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Showing posts from May, 2011

Of Pilot Lights and Washing Machines

The pilot light in my oven is out. This is a first. I'm used to the front right stovetop burner going out on me, and am familiar with how to re-light it. We keep matches in the drawer next to that burner just for such occasions.
But the oven? I haven't a clue. So I have a giant glass pyrex dish full of 18 chicken legs all dressed up with no place to go. It's very sad. Those ladies look positively forlorn.
My son, however, suggested a solution: "Maybe I should sit on it!"
There is precedence. Last week, my washing machine futzed out right after filling with water, and it stayed that way long enough for the soaking wet contents to start to smell. I was this close to inviting a repairman into the deep, dark hole that is my garage, something I was loathe to do given the high embarrassment factor. Four days went by, and the stench was rising. The only reason I made it that long is that the last load to make it successfully through was chock full of underwear…

A Quiz. Not the New Yorker One I Always Bomb.

Image
Take a look at these photographs.

Now answer the following question. What do these five items -- two landscaping rocks, one anvil, a plant book, and an art book -- have in common. Are they: (a) the gifts I received for Mother's Day? (b) part of the most interesting homeschooling project we've done all year? (c) just the right weight, when stacked together, to make my washing machine with its broken latch run? (d) the only items that did not sell in our recent garage sale? Imagine now that you are listening to the little Jeopardy Ditty. Enter your guess in the comments. I'll post the answer tonight!
(I got a 50% on the most recent New Yorker News Quiz. In my defense, I did not get the American Idol question right, which I think should actually increase my score by at least 30%. Don't I get credit for shunning network television?)
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Mockingbird

I am reading To Kill A Mockingbird to my older kids. Originally, I gave it to my oldest to read on his own, but he asked me if I would read it with him, aloud. We started off just the two of us, but have been joined by the next oldest two, who can't stand anyone doing something that does not involve them.
However, my second oldest is clearly not engaged. His two comments during tonight's reading:
1. "Boo is a stupid name."
and
2. "Mom! This big speck of dust is attracted to my shirt!"
Apparently he was not so much listening to and enthralled by the story as he was playing with floating dust motes and watching them land on his shirt.
I am a reasonable woman. But if he fails to appreciate and adore To Kill a Mockingbird, I may have to put a bag over my head and walk the earth in the depths of failure and despair.
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I am beginning to think that I need to give my children a list, a list of things and people they must love if they do not want to be disowne…

The Top Ten List of Shame

This post is for you, Viv, because a comment you left today put me in shock. Here's what you said, in response to this post, in which I revealed that my homeschooling life has had some colossal-ly bad moments:
I was feeling all left out, the way you have seemingly mastered life since you started homeschooling. It seems like everyone (bloggy pals) pulled their sh*t together all at once, and I still personify calamity and disaster...effectively becoming the odd man out. It is nice to know that you still have days where calamity and disaster prevail...because really, change a few initials and I could have written that, though I would have thrown in a few extra pucks. I feel decidedly less alone, and like maybe there is still hope for me one day after all. ;)
Reading that response made me realize that I have strayed from a tried-and-true theme of this blog: giving people just enough of a glimpse into the wonderful whackness of AIRY5 to make them really, really grateful that they do not…

Power

It's been crazy around here.
We thought that after the garden tour, things would slow down. We were mistaken. So we've been trying to teach the children well, manage our small business, keep up with clients, orchestrate summer plans for the kids, and control/coordinate the process of setting up a new soccer team that Rick will be coaching.
Oh, the drama of coaching! Take 15-30 girls -- and their parents -- throw in one passionate coach, stir in the whole Tryouts process, shake with changing parameters daily, and WOW! You get a roller-coaster of a soccer team ride.
It's all good though. The beautiful game will win out over the demands and whackiness; it always does.
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But we've been running like mad. So yesterday, with the littlest at preschool and the oldest at his guitar lesson, I finally had the chance to slow down with the middle three. (Another bonus of having a kid ride the bus? A 45 minute guitar lesson becomes a 2-4 hour adventure away from the house. …

On the Flip Side

Lest anyone think I am pollyanna about homeschooling, I just thought I'd post an actual text I sent to my husband a few minutes ago:
"T just pooed and peed on the floor in her room while she was in a time out for scratching deep ruts in her sister's chest. While I'm trying to help E with her math, V wants me to help him with something he is building, L wants me to read aloud some more, and S is probably eating cake."
I then texted him a four letter word that was not Puck.
OK, off to read the next chapters of Beyond The Western Sea.
Never a dull moment. I really wish there were.
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Reflections on Taking the Plunge

Recently, I was asked to write an article for a local parents newsletter about my experience homeschooling. Since I seem otherwise incapable of posting to this blog of late, I decided to do the old cut and paste job, and share the same article here. A chunk of it appeared in a slightly different format in an earlier post of mine, so it may sound familiar to a few of you.
Writing this was a nice exercise, a good way to begin thinking about the past year. As with any adventure, much of this school year has not gone as I imagined it would. Much of the year has been characterized by my thinking something like, "Well, I'd like to do that a little differently next time..." And yes, there will be a next time, as we will definitely continue on our current path. It's been quite a year. And now, with summer fast upon us, here are some thoughts as I approach the end of my first year as a homeschooling mama.
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Sometimes, I look around my house, strewn as it is with pa…

Mud and Worms on Mother's Day

Still pajama-clad, picking my way through the early morning fog, trowel in hand, I began Mother's Day 2011 trudging through the garden with my 10 year old. We found the most likely vegetable bed and started digging.
This is what you do if you forget to buy crickets – again – and you've got some fire-bellied toads in need of a meal. This is what you do if you're a mom. You extricate yourself from warm blankets and comfy pillows. You shove your hands in damp earth before you've even had a cup of coffee. You ring in Mother's Day with mud and worms, so that a worried son can tend to his pets.
I did try to "worm" my way out of this task. When my son came upstairs early this morning, bed-headed and wearing his worried face, I sent him out to the garden on his own, with the commandment Get Thee Some Worms. I told him the most likely places to look. I told him no, we could not jump in the car and drive to the pet store to buy crickets, that that errand was …

I Bombed This Quiz...Again

Today's score: 58%!
You'd think I wouldn't enjoy repeated mediocrity. But each week, I take that damn New Yorker news quiz and only once have I scored above a 60%. And really, 60% doesn't even rise to the level of mediocrity. How embarrassing.
The funny thing is, I listen to NPR all the time. I would have thought that illustrious news source would prepare me nicely for a weekly news quiz. I do, after all, have slightly more success with Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, even if I can't get them to pick me to be on their show. I guess all that bickering in the background while I'm trying to listen to the radio is taking its toll on how much I retain of what I hear.
Oh well, I will keep trying. Join me! Take the quiz! Come back and leave a comment and tell me how you do! Brag if you can, join me at the Dunce Table if not.
What a Week: Mostly Osama, and Some Other Stuff
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Reflection, Not Rejoicing

Osama Bin Laden is dead.
The single response that makes any sense to me comes from the Vatican. Please click through and read the link below. It doesn't matter if you are Catholic, Christian, animal, vegetable or mineral. Death is always devastating for someone.
Article title: Vatican says bin Laden's death cause for reflection, not rejoicing
How do we explain fist-pumping celebrations to our children?
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