Life, This is Not Funny

I wrote before about how I feel about creepy crawlies lately.

Last night my bladder alarm awoke me from my two hours of sleep. In other words, it was about 2 a.m. While I was in the bath room on the porcelain throne, ergo, not in a position to escape, I watched a nasty creepy crawly scuttle along the edge of the wall where ceiling meets wall, and then slide its disgusting self up into the ceiling. We have false ceilings. I never liked them at all, and now I loathe them.

I went back to bed and spent the next hour itching all over, feeling imaginary creepies dropping down from the ceiling onto me. At 3 a.m. I turned on a movie. At 4 a.m. I got up, scratched all over and spent 30 minutes waterboarding myself in the kitchen*. I fried bacon, sliced a tomato, made myself a bst (no lettuce, but spinach), fixed my husband a plate (he doesn’t like the Ezekiel bread I have, because it tastes a lot like we imagine bark would taste), shook up my homemade creamer, got myself a cup of kombucha (second fermentation, steeped with dried peaches, frozen blueberries, and whole cloves).

I had given up on sleep. I came back to bed to do some internet stuff, eat my sandwich, and stand guard (or rather sit, but definitely on alert) against creepies. My husband brought me a cup of coffee and kissed me good-bye- he has an hour commute in a different time zone so he has to leave at 5 to arrive at 7.

I practiced some deep breathing. Something moved out of the corner of my eye. I jumped. So did it. I braced myself and peeked, hoping it was just a dust bunny or a bit of dog hair caught by a breeze. No such luck.

frog or toadIt’s a frog (or a toad, I don’t know). It hops, And it does not belong in my house, let alone my bedroom.  It’s about as big as my thumb, and green.  The EC caught one at her house last week (only outside, I think) and took a picture of it sitting in her hand.  I raised her well.  But I’m done now, thanks.   At least, I’m pretty sure they are the same species.  I didn’t really study it while dancing on my toes (because that totally helped) and putting a cup over it because the point was not to have to look at it.  Except I am absolutely positive that the one giving me the boo-willies is much, much bigger than hers. Really.  I’m sure it is. It must be, because who would get the boo-willies over something this small? That would be ridiculous.

It’s not as bad as six legged nasties, but No, I do not want to do nature study with it, thanks no thanks.

It’s under that cup right now and there it stays, waiting until my son gets up and deals with it for me.


*NB: The time it takes to reach waterboarding level has doubled!!

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Listening to the other side

“Those who do not know their opponent’s arguments do not completely understand their own.”

Back cover of an Opposing Viewpoints book

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Wild Child

blog post sophie pic 1

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Daily Bible Reading Plan for September

woman reading in hammock~My favorite Bible study approach for the last few years, and one I’d recommend combining with reading through Psalms or Proverbs each month:

1. Choose a book of the Bible.

2. Read it in its entirety

.3. Repeat step #2 twenty times

.4. Repeat this process for all books of the Bible

More about this here. It’s REALLY good stuff, really, really good. Even if you don’t choose this approach, you’ll get a lot from that link.  Me? I broke the rules and started with the longest books.  I’ve done Psalms, Jeremiah, Lamentations (not a long book, but it went with Jeremiah), and Isaiah.  Now I think I’m ready to do a shorter book, so for September I’m planning James- a shorter, and very practical book.


bible readingHow to read through Psalms and Proverbs each month:

Read the Proverb that matches today’s date (some of us use a Bible in a bookstand on the wide windowsill we have over the kitchen sink, some use audioversions, some read online, some do this the old fashioned way- and by this list please don’t take it to mean we all remember to do this every day)

Read five chapters of Psalms each day- Except the day that would include Psalm 119.  Skip it that day.  The following day, read Psalms 119 only.  That’s what the original plan said.  Personally, I find 119 very pleasant, easy reading, at least, I have ever since I discovered this empirical fact about it.  It is longish, but I love it.  I always get bogged down on a different chapter.

This means you only read the 31st chapter of Proverbs and the last five chapters of Psalms in months that have 31 days, so if that matters you to you, the last week of the month add an extra Psalm each day.


September 1: Psalms 1-5; Proverbs 1; at bedtime, read a few chapters in the book of your choice (or vice versa, or read while you eat, or listen while doing dishes)

September 2: Psalms 6-10; Proverbs 2; a few chapters in the book of your choice (it might help to set a timer and choose to read for a set amount of time.

September 3: Psalms 11-15; Proverbs 3; etc


You can also use the various audio resources (many free) I shared here.

One year I organized the Psalm chants from the Brotherhood Prayer Book (found the above link) on my iPod by day, and set them as my alarm clock.

There are other daily bible reading approaches.  What matters most is that you do it, and you do it in the way that works best for you.  That won’t necessarily be the same approach all your life, either.


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Nail Polish detects date-rape drugs in your drink; some feminists cry rape-culture

Stories like this convince me that at least some feminists have mental health issues.

Some college students, trying to help, invented a nail polish that detects ‘roofies,’ or date rape drugs.  That sounds like a good thing to me, something pro-active, protective, and useful.

But no.  At least some feminists are outraged (and they are, some of them, feminist public faces, not just trippy little undergrads still reeling from Women’s Studies classes they took last week). This is supposedly just another part of rape-culture,  it is just blaming women for rape.  One woman quoted in the article just doesn’t want to have to stick a fingernail in her drink to check out the motives of any young men around her.


Of course rape is always the fault of the rapist. I know that it’s popular now to to say that the victim is always blamed, and that definitely has happened.  But it’s also a problem on the other extreme thatwe have now reached a point where teaching kids (teens, college students), some safety tips is somehow propagandized into ‘blaming the victim.’

If you tell people that it’s dangerous to get fall down drunk at frat parties, that’s not blaming the victim any more than it is blaming the victim to warn children not to help a strange adult who pulls up into the neighborhood and asks for help finding his puppy, nor is it blaming victims when we tell people a certain neighborhood is safe after dark. Yes, you *ought* to be able to trust adults and you *ought* to be able to walk in any neighborhood you want to whether it’s dark or light

This whole rape culture thing has gotten blown out of proportion to the point where it’s not helping women at all, it’s putting anybody who believes that crap at greater risk. The idea that you can end rape by ‘just teaching boys not to rape’ is one example of an utterly asinine and dangerous idea- as thought they don’t know it’s a bad thing to do already- they do it because some people are evil and love to do wicked things, you can’t ‘teach’ that out of them.  You don’t ‘teach’ psychopaths and sociopaths out of their patheology.

The willfully naive young woman who doesn’t want to have check her drink is a stubborn danger to herself and others.  She may not want to, but that doesn’t mean that’s the reality of the world she lives in.  I don’t want to have to lock my doors at night.  I don’t want to be nervous about picking up hitchhikers- I would love to be able to pick up hitchhikers any time, even with kids in the car.   I don’t want for young people in Chicago to be afraid of being shot, but reality is something other than what we wish.

There is a notoriously rough and dangerous town north of us.  A few years ago my very pregnant firstborn and her mother-in-law were driving through that town when they needed to stop and use the bathroom. It’s such a rough area that few gas stations even have public restrooms any longer, especially not on the highway that goes through town.  They found a library, but it turned out to be closed for construction.  One of the construction workers saw them and asked what they were doing and they explained.  He was worried and concerned- ‘this is not a safe place for you,’ he said (or something like it.  He let them use the library bathroom so they could get back on the road and out of town faster.  Did he like that his town was unsafe for obvious strangers as well as residents?  I’m sure he didn’t.  By telling them they weren’t safe, was he blaming them or expressing concern?

While I realize that there definitely has been a culture of blaming the victim for crimes against women, I also begin to wonder how many times, especially recently,  ’victim blaming’ was merely a clumsy expression of wishing that reality were other than it is, of wishing that hadn’t happened.  ”That park is notoriously dangerous after dark, I would never go there” is not blaming victims for whatever happens there, it’s putting some context to a frightening event and maybe even some self-comfort, talking down the bogeymen of our minds that come out when something horrible happens to another human being.  It’s not as sensitive as it could be, but I don’t think it’s blaming the victim, at least not always.

I think the nail polish is a great idea.

Update to add this- ‘when preventing rape promotes rape, you’re doing feminism wrong.’

Salon assistant editor Jenny Kutner is skeptical of the polish and yet still distraught that it will be sold and not magically subsidized and distributed freely….


At The Guardian Jessica Valenti asserts that ”anything that puts the onus on women to ‘discreetly’ keep from being raped misses the point. We should be trying to stop rape, not just individually avoid it.”

Because apparently Jessica only understands either/or and believes that these two goals are mutually exclusive.  She also apparently believes that Erewhon is a real place.

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Education News

More than it already was, I mean:

The College Board, the private company that produces the SAT test and the various Advanced Placement (AP) exams, has kicked off a national controversy by issuing a new and unprecedentedly detailed “Framework” for its AP U.S. History exam. This Framework will effectively force American high schools to teach U.S. history from a leftist perspective. The College Board disclaims political intent, insisting that the new Framework provides a “balanced” guide that merely helps to streamline the AP U.S. History course while enhancing teacher flexibility. Not only the Framework itself, but the history of its development suggests that a balanced presentation of the American story was not the College Board’s goal.

I’m pretty sure the goals here are not for the benefit of the student, but to further increase and strengthen government institutions.

There are really almost no accountability controls for those who write the tests for our children. I don’t know who these unelected bureaucrats answer to, but it’s not parents or voters. And those who write the tests control the curriculum. This is just one of many reasons we chose long ago to totally opt out of having our kids involved in any formal testing by the state until they take the ACT or SAT. Since I do not follow the government school’s curricula, that evaluation would be of little use to me anyway.

I wonder how much longer we’re going to have that freedom?

Math wars: Rote Memorization is important, study says.

I have to wonder why it’s even necessary to do a study on something so obvious, except that far too many people don’t have a tremendous grasp of the obvious:

In effect, as young math students memorize the basics, their brains reorganize to accommodate the greater demands of more complex math. It is a gradual process, like “overlapping waves,” the researchers write, but it clearly shows that, for the growing child’s brain, rote memorization is a key step along the way to efficient mathematical reasoning.

By tracking a group of young students over the course of a year, the authors show “that children learn to associate individual problems with the correct answers. Repeated problem solving during the early stages of arithmetic skill development also contributes to memory re-encoding and consolidation, thus resulting in enhanced hippocampal activity and ability to recall basic arithmetic facts… The maturation of problem-solving skills is characterized by a gradual decrease in the use of inefficient procedures such as counting and an increase in the use of memory-based strategies.”

As a scientific justification of rote learning, the study seems likely to further polarize the controversy over math teaching styles, in which arithmetical fundamentalists are squared off against the popular and progressive forces of “discovery-based” learning, in which students are encouraged to find their own ways to the right answer.

By illustrating the benefit of repetition and memory, and showing how it serves as a stepping stone to mature calculation, the research is likely to embolden the fundamentalists, who have only recently started to win back lost ground.

The tried and true methods of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division work just fine as they have for centuries

When school returns next month in Alberta, for example, the requirement for students to memorize the multiplication tables will be reinstated, following an awkward climb down by the province’s education ministry in March.

Call me a cynic, but I notice that the focus on the discovery based approach requires a lot more tools and resources and books of lesson plans that teachers and schools have to buy. Rote based learning the math facts doesn’t really require a lot of stuff to buy.

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Whole Food Resources

Food Renegades:

Real Food Forager:


Whole New Mom:

Simply Sugar and Gluten Free (I’m neither, but I like her blog and her recipes):

Kelly the Kitchen Kop,

I know there are others- what are your favorites?

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Rule of St. Benedict for Mothers

vintage cradle mom and babyI didn’t change a thing for this one:

Above all let her not neglect or undervalue
the welfare of the souls committed to her,
in a greater concern for fleeting, earthly, perishable things;
but let her always bear in mind
that she has undertaken the government of souls
and that she will have to give an account of them.
And if she be tempted to allege a lack of earthly means,
let her remember what is written:
“First seek the kingdom of God and His justice,
and all these things shall be given you besides” (Ps. 33[34]:10).
And again:
“Nothing is wanting to those who fear Him.”
Let her know, then,
that she who has undertaken the government of souls
must prepare herself to render an account of them.
Whatever number of sisters she knows she has under her care,
she may be sure beyond doubt that on Judgment Day
she will have to give the Lord an account of all these souls,
as well as of her own soul.
Thus the constant apprehension
about her coming examination as shepherd (Ezech. 34)
concerning the sheep entrusted to her,
and her anxiety over the account that must be given for others,
make her careful of her own record.
And while by her admonitions she is helping others to amend,
she herself is cleansed of her faults.

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Eugenics in America

eugenics-treeedited repost

A few years ago I wrote a post titled The Disappearance of the Disabled. We linked to the post Eradicating the Disabled, by Wilfred McClay. It was a brilliant piece of writing. Wilfred noted that “the “right” to abort has become, increasingly, regarded as a social and moral duty.”

I’ve been thinking about those articles quite a bit. I am old enough to remember when Roe V. Wade declared open season on the preborn. I am old enough to remember the arguments that swirled around it. I remember when the pro-life forces argued that abortion would be used as birth control and that it would lead to the infanticide of disabled infants and the devaluing of life, especially for the disabled, in the public forum. The pro-aborts scoffed and sneered about ‘slipper slope’ fallacies and insisted it would never happen. The Pro-Life forces were right-but they were so right that now the pro-abortion crowd is responding with ‘so what?’ instead of ‘can’t happen.’

The article that prompted Wilfred McClay’s piece is another indication of how far we’ve fallen, but it might also be a glimmer of light. This article by the mother of a child with Down Syndrome who wonders why everybody is in such hot haste to see that children like hers never see the light of day (or life) was able to have her essay published in the Washington Post, hardly a bastion of Pro-Lifers.

That’s progress.
Consider this 1998 account by a woman with a disability:

I have had a disability from
birth, it is not genetic. When I was pregnant with my daughter, by gynecologist
did her best to get me to abort. She was so ignorant about disability that she
asked me “What if your baby has a defect like you?” My answer to to her was “So
what if she is?”

I have been in groups with other disabled women who share remarkably similar
experiences with doctors and other health care professionals.

Then there’s the story of Bree Walker Lampley. In the 1990s she was an anchorwoman for a CBS affiliate in LA. Bree  has a genetic disability called ectrodactyly. In the unenlightened past it was known as ‘lobster-claw syndrome.’ The bones of the digits in the hands and/or feet are fused together, sometimes looking like pincers, or lobster-claws.
I am reasonably sure that Ms Walker and I do not share many of the same politics or other issues. From other things she’s written, I’m guessing she’s not even pro-life. But she has witnessed firsthand how some very outspoken ‘pro-choice’ voices have used the ‘pro-choice’ mantra to give a semi-respectable sheen to their bigoted anti-disability views.

In 1988 she was working in New York. She says,

“While I was anchoring news broadcasts at WCBS-TV in New York, I got pregnant with my first child, Andrea Walker, and soon found myself at the center of a firestorm of controversy when one of my co-anchors blithely asked on the air whether my parents would have chosen to abort me if they could have known I be born with my disability. This touched off a public discussion of whether women with hereditary disabilities should choose not to have children.”

The irony of a ‘pro-choice’ discussion about whether or not disabled women have a moral right to ‘choose’ to have children is just killing me. It’s killing somebody, anyway.

In 1991 she had moved to L.A., still anchoring for a CBS affiliate and was expecting her second child. A local ‘shock-jock’ type radio personality, Jane Norris, opened up her program for people to call in and voice their opinions about whether or not Bree should be allowed to have children. Callers who told her it was none of her business were told it was everybody’s business. Callers who tried to educate her about the disability (she got several things wrong in her description of ectrodactyly, including the name of the disability) were not permitted on the air.

Bree and her husband filed a complaint with the FCC and others joined them. Bree has said that she did not see it as a free speech issue, but ‘about having balance and fairness in important discussions about people with disabilities.’ The FCC decided not to hear their complaints, and Jane Norris and her radio station insisted they had no regrets about the program. Ms. Walker said that ultimately, what was most important to her was the opportunity to have many voices in the disabled community speak out against injustice and to gain an opportunity to get the word out that disabled people can and do live fulfilling and normal lives. She believes she was ultimately successful in that effort, but it came with a cost. She says, “it definitely did not earn me any brownie points with CBS management. Shortly after that time, I was told by CBS management that this was a troublesome issue and that my choosing to speak out instead of just letting it go away presented a thorny issue for them. They said I was all of a sudden a “Controversial Issue” as opposed to a news reader. … Of course, the same as they were unhappy with me for speaking out, I was unhappy with them for not being proud of me for standing up for this issue.” She left CBS and is pursuing other venues, now, including acting (she was the Scorpion Queen is HBO’s Carnivale).

You can read more about this story here and here. This second link is a PDF file of some length. The section about Bree Walker and Jane Norris is somewhere in the middle- use the search function to find it.

In 1992 I miscarried a baby at 16 weeks. A month later I still had not ‘finished’ miscarrying, and I was definitely not pregnant anymore (sometimes a woman will miscarry a twin, but the other twin will survive- if too hasty phsyicians do not talk her into a D&C), so I had to go into the hospital to have a D & C. We were already in the process of adopting the Cherub at that point. We had met her. I had her picture on our refrigator. We knew she was mentally retarded, and probably not ‘educably’ so.
And there in the sterile operating room on the cold steel table as I went through a grim and ghastly procedure I began to cry. My anesthesiologist asked me what I was crying about. Unable to believe her sheer heartlessness and barely able to speak and hissed out through gritted teeth that I wanted my baby.
Briskly and coldly she dismissed my concerns and said, “No, you don’t want that. This baby was probably handicapped anyway, and you wouldn’t want to bring a handicapped child into the world, would you? Nobody would want that.”
I wanted to scream, “I would, I would!” I wanted to tell her about our Cherub proudly, coldly, fiercely, and in scathing tones. I wanted to push her away. I wanted to push everybody away and get up and walk out of the room.
All I could do was shut my eyes while the tears silently escaped from my closed eyelids and the lump in my throat grew so large it was difficult to breathe.

Are we as a society going to get off this slippery slope and regain the moral high ground by valuing each person simply because he is a person, no matter how long or how short it has been since he was conceived and no matter how whole he is in mind or body? Or we are going to slide faster and farther down into the mire?

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Cell Phone!

I’m moving into the 21st century.  With the changing dynamics at home, we changed our cell phones and plans, which means I have one for the first time since the Headmaster lost his job as regional manager with the grocery stores.

The two teens and both parents, all with cell phones.  The FYB is giddy.  The teens are paying for theirs.  We went with Droids- the adults have Moto G; the teens paid extra for something more.  We have 3G, they have 4G.

We went through Republic Wireless- there were other options which would be better for other people, but the HM works at a small country school in a tiny country town, population just over 2,000, and at least one of the big names doesn’t really even get service out there.

I’m now shopping like a girl looking at cases at Amazon.  I especially liked these:

flip case floralPpIiNnKk Flower Wallet PU Leather Stand Flip Case Cover for Motorola Moto G
Roses, roses, roses.

flip case mint and strawberries IZENGATE wallet flip case cover: solid minty green on the outside, a cheery fruity red and white print on the inside.

flip case butterfly Magnetic Flip Hard Case Cover Stand (Black Butterfly)

flip case paris and roses
Paris and Roses Leather Magnetic Flip Hard Case Cover

phone case sugar skull


UNQUITI MOTOROLA MOTO G 4G LTE Case – TuMax Hybrid Cover(Red Black) – DESIGN (Sugar Skull)

flip case elephant

Magnetic Flip Hard Case Cover Stand, elephant

Next up is learning how to actually use my phone, and then….. the apps.

What are your favorites?  I’m mainly interested in apps for me, the mom, writer, menu planner, reader, book-seller, political junky, language learner, K-drama addict, etc, etc, etc.  What do you love and find improves your life and how and why?

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