Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sun City ladies about to make reality TV debut | Phoenix News | Arizona News | azfamily.com | Yahoo News

Kristine Harrington reports some Arizona residents are about to make their reality television debut starring in a new show called 'Sunset Daze' described as a cross between 'Golden Girls' and 'Jersey Shore.'

Oh, my.

Sun City ladies about to make reality TV debut | Phoenix News | Arizona News | azfamily.com | Yahoo News

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Walk in Which the Cactus all Looked Like Penises

We got up early-ish this morning, and went to the skate park. While BW and MM messed around on their boards, I set my playlist to Rob Thomas and got to walking. M1 and I have decided that we will be walking across the Golden Gate Bridge this fall as part of our lose weight/start exercising more challenge, and today is finally DAY ONE of my walking plan. I've been putting it off for a week because I'm being lazy.

Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera, because when I rounded a corner, I saw this:

An Agave in bloom.

And then I saw four more. I was surrounded by them, these towering, twenty foot tall, phallic blooms.

I was trying to find a picture here to show you, and while none really captured the true penis-like nature of the plants I saw, the picture above came close.

I also learned, while looking for pictures, that most agave plants bloom dramatically and then die.

There's a metaphor in there somewhere, I'm almost sure of it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Eagles: Assisted Living Tour

I've kinda crapped out on the blog the last week or so - posting articles and whatnot instead of actual posts. Things I wanted to share, when I didn't really have time to write. I've never really done that before, and I'm not sure I like it. Although, I gotta say, it was easier than actually writing a post.

I've had all these things I've wanted to blog about, but now that I actually have time to do so, I've forgotten most of them. Maybe I'll remember as I continue.

The one thing I do remember I wanted to write about is last Wednesday. MM and I went to see The Eagles. I can't stop ranting and raving about how absolutely amazing it was. The Eagles have been the soundtrack to much of my life, the first music I can really remember listening to. Them and Jimmy Buffet.

I can't even describe how I felt listening to them. I actually cried during I Can't Tell You Why. Because I'm such a sap. It reminds me of my husband - "Nothing's wrong as far as I can see/We make things harder than it has to be" and "Every time I try to walk away/Something makes me turn around and stay" - and there they were. Real, live tears. Through the whole song. I swear, ever since I had BW EVERYTHING makes me cry. Sheesh. Anyway, our marriage has had so many of its ups and downs through the years, and it's a song I can really relate to. Thinking about walking away, but, being unable, unwilling to do it.

Anyway, no opening act, just three hours of them playing. A few of their individual solo hits, a smattering of the new stuff, most of the major classics, and they were INCREDIBLE. For so many of the songs, I just leaned my head back, closed my eyes, and let the music engulf me. It was magical. Yes, I'm a dork. Music does that to me, though. Especially music that has been such a big part of my entire life.

Anyway, on to other subjects.

The big upset in the home schooling 'sphere is the whole GMA unschooling thing. Ugh. On one hand, it pisses me off. Yep, being with your kids all day long, creating an open environment for them, providing them with inspiration, support, freedom to follow their passions is lazy parenting. While shipping them off to school and not being involved in their education at all isn't?

On the other hand, it's the media. They presented the story they wanted to present, they chose the parts they wanted to to support the story they were writing. It was one sided. We all know that, right?

Now don't get me wrong: there are lots and lots of brick and mortar school parents who bend over backwards to be involved in any way they can with the schools and their kids. And then there are others who don't. Others who ship the kids off to school and that's the end of their involvement. Who are so happy to have a little peace and quiet. A free babysitter.

My feelings are that no one solution is right for everyone. Some kids do great in b and m schools. Some families don't have any other options. Some kids that are home schooled would probably be better off being educated by someone other than their parents. But the nice thing about the country that we live in is that there are options. We, as parents, should always strive to do the best we can for our children. And if we feel that option is home schooling or sending our kids off to school, then we should do what we feel is best. And be an active participant in which ever choice we make.

I don't understand why this is such a dividing issue. Just because someone chooses to do something different from what you do doesn't make it wrong. Just like religion, folks. Believe what you believe, accept that others are trying to do the best they can for themselves and their families. Good fucking god, people. Why the controversy?

Personally, I plan on home schooling BW again next year. He wants it, I want to do it, and I think I can do a better job for him at home. I'm also voting to raise taxes for education. Because the schools need it. And better schools lead to better communities, and better communities lead to better cities and states and nations and so on. This doesn't have to be such a divisive issue.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Awesome Post About Unschooling

I read this today over at Swiss Army Wife - it's wonderful, and just what I've been needing to read lately.

How to Trust Children Who Stare at Gorillas

Stink Foot

I have another foot thing.


(I'm trying not to blog like I talk in real life, because not only does my mother read this, but, zombies help her, she tells others about it, too. See, mama, I'm a good girl - I don't always talk like a sailor.)

(Kidding, mom. I don't care if you tell people.)

Anyway. Back to my foot. There is another lumpy thing about the size of a pen tip right next to where I had the last one removed. Even though they biopsied the last two little bastards (really, censorship only goes so far), the surgeon can't really tell me WHAT they are, or WHY they're there. I don't know why I didn't go to a podiatrist to start with, but that's my next step.

Oh yeah, I know why I didn't go to the podiatrist first, I thought it was a splinter. Which it apparently is not, unless the splinter had an army of friends and is slowly trying to win the war by giving me Alzheimer's. Or making me go broke with medical bills. Or making me walk unsteadily so I'll trip down the stairs. Maybe it's a three pronged approach?

Doesn't matter, the fact is, something in my foot is trying to kill me. Or drive me mad. One or the other.

I thought, hell, maybe it's plantar warts and my surgeon is an idiot. I looked them up online and while the written description sounds exactly like what I have, the pictures don't look like my foot thingies at all. My science guru, M2, says it's not warts because they would have been able to see it was a virus in the biopsy.


Did you know that warts are a virus? I didn't. Did you know that plantar warts come from being infected by HPV? As in human papillomavirus? As in the sexually transmitted disease? The one that causes genital warts and cancer?

For minute there, I thought maybe I had an STD on my foot. The doctor and M2 say no, but wouldn't THAT just be amusing since it keeps coming back to haunt me and if it was plantar warts it maybe could have been cured the first time.

Since I don't really frequent gyms or public pools, the only thing I could think of was, if I did have the stink foot, I'll bet it came from one of those little pedicure places. I'll bet all that chatting back and forth in a language I don't understand wasn't just, "Dumb American and her yucky feet!" and "Has she seriously never heard of a Ped Egg? There better be a big ass tip for this.".

Now I'm thinking there may have been a little, "I can't touch these feet again. Bob! Go grab that vile of HPV. A little case of stink foot will keep her outta here!!"

Monday, April 12, 2010


So, I went back to work today and I'm now OFFICIALLY PART-TIME. I can't tell you how good that feels to say. Seriously. I hope this feeling lasts for-evah and evah! The new schedule seems like it's going to be pretty awesome, everyone was happy to see me and have me back, and my boss went and picked up lunch for everyone.

There was only one, teeny tiny problem.

We have these dry erase boards at our desks. People use them for notes, messages, drawings, whatever. I was walking to my desk, and my cubie - who's new-ish to the team, keeps to herself, and has a plethora of religious paraphernalia all over her desk - had something written on her board:


Which I can only assume is a left over Easter reference. The problem I'm having with it is that it's written in bright red, and it's all scribbly. This does not in any way look like some sort of loving devotion to Christ. It looks scary. Vaguely threatening. And a little like someone dipped their finger in blood and drew it on the board.

Every time I walk by, I check the area for zombies. Because somebody has risen. And judging by the handwriting, he's pissed.

When Less is More: The Case for Teaching Less Math in Schools | Psychology Today

An interesting theory.

When Less is More: The Case for Teaching Less Math in Schools | Psychology Today

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Today is my last day off from the broken arm. Tomorrow I go back to work, but switch to the part time schedule. Yay! I'm so hoping this is the key to having everything else click into place. I'm so stressed out with school and work and trying to be 'present' wife and mother.

To commemorate my last Sunday, and to get back in the world after far too many days in my recliner, BW and I met M1 and her kids at the theater to see How To Train Your Dragon - totally awesome, by the way. We did lunch, went to the park, and then I took BW to a tattoo shop to have his ears pierced again.

He's been wanting to re-do them for a while, but I wanted him to have it done by someone who knew a little more about piercing than the 16 year old working at Claire's. He's thrilled with the whole experience, and he handled it really well. Even after he saw the gigantic needles they use. ;) Now, not only does he have his ears pierced again, but we can easily switch out the balls on the barbells for little skulls like he's been wanting. My sweet little monkey, he's so punk rock.

The only other interesting thing going on is that my husband and I have a bet going on right now - who can go the longest without a snarky comment or pissy attitude. We've got ten bucks riding on it, and I have to admit it's really hard. I did it because I he's been such a crab lately (more so than usual, I mean), but the funny thing is, I've caught myself biting back some scathing comment at least a handful of times. Just since last night. So, yeah, something for me to work on - as it turns out, I've been a bit of a crab lately, too.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Pinch of This, A Touch of That

I've been home for nearly a month now, between my foot surgery and broken arm. I'm getting bored.

BW's at school all day, so nothing to do there. I haven't felt good enough to really do anything but lay around and read or watch tv. And surf the web, which fills my mind with all sorts of crazy ideas.

Like what, you ask?

Well, I really, really want to live aboard a catamaran and sail around the world now. Which is kind of amusing in a few different ways: I get motion sick very, very easily - sometimes playing video games does it to me - and then there are my somewhat unnecessary but still very real fears of sharks and pirates. Unnecessary because I live in Arizona so it's sort of a waste of time as far as fears go. Real, because, well, it actually makes me a little nervous to think about sharks and pirates. Go figure.

Today MM got off work early, so we went to Jason's Deli for lunch. Since I'm trying to eat healthier and track those dadgum calories, I did not get the Plain Jane Potato. Over 2000 calories for a potato. Holy cow, y'all. I got my favorite, Jason's vegetarian vegetable soup and the salad bar. I actually feel like I get what I pay for at that salad bar. It's one of the few where I would actually pay more to buy those things and prepare a salad at home then I spend going out. A rarity when eating out, isn't it?

BW is starting tennis lessons next week. He's been wanting to do something, ANYTHING lately, and tennis interested him. It's a little less than two months of lessons, and I'm hoping he enjoys it. And it looks like we are definitely going back to home schooling this year. He is complaining more and more about school, which I find amusing because grade wise, he's doing better and better.

He's not liking all the 'just because we do it this way' rules that don't make sense, and there's been some bullying. Nothing huge, but enough that it's made an impact. We've had a lot of good conversations about it, and I hope it makes an impact on his treatment of others - you know, the now that you know how it feels, hopefully you won't ever call other people mean names impact.

Since it looks like this is most certainly what BW wants to go back to, MM and I had THE TALK. MM was totally on board when we started home schooling, but has become more and more disillusioned as we've progressed. Part of it is the 'it's not natural to be with your kids so much' mentality, which he realizes is more of a personal opinion based on his own feelings then a core belief. The rest is that he thinks we do nothing but play all day, and how can that possibly benefit our child - childhood isn't supposed to be all fun and games, by GOD. OK, he hasn't said those exact words, per se, but I can see it in his eyes that he wants to. And it amuses me to no end, because it's such a husband thing to feel. It was nice to see The New Unschooler post something very similar about her husband's feelings on this, at least I'm not alone there. :)

I'm going to tell you something today that I don't think I've talked about before. Ready?

My husband is a grouch.

It drives me crazy, I've tried like hell to change him, but it's been pointless. He's nearly always irritated about something. I swear, it's sometimes like he's the little old man in Up. Now, to be fair, he gets over his little pissy moods quickly, but he's still a grouch a good part of the time. And if he thinks other people are having too much fun, it irritates him. This the basic problem with our version of home schooling. It looks too much like fun and not enough like SCHOOLING.

Between not being able to see things being done on a daily basis (think worksheets and spelling tests and book reports and the like) and the appearance that we're doing nothing but goofing off all day long, he's not digging the home schooling. Listening to History of the World audio books is NOT the same as MEMORIZING all the IMPORTANT DATES, being TESTED on SAID DATES, and CREATING A SHOEBOX PANORAMA DEPICTING YOUR FAVORITE EUROPEAN DICTATOR, WIFE.

The fact that BW went back to school without a hitch did give me some validation for how we've spent the last two years, but MM's still thinking that it was ONLY THIRD GRADE, what about FOURTH GRADE, OR SEVENTH GRADE, OR HIGH SCHOOL. Just because it worked for THIRD grade DOES NOT MEAN it will work for the rest of his education. (That's how MM talks when he's irritated. All in CAPS.)

Anyway, today we had THE TALK. I have been recently told that I'm a little too critical, which is not entirely untrue. I began THE TALK with a little mental preparation. I asked myself the question I am using to try to become less naggy and critical - are you trying to launch a respectful, two way conversation, or are you just being a bitch? I decided I wasn't being a bitch (yay, me!), so I continued by asking what his latest thoughts were on home schooling.

He gave me the 'it's not normal for anyone to be around anyone 24 hours a day' crap. (Oooh, a little bitchy there, this is obviously a work in progress.) I gently pointed out that there's really nothing wrong with it, brought to his attention all the things BW does with people other than us, and that HE doesn't have to be around us all day since he's working, so if I'M ok with it, perhaps he could get over that hurdle. He agreed with me there, so progress was made.

Then, I asked him if he trusted me enough to home school - did he believe that education in general, and our son's education specifically, was of high importance to me? Yes, he said, he believes that. Does he trust that I wouldn't want to set my child up for failure by raising him in a way that would leave him unprepared to function in our society? Yes, he said, he trusts that I wouldn't want that. Does he think I'm smart enough, dedicated enough, passionate enough, patient enough to home school our child? Yes, he does. Well, then, can we start there, with that basic understanding and trust, and do this again? Yes, we can.

I have two goals with all of this: the first, is to be more respectful of MM's opinions, and try to incorporate things into our home schooling that are measurable to make him a little more at ease. Hello spelling tests and work sheets! Second, is that his grouchiness is more of an internal personality issue, rather than a personal reflection of me - and I really need to try to not let it irritate me. I react to his bad attitude with one of my own, and then it all gets blown out of proportion. I can change my part of that, and I'm going to work on it. Which is really all anyone can do.

Whew! I've been mentioning a little here and there about going back to home schooling, but I think today is the first day I realized that we are going to be home schoolers for real again, rather than just in spirit.

And, whew, what a long ass post. :) Feels good to get it all out of my mind and onto the blog. And as of today I can almost type like a regular person - albeit a much slower than average regular person who is in a moderate amount of pain!

Anyway, my point is, I feel like I'm home again. Things are starting to feel better, look better, my attitude is back in a happier place. I'm feeling hopeful again.

To celebrate, I think I'll price a few catamarans.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Post Easter Hangover and Chatter

Too. Much. Chocolate.

I feel like absolute crap today. I cannot resist a Reese's Peanut Butter Egg, and yesterday I had meat for the first time in about three or four weeks. The combination did NOT go over real well with my tummy. Back to eating healthier today!

I have an outline due for one of my classes today that I must finish, and I just can't get started. Part of it is the one handed typing thing. Although, you'll note, it doesn't keep me from blogging, it just triples the time it takes me to do it. :P I've already pushed back my due dates, and I really need to get motivated. For some reason, writing the outlines for papers is the hardest part for me. I hate having to come up with thesis statements. I like to just let things evolve as I type. Although, once I get the damn statements written, it's pretty easy from then on, so there is some benefit to it.

BW is over the whole brick and mortar school thing. He used to tell me he couldn't wait to get back to school, he loved it, he had so much fun, and the like. Now, he's done with it. He wants to go back to homeschooling, he isn't having fun, when will it be over, and so on.

I wouldn't mind pulling him out, but his father sure would. We told him when he decided he wanted to try it that he would need to complete the whole year, and then he could go back to home schooling if he wanted to. There's less than two months left. In the interest of not completely irritating my husband, he's just going to have to ride it out. And it's not like he's miserable - just bored. His grades are good, but he's through with the whole outside validation of getting a good grade. And he's discovered that school isn't about having fun with your friends all day. Summer cannot come soon enough.

I'm switching our dog to a raw food diet tomorrow. Why? A few reasons. My husband cheaps out on the dog food, she refuses to eat it or eats it and about gasses us out of our home, and the raw food is cheaper than the really good kibble that it kills my husband to spring for.

I found a raw dog food co-op here, so we're going to give that a go. I was able to get her food and treats for a month for just under $60. She's about 70 pounds, so that's pretty close to what we spend on dry food each month. I'm going to see how she does, and then switch the cats over if she does well. The food is already ground and frozen into ten pound bags, so it should be pretty convenient and easy to serve. I'm pretty sure she won't be complaining about the change, but, she's goofy so who knows. I hope it works out. It seems to me that raw meat is a lot closer to what a dog should be eating than god knows what kind of garbage-y meat with rice, corn and wheat fillers, so I'm hopeful.

OK, I've procrastinated enough, so on to my school stuff. Hope everyone's Easter was made of wonderful!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Increasing Number Of Parents Opting To Have Children School-Homed | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

This was posted on The Expanding Life's blog, and I just had to post it here. Hilarious!!!!

Increasing Number Of Parents Opting To Have Children School-Homed | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

WASHINGTON—According to a report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Education, an increasing number of American parents are choosing to have their children raised at school rather than at home.

Deputy Education Secretary Anthony W. Miller said that many parents who school-home find U.S. households to be frightening, overwhelming environments for their children, and feel that they are just not conducive to producing well-rounded members of society.

Thousands of mothers and fathers polled in the study also believe that those running American homes cannot be trusted to keep their kids safe.

"Every year more parents are finding that their homes are not equipped to instill the right values in their children," Miller said. "When it comes to important life skills such as proper nutrition, safe sex, and even basic socialization, a growing number of mothers and fathers think it's better to rely on educators to guide and nurture their kids."

"And really, who can blame them?" Miller continued. "American homes have let down our nation's youth time and again in almost every imaginable respect."

According to the report, children raised at home were less likely to receive individual adult attention, and were often subjected to ineffective and wildly inconsistent disciplinary measures. The study also found that many parents expressed concerns that, when at home, their children were being teased and bullied by those older than themselves.

In addition to providing better supervision and overall direction, school-homing has become popular among mothers and fathers who just want to be less involved in the day-to-day lives of their children.

"Parents are finding creative ways to make this increasingly common child-rearing track work," Miller said. "Whether it's over-relying on after-school programs and extracurricular activities, or simply gross neglect,† school-homing is becoming a widely accepted method of bringing children up."

Despite the trend's growing popularity, Miller said that school programs are often jeopardized or terminated because shortsighted individuals vote against tax increases intended to boost educational spending.

"The terrifying reality we're facing is that the worst-equipped people you could possibly imagine may actually be forced to take care of their children," Miller said.

Parents who have decided to school-home their children have echoed many of Miller's concerns. Most said that an alarming number of legal guardians such as themselves lack the most basic common sense required to give children the type of instruction they need during crucial developmental years.

"It's really a matter of who has more experience in dealing with my child," Cincinnati- resident Kevin Dufrense said of his decision to have his 10-year-old son Jake, who suffers from ADHD and dyslexia, school-homed. "These teachers are dealing with upwards of 40 students in their classrooms at a time, so obviously they know a lot more about children than someone like me, who only has one son and doesn't know where he is half the time anyway."

"Simply put, it's not the job of parents to raise these kids," Dufrense added.

Though school-homing has proven to be an ideal solution for millions of uninvolved parents, increasingly overburdened public schools have recently led to a steady upswing in the number of students being prison-homed.

The Upside of Earning Less

I finally qualify for a Pell Grant!!! I did my FAFSA for the '10/'11 school year, and lo and behold, earning less has finally paid off. I also took time to apply for some scholarships, so maybe that'll result in some money, as well. It'd be nice.

I'm also trying to get back into the mindset of finding free things for us to do for entertainment and education. Home schoolers are notoriously good at finding free and cheap resources, but, I'm out of practice. We live in such a big area, there are all sorts of opportunities. I just haven't taken advantage of it since I've been spending so damn much time at work and school. Since BW will be off in a few short months, I'm trying to find fun things for us to do. Things that don't involve being outside when it's 42,000 degrees out.

A quick update for y'all on my arm, because I know you're DYING to know about it. It's still broke. (Are you surprised?) Still hurts like a sonofamonkey, but it's improving. I'm in the sling/splint only as needed. I'm bruised from head to toe. I'm off work for another few days, maybe another week, depending on how I feel and when I can type with both hands without crying. But the pain is decreasing, so I expect that to be soon.

In the meantime, I'll continue to watch 16 and Pregnant on MTV .