Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Meet the Newest Member of the Family!

Okay, so maybe that's overstating it. We're NOT talking about the Unknown Baby. We're not even talking about the pets, or the new chickens. Something a lot more handy than the pets, I'm sure. And a lot less destructive to my cucumber plants than the chickens.

What could it be?


The Mixer! I am very pleased, of course. Now if only my energy matched my joy, I could bake up a pile of bread. I DID test it out with a huge batch of cookie dough... none of which managed to get baked, partly due to the climate when I mixed it up, and partly due to my habit of eating cookie dough until it disappears. Which I am not *totally* responsible for. I gave a couple quart ziplocs full to friends, of course. They can bake and heat up their homes. It's the best cookie dough. I'll post a recipe someday. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip. And relatively healthy too, fresh ground grains, lots of oats, eggs, rapadura and sucanat to sweeten. Yes. Good for you. Good for me. Anyways, the mixer. I'm still waiting on a few checks in the mail, but they're from Good People, so I'm not worried. And hopefully they're loving their super-affordable Mary Kay stuff. Of course, with the mixer I bought some great stainless loaf pans. I can't very well have a mixer to knead several loaves if I can't cook those loaves, can I? And in my quest to avoid Alzheimer's and other nasty things, I avoid nonstick cookware religiously. I got some fancy yeast, and unbleached parchment paper, also some teeny-tiny measuring spoons. Which are handy for measuring out Stevia into things. Turns out a "smidgen" is appropriate for most things we've needed to sweeten. After all, once I qualified for the free shipping, I might as well get those little things I might never be willing to pony-up the added freight expense for.

I've still got a pile of Mary Kay to divest myself of, if any readers are In Need. Although, don't even bother asking about Microdermabrasion. It's gone. Free shipping, 40% off, and that includes tax. Plus, the MK guarantee. Not like the stuff on ebay. Lotion and fragrance that smells "nasty" according to one desperate buyer. Tsk tsk, like God's protection disappearing when we choose disobedience, so too does the MK guarantee when we buy from anonymous auctioneers.

Okay, maybe that's not an exact scripture quote, but...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Shock and Awe?

Guess what? As I write this, Tile Guy is in my master bathroom, tossing down wet cement to complete the shower pan. Actually, perhaps I should call him Cement Guy, or Pan Guy, because he won't be doing the tile. The original plan was for him to do the entire pan, and Hubby and I would finish: Walls, tiling, grout, etc. At this point I don't think I'd be very good at crawling around laying tile. Especially after yesterday's time spent in the garden, I'd probably kill myself trying to do it. In any case, Hubby's cousin (Pan Guy's son) is planning to do the tile. Well, his wife is planning for him to do it, anyway... :) I'm loathe to pay for the installation of something I know I could accomplish myself, eventually, but I don't have the luxury of waiting for eventually to happen, now! We're in crunch time, for sure.

As to the other bathroom, I scraped out the scary caulking, and yesterday Hubby replaced it, this time without any paranormal influences upon him. It looks very presentable. Now we have to wait till it cures, tomorrow morning. I'll enjoy being able to bathe, certainly, and I'm looking forward to finding my girls under the layers of dirt they're sporting these days. I tried to take them to the city (wading) pool yesterday, and wouldn't you know it; it's closed for the season. We were all excited to be rid of the schoolkids, and enjoy one of the perks of homeschooling, but it was not to be.

Soon, perhaps, I'll have my choice of bath or shower, and then the hard part will be to keep the tax assessor from discovering that.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Is Birth a Spectator Sport?

While you ponder that question, an update: Saw Tile Guy at church. Wasn't really planning on looking at or speaking to him (for his own safety, of course), but he put his hand on my shoulder as I passed near, and I was forced to bare my teeth, er, smile. He swears he will be here Tuesday at 2:00. And he does not blame me for smiling and nodding in a "yeah, right" kind of way. For his sake, I do hope he manages to make it. This is a highly hormonal time in my life, and I can still heft a gas can and I know what his nice tile van looks like. And I would not be filling his tank with the gas.

Back to the issue at hand:

I need to take a poll. Find out if it's "just me" or "them". Do you ever look at this life, and wonder if you're in the twilight zone? If so, was it because you were the oddball or because the universes traded you, and now you're in a different one? I'm trying to figure out which applies here.

To me, labor and delivery are mostly my business. And that feels like a pretty deeply-ingrained belief, one that's not easily divested just because the universe seems to disagree. I know women who enjoy (or at least don't mind) a roomful of onlookers. Sisters, cousins, in-laws, friends. And I know many of those expect and assume they will be in attendance. Wow, I'm just not wired that way. I would never, ever assume I was wanted at the bedside of any woman trying to have a baby. Perhaps I will feel differently when my daughters are facing that, but that's impossible to know from here.

In any case, I'm getting the hint of the oddest requests. No, strangers aren't coming up to me on the street and asking when and where, but the hints are still odd. I say hints, because no one has called me up to say, "do you mind?" And, to be honest, many of them might not expect or want to be actually attending, but I hear rumors that they want to come visit around that time. And I don't mean for tea. I mean a road-trip that puts them at my house around The Time. Don't get me wrong; I love company. I love to have overnight guests, whether they're passing thru on their way somewhere, or if they just want to stay awhile. But seriously, now is not the time. Or then is not the time, I should say. Why not? I've been going over that. What if some of these rumored wanna-bes call me up and ask? I guess it comes down to priorities. Business, if you will. Believe it or not, laboring and delivery are really big jobs, and they take all my attention and focus. That's why I'm not a big fan of the auditorium-style birth. I really don't want to be distracted by people in the room, or their responses or reactions to anything. Too, I'm not so comfortable sharing my private parts with the world. Why that should change because someone new is emerging from them could be argued, I guess, but so far I don't see it. As to a houseguest (helpful or otherwise), it's the same idea on a broader scale. They might not assume to be around for the actual birth, but up to and after that are pretty intense times too. Sleep, recovery, breastfeeding, getting back on my feet. I don't want to hear conversation among my friends going on in other rooms that I just can't participate in. It is stressful, in a weird way. And I don't like the idea of a permanent audience for those times either. Maybe I am weird. I'd rarely changed a diaper (and never a newborn's) when I had my first baby, and I didn't change her diaper in the hospital at all. I figured that my silly mistakes would be better handled (by me) at home, without the eyes of others around.

My second was an induction, and the only non-hospital-staff person on hand was Hubby. And I think that was just right, for us, then. I didn't have a hard/fast plan to make that happen, but the last part of labor came and went with considerable speed, and no one really had time to be there anyway.

As to this time, I'm just not sure. I always feel that way. I don't really make a plan, because I'm not sure how I'm going to feel or what I'm going to think at that moment. People think I'm dodging questions like, "are you going to have your baby at home? is it a boy or a girl? what names have you picked out?" Truth to all of those: I don't know. I'm leaning towards the birth-at-home plan, and preparing for it, but I haven't had a chance to speak to the midwife about other possibilities either. Anyone with an opinion thinks it's a boy, but we have no scientific data to evidence that. And we have a couple name ideas, but generally like to keep it under wraps. Though we're still clueless for middle names, I think.

I do realize that most or all referenced rumors come from well-meaning and well-intentioned individuals. But real help would come in the form of stopping by for an hour to fold laundry, or taking the girls to look at the fish. Better yet, come spend a week learning Hubby's new diet, and cook and label his 'daily un-bread' for the next several days. THAT would be handy. Don't bring a pie, or a pasta salad. Well, if you do, bring a small one and sneak it in to me, so Hubby won't grieve. I'm grieving enough on his behalf already.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Things just keep getting better around here... Almost to the point of comedy. I'm 3 weeks away from D-Day, and the tile guy hasn't so much as rang my phone. Which might be good at this point; if he showed up I might find some lighter fluid and things could get nasty. My distress has caused Hubby to take on the Particular Task Requiring Skill on his own, which hasn't done much for marital peace either. I'm torn between, "you'll mess this up and we'll be in real trouble!" and "if you thought you could do this where were you these last 2 years!?" Not a good plan, either way. Even if he does complete the shower pan decently, I don't see how he can do the tile work in the remaining time. Which leaves me at the mercy of the people who've said they would be happy to take on that job... Forgive my doubts, at this point.

Also, the tub in the other bathroom has had problems leaking water thru the silicon caulking. Very bad. I took a razor blade and removed a good portion of the problem areas, and waited for Hubby's return from the hardware store. I don't know if this diet is messing with his head, or what, but he didn't exactly do a careful job. He caulked all right, as though he were posessed with the spirit of Little Monkey. He caulked over old caulking, and thru standing water in a different corner, and missed other parts that needed it. I'm waiting until it cures, maybe by tonight or tomorrow, and then I'll have to dry it with fans (can't keep moisture in the wall!) and in a day or two try again. So much for my daily prescribed ginger baths. This just doesn't feel like the attitude of a grateful, supportive helpmeet, but I can't figure out how to mesh the two here.

What else? Apparently I didn't pay the property taxes in June. They're not much; just for our adjoining field, but they did tack on their interest and late fees. Communists. Plus, I SWEAR I remember making it up those courthouse stairs in my white maternity shirt, which I bought in early June, but the checkbook doesn't back me up. I hope I didn't pay with cash, because any receipt is long gone, certainly.

*Something* was threatening the chickens this morning at 2:30 when Hubby came to bed. Of course he shot it (not a dog, darn it!). Of course, it's in the freezer now, but I don't plan to eat it!

I've been trying to find some cloth diaper stuff online. There's so much to pick from, so many ways to "diaper", and the worst of it is I don't know if I want pink or blue. So I better just wait.

Well, time to find out if Hubby plans to make it to church this morning! I'm not sure if I should go or not: Tile Guy's life may be in danger if I see him...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Another Challenge

I'm not sure what God is doing these days. I don't know why He thinks I'm up for all this. Does God have faith? Does he have faith in people? If so, He has more faith in me than I do.

Remember how I was praying about laying down a few details just to keep things running around here? Things like maybe not beginning each recipe with the grain mill... Well, this is not the answer I was expecting, nor do I see how it is an 'answer' at all, but it should be interesting.

We got the results of Hubby's allergy blood-test back. The girls and I got up early yesterday to meet him in town because I knew this appointment would be as much information for me as it was for Hubby. Out of 115 food ... thingies ... tested, Hubby reacts to 19 of them. They are: kidney beans, carrots, cheese, chili peppers, clams, coffee, cranberries, eggs, garlic, cow's milk, mustard, onion, oysters, parsley, pumpkin, scallops, wheat, baker's yeast, and brewer's yeast. Most of these register low on the 'reaction' scale, but for at least a couple months he MUST be off all of them, completely. Not even a taste. Eventually he may be able to reintroduce some of these. If you knew my husband, you'd know that when we go out of town or camping, his coffee "paraphenalia" as I call it, takes up more room than his clothing. He can drink a gallon of espresso and still go to bed fine. He can probably live without the milk, but the cheese, and the cream cheese, and the pepper jack, and colby, and parmesan; these will be a terrible sacrifice. And I guess I have one fewer person to feed our few eggs to. The man adores garlic and onions and hot peppers. And wheat? That is rough. Everything is/has wheat. Which is probably why most of us shouldn't eat it. The yeasts are interesting; especially the brewer's yeast. This means no beer, wine, vinegar. No vinegar means no pickles. No pickled asparagus. No pickled pepperoncinis. No pickled jalapenos. No pickled beets. His favorites. How do you eat a low-cal salad without vinegar?

The things he tested ok for are many and varied. And things I'm not terribly familiar with. Like amaranth. I know it's a grain; that's about it. And I'm not really used to cooking with halibut, flounder, mackerel, haddock, whitefish, and a bunch of other fish which I can't recall, let alone find in a store. Sole. Sole? Whatever that is. I know salmon and tuna and cod. Actually, we're more like acquaintances. He can have zucchini, and black pepper, and almonds. Even cocoa.

But, don't start getting on my case now. Of course that doesn't look so bad. But we aren't done yet. All those "okay" ones aren't just always okay. No, the "okay" foods are put into four groups. These groups are your 'four day rotation'. We can't have any other food sensitivities developing by eating the same thing 2 days in a row, heaven forbid. No. Black pepper might be okay, but only on day 1. Want black pepper on your salmon? Sorry! Day one includes Beef and Weird Fish. Salmon is day 2. Are the bananas getting too ripe? Oh well! Banana day was yesterday, and you have to wait 3 more days. They should taste good then! Day 3 I will be calling Salad Day, because he can have lettuce, and avacados, and tomatoes that day. Not sure what he'll put on it. I love day 4. Day four is Rice Day. Rice for breakfast, with.. (drum roll..) rice milk! Yummy! And to sweeten it? What else? Brown Rice Syrup! That should be easy enough for digestion to figure out, eh?

He had millet today for breakfast. MMmm.. Millet. Millet with almond milk. Yes, day 1 includes almonds. And peaches! I hope the pile of peaches I bought will last thru our next day 1; four days from now.

So I question God. Am I part of some weird experiment? Or a great Heavenly Hee-Haw? Just when life is complicated enough; baby nearing, homeschool gearing up, housekeeping getting out of hand, garden producing, I have to take on this insane meal planning/shopping/preparing. And no, I didn't jump to this conclusion just based on this. Things have had me wondering lately. Like how pregnancy results in terrible clutziness for me. So I drop everything. Of course, compound that with the fact I can barely reach the floor, and you wonder. I'm less able to catch myself if I trip. Yet, I can't see my feet! I'm not keeping things as picked up as I should! All things work together for trouble... My downstairs bathroom is tiny and cramped. Yet, now that I need the roominess of the upstairs bathroom more than ever, I can hardly make it up the stairs! It just seems like this mountain before me is getting steeper and bigger with each day, and I'm not sure why God thinks that it's such a good idea. Barley for breakfast is great, but if you don't start thinking about that the day before, you will be breaking your teeth on it. And the day before I'll likely be thinking about laundry, and math, and handwriting, and keeping the Little Monkey from eating another $30+ Age-Fighting Lip Primer...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Farmyard Conspiracy

Well, if what we have remaining can be called a farmyard, anyway.

On Sunday we took a drive about an hour away and bought two close-to-laying pullets. They and I are going to race: to see which comes first, the baby or the eggs. One is a Black Star, "Roses," according to Little Monkey. The other is a beautiful Buff Orpington called "Goldie" by Big Sister. It should be Goldie III actually. The first Goldie was one of our chicks. It stood out as more curious and less frightened than any others, and it's chick-fuzz was a lighter hue than it's compadres. As s/he aged, we could no longer distinguish Goldie from the rest. I suspect Goldie was a rooster that ended up on the table or even morphed into Red. The next Goldie was the only distinguishable hen of our flock. She was officially a Rhode Island Red, but instead of the pure rust-colored feathers, hers sported a beautiful pattern on each feather, giving her a speckled/fish-scales appearance, like a wyandotte. She of course was one of the casualties of last week's raid. Now we have a third Goldie, who in fact is gold in color. The healthy, existing hens (one RIR and one Barred Rock) have taken up with Aflac (whom they could not stand before) and they run as a trio. Roses is living in the raspberry bushes, and the tamer Goldie has been put in the chicken pen with the injured hen. She does not know the ways of the older hens and hasn't gotten out. In any case, the old hens are not particularly friendly to the newcomers, and but I think their attitudes might be only the beginning.

When Hubby left for work this morning around 7:00 a.m., Buni was politely sitting on the porch. The last couple days she hasn't needed tied up to keep from following after his work truck. Shortly after 9:00 a.m. the girls went out to play, and at 11:00 we got in the car to run to the post office. I asked where Buni was, and they had not seen her. At all. All day. I was concerned, as it's been cooler and she hasn't needed to hide out under the porch as much. We couldn't find her anywhere, and stopped at a few neighbors' houses to ask if they'd seen her. None had, but they promised to keep an eye out. We did our errand, and returned, and still no Buni. I searched the driveway for puppy prints in the dust. I searched by the ditch for puppy prints, or evidence she might've wanted a swim. I searched where Hubby buried the victims of last week. No puppy prints in the dust anywhere. By 2:00 I was pretty upset. I don't even want a dog, but after last week's poultry episode I was in no condition to deal with more losses around here. Darn these pregnancy hormones! I called the animal shelter, and they said a 10-week-old pup, if found, was as likely to be snatched away as brought in. I started making up a flyer, and though my nifty printer is only black and white, it did a very nice print of Buni's face. I printed out 20 copies (and didn't feel bad, as it's so economical), and after selling some Mary Kay to a customer who dropped by, we set out in the car. I stapled flyers on both sides of about a mile's worth of road before stopping at a nearby vet clinic (yes, the same one where last week I stopped in much distress to ask about Evil Rampaging Dogs) to show the flyer and asked if perhaps she'd been hit and brought in. I spoke to a vet tech (yes, the same one with whom I spoke in much distress last week - I'm surprised the door wasn't barred), and she asked about a red collar (yep - even written on the flyer) and that they might know where she was. I asked if she was ok, and she replied that she was. That her mother had found a sopping wet brown puppy with a red collar along the road that morning. And her mother lives almost across the road from me. I was so relieved! And annoyed that I have yet another thing to care for and worry about! We drove over there, and sure enough, she came out from their patio wagging her tail. She even licked my face (ew!). The gentlemanly old fellow at home was glad to have found her owner, and we were delighted to call Daddy and let him know his pup was safe. She had apparently traversed the 1/4 mile-long pasture up to the road, jumped into and out of the ditch without being killed, and was in that area when the gal found her.

We brought her home, loved and played with her, and tied her up. I looked out the window a few moments later to see her at the end of her cable, and Aflac and the two hens about 6 feet beyond her. They were lined up side-by-side and facing her with disgusted looks that said, "Didn't we deal with you already?"

And of course, this dog who "isn't my responsibility," and who wore me out affixing flyers to telephone poles surrounded by thistles, now requires me to remove said flyers from said poles in said thistle-patches.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Life Update

One injured chicken died, the other might just be recovering. She's got a nasty gash on her back, but hasn't keeled over yet. The two unscathed hens are still around. I'm making a call to a lady about an hour away who has one or two hens to sell. They're not "laying" yet, but will be within the month or two, I suppose. I need to call a nearby organic farmer to see if he has any layers to spare, but I loathe to bother him this time of year. He'd be far easier to get to than the other, for sure.

The girls and I spent a couple days visiting Gi-gi. I sure didn't do much. I managed to sit and visit with some friends on Thursday evening, and most of Friday I just rested. That evening I took a chair and watched the girls at a playground while Gi-gi watered her church flowerbeds and such. Even that seemed taxing! Friday night I did NOT sleep much... Boy, I missed my bed. Everything in my back, shoulders, and hips was aching by morning. We got home around noon and Hubby was still working on a job or two. He made it home by 3:00 I think. I'm very frustrated by my lack of It seems like standing, or walking, even for a few minutes is draining. Let alone trying to pick things off the floor! I really need help, but I also really don't want Gi-gi driving this far for that. My temporary neighbors have offered to give me a hand when I need it, and I may just have to take them up on it. Which I hate. I'm trying to think of ways to cut back on 'jobs'. I'm loathe to buy any quick-prep food, just because it's not really food, but I need to do something. Pre-making and freezing meals is a great idea, but I still need to pre-make them. Letting the girls run around the property naked might cut down on the laundry, but that would probably be frowned upon by everyone. :) I will be praying for ideas to deal with this last month (and the one following, probably). I also have to prepare some really odd things if we have this baby at home. I need four clean/sterile sheets and pillowcases in a sealed garbage bag. But I don't have four sheets that fit my bed. I need to find out if they can be sheets of any kind, or if they must be sheets for my bed. Sheets aren't among the oddities, though. Things like raw vinegar and honey seem odd. And ice. And a crockpot. Perhaps it's in case things take too long and we all need a snack? I need to call the midwife this week.

Speaking of the midwife, I had an appointment on Thursday and all seems well. Baby is in a "good position" (yeah, to elbow my bladder constantly and try to stick it's feet right out through my side), my urine was "great," and I gained about 2 lbs this past 3 weeks. Uh oh. I should be ok, though. Amazingly I've gained about 20 lbs or less this whole pregnancy. Can that be right? I think it is. Though I will not underestimate the possibility for me to make up for that in the next 4 weeks or so.

I'm still waiting on the roof guy, and the tile guy (grrrr). Tile guy swears he'll be here this week. It must be harder when you're related to the contractor. It's a half-hour job, but he's the only qualified guy to do it. I know, because I called him last week and asked who else he might recommend, as I'd REALLY like to have my master bath intact before I have this baby. It's only been 2.1 years now. The roof guy says 'by the end of the month.' Which I hope is true. I don't think the roof guys would like a woman in labor right under them. And I wouldn't like to be a woman in labor with roofing guys hammering away above my head. However, the paint job on the car is beautiful. I'll wait and replace the windshield right before we trade it in for a van. *sigh* That car is so great, I'll hate to give it up. And I'd really like to buy a van without a loan. Hm. That might be a chore. We'll see what God does. We're in no hurry, really.

Well, sitting here has made me pretty tired, and Lord knows my energy should be spent on something a little more worthwhile, perhaps...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Doggone Loss

Yesterday was a hard one. Not made easier by my hyper-emotions I'm sure. I left the house around 2:15 pm to do a few errands locally. I ended up at my insurance office to get some Mary Kay stuff to a customer and let her sample some of the scented things. I had to wait an unusually long time, but that was fine, and eventually we were done there. I returned home at 4:00 p.m. to see some unfamiliar dogs standing over the body of one of my hens in the driveway. Argh! I was very unhappy! I blared the horn loudly as I got out; the dogs weren't afraid of me, nor were they threatening, but I hollered and yelled and chased (well, as much as I can "chase" right now) them from the yard. They headed thru the field and east towards town. They weren't in a terrible hurry, and I continued yelling at them to go... and then I continued screaming in anger and grief as I looked around. There were dead things everywhere. Hens left and right, turkeys dead on the lawn. The chicken wire on the henhouse and turkey pen torn from the structures. Poultry netting down, more carcasses there. Carcasses in the backyard. And feathers all over.

I am not usually the type like you see in the movies, dramatic women falling to their knees and screaming "nooo!!!" as the rain pours down, or whatever. And I didn't fall to my knees, and it wasn't raining, but I don't know when I've screamed and cried in such turmoil before. It's not like I lost a friend or family member, for heaven's sake, but you wouldn't have known it by looking. The kittens were accounted for, and Buni had been with us, but there were no other signs of life that I could see. I hurried back to the car and set out towards the neighbors to our north and east. Just what everyone wants; a very distraught, very pregnant woman pounding on their door. No wonder few people were home. I asked at a vet clinic, a construction site, and a couple residences. One of which had several dog kennels, some empty. I walked past them looking at the dogs while the homeowner walked towards me. "Are you missing a couple dogs?" I asked.
"Yeah, you find 'em?"
I couldn't speak for a moment, but I shook my head. "I'm missing about 25 chickens and 5 turkeys; everything I feed my family with."
From there he had 'just gotten home, what did the dogs look like, are any of these them (no), I had a couple dogs corner one-uh my horses, a pit bull and...' I don't mean to sound snobby or judgmental, but he struck me as a few eggs short of a dozen, let's say. The stereotypical "why we don't marry our cousins" type. That or he wanted to seem simple. I have no doubt if he is the owner of the marauding demons, that he's got them shut up in a shed for a while. His property is due east of my northern boundary, the closest thing that direction. I called the police, and a county deputy sheriff/animal control guy came and surveyed the destruction. It came down to 19 dead hens, 1 dead rooster, 2 very injured hens, 4 dead turkeys, 1 injured turkey (has since been euthanized), and one big ugly pile of dog poop in my lawn. Nothing eaten, nothing torn up or mutiliated. Just killed. I spent the evening taking pictures (I won't post them here), filling out a report and trying to figure our investment in them. Not easy when you just don't have every single feed store receipt. And wow, they're not cheap either. We spotted 2 hens emerging from the brush last night. They are very skittish and don't want anyone near them, but they seem in good health. That leaves 1 unaccounted for at this point. The injured hens may yet have to be put down. We found Aflac under the porch, and she's been there ever since.

I'm now trying to figure out what to do. Turkeys are not to be had this time of year, and if they were they'd die from freezing before they reached slaughter weight. No clean, safe holiday meals this year. We have lots of eggs on hand, but after they're gone, what do we do? I'm looking into finding some well-treated hens that I might buy. I won't be able to replace the entire flock, but enough to make us breakfast every now and then would be nice.

The other job is to find the owner of those dogs. When that is done, I can file some official complaint things, and they can have a chance to make restitution (which will not come close to the intangible losses, of course) or be charged in court. Option B is wait for the dogs' return, and restrain and/or shoot them. Either way works for me. I have a loaded .22 semi-auto rifle on hand. Truly, I would like to acquire a pair of night-vision goggles to patrol my perimeter and try to see if that suspicious neighbor is indeed the owner of the dogs. I'm going to work on that.

You'll know it's me if, late at night, you happen upon an 8-month-pregnant lady, with night vision, and armed...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Abject Silliness

Ok, I'm not sure what "abject" means or if this is abject silliness, but it must be close. I have never grown up labelling myself as any certain type of Christian. I don't have a problem with those who do, whether Baptist, Presbyterian, Charismatic, whatever. Brace yourself... I don't have a problem with Catholics, or even Mormons. *gasp!* I read mostly New King James or King Jameth versions of the bible, but I don't think the NIV is the work of the devil. I think offenses based on these are all silly distractions from following God. Do I think every Catholic is saved? Nope. There are millions calling themselves Catholic because someone spilled water on them when they were babies, but they have no living, breathing, relationship with Christ. Mormons have some wild doctrines. Really out there. And I know more about it than most non-mormons. But I believe some of them are saved. I've met some.

But on the other side... A lot of Christians aren't, really. I mean they are, on one level. They are "saved". They've had an experience with Jesus and embraced it. Maybe they're even prophesying and speaking in tongues and healing the sick. Remember the parable of the sheep and goats? They came and said, "Lord, lord, didn't we do all this amazing stuff?" What does He answer? "Depart from me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels..." They maybe did all the signs and wonders, but they didn't feed the hungry, visit the sick and imprisoned (in bondage to sin?), etc. This should make us all downright nervous. We spend our time arguing the virtues of one translation of the Bible or another when we should be walking and talking with Him and know His heart when we see it. We disparage this or that denomination over silly stupidities, when we should be living out His Great Commission to the neighborhood and beyond. And they are silly stupidities, I think. "Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." God is three, God is one, tongues are important, tongues are evil, sprinkle or dunk? Blah blah blah. It seems each denomination found itself a 'truth', latched onto it, and built a box around it. God doesn't stay in a box very well. The Early Church perhaps needed some overall organization and standardization, and the Roman Catholic system took the reins of that for a long while. Martin Luther made some darn good points against that system, but so did those who came out of Lutheranism. And so on down the line, mostly.

In This Day, I think the boxes are changing. Changing or dying, maybe. It's kinda sad, but there is so much to rejoice over. Churches all over America are facing falling attendance, failing support and such. What is going on? It's not just one denomination (though some have been dealing with this stuff for a long while), or one race, or demographic. It's like we're all tired of "Sunday Club" and it's just not working anymore. We're doing the same thing we did a year ago, but now there are 12 showing up on Sunday instead of 100. Why? Well, here's my opinion, and I'm no prophet or pastor or teacher... Maybe God's opening up the boxes. Maybe He wants those walls down. Maybe He's tired of it too. Maybe it's time we stop doing the conventional "church thing" just because we're Christians and start shaking the world like they did in Acts. Starting with the neighborhood, perhaps?

What does that look like? I feel like I can look backwards and see what's not working, but I can't even fathom what it might look like instead. I don't know what will work. But I'm sure each of us must completely seek God in the details and start walking those details out. Don't stop going to church, please. I'm not advocating that at all. But stop acting like it's the be-all and end-all of our Christianity. It's not the Roast Beef on the Table prepared before us. Maybe it's the side salad. Or the soup. Ah, perhaps it's the appetizer! It's a start, but it's far from the Main Point.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Well, this just blows my theory out of the water, I guess. It does sound a little more scientific than my idea. Have you noticed how some families seem to have a lot of daughters (or only daughters) and others sons? Of the many genres of music out there, Hubby and I generally prefer the sound of Country Music over some of the other stuff. And I began to notice how many country music stars had daughters. Sometimes several. Sometimes no sons at all. I haven't researched it all out thoroughly, but I can think of several stars, none of whom has more than one son. And some as many as five daughters. Hubby and I have 2 daughters (so far), so I wondered if listening to such music messed with available chromosomes or something. Good friends of ours completely detest country music, choosing instead that weird "hard" stuff, and they have 2 sons.

Now, I've also read about all the fish that are turning from male to female (and they're not exposed to modern American media, OR country music, so that can't be it), and now I read that boys' births have dropped significantly in first-world countries lately. Even places like Japan, where I don't think they have a lot of country music.

But now someone has come up with another possibility:

I got this link in my daily Mercola eHealth newsletter. (If you don't subscribe to it, consider doing so. It's a short email, with 5 or 6 links to articles on his site. Just click on the ones that seem relevant to you.)

The article linked to above is really scary! Gender-bending chemicals in our laundry detergent and cleaning supplies??? Chemical pollution causing the fish-issues? I don't know about you, but things like this, and genetically engineering/modifying animals/plants/whatever just freaks me out more so than other things.

I use fairly natural cleaning products, but I'm going to double check for those particular ingredients, for sure.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

And the Mixer Nears...

The Mary Kay sale is gearing up. Emails have gone out, letters have been mailed, and some orders have come in. Some haven't gotten their letters yet due to geography, and more's the pity for them because I'm already out of Sable Eyeliner, Microdermabrasion, some eye colors, and lip glosses, and I'm not sure what else. Maybe normal/dry Age-Fighting Moisturizer. I'm within hollering distance of my Mixer budget, and hope to order it this week! *near squeal of excitement here*

In other news, my Camry is the best car ever. Well, it's the best car for me, ever. I turned it in today to have her (her name is Mary Jane) makeover done (ok, some scratches and dings dealt with), and in exchange I got a silver Chevy Malibu. Now, I've really only ever heard decent things about the Malibu, but there is just no comparison. For one, the Malibu is an automatic, which is terrible for 90% of vehicles out there, in my opinion. I know someday if/when we get a van we won't have much choice about it, but there it is. Secondly, the Camry is FAR more comfortable to sit in and drive. Of course, I'm pregnant and "used" to my car, but I really think my back wouldn't like the Malibu anyway. The Camry accellerates much faster, drives more smoothly, more quietly, and has a more 'substantial' feel to it. I'm not sure the age of the Malibu, but it has 41,000 miles on it. Mary Jane is at 110,000 right now, and is 5 years old or so. We've had her 18 months. I assume paint shops don't buy brand new cars as loaners, and who knows how it's been treated, so that may have a lot to do with that odd noise that comes from the rear of the vehicle. Overall, it's a wonderful reminder of a tremendous blessing.

Speaking of blessings, I decided on a shingle color. And it went pretty much the way my choosing paint colors goes. I hem and haw and agonize about just the right choice, and end up throwing up my hands and just picking whatever. It's kinda gray. Or, excuse me, Weatheredwood. You can see it on a house here. That is not MY house, mind you. We'd have that thing ringed in motorcycle carcasses and chickens would be living under the porch. In any case, the shingles have been chosen, and I'm sure they'll clash terribly with the existing peeling-paint color, so that'll keep the taxes appropriate for another year, until we get a chance to paint. Wow, so many blessings wrapped up into one...

By way of pregnancy, I'm less than 6 weeks from The Estimated Date. Which means I have to take some really nasty stuff. Specifically these Blue Cohosh drops. Wow are they gross. Now don't freak out if you just googled it. Apparently nature-loving humanity-hating hippies like to OD on that for abortive purposes, but that's not the plan here. It stimulates and possibly strengthens the uterine muscles or something. It definitely stimulates the gag reflex. I gave a drop to Hubby, and wondered if it would find anywhere to land, him lacking in the whole uterine-muscle department and all. It didn't seem to have any affect. I'm taking some other drops too, "Birthing Preparation" or somesuch. Very responsible of me to know so much about it, huh? Ten drops of each of these, 3 times a day. Nasty ones on the back of the tongue, others under it. The Birthing Prep one is somewhat spicy, and they're both in alcohol, so THAT's good for me, right? :] I think I'm supposed to be taking daily baths (ha, right!) in ginger, but the fly tapes, fuses, and loaner car with an eighth a tank of gas has really messed up my cashflow for a couple days.

Who gives a pregnant lady with 2 kids and a pile of errands a car with 1/8 tank of gas?!? I almost went in and asked for a siphon tube, so as to borrow from my own 3/4 tank. Autobody Nazis.

Monday, August 06, 2007


I can't say I enjoy circumstances like this, but they up my gratitude (when they're over).

Hubby had promised to 'unload' the car before I take it in for the hood paint job. By unload, I mean remove from it all things which don't pertain to transportation. And those things probably weighed 150 lbs, I bet. It's not a huge car. I don't know how it all fits in there, but wow, does it. LOTS of kids shoes and slippers and socks. Laundry of various kinds; pajamas, coats, blankets, more socks, other surprising articles. I swear my kids don't leave the car naked, but you'd think so after seeing what's in there. Toys, of course, of all kinds. And the sippy cups which we assumed lost forever have been breeding under the seats. Little Monkey's penchant for tearing paper into bits is evident, and apparently she's been able to obtain several items of junk mail and advertisements since last we shoveled out the car. In any case, tomorrow morning I must take said car, and Hubby had decided to wait until this evening to begin. He got home exhausted at 7, and by 8 we were out working on it (yes, we. I can't just lay about feeling guilty). I did the trunk. So far. Eventually I brought the grubby girls in for a bath. And here the story really begins.

I got about an inch-and-a-half into the tub before the water stopped. It just plain turned off. Though it may have been a little weak to start with (it's hard to tell; with a well the pump and pressure tank seem to vary at times). Hubby was sent for, and discovered that all the household water spigots were inoperable. So he went to the front yard, in the fading light, and removed the well cap. I'll save my concerns about seeing spider nests and other creepy things hovering over what I drink for another post. He used his fancy little electro-meter-thingy (I think that's the technical term) and found no power in the wires somewhere. He replaced some of those twist-on wire-cap thingies because the old ones were corroded, but while the meter showed life in one aspect, it still wasn't working right. So he crawled into the freaky basement spider cave, and tinkered around a bit. He said things like "hm, the pressure switch has closed contacts and we have 45 lbs of pressure" and "well, here's a blown fuse" and other things which made even less sense to me. It is good that this happens. I started college at 16, and he squeaked by his GED at 20, but there is no comparison when it comes to things like electricity, pumps, mechanics in general, and things like that. In my world you just don't mess with electricty and water in the same boxing ring. He's utterly amazing, even aside from attacking innocent rattlesnakes for recreation.

So he ran to the grocery store, crossing his fingers that they had one of those little round 20 amp fuses (it was after 9 and the hardware store was closed). They didn't, but he got an idea. He came back with a package of those little things that screw into a lightbulb socket and let you plug in something. He then got a little two-prong plug, and to the wires he attached some little contact-things (more technical jargon - sorry). He plugged the prongs into the socket-adaptor and affixed the contacts to each side of a thing that holds a long cylindrical fuse. He only had a 10 amp one, but thought he'd give it a try. I need to get a picture of the contraption to post on here. And a picture of what it should've been. He installed it in the spider cave, and went to the garage to flip the circuit back on... And the kitchen faucet started running water! I ran out to exclaim "it works, it works!" and he soberly nodded. Later he came in to say, "that thing's amping right at 10, so I'm not sure how long this is gonna hold." I have been instructed to buy the proper fuses at the hardware store tomorrow.

Big Sister crawled out of bed to say, somewhat tragically, "I hope Daddy can get the water fixed, because by tomorrow I think I might be really thirsty." I assured her that if he couldn't, we would call someone who could.

Not only am I grateful for the wonderful talents and skills God has given my husband, but I am wondering if I need to take these things into account when buying life insurance. They usually ask you how much you'd need to live on, but if I didn't have my Hubby, I'd have had to call an expensive surrogate. This almost makes up for how expensive he is to feed, too... Though now I may need to call an expensive back-hoe operator to finish emptying the car.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Mary Kay Sale Event

Well, I've finally got the ball rolling. I went through all of my Mary Kay retail inventory and I actually know everything I have. And I have everything. Or very nearly. I am short a few colors, but loooong on the skin care. And what a deal it is! Everything on my shelf is going for 40% off, period. That will include tax, shipping/delivery, credit card processing, etc. Mostly I am making no money, but gaining valuable closet space that may shortly house cloth diapers. Then again, the closet is upstairs and the laundry is downstairs, so I might have to find a more reasonable place to keep them. Hmm...

In any case, I hope to make a dent in all this. And maybe make a bump in my mixer fund. I have sent out an email to my customers with email, and need to make some copies (yay for my new cost-effective printer!) for my snail-mail customers. I may not recoup the cost of stamps, but oh-well... Hopefully people will be blessed.

The hardest stuff to move will probably be the discontinued and/or seasonal items. Mostly because people may not be familiar with the items. That, or they're blowing their whole budget to stock up on the rest of it. :) And only a few trusted individuals are being offered the "Little Monkey-ed" products. These are exceptionally discounted, due to their encounters with Little Monkey. Of course, people not familiar with her might be bothered by/suspicious of products that lack their formerly pristine appearance, hence they are 'reserved'. Though any reader of THIS blog is familiar with the anomaly that is Little Monkey, and would understand it's results.

I also have tons of "gifts" that I may or may not add to some orders. Ordinarily I would keep such items for impromptu birthday gift-additions and such, but anyone whose birthday I am invited to is invariably closer-related to another consultant than to me. There are a lot of us in this family. And I haven't wanted to be seen as stepping on territory. Though I did notice at a recent birthday party that the birthday girl received Mary Kay products from at least 3 different people. Maybe I need to figure out the rules here... In any case, I may keep all these cute travel-size versions and specialty items, or I may add them to "qualifying" orders. :) They certainly take up less space than the full-size product.

I also have to be careful. I am offering this to my customers, but they're free to share the information with others. However, I don't want to undercut another consultant by selling to their clients either. I think 'that friend who has tried it, loved it, but never afforded it' would be ideal. This offer is good for products, not total makeovers for newbies. :) And, since I'm a consultant, and this product was purchased from The Company, the Mary Kay Guarantee applies, unlike garage sale/ebay-type sales.

Well, time to write that letter!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Circus Update

I took some pictures last night of some of the new family members (and pondered the wisdom of sending out a mass-email to friends and folks with "meet our newest family member!" in the subject line). They didn't cooperate much; The puppy was exceedingly tired and kept sleeping and yawning and looking like I felt.
I wish I could capture on a photo the whole feel of the front yard. A puppy at my feet, 2 kittens romping in the grass, hummingbirds going crazy through the air, the duck by the water-hydrant, the turkeys in their pen at the edge of the lawn, rogue chickens pecking about, and the bunny in it's cage in the background.
Following is one of the kittens. This is "Gilbert," so named by Little Monkey. He is a little boy, and looks much better in this picture than he does in real life, in my opinion... His sister is "Chrissy," so named by Big Sister, and she is a bit larger, and has very faint stripes within and on the edges of the siamese-coloring. She's a little prettier. A little.
Next is a picture of the Most Loved of the New Pets (choke, cough, I can't believe we have 'pets'!). It's not a good one, but I'll try to get a better shot later. I wanted a picture that showed her blue eyes. Are dogs like people? Are their eyes always blue for a while after birth? Or will they get brown like Hubby's and the girls'? The rest of her certainly is brown. And she really is the cutest thing. Now that I've removed her tick (side not: I have never even seen a tick in real life, though they are prolific in this area. I certainly never thought I'd have to remove one, but Hubby thought my hands would be more stable, so I did it. One Mixer, please). Hubby tossed around the idea of naming her Hershey, but that seemed a little obvious. He wasn't impressed with Cocoa or Mocha, and had me get online to look up words in different languages. He settled on "Buni" (BOO-nee), which is a Swahili word for coffee cherry. I know, I know, coffee cherries are green and red, not brown, but the other words just didn't work.

You can click on the picture above for a better look at Buni.

Oddly enough, I'm at a loss as to how to go about my day today. We've been in invited to a birthday party in Town (for a son of the very friend who foisted this critter upon us), and really don't know what to do with this roly-poly furball in the meantime. Hopefully she'll stay in the shade in the backyard till we return...?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Total Circus

This place is getting out of hand. I mean really. How many species of animal should one family have?

The roll call looks like this:

One Man

One Woman

Two Girls

One Unknown

Twenty-something chickens (they're never all where they belong, and it's hard to count them)

Five Turkeys

One Duck

One Rabbit

And as of 2 days ago, Two Kittens. Two little whitish critters that run away and hide. They're somewhat-siamese in coloring, so they're not all white. Thank Goodness.

And as of a few hours ago (as I type this, Thursday evening), One Chocolate Lab Puppy. I feel kinda like that poor lady who was driving on that bridge in Minneapolis, then felt it fall, then was swimming to shore. She had to wonder, "how did I get here? One minute I'm in traffic, the next I'm swimming for my life..." I feel a bit like that, albeit with less horror.

Oh, and the puppy came with (or acquired during it's first few minutes) a tick. But I don't count that as part of the roll call.

How did this happen? What would posess any family in it's right mind to acquire animals such as this? I certainly don't know. I adhere to the "If we can't eat it, we don't feed it" rule, but apparently I'm the only one.

On the upside, Hubby is thrilled. He's long wanted a dog, and I have always pointed out one or more of the following:

1 - We can't afford to feed a dog

2 - I'm busy enough trying to train kids, I can't be trusted to train a dog

3 - It'll eat the chickens

4 - It'll eat the turkeys

5 - It'll eat the duck

6 - It'll eat the bunny

7 - It'll pee on the neighbor's landscaping

8 - It'll do worse to the neighbor's landscaping

9 - It'll get fleas (I didn't think about ticks)

10 - It'll poop in the yard

11 - It'll need vet things, or baths

Well, a friend acquired it on behalf of another friend. The other friend failed to mention to his wife that he had requested this dog. Also, at 7 weeks, this pup could likely eat their existing (full grown) dogs. So the friend's wife laid down the law, and the first friend was in a real bind. The breeder wouldn't take the dog back, and the friend couldn't keep it. So he called.

"You like animals, right?"

"Uh, I like to eat animals..."

"Well, I have this really beautiful..."

Of course, being the submissive wife that I am, I went downstairs to find Hubby and let him know of this "offer." His eyes lit up, and I made him swear that he would take all responsibility for caretaking and training this dog. There is no way I'm adding to my already overwhelmed housekeeping with vacuuming dog hair from the floors and furniture, or, God forbid, Puppy Messes. I'll take care of Kid Messes, you know, eternal glory and all that, but there's not much motivation, eternally or otherwise for dealing with Puppy Ones. And really, until I can make some headway with the Training of Our Children, I can't take on the chore of Training the Dog too.

I am SO getting to pick out the roof shingle color, AND getting my mixer...

Curriculum overview

I've been perusing and ingesting the Robinson Curriculum CDs I got. They're quite the deal, really. He has a proven method (i.e. has 'fruit'), but it's a little bit out there (and I'm already so out there..). It will take some prayer and thought as to how "out" I get in this.

My version of the overview: Teach your little ones to read and memorize all math facts (addition, subtraction, division, etc) for all numbers thru 12. Do this by the time they're 7 or so. At that point, hand them Saxon's Math 54. The students will work approximately 2 hours on math, write 1 page (copywork for kids up to 10 or so), then read certain books from an ordered list. This should all take 5-6 hours per day. Do it 6 days per week, all year long. NO tv in the home, NO sugar/honey/etc in kids' diets. Oh, and don't help. At all. As a teacher, you DO mark their written pages for errors (make them correct them). Everything else is done exclusively by the kids. The math lessons, the checking and reworking of missed problems, etc. There are vocabulary lists to go with certain books, and some tests for some books too.

Now, we could so easily argue against this regimen, but his arguments are equally if not more persuasive. Of his six children, the "slowest" in math completed Calculus at age 16. Then and only then do they start science, which, by the way, are MIT-grade college textbooks in chemistry and physics. History is taught via the carefully-selected books, as are other 'side' subjects. Of course, their lives should be rounded out with Bible and music and work and recreation, but those, he says, aren't required to be part of the formal curriculum, and aside from Bible, most would likely take away from what is necessary. His kids have gotten Bachelor's degrees in heavy subjects at Caltech after only 2 years of study. That's a pretty conclusive track record, considering his kids are not genius.

So while I sit here comparing my own diluted public-school education with what could've been... [Pardon the rabbit trail: There are books in this list about wars I never heard about, people who shaped the world that weren't mentioned in school, books written by people who shaped the world, and I never knew they even existed. I still kind of don't. And as for calculus? The environment of my detested public school had me convinced I didn't like math, and I stopped my high-school classes after geometry, algebra II, and trig. Doggone their socialist educational agendas!]

In a section explaining why grammar isn't taught in itself (of course, reading such high quality books and writing daily takes care of that), I ran across some amusing phrases. Things like:

" purge from the home all sources of low-quality speech, especially television."

I concur. But what if it's another family member? Shall we purge them from the home?

"...does not associate with poorly educated children (including most in the public schools)..."

Perhaps we can administer an SAT at the door before friends are admitted?

I guess that last one isn't as funny as it is true. Learning to think is anathema in America's public schools today, and it wouldn't make sense to have peers from among such a class. That is, it wouldn't make sense if your ultimate purpose for your children was academic excellence. That is not our sole purpose for ours, though socializing with children immersed in public school and similar influences goes against our purposes too. But not based on mental development.

I am thrilled to have been able to print out a McGuffey's primer for my girl to read in. We keep Little Monkey involved with learning letters from the first page which sports the alphabet in large letters. I've printed out 34 pages of phonics flashcards, which gall me to death, so boring is such a routine, but I think they will be useful. I could even print out my own version of THE 1611 King James Bible, calligraphy and all, but I don't have reams of blank paper sitting about. I might print out select pages from the 1913 Encyclopedia Britannica when the reading skills are appropriate; that's good learning material there. :) How many youngsters get that chance?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Faithfulness Hatched

You know the proverb? I try very hard not to count my chickens before they hatch. That helps me to keep my expectations low, along with my disappointment if things don't work out accordingly.

Remember the roof issue? The bid for it was $6300. My deductible is $500.

It hatched.

Now, what I'd like to know is, how do they know I'm not going to run to the nearest casino with this while I let my roof rot? Or get new carpet for the house? I suppose it wouldn't make much sense to buy new carpet if the roof was rotting. But there are some people out there that would...

God is so faithful.

And surprisingly quick, this time. Hubby and I haven't even finished arguing over shingle colors yet.