Archive for January, 2008

A little Q&A on blogging.

Ami over at amimental tagged me for a little bloggerish meme, and since I’ve fallen into the terrible habit of being tagged for a meme and telling myself that I’ll get back to that one just as soon as I can, and then I completely forget, I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf and start remembering to respond to memes. It is a new year, after all.

So, this meme asks me some questions about blogging. I’ll answer ’em, and then I’ll tag some people who (if they’re anything at all like me) will then do any one of the following (or combinations thereof):

a) feel all warm and fuzzy because somebody tagged them.
b) wish they had time at the moment to actually respond to the meme.
c) wonder just exactly how to pronounce the word “meme”.
d) forget to respond to the meme and then feel just terrible about it later on in the middle of the night when they wake up and remember that they forgot.

So, are you ready, then? Here goes:

How long have you been blogging?
I’ve been blogging for almost a year. My first post was dated February 20, 2007.

What inspired you to start your blog, and who are your mentors?
I’m not sure that inspired is the right word to describe why I started blogging. Driven might work better, as in “what drove you to blogging, in your final, most desperate hour?” And the answer to that is: RegularDad and I had just moved our little family all the way back east after 12 years living in Colorado. While we’d been considering a move back “home” for over a year, we never really managed to make it happen because RegularDad’s job is somewhat specialized and it’s hard for him to find work just any old place. Anyway, we did finally manage to find him a job flying satellites out of Pennsylvania, and the day after we found out he was in the running for that position, we found out that his dad had cancer (in remission now), and maybe 30 days later, we were getting on a plane in a blinding snowstorm to move 2,000 miles east.

Was I glad to go? Yeah. Sure. I missed RegularSis and the RegularNieces and Regular Nephews. I missed the shore. And the pizza and the bagels. But I’d been out west for 12 years. I’d built a life for myself out there. My kids were born there. And suddenly, I found myself far, far away from everything and everyone I’d known for so long. And it was wintertime and it was freezing cold. And we were living in this little tiny rented farmhouse with old fashioned glass windows that froze over, making it impossible to even see the outdoors at all. And it was just me, my 6-year-old and my 3-year-old in that little frozen house all through the winter because RegularDad was working nonstop.

I went a little crazy there for a while, with a sudden lack of adult conversation. So, I started a blog. Mostly just to be able to talk to grownups about my day-to-day existence. Which is mostly about homeschooling. So I made my blog about homeschooling.

My mentors….Doc, for sure. Doc was one of the very first homeschool bloggers I ever read that wasn’t a fundamentalist. And I read her archives nonstop for quite a while. In fact, I read her archives so much that she actually wrote a post yelling at me to get the hell out of her archives, because I freaked her out really bad. She thought I was a cyber-stalker. I posted a comment to that post, saying “sorry, it’s just me” and then she checked my IP address (or whatever it is she has to do these days to protect herself because the FUNDY’s target her so much) and then she said she was sorry and liked my blog and now we’re friends. Sort of. In a non-stalking, completely innocent kind of way. Not that I’ve been back to read her archives since, mind you. Doc’s been homeschooling for years and years, and did most of it as a single parent, which I can hardly imagine. She’s a cancer survivor and one of the smartest women I’ve ever encountered online. She’s the real deal. And she’s NOT A FUNDY. It’s, like, such a bonus!

My other mentor is Katherine, not because she’s been blogging for years, but because we started blogging together. We actually posted at the same time over the the Denim Jumper that we were thinking about starting blogs, and in the end we decided to start blogging together. And every day, I go to her blog, and I feel glad that she’s there. There are millions of blogs in the world, but there are only a very few that go down like the warmest cup of tea on the coldest day in a little rented farmhouse with frozen windows. Our Report Card is one of those very few.

Gee, I really should move on to another question, don’t you think? We’ll be here all night at this rate.

Are you trying to make money online, or are you doing this just for fun?
Well, I’m not trying to make money online, but if you wanted to send me some cash, I wouldn’t turn it down. Email me, and I’ll take that extra 20 bucks off your hands for you.

Why am I doing this? Hell, I don’t know. I started this because I needed an outlet. I keep it going for the same reason, and also because of the people who tell me they like my blog. I take that very seriously. It pleases me to no end to hear that I’ve made someone laugh. Or think. Or pick up a book they might otherwise have skipped. Or feverishly start biting their nails…oh…wait…maybe not THAT.

What 3 things do you love about being online?
The people, the people, and the people.


Well, that’s the end of the meme. I’m gonna tag Katherine, Fourmother, Robinella, Andie, and Sara. And if you’re not on the list and want to be, add yourself in via the comments, consider yourself tagged and go for it.  Except for you, Doc. I’m not gonna tag you. Because I read at your blog last week that you’re, like, SUPERBUSY right now with the farm, and I can respect that. Really I can. It’s not that I’m afraid of getting yelled at again. It’s respect.

And can I just say that I have TAG ANXIETY. I’m sitting here all like: gee, what if everyone else is mad because I didn’t tag them? I want to tag them, really I do, but it seems like such a copout to ALWAYS say: oh…I tag everyone in my blogroll. A copout, and also a less-than-personal tag. Like I don’t really want to know the answers to all these questions from everyone in my blogroll. But I do want to know. But if I list all of you, it’ll take forever to add in the links, and I’m getting hungry and there’s no food up here in the study. And my blogroll is so completely and totally out of date ANYWAY because I have no time to update it, so even just saying “okay…everyone in my blogroll” doesn’t even adequately cover everyone I want to tag.

Does anyone else ever go through this? Or is it just me?

It’s just me, isn’t it.

So, there you have it. I tag Everybody Except For Doc.



Bridging the generation gap.

Every time I watch this, I feel like I could write a master’s thesis on its pure symbolic beauty. (Make sure you have the speakers turned on. The soundtrack is essential.)

 Edited to add: The link above may only work for a short time. Lakai, Ltd is claiming copyright on this and removed at least one version from YouTube. Watch it while the link still works.

Read Duma Key. For the memories.

Finished reading Duma Key, by Stephen King a few days back, and I meant to come and tell you all about it, but then I got swamped by the weekend. Really…just once I’d like to take by the collar all those people who think homeschoolers have no social life and drag them along on a typical weekend with us. The past 3 days have just been a whirlwind of social activities and obligations. Fun? Yes. But exhausting, too.

 Ah, life is good, though. Especially when you no longer have a pile of dishes waiting to be washed by hand when you come through the door after a full day of HANGING OUT WITH OTHER PEOPLE. (Yep, it’s really true. We actually have friends. And we’re homeschoolers. Scary, isn’t it?)

But, Duma Key. I want to tell you how much I enjoyed this book. Yes, I know. It’s Stephen King. But he’s won the O’Henry award and been given some other award I forget the name of for his Distinguished Contribution to American Literature or something like that, so you’d think it’d be okay now, to admit the one actually reads and enjoys this man’s writing. Sort of like how Galileo had all those theories about the earth revolving around the sun and all those church leaders had him excommunicated and then beheaded or something, but then a thousand years later they realized he was right all along, so they pardoned him. Not that he was alive to enjoy his pardon or anything, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

Right. Anyway…on to Duma Key.

It’s the story of a man named Edgar Freemantle, a construction business owner who survives a horrible accident (the kind that no one really has the right to actually walk away from) and then how he moves to a new place to start a new life as an artist. Does he run into some sort of monster there? Well, gee. It’s a Stephen King novel. What do you think?

So, that’s what it’s about. Basically. But really, what it’s really about is: memory. In all its guises.

Not only does Edgar struggle with remembering basic things due to his brain injury, but he also is remembering what it’s like to be an artist. How many of us have been in that moment when we take up again an old artistic hobby we once loved as a child and remembered back that ability? If you haven’t yet done that, trust me…chances are you will. And the following passage might just describe perfectly what it feels like:

I remember my concentration being fined down to a brilliant cone, the way it sometimes was in the early days of my business, when every building (every bid, really) was make or break. I remember clamping a pencil in my mouth once again at some point, so I could scratch at the arm that wasn’t there; I was always forgetting the lost part of me. When distracted and carrying something in my left hand, I sometimes reached out with my right one to open a door. Amputees forget, that’s all. Their minds forget and as they heal, their bodies let them.

What I mostly remember about that evening is the wonderful, blissful sensation of having caught an actual bolt of lightning in a bottle for three or four minutes. (p. 58)

By the end of the story, not only has Edgar remembered his art back into existence, he’s also learned more about the power of memory than he ever wanted to know:

On some level, unless we’re mad, I think most of us know the various voices of our own imaginations.

And of our memories, of course. They have voices, too. Ask anyone who has ever lost a limb or a child or a long-cherished dream. Ask anyone who blames himself for a bad decision, usually made in a raw instant (an instant that is most commonly red). Our memories have voices, too. Often sad ones that clamor like raised arms in the dark. (p. 595)

So, Edgar draws, and Edgar paints,  and Edgar remembers. And sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s horrifying. But in the end, he heals his body, his brain, and his memory.

Read this. Pretend it’s not Stephen King, if you have to. Because there’s stuff to learn in this one. Stuff you used to know, deep in your best childhood heart. Stuff you’ve only forgotten.

Read this. And remember.

What? Me, blow off everything just to read a book? ME? Nah!

Many congrats to all of you for not receiving a personality test result that might indicate you are not a RARITY in some form or other.

 And many apologies for my absence from my very own blog this week, but I have been very busy doing:

a) schoolwork with my 7-year-old.

b) negotiations with my 4-year-old regarding just exactly how loud she can be during school time.

c) reminding the children that RegularDad is working the night shift this week and as such must sleep throughout the day and as such, we need to be as quiet as possible in spite of the fact that it’s freekin’ freezin’ outside and we have all this pent up energy that we just can’t seem to get out at the gym or the mall or grocery store or any place OTHER THAN RIGHT OUTSIDE THE DOOR TO THE BEDROOM WHERE REGULARDAD IS TRYING TO SLEEP.

d) reading the new Stephen King novel unpacking diligently as ever.

e) reading the new Stephen King novel catching up on all that laundry.

f) loading up the new dishwasher with large, bulky pots and pans and running it in the middle of the day, just because I can, all while reading the new Stephen King novel cleaning the bathrooms.

g) all of the above.

Did I mention that the new Stephen King is out?

I’m halfway through it. And my 7-year-old just landed on the floor with a thud, followed by an “ow…ow…OWOW!!!!” She’s clearly hurt, and I’m betting the whole accident went down right outside the bedroom door where RegularDad is trying to sleep.

I’d better get back to reading the new Stephen King novel go see if she’s okay.

Me…to a T.

Came across some sort of personality test this morning, and decided to give it a go. It told me this:

Your Personality is Very Rare (INTP)

Your personality type is goofy, imaginative, relaxed, and brilliant.Only about 4% of all people have your personality, including 2% of all women and 6% of all menYou are Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Perceiving.
Basically, I’m goofy, but brilliant. That’s me to a T.
I like the way they say that my personality type is Very Rare. Makes me feel that much more special. And unique. And more inclined to post a link to their personality test. Go ahead. Test yourself. How much you wanna bet that we all end up with Very Rare Personality Types? My guess is: a lot of us.
After all, who wants to hear: Your Personality Type Is Pretty Much Plain Old Run-Of-The-Mill. You boring bastard. Not many of us.
Am I right, or am I right?


Look! Under the counter! It’s a mini-fridge! It’s a trash-compactor! No! Wait! It’s a… DISHWASHER!!!!


It’s stainless! It’s beautiful! It’s infinitely cooler and more intense than that other piece of crap we returned to Best Buy. And right now — RIGHT AT THIS VERY MOMENT — it’s washing the dishes while I’m up in the attic typing this.

It’s so incredible. Let’s zoom in a little bit, shall we?


See those little green lights? See how they’re glowing a nice green? That means it’s working. It’s actually washing my dishes for me. Right now. While I’m not in the kitchen with a sore back and aching feet.

I’m gonna save these and keep them in their own special little photo album. Sort of like when you bring a new baby home. Except this thing doesn’t wear diapers. And it’s not as loud as a new baby either.

It’s actually pretty quiet. It’s one of those whisper-wash things. Pretty cool, huh? But I swear, when it first started up, I could hear the Hallelujah Chorus starting up somewhere behind the control panel.

Or maybe it was just in my head.


[sonific 0211285bc6b3f86f4109fca7f0d3ab34611d33ae]

Expanding our lexicon.

At the end of dinner, last night:

Me to 7-year-old who is in the act of picking up her plate and taking it to the kitchen counter: “Aren’t you going to eat your salad?”

7-year-old: “Oh, yeah. I was just going to clear this plate to make some room for my salad plate.”

Me: “Well, that’s very sweet of you, but it’s best to just set it aside tonight. There’s dishes everywhere in there right now.”

(We all glance in to the kitchen, where the counters are piled high with dishes that we used that day, not to mention the dishes we had to take out of the faulty dishwasher so that it can be hauled away.)

Me: “Once we get the new dishwasher installed, it’ll be a lot easier for you to help out and clear your place. But for now, just let me deal with it. I’ve got dish ish—  dish…ish… dish… PROBLEMS. I’ve got issues. With dishes….”

RegularDad: “You’ve got dissues.”

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