Friday, October 31, 2008

Praise Be To God

Another one comes home.

That would be my church, my grandchildren's school, and one terrific chaplain.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I wish you could have been there.

We took the Girl Scouts to Cody's Farm today. We had a presentation on what the farmers do all year, a snack with apple cider, a hayride, a walk through the corn maze, and each child picked a pumpkin. ANY pumpkin they wanted, regardless of long as they could carry it. (All for 5 bucks each)

What enchanted them the most was the Hereford herd (say that fast ten times!) When Cody called them to the fence for "interaction," the kids decided their moo-ing was doing the trick. Actually, it was the hay Cody was throwing, but it looked like this;

I wish you could have heard them.

And the Herefords responded appropriately;

Their moo-ing was a little more realistic!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New Acquisition

So Mary goes out on rounds with our vet today. They gelded a horse, trimmed teeth on an alpaca, and saved the life of a pig.

And a kitten.

As they drove home, they saw a grey tabby fluffball in the middle of the road. Dr. Morrissey said, "You wanna pick it up?" Mary said what any 13 year-old girl would, "Uh, huh." By the time he stopped, it had run off into the woods. They figured it would be safe.

Fifteen minutes later, I was driving her down the same road to confirmation class. There, on the side of the road, was Fluffball. I, being of sound mind and body, lost my senses, and said, "Should I stop?"

Fifteen minutes later, after romping through the woods trying to catch a kitten, I walked up to the truck, carrying said kitten by the scruff of the neck. It is now ensconced in the back of our pickup, with food, water, and some toys the Seanster said it NEEDED.

John is not impressed, the JP4lings are over the moon, and Mary is bummed, because it may go to their home instead of ours. The Name Game has begun. Sean wants Fluffy, as do the girls. Mary wants Pedro. Kris wants Elvis. JP4ling#3 wants Queen Fluffy.

I'm holding out for Gigantor, King of the Wilderness. But that might not do.

Because we don't know what gender it is yet.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our Revels Are Now Ended

For about 5 years, I have been taking my kids to Milwaukee Shakespeare, a non-profit theatre company, and the only one (in Milwaukee) devoted exclusively to the presentation of Shakespeare. Among the plays we saw were Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice, and, over the past three years, the Richard II-Henry IV cycle, which was to end this year with our favorite play, Henry V.

We saw plays in small auditoriums, listened to actors describe their work to students ranging in age from 5th grade through high school, participated in a terrific acting workshop, (where Ethan and I learned some fun stage fighting) and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Alas, we few, we happy few, were not enough to keep such a production company functioning. Their major source of funding pulled all financial support from Milwaukee Shakespeare. From a press release dated today;

October 28, 2008 - Milwaukee Shakespeare is closing its doors due to lack of available funding.

Despite generous support from private and public local, state and national foundations and granting organizations such as UPAF and the NEA, the company’s primary source of operating funds is the Argosy Foundation. Due to the current financial climate, the Argosy Foundation has eliminated support from Milwaukee Shakespeare in order to put itself in the best position to continue to grow and support the community in the future. For this reason, Milwaukee Shakespeare cannot continue its season as planned. While ticket sales have been at a record level so far this season, ticket income only provides a fraction of what it costs to keep a non-profit theatre company running. Milwaukee Shakespeare has been actively seeking and achieving outside support, but the growth has not been sufficient to withstand this loss in its primary source of funding.

Milwaukee Shakespeare has been honored to produce in such a theatrically rich city and proud of the productions they’ve done over the past nine seasons. The Milwaukee Shakespeare board and staff will begin working this week to determine the best way to close down the company’s operations.

For any questions regarding Argosy, please contact the foundation directly.

I literally want to cry. We saw these plays at $6 a seat. Chicago Shakespeare, which is actually closer, has "cheap" seats available at $48. And this was not cheap theatre. This was the real deal, well done, thoroughly entertaining and educational. People like Shylock, Brutus, and Harry became members of our family. And so,

You do look, my son, in a moved sort,

As if you were dismayed. Be cheerful, sir.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,

As I foretold you, were all spirits and

Are melted into air, into thin air;

And—like the baseless fabric of this vision—

The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, the great globe itself,

Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,

And like this insubstantial pageant faded,

Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff

As dreams are made on, and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep…

We wish your peace.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Reformation Day

My favorite version. I haven't sung it since I left the ELCA. One thing I believe the LCMS does wrong. Oh, well, life goes on.

A mighty fortress is our God, A sword and shield victorious
He breaks the cruel oppressor's rod And wins salvation glorious.
The old satanic foe Has sworn to work us woe!
With craft and dreadful might He arms himself to fight.
On earth he has no equal.

No strength of ours can match his might! We would be lost, rejected.
But now a champion comes to fight, Whom God himself elected.
You ask who this may be? The Lord of hosts is he!
Christ Jesus, mighty Lord, God's only son, adored.
He holds the field victorious.

Though hordes of devils fill the land All threat'ning to devour us.,
We tremble not, unmoved we stand; They cannot overpow'r us.
Let this world's tyrant rage; In battle we'll engage!
His might is doomed to fail; God's judgment must prevail!
One little word subdues him.

God's Word forever shall abide, No thanks to foes, who fear it;
For God himself fights by our side With weapons of the Spirit.
Were they to take our house, Goods, honor, child or spouse,
Thought life be wrenched away, They cannot win the day.
The Kingdom's ours forever.

(Lutheran Book of Worship, #229)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday Farm Report

Correction; She is Dr. Maureen. Mea culpa. Carry on.

Today is cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Company is coming for dinner, and the living room is still in the dining room. Floors are finished and purty, and furniture needs to be replaced. We've had some interruptions, but that has been Job One today.

The vet was out this morning. Yesterday Bess was in heat, and was, well, lets just say she was confused and became interested in Selena, our older doe. I, for whatever stupid reason, ran into the pasture and got between them, suddenly realizing that that was not a smart place to be. Thankfully, I was able to get the goat out without becoming involved in any cow romance myself. Today, Selena was limping hard on a leg that was injured about 3 years ago, so Dr. Michelle came out to check on things. Two shots and vet wrap later, (bill to come...) Selena feels better, and so does Mary.

Mary had a riding lesson, I've had coffee, and we're waiting for John to come home with lunch. It's a beautiful day, except for having to spend it inside, cleaning! A fall chill in the air, and a heavy breeze; not quite a wind. But bright, warm sunshine everywhere. Hope it is by you, too!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Civil Air Patrol

Although I'm told it's not good and the timing is horrible, Ethan has made a YouTube video of his involvement with Civil Air Patrol. Just because I like people to see my kids, I'm linking it here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Remember this post? How prophetic I was.

With Grandma in the hospital, I am learning a lot about dealing with hospital staff. Some of it I'm even happy about.

There's the "techs," as they're called at this hospital. I assume they would be CNA's or LPN's in some other place or time. They're the ones who do the physical work; lifting, changing, cleaning patients. They're overworked and hassled and their time with the patients could be called "quantity time," as opposed to "quality time."

There are the RN's. They're busy filling out paperwork, recording the vitals the techs bring them, and "interfacing" with the doctors. They're overworked and hassled and spend little time with the patients.

There's housekeeping, who come in once a day to move the dirt around and smile. They're overworked and hassled, and their job really doesn't lend itself to spending time with patients.

There's the senior services lady, who came and kindly explained all the services they offer, but that we can't take advantage of, because, in our reactionary manner, we have taken Grandma into our home. If she were in HER home, or A home, they could help her. But our situation, well, it just ain't normal.

Yesterday I met the discharge coordinator, whose job it is to help us bring Grandma home from the hospital. Since, in her case, this likely involves a stint in rehab, this means "coordinating a placement," essentially, finding a bed for her somewhere. Right now, the rehab center her doctor wants her in "has no beds." The DC is giving me lots of information about nursing homes, and I'm playing dumb. "But these aren't rehab centers, and her doctor wants her in a rehab center." "Well," said with a condescending smile, "Doctor may want something, but it may not be possible." And, in the next breath, "They'll let me know sometime today if something will open up tomorrow. But we can't keep her here for weeks, waiting for something to open up."

I'm getting the distinct feeling that that this may translate into, "She's 96. If we send her to rehab, she'll take a bed from someone younger. Who might recover better. Who might have a better chance of staying recovered. Who certainly will have a better chance of living longer, hence justifying our efforts and expense."

But, of course, we don't outright say such things.

Not this year.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Am So Sad

Since last Friday, I have heard of three kids whose feelings were somehow hurt at school. One 2nd grader shaved her eyebrow, cutting herself, because someone at school teased her about a unibrow. A 2nd grader should even know about this? Another mom told me how badly she felt for her son, who was being caught in the "5th grade shuffle," that splendid time when friendships change and cliques form. Actually, as recently as 12 years ago, when my oldest was going through it, the 5th grade shuffle didn't happen until 7th grade. Another mom told me how her daughter cried last night because her "friends," in 8th grade, are all ignoring her because another "friend" has told them they should.

Aside from the common themes of rejection and hurt feelings, these conversations also shared a discussion of homeschooling, brought on not by me, but by the mom. All said, "I'd really like to do it, but I can't." Can't what? Can't take your child away from a situation that is hurting him or her? Can't face the option of bringing the kid home to be loved and taught, not abused and taught? Some moms, my own included, can't understand not wanting your kid to go through this. After all, don't they have to learn how to deal with people who don't like them in order to grow up and function in society?

By the way, that happens at home just as well as anywhere else. See; Sibling Rivalry.

What made me sad was the same phrase, repeated each time, "I can't do anything about it. It tears me up, but I can't." Why not? What have we as a society done when parents feel helpless to help their own children learn about life? Why can't a parent feel comfortable, and not "odd," in taking their child out of a stressful learning environment and bringing them into one that has much of the stress (no, I did not say all) removed?

We give the influence and control over our children over to other people who don't love them as much as we do. And then we're sad when they're not loved like we love them. And then we feel helpless to do anything about it.

Monday, October 20, 2008


I have been. It's been a rough week.
I have been installing and finishing the wood floors in our living room. Now, I tried to take photos, because I know how you wait with bated breath for my photoessays. But I had misplaced my usual camera, and, being a creature of habit, didn't know how to get the photos from the replacement camera, through my computer, to this blog. Once I had figured it out, I had other things on my mind.
Grandma had a stroke yesterday. While she terrified us, it turned out to be relatively mild, and her doctor is very optimistic about her prognosis. I'll tell you what I know as I know it, you know?
And now I must get back to varnishing. I use a fleece-type applicator on a broom-length pole, drawing it across the floor to apply the varnish. Think Venetian gondolier, in flannel shirt and jeans, in a smelly room. Yeah, that's about it!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oh. My. Good. Word.

And I thought I didn't have time for deep thinking....Thanks to senorsock for the heads up, and please be patient. It takes some time to load all the gadgets and gizmos.
And, no, I never thought I'd agree with this guy.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Some Thoughts

Bear with me. With upwards of 10 people to feed, clothe and keep happy around here (the actual number varying widely, and often changing mid-day) I don't really have the time for deep thinking. But I have been tossing some ideas around in my head, and I thought I'd let them out.

About this pro-life thing. I've been thinking that I'm not sure the movement is taking the right tack. I mean, babies are cute and lovely and I'd have 5 more if I could, but this is not a generation that gives a rip about someone else. If they can't be reached by showing life in the womb, by describing the horrific ways in which women who have "made a mistake" are kept from "being punished by a baby," then it needs to be made more personal.

Perhaps a discussion could be started about end-of-life issues. We already discuss euthanasia, and how "it should be available for those who want it." How about those who DON'T. What happens to those who age less than gracefully and find themselves to be "non-contributing members of society?" What happens when (not if) society comes to the point of totaling up medical costs, labor, energy, etc, to "keep these people alive?" What happens when (not if) it comes down to minimal resources TO keep "non-contributing members of society" alive?

I have been thinking that, if we let the pro-choice folks have their way, it's only a matter of time before we look to our elderly as burdens. Heck, we already do. I see that first-hand. It's only a matter of time before we decide that no one should be "punished" by having to take care of Grandma when they'd rather be spending their middle age years traveling and having fun. It's only a matter of time till we try to convince Grandpa that he really doesn't want his money pumped into the medical industry, does he, and he could save a lot by talking to Dr. Kevorkian now.

And it's only a matter of time before we are old enough that we'll be the Grandma or Grandpa.

Please don't start with me about how we're too caring for such things. About how no one would be forced to do something they didn't want to do. Talk to me sometime about how many of my personal friends have been abused by physicians who didn't want to care for them through high-risk pregnancies, and even pregnancies where defects were identified and moms were told it was "their child's right" to not have to live "like that." Let's have that conversation someday.

If you can't support pro-life initiatives because a precious little child, who may be destined for greatness, will meet his or her death by suction or saline or some other monstrosity, do it for yourself. Do it for the day when you will be strapped to a gurney and told to say a permanent goodbye to those you love. 'Cause it's coming.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Again!

I gotta get an imagination...that title auto-filled! I've used it before.

This week was Farmer John's week of vacation. Every fall we try to take a week and organize things for the winter. This year it was an abject failure. We started by tearing out our ancient, stained and vile-smelling living room carpet. I just couldn't be cooped up with that thing for an entire winter again. So now my living room looks like this;

I will say, this house was built 40 years ago, when they used actual wood for the plywood for floors.

We toyed with just varnishing the plywood and waiting until spring to worry about putting in a real floor, but let's just say our terriers had other issues besides running away. Hence the stained carpet...and plywood. So we were going with Plan B, painting the floor. We were resigned to living with Sandy Beige floors for a few months.
But then, we were out shopping, and found a deal we couldn't refuse. And so, now my front hallway looks like this;

21 boxes of unfinished red oak flooring. Yee-haw! I love sawdust and polyurethane! Even more...I love what the floors look like when it's all over. The thing is, other couples would have organized this better. Other couples would have bought the flooring at the beginning of the week off, not at the end. Then they could have done the installation over the course of the week, not in little bits in the evenings or on the weekends. But not John and I. Oh, no, we LIKE chaos in our life.

That's why we're having a garage sale today.

And this is what passes for "life in the fast lane" on the farm!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Conversationally Speaking...

Ethan participated in a conversation at his last National Guard drill. Participants were himself, another private, and a staff sergeant who is a medic, has been for 35 years. For those not militarily blessed, here's a glossary; MOS=job in the Army, 64-W=the designation for combat medic, and 11B (also called 11-Boomer here)= the designation for infantryman.
I'm sharing this with you because I thought it was a hoot. Your mileage may vary.

Pvt. 11B "What's your MOS?"

Ethan "64-W."

Pvt. 11B "A medic? Geez, why? How hokey is that? (etc, etc)"

SSGT (listening nearby to conversation that shouldn't have been happening in chow line, anyway) "What's YOUR MOS, private?"

Pvt. 11B "11-Bravo, Staff Sergeant."

Ethan "64-Whiskey, Staff Sergeant"

SSGT "Oh, are you one of my medics?"

Ethan "Yes, Staff Sergeant."

SSGT "Well, 11-Boomer, what's the effective range of a (names a weapon.)"

Pvt 11B "I don't know, Staff Sergeant."

SSGT "64-Whiskey, what's the effective range of an IV?"

Ethan "I would guess, Staff Sergeant, the length of the tube?"

SSGT "See here, 11-Boomer, Pvt. Peterman seems to know what's going on. Do you?"

Pvt 11B (think Eeyore speaking, here) "No, Staff Sergeant"

SSGT "And, 11-Boomer, which private here has chosen an MOS that is 75% female?"

Pvt 11B (still channeling Eeyore) "Pvt. Peterman"

SSGT "And, 11 Boomer, who's gonna have a date on Saturday night?"

Pvt 11B (Eeyore again) "Pvt Peterman"

SSGT "Get your chow."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Shhh...Quiet Announcement

Tomorrow is Farmer John's birthday. His birthday has a 9 in it.
We're heading out this afternoon for a night away from the farm and all it's...joys. Yes, there are many joys here, more than there are trials. But sometimes you just gotta get away. We'll come home tomorrow.
So tonight will be dinner out, pool time, and quietness. Much quietness. Tomorrow will be wood floor shopping with no kids and not much of a schedule.
See you tomorrow night!

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Wheels of Justice...

This morning our workout was interrupted by Jay, reminding us that he had to appear in court today. We generally tag along as some sort of support system.

He is facing two charges. On the one, the case was continued. There didn't seem to be any reason given, just "continued." On the second, a DUI, key evidence is missing. His blood alcohol test is lost in the system. The chance of this evidence turning up at this point is next to none, but the county has a full year (from May) to charge him with this crime. So, the case was continued.

Next month, he will again appear in court. Most likely, both cases will be continued. Did I mention that in the first case, there is evidence that the charges have been falsified, and he really didn't do what he's accused of? Did I mention that witnesses in the second case, included someone severely injured in the automobile accident which brought the charge, have all concurred that he was NOT driving under the influence? That is was a nasty accident, but not a DUI accident? Nevertheless, it is likely he will be taking time off work monthly until at least next May to deal with this.

Continued cases, lack of evidence, no resolution. I'd like to work in an industry like this, where I wouldn't have to produce anything to continue in my field and accept my pay. Don't get me wrong. I rejoice in the fact that I live in a country where my son would not already be beheaded for his "crimes." Or where he would be imprisoned, and considered guilty, until he had the chance to prove his innocence. But when we complain about the backlogs in the court I see how this happens. And I'll be remembering.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hunting and Gathering

Today's farm report is pretty dull...unless you like shopping stories.

Today was that day when we finally reacted to the lack of fruits and veggies in the house and headed out for some grocery shopping. 3 hours and many dollars later, we are stocked up and ready to cook! Tomorrow is ham (one of ours) hashbrown casserole and acorn squash. Or broccoli. Squash would be too many yellows on the plate, if you're the kind to worry about such things. And sometimes I am.

This week Farmer John will be taking some vacation time, and we'll be having a fall break from schoolwork. Our hot vacation plans including fixing some chicken fencing, filling the barn with hay, and burning our ginormous burn pile. We may find time in there for a getaway, and for tearing carpet out of our living room. I tell ya, life on this farm...never a dull moment!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Fun

Since we spotlighted the dogs yesterday, I suppose we should give the cats their turn.
How about a vote? Which is more fun? This;

Or this?

Same song...different interpretation.

You decide.

And the people said...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I'm not sure which made me laugh more...


Or Elephant's Child's HILARIOUS post.

But my abs hurt from laughing!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Birthday Girl!

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday, dear Grandma,
Happy Birthday to you!

She turns 96 today.