Friday, December 31, 2010


I am thinking is it time again for another end of the month post.  I am also thinking I am at least two weeks late with my church ladies' newsletter, and already five MONTHS tardy in posting the last of our summer vacation installments, maybe the best one of the bunch, our visit to the PlainJanes. I am also wondering what I will make for company for Sunday dinner this week... and thinking about trying T-Tapps for a much-needed workout. Trisch at Never a Dull Moment is an amazing T-Tapps success story. But groan... look at the price on that workout DVD!  In the midst of all this thinking, I am re-thinking education (oh my, this subject has been ruminated on many times), but not reaching any conclusions.  I don't care if my kids know the life cycle of a sponge or a fungus or a protozoan.  I'm also thinking about turning over a new leaf and actually writing down a few personal goals and objectives for the coming year, for I am finding that with no goals, I gain no sense of accomplishment.  This thought, in turn, has me thinking that I have not grown at all in the past year.  Arghh!

The Bible says, Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. My brain could be de-cluttered of four or five of those thoughts if, unto the Lord, I would just DO the things I have been thinking about doing.  If it is God's will for me to DO those things and I am not doing them, that means... that means I am rebelling against him!

Now I'm thinking I'd better stop thinking, and get busy.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Raining Inside and Out

We are at my mom and dad's house, celebrating my dad's 76th birthday.  Yay, Dad!  We love you!  You won't believe what an impersonal and practical, no clutter gift we got him -- socks.  Yes, it's true.  Socks.  It's not quite as impersonal a gift as it seems.  Dad and I both have tender feet, and neither of us can stand to have a wrinkle in our sock.  I saw some socks for diabetic/tender feet, nice soft cushy ones, and that's what we got him.  I hope he agrees with all the glowing reviews.  Dad?

While here in California our girls were going to get their first experience at ice skating.  Daddy and I were even planning to put skates on again for the first time in decades! But alas.  Emily threw up at 3 a.m., and again this morning in spite of the fact that she kept telling me how "fine" she felt today....  boo hoo.  Many tears now, as her ice skating is going to have to wait for a healthier day.  Poor Emily.  (I wondered if maybe this is God's way of keeping me from doing something really foolish (grin).  But no, then it could have just been me throwing up...)  The two of us will just stay home together and try to rejoice with them that do rejoice.

In the meantime, it is pouring rain. As high winds are expected along the way, and snow as low as 1500',  we are considering our options for our return trip to the desert.  Praying it won't be with a van full of flu patients.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Super Washer Repair Woman Strikes Again

Yes, we are doing laundry today. Or trying to do laundry.  The agitator has been giving out, and I think the clothes would be washed more thoroughly if I stood there and moved the water by hand.  I told my husband earlier today that I think we are going to have to call the repair man this time, and he told me no, we'll just get a new washer.  After all, this one is at least ten years old, and a family of six is hard on a washer.  But I couldn't help looking inside it to see what I could see. And after a little bit of exploration on the internet, I found out that the cause of the wimpy agitator is simply worn out agitator "dogs", very easy to reach. The replacements cost less than $10, and the difficulty of the repair is rated SIMPLE. **huge grin**  Super Washer Repair Woman strikes again, saving her dear man hundreds of dollars.  (That will help make up for my expenditures in the chocolate department.)

I think I missed my calling.  Maybe I should have been Mrs. Maytag.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Posts to Share

The other day I was ready to ship all my kids off to the local federal "education" building. (You never wanted to do that, did you?  I didn't think so.)  After watching this video yesterday, I was ready to burn our textbooks and start over as radical unschoolers.  After all, even if the philosophy is somewhat different, most of the nominally Christian curriculum we use today is patterned after that which the federal schools are using.  Today... today I am digging myself out from under an avalanche of hormones, which helps to explain the failure of my meek and quiet spirit to react graciously to unmotivated students and evil-ly motivated educators.

Mom Wanted, Signed, Your Children is about the return of the mother-heart to HOME, a post which had me alternately ow-ing and amen-ing.

Needed At Home, by Lady Lydia, gives us SAHMs some good ammo for those times we are made to feel like non-producers in the world's economy.

And one by Sherry at Large Family Mothering, Planting Seeds of Joy.  This is the real reason I homeschool.  After nearly going off the deep end the other day I suddenly remembered I do it because I love it. :)

Mrs. Morecraft shares a wonderful reading list for kids of all ages.

And here's a great, practical post for those of you who are snowed in and loving it.  Share these with your snow-loving kids, How to Build an Impenetrable Snow Fort, and How to Make the Perfect Snowball, from The Art of Manliness. The comments are an added bonus, but do watch for language. Yes, I do subscribe to this masculine-themed blog.  It's so that I can forward the good stuff to my husband. And no, I did not send him this snow post.  Totally impractical here.  I will send him the one on that site called "A Man's Guide to Socks". We do wear socks in Arizona.  Sometimes.

And finally, for you who would rather play at the computer than in the snow, online Blokus.  This is a good board game; now you can play free!

Monday, December 13, 2010

More Mom Wisdom

Furthermore, the smart mother does not buy chocolate when the children are present.

In such a case the mother might as well not bother to hide the chocolate in her pantie drawer, because guilt will coerce her into sharing.  

Secret guilt, now that's different.  I'm experiencing severe withdrawals, waiting for a chance to go to the store alone and restock my stash.  

I predict my next post will be a lament over weight gained and clothes that no longer fit.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Good Mother vs. Smart Mother

The good mother bakes cookies for her children.
She cuddles them and hugs them and tells them she loves them.
She reads aloud to them.
The good mother prays for her children.
She provides clean clothes and warm food and a table set for the entire family.

The smart mother hides the chocolates in her pantie drawer.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Death of a Loved One

in which I remember the mournful demise of Emily's "favorite" jumper.

I was in my room this evening, enjoying the start of a new book and a moment of semi-privacy.  The door was open, which is about the same thing as having it shut, because a door never kept anyone in this house from knocking and entering unless it was locked first.  From the other end of the house came the sound of forceful sobbing, which grew louder as the pajama-clad sobber sought the refuge of her mama's sympathy.  Emily climbed up onto the bed with me and buried her head in my armpit. I dutifully asked her, "What's wrong?"  Her crying was so loud and hard that I could barely understand her. 

It seems that the jumper that I pulled out of the back of her closet yesterday, that threadbare one with the zigzag stitching across the shoulder to keep it together a bit longer, you know, the one that is so faded that it doesn't even resemble the original color, and is too short, yes, that one, that jumper suffered a major tear at the knee.  It's not salvageable.  Isn't it weird how something a child hasn't seen in months suddenly becomes their favorite?  Emily bawled, "It's just like when you find an old doll in the shed and you love her and want to sleep with her!  Boo hoo hoo hoo!"  

Oh dear.  Such drama over an inanimate object. She asked me if she could cut off a little piece and keep it for the memories.  I asked her if she wanted to sleep with it.  A little giggle escaped, then more tears. "Noooo!"  Hm. Maybe she would like to cut a piece from it for wiping her violin down?  The tears stop on a dime.  The face brightens. "That would be nice!!"  (I know how much fun it is for a seven year old to be allowed to use the fabric scissors.)  Problem solved.  Daddy even acquired a few new rags for his bicycle maintenance.
Whew.  That was easy.

How to Create a Drop-Down Menu for Labels.

For easy-to-understand instructions to create a drop-down menu for your categories (labels), see this post.  You will have to find pre-existing code in your vast template HTML, which is easily done by typing CTRL F (Windows). On the lower left of your screen you will see a little search window.  Enter all or part of the code you are looking for.  The first occurrence of that particular piece of code will be highlighted in green. If that is not the one you need, click on Next to see the next occurrence, and etc.

I'm sure that with a little bit of brain action you could use these instructions to make drop-down menus for other features.  Happy creating!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Silly Mimi

Amy posted a funny here today.  Mouse over the photo. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New Blog and a Techie Tip

The camel really didn't feel loaded; each additional straw was just that -- just a straw.  Slightly bothersome, but not really.  Taken one at a time, they really didn't weigh anything.  But that last straw was just too much for the camel's meek and quiet spirit.  She rebelled.  And she found solace at Blogger.  My HSB blog is still active, but I have to take a break from that platform for a while.  It was either that or quit blogging altogether, and well, heh heh, you see how that turned out. Yes, I do feel like a traitor to HSB and to my dear friends there, but you can all follow me right here and we'll be fine.  Just "follow" me, or add me to your reader, K?  I was patient, really I was.

For anyone else who jumps ship, I have a techie hint for exporting/importing your HSB blog to Blogger.  The instructions here at Blogger are rather simple.  They are found here.  When you export your HSB blog, make sure you check the box that allows all of your old HSB posts to be published on your new Blogger blog. There is a problem with importing Wordpress to Blogger, however.  To fix it, go to the Wordpress2Blogger site, and follow the instructions.  Just browse your desktop for the saved WP file and click on "convert".  Now save that file to your desktop and discard the first one.  Now go to Blogger and import the new saved file. All of your old HSB posts are now new Blogger posts, and they will be found on the "Edit Posts" page. If you forgot to check the "all posts" box when you exported HSB, you will have to individually publish each of your previously HSB posts.  They will be listed in the "Edit Posts" page, but will not appear on your new blog until published.  Voila'!

The camel is now a happy camper (I pity anyone reading this who is trying to learn English, lol.), a happy camper with two campsights to choose from. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November 2010 in Review

(As my turkey is making us all wait with growling tummies, and I can do nothing to hurry it along, this is as good a time as any to get to work on my month in review post.  We are having our Thanksgiving dinner late, not only late in the month, but also late in the day.  Late, late, late.  I'd skip it altogether if it wasn't for the shining eyes of anxious little children  :) and for the fact that my husband loves a turkey dinner!  Me, well, I don't look forward to spending the entire day in the kitchen only to see the results gobbled down (no pun intended) in less than ten minutes -- that would be us girls -- and fifteen for my husband.

(This was drafted before I had the joy of sitting down at a full and pretty table and seeing the happy faces of my family.  It was worth it.)  :D
(insert photo collage from Amy's post)

We have tried to make Thanksgiving a big deal in the Rough Diamonds house.  Each year it is preempted by a visit to my folks' for what is becoming a traditional Thanksgiving picnic with my two brothers and their families, and even some of my cousins.  That is wonderful fun, but it does not include the big turkey dinner.  So... we do our own Thanksgiving whenever the turkey is thawed.  This year it was Monday.

We had a great picnic, even if the temp was in the high 50's.  At least the sun was shining.  The teriyaki and orange chicken were delicious.  Emily was disappointed that we didn't have Thanksgiving lasagna again, after all, we had lasagna the last three years, and in the eyes of a seven year old that constitutes an immutable tradition.  Get used to it, kid.  Life changes.

Here's our bunch.  I do love them, every one!

This is my nephew,  Nate.  Nate is eight years old. Up until Wednesday, the poor boy had lost only two teeth, and those were helped out.  It bothered him to see Emily, only seven, with her two front teeth missing.  So Nate fixed that.

Elisabeth is my one child who feels a deep need to do those things that all children should have the opportunity to do.  It pleased her to be able to rake up a few of Grampy's leaves. :D  Jumping into the pile remains to be crossed off.  We'll have to spend a fall at Jane's sometime!

Alison had the privilege (and thrill!) of running through a few pieces with the world-renowned Musique Sur la Mer Youth Symphony Orchestra.  Director Marcy Sudok started this group in 2002 with just a handful of homeschooled beginning violin students who had nowhere to perform.  They are amazing!  Thanks, Marcy!!!

Alie also partially satisfied her longing for a grand piano, playing in the choir loft at my parent's church while no one was listening.  Well, no one but us.

Some people just relaxed.   Emily loves togetherness.  She is the cuddler, the hugger, the kisser, the one who needs  (And gives) company.  Daddy gives the gift of time and does it well.  Sometimes it's nice just to be in the same room with someone you love. :)

As for the rest of November:

We played more soccer,

and Emily thought she needed an official jersey.  I fixed that.  There's nothing a little bit of duct tape can't do (except for come out of your clothes once it's been there a while).  She was proud to wear her new "jersey" shopping.

Photographer Amy had a blast taking thirty photos of the same item, one each day for a month.  This is one of my favorites.  You can see the rest at her photo blog.

I got a new laundry helper, or rather, Alison did.  Mother in training:

Elisabeth played along with the church "orchestra" this month.  She has had a love-hate relationship with music and musical instruments, but I think love is starting to pull ahead.  Yay!   Amy is also doing quite well with the violin now, and has become bored with flute.  The violin might last until she finds a viola... or some other instrument.  She is the jack of all musical trades, master of none.  Unless you can somehow call the camera a musical instrument... It does make a nice little "bleep" when you turn it on, but no, I don't think it qualifies.

If it weren't for the two dozen feral cats in our neighborhood, I'd say we need a sandbox.  It is just way too much fun to play in the food!  I discovered five gallon paint buckets are WAAAAY cheaper for storing food than food grade containers are.  I'm sure there's a reason for that...

And last, I burned my hubby's lunch.  This is only worth mentioning because I am not a burnt-toast kind of wife.  I can't remember the last time I burned his food.  This was supposed to be a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, but I added one too many tasks to my multitasking that noon.  (Amy artistically embellished the photo.)  :) In the aerial view, this really looks like asphalt... I say if you are going to burn the toast, do it right!

This Thanksgiving season I am again reminded that giving thanks to the Lord, from whom all my blessings come, is for every day, and not just for once a year.  He is good.  All the time.  The USA may appear to be going to hell (Psalm 9:17, The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.) but God is my Saviour and my help.  I am thankful that no matter what happens around me, there is peace IN me.  Jesus Christ is the source of that peace.  I am thankful to know him, but even more, I am thankful that he knows ME!

Psalm 12

Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; 
for the faithful fail from among the children of men.
They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: 
with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.
The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips,
and the tongue that speaketh proud things:
Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; 
our lips are our own: who is lord over us?
For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, 
now will I arise, saith the LORD;
I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.
The words of the LORD are pure words: 
as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, 
thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
The wicked walk on every side, 
when the vilest men are exalted.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

From My Past

Last night as I was procrastinating going to bed, I thought I'd try to look up some old friends.  Google is as good a place to start as any, and I entered the name of a friend I knew in elementary school and high school.  Her name was mentioned in a blog, so I went to take a peek.  What a surprise!  I did not find my friend, but I did find the slide show that was shown at my Senior Brunch!  And look what was on it:

That's me with another long lost friend.  I have not been able to find her, either.   I don't think I was really lifeguarding, lol, and no, I did not normally dress that way for school... who knows.   I do recognize those tortuous shoes.   I did not recognize many of the people in the slide show, and one thing's for sure, we all looked a lot younger back then!  (And thinner, too, I might add.)  :(


Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this. Ecclesiastes 7:10

Monday, November 15, 2010

Goings On and Ponderings

Time for a new post.  But if I tell you what's new, then what will I say for my month in review??  Hmm... resolved.  I will tell now and show later.

There is some crochet going on here, another table topper for my dear mom, thanks to Alison redeeming her free time.  She hauls that thing along in the car and hooks away on it at the table when we are done eating, having devotions or just having a nice family chat.  It's almost finished!  Photo to come.

Amy is photographing, and that's all. No, wait, make that photographing and blogging and reading books about photography.  She has started a new blog for her photography only, MimiBeth Photography.  Check it out.  For now it only contains postings of her 30 Days / 1 Thing pictures, the subject of which is a red HotWheels Corvette.  My dad has no idea what a HUGE gift that "old" camera was to her.  It's about the closest thing you can get to a DSLR and still have a point-and-shoot.  She LOVES it! (Thanks again, Dad!)

Elisabeth is tinkering with leathercrafting, learning how to use some basic tools.  There are some nice tutorials on YouTube.  Of course!  You can learn how to adjust your bike gears, fix a washing machine, do calculus, use Sibelius, make a bomb, or do anything else on YouTube!

With much determination, Emily is learning the clarinet.  Well, she was the other day.  You never know what she is going to get into next, or how long it is going to last.  All I know is that whatever she begins, there will be a mess left over when she tires of it.  Paper doll scraps, Monopoly pieces, wooden blocks, Legos, sheet music, flour.

Monocogman keeps a calculator handy, as he is constantly juggling numbers (mathematizing, we call it).  He loves numbers.  Numbers tell the monthly temperature average, the price of a round-trip train ticket to Wichita, the percent of people in the USA who work for the government, and our gas mileage.  This is important information!  :)

As for me... there's not much to say about me.  Here I am.  I pitted four sorry, two gallons of dates the other day, (it seemed like four!) and we are now enjoying the "fruits" of my labors.  It doesn't take long for a family of six to devour a loaf of date nut bread.  Even with Amy abstaining!  Amy says she doesn't like dates (she's never tasted them), and that they look like cockroaches (it's true, they do).  That's fine with me.  Normally I make my kids try new things, but if Amy finds out she likes date bread, there won't be enough for the rest of us.  My concession makes her suspicious.  I predict her resolve is weakening, and that she will try a bite of bread soon.  But maybe not.  It is loaded with walnuts, too.  Oh! Aha!  A light bulb moment!  If I put walnuts in the brownies... :D

We are almost finished memorizing Hebrews chapter 11, which is the great chapter on faith.  In almost every case, the person's faith was proven by his obedience to God.  Even where their obedience isn't obvious, it's not hard to figure out where it occurred.  Where do we get this idea that as long as we don't drink, smoke, or dance, we are obeying God?  (Of course, some people think they are obeying God even when they do these things.)  I'm sure there is something more that God wants me to do.  I think that in the days to come, our obedience to God (our FAITH in him) is going to be tested.  Have you ever had to decide whether to give your tithe or not, because you knew you couldn't afford to?  (I wonder how people think they can afford NOT to, but that is for another time!) I am grateful for my husband's resolve.  As long as we are blessed with increase, we will be giving the Lord his tithe.  But right now I am thinking about what I can do to either keep money from flying out the door so fast, or else to get some to fly in.    Anyone know a great job I can do at home, with little work?  You know, like, I just hit a button on the computer, and the money rolls in?  :D   (No, Jane, not the slot machine, hee hee! You wouldn't do it, either!)

Back to the kitchen.  I have ten pounds of skinless, boneless chicken thighs (obtained really cheap!) marinading in Italian dressing, taco, or teryaki marinade.  If you have any tips about how to use them, I'd love to hear your ideas!  Tonight's supper, teryaki chicken and French fries.  Let's eat.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I am thankful today that when I murmur, "Oh, what ever shall we have for supper?" it is not because the larder is bare.

Rather, it is because I have so much to choose from.

God is good.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Posts to Share

Here are some blogposts which you might be interested in taking a peek at.  Wait, let me rephrase that with correct grammar, as a good homeschooler should.  Ahem.  Here are some blogposts in which you might be interested in taking a peek.  :)

From Guilt-Free Homeschooling, The Bottom 10 Worst Parts of Homeschooling, and some coping strategies.

From Ladies Against Feminism, Child-Rearing is Soul-Winning, Or Not.

Also from LAF, A Great Opportunity.  What I like about this little promo is that we are given some great reasons why girls ought to be taught to communicate well.

From Harmony Art Mom, Our Children Haven't Changed - Math Standards Have, and a follow-up post that answers some of the subsequent comments.

An insightful post written by a teen at Throwing Pebbles, Life in a Freefall.

And here's one by Cary Schmidt that is near to my heart, since I am married to my pastor, Before You Criticize Your Pastor.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

October 2010 in Review and then some

Did you, my half-dozen dear and faithful readers, wonder if I was ever going to do this again?  My kids did.  My camera has been virtually abandoned since about half way through our summer vacation, since Amy has taken over as family historian.  The problem is that I have to rifle though about 10,000 photos in her files to find a few to write a summary of our month here. :)  I am thankful to be able to say that Amy keeps her photos organized by month, so it can't be that hard.  Can it?  In no particular order, here I go.

Since August:

We had two birthdays.  My first baby and my last baby both got older.  Alison is now the age (finally -- we did not go through this when my girls were little) where she wants to wear nail polish, earrings, make-up and high heels. :)  Who can blame her?  These things make a girl feel pretty.  But without quite a bit of discretion, these things can also make a girl looked used up.  Her daddy has asked her to wait til she turns 18, and Alison has sweetly complied. Eighteen is just around the corner anyway! Pureness of heart shows in a girl's countenance and in her attitude; I am so grateful for her desire to please her daddy and the Lord.

Emily turned seven.  She is learning to pull some weight around here, thanks to big sister, who is teaching her how to sort laundry, pick up after herself, and keep her room somewhat presentable.  Below, the watch that "lights up", thanks to Nana and Papa, and another wonderful birthday gift, sitting with Grampy and a book.

The dentist/orthodontist's office has been kept busy with little Diamonds in the office regularly.  I believe this is Elisabeth's mouth. ??  (Amy says, "Mom, you can't tell by looking in her mouth?"  No.)  If this is Elisabeth (must be-- Alie is missing teeth), it is just short of a miracle to see her with the isolite in her mouth, and NOT gagging.  Poor kid.

There is nothing more fun than a day at the park with our friend, Mackenzie. :D That kid has more energy!  Our local park has a nice fountain for cooling off on hot April/May/June/July/August/September days.  The kids are soaking wet, but don't worry. They will be dry in five minutes.

Some of Alison's violin students have a date orchard.  I was the blessed recipient of gallons of delicious dates!  Here we are pitting them.  So far we have enjoyed a batch of oatmeal date cookies and four loaves of date nut bread.  So yummy!  These were the high-protein variety; I am sure they included a few worms.  My neighbor ate a pint of them and never knew it.

It is finally bike-riding season here again, and I love it, because it means my kids play outside more!  Kids need sunshine, you know.  We don't lack sunshine, but for half the year it's too much for us.  Unless we are under water, of course.  When you don't have a horse, you have to settle for a bike:

We resumed school.  We're using a lot of ACE this year, with some other stuff thrown in.  It's going okay, pretty good actually, but it's school, not really learning.  That will be my homeschooling struggle til my kids are all gone.  Nine weeks down this year, twenty-seven to go.  Wait.  This doesn't look like school work to me:

We joined 4-H!  I am feeling a bit squeamish about this.  For one, I am not a global citizen, or not a good one, anyway.  I am not a very good team player, and not competitive.  I am not into making points for our club.  Second, I really don't like feeling an obligation to be as committed to 4-H as I am to our local church.  But we're in it now.  Elisabeth and Emily are loving leathercrafting, and Emily is going to start sewing, as well.  And Amy is going to take up the 4-H digital photography project.

Had to add this one -- a rare photo of Amy!!!  She generously shared her camera(!) with one of the little girls at 4-H, who was just dying to take a picture and then see it on the little camera screen.  That Amy is so good with little kids.  They love her. :D  And she loves them!

Elisabeth is getting quite good with her Sculpey clay.  After several years of begging, Emily got some for her birthday, as well; someone should have told her that you make little things with Sculpey.  Her first project consumed at least a block!  Oh well, says the seven-year-old mind.  We can always get more.  Ha.  Betsy's Tiny-Dream-sized dollhouse people:

The aforementioned Mackenzie indirectly inspired us to have a family soccer game.  We don't play by the rules, and we don't use the right ball or the right goals, and we don't wear the right shoes or clothing, and we play in the wind so one team is at a distinct disadvantage.   But we had a very fun day together!  One of the Diamond family preferred the playground, but what do you expect from a little girl?  Even Mom got in on the fun here.  If I am on the opposite team from my husband, I cheat.  I admit it.  You have to push him around and get him out of the way if you want to make any progress. :)

Amy tried her hand at portrait photography, among many other genres.  Is there such a thing as a photography genre? Isn't it just amazing that a child who can't remember a single fact from her history/science/English curriculum can quote photography tips from photo-bloggers at me all day long? :)  This is why we need to be unschoolers.  I would feel better, at least. :)  Amy has more posted more details of our activities here, here, and here.

The highlight of October was, of course, a visit from the PlainJane family! I can see how people who meet on the Internet end up married to each other. :)  Jane and I met more than three years ago over a comment left at someone else's HSB blog.  I commented back at Jane, we connected our girls, and that was the start of a sweet long-distance friendship.  Our girls have emailed, chatted, and talked on the phone almost every week for the past two years or more.  Even our husbands share avid interests in the weather and cycling.  While I do complain about the desert (because that's what you do when you live in extremes), we did our best to show the Janes how wonderful it is out here in our wilderness, and we  all tried really hard to convince them that they should move here.  :D  While Mr. Jane (lol) seemed to really enjoy the exploration potential of our desert home, I don't think he bought it.  We had a wonderful time, and we miss you, Jane's family!  See her blog and Amy's for the details of their visit.

In un-photographed news, Alison is now busy with eleven violin students; Amy has been keeping my sewing machine running non-stop making towels, quilts, curtains, rugs, and warm clothes for her little sisters' dollhouse people; all the girls have been busy practicing their instruments;  John Garrison, the man of the house, fixed my kitchen disposal;  and I... ?  I'm here.  Thanking God for his goodness in all kinds of situations.  Feeling more contemplative lately, but not coming up with any thoughts of my own to share.  The scripture is good for that, rather. :)

If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
Psalm 130:3-5

Now look.  Here it is, only the 30th of October.   Done ahead of time!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Did You See It?

A friend brought to our attention the fact that the International Space Station would be visible in its orbit around the earth this week, so after supper tonight we all ran out to watch the sky.  We saw it!  At Heavens Above you can chart the times of visibility for your city or coordinates:

Under "Configuration" find your location by selecting it from the map. Click where you live.  Now scroll down, and below the map enter the name of your town if you like, and correct time zone.  Now click "Submit".

Under "Satellites", click on 10 day prediction for ISS.  The next page is a chart that tells you the dates and times of the space station's visibility from where you are,  its magnitude (the lower the number, the brighter it will appear), the height at which it will first appear in degrees from the horizon, and the compass direction in which you should first look for it. The chart will also tell you how long the ISS will appear in the sky, the angle at which it will reach its maximum altitude, and where it will again fade away into the earth's shadow.

The space station is only visible for a few minutes, so search quickly for it!

Little boys (and big boys, maybe even girls!) will love this tour of the inside of the International Space Station, as well:


(Sorry about the music.)

There it is!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Help MEET For Him

I have never understood women who leave small repairs for their husband to do.  Sometimes a screwdriver can pretty the place up a bit.  Now, I admit there are times when I am very lazy about prettying the place up with or without a screwdriver, but it can be done, and using manly tools is not a big step over the line that divides the HE jobs from the SHE jobs.  I have always loved a hardware store. When I was a kid the local hardware stores had a wooden floor (love that sawdust smell), and all sorts of fascinating gizmos and mysterious stuff.  I could spend all afternoon in that place.  When I was a much younger woman than I am now I did all my own auto maintenance.  Dad showed me how to change the oil, wipe out a wet distributor cap, and change the brake pads.  I didn't do it often, but I liked doing it.  I liked feeling capable.  I like knowing I could.

When I got married I had to make myself capable at other things, like cooking.  I left most of the tool-oriented stuff to the man of the house.  But while the man of this house is really skilled with a Sword, many jobs that require tools just frustrate him.  He has lost his salvation once or twice, banging his knuckles while wrenching on a tough nut.  (Just kidding.  You can't lose your salvation.)  I came to realize that being a helpmeet doesn't just mean cooking and cleaning!  So once I installed a disposal in the kitchen sink.  And once I went around nailing or gluing all the loose pieces of trim.  But really I have not done much in the tool department in years.  Until today, I had forgotten what a great feeling it is to know you can DO IT!

For the past year or so I have had to stand over my washing machine to make sure it drains, rinses and spins.  The  whatchamacallit was wearing out.  The wash cycle would finish, but then nothing would happen.  I had to remember go give it a good BANG to get it to drain.  One day I figured out I could fool it by gluing a piece of K'Nex to the peg that starts the motor when you shut the lid.   The inevitable was inevitably going to happen, but we put the repair off.  For one, getting to our washer is a Major Undertaking.  Before you can even get to the washer, the dryer has to be disconnected first, then moved out of our minuscule laundry room.   It would be a Big Headache.  And  the $$ involved in a fix required making do for as long as I could..  The husband knew about it.  I was sort of waiting on HIM to do something about it.  On Saturday, however, the inevitable happened.  The washing machine gave out, full of water and heavy darks, of course.  :D

So.  Striving to be a help meet for him,  I went online and Googled "my washer won't drain or spin".  All the solutions that I could skim in 60 seconds suggested that the pump was out.  The pump was obviously not the trouble, so I made a little trip over to Sears to find out what that worn out little doohickey was called.  The nice salesman told me it's the "switch", and said I would want to call the service man.  I told him, no, I was going to replace it myself.  He gave me that smile, you know, the one that says, "Come on, lady, you can't be serious."  I told him you can learn to do ANYTHING on YouTube.  Just in case, he showed me several really pretty clean, scratch-free, high efficiency washers that I'd rather not put money into, if I can help it.  Even a nice cherry-red one!  I thanked him for the information, and he said he hoped I'd be back.

Next, I went home and looked up the model number of my washer.  Then I Googled the part number.  I found an amazing website right here, where I could not only order the part, but also watch an exciting little video that told me how to replace it! (I love the internet!)  I was so thrilled!  My repair rated two stars out of four, for difficulty.   "I can do that," I thought. I was amazed to see that the washer cabinet comes apart (hey, someone was thinking!), and that I was not going to have to haul the whole thing out and turn it upside down, plus get the basket and the pump out in order to reach the on/off switch.   I eBayed (new verb) the part, found the same one for 2/3 the price that Sears wanted, and placed my order.  That was Saturday.  It arrived TODAY, Monday.  In less than one hour my washer was fixed!  Yay me!

Thank you, thank you!

I must be somewhat humble and admit that I did NOT do it all by myself.  My manly husband found the the ratchet wrench for me, and he unscrewed a tough bolt.  He also pried off some tough wire harnesses, but I was happy to let him feel useful.  I even played the helpless female just a teeny bit.

If I sound pleased with myself it's because I am.  My husband is pleased with me, too! :D  ...Now I should hit him up for the cash I saved him.  Hee hee.

Friday, October 22, 2010

2010 Trip Part 5

I promise you, our vacation was not nearly as long as the time it is taking me to post it!  I am losing interest in this series, but how can I quit?  We have not gotten to PlainJane's house yet, and oh dear, I AM late.  She and her family just left our house!

After leaving my beloved North Dakota (beloved except, as one astute person pointed out, for its homeschooling laws, as we are wonderfully spoiled that way in AZ), we headed for Minnesota's North Shore.  Lake Superior holds many fond memories for both my husband and me.   When we first began to plan this trip, it was going to be a little family trip to Minnesota.  By the time it was done,  it was a BIG family trip!  We were joined at beautiful Lake Superior shore by my in-laws and my husband's brother and sister and their families.  Such fun we had!  Here's a quick recap.

All the cousins on this side were together for the first time in... eight years.  But two were not born yet back then, and one of those is a brand new little niece.  We all got to know each other again!  What a nice bunch of kids.  (Look at all those BOYS!)  My most techie child picked up all sorts of interesting information from her techie cousins, things like "jailbreaking" and cool things you can do with an iPhone.  We played Pit, ate ice cream, grilled steaks, played in the water, slid down a mountain, rubber stamped post cards, talked, laughed, and all that fun stuff you do with family.

Ooops, they aren't all in that photo.  Two girls and some adults missing.

We had two groups of hikers at Gooseberry Falls, the A team and the B team.  The A team was for active teenagers, fit forty-some-year-olds, and some smaller ones with good endurance.  The B team did a short little walk to the falls, collected a few rocks, walked back to the parking lot, and went to buy a pie. That's my kind of hiking.  :D

We all went to see Split Rock Lighthouse.  It has a very interesting history, and of course there are lots of shipwreck stories to be heard at Lake Superior.  It is a most treacherous body of water.  Remember the doomed Edmund Fitzgerald?

As a matter of fact, we visited several lighthouses:

We watched a fancy sailboat leave the harbor. (If I'd have written this two months ago I might remember what it's called.)

AND, for our first time ever, in spite of this being one of many trips to Duluth, we got to see the largest ore boat on Lake Superior come into the harbor.  This made John Garrison's day.


Our girls talked their daddy into taking them to an alpine slide, and we had planned to do that in the Black Hills.  That was before the van broke down and we were forced to reroute our travels.  A quick Google  search assured us it would still be possible -- in Minnesota!  Who knew Minnesota had anything remotely alpine?  If you ever decide to do this, don't think you can just buy the cheap package and be satisfied.  Get the all day ticket.  Of course, the best thing about all these Lake Superior adventures was the fact that all the relatives were with us.  Emily was blessed with several big "brothers" to escort her down the slide.

The more prudent John Garrison entertained himself with his new niece, Elly.


Isn't he goofy? :D  Emily did talk her Daddy into one ride, at the very end.  The nice people at the ticket booth let him take his little girl at no charge.  Later, while rubbing his aching back, he said he was glad he did not pay for that kind of treatment.  I think alpine slides are for people with younger bodies.

We had lots of fun times.  The best of it all was just being with people we love. ♥

Next stop, PlainJane's!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...