>I just ate my first tomato sandwich made with a tomato from the boy’s tomato plant.
And it was gooood!
Nothing like a home grown tomato.

>Survived… for the most part

>I managed the short trip ok, except for my feet. I just don’t do heels well. But for this I had to wear them three evenings running, including standing at “receptions” for two hours before dinner each night. So I have blisters and my feet hurt! But I’ll survive. I am pretty famous in this town for showing up at a party in heels and taking them of to go barefoot within fifteen min. But this was not the time or place to go all hill billy. Although I did dare the dance floor barefoot the last night, for one dance – and take my word for it I was the only one out there barefooten. Sort of a risk on my part as the floor was PACKED with middle aged to elderly hottentots. By that point my feet were in such pain and so swollen I couldn’t wedge them back in the shoes anyway. God knows what the society types are writing about me now.

Batman was perplexed as to why women will not eat in front of other women when I pointed out to him that not one woman in the crowd was partaking of the hors(e) d’oeuvres. And that, though women would take a spoon of several different desserts in the buffet, they would then eat no more than half of what was on their plates. He just doesn’t get it. Of course normally I’d eat anyway, but this crowd was much more hoity towity than the norm.

I was able (thank you Jesus) to stay with the more down to earth two or three for the most part. One in particular is a lot like me and every bit as uncomfortable as I in these circles. While standing next to each other waiting for our cars when departing she poked me in the ribs, pointed at our jeans and stated ” no more resort wear!”

It was rather amusing a couple times to experience ladies who were obviously being nice to me only because of who my husband is. One in particular had been very nice every time she saw me, it just happened that himself was with me each of those times. But then as we checked out she looked at me and didn’t even smile, just walked by – she didn’t see that the caped crusader was just behind me and at that point in jeans himself so she couldn’t be bothered with me that time. I thought it was pretty funny. She is trying to cozy up to him at every opportunity. But I pointed out to him how she had just totally dis-ed me. Shallow, snotty, phony people. Who needs them?

During the days, while the important spouses were doing what they do, I slept a little later – had breakfast – worked out – took nice quiet walks – read my book – and then took naps. I could have done with another day or two of that part!

Ya know it is sort of neat. When I snagged this guy we were both in high school with no real idea where we’d end up. Here we are 30 plus years later, still married. We did met one other couple there who had been an item since 2nd grade. Can’t beat that one.

>Comings and Goings

>And so life continues. I and D3 are back from Columbia (where is that governor anyway?) and D2 reports to be safely in London at Oxford – all be it a very very short report. These kids of mine leave the continent and we get 8 word emails that they are there, then silence.

Tomorrow is the boy’s birthday and himself and I are leaving for a few days at a fancy smancy resort in another state (more on that in a min). D3 and the boy will be staying here but by no means alone. D1 is driving in tonight to be here for a couple days, the boyfriend of D3 is already here for a few days and one of D3’s buddies from App State is coming in later today to stay for a few days. I leave and the party starts!

I believe the plan for the birthday is to spend the whole day baking and cooking. I’ve said before I hate cooking but three of my kids love it. Well the three who will be here while I am away are the three who love it. I’m pretty sure that boyfriend is here simply to take advantage of all the goodies being produced. Problem of course is that though they love to cook, their idea of cleaning behind themselves leaves some what to be desired.

We already had the boy’s big birthday celebration a couple weekends ago as we knew D2, himself, and I would not be here on the actual day. But seems to me the actual day is shaping up to be a pretty rowdy good time for him anyway. In addition to all the cooking there is bound to be a good bit of music (with three university music students in the house) and plenty of phase 10, slap jack, and playing with the Wii he finally got. He had to save up for the thing himself, took him more than 2 years. He didn’t think he’d be getting it until the end of the month but I went ahead and picked it up (cleaning him out in the process) then wrapped and included a card that said “to the boy””from the boy.” Gave it to him when we had the earlier party.

As for the fancy pants trip himself and I are headed to, ladies it is one of those things we tend to dread. I don’t really fit in with this particular crowd (this is a gathering of the ummm, batmen?, my husband is associated with in his career – and their wives). Anyway suffice it to say they are somewhat important types, at least in their own minds, and the wives of these sorts tend to the fancy clothes and fancy jewelry, and uppity attitudes. I and my eau de barn generally feel like country come to city. I pretty much have to keep my mouth shut at these sorts of things cause himself tends to kick me in the shins if I say anything. I embarrass him with my “tell it like it is”, these types go for the “diplomatic” approach – which I tend to view as phoney or even out and out lying. So here I am trying to figure out what to wear…. Know what I mean?

>We are not alone

>I don’t know how many of you listen to Glenn or get his newsletter so I am going to post here an open letter that was sent to Glenn and is addressed to the government, president, and people of the US . There is a link to a petition signing this letter but as of my attempt to sign the site was overloaded. You can bet I’ll keep trying until I get through. This letter is long, but worth the read. This lady is from Arizona and pretty much says what I think anyone reading my blog feels too.

I’m a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. There must be someone. Please tell me who you are. Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you’re willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would horribly feel so disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut job am I? Will you please tell me?

Well, these are briefly my views and issues for which I seek representation:

One, illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution. P.S., I’m not a racist. This isn’t to be confused with legal immigration.

Two, the TARP bill, I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it. We told you no, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

Three, Czars, I want the circumvention of our checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution and honor it.

Four, cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There is more to say.

Five, universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision. Don’t you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night and then go on break. Slow down!

Six, growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real obligations. Why don’t you start there.

Seven, ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes. Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census over with our taxpayer money. I don’t trust them with our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

Eight, redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs. That is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person. Why do you want me to hate my employers? Why ‑‑ what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

Nine, charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves.

Ten, corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we’ll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. Have you ever ripped off a Band‑Aid? We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

Eleven, transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let’s have it. Let’s say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk. Please try ‑‑ please stop manipulating and trying to appease me with clever wording. I am not the idiot you obviously take me for. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me.

Twelve, unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now.

Take a breath. Listen to the people. Let’s just slow down and get some input from some nonpoliticians on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed reading our bills into law. I am not an activist. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person. I am a parent and a grandparent. I work. I’m busy. I’m busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far off course. Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not. It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance. Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill. We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is such urgency and recklessness in all of the recent spending.

From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making. We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on you to bring our concerns to Washington. Our president often knows all the right buzzword is unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don’t want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we’re morons.

We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented. You think we’re so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work , pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone and we are now looking up at you. You have awakened us, the patriotic spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far. Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office. We have cancelled vacations. We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn’t ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us when hewill rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this. We don’t care. Political parties are meaningless to us. Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution and that is all that matters to us now. We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you. If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one. We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent? Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming.

Janet Contreras

>The Awesomeness of Charlie Daniels

>I learned a couple days ago, as I was driving I-85, that Charlie Daniels has a blog. When I got home I found it and it is as wonderful as I expected. So check it out, I just want to hug his big ol awsome self 🙂 and this post, as I’m sure all of them but I haven’t had time to read them all yet, is so very right on the money.
And let me say Shalom and I stand with Isreal today, tomorrow, and always.

>Case in point

>I stated in my most recent home schooling post that I take opportunity to point out poor sentence structure when it presents itself. As I am reading a lovely article on the gloriously responsible behavior of students at the “prestigious” Cambridge University as reported in The Sun (not an endorsement of said rag), I run across this sentence:

The controversial decision was made after a 23-year-old student was last year arrested during the infamous jelly-wrestling contest for punching a spectator.

This is a perfect example of the sort of garbage regularly spewed by people whose career it is to communicate. Atrocious, never mind the behavior. The fact that this is an “English” paper is no excuse for the crimes of word order committed here. Am I to understand that the goal of said infamous jelly-wrestling contest is punching spectators?

And yes, so far I have raised three grammar nazis and am working on a third. Somebody has to do it.

>in a nutshell

>This week (starting with Sunday – yesterday)
Sunday – Himself, the boy, and D2 spent the weekend at the lodge at Doughton Park. This place is in the BOONIES! No TV, not even cell phone signal. Just a rustic lodge, good southern cooking, hiking trails, and quiet. Sunday morning they got up and had breakfast, then D2 peeled off from the rest and headed back to UNC for the week (she is serving as a mentor and chaperon for a journalism conference for NC high school newspaper groups) and the other two headed home. I on the other hand got up and drove D3 to Alpharetta Georgia (suburb of Atlanta) where she is spending the week teaching Irish fiddle to a bunch of kids at Celtic Camp. As I was making the 3 hour drive back home I got a phone call that my mare – Rosalie – was barely able to walk into the barn that morning. So now I’m bawling my eyes out in frustration as I try to drive 75 mph down I 85 and no way to reach my horse for several hours to be sure she is more or less ok. This thing with her is breaking my heart, my unspoken fear is that nothing is going to help her and I am going to have to put this beautiful, otherwise strong healthy horse down. I made it home and for now she is still limping along, I am still praying that I am just expecting too much too soon and that the medicine will eventually help her. She has been going through this almost a year now.

Monday – Barn work early in the morning then a “basketball” haircut for the boy. I buzz his noggin myself regularly. This is basketball camp week for him. It’s a half day camp this year and a 30 min drive from here so it will be drive and drop then drive and pick up everyday noon to 4:30. When I pick him up today it’s back for evening barn work and checking on Rose (she is getting new shoes today, just what she needs with an already sore foot – pounding nails…)

Tues -Same as Monday except no evening barn work so I’ll probably get the groceries in. And maybe a shower? If I’m lucky…

Wed- No barn work so I’ll just go check on my girl, work on the house stuff, then get the boy to camp. Must go to Best Buy and try to find a new battery for D2’s laptop, she should have already done this – but no, so I gotta get it done. In the evening after he is back from camp he’ll go to youth – I think they are bowling this week.

Thurs – Early am load Rosalie for the 45min trip down the mountain to the vet for xrays – please God let them show improvement. Then race back to get boy to camp on time.

Fri – Boy must ride to work with himself this day and Dad will have to take him to camp, attend the looonnnngggg parent program they do on the last day, and get S1 home because I have to head back to Atlanta to scoop up D3 and drive her to Columbia, SC (4+ more hours) so that she can teach both Irish fiddle and Irish harp to a bunch of folks for the weekend. Now sometime late Fri morning D2 will get home from UNC with her laundry and have less than 24 hours to get herself organized to leave for London and Oxford University. I will not be here to help her, I’ll be staying the weekend in Columbia, so she is on her own with the laundry. I’ll not see her again until Aug.

Sat – I’ll be serving as a volunteer at the SC Irish Arts Weekend while D3 teaches. Himself and the boy will drive D2 to the airport in Charlotte. Then himself will take the boy to the Billy Graham Library – not our idea, the boy’s idea. I can’t think of much that would be more boring, but hey, if he is interested it can be done. Part of that experiencing as much as possible thing we do. Technically school is over for the year, but really it is a year round thing.

More or less, sorta kinda, this is the week. Lord willing and the creek don’t… ya know


>Yeah, and I believe unicorns romp in the clover, but that doesn’t make it so….
good grief.

>perks of the job

>I’m pretty sure this is called “insider trading” and is a federal crime. But then, what do I know?

>home with kidlets

>Well a little interest has been expressed in how I home school so I’ll share a little here. The main points to understand about homeschooling is that not every kid is suited and not every home is suited.

The main advantage to homeschooling is that as the parent of the child you should, if you are doing the job, know your kid better than anyone and know how your child learns better than anyone. You should know your child’s strengths and weaknesses better than anyone and you should know your child’s interests better than anyone. If you do not, you probably shouldn’t home school.

Many people say oh I don’t know how to teach, I don’t have the education for teaching, or I can’t teach my child anything. Um, most likely you have taught your child more by the time he/she is ready for kindergarten than he/she will ever learn in school. Think about it. Can your child eat with utensils, walk upright, speak in sentences, tie shoes, dress them self? Does your child recognize family members, neighbors, church members, and know how to properly address them? Can your child make friends, color, put toys away, for that matter play with toys appropriately? Could your child do these things the day of birth? We begin (or at least should begin) teaching our children from the moment they are born. So yes you can teach your own child.

The number one best thing (in my opinion of course) your child can do to learn is read – read- read. Reading anything at all teaches. It teaches vocabulary, sentence structure, grammar, spelling, organization of thought. Depending on what is read it can teach manners, interpersonal relationships, history, geography, social studies, science (all of them), art, and on and on. The trick is finding a variety of things for a child to read that they can understand (but always stretch understanding just a bit) and that will hold their interest at least a short while. If you can, through careful selection, spark a love of reading then from there learning and homeschooling is a snap. Seriously the largest part of our homeschooling is about reading. I spend most of my time as a “teacher” researching, finding, and acquiring reading material. It might be the spine of a cereal box – explain to the kidlet what the info is all about, nutrition and science lesson – or a magazine, most magazines have something to offer in the way of learning for most any kid – letters colors animals in ads for the youngest kids – conversation about articles having to do with anything from exercise to international relations for older kids. As for novels, there are so many good books – the hardest thing for me has been finding good literature for my boy, the girls were easy but it is harder to find things that interest boys. But it is out there, he loves Tolkien and CS Lewis. Historical fiction keeps interest while teaching history and they often don’t even realize they are learning history. There are many good history, science, and arts periodicals out there. We keep National Geographics, Smithsonian Magazine, American History Illustrated, and Discover magazines in the house. We don’t subscribe to all of them all the time but these are magazines that do not become obsolete so a year or two puts lots in your hands. For younger kids National Geo Kids, Kids Discover, Boys Life, and magazines by the people who do Highlights are great. I do push my kids to read at adult level as soon as possible, opens up a world of opportunity for learning with much less effort on my part 🙂

Another major part of our homeschooling is simply talking with our kids. We discuss all the time, maybe we discuss marketing and economic factors after a commercial – was it funny or boring? was it effective? why? did it look expensive to produce? does this effect the price of the item or service? how do they make the commercial? how did they decide what to do for a commercial or ad? how much does it cost to run an ad? does it matter what time or what venue? Or maybe we see kids (or adults) behaving badly somewhere – dressed slutily, pitching a fit, whining, being rude or pushy, loud, nasty mouth, disrespectful – we’d discuss why they might behave that way, what effect their behavior has on both the person and those around, what better way might they get what they want. Maybe we hear a word used that I don’t think my kid knows, so we talk about the word, its meaning(s), use(s), when you are likely to hear the word. If I hear someone on the TV or radio use poor or awkward grammar/sentence structure (usually news anchors, argg) I’ll repeat what was said then ask where the problem is in how it was expressed and how might they state it more clearly. If we hear something that brings to mind a historic point, science issue, political ideal, geographic fact – whatever – we have an on the spot lesson. It is simply constant in other words. We talk to our kids, a lot.

Learning also happens, of course, through experiences so we are always looking for opportunities for them to try something new. From learning to do the grilling themselves to kayaking. Hiking to volunteering with chemo patients. Crafts to travel. Whatever presents itself as an opportunity. Anytime we are walking, on a city sidewalk or a mountain trail – we are watching for plants, rock formations, erosion evidence, cloud formations, insects, whatever and we talk about them. We never just walk along, we are always observing.

Now there are draw backs to this sort of life style, and homeschooling the way we do is a lifestyle. I spend most all my time either working on something for the kids or taking care of household stuff. There is very little time for me. It has been this way for a long time, but now with the youngest turning 12 in less than two weeks there begins to be a bit more time for me. I don’t really mind giving all this time to my kids, they don’t stay kids forever and frankly I’d rather spend time with them than anyone else. This way we are close, we get along, and I get the bonus of having people always be amazed by my kids. They make me look good!

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