Friday, August 15, 2014

Way Back When I Was Really Young

The previous post included things from the Old Days which were when my first baby was little, or not long before. This one has stuff that I remember from my childhood. At least I don't expect my kids to recall these things because "they just happened." At least I have some awareness that these are from times long-enough-ago that they're in the history books as .... well, ... history.

The milk was delivered to the milk-box sitting by our front door. The milk wagon was pulled by a horse -- the only horse-drawn vehicle I saw in town. When I was learning to walk to kindergarten by myself, I had to watch out so that I didn't step in horse poop when I crossed the street. And I loved it that the milkman put reindeer-antlers on his horse for the week or so before Christmas.

When we dialed a phone number, the phone actually had a dial.

We didn't have to check our Halloween candy before eating it to see that it was safe.

Children walked to a neighborhood school. Buses were for the kids who lived in the country. We went home for lunch too. Only the bussed kids were stuck at school during the lunch break.

The new-fangled ratings system for movies included G, M, R, and X. That's it.

McDonalds ran commercials touting that you could buy a hamburger, fries, and beverage, and still get change back from your dollar.

We sang Christmas carols (and a dreidel song) for the Christmas program (not "holiday program") at the public school.

Getting "only one cavity" at each semi-annual dentist appointment was considered a rousing success for dental care.

Bouncy children were not given Ritalin.

We played cowboys and Indians. Nobody ever heard of "native Americans."

Arcades had pinball machines. There were no joysticks or video games of any sort.

People dressed up for church, and women did not wear pants to church.

Cameras had flashbulbs. Bulbs. Y'know, the round things. Each bulb had one flash and then was finished. And getting your film developed in an hour was unheard of. It was a week or more.

Whole houses then cost less than a car now. Less even than most used cars do now.

Cars then were washed up and old by the time they had 60,000 miles on them.

Kids could go biking all over town and the countryside, riding around for hours on end, and parents didn't have to worry about whether they'd be accosted by strangers.

The bank and the liquor store gave lollipops to the kids who came in with their moms to buy dad's weekly allotment of beer.

Television was in black and white. No color.

Very few people had dishwashers. There was no such thing as a microwave.

"Negro" was a recently outdated word. The new term was "black."

The old people remembered Russia being a country, but we youngsters were up-to-date enough to know that the proper name had become USSR.

Lutherans had one hymnal. For a bunch of different synods. And we used it. No "song books."

People didn't use credit cards. The few credit cards that existed were used for limited purposes, such as a card for gasoline only.

Diapers were made of cloth, and people used pins to hold them onto the baby's tuschie.

Kids pretended to smoke our candy cigarettes and candy cigars.

There were three television networks. It was free. No cable. Just rabbit ears or the big antenna on the roof.

Some cars had seat belts, but they were seldom used. There was no such thing as bike helmets.

In a similar vein, there was no such thing as fire-retardant clothing.

"Ms." hadn't been invented yet.

At the playground, swings had chains that were 10-12' long or more, and slides were so high that it was fun even for the grown-ups to slide down. And you had to wear long pants to the park in August so that you didn't burn your legs on the metal slide.

People thought formula was the right way to feed a baby.

Mom washed our clothes in a wringer-washer and hung them on the line to dry.

Almost all my friends had stay-at-home moms.

It wasn't considered abuse if kids were spanked and had their mouths washed out with soap.

Gas ran about 30-some cents a gallon. When there was a "gas war" in town, prices could even get as low as 19 cents.

Nobody was allowed to pump their own gas. When you drove in for a fill-up, the attendant checked your oil, checked your tire pressure, washed your windows, and who-knows-what-all else.

The word "their" was a plural pronoun and only a plural pronoun. Now --as in the previous comment-- it's also used as a singular pronoun when we don't want to be "sexist" by using "he" or "she."

Only the poor, impoverished, neglected children were sent to preschool.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Way Back When I Was Young

I was always fascinated with "how things used to be." It kinda sorta freaks me out that some things are now seen as the Old Days that were normal when I was already grown up.

There was no such things as music videos or MTV.

A whole floor of a building was dedicated to the computer. The idea of a computer that would sit on your desk was just coming in as a new-fangled idea. Certainly no iPads or Smartphones.

Food at the grocery store was not sealed. You could just unscrew a lid of a medicine bottle or a food jar and have access to the contents of the bottle. No child-proof lids either.

We didn't know yet that Darth Vader was Luke's father.

The new, high-tech video games that had just been invented were Pong, Pac-man, and Space Invaders.

Even if you had no health insurance, you could pay for the doctor and hospital when your child was born. Our bill for our first baby was $800.

Only the fussbudget worry-wart parents made their kids wear bike helmets.

We had fire drills and tornado drills at school, but never lock-down drills. There weren't murders in school.

What's the Moral of the Story?

So Jesus walks on the water out to the storm-tossed boat and the terrified disciples (Matt 14). With Jesus' consent and invitation, Peter gets out of the boat and begins to walk to Jesus.  For a bit.  Then he sank. 

Moral #1:  If you have faith, you can walk on water.  Be like Peter.  Be daring.  Be bold.  Do the impossible.

"Moral" #2:  We try to be bold, but in reality we sink.  Even though we only have itty-bitty teeny-tiny faith (vs 31), Jesus is faithful to His promise, and He rescues us and keeps us safe.

"Moral" #2 is so much more comforting than Moral #1.  And it fits what happened in the story so much better than Moral #1.  So why is Moral #1 touted more often?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Come to Me

Story about Jesus walking on the water (Matt 14).  The disciples think He's a ghost.  Jesus says, "I am.  Do not be afraid."  He's not just telling them to chill out because, oh, it's just Him, their friend and teacher.  He's using for Himself the name announced to Moses at the burning bush (Ex 3).  And Peter responds with that name: "If You are, tell me to come to You."  Jesus says, "Come." 

Interesting.  When Moses was wandering around Sinai/Horeb with his flock o' sheep, he saw the bush burning.  The Angel of the Lord (God) called to Moses.  But when Moses headed over that direction, the Lord said, "Do not draw near this place ... for it is holy ground."

Come, Peter.
Don't come, Moses.

Is it the incarnation which makes the difference?

Come unto Me, all you who are 
weary and heavy-laden, and I
will give you rest.  (Matt 11)

In Christ Jesus 
you who once were far off 
have been brought near 
by the blood of Christ.  (Eph 2)

Decidedly NOT Up-to-Date

Our house looks like a 50-yr-old house.  This does not disturb me.  It is a 50-yr-old house.  I could invest time and money to make my house really spiffy.  Or I could save that time, energy, and money, and continue to live in a "sufficient home" instead of a "marvelous home."

(Pssst -- sometimes it might be hard to tell the difference between lazy and content.)

Oodles of friends yesterday pointed out the momastery article Give Me Gratitude or Give Me Debt.  I see why: it's perfect.  Even when we hide from advertising, even when we eschew trendiness, we're still assaulted by the lusts and desires to have more. That's what salesmen are for.  That's what advertising executives are for.  And sometimes even our friends push us toward discontent and coveting.

The momastery author was offered pointers on how to update her kitchen.  After some self-doubts, after some consideration that she maybe should indeed unshabbify her kitchen, she realized something.  She has a refrigerator that works.  And is full.  While some parents worry about their children being malnourished.
Inside my refrigerator is FOOD.  Healthy food ...  When this food runs out, I'll just jump in my car to get more.  It's ludicrous, really.  It's like my family hits the lottery every freaking morning.

She goes on to talk about how we don't have to hike miles to bring back a bucket of decent water.  It's at our fingertips.  Not only that, but we use clean drinking water to wash our dirty feet.  And we have microwaves.  And coffee pots. The article is a fun-to-read piece on what's important and what's not.

I have a washer and dryer.  At gut-level I can't fathom how much work it would take to launder clothing without our machines.  My mind theoretically understands the process: make lye from ashes, make soap from lye and fat, chop wood, haul water, make fire, boil water, wash clothes by hand, rinse clothes by hand, line dry.  Oh.  That's all?  I wash clothes by turning a couple of knobs.

And plumbing.  I love hot-water heaters and indoor plumbing!

When our house goes on the market someday, it will be outdated.  The only people who'll be interested are those who want to flip it ... or those (like me) who feel comfy in an old house.  But hey, no sense updating a house now for the sake of selling it decades down the road.  By then, it will be outdated again. 

Maybe I'm content.
More likely, I'm lazy.
But either way, I don't have to deal with kitchen and bathroom renovations.
And that's worth a big hooray!

Inside my refrigerator is FOOD. Healthy food that so many parents would give anything to be able to feed their children. Almost 16,000 mama’s babies die every day from malnutrition. Not mine. When this food runs out, I’ll just jump in my car to get more. It’s ludicrous, really. It’s like my family hits the lottery every freaking morning. - See more at:
Inside my refrigerator is FOOD. Healthy food that so many parents would give anything to be able to feed their children. Almost 16,000 mama’s babies die every day from malnutrition. Not mine. When this food runs out, I’ll just jump in my car to get more. It’s ludicrous, really. It’s like my family hits the lottery every freaking morning. - See more at:
Inside my refrigerator is FOOD. Healthy food that so many parents would give anything to be able to feed their children. Almost 16,000 mama’s babies die every day from malnutrition. Not mine. When this food runs out, I’ll just jump in my car to get more. It’s ludicrous, really. It’s like my family hits the lottery every freaking morning. - See more at:

Monday, August 11, 2014


Andrew, Olivia, Katie, and the kids came over Saturday afternoon to hang out.  We cooked many batches of homemade French fries; I wanted to use up any potatoes from the garden which looked blemished so that the rest of them would store well.

Then Katie took Zoe to pick up her new glasses.  It sounds like the child still needs to get used to them; the world looks completely different for her.
Gary, Maggie, Katie, and the kids had gone to "Heritage Days" on Saturday morning. On Sunday afternoon Gary and Maggie visited again with some friends from church. Katie said the fake-surgery on the battlefield was portrayed so well that she felt a little sick to her stomach.

Gary said that the girls especially enjoyed the tent with old-timey games.

I was struggling with headache over the weekend.  I didn't get much accomplished (other than French fries) on Saturday.  Sunday I tried to order photos from Shutterfly and it just wouldn't work for me.  Not a good first impression of their website!  Eventually I hit the couch and spent the rest of the day watching television to make myself rest.

We found two good movies.  On the same day.  Hooray!  "Breaking Away" is set in the late 70's in Bloomington, Indiana.  Nice story about the relationship between the townies and the college kids.  The other movie was about Queen Victoria after her husband died: "Mrs Brown." 

Poison-ivy rash is worse again today. I think I'm going to have to clean the couch AGAIN. Seriously?  How long is it going to take to solve this?

Saturday, August 09, 2014

That Gnawing Fear

All through the Psalms we hear praise for God's having brought His people through the terrible events that befell them. 

So why don't I do that?

Let's be logical. 
Let's be reasonable.
Here's how it often works:
Bad stuff happens.
God rescues us.
We are taught afresh that He cares (!) and that He will help (!).

So why do we panic then at the thought of the next bad thing?

The novel I'm currently reading is set in central Asia in the 200s BC.  The king hated opposition; it made him angry; it made him frightened. 
He had struggled for power all his life, and every man he'd defeated and killed made him more afraid.  One day he would not discover a plot in time, and with every victory he grew less certain of his own power.  (Horses of Heaven by Gillian Bradshaw, p 119)
"With every victory he grew less certain of his own power."

That's it.
Upside-down though it be.
Plots and suffering and tragedy make us less certain of our own power.  It should not, however, make us any less certain of God's power.

Personally, I'd be more comfortable with a life where nothing went wrong, than with a life where God keeps rescuing me.  But that wouldn't be the Christian life, now, would it?

Friday, August 08, 2014

Facebook Friends

I now have nearly as many "friend requests" as I have friends. 

I struggle to cope with my computer addiction.  I don't want to miss what's being talked about.  I hate being geographically-distant from friends, and emails/FB/blogs help me stay a little bit in-the-loop.  Because of my lack of self-discipline, I use other self-controls.  One scheme is to limit myself to fewer-than-100 Facebook friends. 

My self-imposed rule is that FB friends are
~people I lived with (parents, siblings, children),
~people who live with people I lived with (in-laws, some of the nieces/nephews)
~a few close friends
~some of my kids' best-buddies
~a few folks from church

If I'm friends with the wife, I probably am not friends with the husband too.  I figure I'll hear news of their family from one of them.

Gary and I have a nice balance between our FB accounts.  I have few friends, but I can actually keep up with them.  That way, Gary hears about interesting things he might not otherwise notice.  Gary, on the other hand, has loads of friends.  This means he can contact people for me through his account, or let me see pictures, or hunt up information for people that are my in-real-life friends (or acquaintances) but aren't my FB friends. 

So if I haven't accepted your FB-friend request, don't be hurt.  It's nothing personal.  It's my feeble attempt to do some chores and interact with my family instead of spending my time glued to the computer. 

"It Hurts When You Brush My Hair"

I hereby publicly apologize to my daughters when I told them emphatically, "NO, it does NOT."

When your scalp is not used to being brushed,
when your hair is not very long,
those bristles may indeed hurt a person's head.

On the one hand, I'm glad to know this.  Hee hee hee -- it means I have hair long enough to need brushing --  y'know, just so that it doesn't stand up in spikes and make look all punk-rock.

On the other hand, as I hauled out the brush and began to smooth down the spikes, my first thought was, "Oh man!  The girls were right.  This does hurt." 

Oh, the heartlessness of mothers...

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Concord and Peace

"Give to all nations concord and peace" (from the Litany).

Christians over in Babylon (aka, Iraq) could obtain "peace" by submitting to the demands of ISIS.  They could have "peace" by renouncing Jesus and converting to the [ahem] peaceful religion of Islam ... whose adherents are currently robbing, torturing, and murdering those who won't convert or flee.  (This NBC story has no gory pictures obvious on the site, and doesn't contain all the stomach-turning details of many other news reports.  Fair warning: I didn't check the videos, to know what awful things might be contained there.)

Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you.  My peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled.  Neither let it be afraid." 

Nope.  His peace isn't the kind of peace we usually want.  Peace and calm.  No conflict.  No pain.  No suffering.  That's the peace we long for: "Can't we all just get along?"

Thank God when we are permitted that kind of peace.  But Jesus' peace can be way different: "not as the world gives."

And then we pray the Litany.  "Give to all nations concord and peace."  Lord, we'd sure like the happy and comfortable kind of peace where everybody is polite and helpful and non-confrontational.  But if that's not Your will in every time and every place, we beg You to give to all nations the peace that Jesus provides in the forgiveness of sins and oneness with Him.

Do the Mashed Potato!

Yukon Gold versus Russets.
Organic versus standard chemical-laden large-farming techniques.
Backyard versus trucked-from-Idaho.
Dug-this-morning versus sitting-in-a-plastic-bag-for-over-a-month.

They look different.
They taste different.

And yet,
I continue to buy food from the store.
The gardening is SO superior.
But it takes time and energy that I don't have (at least, not in the amount I desire).
Same for the farmer's market:  I should go there more frequently, but the time, energy, and money are too often more than I can come up with.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Nanna's Hat

Matthias is crazy about this hat.  Some friends at church saw his joyful face on Sunday: "Oh, look how happy he is to see his grandma."

No.  Not really.  He was just happy to see my hat. 

Yes, he likes me, and he will smile and laugh and be happy when he looks me in the eye.  But if he looks me straight in the hat-brim instead, then watch out world! because sparkles will be dancing from baby boy's eyes.

And for those who are wondering how the hair-growth is coming, this is the 3-month picture.  The last bare-headed picture I posted was at 7-weeks growth, so it's come a long ways.  I still don't like it, but I'm no longer mortified by my hair.

And yes, I'm vain.

It's Kind of Peaceful Being Grounded

This evening I get to drive to church, under Gary's supervision.  I have SO been looking forward to being able to drive again!  I will be able to take myself to work and to church and to the grocery store. 

And yet ...
yesterday and this morning ...
I keep thinking that it's kind of been nice not going anywhere.  I hate running errands.  Introverts love to hole-up at home.  For the last couple of months, when I get up in the morning, I've not had to decide which errands to run, which places to go.  I've been stuck at home, except for the times my family has graciously chauffeured me to church or to doctors or to those occasional errands which managed to pile up enormously. 

As of tomorrow, it's back to normal -- deciding which errands musts be crammed into the day along with all the other responsibilities.

As anxiously as I've been awaiting the return of my driver's license, I'm surprised by the sense that I'll also be losing quietness and calmness.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

It Still Itches

Still fighting the poison ivy.  The rash has improved, but I keep breaking out in new patches.

What can I wash next?!

I've scrubbed the couch with Fels-Naphtha soap, let it dry, and then shampooed it regular-like.  I washed the cushion on my wooden chair.  I have washed blankets and sheets and pajamas and jeans and slips repeatedly (in Fels-Naphtha).  This morning I've had the bed sheets soaking in a strong F-N solution; I'm going to wear these sheets out with all the washing.

I washed the handles of all the outdoor tools that have been used in the last couple of weeks.  I soaked the garden gloves in F-N solution and washed them repeatedly.  I used a F-N solution on the door knobs, light switches, refrigerator doors, faucets, remote controls, etc.

I even washed the cat.  Poor Athena.

I need to spend more time sitting on the couch, reading and watching TV and resting, applying the astringent that dries up the sores and relieves some of the itch.  But I also need to figure out how I keep being re-exposed to the poison-ivy oil ... because it seems like it should be Taken Care Of by now!


It's not "throw-back Thursday" so we'll call it "toss-back Tuesday." (Do ya buy it? Do you, huh?) For some reason, I've been having a grand time looking at old pictures recently.

Katie and Maggie

On the picnic table.  But why?

Wedding [cheese-]cake.

Happy day with happy friends.

All Fifteen of Us

Rachel and Matt; Gary; Maggie; Alia and Zoe; Andrew and Olivia; Susan; Mandy and Paul; Matthias, Katie, and Nathan; Philip

Monday, August 04, 2014

Teaching Cursive Without a Book

Lowercase cursive, in a logical order.

Before teaching each letter, show the child where the printed letter is "hiding" in the cursive letter.
Also have a strip or poster of nicely-written cursive letters on the table or on the wall, for the child to refer to.

These first seven letters can be taught individually and then easily connected to each other.

e, l

i, u, t

m, n

Write some combinations:
Men.  Let.  Net.  Eel. Mutt.  Mile.  Time.  Et cetera.

Now they get a little harder.
Also show how some letters connect to each other at a higher point instead of on the baseline:
o, b, v, w.

Teach the grouping:    c, a, d, o
All four begin the same way.

You know "u."
Build off it to form v and w.

You know "l."
Build off it to make h, k, b.

Use "a" and "i" and "u"
with the below-line loop
to make g, j, y.

Teach the backward, below-line loop
to turn "l" into f
and "a" into q.

weirder ones:
p -- starts sort of like the end of a skinny "g" but then circles
r  -- starts sort of like "i" but heads off to the side and then turns a corner down
s -- starts sort of like "i" but finishes with the southeast quarter of "8"
x -- half an "n" and then cross it
z -- starts like an "x," but add a corner and then end like "g"

Make sure lower-case is well-learned (with words too, not just individual letters) before adding capitals.

Capitals that are generally like lower-case cursive, but bigger:
a, c, k, m, n, o, p, u, v, w, x, y, z

Capitals that are very like the printed letter:
b, h, l, q, r

Other capitals that will need a bit of teaching:
d, e, g
i, j
f, t