Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ethanol Ads

My husband tells me he's hearing ads now from desperate ethanol producers who are out to make us realize that ethanol has NOTHING to do with rising food costs. No! Of course not! Because [get this!] they aren't producing ethanol out of the corn we eat for food. Oh, no! They are just using the feed corn.

Well, of course. The feed corn for the animals is what's going into our fuel tanks. Not the food we humans eat! See? NOTHING to worry about!

Are they really so stupid as to think we don't realize the animals' feed corn is what provides us with milk, butter, cheese, eggs, beef, chicken, and pork? Good grief!

(And the scary thing is ... what if they're right, and we are stupid enough to buy into this propoganda???)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Nothing to Show for It

I spent most of the day trying to figure out which pictures and crucifixes and icons should go on what walls in which rooms, and which should be packed away for a while or maybe even given away altogether.

Oooooooh, my brain is tired!
I don't do pretty.
Trying to make things pretty is exhausting!

I'd try to figure things out, and then escape to go start the bread kneading. Then I'd look at the walls and ponder some more, and then go hide by doing some picking up. Help, help! Any chore so as to procrastinate on the "making things pretty" duty. Eeeeeks!

Andrew had a friend over this evening. When his mom dropped him off, she said she would LOVE to help and give advice and make those kinds of decisions. I think I'm gonna take her up on her offer. I've narrowed down which pictures must be put up, and which are expendable, and which ones just do NOT go with those red walls in the living room. But overall, I could only figure out a couple items on my own that I'm quite satisfied with. And my daddy taught me to be very slow and deliberate about deciding to put holes in the wall for pictures! So I don't want to rush into anything (only 4½ months after we bought the house....)


Philip did me a big favor yesterday by sitting with Maggie at the beach while I did errands. While there, he saw a woman go by with a tattoo of a Japanese letter character on her lower back (very lower, as in, the upper part of her tuschie).

It said...


Surely she picked the symbol based on how it looked and is clueless as to what it says, right?

Necessity of Those Records

WPA has long advised that parents filling out the PI-1206 request confirmation from the Dept of Public Instruction that the form was received. I usually stick a post-it note on my submitted 1206, stating simply, "Please send a letter confirming that you have received our form" and include a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Philip is applying for an apprenticeship. We were amused a couple of months ago that they wanted his high-school transcript. Would his college transcript do? After all, it's from an official public school and not from some homeschool mommy. But no, they needed the high-school transcript.

Okay, so we found the transcript and mailed a copy. Today he was at the application for the unionized program. They need an official transcript with the school seal on it. So he wisely asks, "School seal??? I was homeschooled. There is no official school seal." They instructed him to send in photocopies of his paperwork for the state. I don't know if they require the 1206 or the acknowledgement back from the DPI that they received the 1206, but we'll send copies of both Official Papers from each year that he was homeschooled in high school.

Oh, gosh, I'm glad I kept them. I'm thankful for WPA's advice. I'm glad the records were in an easy-to-find location, safe from purging during a decluttering frenzy (or a move).

And for those who are curious, only half the guys who pass the tests actually get placed in an apprenticeship within the first year. Two-thirds of the guys who apply don't even pass the test, but Philip already took that and did exceptionally well. Problem is, nobody has been placed so far this year because the masters just aren't taking on apprentices right now. So it may be quite a wait.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Romans 10:10

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

You know how the doctors have to give you the whole run-down of all possible side-effects that may result from surgery or a treatment or a medicine? You're getting ready for surgery, and the doctor is telling you that you could end up paralyzed, or you could be allergic to the latex gloves on the doctor's hands, or you could end up in a coma or dead.

Prior to Maggie's first heart surgery, the doctor was telling us about the possible complications before we signed off on okaying the operation. One of the possibilities was that her voice could be damaged or that she could even become entirely mute. "Scuse us? You're cutting on her heart, right? Her voicebox is way up in her throat. How could her voice be damaged???"

So the surgeon explained how the nerve for the voicebox goes from the brain, down into the chest of the person, wraps around the heart, and then goes back up to the voicebox. So when he's working on the heart, the main nerve to control the larynx is right there, and it's possible that it could get nicked or damaged during heart surgery.

And at that point, the surgeon lost us from the anatomy lesson and the permission to allow the surgery, and found us in awe at how the physiology dovetails with the theology found in Romans 10.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Beach Hours

About a week ago I finally got Maggie to the beach for the first time this summer. There's a county park nearby (only four miles!) that used to be a quarry until they got too deep and hit water. At least, I think that's the story. Anyway, now it's a very nice lake for fishing and swimming.

Problem is, there are rules. I am really missing Lake Geneva. This beach requires you to swim in a roped off area right smack in front of a life guard. And there aren't enough life guards to man all the sections. The beach is open from 11:00 to 7:00, which are very inconvenient hours for me now that dinner is at 6:00. And even more inconvenient now that I'm short a vehicle. I want to get up and go to the beach from 10 to noon. Or after supper is cleaned up. Not only that, but at this beach they call for rest-breaks when everybody has to be out of the water for 20 minutes. Rachel recalled this rest period every hour from the times she's been to this beach with Matt, but I sure hope it's only on the odd-hours, and that it just seemed to her to be so frequent as to be hourly rest-times. Can you imagine swimming for only 40 minutes before they kick you out of the water for 20 minutes?

I keep trying to finagle a way to get Maggie out in the sunshine for some swimming exercise, and the hours that swimming is allowed are just not jiving with our schedule. I may have to take a drive over to Pewaukee and see what kind of rules and hours they have at their beach -- and whether they've recuperated from the flooding yet. This little scoliosis-girl needs some hefty doses of vitamin D while it's still available. And I'm not doing a good job taking care of that for her.

WW Noodles

We have seldom had whole wheat noodles that were edible. They tend to make a gooey, sticky, mass of yuck when boiled. My friend Sandy makes totally awesome ww noodles. And one time we found a brand at a store that was good. Backwoods Home author Richard Blunt informs me it must've been Ronzoni.

But today we found one that boils nicely and tastes just fine. At ALDI! This is so mega-cool. Fantastic price. Good pasta. Whole wheat. Wow!


Over the past several weeks, we have been bumping into GOOD movies. First was Girl with a Pearl Earring. It's basically "historical fiction" which is my favorite genre for books. It was decent enough for kids to watch. It's about a girl who was a maid in the home of a famous painter in the 1600s. For those of you who liked Spanglish (because of the characters not submitting to the desire to commit adultery), this story has some of that flavor too.

North and South was another one that came highly recommended, although I can't remember from whom. It is not about the Civil War, as the name would indicate to those of us who homeschooled history buffs. It is about a family who moves from the country (the south of England) to the city (in the north) where everything is about the mills and industry. We watched the first disc, and wanted to spend another two hours watching the second disc but didn't have it. ARGH! So we're still waiting to hear how the story works itself out. It was set in the late 1800s, and it really does a good job of showing the vocation of the workers and the bosses. But mostly it just is a riveting and well-done story (although it starts a little slowly). Highly recommended! But if you have it in your Netflix queue, don't start the first one until the second disc is in your house too. I hope I still feel the same way after we see the conclusion.

We also picked up Beautiful, a comedy with Minnie Driver about beauty shows. The heroine is an awful person, doing anything necessary to win Miss Illinois and then the Miss American Miss pageant. But in the face of adversity, she begins to grow up and make the right decisions. Some language that may be inappropriate for kids, as well as some pretty sassy behavior from the kids, but overall a really good show.

And finally, Madagascar. It was excellent! Hilariously, gut-busting funny! Great for kids and better for grown-ups! This is one of those movies that I might even consider buying ... and there aren't many that rank so high that I'd be willing to make space for them in the house.


Okay, I'm slow. Angie tagged me to play a long time ago, during symposium, right before VBS, and I was not keeping up very well on blogs right then.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?

That was about the time I had the good garden because Beau (a borrowed horse) had spent a few months fertilizing a portion of the yard over winter. I was homeschooling one high-schooler, three grade-schoolers, and a kindergartner, and had just finished a short stint with Maggie going to a speech therapist. It was also the summer that Pr Fenton suggested I needed a father-confessor that I wasn't married to, and he and my husband helped me find one. I was also just beginning to discover what it was like to have all my children weaned and not be pregnant -- weird at the time.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (in no particular order)?
*return videos to Blockbuster
*pick cherries and turn them into something delicious
*buy rechargeable batteries for the battery-eating camera
*ask the neighbor for permission to have a dump truck use his driveway for access to our septic tank, bringing in more top-soil after the dirt settled around the new tanks
*move the email addresses from the old computer to the new one

3. Snacks I enjoy:
tortilla chips with guacamole
warm chocolate-chip cookies
fruit smoothies

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Pay off kids' student loans.
Pay off the house, and have Gary quit his cubicle job to do something else.
Give a whole lot of money to church and to some libraries.

Travel more.
Freely spend money on organic foods and raw milk products.
Buy an Aqua-massage for our home.
And a pool WITH a pool-boy.
Come up with a business where I could hire homeschooled teens.

5. Places I have lived:
central Illinois
River Forest
St Louis
Mississippi for a year
three different places in Wisconsin

6. Jobs I have had:
worked at two fast-food restaurants
printer at two print-shops
lots of maid work during college & sem
one year of in-home day-care
typing theses and term papers
paper routes (motor routes and foot routes)
supervision of paper-carriers

7. People I would like to know more about (in no particular order):
I lost track of who's been tagged for this and who hasn't. I think Rachel and Katie could still be tagged. I don't think I saw Paula's answers, so she may not have been tagged yet. How about Melody and Laura? (I'm getting old enough that I can't remember if I saw responses to this meme in the last couple of weeks or if it was a year ago.)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Garage Sale

We finally gave up. We hauled the stuff off to Goodwill. In May, when I looked at prices for advertising a rummage sale in the Shopper-papers, and considered how many direction-signs we'd need to put up, it was overwhelming to think of the cost of having a garage sale. And then there's the work involved. We finally decided we'd just piggy-back on one of the neighbor's sales, and do ours when somebody else had already brought customers out to the neighborhood. But that didn't work because our June weekends were all reserved for something else. And nobody around here seems to do July garage sales.

We toyed with the idea of saving the junk items for later in fall, like, say, maybe for the flea market at church. But I want the garage usable! I hate climbing over piles and piles of stuff to get to the shovels or the deep-freeze! Furthermore, Gary's been having trouble working on the deck due to wet weather. If we can put boards in the garage to dry out, or to keep them from getting wet again after they've been sanded, that'll mean the job is less influenced by rainy weather.

So we hauled a FULL van-load to Goodwill. There will be another van-load going soon. And another van-load of stuff is going to the curb this week for garbage pick-up. (Goodwill thought it was too shabby to take. And here, I thought it was still fine to use except for the fact that it's a smaller house and we no longer have room for these things. [sigh])

Now that we can see a few spots of concrete here and there on the garage floor, and move around to most places in the garage with needing to climb over only one or two piles of stuphph, I feel much freer and lighter. Now, on to catching up in the kitchen, and trying to finish the unpacking (from moving) this week. (I hope!)

Organic Veggies

Thursday Bible class was in charge of providing dinner one night for VBS. I took a whoppin' big batch of steamed carrots. Okay, so it's boring. It's easy. It's something I usually have on hand to take to potlucks. It's healthy. And it tastes good. Not good like a cheesecake, but good nonetheless, and your stomach feels better 3 hours after eating a pile of carrots than you do 3 hours after OD-ing on cheesecake.

I got so many compliments on the delicious carrots! When I took carrots to two potlucks at Triune, I got compliments there too. And I didn't DO anything. I just steamed carrots, put on some butter and sea salt, and that was it.

Ah, but they are organic carrots. And contrary to what I believed for many years, the taste of organic veggies sometimes makes a world of difference! We joined a CSA this year, and the strawberries and broccoli and spinach (all organic) are phenomenal. They are nothing like the veggies I get at Aldi or Pick-n-Save. Problem is, we're getting spoiled. What happens come November when we're back to store veggies? Ah, incentive to get my own garden going....

Sunday, July 06, 2008

"100" -- More Backyard Weeds

7. SMARTWEED has smooth-edged leaves and one of the thickest stems you'll find in a weed. It's not flowering yet, but when it does, it will have spikes of pink flowers.

8. WHITE CLOVER is Thumper's candy. It smells sweet sweet sweet! Although it's called "white clover," the petals are often slightly tinged with pink. The flowering heads are smaller than in red clover. And of course, being clover, the leaves come in leaflets of three.

9. RAGWEED is horrid for those with hayfever. In fact, ragweed is the culprit behind the runny noses that usually get blamed on goldenrod.