Monday, March 31, 2008

In Case You Haven't Seen It/Them Yet...

We've been re-watching Star Wars, Episodes 4-6 lately, so we're in a position to review I can vouch for her authenticity; she's got the story down! I heartily recommend this;

Well, that video is sure hogging space! Anyone got any suggestions for fixing that?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday (da da) on The Farm (da da)

Anyone hearing Chicago from the 70's? No. Oh. OK. Sorry.
Yesterday I reminded myself that we don't drive the pick-up off the gravel in March or April. It tends to bury the tires in mud. And when it happens at a friend's house, where I drove to pick up hay, and blocks the entrance into their hay barn, well, um, yeah, I felt pretty stupid.
But I left it there overnight. John and I went over to get it this morning. Using a come-along and a hydraulic jack and lots of cheery teasing, the guys pulled the truck out in a little less than an hour. The good thing is I'll probably never have to go pick up hay again.
Today is chicken coop cleaning day. After a winter inside, the coop is pretty ripe on these warmish spring days. As the new week gets under way, and our temps will be 15-20 degrees higher than today, it'll REALLY be ripe in there. And once the ammonia starts rising...Well, chicken lungs don't like ammonia any better than ours do, and they're smaller. So the coop gets cleaned today. It'll
The cleaning continues inside. It's too nice to be inside all day, though. I'll be setting up a small, portable greenhouse. The lettuces and broccoli need to get out from under the grow lights, even if only to make room for tomatoes and squash. Pizza is on the menu for tonight, so there'll be a trip out for pepperoni and cheese. Hmmm...the coffee shop is near the grocery store...Sounds like a no-brainer!

Friday, March 28, 2008

I Found It!

I found the piece of paper with the poem on it. It was, embarrassingly, tucked under my laptop, which generally sits on my desk upstairs in my kitchen. First, some background;
I grew up in the late 60's-early 70's. I was a junior in high school when the helicopters flew dangerously out of Saigon. I still call it Saigon! Anyway, I remember my parents railing against the draft dodgers. I remember my Canadian cousins railing against those who fled to Canada. I understood their aggravation, and was also angry about the defection of the draft dodgers.
Then I had boys; three of them. During the Persian Gulf War, there was renewed discussion at family gatherings along the lines of, "Remember Vietnam? Remember those draft dodgers?" Well, by then, my perspective had changed. I said to my parents, not all at once, but in different conversations, "You know, I get it now. I understand why parents would not want their kids to serve. You had GIRLS, for crying out loud, and we were too young to serve even if we could. You never had to face the terror of sending your child to war." About that time, I found this poem, and copied it onto that sheet of beige paper:


Little sturdy boyish hands,
Digging trenches in the sands;
Childish laughter, sweet and gay,
Lilting through a summer's day.

Little hands of yesteryear,
Big and strong now, and so dear;
Never let them dig, oh God,
Trenches in a war-torn sod.

Audree D. Peters

It's tough, being a mom of a soldier, in so many ways. While I don't feel paralyzed by fear, (my God is big enough to handle that for me) I have many concerns. Are they safe? Are they afraid? Are they doing things that will haunt them in the future? Are they happy with the choice they've made?
So many people ask me, "How could you let your son join?" How could I LET him? Don't you understand that, at 18, my time of influence has about come to an end? When a young man turns 18 and sees something he wants to do, and he actually has the power to do it, how much do you think his mother's thoughts are going to do to convince him one way or the other?
I've answered, "He wanted to serve his country." That was once answered with, "Well, there's lots of ways to serve. You don't have to carry a gun." The implication that, somehow, my kid was "nasty" because he chose to serve his country in the military made me slug down that glass of wine I was holding. I SO wanted to respond freely. But, it WAS a Christmas party, and we WERE guests, just like the lady who said that to me. I didn't want to cause a scene. (Well, I WANTED to, but didn't.)
I know, to a certain extent, what motivated each of my kids to enlist. It wasn't to please their parents. It wasn't to "kill people," although a classmate of my oldest's at AIT admitted to that. It really wasn't. Their sense of pride, honor and commitment motivated them. so did other things. My oldest told me once, "I don't want my daughters wearing (a burka.") My middle son had tried college, and full-time work, before he joined. My youngest knows, maybe more than the other two did when they joined, what he's up against, and wanted to do it, anyway.
I just get to sit waaaay in the background, pray and watch. I worry about those big, strong, dear hands. To answer the questions up above; yes, they're safe...often. Yes, they're afraid...more than they'll admit. Yes, the things they're doing will haunt them. Yes, they're happy with their choices...most of the time.
Who among us can't say that our lives aren't EXACTLY THE SAME?

Added later: I just want to make sure that everyone knows how incredibly proud I am--we are--of our sons. We stand in awe of their courage, their commitment and their love.

Flying By The Seat of My Pants

No big plans this weekend. No chore lists; because you KNOW they don't get done! I'll continue organizing and cleaning, and I have to pick up the Texas travelers on Sunday night. Maybe I'll plant something....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lost Item

I am looking for an 8x10 piece of paper, folded in half. It is beige, not lined, not white. Inside is a lovely little poem, in blue ink, in my printing. I was going to use it for a blog post, as it sums up my thoughts in my 20s about my boys. If you see it, please let me know.
I hate when cleaning house makes it a little more disorganized than before!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring Break and Other Imponderables

We've been taking a spring break this week.
What's that? Do homeschoolers take a spring break? Why, when you don't "have to" follow the school calendar? Why do YOU take a weekend? Why do YOU take a vacation? Just because I chose to have my kids here 24/7 doesn't mean I don't need a break from that routine sometimes.
And spring break doesn't mean sitting on my tuchas, watching videos. (Although, truth be told, some of that DOES happen.) So far we have cleaned the Sanctuary, cleaned The Farmer's room, and done some shopping. It's looking good around here. Today we take a break for lunch with the Grandmas and, well, more shopping. Some things from the last trip need to be returned, and cleaning has uncovered many photos that need to be framed or housed in something better than the cardboard box they formerly called home.
And, while we're on the subject, homeschoolers don't test; at least in IL. We get asked that all the time, "Do they make you give tests to show how your kids are doing?" Um, do you realize those tests were invented to show PARENTS that the TEACHERS they'd hired were doing THEIR jobs? Not the other way around. Trust me, when you're with your kids 24/7, the last thing you want is to make them so ill-prepared for life that they end up playing video games for the rest of their lives. It's bad enough for the first 18 years...
And, about those 18 years; my kid is not a prodigal because he shows up for college at 14. Stop making homeschool kids feel like freaks when they do that. EP had the nasty experience of explaining to his History instructor that, no, he couldn't vote and get extra credit because, no, he wasn't 18 yet, and, yes, they do allow 16 year-olds to take History at the community college. (He got the extra credit anyway.)
Let's take care of some other "homeschool myths." My kids are not home so I have free babysitting all the time. Neither are they around to do chores I don't want to do; although, they sometimes do. We do not lock them in their rooms or force them to read the Bible 24/7. We do not censor their reading much at all. I would not hand Valley of the Dolls to my daughter; neither do I pull Harry Potter OUT of her hands.
Yes, it's legal, no we aren't homeschooling so we can avoid vaccinating our kids, (had to educate the pediatrician on THAT one) yes, we're Christian, but, no, we don't necessarily homeschool for that reason. No, we don't homeschool because we're anti-social, but, no, we don't agree with what passes for socialization in the government school. I do not need credentials, although I have them; there are scads of homeschoolers with far less education than I who are my mentors because they do it so much BETTER than I. No, my kids are not STUCK in the military because they are homeschooled; rather, because they homeschooled, they are willing to stand up for the freedoms they have already enjoyed. No, we don't have a classroom in our home; our home IS the classroom, as is the store, the park, the museum... Yes, we may be out during school hours, but that does not mean we're not learning. No, I don't think my kids will go to the prom, but that may be because they don't CARE to. Yes, they like to see their friends, and miss them during school hours, but have a blast with them, anyway. Please don't ask my kids, "What did you learn today?" or "Wouldn't you really rather go to school?" unless you want me to ask your kids what they learned, or if they'd really rather stay home.
Have I hit them all? I hope so. I apologize for sounding grumpy; I wonder if you can imagine how wearing these questions are. After all, how often are you asked to defend the way in which you choose to parent your child? What is your response? Imagine doing that on a daily basis. Would you or would you not sound grumpy, too, at some point?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Iraq: The Real Story

I spent yesterday cleaning, feeding, and even did a little shopping. A package is on its way to MAP, and I had time for tea with my aunt! In my "spare" time, I also did a little reading, including this article on FOXNews; Iraq: The Real Story by Oliver North. Now, I know he's a controversial figure. But even controversial people can say things that make sense. And what he says in this article, I've been hearing from soldiers for a couple of years. WE ARE DOING THE JOB. Listen to a little of what he says:

Despite a lightning-fast victory over the dictator's Army, Republican Guards and Fedayeen, the challenge of leaving Iraq better than we found it proved to be daunting and dangerous. Unfortunately, few Americans know what their countrymen in uniform have accomplished in the Land Between the Rivers.

On the way to Baghdad, American and allied forces were accompanied by more than 700 print and broadcast reporters. Once the dictator's capital was liberated, most of the media elites either headed for home or sequestered themselves inside the "green zone." There, they bought photos, footage and "news" from cameramen and "reporters" traveling with our adversaries.

Two points: of COURSE leaving Iraq better than we found it was "daunting and dangerous." We expected that; Bush "the Liar" didn't lie when he told us that in his announcements about what he was planning and what we were doing. But, I think, a generation raised on sound bites and Sesame Street can't handle paying attention for more than 2-3 1/2 minutes. Anything older is "history," and who needs to study THAT? They listen, they look away for a few minutes, turn back and say, "THAT'S still around? What up with THAT?" It nags in the mind that something exists that can't be controlled or handled on MySpace, and that makes them uncomfortable.
Second point: Our free, open and noble press BUYS photos footage and news? Whoda thunk? But I've been hearing about it for years, from soldiers and friends. And the exaggerations! John and I took a few days one recent fall to celebrate our 25th anniversary; we headed to Chicago. While there, we stumbled onto an anti-war protest. I know my eyes work; I saw maybe 500 aging hippies and kids trying to get out of Algebra marching down Congress Parkway. But, when they got to the Daley Center, (I must admit, we didn't follow) there were apparently 15,000 of them! Wow!

How about this:

The New York Times described those serving in our military as nothing but “poor kids from Mississippi, Texas and Alabama who couldn't get a decent job.” A U.S. Senator likened them to those who served Hitler, Stalin and Cambodia's Pol Pot, and a presidential candidate claimed that those who don't do well in school will "get stuck in Iraq." In 2005, after the press had been beating Abu Ghraib like a rented mule for a year, Newsweek invented a fictitious story about U.S. military guards flushing a Quran down a toilet — and precipitated riots throughout the Muslim world.

Now, I know my sons serve with attorneys, police officers, computer software designers, and other educated types. My oldest and youngest soldiers are college students themselves. I do know they also serve with poor kids from MI, TX and AL. In fact, some of their officers WERE poor kids from MI, TX and AL. Seems they couldn't get a better job, eh; and yet, they now think the one they HAVE is the best for them.
And there's that free, open and noble press again; inventing stories.

Ollie goes on to point out that, although our servicepeople ARE stretched and strained by this war, reenlistment rates have never been higher, and the branches are all meeting their recruitment goals. The "ineffective" Iraqi forces have grown by 100,000 in the past years, and now control about half the Iraqi provinces. One of the most exciting developments for me has been this one:

After we first reported on the “Al-Anbar Awakening” in December, 2006, the “Sons of Iraq” movement has crossed the Sunni-Shia sectarian divide and now has 91,000 members. In the same time-frame, attacks against Iraqi civilians and coalition forces have dropped by more than 70 percent.

Do you realize what this means? For Sunnis and Shias to cooperate is almost as far-fetched and Norwegians! Seriously, this is BIG, although not as BIG as attacks against civilians and coalition dropping by more than 70%!

To be sure, there is still much to be done, and maybe much of it is impossible. I know you've heard the figures these past few days. To date, we've lost 4000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in this fight. (here for details.) That's 4000 too many. But they're still signing up and lining up to go and do this thing. And, as Mr. North says, The brave Americans we have documented deserve better than what they have gotten from the mainstream media and far too many of our politicians.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Down to Three

It's been busy here on the farm this winter. With John home, there was one extra mouth at lunch, an additional personality to blend into the mix. With EP's life changing, turning from high-school-based-adolescent to college-and-Army-man, we were flexing and fluxing all over the place. Grandma has been here a year now, and her own special idiom is now blended into our household. And don't get me started on whining about the critters. Don't.
This morning dawned early and bright. There's still some snow, and it's not as warm as we'd like it, but it's a new day. And an all new farm household. John headed off to work this morning. This good wife got up early to have coffee with him (although I confess I did not make his breakfast; he had already done that when I stumbled into the kitchen) chit-chat a little about the new job starting, and wipe some leftover cinnamon roll icing from his clothes so he didn't have to be embarrassed. (Maybe I just did that, anyway?)
It was especially tough to get up this morning. It wasn't just the new routine. I must admit that having an unemployed husband makes for late nights watching videos and equally late mornings. 9:30 has become 7:00 again, and it wasn't all pretty. This was compounded by the fact that EP left early this morning (3:30) for a spring break trip to Mexico.
Now, before you all comment that I'd better get my head examined for letting him go off and party for a week, consider this. He's heading to the border to help a mission pastor there with his work. Yes, there will be partying; this IS a Lutheran pastor, after all! But they will also build something necessary this week, clean something nasty, sort through clothes or VBS materials, and eat a lot of homemade Mexican food. So give the kid some credit. He and Vicar were up late, doing laundry (do you know laundromats are closed on Easter Sunday? Vicar found out!) and laughing over YouTube comedy videos. I know they'll sleep on the plane, but I won't be on any planes today...although, I have to admit, the videos WERE funny and I DID sleep fine...just not long enough.
OK, and, just in case you didn't think I had enough to whine about, seems with all the menfolk gone, I have to feed cattle this morning (uh-oh, you DID let me whine about the critters!) And, it seems, EP did not bring hay out of the loft. I have to go fetch it. John seems to think it would be easier for me to just drive over and pick up some hay from Mike the Hay Guy, but I'll be climbing a ladder later this morning.
Did you notice that comment? "with all the menfolk gone..." Yep. It's just us girls this week. Mary and I will be setting up her Sanctuary (that's farm talk for the room under the stairs where she can make messes and not bother Grandma.) That has to get done this week. So does all the framing and sorting of a decently large pile of photography I have in the corner of my room. And there's blogging; gotta have blogging. But I'm sure there'll also be a lunch day and a clothes shopping day. We gotta be girls, after all! Finally!

Added later; In YOUR spare time today, find time to read this article. It's not fun, but it's necessary to remind us of ALL who work to protect our freedoms.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

He is Risen!

He is risen, indeed!

Thine is the glory, Risen conquering Son;
Endless is the vict'ry Thou o'er death hast won!
Angels in bright raiment Rolled the stone away
Kept the folded graveclothes Where thy body lay

Thine is the glory, Risen conqu'ring Son
Endless is the vict'ry Thou o'er death hast won!

Lo, Jesus meets thee, Risen from the tomb!
Lovingly he greets thee, Scatters fear and gloom;
Let his Church with gladness Hymns of triumph sing,
For the Lord now liveth; Death hath lost its sting!

Thine is the glory, Risen conqu'ring Son
Endless is the vict'ry Thou o'er death hast won!

No more we doubt thee, Glorious Prince of life;
Life is nought without thee; Aid us in our strife;
Make us more than conqu'rors, Through thy deathless love;
Bring us safe through Jordan To thy home above.

Thine is the glory, Risen conqu'ring Son;
Endless is the vict'ry Thou o'er death hast won!

(Lutheran Book of Worship #145, Text by Edmond Budry, translated by Birch Hoyle, Tune by George F. Handel)

Holy Saturday Farm Report

While Jesus is announcing freedom to the captives in Sheol, we'll come back to earth and look around Pine Ridge...
Good news and bad news. Lettuces, broccolis, etc, are growing well. Almost too well. I found an organically fertilized potting soil, and they seem to LOVE it.
Also good news...Farmer John, who has been unemployed since October, found work this week, and will start this Monday. The pay is good and the commute is under 35 minutes. That's a tough, ironic issue, here in the county. We moved here to live better; cleaner food, cleaner air. But wages around here aren't enough to support the lifestyle. And the work that does is far enough away to burn up LOTS of fossil fuels; the last commute was about an hour and 15 minutes. (Both commute figures are one way.)
Bad news. I can't get the little plants into the ground because we had another winter storm yesterday (seems Mother Nature and channel 5 didn't get the memo that it's spring) and there's a good 6 inches of white rain on the ground. With temperatures expected to go up tomorrow, we'll be melting (and, God forbid, flooding) by Tuesday.
More bad news; Farmer John didn't finish the chore list we had planned for this last week. Rain, job-chores and a trip to the Field Museum for a new exhibit held us off a bit. We did not clean the barn. Or set up new coops for new chicks. Or get hay. Or get rid of Bill, the bull. We DID move LOTS of compost, get a new bed for the Farmer's bedroom and go to that exhibit. I KNEW it was silly to make a list. If I keep it in my head, more gets done. When we write it down, Farmer John thinks it's halfway done already; which means nothing gets more than halfway done!
News of mixed bad- and goodness; we'll get some new chicks today. When schools hatch chickens in the spring, they have to go somewhere. Betcha didn't think much about that. They go to various farmers who "have connections." One of our connections found 20+ such chicks for us this week, and we need to pick them up today. They'll be straight run (meaning mixed males and females) of "well, there's Leghorns and some black ones" (probably these.) We haven't had good luck with Leghorns. I call them "cocker spaniel chickens," because they remind me of our flighty, high-maintenance first dog, Bear, the cocker spaniel. They seemed to scare easily, and they died horribly; read this, if you dare. Except for the one the hawk got, (being all white makes it SO easy for hawks) the rest died of prolapses.
See, all of these good and bad news items are evidences of sin in the world. Sin that no longer has any power, because of the events of that long-ago Friday. I'd break into song, but this is getting long! (That's as close to poetry as you'll get from Boots on the Ground!)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday, Part 2

Ah, Holy Jesus, how hast thou offended
That man to judge thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected.
O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus hath undone thee.
'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee.
I crucified thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered;
For man's atonement, while he nothing heedeth.
God intercedeth.

For me, kind Jesus, was thine incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation;
Thy death of anguish and thy bitter Passion.
For my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee;
Think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.

Good Friday

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble...tremble...tremble...
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble...tremble...tremble...
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble...tremble...tremble...
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?
Were you there when they raised him from the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble...tremble...tremble...
Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maundy Thursday

I was racking my brains, looking for a hymn that said Maundy Thursday to me. I can't believe I didn't think of this, right away.

O Lord, we praise you, bless you and adore you,
In thanksgiving bow before you.
Here with your body and your blood you nourish
Our weak souls that they may flourish.
O Lord, have mercy!
May your body, Lord, born of Mary,
That our sins and sorrows did carry,
And your blood, for us plead
In all trial, fear and need:
O Lord, have mercy!

Your holy body into death was given,
Life to win for us in heaven.
No greater love than this to you could bind us;
May this feast of that remind us!
O Lord, have mercy!
Lord, your kindness so much did move you
That your blood now moves us to love you.
All our debt you have paid
Peace once more with God is made.
O Lord, have mercy!

May God bestow on us his grace and favor
To please him with our behavior
And live together here in love and union
Nor repent this blest communion.
O Lord, have mercy!
Let not your good Spirit forsake us,
But that heav'nly minded he make us;
Give your Church, Lord, to see
Days of peace and unity.
O, Lord, have mercy!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I Have Been a Bad Mom

I did not show ALL my heroes, just the one. So, without further adieu...

EP, JP4 and 2005, at JP4's last deployment ceremony. Can't seem to get them all in one place these days for a new picture....

Monday, March 17, 2008

A baby was born, it seems like not so long ago.

He grew,

and, as he grew, he put on a uniform.

And then another.

And, this past weekend, he attended his first National Guard drill, and put on another.
Now, all three of our boys are involved in the Global War on Terror, and in ensuring that you can read and write and understand whatever you want, wherever and whenever you want.
My heroes.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

All Glory, Laud and Honor

To you, Redeemer, King,
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring

You are the king of Israel And David's royal Son,
Now in the Lord's name coming Our King and Blessed One.
The company of angels Are praising you on high
Creation and all mortals In chorus make reply
The multitude of pilgrims With palms before you went
Our prayer and praise and anthems Before you we present
To you, before your Passion, They sang their hymns of praise.
To you, now high exalted, Our melody we raise.

Hey. It's Palm Sunday. We'll process, we'll wave palms, and we'll have one week until Easter...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Huh. Go Figure.

Which theologian are you?
created with
You scored as Martin Luther

The daddy of the Reformation. You are opposed to any Catholic ideas of works-salvation and see the scriptures as being primarily authoritative.

Martin Luther




Jonathan Edwards


Friedrich Schleiermacher


John Calvin




Karl Barth


Paul Tillich


J├╝rgen Moltmann


Charles Finney


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Grumpy Again

Severed Fingers of 5 Hostages Delivered to US Officials in Iraq, but waterboarding is torture and should never be employed by civilized people.
Which says what about our enemy?

I didn't say that.

She'll be washing dogs tonight....

We ran to Grandma's today, to put the trash out for the garbagemen who will come tomorrow. What a pile! And it was being checked out by the pickers before we could get out of there. I'd love to drop by later to see what gets taken, but it's not worth the hour drive.
Today MSP missed school. But she did receive an education. She helped finish cleaning up and sorting through Grandma's things. She socialized with her grandmother, mine, her aunt and uncle, her dad, and a little lady from Grandma's block who was walking her Bichon. She ordered her own lunch, and coffee at Starbuck's, and still managed to get out the door just now for Confirmation. She fed her goats and chickens, walked and fed the dogs and finished her laundry. If only she'd made her bed...and I don't have to go upstairs to know she didn't!
I love homeschooling. It enables me to prepare my kids for real life.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


It's kind of a pun; I like to write about my boys in the Army. But this is about the month of March. Or, as we call it here in NE IL, the month of Mud.
This is the month when spring really begins; today, for example, the sun is warm and the breeze is, too. The ground is still covered in white stuff, but it'll melt. And then will come the mud.
Brown, sticky mud. Black, slippery mud. Black and brown mixed with gravel mud. Wet mud. Slimy mud. Mud on boots and jeans and coats and even hats. Kids will head out to ride bikes on a warm day and come back with a splatter of mud right up their backs, where the bike tires adorned them. Dogs will be washed and dried and let out and washed and dried and let out and washed and dried and.... Goats and cattle will be covered in the stuff. And my floors. Oh, my poor floors.
On the other hand, the chickens are venturing out. They will not walk on snow. Absolutely will not. As it melts away from the door of the coop, they take a few steps out. Then a few more. Pretty soon they're cackling and crowing and it sounds like a farm again. Warm days are like that.
We'll be hit again with a patch of cold, and maybe even some snow. But the warm is on the way. And the mud.

This Just In: The terriers have headed for the hills again. Stay tuned.

This Just In: Regardless of what Blogger tells you, the little stinkers left at 10am. They returned at 6pm. Carry on.

Monday, March 10, 2008


What a weekend! We spent Saturday helping Grandma move furniture out of her now-sold condo. Sunday John and I took EP back for a last load. The condo is clean, tidy and empty. What a process. Little sleep, much physical activity, and continuous fast food makes for a bad headache on Monday, I've learned. And I'll be in bed hours before usual tonight!
It's an interesting process, though. It's fascinating watching how people handle such a move. This is the last house Grandma will likely own; at 95, we don't see her buying another one. 95 years of memories to sort through and then fit into half of a bedroom. We went through closets, trunks, drawers, cabinets and cupboards and found many treasures.
Like the Queen Elizabeth cups. Grandpa's family was from England, and one part lives in Canada, still attached to the Commonwealth. China was a common hostess gift when they came to visit. I loved going to Grandma's as a girl and drinking tea out of the Coronation commemorative mugs; especially the Lune one. See, Elizabeth was crowned in June, but the manufacturer got one of the cups wrong; it says, "Lune." When Grandma moved into the condo and weeded some things out, she was getting rid of the coronation mugs, and I took the Lune one. When Elizabeth had her 25th anniversary in 1977, I had to get a commemorative mug. And, yes, I have one from 2002 and the 50th anniversary of her coronation. They're worthless, but they're memories.
And her china, which I also was blessed to receive. It also was a hostess gift, over the years, from Canadian cousins.
She had a closet full of vintage dresses. My uncle attended a military academy, and they attended a few parties and balls there. Beautiful things, two of which Mary was happy to snag. The rest are planned for the thrift store; unless Polly wants pictures??? My hairdresser actually has temporary plans for them; she wants to dress her "girls" in them, take pictures, and frame the pictures to decorate the shop. That'll be fun for me!
And yet, so much of what she had was dismissed as "junk" by some of the relatives helping this weekend. You know, someone actually wondered if we should pitch the 30+ year old Kitchen Aid mixer which still works perfectly? Pitch it? Go figure. The dishes, the furniture, the blankets, clothes and shoes. Many of those had to be rescued from the trash; some of us thought they should be thrift store finds for someone and a tax deduction for Grandma, not something she had to pay the garbageman to take away.
It made me think of my stuff. I have, over the years, tried to declutter, sell off or give away things that we really don't need, and pare down to "just the bare necessities." But, still, we FILL this 11 room house to overflowing. The attic...oh, my, the attic. It's been even scarier with a husband out of work; what if it actually comes down to having to sell this place? I really think I'll just have a sale and get rid of it all. But what if something horrible should happen and my kids have to do it? If it comes to that, I'm really sorry, guys. One of you hang on to that Lune cup, OK?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Daylight Savings Time

And two more weeks to Palm Sunday!
Hope we make it to church on time tomorrow....We've been late, and early, through the years, depending on our mood and the way the clock switches. Must be on time tomorrow....

Friday, March 7, 2008

This Is All I Needed

I'm grumpy enough the past couple of days. I didn't need to read THIS.

Where does a judge get off doing this? Where does anyone, in this country, have the right to take away a young person's right to choose how to spend his or her life?
I am livid.
I am proud that he will do it anyway, money or no money. But I'd like to see him get the money.

Help Needed, Please!

You know, I've been feeling badly because I'd really like to comment on current events. I'd like to develop and share some really cogent opinions. For a while, I've been thinking it's my lack of thinking skills. I really can't figure out what the problem is. Maybe if I share the events of a typical day, one of you can help me pinpoint where I'm misusing my time and help me figure out a way to organize my life so I can organize my thoughts. Should we give it a try?
Yesterday morning, I woke up at 7 when JP4ling#3 came by for his Thursday visit. Great-Grandma needed help with a shower, JP4ling needed books read and breakfast and movies, Grandma, and chocolate milk and can I watch another movie? and Great-Grandma still needed a shower and MSP wanted more help with her den and John had to go order chicken feed and where do I keep the number of the feed store and then we went to one bank to close accounts and picked up JP4ling#2 along the way who was very bouncy and needed attention but didn't get any until the lady at the second bank turned the cartoons on while John and I opened bank accounts (for our almost-nonexistent money) and then we went home for lunch, which MSP had sweetly prepared. We slammed it down and by now I canceled my 1pm physical therapy appointment because there was just no way and then we noticed that EP wasn't home, although he was supposed to be back at 1 but didn't get home till almost 2 and he and I had to go to the bank and open his new checking account and John called while we were there to tell us that JP4ling#1 needed to be picked up from school (which I thought HE was doing) so we headed over there and then EP told me we had to pick up his lunch pizza, which had been ordered and had been cooling for, oh, about an hour now while we were at the bank . John called to say the homeschool moms who come by once a week for tea and CHOCOLATE had begun to arrive and by time we got back the party was underway. Kids played and moms talked until almost 6, and then we had a quick supper and JP4 went off to class, leaving the JP4lings with us. I was PMSing and felt terrible and just wanted to go to bed but we had to watch more movies and first there was Shrek and why can't we have snacks and I need some popcorn and I want some chocolate milk and can we watch Mary Poppins now and Daddy's here!! and then it was (thankfully) bedtime and too soon it was morning and JP4 came back with JP4ling #2 and......
Any advice you can give on how I can better organize my life, just let me know!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

"We Love Death"

This is a really neat lady with a really great blog. Yet another military mom with a lot to say! If you haven't followed the link yet, it's to an article by her discussing an article in the Wall Street Journal titled "Worshippers of Death." In it, Nasrallah, leader of the terrorist group Hezbollah, brings up some topics and points that could lead to quite the discussion. If we could stand to be in the same room as him...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Since You Asked

Bessie the cow is NOT with calf. She and Bill are not going to be parents. Dr. Bill, who came out to double-check, told us that there's no reason she shouldn't be. After looking at Bill', he said it's possible that HE'S the problem. At this point, Bess will not become hamburger. Bill will go home, and his owners can decide what to do with him. Dr. Bill (I know, it's confusing to US, too) knows of another bull, but EP may sell her....Stay tuned....

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I was born in a small town...

Quick...whose song?
I was not born in a small town, nor was my husband. He grew up in a tiny one, of around 400 people. I did not; I grew up in a suburban -opolis, incorporated the year I was born, (1959) and is way past 50,000 by now.
But we MOVED to a small town; this little place has more than 6500 people and actually makes a page in Wikipedia; yee-haw! And, aside from being the place my kids call home, I learned yesterday that it has some neat claims to fame.
Without this company, your money would be pale. Yep. They make the green dye used in U S of A legal tender.
This company makes one-hole punches. They're the only ones who do. They're also the only ones who make those little change-dispensing machines that hang on the belts of beer vendors at the ball game. How would you get your change without them? Oh, and they make the Can't Miss Rat Trap, too!
It's been called "home" by pitcher Carl Lundgren, (who pitched for the Cubs from 1902-1909;remember him?) songwriter Egbert van Alstyne, (who wrote In The Shade of the Old Apple Tree in 1905) and attorney David Boies (who represented the US in US vs. Microsoft,and also represented Al Gore during Bush vs. Gore.)
Oh, and the international headquarters of this company's forklift division, where my husband would like to be hired, is in this little town, too.

Gotta love your small town!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Pine Ridge Prattle

My mom once said that she didn't like winter coming on, because "everything is dying." I look at it more as sleeping. The earth goes to sleep, to gain strength for the coming year. Sorta like spring is the morning, summer the afternoon, fall the evening, and winter the long night of an earthly day. (Gotta go hug a tree now!)
So, as morning dawns...
Broccoli and parsley are doing well. Only one lonely rosemary germinated. Lettuces REALLY need to get in the ground, but the ground is still a foot under the snow. Not sure what I'll do about that... We'll have a good bunch of cilantro, too. Pretty soon I'll be starting tomatoes and peppers. And dill. That's probably tomorrow.
Today is cleaning out a space for MSP. As much as she likes having Grandma here, she and Grandma do have their differences. She likes to be "creative," which means messy, and Grandma does not. So, today, we'll take our office/storage/furnace room and turn it into a den for Mary. She's very excited; she's even calling it the Wolf's Den. (As long as it isn't the Eagle's Lair...)
Pine Ridge is getting a brand-new reverse osmosis system today. Our original one, which was here when we moved in 10 years ago, gave up the ghost about 3 years ago. We continued limping along with it until about a year ago. We drank bottled water for a long time, but finally bit the bullet. John is installing that as I type. Fresh, non-polluted water is on the way.
Yes, out in the country, air might be purer, but water is not. We have no filtering, no chlorinating, no fluoridating, which has it's good points. But we have runoff from fields getting into our well, which is not a good thing. Although we grow organic crops here, our farm neighbors do not, and there are some nasty chemicals involved in getting corn and soybeans grown. We'd rather not drink them, thank you very much.
This week we also need to order chicks. The first batch of chicks will start growing on Pine Ridge at the end of March. They will probably be meat birds, which will have a happy life here for about 10 weeks. We have pens for our birds, allowing them to get out, scratch for seeds and bugs, and lie in the sun, all of which they really enjoy. We feed them a grain ration with no animal products or antibiotics, ground for us by a local feed supplier. He can't believe our birds do well without the antibiotics, but they thrive.
Later in the spring, maybe April, we'll have egg-laying chicks. Then, in May, turkeys will make their homes here. All will be gone (not the egg-layers!) in November; I'll let you imagine where they go. The circle of farm life begins...