Thursday, June 30, 2011

Blue Babies

Something the Lord Made is a fantastic flick about a white head of medical surgery and his black lab assistant who found the cure for "blue babies" among other things.Starring Alan Rickman, as Dr. Blalock, who we've loved since  Sense and Sensibility (which is oft quoted 'round here) and Mos  Def, who starred as Vivian Thomas, delivering an excellent performance as the brilliant right hand (literally) man to Blalock. The film is very well done and tackles prejudice in both the medical community (the heart is off limits) and in the wider cultural community (blacks are lesser citizens). The director captures the feel of being closed in by arbitrary ceilings depending on what color you are, the devastation of bank failure and watching someone else get kudos when you've done a huge chunk of the job. In other words, unfairness is a prevalent theme. The cool thing is that this story doesn't camp there. It's not about victimization, though it easily could have become so. It's about calling, pursuing your passion regardless of obstacles and being involved in something bigger than yourself. The super cool thing is that, in the end, justice is served up sweet, making this one of the best, true account stories I've seen.

This film would make an excellent addition to a study on race relations, the history of medicine and character.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I don't consider myself a Bardologist by any means but I do think Shakespeare is an important thing to cram into one's curriculum, if only because stories and quotes from Shakespeare are part of the Great Conversation. To that end we've done a bit of study on the good Bard.
For starters we've read Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb, which is an excellent introduction. The Lamb's distill the essence of each work, maintain important quotes and scenes and yet keep it simple. Perfect for very young children.
We've also used Usborne's Stories from Shakespeare. The illustrations are excellent.
Logos Press has a simple, yet thorough study guide; Tales from Shakespeare, by Matt Whitling. appropriate for elementary aged kids or older who haven't had a lot of exposure.
The Teaching Company has an interesting course: Shakespeare: The Word and the Action by Peter Saccio that Feeche and I are going through this summer. Saccio is a performer and he knows his Shakespearean stuff. We are learning a lot.
For the ultimate field trip, make it to the Globe Theater if you can, like our oldest dd did. If you can't cross the big pond, there are Shakespearean Festivals all over the world. Take a look here to find something near you.
There are a plethora of good movies that have brought the Bard's words to life. Kenneth Bannaugh is probably most famous for his many productions such as Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, and Henry V titles but we still love Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in The Taming of the Shrew, one of KB's all time favorite movies. And there are re-makes galore.
photo courtesy of my friend Ana. Read and see more here:
And of course, to really, truly, get a hold of the depth and meaning of Shakespeare, there is nothing quite like performing in a Shakespearean play. Our brave troupe, under the excellent leadership of  Enak has taken the Dover classic, divided up the parts, sewed costumes (Ana rocks!) and will performing on Saturday. More pictures to come.

Even more resources on the Bard here.

My blogger buddy Moonbeam suggests Shakespeare without the Boring Bits by Humphrey Carpenter which prompted me to remember The Shakespeare Stealer et al by Blackwood.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Food Stuff

The theme for Lego League this year is "Food" so we are going on a food field trip to a Prairie Garden, a successful organic mini-farm which started as one of their kids' 4-H projects (I still haven't discovered the Magic Formula. You know, the one that turns time consuming and expensive projects into streams.of.viable.income). They sell tons of stuff at the Farmer's Market, jam at the local Breadsmith and CSA shares. I'm looking forward to gleaning as much garden knowledge as possible.  Here's some great blog links if you are looking for Local Harvest.

Don't our beets look great?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What My Hands Would Tell You

My hands can tell you why my blogging has been sporadic of late. You will find on them dirt, splinters, dry wall mud, paint and fruit stains I have washed them but I think it's going to take a loofah to get them truly clean.
I've been gardening.
Still trying to re-claim the garden beds from their sore neglect last year. The veggie patch is looking great. We are still eating and giving away tons of lettuce and spinach with parsley and basil making more frequent appearances. The bush beans and potato's and peppers are beginning to flower, the cabbages are starting to form heads and the beets are getting bigger underground.
I've been mudding.
One bedroom is ready for texturing and by the end of this week a couple more will be too. Feeche will be gone all week and I will miss his super speedy sanding.
I've been painting.
KB and painted the huge new closet in what will be Flower's bedroom. Then we moved the wood trim into it so that we can keep mudding in the southwest bedroom. KB also re-painted the buffet while I went over MacBeth with Feeche one last time. Drama Camp begins tomorrow. It's an hour away so he'll be staying with good friends of ours and he is looking forward to drama, good friends and a week away from Dr. Dave's Work Camp.
I've been feeding my family berries.
We are coming to the end of our strawberries and have enjoyed almost daily fruit smoothies, strawberry syrup with just enough left over to make strawberry/rhubarb jam. Today the kids hauled the ladder out to the mulberry trees and picked a pail full. They are a somewhat bland fruit but the kids love, love, love picking a handful of summer goodness as they play around the fields.

What would your hands say?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Work, Read, Weed

KB, Feeche and I got a fair bit of the mudding, corner rounding, sanding and finish mudding done in 3 bedrooms upstairs. Feeche and I are going to complete the huge new closet today (had to go back and actually mud in holes), paint and then use that as a storage areas for the piles and pounds of trim wood we stained last summer. The last bedroom, the one we've been using as an office instead of a "Lego," "Barbie" or "Christmas tree (think miscellaneous) room," needs a LOT of mudding and tapping. A whole new retaining wall, and a huge ceiling area where we took out  a closet (removing the large box closet turned the room from an awkward "L" shape to a much more useable rectangular shape). I'm sure no one cares but me, but it's rather cathartic to write it out and say, "We are getting it done!"

Watched Waiting for Superman; falling test scores, "failure factories," school reform, school reformers, lotteries and the evils (duh, they did their job, they are now the evil empire. Please, someone take out the Death Star!) of teacher's unions. There wasn't a whole lot new in here if you follow education news at all. My take away was that there are some super hero educational reformers out there, Teacher's Unions (democratic lackeys) are just as Machiavellian as ever and should be legally disbanded with the eye to making America's educational system work effectively.
In related new I cast my vote this week for my own property taxes to be raised in support of my local schools. This state has a rider that the schools can't just grab and take money they think they need. I applaud that. The reality is that good schools = good communities. I'm not opposed to paying for something I don't necessarily use overtly. I'm opposed to Unions and systems taxing without representation to promote an agenda that isn't voted on and strong arming teachers, the community and kids in to paying for their lack of accountability.

Vermonts, Original Bag Balm - Moistens Skin Protective Ointment - 1 Oz (30 ml)

PSA: Are your hands dry from weeding, washing dishes and cars and cats (like mine are?). Get Bag Balm (you know, the stuff you put on sheep and cow udder's to keep them from cracking?) We got some for our Old Lady Pooch cause she has  sores on her front forelegs that won't heal (thanks to a thyroid condition). I've been using it for 2nd degree burns on my arms (true confessions: I know multi-tasking doesn't work. I know it. I've read it. I believe it. I don't live it. Suffice it to say, don't pull stuff out of the oven, while talking on your cell phone, while directing your 8 yo. The result is not pretty). It moisturizes and heals and works miracles, even for garden dried, housewife weary hands. (Someone should pay me for this).

In the Land of Believers: An Outsider's Extraordinary Journey into the Heart of the Evangelical Church
Reading:  In the Land of the Believers: An Outsider's Extraordinary Journey into the Heart of Evangelicalism by Gina
Welch. It might be more aptly named, A Bird's Eye View at the Life of an Atheist." Not only does Welch make vast and sweeping generalizations that are poorly researched about the "evangelical community" (for starters she uses fundamentalism and evangelicalism synonymously), her writing style leaves a lot to be desired. I am so metaphored out in some paragraphs I have to go back and look for the subject of the sentence. What is with this style? It is not poetic. It is not illuminative. It is BAD writing. Seriously, editors,!!  I have, oh, so much  more to say about this book, but will save it for another post. For anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the postmodern atheist, this is a must read.

The kids and I spent hours in the yard this week, moving plants, weeding, harvesting lettuce and spinach, parsley, some basil and chamomile. I'm working on coming up with something clever and inexpensive for the cukes to grow on and we finally landed on using the 2 remaining dog kennel sides to form a lean-to in the cucumber area. Our attempts at French intensive beds have gone a bit too far. Cub helped me with the beet seeds and the beets are now crowding the cabbage so much that some of the cabbage is angling.

Macbeth (Dover Thrift Editions)
School this week consisted of lots of reading (Lawhead is the author of choice this year), grammar, and Feche getting his lines for Shakespeare Camp down solid. He has MacBeth from Scene 3 on in the Dover edition; lots and lots of lines. This is my son who can't spell worth beans, can barely write in cursive but can explain complicated science concepts to me his siblings with patience, can talk about the Punic Wars for hours and can memorize like it's fun. My kids are idiot savants. I take full credit.

I am going to re-do the buffet.  The confederate grey never darkened and it now looks like a military somethingorother. I had high hopes of posting my b.a.utiful buffet in a blog "reveal" but it's on hold. I have to go buy more paint. I'm thinking orange for the laundry room. My analytical Doctor Scientist husband thinks off-white is living on the wild side of color but I'm hoping that it's in enough of a corner of the house he won't mind.

Is anyone else having problems with blogger? I can't post comments without a huge hassle, can only post pictures sometimes and spell check isn't working. What's up?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mud Works & Crepe Filling

I am happy to share that, even though an entire 9 months have zipped past since my last mudding escapade, I have not lost the touch. Neither have KB and Feeche. As our Father's Day present to Rockin' Viking Man we made him unbelievably great crepes, topped with fresh organic strawberry syrup, a lunch that featured lettuce and cilantro from the garden and for dinner strawberry smoothies.

Along with feeding the man the kids and I re-started tapping and mudding the closets on the 2nd floor (we had a house fire a year ago last October- you can catch up all about it under the "Tear Down to Build Up" posts) (and yes, my bed is still in the living room in case you are wondering). We got a good groove going and kept at it today.We took out the totally useless partition in the new double closet in the master bedroom, adding an extra 4" of closet space and providing some new 2 x 4's for my evil Ana White site plans. Laugh all you want- in a house this old, every extra centimeter of closet space is coveted.

partition in, modeled by the lovely KB
Then we mudded, and mudded and mudded some more- 1 1/2 five gallon buckets worth of mud. We are filling in depressions left from when we added drywall to plaster areas for new plumbing and to add another gargantuan closet in one of the bedrooms and areas that were totally rebuilt due to fire damage. It's a great feeling to be working on building up again. 

partition out, modeled by the lovely Flower
 Viking Man is happy. Happy 'cause he's teaching an on-line intensive college course this month and his schedule is cooking his grits 'cause along with umpteen papers to grad each week as well as daily on-line interaction, he still has his day job. And while he's working, we're working. I think it's a German thang, which I can totally get behind. I am, after all, more German than him ; ). We did have to consult with the good Doctor several times cause the 2 x 4's were nailed in like they were there for the duration. We ended up sawing them out. Thank goodness my older kids lurve power tools and my notsolittles are happy to be on stand-by to run and fetch.
All of that to say- train your children to work hard when they're young. You'll have a work crew you can be proud of.  And if your man loves good food, make him this; he'll be a happy!

Unbelievably great crepe filling
1 8 oz. pkg creme cheese softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. sour cream

Mix first 4 ingredients and whisk well. Cook over double burner for 10 minutes, stirring well. When cooled slightly, whisk in sour cream. Fill pre-made crepes (we get our recipe from All Top with:

Crushed strawberries, heated and sweetened slightly with honey.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Serving Up the Harvest

Serving Up the Harvest  by Andrea Chesman has proved a welcome addition to my very small number of cook and gardening books; my larger collection having been lost in the fire. Like a lot of stuff we've gone slow in replacing them.  But this little gem was a must buy. It is much more than a recipe book, it's a gardening book as well!
The book is divided by harvest; Spring and Summer; Early to Mid-Summer; Mid to Late Summer; and Fall into Winter vegetables, along with a section on "The Well Stocked Pantry", Mastering the Basics (of recipes) and a helpful appendix.
What I love, love, love about this book is that each section is divided into chapters that feature a plant growing in your garden. There is a fact sheet about the vegetable that talks about sowing & reaping, how to convert harvest to recipe measurements, how to cook, and nutrition notes. And then the recipes begin. You'll find some tried and true old friends like broiled tomato's and pesto but there are plenty of other tantalizing new recipes that will tempt you to branch out. And the best thing is that  Chesman writes with an eye to health and economy. You won't have to go out and purchase beaucoup bucks of unheardof condiments to turn your humble veggies into a summer feast. She comments on the kid friendly-ness of the recipes as well. We could use that around here because I have a couple of kids that would just as soon starve than eat something bizarre, no matter how much weeding they did to get it to the table.

The reason I bought this book was because of the variety of recipes and information about beets and eggplant - 2 newbies to my garden. And I'm so glad that I did. There's plenty in here to learn for the beginner and more experienced gardener or cook.
A great addition to our small collection of recipe and gardening books. Check it out and let me know what you think! I'd love  to hear about your favorite gardening/recipe book!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


 This is my newest flower bed. I had this quick and easy idea last year to move some daisies but Viking Man got involved and it ended up involving spades, tape measures, RR ties and more hours than I'd figured. As a result we have this lovely little side bed next to the driveway. Daisies were my Mom's favorite flower and we had them planted at every house we ever lived and it was the flower my Dad always gave her.  Did you know that the scientific moniker for the common daisy has 29 synonyms?

This is one of our long veggie beds. It is chock full of green. Cukes, green and purple cabbages, beets, beans, carrots, potatoes, and eggplant, which my friends Ana and Mary assure me we'll love and finally zucchini at the very end (so far at the end they are out of the bed!

Our 3 long veggie/berry beds along with our grapes (see the old clothes line posts? That's them- there's also more around the fence of the chicken shed). 

This long bed has spinach, lettuce mix, celery, then basil, parsley, cilantro, tomatoes, then a variety of peppers then Brussels sprouts and broccoli, then tomatoes and winter squash and then more tomatoes and wild flowers. Cub spilled a pack of tomatoes and we had about 30 volunteers spring up all interspersed with the beans and beets so we've been transplanting. The 3rd long bed has strawberries and then parsley and carrots.
I have pumpkin and Indian Corn (thanks, Grandpa!) in the shed that we burned down area, along with Canna's and then acorn squash, more toms and a "Hansel & Gretal" mini eggplants in the front flower beds.

Cabbage is beautiful. And did you know that it is a cancer killer? 

Today we harvested more strawberries, lettuce and spinach as well as chamomile, basil and parsley. I've been drying the chamomile  for tea, and tomorrow we'll have our first serving of fresh pesto. Yum!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lovin' Summer

In my life this week…
Cleared the brush pile in the south field and leveled the dirt left behind by the huge animal diggings.
Sanded, primed, painted, re sanded, painted the buffet. I chose Graphite by Benjamin Moore. It's a bit too grayishy/blue for what I was thinking. I'm not convinced I like it yet.
Weeded and planted in the garden, all of holes are filled ; )
Harvested pounds of organic, fresh strawberries, lettuce and spinach.
Wrote a couple of articles for Heart of the Matter on-line and The Homeschool Village.
Daily walks.Nightly Thunderstorms.

In our {summer} homeschool this week
Rod and Staff Grammar 3, 5 and 9. Feeche is finishing up Alg I and working on lines for MacBeth. We still haven't hit a good scheduling groove as far as adding in the TC DVD's but we'll get back to those next week.
The notsolittles are going through the Stargate Atlantis episodes with out Wraith and are full up of techno questions such as "What is a nanite?" Good thing we have plenty of Science News mags lying around.

My favorite thing this week was…
putzing around the yard. 6 flower beds and our large veggie/herb garden, plus the continued reclamation of our property gives us plenty to do. After our long winter, it is great to be outside doing it!

My burning question of the week....
When did thorough and fun become mutually exclusive? There's been several on-line discussions on homeschool forums about the dumbing down of homeschool curriculum, how to make homeschooling "fun" and "how thorough should one be?" Here's my humble opinion. Sometimes learning In fact, often, learning is Everything we learn ultimately is filtered through our understanding the grammar of the subject(grammar stage), really getting ahold of the complexities of it and putting it into our grid of understanding (dialectic stage) and then owning it and being able to share that knowledge with others (rhetoric stage). We might not choose to get to the rhetoric stage with everything, but if we do, it will usually entail hard work. The belief that learning should be fun is self defeating because that definition crowds out the reality that learning can be satisfying, challenging, exhilarating in ways that go beyond fun. It's like being wrung out from a hard physical work-out. No one who works out that hard really calls it "Fun" and yet they go back for more...for that adrenaline rush sense of accomplishment that goes deeper than fun. But speaking of which...
...Fun links....

Darlene at Time Warp Wife is hosting a "My husband rocks because..." contest. Check it out here.

Zero Tuition College is a new web-site that supports auto-didacts who are skipping college and Nike at Thrive has some fun ideas for th 4th Star-Spangled S’mores 4 ways. and ...

...Father's Day
First Thing has a list of Best Dad's in T.V. and Film. Fun list. Viking Man is getting a snow blower. It's actually already gotten and sitting in the garage goat shed (seriously, our property was advertised as having a "2 car garage" when we first looked at the house. 2 car  IF you are driving Model T's).
Speaking of celebrations, we've been married 26 years already. Time flies when you are birthing babies, gathering degrees, homeschooling, moving around the country,  working like crazy, having fun!

What's Working
I've been way more on top of menu planning. Last month's food/ household supplies/dog food cost $475, plus we ate more variety. My fav web-sites for good main dishes are $5 Dinners and Martha Stewart.

What's happening in your corner of the world this week?

Linking up Hop, Homeschool Mother's Journal, Conversion Diaries

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer To Do's

After the fire I couldn't sleep. This is generally NOT my issue, but for about a year I didn't sleep well. I would wake up in the middle of the night, after falling asleep unreasonably late and get up early to face fatigue and anxiety. Then Dad died and it seemed I couldn't wake up. Our life has been dictated by some extremes. I have finally hit a groove again where I can fall asleep, stay there, and wake up in the morning. Thank-God. And believe me, that is a heart felt prayer. The choice between anxiety and depression was bitter and I'm glad to be back to plain old falling asleep.. I am feeling strong and sure again most days- for the first time in a year and a half and it's a good feeling to think about what to do and get done and not have 50 million doubts accusing me about the lack of importance or the why bothers. Anyway, I have finally made a list of "to dos." Of course, we have a master list of 'to-dos that is lengthy and expensive and might take us another 2-4 years. But my list is smaller and I hope, do-able this summer.

Sand, prime, paint buffet & hardware
Sand, prime & paint, decorate (Americana theme) enclosed front porch
level drain field dig
burn brush pile in south pasture, even and seed
haul rocks from field where the mongo-pile was leveled
burn chicken shed
seed fields and lawn
corner round, mud, tape master bedroom
mud, tape, small bedroom
mud, tape closet in H's bedroom
sand, paint, stain main stairs, guard rail and baseboards (paint the risers, clear stain on the treads)
sand, paint, stain attic stairs (chalkboard paint on the risers, color on the treads)
finish sanding drywall and paint laundry room area (have paint and accent color)
paint saying in laundry room area
garden- weed, harvest, put food by: strawberry jam, grape juice, pesto, tom. sauce, sauerkraut (?), herbs, etc.
Small bathroom-- touch up paint, add saying to the wall
Craig's list- pedestal sink and toilet, antique light fixtures (groan)
Sell gently used curriculum (groan again- I so don't want to go there, but I so want these 2 boxes turned in to cash).
paint light fixture for downstairs bathroom dk. brown
plan school for  fall/ includ. creative writing class if that makes
buy curriculum for fall
book a week
School- lite with kids.
Build from Ana's site: 2 leaning bookshelves, library cart, craft table (see my plan for a school room here), 2-4 cubby shelves.
Celebrate holidays and summer birthdays

O.k. Some of this will be easy and some of it will cook my grits. I'm a pretty task oriented person, much to my kids consternation, so now that my knee is actually listening to my brain's commands (bend, climb, walk, etc), I am back to my gestapo self of old. I have had to do quite a bit of bribing this week to get the notsolittles on board with my grande plan. They said they'd work better if we got them a pool. Not the little pool from last year (which Cub kindly offered to have me put on Craig's list) but the 10' x 4' one. We are actually considering it.

What on your list this summer? Bored? Come help me with mine ; )

Monday, June 13, 2011

Nature Study Up Close and Personal

KB and I came across a mature badger yesterday on our walk. He calmly looked at us before lumbering off into the long grass but didn't go too far before he turned and watched us, watching him.

Flower came within 4' of a mature groundhog this week-end. They stopped to consider each other, she came inside to get me and he was still there when we went back out again.

KB spotted a Bald Eagle on the way home from work last Saturday, grandly perched on a telephone pole.

Cub was confronted by a Momma red squirrel in one of his favorite climbing trees today. She told him off but good. My guess is that she is guarding some babies. We don't see a lot of squirrels on our acreage (too many predators perhaps?).

We finally saw the huge old reptilian snapper on a walk last week. Again, Flower was within feet of it. These babies are mean and could easily take a finger off.

All of this in addition to our Micro Snapper and Baby Coons and the various frogs, skinks, toads, and garter snakes we run into daily,. We have had a great time looking our friendly wildlife up on line! For the week I'm going to have the kids draw a picture of each critter with a short paragraph about their lifestyle and habitat. Summer school rocks.

(none of the photos are ours, sadly. They are copyright free).

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Soul Surfer

Feeche and I had a free afternoon in town last week and took in Soul Surfer. Bethany was an amateur surfer ( she went pro a couple of years ago) who lost her arm on Halloween Day to a Great White. The movie shows her tenacity to get back on the board, make sense of the tragedy and come to terms with her new life. It is a very poignant look at what matters most, loss, pain, faith, recovery and what comes next. I related oh too well. In fact, I cried throughout.

The movie portrays a warm and loving family who actively lives their faith, the kind of friendship that saves lives, faith that perseveres and makes all things new- even in the face of devastating circumstances. It was refreshing to see elements of the Christian faith shown throughout, including Bethany's testimony and faith in Jesus Christ at a televised award ceremony (played during the credits) .

It is a delightful movie. The scenery is breathtaking. The resolution terrific. The best part of all is that's its all true. Highly recommended. Not only because it is a story of redemption but because it's a good, clean story with a purpose.

For more inspiration, check out Bethany's  blog and Legacy of Home

Saturday, June 11, 2011

On the Nightstand

I haven't posted a book review for a while though I've kept reading. Here's the latest:

I liked Ann Coulter's Godless: The Church of Liberalism. She presents a great apologetic for the atheistic underpinnings of Darwinism which I'll be adding to my high school student's apologetics reading list. Coulter is funny and no holds barred.  She's a self proclaimed Christian and willing to say it outloud.  Love that. Her writing is good and  highlights Coulter's acerbic wit. An interesting read and not at all what I was expecting.

Picked up Bloodroot by Amy Greene. It is a combo of Nell, The Glass Castle which I reviewed here,  and The Last Sin Eater.  Set in Appalachia, it's an intriguing story about legacies, curses, and craziness, blame and responsiblity. I loved the interplay of characters as well as the character development. Each chapter is told from the perspective of one of the characters and Greene did a great job of developing their unique voices and perspectives. There are some clever surprises as well. Very well written.

What are you reading these days?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Drama Camp

What we did this week


The good tired. The tired where you've worked hard, had fun and been surrounded by talented friends who share their food and laughter, wisdom and ability to direct kids and plays and create amazing costumes.

What's to love about DRAMA? Just about everything.
I've written about it before but I'll go over it in case you missed it.
Drama teaches memorization skills
Drama teaches performance skills, such as managing stage fright, projection, articulation, how to hold your body, what to do with your hands. It's perfect fodder for the Rhetoric stage.
Drama gives kids a chance to be flamboyant in a positive, socially acceptable way.
Drama allows your kids to play dress-up, way past the acceptable cut-off date/age.
Drama exposes your kids to good literature.
Drama gives your kids a hands on way of understanding various forms of creative writing (scripts are much different than short stories, which are much different than poetry which is much different than a novel).
Drama allows your kids to bring literature and history alive.
Drama engages your kids in good, clean fun (of course, there are trashy plays out there. Avoid those ; )
Drama gives your kinetic learners something to really sink their teeth in to.
Drama teaches your kids to take direction and do what they are told.
Drama teaches your kids to share the limelight, the lines, the stage.
Drama teaches cooperation by working with the rest of the cast and crew.
Drama is a perfect homeschool endeavor and a great way to hone rhetoric skills.

Next week will seem quiet and boring compared to this week.
We'll be back to grammar, cursive, typing and house projects. But, Feeche has Shakespeare Camp in 2 weeks and he can't wait. (he is sharing the part of Macbeth- booyah, baby!). Besides I've got laundry to fold, a garden to weed and some sleep to catch up on!

What did you do this week?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Coming to Terms

My aim with the blog has been to be humorous, inspirational and helpful. The reality is that I've been struggling for the past 1 1/2 with sadness and depression. It's hard to be inspirational when I feel like throwing in the towel myself. I was feeling so much better at the 1 year mark that signaled 12 months since the fire and Sue's death but since Dad died a week later, 7 months ago, I've been hit hard again with sadness that lingers and wondering if our choices have been the right ones and where we can tweak and what can we change and the strong desire to move on and away.

I heard last week that an on-line acquaintance lost her son right around the time Dad died and I've wound up the courage to read one of her posts. She writes about boxing with death and how death has punched them and tripped them up but they keep getting back up to fight again. I have felt punched and tripped and like the umph has been knocked right out of me. My patience (what little I had of it) is long gone and I don't want to work on understanding others perspective or feel empathy or have compassion, hear others pain or be cheered up. Often I would just like to be left alone. But that's not right either. The real fact of the matter is that I want to feel better  but I just can't talk myself into it.

And then yesterday, my 16 yo and I went to see Soul Surfer. I literally cried through the entire movie. The themes of loss ond "how comes" and "what ifs" echo my own almost exactly. There is a scene with Bethany and her Dad sitting on the beach and she states, "I've lost everything." And her dad says, "Not even close. You are still alive." And both of those statements sum up my feelings. Which, btw, I have had enough of for one year.  I have had enough of feeling; feeling loss and sadness and lostness, waking up in the middle of the night with "What if''s" and "How comes" and "Whens" clamoring in my head. I would like a resolutory clarion call from God that says, "Well done. Now, go here, find the treasure, spend wisely." I am so not kidding.

It's odd to me, when I have moments of clear perspective, how rocked I've been by the loss of 1/2 of my family of origin; 60% of what it was- gone. We operated and believed different world views, values and life styles. And yet, still, blood is thick. Family doesn't go away no matter how stridently they try to drive you from them. They are in your blood and your head, defining you, whispering memories and legacies and hopes and dreams; conjuring up feelings that were long buried and that accuse, confirm, deny and claim.

I dreamed of Sue this week. She and Kris and I were walking down a boulevard holding hands and fair weather friends separated us. We walked back towards each other and held hands again and I said, "We've always stuck together."  And I feel un-stuck now that my big sister is gone. Unloosed and unfettered and unmoored. And with Dad it's almost been worse. The feelings of "why this" and "not that," and "how come" and the lack of resolution have been hard to quell. I've been sad because death is resolution. There is no last chapter, in this life anyway. The last chapter's been written and the ink has dried. And I feel like I've lost everything in that quarter. My hopes, dreams and prayers for what could have been, ripped away. Death stole them and Dad complied.
I've had a hard time coming to terms with that. Coming to terms with unfulfilled hopes, dreams and desperate longings. It's immature of me, I know, and yet there it is. I'm struggling to come to terms with; finality's, frailties. I wish I wasn't. I wish I was calm and clear headed and at peace and wise and mature. But the reality is that I've been a big baby and rather distracted.

I havent' lost everything. Hardly. My life is full of good and beautiful things and people. And this season will pass. And a new one will be here soon enough.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer School

I love summer. All things summer. The heat, the smells, the schedule, the feel. Last night we had ourselves a fire in the fire pit, staying up late to chat. The river is still really high and the kids are taking beucoup walks and hanging outside, soaking up the heat that finally arrived.

This morning we were out of the house early 'cause it's
 Flower is a tree.
Cub is a Charlie Chaplinesque type character. His part consists of no lines, just physical performance. We watched a couple of Charlie Chaplin YouTubes. It is LOL funny (either that or I am so easily entertained it's just not funny).
Feeche is a clown type...just playing himself.

Had a great time of fellowship at the park between the time the notsolittles and Feeche were done practicing. Lots of laughs with very cool women, gorgeous babies to coo at and cuddle, and fun friends for the kids.

I also started on refinished my Great Aunt Carrie's cherry buffet. It turned color from the thousands of gallons of water that hit it during the fire. It was kinda in the way, between some of the axed out windows and the fire. Some of the veneer was damaged and  parts of the molding went missing. I'm sanding, priming and painting this week. Going for a Pottery Barn look, which I am certain will disguise the flaws and showcase the beautiful piece of furniture that it still is. Feeche is helping by removing hardware, which was rusted on. Cub is helping by keeping me company. I promised to watch Star Wars with him (that's love, baby) so we are watching together while I sand. KB is assisting by planting the forgotten and pitiful plants that we re-discovered on the front porch and driving Flower's friend home. Lots of support.

We are also going to continue to smooth out the lumpy yard area that remains from the new drain field dig. 

This week will be about drama camp, projects and fellowship. A full week. A fun week. What does summer look like at your house this week?