Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Exercise Update

So, I have passed the half way mark on my exercise ticker. Notable, yes, but still pathetic considering that I think I started it at the end of September and my goal was to have it done by Christmas.

So I'm two thirds done with my time allotment and only half way done with my minutes. I blame the weather. I blame the wind. I blame the mess around the house. But when it comes right down it, I just wasn't putting in the time.

But I have been fairly faithful lately. I'm trying to do my pilates video every morning. It is about 25 minutes long. I have 580 minutes of exercise left to meet my goal. I have 30 days left in which to accomplish those minutes. Hmm. 580 divided by 20 equals 29. I see I must either commit to some additional form of exercise or miss only one day between now and Christmas.


Typical Homeschool Morning

I realize that not everyone homeschools the way I do. There are probably as many right ways to teach your kids at home as there are families. But the following is typical for me, for the last 10 years. And anyone with toddlers and preschoolers will imagine clearly the situation.

Sophie 7 years
John 6 years
Stella 4 years
Donna 2 years
Inge 11 months
A family living room. The mother is attempting to fold laundry. The children's morning chores are finished up and they are beginning to be bored. A variety of discontented noises reach theMom's ears.
theMom: Stella, John, why don't you get your school workbooks and do a few pages. If you do it in here, I can read the instructions as I fold laundry.
Please bring the little table from your room so you have a nice work space. Various noises of book and table and chair gathering ensue, theMom picks up a laundered item to fold.
Make sure you each have a pencil with an eraser and bring the crayon box.John: What do I do on this page?
Stella: What do I do on this page?
theMom gives instructions, picks up a second laundered item to fold.
Sophie: Can I do mine, too?
theMom: Just make sure you have a pencil with an eraser.
John: What do I do on this page?
Stella: What do I do on this page?
Sophie: What do I do on this page?
theMom gives instructions, picks up the same laundered item to fold, Inge and Donna enter.
John: What do I do on this page?
Stella: What do I do on this page?
Sophie: What do I do on this page?
theMom gives instructions, again picks up second laundered item to fold, Inge and Donna enter.
John: I'm moving to the piano bench. The table's too crowded. What do I do on this page?
Stella: What do I do on this page?
theMom gives instructions
Sophie: What is a pod?
theMom: A shell, as in the outside of a a garden pea that we take off before eating the little round things. She tries, futilely to remember whose shirt she is holding.
John: What do I do on this page?
Stella: What do I do on this page?
theMom gives instructions, picks up the same laundered item to refold.
Inge is sitting on my book!
John: Donna, stop coloring on my school work.
theMom: Please get Donna a coloring book form the other room.
theMom once again wonders whose shirt she's holding.
theMom: Thank you. Here Donna, you color in this book.
Sophie: Can I hold a the?
theMom, puzzled: What?
Sophie: I'm supposed to circle the words I can hold?
theMom: Well,...I suppose you could hold the words that come after the, like doll or the the worm or the pencil. But you can't really hold a "the".
theMom picks up another laundered clothing item.
John: Donna, stop it!
Stella: Inge, stop it!
John: What am I supposed to do?
Stella: I'm done with that page, what do I do here?
Sophie: What does lag mean? Can I hold one?
John: Inge is climbing. What do I dooo?
theMom addresses everyone's concerns and looks at the pants in her hand as if they are from outer space.
John: What do I do on this page?
Stella: What do I do on this page?
theMom gives instructions, picks up the same foreign laundry item to refold.
Stella: Inge get off the table! Mom, what do I do on this page?
Donna: Wahh! I want John's book.
Ripping noise.
: Donna! Mom, Donna ripped my school book.
Thudding noise. Loud piercing cry!
Inge: Wahhh! Waaahhh!
theMom rescues Inge and notices her lip is bleeding. She exits the room.
John: What do I do on this page?
Stella: What do I do on this page?
John: Mom, what do I do on this page?
Stella: Mom, what do I do on this page?
Sophie: Can I hold a den?
I've got a little emergency here. I'll be right there.
theMom re-enters the room holding the weeping infant, dabs gently at the baby's bloody mouth and fields all the questions. She sets the now calmed baby down and picks up another laundry item.
John: Mom, what do I do on this page?
Stella: Mom, what do I do on this page?

And so it goes. Total laundry folded? Approx three items, but there is no guarantee they are in the correct pile.

Do I wonder why I have to hire household help?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Universal Two Year Old

Remember the teletubbies. Remember how they always said, "Again. Again. Againagainagain,"? (It's at about 2:32 in the following video, just on the off chance you want to hear it and on the second off chance you don't want to watch the entire thing.)

Well, I have a two year old. She has taken to hollering, with that same inflection, every time someone takes something away from her, "I do. I do. Idoidoido."

Puts me right back in the era of the teletubbies.

Gotta love that, huh?

Teletubbies has to have been one of the strangest TV shows made. If I recall correctly, one of the goals of the producers was to engage toddlers and even infants. Well guess what. I pulled up a couple of video clips in order to find one that had the "again," quote I was seeking and my toddler and infant were indeed engaged. I guess it works. Too bad getting my toddler and infant hooked on electronic audio/visual stimulus is not one of my child rearing goals.

If it were only that simple.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Governmental Bounds

I was recently asked to read and perhaps review the book, End the Fed, by Ron Paul. I was reading several other things at the same time, and unfortunately, I had to return them all to the library before finishing them, because they were either due or past due already. Why, oh why, can't I just read one thing at a time and actually finish it!) Sorry, Laura, you won't get your review at this point, but I'll put myself back on the hold list and maybe try again in a month or so.

But, Rep. Paul's main theme is that the Federal Reserve has become this behemoth government agency with immense power and little or no oversight, having authority over the national and even world money supply and therefore economies. Since I didn't finish the book and am not, myself a Ron Paul follower, I can't say any more than that about Rep. Paul's ideas. But the history of the Fed that he drew and the powers he ascribed to them, if true, are certainly pervasive and invasive, and should be anathema to freedom loving Americans.

Juxtapose that general direction of thought, with all due respect, with the following clip of former Pres George W. Bush.

I loved many things about Pres. Bush. I loved his moral stance. I loved how he strongly stood on many issues in the face of constant, often hypocritical attacks by the mainstream media. But there were few issues with which I generally disagreed with him. My primary disagreement with him would probably be his use of the phrase "compassionate conservative" as if conservatism without the qualifier is not compassionate. (If only we conservatives had a point man who could articulate how conservatism is, indeed compassionate already, that would be much better.)

Another thing with which I disagreed with Pres Bush was on his dumping money into public education and at the same time increasing federal involvement with state and local education mandates. Keep your money and get your hands off our kids.

And the third main point of contention I have with Pres Bush is that "save the world" TARP bill they pushed through in the fall of 2008. Grr. The video clip above does not assuage my frustration. I've seen this video touted as "Bush warns against government intervention." or similar titles around the web today. But if it were a true warning, wouldn't Pres. Bush have said something about how the TARP bill didn't seem to do what they had hoped. He pretty much seems to be saying that it's OK to interfere, but only in a limited way. Once the attitude is acceptable, of government stepping in during times of crisis, the door is opened for anything. Each executive will define "crisis" or "emergency" or "limited" differently to suit their own goals and ideals.

And I fear that Pres. Obama's definitions are being shown to be much different from those of Pres. Bush.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Scents and Sensibilities

I still have to sometimes give myself a little shake when I really stop to think about the life God has given me.

I did not grow up among hunters. It was always something I wanted to try, but never had the chance. It was a "tough thing" with me. I was always trying to prove my "toughness."

When I attended high school in Wisconsin (a Lutheran boarding school) some of the kids would go home for an entire week during hunting season. I thought this ridiculous.

I was always a little grossed out when seeing all the dead deer with their heads rolling and tongues lolling upon the backs of cars. I just tried not to look.

Gradually I lost somewhat the having to "prove my toughness" stage and was kind of ambivalent about hunting. Also, I had friends who ate mostly venison. I have to say, eating at their place was yet another deterrent to the whole hunting thing. I was a bit ashamed of myself though, for not having more gustatory "toughness." One of my favorite sayings with my kids is, "Food is to give you nourishment and fill you up. If you like it, it's a bonus." But here I was, only 20-something, and finding myself untrue to one of my toughness rules. But I just really didn't want to eat venison.

Joe and I talked about him or us hunting, but there were many deterrents. Cost would have been an issue in those days. We had no guns, no clothes, no weapons, limited experience processing animals, so we would have had to pay a locker...And we had no land at which to hunt.

So it just never happened. And my gustatory conscience had no reason to feel guilt.

Then we moved up North.

We were given lots of venison. I really tried to use it faithfully throughout the year, but often my freezer had lots of venison left come August.

Gradually though, I got used to the flavor. We had some people give us very clean meat. Meaning most of the fats were carved off. At first I still had to kind of pick at it and try to look like I was enjoying it so I would set a good example for the kids. Gradually I got to the point at which I could eat it without grimacing inwardly. I would chew as quickly as possible and just kind of swallow it down and take a quick drink, trying not to allow it to touch any taste buds.

The next stage was when I could actually taste it. I mean, I could chew it naturally and not feel the urge to quickly ingest it.

And finally I can say I like it. There might be a piece here or there or a prep method or even an entire animal that is gamier than I'd prefer, but for the most part I enjoy it. I can now say, "Hmm, venison." (And lamb, too, I've even come to enjoy it's lambiness.)

But to get back to the shock thing. All of my siblings are urbanites. I can only imagine what they think when the read of our lifestyle and some of the rural living adventures we have.

This morning I walked out into my garage and there hang two big bucks. No, unfortunately, none of my mighty hunters has gotten one. But we were given two that will help to fill the freezer.

Just as an aside, there exists a certain "hunting shack" culture. All the families know each other and many have extended family around who aren't able to get here often. So it's kind of like a big community reunion. Lots of visiting between the different groups of hunters. And there are always a few pranksters going around to the various hunting schacks.

This year, one of the local gentlemen, now a pastor, went around to many of the cabins and posed signs that read "Posted: NIMRODS: And Nimrod was a mighty hunter before the Lord."

Another year, I'm told, some aspiring comedian went to all the "posted, no trespassing" signs and tacked long side each a sign such as one might find in gas stations or bars or diners this time of year, "Welcome hunters."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

There Ought to be a Phrase...

You know in the marriage vows, the sets of things through which a spouse must remain faithful? Sickness, health; richer, poorer...I think they should add something about when one's spouse morphs into Danial Boone.

Joe wrote the other day about the uninvited guest in our detached garage. Well, Clara mentioned how pretty this little visitor was. And Sophie asked whether we could keep the skin.

"Oh, oh," I thought. But it was too late. Their father had overheard the conversation and I could already see the cogs turning.

The update, about which Joe has not yet written, is how he finally trapped the black and white interloper. Joe and Clara kept checking the live trap. Joe kept resetting and baiting it after Mr. Sneaky repetitively managed to spring it and then eat the food. Clara kept frequent watch through the window. Yet the visitor was not forthcoming. Finally Clara suspected that he may have trapped himself under the container that had formerly held cat food. So Joe and Clara entered with due caution to investigate the situation. As they were looking around, they happened to notice a rattling in the bag of the mower that had played such a pivotal roll in Joe's initial discovery of our little friend. Sure enough, there was something within. Apparently Joe was kind of tired of "skunkeying" around with the situation. So he disposed of the trespasser with his .22 right then and there. Right through the lawn mower bag.

Ah, yes. Then he and Clara opened up the garage doors and window and left the area. When he left today for visits, he asked Matt to wheel the mower out into the CRP land which surrounds us on two sides. Matt was fairly occupied with other things today, and I'm not sure he got to it. But this evening, shortly after I got back from the library and piano lesson outing with some of the kids, they all went out to attempt some sort of hazardous contamination clean up. The odor was horrendous. I asked at one point if they had taken it out to the CRP or if they were right outside the door. The answer, "Yes, it's in the CRP. Yes, it is downwind of us." Wow!

Shortly thereafter, the kids began coming in asking for things. Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, these I expected. But kosher salt, shampoo, more salt. Aha. I figured out eventually what they were doing. Joe had skinned the skunk and was starting the tanning process. I didn't ask whether he was using the brain tanning method. I don't want to know.

But I do know that every time one of them was in and out, the smell became stronger inside. I am sure the entire house just reeks of skunk, but blessedly, God gave our noses the ability to become innured to such auditory offense.

Joe went to bed early with a migraine.