On the Fence

You know what I hate? I hate it when I eat something bad for me I fear that I have INSTANTLY gained five pounds. I typically eat very healthy, but last night I had four pieces of pizza and an ice cream cone. Trust me, I felt fine once I ate all that. Just fine. Hours later I was feeling guilty. What the heck? Even if I gained weight I could easily lose it--by now I know what to do since it took me four years to lose my "baby" fat. I actually fear gaining weight a lot. It is part of my motivation in running---I do admit that I just love running itself---but it does help that it is the best way to burn a lot of calories!

I am always tempted to get all Scarlet Letter about it too. I feel like getting on the treadmill and paying for what I just ingested so I will resist the temptation next time. The really sick thing about it is that I look just fine, I am BELOW my "ideal" weight, and I have never looked better in my life (even when I was a teenager).

I seriously need to pull out that French Women Don't Get Fat book again to learn AGAIN how to enjoy food. It is a great source for us American women who eat standing up or stuff a brownie in our mouths as fast as we can to sort of "psyc" ourselves out into thinking we really did not ingest that many calories. We ate it too fast for that! I have never been a woman who has sat down and ate a whole candy bar in one sitting, a whole pint of ice cream, more than one cookie at a time, or anything like that. I guess I am very disciplined! But why can't I just chill out when I actually do let myself splurge?

Dear Sir shakes his head at me and asks me why I can't just enjoy the food God provided and let it go. And it is not like he is all crazy about my being thin and perfect or anything. In fact, thirty pounds ago he was fine with me. I never heard one complaint ever. There is no change in the way he views me, behaves toward me, or thinks of me. It is all my freakish self. I put my scale in the shed, for goodness sake so I would stop weighing myself every day. Trust me, since doing that I feel much better than I did before! I guess it doesn't help when I was raised with an anorexic mother who weighed herself about as often as a Muslim prays toward Mecca and took correctol regularly. My idea of personal beauty is totally tweaked. I know the right stuff, but I have issues. It is a war I fight daily, to be honest. One of the reasons I put the scale in the shed is so my daughter would not catch me weighing myself like I always caught my mother. Kids remember that stuff.

Man, I totally did not mean to get all deep and personal on you, sorry about that. I know we American women suffer from this stupid way of thinking all the time. I am a little extreme--I believe if I let myself go in sin I would have an eating disorder. I almost love food too much for that, but sometimes I straddle that fence. It is good I have Dear Sir to come over and drag me off of it. I am so BLESSED to have him. Thank you God.


Being a Merry Maid

I have cleaned many houses in my past (I used to be a Merry Maid as well as a non merry maid cleaning some people's houses) and you find the weirdest things there. One of my favorite houses to explain to people is when I cleaned a house in downtown Boise and this lady lived in it with her two kids. Her husband and she were separated and she was a literal mess. I mean, you walk through the door and you can't walk. There is so much stuff (mail, bills, clothes, food, feathers, coins, papers, you get me) that you have to WADE through it. Our main objective in going there was to PICK UP. We couldn't even deep clean. The basement was the worst because she let the kids just run hog wild. I can not tell you how many black hamburger type things (another reference to Susie's blog!) full of mold and bugs and nastiness that I encountered. Spoons would be permenantly stuck to plates and bowls--flies floated in cups of juice and milk was so curdled that you were pretty sure they just drank cottage cheese with different colors and whatnots speckled in. Sick. Remember the mess from hurricane Katrina? That's kind of what it looked like minus the building falling down.

One time we had to go in her room to clean and she was passed out on the bed. It was the last room so we quietly told her we had to vacuum and stuff and she said in a lazy stupour, "Just clean around me," and her head fell back and she burrowed herself back in the blankets.

Whenever I am feeling lazy Dear Sir says to me, "You're so lazy, Rach. 'Just clean around me!'"

It is crazy to see the way people live. Sometimes I had no idea why some people had their house cleaned. The worst ones were almost the ones where you had nothing to do. It pretty much stinks when you have to "dust" furniture that has already been dusted probably an hour before you stepped in, or vacuum carpet that clearly already has lines in it from the vacuum going over it perhaps the night before.

Offices have always been a "class" sort of struggle. I mean, if you are cleaning while the office workers are there, they treat you like crap. I remember cleaning some pharmaceutical office and they had a lot of tile floors. This lady refused to move and stood there on the phone glaring at us while we were on our hands and knees moping around her. Yes, she would lift this foot and that foot and we would cover the whole space. Ridiculous. The most ridiculous thing is that the time they gave us to come in and clean was the time we were there.

One house in particular annoyed me because the guy (who was a haughty Professor not from this country) would leave notes on the counter stating our "priorities". Apparently one morning when we got in there someone had broken a ton of glass in the kitchen and never bothered to clean it up themselves. You guessed it, the priority on the list was "broken glass in kitchen."

I could always tell when someone just realized that the maid would be in that morning. You walk in the place and you see everything just strewn around like they don't care for the day---"hey, the maid'll be here and she'll take care of it!" The kitchen was alway a nightmare. Opened up coffee cans just knocked over (like they are in a hurry) and things spilled all over. The maid will get it.

I can go on forever. How about the "man stink house"? When I worked with Merry Maids, we had to be with a team member at all times and never clean a house by ourselves. This team member always knew what house was what and she kept me prepared for any surprises. "This is the man stink house," she would say. Immediately upon entering the house she would have her Febreeze cocked and loaded to shoot anything in her way. You walk in and it just reeks. She is wading through it like we are warding off mustard gas, it is so bad. We first decided to go into the "holy of holies" (aka--the master bedroom) to take the main stink head on. With one hand plugging her nose, and the other squirting Febreeze in all directions, she coached me through the room. I did not get a spray bottle of Febreeze, so I was not so equipped, but I just did what she said to get out of that sickness sooner.

I am sorry, men, but I had never encountered "man stink" before. I never really knew it existed. Dear Sir is a perfect gentleman and smells amazing every day, I don't get it. He sweats perfume, I swear.

Speaking of stinking---I better go stink it up on my treadmill. Today's the day.


Biffing It

So I went to band rehearsal tonight. Everything went fairly well; no major issues. I walked out of there and literally fell on myself (my guitar went PLONK! And I lost a shoe). I actually could not see down the steps even though there was some light and walked into a bush. Real SLICK. I actually walked INSIDE a bush. Haven't done that madness since I was a kid. Reminds me of my mother. She is the type of woman where if there is a pothole, she will find it. You are going to your destination a pied and there you have it, you end up walking by yourself hearing a screech in the background. "Wha?" you think. All that needs to happen is a total turn of the head and you see the woman DOWN, on the ground and saying, "I can't help it, I fell." That's right. It is normal for this person. I mean, winter did not go without a husband taking this woman down the porch steps so she could keep herself from slipping on the DEW.

And think, I said the major thing that to this day I have to accept. I was walking to my car with my bandmate beside me and I said, "I am a lot like my mother. I am clumsy like that. If there is a pothole, she finds it."

He said, "Yeah, I guess so. I will get a better light installed."

He is a great guy, but I don't think it's the light's problem.

Yep, you guessed it. It's all in the genes. Me.

And, to make matters worse, I hit my knee cap with my guitar body somehow today and now it hurts. I was thankful that my guitar was unharmed, but gee, my knee cap hurts. Dear Sir says that I am going to be one of those old ladies that falls down and breaks her hip. Oh yeah. I just remembered. I have already written this to you before. Remember when I fell down the stairs and my arm turned a multitude of colors? Yeah, you remember. This post does not shock you one bit, does it?

It's late. I am tired and my breath stinks. I can smell it from here. I better go up and brush my teeth very quietly. Don't want to wake the old man.


Parental Control

The boys have friends that they play with down the street. Tyler and Colin. They usually go down to their house to play Lord of the Rings, and they play with sticks and run around in the woods. I thought this was all harmless. Dear Sir has been a little leery since we do not know the parents and do not know as well if they are Christians or not. As some may think, we like to have our kids around Christian kids so they are not badly influenced. If anyone remembers being a Christian kid with a bunch on non-Christian kids, they should understand.

Today at school I gave each child a math sheet. The oldest got his and said, "Oh man, I don't know if today is going to be a good day!"

The youngest said, "Yipee!"

And Eraser Eater said, "What the hell?!"

I know, I almost fainted.

We never ever talk like that, even if badly injured. After talking to the oldest (Eraser Eater would not fess up) who tends to be more honest in dire situations, and asking if it was their friends, he said, "Uh, yeah. I mean...we saw it on a tv show on accident---I mean..."
Hmmm...I called Dear Sir at work. Dear Sir demanded to talk to the oldest. He eked it out of him alright. Tyler and Colin. They even say the "sh" word. Wonderful.

I don't mean to make a bunch of Christians mad at me that think that kids should go to public school to evangelize pagan children, but I believe that this situation proves my point. I think Matthew 18:6 applies in this situation:

"But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea. "

What I am saying is that children are vulnerable. They can be influenced easily. It is my responsibility to take the bad influences away and fill them with good influences. That scripture says that children can be stumbled. Now I am not sure if Tyler and Colin are raised in a Christian home or not but Tyler and Colin are outta here.

I confess though that I am not all holy. The other day I slammed my pinky against a rod iron chair (probably as hard as humanly possible because I am clumsy) and whispered the "sh" word just like my Grandma used to (who was a very godly woman and very devout, but, literally raised on a farm). I was sweeping the patio when I hurt myself and so Dear Sir said that I could not be trusted with a broom.

My daughter was watching a show just now and I had to turn it because it said, "Kiss on the butt? Of course! I will gladly kiss both cheeks!" What a lovely cartoon!


Drive Box

As I have said before, I really like all my neighbors. They are all very kind and sweet and whatnot. They are all wonderful people. I have been invited to stuff, one has babysat, one has said that I could cry on her shoulder if need be for Asperger's sympathy (she has an Asperger's boy too). They are all just nice, hands down.

The couple right across the street NEVER, however, walk to get their mail. NEVER. I don't think I have ever seen it happen. I don't think they want to walk. Now, I am not sure if it is because the box is across the street next to our mailbox or what, or if it is because they don't like exercise (they are a bit heavy), but they always DRIVE to the mailbox. ALWAYS. They literally back up and everything to get to the box. They go through hoards of trouble to make sure they can easily access the box from the car. They back up, pull forward, go to the side, etc and everything. I say it is much easier to walk. Weird.



Every year with the Kindergarten curriculum of phonics that I have for my children it requires me to put heavy cream in a mason jar and shake it vigorously to produce butter. Notice I say that I shake the jar vigorously. Yes, that is what happens with every kid. Every single kid looks forward to this activity, and then every single time they get bored by the first ten minutes and hand me the jar. Why oh why would they put something so silly in a KINDERGARTEN curriculum? I could not imagine teaching twenty students this and shaking twenty jars. It would take all day---well, my arms would fall off, really. After awhile I could feel my brain rattling around in my head.

I burned about a thousand calories, I think.

Today has been a good day so far. The kids finished school (all of it including Latin) at 10:30. I could not believe it. Amazing. Now I can sit around and do nothing the rest of the day. Cool. Latin has been a great experience so far. Last year we used a totally different curriculum and it was horrible. This year we got this ultra new expensive curriculum with a classroom dvd for each lesson and it rocks. The kids know all the chants and how to conjugate, it is awesome. I know it. Eraser Eater had a little bit of a problem today. He is seven and just getting used to it all. My oldest took Latin last year but we really struggled through it. I literally took my summer last year and studied word upon word of Latin so I could have a bit of a head start. I get it now, but can't wait until I can read the original text without problems.

This was the scene today while Eraser Eater was doing his seatwork (mind you, my daughter is five and the one in Kindergarten):

"Intro means----?" I say to Eraser Eater.

"Oh, I can't remember--umm---'to tell'?"

"No," I begin to say.

"Intrari, Intravi, Intratum--I enter, to enter, I entered, entered!" Yells my daughter.

"Right." I say to my daughter, who is under the table listening.

"Oh! I am so dumb!" yelps Eraser Eater.

"Ok. Let's try 'do'." I say. "Remember 'do, dare, dedi---"

"Datum---I give, to give, I gave, given!" Yells my daughter from under the table.

"Oh!!! I am SO DUMB!!!!" Yelps Eraser Eater who then runs full force to the couch, buries his head and sobs.

He was in a funk, huh? He got over it though and remembered it all. It really freaks me out that my daughter knows so much.


The Stack

There is a "stack" of something next to the computer that Dear Sir has left and it has sat there for days. This "stack" makes me sick. It literally makes me ill to look at it and I will not touch it to remove it because it bugs me. It is one of my Room 101's. The first person to guess the answer to this horrid riddle will recieve a complimentary bar of soap (made by my own hand) in the mail. Hopefully (hint, hint) Dear Sir will read this and catch my drift. But the soap in the mail is a definite! This soap is required to purify me of the nastiness of this stack. It is only fitting.


Tolstoy and Breakfast

This is Tolstoy after his disease treatment. He used to be GOLD. My daughter says that on his birthday we should make him a "fish cake".

Sometimes I feel like I run a diner around here. This is what transpired this morning:

"Want some eggs for breakfast?" I ask my son, who is the world's largest egg lover.

"Yeah," he says, "I was hungry last night after dinner still. I'm thinkin' five."

"Five?" I say, aghast. "I don't think so."

"Ok. Four. But I'm real hungry."

"How bout this: three eggs and some toast?" I offer.

"Sounds good, but lay off the toast," he says, shaking his palm at me.



Dear Sir just put up a new song on my music site. Check it out. Let me know what you think.


At the Orchard

This is me at an apple orchard today. Dear Sir took it like a total sneak while I was walking around with the crazy apple picking pole. Apparently it has little prongs at the tip top that pluck at the stem of the apple and then down comes the apple into the little bag. It actually works.

I have a ton of apples, I'll tell you. I am allergic to raw stuff, but I can actually eat apples, grapes and some berries this year, which is almost a miracle. I have not had any issues, so I have allowed Eraser Eater and the girl to eat them too. They have been delighted. I am still pretty certain a banana will kill me. I am not willing to try it out because it could literally mean certain death.
I love bananas. My daughter always dreams of being able to eat one and says, "Dad! When I get to heaven I will be able to eat bananas! Yum! I can't wait!" Some people actually wish for heaven---I would love to sink my teeth into some guacamole or fresh salsa. I would also love to eat a banana too, but you know, I would die. Same for melons and anything else that can be in a raw state.

So, while I was an apple-picking fool, I looked up and Dear Sir said, "Rach, we need to go and follow the kids. Someone's gonna get lost." I looked over and you know, a stupid bug flew in my eye. I actually did not think about it again and it was lost in the abyss of my eye, so it did not hinder any other activities at the orchard. I really forgot about it.

We took the long way home and once we got into the house the bug resurfaced. It just up and irritated my eye like it was just picking up where it left off. I went straight to the powder room (I have one!) to check it out and found about half a bug nestled in the eyeball crack. I got some of it out, but it was hard. There was other junk in there and then some make up and stuff was starting to stream and get all in my eye too. I went and did a few things and felt my eye get hot. I went back to the powder room to check it out and it was beet red, all thick feeling, and oozing a bit. I found more bug and washed my eyes out with water and put some drops in. It took a bit to get better. I am almost half convinced my eye flipped out because the stinking bug was raw.

It is really a weird thing. I mean, I can't touch raw meat without getting immediate itchy rash on my hands. I can't even walk by a tomato plant and let it "accidentally" graze me. I will have a welt. So, does that mean that I can't touch a human? They have raw flesh. Does it mean that I can't touch an open, raw wound? I couldn't eat a raw cicada taco, that's for sure. Sushi is out of the question. I can't even touch raw eggs. I could always cut myself, put my mouth to the wound and find out. No, that is madness. Have you ever read Life of Pi? I mean, in the book this kid has to eat raw fish whenever he could just to survive on this boat all by himself. I would die. I would completely lose my life. I would die a miserable, long death from eating sushi. So my arch enemy would die if he ate cooked food. Is my arch enemy Gollum?

Why am I writing this stupid stuff? Gee whiz. I have weird thoughts when I am left alone.

I am a freak.

The orchard was beautiful though. It was in Charlottesville. It is just gorgeous there. The kids had fun. We were all in our church clothes picking apples with a dear friend we were visiting and it was bliss. I love the smell of apples and apple products. My daughter had her own bag of apples that she produced and she wanted to go to bed with it tonight. She is all into taking everything to bed with her at night. The boys just sort of meandered around and wanted to use the pole/apple catcher thing. We bought apple donuts and apple cider and sat down on a bench overlooking the Blue Ridge mountains and enjoyed ourselves.


Mother and Son

So yes, as I pointed out before, Tolstoy seems to be pulling through. I really don't know how he has done it. His skin is coming off in layers (the medicine sort of sheds the parasite) and so he has black dead skin dangling off of him here and there. It looks kind of gross. His tail is unusually small. My daughter says that he is "molting". She is a little smarty pants.

Gee whiz, I need to make Dear Sir put a new song on my music site. You guys should check it out if you haven't already. It may be the only music I ever produce in this world, so it's going fast.

I took the kids to AWana (at the local Baptist church) this past week. Who said that I was a recluse homeschooling mother? Dear Sir and I want to keep taking them. I got to talking to the director of this program while I was waiting for the kids to be released and he was asks about my church situation. I tell him that we hold to Anglican beliefs and I am not sure he understands. Of course then I have to go on explaining that Anglican in America is like Episcopalian and then of course he raises his eyebrows because he keeps up a little bit with the times and he probably thinks I am ok with homosexual ministers. I say quickly after the eyebrow raising that we hold very conservative beliefs and he settles down a bit. I explain that we can't really find a real good church that fits the bill and he asks me if I considered Faith Baptist Church (this is his church that I am standing in while talking to him).
"No--we just don't hold the same beliefs. We believe in infant baptism and stuff like that..."

He blinks. "Oh, ok."

"Uh---we're not volatile about it or anything, we just know we wouldn't agree with everything you guys would..."

"Oh, ok."

I wonder if he thinks I am a Christian. He seemed nice enough.

The other day I took the kids to the Goodwill to try to find my oldest a new bike. Man, that stupid bike of his has been the bane of my existence. My oldest has held over my head that his bike's chain has been loose and I have not fixed it yet. I fixed it once, but then the chain fell loose again and I said forget it. Since he has braved the scary outside I have felt really bad because I know he has so wanted to ride his bike. He would say stuff to me like, "Boy, I sure would love to feel the breeze as I petal downhill! It sure is a nice day for that! [Sigh]"

The day I decide to go to town and get the Costco junk done and the bank, the Target returns, I decide to stop at Goodwill. "We can get you a new OLD bike," I said to the boy.
"Cool. I can pay for it. In fact, if you forward me the money I promise I will do chores for an eternity, just so I can have a bike again." This sounded good, but I know that it never happens.
"How about I just buy the thing and that is it?"
"Sounds good to me!"

We went to the Goodwill and found a rusty bike just his size and nothing wrong with it. Five bucks. Easy.

We went to the car with it. I had to think ahead and I didn't. I planned on making one trip to town with all the goods. The Goodwill was the first store. I had many more to make purchases at. Oh, how I tried getting that stupid rusty bike in the trunk.
"I bet you are wishing you didn't buy this thing now," my oldest moaned. "It's all my fault. Look how hard you are working! This is a complete nightmare! Look---here---I could just---No?---ok, I will get out of the way---I just---you are sweating! Poor mom! She is tired! If you---turn--be quiet? ok. But if---I what? ok. Take your purse? Sure, Mom. Go over here? ok, I'll do it. You'll never want to buy me a bike again. This is the worst thing. If we could ever get this bike in here it will be a miracle. Oh how I want a bike. They never told us at the store that it would be this hard to get a bike in a car. I bet they thought we had a truck or something. We'll have to just return it. There is no hope. We will never get this thing in here. Maybe if we tried---"

I finally went to the passenger's side seat to see if it would fit.
My oldest went off again: "If it fits in here, I could somehow sit under it and curl up my legs like this, and oh---just get the handle bar down more! Oh! You are going to turn it around? Yeah, great idea! That is the best idea yet, Mom! You really are the greatest. Oh, it is not going to work. I bet everyone thinks we are crazy, trying to get this bike in here. No one really cares about us though..."

Imagine having to shove a bike in a small car while hearing this malarkey.

Finally I went to the back seat where I had two children sitting (Eraser Eater and little girl with a carseat). I got it in right away. After twenty minutes of trying to get a camel through the eye of a needle, I get it in with no issues. Eraser Eater had to duck down a bit to allow the petal to take the place of his head, but other than that, it was fine. My oldest was confident and so happy. "I knew if we tried it there it would work! Are you just so tired? I bet you are just so mad at me that it took so long! We wasted so much time! Are you wishing you never went and got that stupid bike for me?"

He is such a worry/wart pessimist. I really hope he doesn't get it from me, but I bet he does. He talks about how he sometimes feels guilty. I don't like controlling people. It is not the thing I enjoy. Some people enjoy it, but I am not one of those. But---one day I told my oldest to go set the table and when I came back to look at the table it was not set.
"I guess I will have to set the table myself!" I yelled to the air.

"Oh! Mom! I forgot! You don't have to say it like that! You are making me feel guilty!"

I thought about this. My whole childhood I always felt guilty. My mother constantly manipulated me and I went for it every time. I always took the bait and she controlled me. So I said to him, "How would you like for me to say it then?"

"I would like you to say, 'you forgot to set the table like I asked you to'". I thought this was fair enough. He sort of smiled and set the table. He is a good boy. He is always feeling bad about things and stressing out like he is putting me out. Somehow that needs to stop. I bet I have something to do with it. I wig out sometimes in front of him (who am I kidding? I wig out a lot!) so maybe he feels responsible. But he also fears blame. He is afraid to be told that something is his fault. He does not like to believe that it is his choices that cause some things to happen to him (mostly in a bad way). This is a lesson that has taken me years to learn. I am still learning. He is actually so much like me. I just noticed the pattern.


The Kids These Days

The other night I went to the store wearing a cotton long-sleeved gray shirt and some navy drawstring terrycloth pants with a white stripe down the legs. I looked at myself before I took off in the car to make sure I looked ok. I had made bread that day so I had a little bit of flour on my chest and thigh, but I just brushed it off and went on my way. I had to buy some necessities at nine o clock at night.

When ready I go through the line and a bag boy demands to take my groceries to the car. "I have twenty minutes and nothing to do anyway," he says.

"Well, alright." I really hate letting bag boys put groceries in my car. What I need help with more is unloading when I get home.

When we get out into the cool, crisp night, he looks me up and down and says, "If I were off work, I would totally be dressed like you."

"Huh?" I say incredulously.

"I mean, you look comfortable."

"Oh, ok. Well, I have been wearing this all day. I homeschool three kids so comfort is a big deal to me."

"Cool. I have an older brother who is 21 and a younger sister who is 15. I'm eighteen. When I am off work, I like love to get all dressed up and wear my pink polo shirt and all that." He puts some groceries in my car. I think about what he has just said to me.

"Pink? That is so eighties. I am sorry, but I can't stand pink on a guy," I say bluntly.

"Oh man, I LOVE it. I mean, all the chicks say that I am 'so hot' when I wear pink." He pulls up his collar in a jivey way and backs up like he is Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future. He tugs on a white surfer shell necklace around his scrawny little neck. "I wear the pink polo shirt and this necklace and the girls are just..." he makes a sort of sizzling sound.

I think about this. He really is not much to shout about, but you know, what do I know? "Sorry," I say. "I still think it is really eighties. Which reminds me. You probably were born then, weren't you?"

"Not really. I was born in eighty-eight."

I really thought that qualified as the "eighties" but maybe I am wrong. Hmmm...

"Well, I am really old," I say, "I am eleven years older than you."

He completely skips this.

"Yeah, and when I go out, I wear the pink polo shirt, this necklace, (he tugs on it again as if I can not see it---how could I not? It is sort of massive) and do you know that show 'Miami Vice'?"

"Yes, I know 'Miami Vice'. Of course."

"Well, you know how they dress?"

"Yeah, horrible," I say. "It has that guy---"

"Don Johnson," he blurts out.

"Yeah, Don Johnson."

"I like to wear sportcoats like that---"

I am getting into my car at this point.

"Sort of an aqua color..."

He is backing up into the night but he keeps going.

"And my hair, I---"

"Crimping must be in again," I say, thinking about girl's hair nowadays.

"Yeah, but I don't crimp it. I sort of spike it--" he comes closer again. I close my door a bit.

"Uh, have a nice day!" he waves.

"Enjoy your pink shirt!" I say.

When I was eighteen I had a baby, I worked so that I could help put food on the table because my dad was sick and disabled, and I, just never like, talked like a total breezehead.



I am afraid to report that our new fish, Tolstoy, is dying. He came down with some weird fish disease/parasite thing called ICH. He has white spots all over his fish body and now he looks just dreadful. I got him medicine to treat it, but I am not sure if it will work or not. The kids "hug" the tank frequently. We are a sad little bunch over here since we can't have a normal pet.

I can't take all this fish drama. First it was Hemingway and Sushi, now it is just this little fish named Tolstoy who tries his best to be lively and nice, but because he is so sick he hangs around the bottom of the tank and rubs up against the filter to scratch. How miserable. Being the executioner that I am, I have been tempted to just end his life to put him out of his misery. Dear Sir seems to think that perhaps he will make it. That is what we thought Hemingway would do after Sushi ate half of him, so I am not so hopeful. His eyes are a sort of dull brown and his scales are all stringy and gross. He looks like he is literally a living rot. Living lutefisk.



Well, I am excited because once again my band, The Einsteins of Love, will perform again at Jammin' Java in Northern Virginia. So, we have another "gig" to benefit a pregnancy crisis center (I don't have all the official details yet, but when I do I will post them) in November. I love to sing live (I just love to sing) and especially I love to perform with all the band members. They are so much fun to be with. So, it is a bit fun for a frumpy little homeschool mom to cover U2 songs, bluegrass, blues and rock. It is also fun to raise money for someone who can use it.

I have added a few other blogs to the bottom of my blog roll (there is no reason you are on the bottom, new friends---I am just lazy and don't want to remember my alphabet). So if any of you like to read about more interesting and fantastic lives---drink your fill (no pun intended, Fueledbycoffee).

I am at the moment stinkin it up by cleaning my house and sweating a lot. I feel weary and frazzeled and my hair is a mess.

What are you guys doing today?


School At Home

School at home has been going very well. This morning my daughter had written numbers until she was blue in the face and almost at tears, so I told her to take a break outside in the yard. While the boys were busy working, I went outside to check on her. She was digging in the dirt with her orange shovel. She has a whole garden set.

"Don't dig," I told her. "I don't want you to get dirty."

She stands up, looks at me like I am crazy and says, "But I am in Kindergarten!"

I think she is confused as well because she knows that she is named after a famous garden (we actually chose the name because it is pretty) and so anything associated with gardening she can't get her mind off of. It does not help that "Kindergarten" has the word "garden" in it. Sort of.

Speaking of homeschooling, I went out to lunch last week with Dear Sir and the kids. We were up north taking a friend to the airport and so the kids and I met Dear Sir at a local burger joint (some hole in the wall place). The lady behind the counter was old and maybe she owned the place. There were some oldtimers there talking about how she hasn't "aged a bit" and stuff like that. Real hometown feel. Or maybe the lady had just worked there for years. She seemed nice enough. I ordered some burgers and drinks and she peered over at my children behind me who were finding a booth with Dear Sir.

She looks at me a little sharp with one eye: "Aren't your kids supposed to be in school?"

"No, I homeschool."

She looks at me skeptically and says, "Does that really work?"

It did not occur to me to say something smart or disrespectful (she was my elder, for crying out loud and she reminded me of my Grandma) but in a way I wish I would have thought of something. I could have if I were defensive but I did not give it one thought of defense so I said, "Yeah, I have been doing it now for going on six years."

"What?" she said, cupping her hand around her ear.

"I have been homeschooling for going on six years now, I said."

"Oh." She shrugs. "Here's your number. When I call it, come up here to get your food."

I was a little surprised when she asked me why they weren't in school because I had already gotten that question from someone else at Trader Joe's that day. Please get kids out of my sight, they are supposed to be in school. This is an adult world. Why is that? Makes me sort of sick.


Update on the Oldest

Stupidly, I forgot to mention lately that my oldest son has *almost* gotten over his dread of outside. It does not throw a huge wrench in our lives anymore. He actually goes outside and plays with friends down the street, rides his bike, and wears a watch so he won't be gone too long! God answers prayer! He is still afraid of the bugs a little, but he is amazingly calm when around them now. It is almost ridiculous how fast he has changed.

Yes, we still have little mishaps here and there, but believe me, I could not convince the boy to take one step outdoors without a fight before.

What can I say? God is good.


Hello, Like, I am SO Dumb!

So today I went to grill some steaks outside with my daughter for lunch. For a treat I got myself a glass of red wine and got my daughter a wineglass full of apple juice. She was delighted. I put the steaks on the grill and I went to take a sip of my wine. She went to take a sip of her apple juice and smiled. I realized that I should make her do "cheers" with me. The boys love that. I said to her:
"You know what we should do?" And I held up my wineglass.

She looked at me like I was sort of stupid. "I know what you're going to say, Mom, cheers."

"Yeah, don't you want to?" I ask, disappointed.

Mind you, my daughter is five.

"Umm, not really," she says like I should know already and she is really embarrassed.

"Why not? Aren't we the girl's club?" I ask her.

"Yes, we ARE the girl's club! But saying cheers is just---DUMB!" She says "dumb" like a valley girl saying "Hello! Get a grip!"

"What?!" I say, totally shocked.

She just slowly closes her eyes in a sweet way, looks down, smiles, and shakes her little blonde head. "Oh, Mom."

I think she is more mature than me.


The Eye Wreathed in Flame

I was just reading a science book to the kids. We were reading specifically about all the parts of the eyes and I was pointing to the diagram and my own eye as I was naming it's parts.

The boys were thoroughly interested and my daughter was interested too, but she started to get jumpy and weird. I had just finished explaining to my oldest how the pupil of the eye is actually a hole underneath the cornea.

"What is up with you?" I ask my squirming daughter.

"I just don't want to listen to this anymore! I want to go outside now!" She says this in a very fussy way. "It scares me, ok?"

"What?" I ask.

"It scares me!" She yelps.

"Why would it scare you? You can go outside." I laughed out.

"Ok," she said, "I just don't want to hear anything more about some 'hole,'" she murmurs as she walks toward the front door.

I tried to suppress a laugh but failed. Eraser Eater and the Oldest giggled.

"AN EYE! AN EYE! YOU SEE WITH IT AND IT IS SCAAAARRRRYYY!" sang my oldest, while wiggling his fingers toward my daughter as she shut the door in a huff.


"The Boo--Kay Residence!"

I dropped a wine bottle on my foot. It hurts. Don't ask me how I did it, I just did. I was on the phone when it happened too. I almost cried out in terrible pain, but I had to keep up appearances.

Reminds me of when I bruised up my thigh a week before my wedding day. Dear Sir and I were sweeping the cobwebs off the landing of my parent's house. I was on a high ladder and Dear Sir held it steady. I waved a broom around to get the cobwebs and then I noticed a big fat spider.
"Brush AWAY from you!" cried Dear Sir.

"Huh?" I said stupidly as I brushed toward myself. Down came the dangling, furry, fat spider.

I jumped off the top of the ladder and landed at the foot of the steps (a whole flight down, mind you). I don't like spiders.

This is the point in my story where I lose track of what happens next or what happens around me because all I could concentrate on at that moment was the gargantuan pain in my right thigh. I swear, it hurt so badly that I could have cried a hundred years, but Dear Sir, I knew, was looking at me and I did not want him seeing me cry in pain. How embarrassing. I got up somehow, limped to the couch and winced a million faces of silent torture before Dear Sir could catch up to me to see if I was going to be alright. I could not answer him---in fact, I don't even know for certain if he said anything because pain was all encompassing. I know that if I did say anything at all I said things in short little gasps.


"That was crazy---you fell all the way down! " I think he said---maybe something about brushing away from me. I lost it. Can't remember with any clarity. Pain.

Fast Forward to Our honeymoon:

I was so embarrassed because as I put on my wedding dress (which was white) I realized that maybe people could see the huge, black, blue, purple, red, orange, multicolored madness on my right thigh through my dress. It was HUGE. I mean, about the size of a volleyball. I thought about putting make up over it, but makeup can't cover up that kind of bruise. I have really never seen anything like it since (maybe only people that visit the ER or something).

So, on our honeymoon, naturally, Dear Sir had never seen me even in a bathing suit before let alone anything less. I remember we got in this hot tub at the beachhouse we were staying at and I had my suit on. He was already in the tub. I tried to get in sideways on my left side so as to hide the bruise. I thought I was being sneaky.

"You know, I've seen the bruise already, Rachel," he said with a smirk on his face. "You can't hide it."

"Uh, he he," I muttered.

You know, hurting yourself in front of people is sometimes a good lesson in self-restraint. The only pain I endured that I could care less if any one saw me scream about was the kidney stones I had and when I gave birth to Eraser Eater. A common thing for me to say about the latter experience is that "I could have cared less if I were buck-naked, screaming, in the middle of a McDonald's. It hurt that bad."


A Tag I Thought Fun:

Thank you, dear lady at My Gobhole:

1. Three things that scare me:
metal on skin
hair clogging a drain
fingerprints on cheese
(touching coinage)
(Even scarier: all of them mixed together in one happy clump)

2. Three people that make me laugh:
L. H. (just ask Elysium, he gets jealous)
Mr. Bean

3. Three things I hate the most:
metal on skin
hair clogging a drain
fingerprints on cheese
(OK, so they scare me AND I hate them)

4. Three things I don't understand:
tides (at the ocean or lake)
the movie Syriana
how to do a guitar solo

5. Three things I'm doing right now:
about to begin school with the kids
drinking decaf coffee
thinking really hard

6. Three things I want to do before I die:
love my husband more (how can it be possible!?)
cut an album (especially the way I want it)
ask me to sing out a "G" and I can do it
(I do, have other goals, but it only asks for three!)

7. Three things I can do:
make the best apple pie (with the best crust, mind you)
I can sing and play guitar (but not well together...yet)
make soap
(enjoy classic lit, write a song, transpose, teach a kid how to read, run ten miles in one pop)

8. Three ways to describe my personality:
"fierce" (I have been told)
"tenacious" (I have been told again)
sort of introverted

9. Three things I can't do:
sew myself out of a paper bag
watch a football game (really, I don't know how!)
be proper and prissy

10. Three things I think you should listen to:
Grant Lee Phillips (namely, Virginia Creeper)
my songs on my music site
my silly stories so I will feel better about myself

11. Three things you should never listen to:
your hormones telling you you are fat
the devil
a person maiming another person you love (without hearing the other side as well)

12. Three things I'd like to learn:
how to play piano
enough to get a degree in Thomas Hardy's works
to be a good mother

13. Three favorite foods:
kung pao chicken
anything raw (I can't eat it, but it is good to think about)
Cadbury Eggs

14. Three beverages I drink regularly:
red wine
coffee (decaf)

15. Three shows I watched as a kid:
Three's Company
You Can't Do That on Television
Life Goes On
(Those are random and the first things that came to my head)

I tag Des at mymermaid cafe, americanspark



So we started school on Labor Day. I am not a real holiday person. I pretty much labor no matter what day it is, so it is no big deal anyway. Which has me thinking about Halloween. Dear Sir and I are trying to figure out what we want to do this year about it. We have had "harvest" parties and "Reformation Day" parties; we have had a party to go to called "Neewollah" (which is Halloween backwards for those that need the help), and "All Saints Day" parties. I think the latter celebration is the most accurate to what we should be celebrating on October 31st, but no one does that except Elizabeth Hagan.

So, Trick or Treating was mentioned, but I really have problems with it. I don't have problems with it because it is a "pagan" type thing to do, I have problems with it because I don't like the idea of anyone coming to my door and demanding candy. I don't like the idea, especially, of my own children going to someone else's door and demanding candy. Yes, we can worry about poisonous candy (and my parents had a real worry where I lived in Southern California because there truly were people raping and killing and kidnapping on those nights) and stuff but the real issue is the ding dong demand or I will do something tricky to you if you don't.

Think of it like this: It is my birthday. I dress up and look pretty. I go to people's doors and demand presents because it is my birthday. In fact, if you don't give me presents for my birthday when I approach your doorstep, I can threaten you with trickery. I will TP your house. I will knock down your mailbox in the night with a baseball bat. I can say, "Gift or Gull!" and expect presents to drop into my huge burlap bag.

What do ya think of that?


I Am Mad, Hear Me Roar

I have not posted for a few days because of the huge post I posted the other day. I wanted to give the two people that read this blog some time to read all of it because, you know, it took me a long time to pull all those thoughts out of the archives. You really get to know me a lot more by that post. It was very important that I put the Stevie Nicks story in there because of it's strangeness, but I suppose I should have put it in the front of the post so it would not get lost with all the other words I posted before it. In other words, I am sorry to have such a long post last time. I rather like reading small posts because I am impatient, so I understand the grief.

It has been incredibly dry here in Stonewall Jackson's state, so it is a very nice respite to have the huge downpour of rain.

And I have absolutely nothing to talk about. I was talking to Lobsy about blogging the other day and I think she plagued me. I started writing "I have not posted...." and had a point, and then now it's gone somehow. Just lost.

I am supposed to take the kids to the library today. Books for my son: 1. Tom Sawyer (he thought it rather funny when I told him the story of whitewashing the fence---or was that Huck Finn?) 2. The Librarian Who Measured the Earth 3. Treasure Island.

School starts on Tuesday.

Dear Sir is sick...again.

And my oldest was horrible at Costco yesterday. We got in the car and I am chewing him out. "You are always running off...." blah blah blah. I asked him one time if when he hears an adult voice instructing him he tunes out and only hears "dwink, dwinka dwink" like from the Peanuts. "Pretty much," he said. Great. I went off though and I had to stop at detestable Walmart to get caffeine pills (Dear Sir must have them). I used to get carded for them, but I guess now that I am approaching 30 I look like I can handle a butt load of caffeine pills in one sitting. Hey, I have three kids. Gotta stay awake.
So, as I was turning to park in the detestable parking lot of Walmart, my daughter says from the back, "Where's my purse?"

My lack of grace is staggering at this point. I think of all my friends and how calm they are with their kids (at least when I am watching) and I realize that I am a total freak woman. My reaction: "RAAAAAAGHRRRRRRR!!!!!" And I am not kidding. When I did it I was sort of surprised myself. I thought, "I am an animal."

So I got the pills, high-tailed it to the car, and went to Costco again to find the purse. I kept asking my daughter what was in it so I would not have to really go through the trouble to even retrieve it. I wanted an excuse to just go home. "I don't know!" She kept whining. I figured that if I left it though she would never let me live it up, would blame me for allowing her to lose her Polly Pocket Little Mermaid or whatever, and all her junk to go with it, and then I could imagine Eraser Eater crying the whole way home. "You didn't get her purse!" He would wail. "It makes me so sad! Ahhhh!" I could see this future looming above me like a dark cloud if I chose this route.

We did finally find it and my girl had a smile on her face the whole way out. "I knew it was there, Mom," she said.

I was still a little miffed. By this time the rain was getting a little heavier and the windows were fogging up. I really don't know how to de-fog anything. I am a moron at it. My oldest was trying to help me. "Wait! I will get the manual!"
I would not have any of it because then I was on the miffed cycle and not ready. I am usually that chick that has foggy windows and she is wiping the windshield to see and rolling the window down. In the rain. Eventually I hit some button on my blasted dashboard (I don't know what those Germans want from me) and it helped, but I realized that I had the heat going and I was getting hot. And nothing makes me more mad when I am hot for no reason. The back window is broken on our car and when the little button is hit to lower it, it doesn't work. It just lowers whenever it wants to, and that is what it did all the way home. I would push the button to make it go back up and then ten seconds later it would go back down again. The kids would say every time it went down, "There it is again! Make it go up Mom! The rain is getting in!" Eventually it stopped freaking out and stayed up, to my relief. I looked about me at the other motorists, and they were looking at me like I was a freak. I am sure I looked it.

I kept thinking that I was not passing the test of patience. Too much pelted me at once and I could not get out of the blasted pit. First I have a child running off and making comments to passersby at Costco, then I had to go to Walmart, endure the lost purse, and then deal with my freaky Christine car.

Wish me luck at the library.