me goodnight, he let his hand slide down my arm as he looked me in the eye and thanked me for letting him go and staying up late to let him stay late, and I really was still ok. 

I lay down next to my husband and we talked for several minutes, yawning and breathing deeply, about nothing sentimental at all, and when all was quiet, I suddenly broke into tears.  My little boy is gone.  I love the youth he is and the man he’s becoming, but I really just feel like it happened so fast.  It just suddenly occurred to me that when school starts in about 10 days, he is not going to be here all day.  Most moms adjusted to this when their kids were 5 or 6, but I have been blessed enough to have every day with my kids and watch every change and every accomplishment and failure firsthand.  I can’t imagine one of them not being here-all day- every day, for the better part of a year!  This is going to take much more adjusting than I first calculated.  I’m afraid.  I’m afraid I’ll miss out on so much.  I’m afraid he’ll stop talking to me about everything.  I’m afraid his friends will become more a part of his life than his family.  I have never felt so much grief where my kids are concerned. 

My husband saying that all this may be hard, but that I should rejoice, because thier independance, confidence and security is all the beautiful fruit of my parental labors.  I know he’s right, and I truly am happy that they are all those things.  I wouldn’t want them to be fearful, insecure and scared of everything.  I wouldn’t want them to depend on me for everything, because I won’t always be here.  And there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that your child knows God and looks there for backup, instead of to you, as it should be.  But it is hard.  It is very, very hard.

He is volunteering today, and isn’t here.  He woke me up at 8:15, and had already fed the dog and taken her out, eaten breakfast, taken a shower, and was in the process of packing a lunch for himself.  He didn’t want to wake me until the last minute, since he knew I’d been up late because of the party he went to.  Some young woman is going to be very blessed some day.

K and I went letterboxing locally, and it was a lot of fun.  I know that we are going to enjoy some great mother-daughter bonding this year.  But I wonder now that we’ve returned, if I somehow wanted to be gone today because I know that it’s going to be like this a lot soon, and I just wanted to avoid thinking about it…..  She cried before we left for just a minute, saying she was tired.  I told her that we could stay home, but she didn’t want that.  I wonder if it’s just as hard for her.

We had a good day, stopping twice for cold drinks (from a machine where cans are still only .40, believe it or not), and having fun deciphering clues and enjoying the stamps and locations.  We looked for 4 boxes, and only 2 were there.  One was just plain missing, and the other one was a lid-less, empty container.  I do hate that for the planters. (We had fun regardless.)

In the words Pacha’s wife (the Emperor’s New Groove) and in the tradition of women in my family who work themselves to death to deal with stress – “I gotta go wash something!”





Wanna cut my head off!

8 07 2008

Oh, my gosh!  My head is hurting AGAIN!  I am soooo sick of getting a headache almost every single day!  I have way to much to do to have to deal with this $%(*#@&!!!  I’ve done so well, today, too, so far as getting crap done…

I came home from a weekend away with a ton of laundry (picked up J, who has been at Boy Scout camp all week- plus the dirty clothes from our weekend at my dad’s houseboat), and after a full day of stair-running to keep the clothes circulating from the hampers to the closets, I can see the bottom of all the baskets, as well as the hall floor 🙂 

Of course, my to-do list is always longer than life, and I had bigger goals than clean clothes for everybody today.  My head is just bursting.  And I still have dinner – which should’ve been thought about and begun already, and I had wanted to work on K’s 5th grade curriculum (really just customizing – I have most of it leftover from J), and I wanted a clean master bathroom, and a clean kitchen floor…

I’m gonna pop some Motrin and have a Raw Tea in lieu of cutting off my head, and try to come up with dinner.  I’ll do more than complain next time.  I’ve much in my head – which is probably the problem 😀