Monday, December 18, 2006

Slipping

The snow and pack ice was all cleared off the front porch, but when I stepped on the porch the other morning, I nearly fell from the glaze ice. It looked like it was caused by the drip from the roof.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Birthday tho'ts

I remember, being a kid, and getting toys and books for birthday presents. Nowadays I get mostly clothes. Can I go back to being a kid again?

Though I did have some other good things happen, like getting to go out twice for lunch with my husband, and out once with my folks. I also bought myself a cheesecake from Sam's Club as a birthday cake.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Thanksgiving

We had Thanksgiving (note the name of the holiday is neither T-day nor Turkey Day. It is Thanksgiving, with a capital T, and a grateful reminder of the One to whom we offer thanks.) up at my sister's house this year. Last year we had it at our house, and all of Elfriend's family came in from out-of-town. They couldn't make it this year, so it was just my side of the family. I provided the turkey (frozen, on Monday), and brought the stuffing and candied sweet potatoes. Elfriend made rolls, like he frequently does, and pumpkin pie, made from real pumpkin. My sister made green bean casserole, and a couple other things I've forgotten. Mom cooked the turkey, and made a couple of different kinds of bread, and probably some other stuff.

I went grocery shopping that Wednesday, since it didn't look like I was going to be able to go out on Friday, like I usually do, so I wasn't around to make the crusts for Elfriend's pies. I don't know what it is, but he has considerable trouble making pie crusts, they always come out, thick, dry, and hard to roll. I can't make the edges pretty, like they look on magazines and such, but the crusts themselves come out fine. I don't know what the problem with Elfriend's pie crusts are, a different recipe, over-working the dough, not adding enough water, or what.

We went over noonish, ate, the kids at ore table, and us at another. Gidget had made a really nice Thanksgiving banner at school (with Thanksgiving spelled out in buttons, feathers, noodles, glitter, and a whole other bunch of stuff), and they hung that over the front window.

Then we did the usual clean-up, and the kids went out to play, and we sat around talking.

It was a good day.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Remembering the Snow-storm

We had our first real winter storm of the year a couple of weeks ago. Ice, snow, and more ice.

I hate ice-storms. They are pretty to look at, with all the branches of the trees coated in glass-like crystal, but they are a pain.

We had one, a few years back, while we were still living in our old house, that was really bad. We were without power for several days, and other folks for even longer. Utility crews came from all over the country to help put the power back on-line. As soon as the roads cleared, we went up to my sister's house, until the power came back on. And we lost a lot of good old trees in that storm, including one large one in the neighbor's yard. I looked up from hearing a lot of crackling and popping all around, just in time to see most of the tree down the hill come toppling down. I know both World's of Fun and Oceans of Fun lost several good trees at that time, which oddly enough, they haven't gotten around to replacing. In Worlds of Fun, we could tell the ones that were missing by the flowerbeds they have around the base of the trees. There'd be a row of four of these flowerbeds, three would have a good sized tree growing in it, and the fourth one would just have the flowers. In Oceans of Fun, there used to be a large tree, that shaded the kiddie pool nicely in the afternoons. That one is gone. I have no idea why they never replaced it. Not that it matters much anymore for us. We've pretty much outgrown the need for kiddie pools now. Gidget's gotten too tall for them (she technically was right at the limit, maybe a bit over last year) and Dash has gotten to the point where he's starting to enjoy the other slides more. I still think we ought to see if we can get both kids swimming lessons, though.

Well, anyway, back to this past storm. It was raining/slushing/icing about the time I usually walk down to the bus stop to get the kids, but I didn't really want to have to go walk and stand in that gunk, especially if the bus was running late, so I took the car. While I was in the car waiting for the bus and watching the ice hit the windshield, I began to wonder if taking the car really had been such a good idea. What if it proved impossible to get the car back up the hill again? That would really be a mess. But it turned out that I was worried about nothing, we had no more trouble driving back up the hill than I would have had it just been raining. That was a relief.

Elfriend surprised me by walking in at 4:30. They had told everyone to go ahead and go home if they wanted, and avoid as much of the weather as they could.

They didn't call off school the next day until almost 6 a.m. I think that they were waiting until the very last possible minute to make up their minds. I'm glad they called off school, I'd have hated to have to walk the kids down the hill on that icy road, and I could see that it would have been almost impossible to drive. Later that morning, I saw a car sitting sideways in the road for a few hours, which made me even gladder that I didn't have to get anywhere. We just stayed inside that day, though the kids did go out later that afternoon to play in the snow, what there was of it. The mail didn't even come that day.

By evening, they were still predicting about 10 inches of snow by morning. The school was called off at 6:00 that night for the next day, Friday. But we didn't get the 10 inches that night, in fact, we got about enough snow to say, "Look! We got snow!" and that's it. I don't know what happened to all the snow we should have gotten, if it went south of us, or skipped us and went to St. Louis, or what.

We waited until the sun was up and shining on the roads, then I took the kids grocery shopping. Some roads were better than others, but I had only a little trouble at one stop sign.

Elfriend was wondering if the school system knew something we didn't, when they called off school so early for Friday, but I figured it was for at least some of the following reasons:

1. It was early December, and they still had plenty of snow days left.

2. It was Friday, and they had already had Thursday off, might as well make a weekend of it.

3. There was always the chance the storm could go through.

I just have this feeling that if it had been February, say, and they were running out of snow days, they would have waited to see what really happened to the weather before calling things off.

But things are all back to normal, now. Though it took quite a bit longer for the snow to disappear than I thought it would. Snow usually disappears within three days, here, this time it lasted almost a week.

Gidget was most upset about having to go back to school on Monday. She kept telling me, "But there's snow on the ground. That means there's no school."

Then, when I tried to tell her that the issue wasn't snow on the ground, it was ice and dangerous conditions on the roads, she kept finding minuscule pieces of ice on the road, and maybe a patch or two that was about two foot square, and saying, "See! there's ice on the road. That means we don't have to go to school."

I finally just told her to take it up with her teacher, there was nothing I could do about it.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Starlight Theater - Part 2

(Note: I've decided to stop calling folks by their initials, and am going to use nicknames for them. I don't know why, but it somehow seems less cumbersome to call my husband Elfriend rather than J, my daughter Gidget rather than C, and my son Dash rather than N. :-) )

The third show of the season this year was Grease. We'd seen it a few years ago, the last time it came to Starlight. We remembered liking the music and dancing, costumes, things like that. What we didn't like was the moral of the story.

Since we still couldn't get anyone to go with is, we had serious discussions on whether or not we should bring the kids. Finally we decided that most of the stuff that we didn't like would just fly over the kids' heads. If Dash had been the same age as Gidget, we probably wouldn't have done so. Of course, there's always the danger that Gidget would absorb more than one would think from appearances. She's done that sort of thing before. You think she hasn't been paying attention to something, then some time later you realize that she's internalized all of it.

During our dinner, I almost ran into Bob Rohlf on our trip to the buffet. Fortunately, I was able to stop myself on time. I said "Hi," he said "hi," and that was it. It took me a moment to realize who he was, since for some reason folks look different when they're two feet away from you than when they are close to a football field's width away from you, up on stage. By the time I realized why he looked familiar, it was too late too say anything to him. Though what I would have said, I don't know . . . "You're Bob Rohlf." "I know."

The language in Grease was worse than I remembered. Probably selective memory at work. And, of course, the staging was different, and things like that. I don't remember if the last time the show was there was before or after they put in the new stage. They did that a few years, making the stage smaller, but more versatile, closer to the Broadway standard. That way, they have a greater selection of shows to choose from. The stage is also enclosed now, so it can be air-conditioned, which I'm sure the actors appreciate on these warm Kansas City nights. The first rows of the audience appreciates that, too. If the last time the show was there was before the stage changed, that would probably explain quite a few of the staging changes.

We were right about most of the plot going right over the kids' heads. Later we asked Dash what the story was about, and he told us, "It's about a car."

We all enjoyed the evening. More on the last two shows, Rent and Hairspray later.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Test

 
This is a test of the Picassa/Blogger posting system. If this had been an actual post, the picture would be much more interesting. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Political Test








Neo-Conservative
You scored 33% Personal Liberty and 54% Economic Liberty!
A neo-conservative believes in moderate to high government intervention on personal matters and moderate government intervention on economic matters. Unlike most other conservatives, they may tend to support a social safety net, though to a lesser extent then most leftists. Others are more capitalistically inclined. They tend to support war, police powers, foreign intervention and laws restricting personal liberty. Neo-conservatives tend to emphasize foreign policy. Neo-conservatism is the result of "fusion" between "old left" and "new right" tendencies.







My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:













free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 14% on Personal





free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 80% on Economic
Link: The Politics Test written by brainpolice on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Anyone doing NaNoWriMo?

That is: National Novel Writing Month.

In a moment of insanity, I've signed up for it. I even filled out my profile. I'm hoping that I'll at least make a decent dent in one of the novels that's been floating around my head for years. Then, maybe, I'd have room in there to keep something useful. Like where I put my keys. :-)

I've got some ponderings about the story I'm planning to work on here, since we're not allowed to actually start writing on it until November.

Friday, September 22, 2006

NBC edits VeggieTales for God Content, then denies it

I've got a bunch I've got to blog about once my husband's vacation is over, but I thought I'd post this quickly:

See Phil Vischer's Blog, http://www.philvischer.com/ especially the entry "This is getting interesting." Previous entries will give more context.

Basically, Phil's given them episodes that were perfectly timed for TV, and they kept sending them back, telling him to cut out more of the God lines (originally they were just telling him to cut the countertop scenes). Now NBC is denying that they are editing VeggieTales for religious contents, just saying that they are editing for time.

NBC is free, of course, to decide what they want to air, but if they are editing for religious content, they should at least have the courage of their convictions, and say so.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Just Venting

As an old professor of mine used to say, "Jesus told us to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves (Matt. 10:16). Unfortunately, we usually get that backwards."

Saturday, September 02, 2006

September 2nd

September 2nd is on a Saturday this year.

Funny, 11 years ago, it was also on a Saturday.

Happy Anniversary to my Handsome Husband!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Miscellany

Phil Vischer's redone his website, to be more blog-like. Unfortunately, his eleven-part story about the fall of Big Idea has gone missing. I'm sure they'll bring it back sooner or later. He needs to update it anyway, since he ends it not long after the bankruptcy and sale, and a lot has happened afterwards.

But anyways, Phil's big news was that Big Idea and VeggieTales are going to be on the Saturday morning lineup on NBC, starting September 9. For some reason that's been keeping him busy.

*****

The Kansas City Renaissance Festival starts this weekend. Hard to believe it's that time of year again. J's going to be in it at least four Saturdays and one Sunday this year, leaving two weekends free. Of course, that could change at any time, folks might not be able to make it, want to trade, etc. J's getting enough comp tickets for all of us to go one weekend he's off. We haven't made outfits for the rest of us for a few years, and there'd be no way the kids would fit in theirs anymore.

Other than J's group, I'd say that my favorite performer is Lady Nancy and the Silly Songs of the Selkie (who for once has updated her website fairly recently). She always acts like she's enjoying herself, and even more importantly, like she enjoys the children. Not necessarily after the last show of a particularly hot weekend, but most of the rest of the time. She's gotten so she recognizes us every year, though if she would do so out of context, or without the kids.

*****

For as well as our garden started out this year, it sure didn't stay that way. Most of our corn germinated, but only got up about a foot high and stopped. Not enough rain at the right time and all that. Our cherry and grape tomatoes are coming in faster than we can eat them, but the big tomatoes didn't really do anything. From all our vines, we got one watermelon. I think the onions and potatoes may have done well, but we haven't dug them us yet to see.

All in all, what seems to have grown the best was the cucumber plant C brought home from school last spring. It's taken up the back sidewalk, and many large cucumbers have come off of it, and it's still flowering.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

What is Fundamentalist Christianity?

By Kevin J. Cheek

Fundamentalists. Religious Right. Fundies. Everyone seems to have a label for Fundamentalist Christians. The mainstream media and secularists use it as a slur. Either by ignorance or design they tend to regard Fundamentalist Christians as a homogenous subculture. Some speak of Fundamentalist Christian leaders. Some politicians use the term as a goad to spur on party loyalists, in the exact same way some invoked the term Roman Catholic to oppose John F. Kennedy. But most Americans are left with the question: What is Fundamentalist Christianity? And some might be surprised to learn that they themselves are Fundamentalist Christians, even though they may have never thought of themselves in that way.

Christian Fundamentalism has a very simple definition: The belief that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. While all Christians look to the Bible, some put equal or greater emphasis on tradition or on non-scriptural rationalizations. Not so with Fundamentalist Christians, who look strictly to the Bible.

To understand Christian Fundamentalism we must first understand some terminology. You'll frequently come across the term Conservative, Moderate, and Liberal. These refer to broad theological positions and are not to be confused with their political counterparts. On one end we have theologically conservative Christians, which are the same as Fundamentalist Christians. On the other we have theological liberals who reject the core beliefs about Christ and salvation that have defined Christianity for nearly two thousand years, and regard Christianity more as a philosophy. In between are the theological moderates which can have theologically conservative or theologically liberal leanings.

Read the rest here:

Cheek's Mill

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Wednesday Out

J took a vacation day Wednesday, and we went out to Worlds of Fun. Every once in a while it's nice to get out without the kids. He got me to ride the Patriot, this year's new rollercoaster. I usually try to avoid roller-coasters, since they tend to shake too much, and give me headaches. This one, though, ran smoothly. J said it was even smoother at the beginning of the year, when it was brand new. It threw a few gees, but didn't give me a headache, so I enjoyed it the whole way through.

Then we rode the water rides, a spinning ride or two, and of course the train. It was great to go without having folks griping about riding something someone else chose to ride.

It only took us about half a day to see every thing we wanted to. Of course, we did save time by not going into Camp Snoopy, and things like that. We've already have scores of pictures us with Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and others in the Peanuts gang.

I wonder if we get more interactions with the characters than we would at, say, Disney, since Worlds of Fun is so much smaller a park? Something I've noticed is that the characters always are out with "keepers", available for taking pictures, making sure the characters are back inside for there show, things like that. One keeper sometimes looks after four characters. Now it's been at least ten years since I've been to Disney World, but I don't remember their characters having keepers like that. I would think, though, that they would almost have to, to protect the characters from the public, and vice-versa. I probably was not paying attention at the right time.

After all that walking and riding we came home tired, but we had had a fun time. We'll have to do it again next year.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Starlight Theater

We had season tickets to Starlight Theater again this year. In fact, we bought four of them instead of the usual two. We were hoping that we'd be able to convince some friends of ours to go with us in exchange for babysitting. Somehow, though, everyone was too busy this summer. I don't know what it was, since some of those who were too busy to go see the shows with us have time to in see first run movies multiple times.

But anyway, that meant we took our children to see several more shows than we were originally anticipating.

The first show was Riverdance, which none of us had ever seen before. J and I really enjoyed watching the dancing, and C seemed quite enthralled by it, but N was determined to spend his time being miserable. He insisted on spending the whole time on my lap (fortunately, it wasn't too hot that evening).

The next show, a couple of weeks later, was Dr. Doolittle. This was the "kids" show for the season, so we had planned to bring the kids to it all along. We all enjoyed this musical about the best of any of them this year. Of course, they had to introduce a love interest into the story. We could tell she was a love interest since every time they met the music took a dramatic romantic turn, and of course, they hated each other on sight.

The weather was quite warm and humid at the start of the evening. But while Bob Rohlf was talking (he went on longer than usual since he was telling us about a couple who were giving a large sum of money to the theater because their son-in-law didn't die of cancer) a sudden breeze blew through, lowering the temperature about ten degrees. No one was paying any attention to Bob Rohlf, everyone was paying attention to the breeze, watching the cotton candy blow around, relaxing in the sudden cooling.

By the program, the show originally didn't have an intermission, then they put one in. We passed the point where the intermission should have been, and they kept on going. We figured that as soon as Bob Rohlf left the stage, he probably went back to his office, called the meteorologist, and decided they needed to hurry. We had a few sprinkles before the end of the show, but nothing to worry about, though a lot of folks left anyway (if only to stand beneath the awning). Then during the curtain call, the star, Tommy Tune, cut the applause short, said they'd been told to cut out the intermission, and they'd been racing the weather ever since, and sent us home. A couple of years ago, the star of Will Rogers Follies tried to do a similar thing, but then was so impressed with us sitting in the rain that he forgot himself and talked for another five minutes. But Tommy Tune kept his head and sent us right out.

It kept sprinkling all the way to the car, and out of the parking lot, but as soon as we hit the highway, the downpour started, thunder, lightening, the whole works. It was difficult to see. We could just imagine Bob Rohlf in his office, wiping the sweat from his brow in relief that they timed it so well.

More on the next two shows later.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

School is starting again

School starts again on Monday. I'm looking forward to having some time to myself.  I've got all kind of things I want to get done, such as getting some writing done, including doing some blogging, catching up on the housework, going to Curves regularly, and trying to do some crochet once the weather gets cooler.  Somehow having weather in the 90s and 100s doesn't make me feel like sitting with a lap full of yarn.

The kids will be in 1st and 4th grade this year.  Hard to imagine how fast they're growing.  On the back-to-school night, we have to meet their new teachers this year.  I think that they'll do well.  Of course, one of C's teachers's the same as last year, since she's in a multi-aged class.  Her fourth grade teacher had these neat-looking notebook style calendars, with a three-dimensional effect on the cover.  C saw them at other kids' desks, and excitedly looked for her own desk.  She was disappointed when she found it, since there was no calendar at her desk.  Her teacher explained that she hadn't put one out for her since she didn't know what her multi-aged teacher was planning.  But when she saw how disappointed C was, she got one out for her.  They've got computers at each of the tables, one for every two kids.  Back in my day, we didn't have any computers.  Of course, back then it took a room-sized computer to do what my PDA can do.

N's teacher of course had the wrong name down for him at his desk.  We've given him a nickname that's a bit unusual for his name (though common otherwise), that we consider logical, but other folks have trouble seeing.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Garden

The garden's starting to come up. That's J's job much more than mine, I don't do much more than harvest things occasionally.

The tomato and pepper plants are looking well, this despite the couple of hailstorms we had shortly after they were planted. A few of the potato plants are starting to peek up above the ground, though none are as large yet as the volunteers we got from last year.

J's trying a new spot for the melons this year, right next to where we have the tomatoes. Maybe we'll get more than one melon off of them this year. It's a good spot for tomatoes. The first year we were here we had a volunteer tomato come up there, got lots of tomatoes off of it. We would have gotten more, but the season was more than half over before our next door neighbor mentioned to us that it was a yellow tomato plant. I kept waiting for them to turn red, but they never did, then rotted. OK, so I'm not much of a gardener.

The strawberry plants are blossoming (as well as putting out runners). This is their second year, so we should get more of them than we did last year. Of course, we'll probably still have the problem of something coming in the middle of the night and eating them just as they turn ripe. Rabbits, or raccoons, or something. Maybe even deer. The rhubarb was good, it had leaves as big as elephant's ears (Indian, not African). Of course, we pied it at the beginning of the month, and replacement leaves haven't come up yet.

Starting to see some of the corn come up. Of course, corn is a grass, and many of the weeds are also grasses, so it's hard to tell sometimes. Hopefully we can keep the deer and raccoons out of it, so that we can have the corn first.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Insurance Hassle

Back in March, N jumped off the couch and sprained his foot.  His usual response to something as simple as stubbing his toe is to crawl around crying, saying he can't walk, so it took me a while to figure out that he might have really hurt himself.  It was too late to go to the doctor, so we took him into the emergency room.  He was fine in a couple days, just barely limping when he went back to school.  After a bit, we forgot about it.

But today, we got something from the insurance company, one of those forms they send you when they're trying to figure somebody else to charge for the bill.  Last time this sort of thing happened was when J broke his finger several years back playing basketball.  He needed surgery for it.  For two, maybe three years afterwards we got those forms every couple of months.  I don't know why they kept sending them; the information didn't change any of the times we sent it in.  After a while, every time we got one, J called them, gave the information, and made them promise never to send us one again.  After a year or so, it finally worked.
Ninja animation

Friday, May 05, 2006

Where's that trampoline

We went up to my sister's place for Easter.  This was the day after the storm I mentioned recently, which went right through their area.   They hadn't noticed any damage, but as we went out spreading the candy-filled eggs for the Easter egg hunt, my sister started wondering what the pieces of pipes and springs we were finding were.  She eventually figured out they were pieces of the next-door neighbor's trampoline. Everyone was just thankful that none of the pieces went through a window or something.  A six-foot long piece of pipe could really have done some damage.

Tornado Warning

The other week we had a couple of friends over for a snack time. While we were relaxing, and watching a movie, the sirens outside started going off. A tornado warning, of course. So our friends got to see our messy basement. Back before I had kids, my first reaction on hearing the sirens was to turn on the TV to see where the storm actually was, but now we just take the kids down to the basement and wait, and see what news we can get on the radio, or the computer if one of us remembered to grab it.

While we were in the basement waiting, my friend pulled out her cell phone, and proceeded to call a bunch of her family and friends to make sure they knew about the tornado warning. You know, doing something like that would never occur to me. For one thing, I wouldn't want them to come out of the safety of the basement to answer the phones. But then again, maybe her family really needed it. After all, I heard her tell at least three people, "No, it's a tornado warning. That means someone has actually seen a tornado."

Most of the storm went quite a bit north of us, though we did get a bit of rain and a small bit of hail. I probably should have called my sister to make sure her family was all right after the storm was over. (They were fine.)

Library fun

We've had a couple of library books that we couldn't find anywhere. One was mine, and one was N's. I knew the last place I had seen mine was on my dresser, but that was a few weeks ago. And I had no idea where the last place I had seen N's book. I spent several weeks looking everywhere those books could possibly be, again and again. Then I started looking in all the places the books couldn't possibly be. Unfortunately, there are a lot more of those. But they were still nowhere to be found.

Finally, after all the times going into the library, and having the librarians keep on reminding us that those books were still out, I did something. Out of curiosity more than anything else, I looked on the shelves where my book would be. I found the book there, and took it up to be scanned. Sure enough, it wasn't just a copy of the book; it was the same one I had taken out. So then I went to the kids section of the library, found N's book, and guess what? It was the same book. I should have had them check on it a month ago.

Now if I could only find my library card.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Pizza Night

J and the kids had a Dad/kid pizza night at school the other evening.  Apparently, the kids had barely finished eating when they took them out to play on the rock wall and gave the dads a presentation.  I think it was geared to encourage the dads to volunteer more in the school.

There was also a book fair at the school that night, so everyone had a good time looking at the books.  C bought one, "Avatar."

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Long Weekend

It was an interesting four-day weekend. The kids were off both Friday and Monday, so I had to figure out what to do with them. They had a good time just playing around, but by Monday they were both getting on each other's nerves. I really get annoyed when both of them keep coming up to me and saying things like "Mommy, he pushed me." "Mommy, she called me a ruffian."

Lately, C's big word has been "evil ". The definition of evil apparently being doing something that she doesn't like. We keep telling her just because someone does something that makes her unhappy, that doesn't make him evil. Just like if she disagrees with something someone says that doesn't make him a liar.

For instance, a few months back, our pastor was giving a series of sermons on Narnia. He kept saying something along the lines of Aslan being the same as Jesus. C has a very literal mind, and she knows that Aslan is a fictional character, while Jesus is real. So she kept saying, "He's lying!" And we had to take her out.

N went to the dentist yesterday. J took him. Back a year, or maybe a year and a half ago, N was so afraid of going to the dentist that he would sit in the chair, and absolutely refuse to open his mouth. After a while, he was willing to open his mouth, but he wanted J right with him for reassurance.

Yesterday, however, even knowing that he was going in to get a couple of fillings, he was able to go back by himself, and be worked on without his Daddy right there. My little boy is growing up.