Tuesday, January 31, 2017

John Walker and John Hodges

Professor Walker
I've been trying to tell my kids about Professor Walker.

Mr. Hodges
As it turns out, I couldn't without also talking about Mr. Hodges.
Perhaps it's because I named a son after the two of them (using each of their middle names, since I figured there were enough Johns in the world already), but in my life, they were two sides of the same coin. I had a number of other wonderful professors in college: brilliant, godly, and loving. Dr. Allman, Dr. Hugh, Professor Graham, Dr. Brian, Dr. Clap, and Dr. Callis all come to mind immediately, and if I took time to think I could come up with others, but this post is about Mr. Hodges, who celebrated his birthday was yesterday, and Professor Walker, who died yesterday.

(It may seem a bit awkward to read a eulogy and a toast at the same time. I write it because I'm tired of writing to others what I should have said to my friends while they were still alive, but mostly because, like I said, they are together in my heart.)

There were a lot of similarities between Professor Walker and Mr. Hodges. They both taught Humanities at Crichton College while I attended there. Professor Walker taught English. Mr. Hodges taught Art and Culture. Several classes they taught together. Mr. Hodges also led the theater department, such as it was, and without an actual "department" he (with others) pulled off some really amazing shows.

I remember him demonstrating a particular dance move that some of us in Godspell were having difficulty with. "Now keep in mind, I'm not a dancer!" he warned....and then off he went, singing, kicking his legs and waving his hands just right, putting us all to shame.

Professor Walker was in a wheelchair, a quadriplegic since the age of 15 (I think it was 15). He used to be a football player, an athlete, but his mind wasn't damaged when he dove into that creek. The first time I saw him, though, I was surprised....stupid little 17 year old me never thought of a person in a wheelchair being a college professor. Plus he looked young. He was 34.

I have some of the papers I wrote for Professor Walker in my file cabinet still.
His notes were hard to read. His numb hands had difficulty holding and writing with a pen or pencil. I remember going by his office once to ask him what he had written on my paper. I felt so bad. He was happy to see me, he was happy to talk, and explain, and discuss...I went by his office a lot after that. I could talk about anything. He'd listen and answer. Both in his classes and in his office, we could explore a passage or poem or idea together, and he never left me behind or made me feel like he was just explaining TO me. Long before I met him I loved to read (I remember him telling me once that he thought I may have read more books than he had) but he opened my eyes to depths and heights that I had never seen in what I read. He taught me to really understand, and as a result, to love both what I read and the author. Milton, Spencer, Donne...he made me see them as living, vibrant, and relevant. I still sometimes remember a class or read a poem and a new understanding will occur to me.

I got better at reading his writing.

My first class with him (English 101) was amazing and new and I aced it. My first paper in his English 102 got a C. I couldn't understand. The note at the end said: "You can do better." He graded me on my own personal curve; my average work was never good enough for him. So I got better, but I didn't have to agree with him either. I next wrote a research paper "proving" him wrong: "A Walk through the Woods on a Snowy Evening" was NOT actually about death. He laughed at me. He gave me an "A". And then we talked about it for about two hours, I think...I was late for my next class. He didn't change my mind; he didn't try to. He nurtured it and gave it time to grow. I'm a lot older now, twice the age I was, two years older than he was. Still young, I insist, but I'm old enough to see the death in that poem now. Even if that's not what Frost was thinking of.

For Mr. Hodges, I mostly have pictures. Some of the pictures are of famous paintings/buildings he taught me to appreciate, some are of him with the casts of different plays. If Professor Walker was a gardener, Mr. Hodges was a shepherd. Oh, the places he led us! New thoughts and new places, new ways of seeing things and new reasons to see them! Who knew that art, whether through language, movement, paint, rock, or sound was so important! I didn't. Mr. Hodges showed me.

Or us, rather....both of them taught excellent classes and I was blessed to spend time one on one with each of them. But I mostly remember my private talks with Professor Walker, and my best memories of Mr. Hodges are in groups. Everyone wanted to be around Mr. Hodges. I'm pretty sure he had to lock his office door and hide under his desk to get alone time. He exuded life and warmth. Where Professor Walker was quietly, gently intense, Mr. Hodges was vibrantly passionate.

His passion was catching, and what he was passionate for (and still is) was God and Art and how they were inseparable. He taught us how art influenced culture and vice versa and how it all pointed to God. He taught us that being an artist was being a little god, and those who love the true God should take the work very seriously. He showed us how all beauty, all truth, comes from God, and that all art is an attempt to show Him. I couldn't do my average in his class either. He called better out of me, out of everyone around him, and he taught us how our creative works can and should point to God, even if and especially when God was not explicit in them. He taught us that Notre Dame was not a waste of time and effort and why it wasn't. He taught us to listen to great music as a conversation with the composer. One memorable lesson was when he challenged us to go a full week (or was it two) without consuming any media. No music, no tv. This was before the internet and facebook. I  learned a lot about myself that week. Every so often I try the experiment again. I fail every time in completing the challenge, but it's worth it to keep trying.

I was involved in four plays he directed at college. Two I was on stage, two I was back stage. Those memories remain among the very best of my life, right up with the birth of my children. Through those plays, he taught us a lot more than our lines and blocking. None of the plays were explicitly Christian (well, even Godspell wasn't meant to be!), but he showed us Christ in them, and then showed us how to show others. He taught us respect for others work and time. He taught us the old adage "There are no small parts only small actors," and he made us believe it. He taught us to strive for perfection before the show and showed us how to enjoy the "good enough" we always ended up with. He taught us to have fun while we worked and learned. He taught us that to be able to recognize evil we had to know Good. He taught us that one particularly difficult bit of choreography in "O Bless the Lord My Soul." Mr. Hodges would make a person feel special and inspired them to prove it.

I remember him mostly with lots of people around, but I also remember he made me feel special, myself as an individual. And the fact that he did the same for dozens I know of and more doesn't take away from that feeling, either.

I can never watch a movie, or tv show, or listen to a song on the radio without thinking about what it means, what the creator is trying to say, and the different methods they are using to say it. Professor Walker did that with literature for me, Mr. Hodges did that with art and media. Honestly, there is a lot of overlap there...I'm making firmer categories than there actually were. Forgive me, it's the best I can do right now.

Mr. Hodges led, with other professors help (including Professor Walker's) a monthly Film Series. We'd watch a movie, old (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance), new (The Matrix), humorous (An Ideal Husband, O Brother Where Art Thou?), or dark (Bladerunner), even some independant films (Spitfire Grill). All of those and the others are among my favorite movies now because of the way I understand them after our discussions. Some of them for more than just that reason, of course...I named a son after a character in one of those movies. Regardless, the way I consume my entertainment, my news, the way I think of the ideas around me, these meetings and Mr. Hodges's classes taught me. No blind singing with the lyrics or quiescently absorbing the message of a show! More than once, no, frequently, I am thankful for this teaching. I believe it has both enriched my life and protected my soul. I am attempting to pass it on to my children.

Professor Walker changed my life in different ways. He changed the way I looked at other people, not just people in wheelchairs and in Econoline vans but anyone different from me. He taught me to see the beauty and the truth in the suffering people, in the uglier and harder parts of life. He saw God in everyone and gave me just a glimpse of how to do it. One quote from him in particular that changed me, changed me immediately, and I still think of it and remind myself, and my kids know this quote:

"Honesty without courtesy is brutality."

As an immature, self-centered young adult who prided herself on her bluntness (but sadly, not her honesty) that quote shook me, and over time drastically changed my idea of who I wanted to be. His next sentence changed the way I saw God, not just by the words but by the little choke in his voice, his tone, when he said it,

"God does not treat us that way."

For the first time, maybe, I really saw God as kind, and not just as a harshly loving judge. A paralyzed man in a wheelchair taught me that.

Before I met Prof. Walker, I thought I would rather be dead than be paralyzed. After I knew him, my view changed so much that I told my friend that I would welcome a wheelchair if it would teach me to be like him. The naive enthusiasm of the immortal youth, yes, but while I still shrink from suffering as much as possible, when it comes, I think I'm a little braver through it because of him.

Both men showed me how to love. Not with warm fuzzies or sweet nothings, but with the action of caring and loving everyone around them. You couldn't spend time with them without wanting more, not because they were brilliant (well, not just that) but because you could tell they cared. That you mattered to them, and they were loving you the best they could by teaching you about God in the ways they knew Him best.

I'm a poor student, but my whole life I've been trying to learn what those two taught. It is a good use of my life.

There is a lot more in my heart about these two men, more I learned from them, but I lack the time to find the words right now. Before I end, I do want to say that much of what I learned was taught, not just by them, but also by the other professors and staff of Crichton college and the enviroment and atmosphere they created. It was not a perfect place as no place on this earth is, but for myself it was a place of growth and love and learning. I am always regretful of how I underappreciated moments while in them, but I am learning to appreciate them in hindsight and be thankful for that.


On death

I've been meaning to write here more often, particulary this year. I've been meaning to do a lot of things. I'll have meant to have done a lot of things when I'm dead....I'm not sure that's avoidable. I've been thinking about death a lot. It's been kind of everywhere lately, it seems. This is evidence more of my advancing age than an actual increase of dying in the world, but nonetheless (or perhaps even more so) it is unsettling.

Professor John Scott Walker died yesterday. His birthday is one day and 17 years before mine. I met him when I was 17. His funeral is on my son's 17th birthday. He died 25 days before the anniversary of Janessa Moore's death, which is also the 3rd anniversary of Xenia's death. His funeral is one month before Xenia's birthday. The beginning of the years are getting hard for me.

My inclination when sad or in pain is to eat. I'd love to say it was to write or hug my children or pray, but honestly, it's to eat an entire pound each of polska keilbasa sausage and cheese and follow those with a whole cake, while watching something on Netflix. Those other, better things are there too, but it's hard to write and hug with each hand full of food, and impossible to pray while the tv is on. There is a reason fasting is good for the soul. Lent is coming...it always starts in February or March. It will always be there right as I am wanting to immerse myself in food and oblivion. That is a good thing.

Yesterday morning, before I knew about Professor Walker, I wrote in my journal that death felt so close at the moment. Not imminent, just there. Real. I talked about that a bit. I finished with, "Lord, keep my death ever before my face, teach me to give up those things that make me fear death, and teach me to behave toward others as if each interaction may be my last. It sounds exhausting, so give me strength, Lord." I add to that now: teach me to behave toward others as if each interaction may be THEIR last.

I knew Professor Walker was dying. Everyone did. Quadriplegics just don't live very long, and he'd been getting sicker for a while. And yet. And yet. Death really doesn't wait till anyone is ready, does it?

Prayer in Preparation for Death, from Prayers in time of sickness, suffering, dying and death, found here:

O Lord, look upon me, Your creature, and the work of Your hands.
Take away my fear, and send Your angel to comfort me with the strength of Your presence, even as You were comforted in Your agony.
I commend everyone I love to Your providence and care, knowing that You will do more for them than I could ever desire.
O Lord, You know my sins; have mercy on me, and in Your wealth of love and compassion for mankind, let heaven be opened to me.
May I see the angels rejoicing over me, an unworthy sinner, as I am received into Your Kingdom.
I am not worthy of Your love for me, but I trust that You will not abandon me to the eternal death of hell.
By the prayers of Mary, Your Mother, and of all the saints, may I be counted among those who behold the light of Your face.
May I offer You the praise and worship which are my eternal life and joy.
For You are my life and my resurrection, and Your arms will receive me in love, O Jesus, and I glorify You, with Your Father, Who is without beginning, and Your most holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever unto ages of ages. Amen.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Home thoughts.

I tend to underestimate the time and muscle a job will require. I also tend to procrastinate doing the projects I really want to do because I never feel like I have a large enough chunk of free time to make the effort worthwhile. It is a conundrum.

Hubby, Firstborn, and Intensity are not here. They went to Baton Rouge yesterday to try to help my in-laws, who are just a few of the thousands who were flooded this past week. Grandma lost everything, but my in-laws got lucky...their house had four feet of water in it and they lost almost everything inside, but they have power, water, gas, and air conditioning already. With my husband and kids' help, they found some things to save. Their house is fixable, their car replaceable, and they still have one working vehicle and all three cats. It's still terribly terribly hard on them, though...they've lived in that house for almost 40 years and it has never taken on water. They had so many nice things gathered and saved over the years. Just gone. For my family here, a total flood would lose us a lot of irreplaceable photos, a precious quilt, and.....well, mostly, a whole lot of nothing important. We don't have heirlooms, antiques, expensive important stuff...our home is mostly furnished in beat-up hand-me-downs and curb finds. Which is awesome, for a family of 11 with 9 boys and two big dogs and a wanna-be farm. It's hard for me to imagine what it is like losing a lifetime of carefully gathered and cared-for items. Having to see them destroyed and physically toss them in the trash pile with your own two hands. It must be heart-wrenching. Not just the memories or place they held in your life, but also your plans and hopes for them in the future. My mil lost things she'd imagined her great-great grandchildren would cherish someday. FEMA can't help with that. No one can. Lord have mercy, and thank You that they are safe.

Anyhow, Hubby is on his way home now. He has to be at work on Monday. Firstborn and Intensity are staying. There is still a lot of work to do and those two are great workers. So is Right-hand Girl. I need to work on the younger boys. They got off easy with the olders doing most of the work for the past few years, and I didn't train them as well. It's harder when they are older. But they'll get there. Or else.

So, school has started, again. We are playing a bit of catch up with the olders, but they are handling it. I have 3 high schoolers now! How strange. We are part of a new homeschooling group this year, it was going to be two but life suddenly crunched down on us (it tends to do that) and shows no signs of letting up so just one homeschooling group it is right now. It has a co-op, which my 6 youngest are doing. The boys are very excited. They've missed having homeschool classes to and field trips and social events to attend. My olders are joining Key Club. It looks like it will be great. I'm excited. Our homeschool has been too fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants-all-by-our-lonesomes the past couple years.

And I'm taking on a diy home improvement project, finally! I'm very excited. I've been planning and thinking about what to do in this place since we moved in here 3 years ago. I did a half-baked job on the kitchen (which is SUCH NEED of a complete redo) but now I'm getting serious about my oldest son's bedroom. I only have him for another couple of years or so, and he's always lived in a barely put together room with with little brothers that destroyed everything. So he gets the first fix-up, as well as the guinea pig room. Ha!

Today we washed 3 of the 4 walls and oh boy they were gross. The carpet and its padding was torn up and tossed. Hundreds of staples have been pulled out of the floor with pliers. Nails and screws have removed from walls. This week my plan is to replace the broken window (its been blocked with plywood for months now), wash the 4th wall and inside of the closet, cut a larger hole around the closet door, and pull up the wall strips.  Also, paint the bed frames.

The final plan includes industrial-type lighting, a corrugated metal ceiling, planked walls, a faux brick wall, a pegboard, a polyurethaned osb floor, and a home built desk. I've got it all written out and planned. I'm excited. I'm also glad the kids took the camera to BR so I can't take before pics. It looks awful in there. I will try to get progress pic after they get back though.

After this room is done, the living room is next. Whee!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Up and at 'em

It never really grew straight anywhere, but it did get it's job done.
Angel Oak

My kids are still alive and my house is still standing, but other than that, I've pretty  much been a failure these past several months. Like Paul in Romans 7, I have been spending my time doing what I don't care about and neglecting what I do love and desire. The internet and food has been my "soma."

There is a reason my tattoo is of a phoenix. No matter how burnt out, ashy, cold and dark I become, I always need to get up and try again. Even if I know I will just burn up and fail again. Over and over and over. It's discouraging. REALLY discouraging, lately. I struggling with thinking "what's the point?" Motivation usually gets me as far as writing a new schedule or plan and sometimes I even follow it a day or two. I have very little endurance or perseverance.

I need routines, good habits, or as it helps me (a little) to think of them: rituals. I know all about what they should be, how to create them. I dream of them, write them out, tell the kids how well our lives will go if we could just do it "this" way, and set them up like a beautiful castle of cards. A castle of cards on a rickety tv tray in a living room with 10 other people running around, pets, angry bankers, and demanding dentists breezing through the room every hour or so. Not to mention my hands shake badly.

I keep hoping there is a magic pill, book, website, fancy timer or other doodad, prayer, or plan that this time! will make me stick to it!! I haven't found one yet. I keep looking.

At this moment, though, not a great moment, not a motivated moment, not a prepared moment, but just this one right now, 7:45 am on a Monday, I'm writing in my sadly neglected blog, taking my morning supplements, and next moment I will be dressing and making my bed. That's already more than I do some days. I'm not going to sweep through the house today, making everything bright and beautiful and organized, I'm not going to do a fun craft/activity with my kids, I'm not going to finally restart my budget or write my novel. I'm going to eat breakfast, make sure my olders start school and teach my youngers some reading and math. I'm going to do my short and easy workout that barely counts as anything other than being off the couch. I'm going to go at least one full hour without being online. I'm going to light my altar candle, and pray one Jesus prayer.

I'm good at flaming up, or I used to be. Maybe that's part of getting older, having less enthusiasm for trying again. Maybe that's what I've needed all along, a slower burning spark. Maybe being charcoal is better than dryer lint. Maybe I'm not going to worry about that right now, I have no expectations of suddenly doing well regularly. I'm just going to do okay for a few moments this morning. We'll see what happens next.

(Edited to add: My life isn't bad. It isn't even particularly hard. This is just my own mental/emotional struggle. To paraphrase Jack Sparrow: My problem are not my problems. My problem is my attitude about my problems.)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Janessa Lawyer Moore

We were so very much alike and yet so different. She was a talented writer and artist and fellow geek and browncoat. She introduced me to Stargate SG-1 and Pandora Radio.

She had a wonderful laugh and truly the best version of a Southern accent in the sweetest voice. She was over the top proud of her kids. I know, all moms are supposedly, but she really was.

Her joy was in caring for people. She was always interested in medicine and helping people and she fought hard to finally become a nurse. She had just started a job as a nurse in a nursing home and she was so excited about it.

She was in the middle of making me a quilt. I'm insecure enough that I spend a lot of time second-guessing whether people really like me or not, but I never ever doubted she loved me. Every conversation with her, silly ones or hard ones, short or hours-long, she made it clear. I hope she was as sure of me.

 She is one of the few people as crazy about cheese as I am. I don't know what the weather was like where she was when she died, but here we were having the kind of storms we both loved.  We sat on her bed and folded piles of her laundry while visiting, or just watching tv...we could spend whole days together because we could just be ourselves with each other. She showed me around Miami.  She wrote me HAPPY BIRFDAY once a year. She encouraged my writing. She refused to let me invalidate my own feelings, and I still think of that whenever I am tempted to rationalize away the way I or others feel. I totally failed at helping potty train her oldest son. My oldest son and her third boy are just months apart, and I remember them lying next to each other on the floor as babies. Hers was older, but mine was huge, so I joked that mine looked like the "dumb jock" next to her boy. Two of our daughters are close to the same age. We wanted them to be friends, but with 600 miles between us, that never happened. She was without reserve ecstatically happy for every single pregnancy I had, and completely over the moon about her unborn grandson.  I named my oldest daughter for her. I remember her reaction when we told her over the phone. She was speechless. That didn't happen often. She cried. That did.

She loved the whole idea of my mini-micro farm and was so encouraging about it.

She fought so many battles in her life against horrible demons, and she didn't always win, but she never ever stayed down.

She was looking forward to getting old and being "covered in grandbabies" and she planned on carrying butterscotch candies to pass out to all the kids.

I missed her terribly, but didn't talk to her nearly as often I would have liked.

We made so many plans to visit each other and they always fell through. I've imagined her meeting my friends here so many times; they would have loved each other. She really wanted to attend the Pascha service at my church, and she was excited about being my "bridesmaid" when we celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary. We were going to get tattoos together. I have hundreds of pages of conversations with her saved on my computer. Our hundreds of hours of phone conversations are fading but precious in my memory. We always talked about hopefully seeing each other again SOON and how great the hug would be when we finally did.  Now I've finally made it to her home and she's not here.

Her life changed my life and made it brighter, fuller, warmer, more thoughtful, and more exciting. 600 miles away, my life isn't going to change much with her gone, except for the new emptiness that's just everywhere.

"In the days after she died, the world seemed filled with a harsh, caustic, almost shadowless light that it hurt to see."--from Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Sixteen Years

I feel too young for that number, but that number also seems way too small. It feels longer, not necessarily in a bad way.

Sixteen. Years.

10 children, six boys, four girls, one dead.

 5 hospital births, 4 birthing center births with a midwife, 1 home birth.


 100 more pounds and then 60 less....that's just me. You'll have to ask the Time Lord Ninja about his weight if you want to know.


More than 100 various small livestock/poultry, and about a dozen different pets or so through the years.

10 years homeschooling with another 18 or so to go.

Eight different homes in six different towns in two different states.


Two different religions.

More jobs than I can possibly count, but never much money.


Lots of friends, old, new, lost, kept....


A million failures but zero giving up.

It's been quite a ride so far. I think we are getting better at it, at life together, at loving together. Sometimes it doesn't feel like we've made any progress, but looking back....we sure have. I'm looking forward to the next 16 years and beyond.

(Sorry for the  light non-existent posting lately. This "part-time" job has eaten up all of my time.)

Monday, September 7, 2015

I either have no personality or an awful lot of it.

I took a shortened free version of the Myers Briggs personality test, due to my Right Hand Girl's excitement over discovering her own, very rare and wonderful, personality. I am not what I thought I was....either I remembered wrong or I've changed or something, but instead of being an ENFP like I thought, supposedly I am an ENTP. Barely. Kind of sort of. Maybe if I took the full test (I'm never spending money on a personality test, whatever the benefits may be) the results would be a little more confident. This short version's results sound very much like someone is trying to cover their rear:

Extravert(1%)  iNtuitive(22%)  Thinking(1%)  Perceiving(28%)
  • You have marginal or no preference of Extraversion over Introversion (1%)
  • You have slight preference of Intuition over Sensing (22%)
  • You have marginal or no preference of Thinking over Feeling (1%)
  • You have moderate preference of Perceiving over Judging (28%)
So the only thing sure about me is I value perceiving over judging. In the structure of this test, that means I prefer to approach life in an open, flexible manner, keeping my options open, being adaptable and tolerant, and having a wide range of interests and information. Or, I play it loose and easy, not doing what I ought when I ought because I am caught up in something else shiny, that I am surrounded by old half-finished projects, I have no standards, no focus, no aim, and no future.

I'm currently in a bad mood, having just completely wasted a whole 3 day weekend dreaming about what I would like to do in a someday that will never happen.

Minneapolis trip was great. I walked at lot. Now I want to move there, but not really because I love here, but I want to be near my sister, and that's there.

I started working part-ish time last week. It will really help with our bills. That's a good thing. I'm thankful for it.

Two more geese magically appeared here at Stumble-On while I was gone. Well, not really. My friend Katie dropped them off. They are gorgeous and cute and fun and people say that guineas are loud?? They have nothing on my geese. I have to get a working camera.

I'm reading two books right now, neither of them fiction, which is a bit odd for me. One is The Path to Salvation, A Manual of Spiritual Transformation. Wow. This one is mind-blowing and enlightening and hopeful and totally discouraging, at the moment. I'm about halfway through, and I'm hoping so much that before I reach the end he says something about salvation being possible even if you can't find a place of solitude and shrug off all earthly cares. He doesn't actually say you can't, exactly, but he does talk about solitude's importance. I've been wondering how I could arrange for some solitude in my life without, you know, leaving my husband and kids to a dreary highly structured goal-oriented motherless life.

I was going to say they wouldn't have enough money, either, but considering I'd be gone and not spending any, they'd probably be fine. I do most of the spending. Not that it's a lot, but without me there would be no poultry, much less driving therefore gas buying, much less variety of food, less social activities.....so my part-time job is probably mostly making up for just what I spend.

I have now talked myself into quitting my job and everything else I do. Told you I was in a bad mood.
This is not the fault of the book mentioned above. I haven't read it since Thursday. It's a good book. I'm looking forward to finishing it, and then starting it over again. I will probably repeat that cycle indefinitely. It's a good book. I would like to write more about it someday.

The other book is 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. It came highly recommended, but I haven't read very much yet so I don't know if it is good or not. I'm afraid it is just going to make me feel bad. It sounds like a book for less open and flexible person. I need a scheduling book for ADHD people. There probably is one out there. The book I found on home organization for ADHD people was great. 

Anyone out here read either of those books? I'd love to talk about them with someone. I hope y'all had a great holiday weekend.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Leaving for Minneapolis!!!

It's 11:47 pm and we're about to head to Atlanta to fly to Minneapolis!! Yay!!!!

(btw, Frontier fixed everything and I'm much happier with them now. Still don't like the long hold time, but otherwise their customer service is pretty good.)

I don't recommend Frontier Airlines

I'm packing for a trip to see my little sister and my brand-new niece! I've been pretty stressed out lately with thinking about everything that needs to be done, and for a while this trip was just another thing to stress out about. Not anymore; I'm just pure excited now!

On the other hand, this airline's website stinks, and don't get fooled...they have cheap tickets but they get you in every other way possible. I'm trying to check in online right now but the website isn't working, and of course I've been on hold for about 45 minutes right now. I'm supposed to leave to get my car from the mechanic and pick up my husband, but I need to get this done too....

Ah well. I've had two friends mention to me how much stuff I must be packing to take Sir Dex with me. I'm really not. He is exclusively breastfed and he can sleep on a blanket right near me. My sister is borrowing a car seat for him and I'm carrying him in my Ergo. (LOVE the Ergo. My sister is the one who bought it for me 3 kids ago.) He needs a few outfits and a couple of blankets, some small toys and diapers and wipes. That's it. It's been quite a few years since I've needed to carry a diaper bag, too....I leave a small bag with emergency supplies in the car and my purse holds a wipes container and some diapers. On the other hand, I've just gotten used to always having a blanket hung over one shoulder. I don't try to look dressy when lugging a 18 pound poo, spit-up, and smiles machine. No one is looking at me either.

My son asked if he could toast some taco shells in the oven and I said yes. I was distracted by packing. So now when we get off the plane and unpack everything is going to smell like smoke. Our oven has a toasting setting, but of course he didn't use it, and had the oven set at 550 degrees.

Why do ovens have a 550 degree setting? What do you bake at that temperature?

Taco salad is still good without the shells..

Oh, hey, my call just got answered.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The weather is nice today

We live in the Southeast USA. In the Southeast USA, the school schedule makes no sense. Does it make sense where you are?

Think about it. We have four seasons here: comfortable-but-yellow-everywhere, too-steamy-hot-to-breathe, comfortable-with-colorful-leaves, and slightly-chilly-with-occasional-ice-storms. When do the kids start school? Just before the beginning of one of the comfortable seasons. When do they end? Right at the end of the other comfortable season. The kids holidays are too hot or too icy.

I'm not feeling bad for the kids here. Well, I am, actually, but really, I'm feeling bad for the homesteaders/small farmers. When are the best months for the garden/animal chores? While the kids are in school. For some this might be helpful, but I (finally) have more helpers in my home than hinderers (awkward word, that).

Other homeschoolers are confused right now, trying to figure out what my problem is. We homeschool. Do school when it's not nice outside and do outside stuff when it is nice! And count the farming work as school! What's my problem?

I don't know. I haven't figured it out yet, I guess. I'm really trying to have a very good school year...I have kids in high school now with futures to consider, futures that need nice looking transcripts. How many times can you have "built a fence" or "dug a hole" or "caught a runaway rabbit" listed as a school activity? Not to mention "washed dishes," "vacuumed," or "did laundry."

I'm sure you've seen this graphic:
Most people would probably agree that just three options would be nice, but there are a lot more than that. Mine would look like a star: Kids & Pets, Clean home, Garden & Livestock, Homeschooling, and I'm about to add Job to it. I'll manage it, or push through it.

Oh, wait...I forgot the sanity.