Saturday, May 31, 2008


West End

This storm came through while I was at the library today. Ben snapped the pictures. ( from our yard)
After 3 1/2 hours, I give up on posting the rest of the pictures! We got a few sprinkles. The library had a toad strangler.

Friday, May 30, 2008

I Like Popsicles


Yesterday, I read a disturbing newsbit on An older couple had invitrio fertilization, which resulted in twin girls. The babies were no sooner delivered via C-section, when the parents announced the girls were unacceptable. They abandoned the babies at the hospital... but not before asking the doctors when they could try IF again.,2933,359663,00.html

What if they get another girl?
I suppose it IS a boon to those who might want to adopt an infant.... but the thought of someone rejecting a precious baby solely because of gender- I just can't understand. And I understand twins are harder to place... though I don't understand THAT. Mine have been such a blessing to me.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Keeping an eye on the yard

Matt and Jafar

Does the Adult Learning Center Own Gas stock?

Ben and Tommy went Tuesday to finish up their PreTests. Then they had to go back on Wednesday to (wanna guess?)

Nope, not take more tests.

They had to drive over there (about 30 miles) to SIGN UP to take the GED. (Wouldn't you think that the instructors there could have told them BEFORE the deadline Tuesday that they needed to "sign up"- so as not to have to make a special trip over on Wednesday?)

Today, they actually get to begin the GED test series. They have to go back again next week to complete the tests on the 4th and 5th of June.

Hey, did you see that? Next week is JUNE!

I still haven't decided what our graduation celebration will be. Everyone is so BUSY in June. Both sides of the family have reunions (the 7th, and the 13-16th). There is Father's day. And there is Daniel and Sam's birthday. (the 15th, and the 17th). And since June is upon us- I had better be making plans and getting gifts ordered.

It is high time- past high time- for me and the twins to do our lessons... so maybe I can blog more later.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Hiking!

Tommy and Sam

Dan, Tommy, Sam, and Ben on our recent hike.

Daniel and Ben

Happy.... and annoyed

Tommy's Licensed To Drive!

In case you missed it on my updated "Mom's Wish list".... we got a new computer yesterday!

It is an Acer Aspire (read: WalMart special). It took us quite awhile to get it all fixed up... And then I discover my Lexmark X83 is incompatible with Windows Vista platform. GRRR! So I do have to get a new printer after all. (The X83 was discontinued in 2002, so no drivers available)

We cooked some deee-lish BBQ pork ribs Saturday. And made homemade potato salad. MMMmmm MMMM!

We also got a new flag: Honor to our Veterans this Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

List- updated 5/25/08

At least one of my kids has asked me what would I like for Mother's day.

Some days I have answers, some days I don't.

Ok- I like to read: a gift certificate to a book store, or Amazon.

I love silk fabric- anything silk would be great.

Flowers.... or potted plants. (like I don't have enough!)

Wine- yeah your mom the alchie. (But I still think Merlot and Sangria are NASTY!) (Chardonnay, Chablis, Rhine, Mountina rhine, Mountain Chablis, I like all these)

A visit from you.

Here is one Chris can bribe Seneca for: A good picture of me.

Pictures of my grandkids (What Mom doesn't love that?)

Magnets from Anne Taintor

Anything that makes me laugh

A Ferdinand the bull cookie jar by Twin Winton (Sometimes on ebay) Seneca and Chris got me the Ferdinand! Oh boy! Thank you so much!

I also like this Twin Winton cow:

Front loader washing machine (someday when you get rich)

Move in next door to me

A digital camera Got myself one for Mother's Day

A better computer Got a new computer today! Hooray! Happy dance!

Guess you could use this list for other occasions.... maybe I will keep it updated.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Boxes in the mail!

or by Fed-Ex!
This morning, I got a package! It was the Ferdinand the Bull cookie Jar!

He is SO cute. Thank You to Seneca and Chris!

I got Mr. C's permission for 'some kind of celebration' to commemorate Benjamin and Tommy's graduation. I still don't have an actual event thought up. Nor a specific date.
Open for suggestion!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Orientation & Validation

I waited on puns and noodles yesterday for Ben and Tommy to get home from Orientation. They made it in at 5:40pm- just about ten minutes before Tom got home from work.

Ben said that when they went before and took the two tests- those tests were the pre-pre-pre test and the pre-pre test. Yesterday was the orientation to tell them what to expect on the actual test, and then he and Tommy were allowed to begin the actual PRE-TEST for the GED. First they were given their scores on the last series of tests: The highest score attainable was 12.9- which was equivalent to 12th grade, 9th month (graduating senior). (This leads me to believe the test was the TABE). Tommy score 12.9 on every section of the test. Ben scored 12.9 on every section except one- he got a 12.5 in language.

The teacher said they were among the highest scores she had ever seen on that test. (Exactly what the instructor said when Ben and Tommy took the TABE four years ago to qualify to get learner's permits in Oklahoma.... Tommy topped out almost every subject then as well. The instructor back then CALLED me to tell me that. The boys just had to prove that they could read at an 8th grade level, but were given the whole TABE battery.)

So! After Orientation, the boys were allowed to begin on the five official pre-tests for the GED. Each test had a (generous, according to Ben) time limit. He made it through three of the pre-tests before his "brain shut down". Tommy went through four of the tests. The have to return on Tuesday, at which time they meet with a teacher (purpose unclear!) and finish the pre-tests. Then they can begin the GED at any time: Immediately after finishing the pre-tests, or on another day. The five GED tests can be taken the same day, or spread over a couple of days.

Ben and I both agreed that they should not start directly after finishing the pre-tests. They will go back on Wednesday and Thursday of next week to take the GED over a two day period. That way their brains will be fresh! To get their diplomas, they have to score an average of 450 points over all five tests: but no single test score lower than 410 points. (The highest attainable test score is 800).

I am pleased at how well they have done already. Just as I was with how well Becky did when she got her GED in Texas. They are 'proving up' on their homeschooling. I still need to talk to Mr C about some sort of celebration!

Tommy and Tom are at this very moment at the place for Tommy to take his road test to get his driver's license. Five down and two to go! (Kids licensed to drive). I am excited for Tommy. He should do very well. And the spider bite on his face is cleared up enough that he won't be mortified to have his driver's license picture taken.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Off Like A Herd of Turtles

Or possibly something faster.
Ben and Tommy are on their way to the GED orientation. I am nervous- and I have nothing to be nervous about!

The twinks and I have been working on lessons today- we finish the next to the last unit of Science tomorrow. We have about a week left in Social Studies. Zoom zoom zoom- the school year is flying by. I have been 'unemployed' for almost six months now. (Seeing as how Mr C doesn't count Matthew as employment).

I have been 'actively' dieting for a week. Including my mile and a half hike yesterday, calorie counting, and abstaining from Adult Beverage- my total accumulated weight loss: Zero. Rather disappointing.

I stepped on the scale this morning and Mr C saw me. He had to run and see what I weighed- then start making alarm sounds. (ZWOOOT ZWOOOT ZWOOT WARNING: OVERLOAD ZWOOT ZWOOT!) He says I ought to go on a diet. I didn't mention I have been on one for a week- what is the point in telling him? He has snide remarks about every bite I eat that he doesn't think I should have. He asks: doesn't being fat bother me?
I told him, "No, not when the person assessing my fat is you!"
I know he is a VERY POOR judge of weight. People he swears weigh 300 lbs are about 240. Someone who actually weighs 300- he says they are "at least 500lbs". Maybe he is like a TV camera- people on camera always appear heavier than they really are.
I also didn't remind him that he was still calling me fat when I starved myself down to 89 lbs.

I have decided to diet for myself. I don't care to hear what he thinks about my weight. Him urging me to diet makes me want to dig in my heels and eat Cheetos. Good thing I don't have any!
My BIL and I were having a competition to see who could lose more weight before next time we see each other. I haven't lost any at all- so if he has, he is safe: for now! Not that we have any plans to go to Ohio in the near future. Maybe I can take off a few pounds before we do go.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bombs Away!!!!

Matthew gave me the day off. (Actually it was his Mommy- who needed a day off herself!) So the boys and I prepared and set up the bug bombs to rid us of spiders. We loaded fishing poles, a cooler, camp chairs, and snacks into the van. Leashed the dogs, and were ready to set off the bombs and leave for four hours. I told Tommy to start the van before we set off the bombs.

Good thing I did. The van refused to start. Not sure if it is the battery or the starter. The boys fiddled with it for awhile, tried charging it up, tightening battery cables. It still didn't work. After an hour of trying, we chained the dogs outside, transferred ourselves to the car, set off the bombs and left. We couldn't take the poles because they don't fit into the car trunk.

What we did do was drive east of here, east of Rogers, and checked out some places near Beaver Lake. We found a hiking trail and traipsed that, then drove around looking for places to access the lake. Didn't find many.

Arkansas has an annoying habit of painting the yellow double striped lines down the middle of a road, then the road suddenly drops off into a gravel cow trail going nowhere. We found SEVERAL of those. And what is UP with the asphalt spreading? Random segments of road looked as if a dump truck of asphalt had spilled, been spread over half the road for no particular reason, and not particularly well... and then repeated down the road, time after time. Very poorly done.

We came home just as our four hours were up, cleaned up the mess and have been venting the house for the last couple of hours.

One thing we discovered, that will upset Chris: Silk Road Chinese is GONE! We had decided to go there for lunch before starting our drive. Some chicken joint is in Silk Roads place. (For those of you who don't know- Silk Road Chinese on Walton Blvd in Bentonville had THE BEST Beef and Broccoli I have ever had.)

Tomorrow is Ben and Tommy's "orientation" for the GED Test... be praying for them!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Gravy is one of the 'code' words we use in our family.

It started when Becky was beginning to drive. I am the driving instructor of choice- less likely to dissolve into spittle and hyperventilation. (Not that I don't- just I am less prone to it). I still have a strong tendency to tell whichever kid is driving: 'slow down for this corner- no more than xx miles an hour'. 'Come to a complete stop behind the stop sign'. 'BOTH HAND ON THE WHEEL!' 'Don't adjust the radio while the car is moving'.

or "Gravy".

We watch a lot of older cartoons. Remember the one where the bulldog takes the cat from house to house, collecting rewards for returning the kitty to his owners? The dog is always rewarded with steak, and he tells the cat "And don't forget the GRAVY!" We had just watched that cartoon one day before Becky went out for her driving.
For the five hundred and some odd time, I was reminding Becky to use her turn signal. "And don't forget the... (she turned on her signal before I could finish)..." She finished my sentence "Gravy". So the next time I had to remind her to turn on her signal- I said "GRAVY!". She was puzzled for half a second and then flipped on her turn signal.

A new definition was born at our house.

Yesterday Tommy was driving us to the library. I was ready for him to turn, and I said "Gravy". Tommy signalled. Daniel was with us, and says, "I think I FINALLY understand why you say 'gravy'! It's because gravy is usually a side dish, and you say it when you want the driver to go to one side or the other".

I told him our "gravy" is just a reminder to use a turn signal, and how it came about. But I think his reasoning showed a lot of thought and logic put to something that really had no logic behind it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tall- and other stuff

In Daniel and Sam's math today, they are learning to use charts. The particular chart the book started with is the height and weight chart. So we carefully measured... Daniel is 59 1/4" tall, Sam is 58 3/8 inches. Sam is 96 lbs., Dan 92.

The boys are within 3" of me! No doubt by MY next birthday, they will be taller than I am.

Matthew has been on a tear today. He whined and cried from the moment he arrived- the first time he has done that since the first day he stayed here after his last summer at Grandma's house.
He finally fell back to sleep, but was awake earlier than usual- on the go from 7:30 am. I have had to tell him "NO!" dozens of times today- various infractions of rules we have had since he began staying here. I gave him a swat after his third incursion into the laundry room- forbidden turf.
He got a second swat after locking himself in Ben and Tommy's room. (He is not forbidden to go in there, but cannot be in there unsupervised- and they were out here watching a science lesson. The swat was for locking himself in when I called him.)
He has pestered the dogs frantic- pinching, choking, kicking. He keeps trying to talk over the school lessons, and squeezing behind the boys on the couch and trying to push them off. I finally turned on the TV for him to watch, so that we can get our lessons accomplished.
I usually save TV for the last hour he is here- or during lunch if I am trying to cook and he is underfoot. I think he knows his daddy is leaving for out of town today- and he only has seen him one day in the last week.

We need to go to the library this afternoon. Tommy has read his way through most- if not all- of the Ann Coulter books in the library. Daniel and Sam have both read three of the four new Hank The Cowdog books we bought, plus the three they checked out from the library last time we were there. I have been out of books since Friday.

Two more units + three pages left in our Social Studies book. Seven more lessons in Science. We have passed the halfway point in the two year Math curriculum. Whoo Hoo! Sixth grade is drawing to a close!
I think I will talk to Mr C about a celebration- a small party for Ben and Tommy's 'graduation', and Dan and Sam's promotion out of elementary school.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The reading Light is ON

I always love the moment that the "reading light" comes on for my kids. The moment in time when they realize that reading a book can take them other places, and the characters come alive in their minds.

Daniel has taken a bit longer than the rest of the kids- but the light is now on. This weekend, Daniel has had a book in his hand every minute. Several times he has said: "I just CAN'T quit reading!". He comes and shares bits of the books with us. Yes, BOOKS. He is on his THIRD book this weekend.

I would like to thank John R. Erickson for his "Hank the Cowdog" books. We first started reading Hank books when Tommy was a beginning reader. Becky's MIL Nola turned us on to Hank on tape- before Becky and Stephen even hooked up! The twins joined the "Security Patrol" from the Hank the Cowdog website: and have been playing games and reading stories online.

I guess I will need to be ordering some more Hank books- the ones we purchased last week are now read!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I can Sing

Or I can write. My voice has gone on one of its semi-annual holidays.

Once or twice a year, usually after a bad allergy attack, my voice abandons me. Folks think it is soooo funny. I have heard all the jokes on how happy my kids and husband must be! Really though, I am not a person who yells routinely. I took to heart the adage: "Disciplining children by yelling is like trying to steer a car with the horn".

I have learned from trying to go to work voiceless: I can make myself heard by singing. I guess it uses a different part of the vocals. However, even when my voice is at its best- I am a lousy singer. I can't carry a tune at all. Even my babies were critics. Some mommies can rock their babies and sing to them. My kids would lay a hand over my mouth and say, "No sing Mommy, please. No sing!"

I either have to go hunt down whoever I am looking for, stomp feet or clap hands when I want them to pay attention to what I am trying to croak out- or SING!

Once Benjamin was getting too far ahead of me as we left the grocery store- I was trying hard to get his attention- I don't remember now what I needed him for, but I wasn't able to project enough sound over the store noise: I hauled off and threw my billfold at him. If there is one thing I am worse at than singing, it is throwing things at people. Miraculously, I nailed him. He stopped and came back.

The twins start shrieking when I sing- covering their ears and carrying on as if my voice is killing them... and that's on a good voice day. Today, my cell phone has rang three or four times.... and the guys all just look at me like: "Aren't you going to answer that?" I have to TELL them every time to answer it and explain that I have no voice. So if you call me and I answer singing, you'll know why.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mr C and Benny have headed off to WalMart for a new battery and stuff to fix the flat tires on the mower. The grass in knee high after a week- actually just over a week's worth of growth. We have had so much rain, we haven't been able to get out and mow. Tommy and Ben tried to mow yesterday- but the mower tires went flat so quickly that the lawn was cut in lopsided swipes. They had to give it up.

Daniel's spider bite- without oral antibiotics in his system- is still producing pus and gunk. Tommy's is almost healed up. I think he has a couple of days head start on healing, in addition to the antibiotics. Dan's is looking better.

I have found three hundred dollars worth of 'supplemental' stuff from the Critical Thinking catalog. I have another hundred and fifty or so in curriculum 'needs' from other catalogs. That is just for the twins. We will be checking out college course and/or Technical School classes for Ben and Tommy. One more week until Tommy's driver's license test- and the GED test is the day before that.

I still haven't figured out where we can go for half a day- but Mr C is supposed to pick up some bug foggers while he is out. I hope they kill the stupid ants. My kitchen cleaning person last night failed to wipe off the counter tops (and I failed to inspect!) and a jelly jar lid was left on it. Zillions of ants were trailing through this morning.

I don't get many opportunities to post over the weekends, So I may not be back on here until Monday! So, until next time, be blessed .

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I love getting packages in the mail!

Today the postman brought TWO packages. One was Ben's new computer screen for his laptop. (The laptop was given to him because it had a broken screen). He ordered the new screen off of eBay.

The second package was from Maverick Books!

With Daniel and Sam's birthday approaching, We went ahead and set them up as members of "Hank's Security Force". I also ordered several of the Hank the Cowdog books, which we have been eager to get started reading! The Security Force membership included a brand new poster- their old poster was getting quite decrepit.

Today I also got a catalog from one of my favorite companies, "The Critical Thinking Co." It is so hard to choose just a FEW items to supplement our curriculum.

We are on our next-to-the-last unit in Science. There are just three units to go in Social Studies. As we intend to continue right on through the summer- I will be looking at all the catalogs coming in, so I can decide what we need. Want. Need. Want. NEED! (Yeah, I WANT a whole lot more than I NEED!)
I am not quite halfway through "Building Thinking Skills" (Critical thinking Company). I will definitly NEED the next book in this series. But it can wait awhile.

Six Years, Four weeks, and three days

That is how long I have left until ALL of my kids are 'grown'. It makes me sad to think of it.

Tommy's spider bite is looking MUCH better. Daniel's is just beginning to drain out- gross! I have him soaking his bite in Epsom salts. When he is done, we will use the water on my two little rose bushes. (Makes them bloom more!)

Last night, Mr C asked me if I was "still doing school with the boys". I said, "yes- why do you ask?" He said I "sure seemed defensive about it".
Maybe because the question implied I wasn't schooling them?
We just sit around playing on the high speed internet and eating bon-bons.
I don't know what I am using all the printer paper and ink on.... hmmm- could it be the thirty or so copies I make each day for our lessons?
He has ALREADY said I have to go back to work- I guess it just seems that asking if I am doing what I stayed home to do sounds like he is doubting me.
He never DID say why he asked me the question. Perhaps it is was just phrased poorly.
To me, a better question might have been: "How is school going?"
After 23 years, I should KNOW his tone of voice doesn't necessarily mean he is as snarky as he sounds.
Oh, this day is off to a grand start. First of all, Matt didn't like breakfast, pushed it away after three bites. So I added some things I know he likes, and he finally ate. He got up from the table, and ran down the hall.
Sam comes out gagging and yelling at Ben that there is cat poop all over the floor. (Ben had taken the cat box rugs to be washed.)
Matt runs by- and I grabbed him before he stepped in the 'cat poop'. I discovered it wasn't cat poop.
Matt had catastrophic diaper failure. His diaper was in his pajama leg- and the diaper contents were coming out in clumps. *gag*
So I got to clean up Matthew, and the floors. I gave him a swish through the bathtub. I opened his diaper bag- and found his extra juice had leaked all over his clean clothes.

Did I start out this post with some whining about all my kids growing up? Can I say I am thankful I don't have a house full of toddlers needing to be potty trained? Kids that can tell me what they want to eat- better still, make what they want without help? They don't change their minds day to day on what they will or won't eat. My kids are past the age of refusing to take a nap, then being impossible from not having one. I am past the days of having crayoned walls and watching Toy Story four times a day. In some ways, that is sad- somewhere in the memory. Then there is the REALITY of a toddler to remind me why God has our kids grow up.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


We sprayed both of the boys' rooms yesterday. Sam wasn't paying close attention when I specified that the sprayer had to be handled in a certain way- the flexible spray nozzle was never to be allowed below the level of the liquid in the bottle.

He moved the sprayer onto a stool "because it was in his way". He laid the spray nozzle down beside the bottle, rather than on top of it. I walked by and found a puddle of bug spray congregating on the stool. ARRRGH! Tommy said he was going to learn to sleep sitting up on the stool- it ought to be spider-proof for sure!

In all the cleaning and spraying, we never did find any spiders, living or dead. Maybe the boys swallowed them after being bitten.
I have been thinking and thinking, wondering WHAT I can do to earn some extra income. The Pampered Chef lady thinks I could sell PC. (But all the salespeople for home party companies say that to everyone- they earn a % of the recruits income) The trouble with the home party business, for me, is I have no base of friends or family locally to host parties for me to get started with. If I leaned on family to get me started, all my subsequent parties would be in other states.

I am good at party planning. My Mom and I got dozens of compliments and even a couple of requests for help after we put together Granny's 90th Birthday Bash. Mom's cakes go a very long way to making any party a success- and I am no where near as good at cake decorating as she is. I thought about trying 'gourmet' cooking for others- not truly gourmet, but I figure there is a market among the single guys at the hangar for meals that they only need to heat and eat. I considered Artisan Breads.... Tommy loves to bake as much as I do. Among the biggest drawbacks with that is doing it from home: Heating up the kitchen, with summer almost upon us. The air conditioner just cannot cope!

I really would like to earn money by writing. And the way to do that is to WRITE. It has been years- decades!- since I went about seriously submitting anything for publication.

I had my bi-monthly email from this morning. I have the settings for their search agent to scour jobs in the Columbus, Ohio area. Perhaps I should set it locally here again. One job on today's list was something I can do- well qualified for- and I pretty much enjoy doing. But I cannot commit to going to Ohio- unless certain other family members [-ahem-] also commit to going.

And that brings us back to ring-around-the-roses. Paralyzed with indecision. Fear of the new, fear of making mistakes, fear of moving too far away from our grown children, fear of the still-at-home grown children not having the best job opportunities if we moved, fear of the still-at-home grown children not having the best job opportunities if we stay here, fear of the still-at-home grown children moving away and leaving us behind.....
I could go on and on. If you think it makes your brain hurt- I have been here in this high-centered, wheels spinning rut for YEARS now. In my world, there is no such thing as making a decision and not second guessing it endlessly. Should I just take charge myself and force the rest of the family to follow my lead? I try to let Mr C be the head of the household- I think I have done OK at not usurping his position.

Still, it can be a struggle.

Got any job ideas for me? Let me hear them!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wasted time, Wasted Money

That describes today's trip to the doctor. He was NOT one of the doctors that saw Tommy yesterday. So we had to go over everything again. He never actually touched Tommy- said he would take our word that it looked 'better'. (Because he freaked out when he saw it!) He had Tommy follow his fingers with his eyes (testing tracking), told us to keep doing what we are doing- and that will be ANOTHER $78. please. But it is enough better that he wasn't hospitalized.

Tommy's eye is not swollen closed today. The bite drainage looks gross- horribly gross.
Oh, and Daniel has a spider bite (can tell by the double puncture marks) on his arm. Swelled nicely to look like a second elbow about three inches below his actual elbow, with accompanying pussy sore. greeeeaaat! I stopped and bought spider spray on my way home- but the doctor said "IF" it is a brown recluse, the spray will not get them- they have to be gassed with bug bombs, as their legs carry their vital parts too high for the spray to damage. (Unless directly squirted... and if you are close enough to squirt the spider, you may as well smash it)

So I have to find someplace to go for several hours- bomb the house, air it out, spray it... maybe spray one day, bomb another? I don't know. I don't HAVE any place I can go for three or four hours. (With five kids and two dogs).

I am out about $150 for a prescription, which is essentially all the doctors did. (OK, since it is working, I have no complaint- but it aggravates me to be charged twice when nothing more was done- had to be the easiest $78 of their day)

Monday, May 12, 2008

De- Frag (update added)

Saturday evening, Mr C deleted the computer cookies, shut down the extraneous programs, and started the computer on defrag. At 6:00 am Sunday, it was to 33%. By 4:00 pm, it was up to 58%. At about 5, I couldn't stand it any more and shut off the defrag. I checked my emails, read quickly through my favorite blogs and boards, then restarted the defrag process from the beginning- shutting off all the extras, deleting the cookies... It was to 68% when I went to bed- and at 78% when Mr C got up this morning.

It isn't like we don't defrag on a regular basis. It has been less than 2 weeks since the last full defrag.

Anyway- my Mother's Day went OK. Tom and the boys cooked me steak and roasted veggies, corn on the cob, and asparagus. Three of the kids called... including Ben calling me from the laundry room. My life with comedians.
Tom gave me a scratch off that 'won' $50. Those just aggravate me so bad- total waste of money. So this one won $50. How much does he blow on them every week? A lot more than they EVER win.

Mr C said there is no hope for it- I have to find a job. I guess I will have to find something part time, in the evenings. Otherwise I have to let Wanda and Dale down on taking care of Matthew, and lose all we have gained so far in homeschooling since I quit with Eagle. I was hoping to postpone it for awhile- I want the grandkids to get to visit this summer.

I do have Matt for an extra day this week- Eagle notified Dale (via email!) that he has classes in DFW this week. Starting tomorrow, I have Matt from 5:30 instead of 6:15 am, plus Thursday. I don't see how Eagle can operate like that- last minute notifications; forcing folks to attend classes (even folks from out of town) on Easter Sunday; causing people to have to change plans to accommodate the lack of planning on Eagle's part.
Yeah, I COULD go back to work for them without loss of company seniority, if I did it within the next three weeks. I don't want to. They don't have part time. They treat the better employees like crap and allow the slackers to rule the roost.
I found out at the PC party on Saturday, they now have full video surveillance of the parts room. If only they would put it to good use. See who actually carries the load and who is dead weight getting promoted. Not that it would do any good to see the slackers in (lack of) action- they are protected by the union!

I am trying really hard to avoid being depressed.
Tommy has another spider bite! This time it is near his eye. Scarily near. Like right in the corner of the eye, near the tear duct, except it is actually on the nose. His eye is swelled almost closed, and he has a weeping big blister. I have been having him keep colloidal silver on it. It really scares me, but Mr C doesn't think he needs to see a doctor over it... the last bite cleared up in a few days time. Tommy has also been sleeping a lot during the daytime- something he hasn't done in the past. Just boredom, or is he sick?
Tommy JUST got up. I am now on hold with the Doctor's office- his eye is worse. I will be taking him to the Dr. .... His appointment is at 10 am. Ben will have to watch Matt for me.
I know I had other stuff to say- but it has all flown out the window with the one look at Tommy. Please be praying for us! I will try to update later.

We got back from the doctor's office. They told us to keep doing some things we had been doing (hot wet compresses and ibuprofen), stop doing other things we had been doing (what is colloidal silver? I think you should stop using that for now) and modify some things (use a fresh cloth for every compress change).
The doctors conferenced and decided to try a "strong new anitbiotic" (Levaquin) that the drug company reps had just dropped off rather than admitting him immediatly into the hospital for intravenous antibiotics. He is scheduled to come back again tomorrow for evaluation. I am unable to post a picture, because the digital camera I bought myself for Mother's Day has "software incompatible with my computer". Mr C griped at me for "spreading gloom and disaster all over the internet. I said I was posting to request your prayers. And most people reading this have or will pray for Tommy. Thank you very much.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Mother's Day

Happy Mother's day: To My Mom Rose, and My Step-Mom Kathie. To Tom's Mom Arlene, and to my DIL Seneca. Happy very first Mother's day to my DD Becky.

I don't have anything mushy, or profound to say. Just I love you one and all and I am glad you are in my life.

I wish I were able to be with each of you today, and to make it a fun day for everyone. It just hasn't worked out that way.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I slept in this morning til almost 9. Wow.
Got up and Mr C had 610 on the computer. Some fellow talking gardening. I asked him to turn it off. I just don't want to listen to someone talk about taking care of your perennials. Because I don't have any and it makes me sad.

Mr C said No to going to Ohio soon.

guess the PC party is all I have to look forward to. Whoopie.

Friday, May 9, 2008

its friday- oh joy

Well, it's the weekend. As usual, no real plans- except I am supposed to go to a Pampered Chef Party tomorrow. It was moved up from June. I have no idea what I want- I sure don't NEED anything. But my Mom wants a couple of things, and it will give me a chance to get out of the house and hang out with my friends, so I plan to attend.

Last time I even saw any of my friends (Except Wanda, when she picks up Matthew) was last month at my PC party. One day pretty much runs into the next!

I went to the library Wednesday afternoon. You know me, I read to stave off boredom. They finally had "T is for Trespass" by Sue Grafton. I read that yesterday, so was up a bit late last night- til almost 11:15. Just as I was finishing the last couple of chapters, Tommy came out of his room, unable to sleep. He stayed up and cleaned the kitchen and the front rooms. Swept, Mopped, dishes done- everything.

I have been on Tommy and Benjamin for two days now to write an essay, so we can get them better prepared for the writing portion of the GED. That is a weak area for both of them- the mechanics of writing. As much as I have bugged them, I still haven't seen as much as an "S" or an "A" put to paper. (Old family joke... when Chris and Bill were first assigned to write essays in our homeschool, Becky was in kindergarten. She came to me awhile later, proudly showing me her essay: An "S" and an "A" neatly printed on her paper.)

Mr C has gone off to run errands:
@The post office to buy stamps and mail bills. (The cost of postage goes up MONDAY!)
@The bank to see if our 'rebate' has hit, and
@The car wash because his car got muddy. Never mind that it is a mucky, rainy day here.

I want to plan a trip to Ohio- I am having withdrawals. We haven't been since January.
Meanwhile, we are plugging away at the schoolwork. The twins reached the "promotion point" in the two year math curriculum today. Dan is struggling with long "U" words. (cut, tub, mutt instead of cute, tube, and mute).

The printer spazzed out again this morning. A complete re-start fixed it. It still isn't speaking to the computer. The computer- grrrrr! freezes up and has to be turned off manually and restarted several times a day. Alt Ctrl Del just hangs up in a loop. Pleeeease let Mr C decide we are getting a new computer!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Shopping with Kids

I really hate shopping with small children- especially if I am clothes shopping for myself. Once upon a time, I was looking for a mother-of-the-groom outfit. Mr C was in school- a training session mandated by his job. So we were all down in the DFW area. My Mom went with me, as I had five kids along: DD was 14, Ben was 11 or 12, Tommy was abut 10, and the twins were four. Obnoxiously four.

First of all, I lost one of the twins in an upscale department store. I was in a total panic as I called and called- looking among the racks of clothing where they liked to hide. The twin in my sight was giggling and making faces at his reflection in the mirror. I was just about to call in store security to help me look for the missing twin, when I realized that the reflection was wearing a different outfit than the twin making faces in the mirror. Good Grief! Mom and I grabbed strollers for the twins from the rental rack and made them sit in them while I tried to find a nice dress.

At one point, we were in the "foundations" department. Just the place pre-teen boys really want to hang out. I heard one of them (pretty sure it was Ben) singing a popular TV commercial jingle- but he changed the words just a bit:
"I wonder, wonder, wonder... what's in a Wonder BRA"!

We finally found a dress I decided was going to be just fine. (Read: I was ready to scream and took the next one that fit me). We went "home"... The older kids spent the night with Gramma, while I took the twins and we went to stay at the hotel with Daddy. Whoo Hoo- what fun.

Mr C and I were sure looking forwards to the twins falling asleep. So bedtime came around. The twins were sooo excited, but at last decided it was time to sleep. Sam gave directions: "Dan, You sleep on that bed with Daddy- I will sleep here with Mommy!"

Gotta love little kids.

Tommy's Poem

Tommy wrote this poem when he was in second grade. His poem was professionally judged in a contest, and he represented the second graders of Central High Elementary at the district awards ceremony. His poem was published in a book- which I failed to get a copy of that day!

Beans and Grits
by Tommy (1999)

The Chisolm Trail
was very long.
The people who built it
were very strong.

Dirt flies in the air
and gets in the
Cowboys eyes
and mouths.

Beans and Grits
Good for You.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"Stupid Spelling Words Make Stupid Poetry"

Here are Daniel and Sam's Spelling Word Poems... plus one of my own I did in college:

He Drove Home With A Broken Arm
by Sam
He smoked the stone
til he broke his bone
Then drove home.

The Stupid Poem
by Dan
He drove home
with a stove
that smoked
and his dog
had a bone
of stone.

by Tammy (1979)
Stone Dead
Stone Cold
Stone Dawn
We're Alone
Stone Sober.

Hey, my college teacher gave me an "A" on my poem. It was a five minute 'exercise' using an assigned word. So I told the twins they each get an "A" on their poems... PLUS get them published on the internet!
Come to think of it- the teacher who gave me the "A" was the one who told me I had better to look at some other profession- I couldn't write worth $***
Schuyler Etheridge... she killed many people's hopes of becoming writers. As a college teacher, she was more critic than mentor. After her course, I didn't write for ten years.


Have you ever speculated on whether other life-forms have poetry? Today, the twins were assigned to write a poem. Daniel asked if he could write his in Klingon. (Klingon are a race of people from the TV series Star Trek)

I told him I was not accepting poetry written in Klingon- as I don't have a Universal Translator handy.

Maybe I should have just allowed him to write it in Klingon, and sent it to Becky to grade. When we needed to learn a foreign language when she was homeschooling- she wanted to learn Klingon. As much as she wanted to learn Klingon, we never did find lessons available.... we settled for Spanish.

Not that we completely learned Spanish- but that is a sad tale for another day.

Now this is interesting! I just did a spellcheck before posting. Of all the words I have had highlight as misspelled, many were names that just aren't in the lexicon of the spell check. It did not highlight "Klingon"... so Klingon is not only spelled correctly, it is in the Blogspot spellcheck lexicon!

GED Testing and Other rambling

It was pretty well 5 o'clock when Ben and Tommy got back yesterday. Ben said they were given a test when they arrived, to see which test they needed to take to determine whether or not they were ready to test for the GED.

The first test, he said, was to make sure they weren't complete idiots. The second test was to make sure they aren't stupid. Both boys feel that they did well on the GED Prep-Test. They won't find out for sure until the 22nd- when they return for "orientation". They aren't sure whether the orientation is to take the test, or to set them up for adult education classes. We all assume it is test orientation.

On the 23rd, Tommy gets to take his road test for his driver's license... if it isn't raining.

Mr C was supposed to bring me boxes home to get these Mother's day baskets mailed ... but he forgot. They really need to go out today- I actually planned to send them yesterday. So if he forgets to bring me boxes at lunch, I suppose I will just have to make my address labels and go by there to pack the boxes up, on my way to the post office.


My extra kid is planning to take a month off- to go visit his grandparents in Lawton. MAYBE- just MAYBE- Mr C will decide this is a great time to go to Ohio.

Tom's mom is scheduled to go to a family reunion in June: A four day cruise! We are part of the same family, but just not quite wealthy enough to take everyone on a cruise. (Mom has saved for two years to get to go). She said she will try to talk whoever is elected to plan the next reunion (2 years from June) into a location that everyone can afford. I suggested Branson- plenty of activities in a wide range of prices. So- my children! Start saving now for Gma Arlene's family reunion in June of 2010. Closer than that, Gma Rose's family is having a first ever reunion for members of her Mom's Mom's side of the family: The Westbrook side. This is June THIS YEAR, on the 7th, in Greenville, Texas.

I suppose I better get on with TODAY's educating. Have a blessed day!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Church Incident

When Tom and I first got married, we went to a little church called The Rose Of Sharon. It met in a shopping center strip storefront.
One Sunday morning, we had some new folks join the worship service with us, a Doctor and his wife. Chris was about four- certainly not more than five years old. He kept turning around in his chair and staring at the couple.
I turned Chris to face the front several times, but during one lull in the singing, Chris gestured for the Doctor to listen to him.
The man bent over to hear what Chris had to say, and since it was a quiet moment, the entire church heard Chris ask: "You know what, Mister?"
"You have got a GREAT, BIG NOSE."

Oh yeah. My kids.
I was hoping to find a hole to swallow me up in my mortification.

The Doctor roared with laughter- which was great, because there were titterings all over the room. The Doc and his wife became great friends with us- they thought Chris and Bill were just the greatest kids they had ever met. (Despite their lack of good manners).

Education Underway

I finally heard back from the fine folks who administer the Arkansas GED. They sent me an entire email full of information on how your 16 or 17 year old can get their GED.
However, I have an 18 and a 19 year old that need GED's.
That is a whole nother can of worms- requiring an additional email.

The boys were urged to come ASAP.
AT ONCE, if possible, to get registered. They have a battery of qualifying pre-tests to take. It was not made clear whether or not the actual pre-tests will begin today.
So they are off to see the Wizard.

A step in the direction of higher education.
I spent an hour and a half between the first email and the second, looking for some paperwork proving they had taken the TABE back three or so years ago, and never did find it. That was one of the tests the 16 and 17 year olds must take. It wasn't necessary to have it if you are "an adult". And my boys are adults.

Cut the strings and let them go, Mama.


Over the weekend, Mr C and I didn't do much.
Once again, he is berating himself for being a rotten dad- not taking his kids fishing and camping. And that there is nothing for us to do here- except mow the grass. We did a drive-by on two houses a couple of miles from here. One was a "You have got to be kidding" place where they wanted almost half a million for five acres. It had a four bedroom real house, and a mobile home on it. None of those features, even combined extravagantly, would bring the place to half a mil. The second was a doublewide on 14 acres for 114K. It is almost directly behind this house we are in- a couple of miles south.

The houses Tom spends most time looking at online are those in the Hocking Hills of Ohio. Several that he has been eyeing there have dropped drastically in price lately. After one too many heavy sighs on his part, and under-the-breath mutterings about how we cannot afford to do anything- I spent several hours looking on for jobs. I looked in Ohio- If I have to work, does it have to be here? If we are ever really going to move to Ohio- it better be soon. Mom-Arlene is 75.
Mr C also feels that his boys do not want to live in Ohio. Tommy wants to live in West Texas- I think his heart is smitten with someone he met there. Last time I forced the boys to give us feedback on where THEY would like to live- they all wanted to turn the clock back and live in our old house in Marlow. THAT isn't an option.

So we really didn't DO anything this weekend. I didn't blog- as I don't do well with someone standing over my shoulder asking what am I doing, why am I writing, pull up 610 and get off the computer so the audio can stream... (Mr C listens to 610 WTVN out of Columbus when he is home). And if audio is streaming on the computer, I cannot even look sideways at it, or it falters.

I did finish up my library books. This afternoon after Matt goes home, I may see about heading off to the library. Or Not. I take reading by spells- reading voraciously for months, then not picking up a book for months. I guess I am getting to the 'tired of reading' end of the cycle.

Daniel and Sam camped out last night. Dan has been anxiously waiting for the weather to be warm enough, without impending storms. The twins have loved camping out since they were little. They still don't venture far from the house- which suits my mother-hen-ness just fine. I will never forget being awakened in the night by Tom yelling and running outside to chase away a pack of coyotes that were ringed around the twins tent. They were four or five years old and slept right through it.

Tommy has already been out most of a night- sleeping in the hammock. The weather turned off very windy and cold, so he came inside. I didn't raise dumb children!

Oh, I really must apologise to all my friends who called and emailed me, concerned about how we fared recent storms. I said the storms didn't come near us- but you all were right and I was wrong. It was in Siloam Springs- less than 17 miles from here- where a teen was killed from a tree falling on her house during a storm. Very sad.

We are back to the school routine this week. It was slightly disrupted last week, with Tom and the boys travelling. I have emailed for information on Ben and Tommy taking the GED.
Time marches on whether I like it or not.

Friday, May 2, 2008

More House Repair

If I could only think of it as HOME maintenance. But this house where we live isn't home- it is just where we happen to live at the moment.
Storms blew through again last night. High winds blew a fan out of the kitchen window and into the sink. I got up to close the west windows against the rain, and just turned the fan off. I didn't even turn on the lights as I went through the house. I took the fan out of the sink and sat it on the counter top.
Mr C got up this morning and started to make coffee. The minute he turned on the faucet, water went everywhere. Looks like the fan was the final blow that broke internal bits off the corroded old faucet. Luckily, there is a water shut-off valve under the sink!

We could have called the property management company and complained, and been put on their waiting for repairs list. (It took them four months to get our stove fixed last year.) Instead, we just went to Lowes and got the cheapest replacement faucet we could find. There were none with sprayers that had the correct 'hole configuration'- so I no longer have a sink sprayer. I miss it already! While we were there, we got new screen material and spline to fix our screens. ONE of the broken screens was our fault- the stupid dog leaping through it. The other broken screens were missing when we moved in, or destroyed by hail in the tornado two years ago. Tom fixed all the broken ones. Now we can open more windows.

I have been working on putting together our Mother's Day presents. I have my Step-Mom's and Tom's Mom's ready to package and mail. I have to go up to my former job's receiving department and see if I can recycle a couple of their boxes. My Mom's gift isn't done yet. Maybe I can finish hers up and drive it down to her in Russellville.

This is TWO Fridays in a row we have had repair projects going on. My washing machine is as good as new.... but that didn't keep me from drooling while I was at Lowes!

Daniel and Sam planted their seedlings into the garden. I suppose we ought to get some hot peppers and maybe a couple of 'older' tomato plants. (And flowers! I want flowers, I want flowers!)

Get everything all fixed up nicely- setting ourselves up to move.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


The Cutest Grandkids in the world!
Connor, Jade, Amber
Gavin, Alana, Tyrel
Picture by Seneca's Photography