Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Short Get-Away

Mom and Dad took 3 nights away while the youngest children were with their cousins (and Aunt and Uncle) They always have a great time with them, and we always know that they are in good hands.

We stayed in a small cottage in Pepin, Wisconsin, owned by friends from Faribault. It's a marvelous little one bedroom house. It's clean, peacefully decorated, and quiet. We read, slept, walked, ate and even watched a couple of older videos on their mini- TV. I think we could have done all that for a few more days.

I had great cups of coffee and a "Killer Cinnamon Roll" at the Great River Coffee Cafe.

We had "Build Your Own Burgers" at the Pickle Factory.

We spent the great part of a day sitting by marina on the lake reading.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saturday Cleaning

I remember cleaning as a kid on Saturday mornings. We were allowed to watch a little of the Saturday morning cartoons, but then we often cleaned the house. My mom is a spectacular house-keeper, so the house was never really very messy. Just the vacuuming, dusting, and bathroom cleaning. I remember mostly this duster-thingy that was like a Swiffer on steroids.

Well, it's late Saturday morning, and MY kids are supposed to be cleaning, folding laundry, working in the garden and baking. But what do I hear upstairs?

"Stay away from me if you value your life."
"I take no prisoners."
"Kill! Kill! Kill!"
"Shhhhh ... mom will hear us and then we're really in trouble."
"Don't cry for me Argentina ................."
"Has anyone seen mom?"

Somehow, I think it would be wise if I got a little more involved up there. Especially if I really want the house cleaned.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bluegrass on Bridge Square

Let me say again that I love Northfield. We have so many opportutunities to enjoy art, music, sports, etc. We have Bridge Square complete with a fountain, a war memorial and a popcorn wagon. Who could ask for more?

Tonight we had a great time listening to the Hartley Family Bluegrass Band. Check them out: The Mom, Deb, lived with our family for a few months when she first moved to Northfield to work at Laura Baker School.

They were incredible! The oldest daughter was their key singer; they played guitars, string bass, dobro, mandolins, banjo and fiddles. The concert was a great mix of bluegrass and gospel.

Monday, July 21, 2008

OCD? Maybe a little

I like to be thorough and accurate. Not everything in my life has to be "just so;" just some things. I don't think I'm demanding or high maintenance because I don't force others to comply with my idiosyncrasies. Take this for example:

My English major and Math minor sides of my personality have collided ... I've made databases of my favorite authors with checklists. For example, I have an Agatha Christie table that tells me all her books, date of publication, movie projects (including who plays Miss Marple or Poirot). I have similar tables for Ngaio Marsh, PD James, Colin Dexter and Erle Stanley Gardner. I've also discovered a few British mystery series that I like and have listed them in order.

My natural inclination is to make lists whenever and where-ever possible. But these lists serve a practical purpose, too. When I find an author that I enjoy, I like to read everything I can by that person. I found that I was requesting books from the library that I'd already read. Or a video that I'd already seen. I hate wasting the librarians time and money (it costs to bring in books from other systems.) Now, however, when I go to the libraries website I can have my handy-dandy tables with me and look for just the right books and movies.

I'm really quite clever.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Computer Woes (a poem)

Recurring Crashes,
Planned Obsolescence.
Elusive sales;
Options & Functions

Homeschool Conference

In June, I scooted down to Des Moines for the Iowa homeschool conference hosted at First Federated Church by NICHE. I started going down to this conference when because in some odd way, it seemed more home-y than the one in Minnesota. It's held in a church, rather than a large convention center. An added plus is that I can spend some time with my extended family.

At these conferences I usually find myself too antsy to sit still for the workshops. I usually sit close to the door so that I can discreetly leave should I get bored, find I a already know the information, or am too desperate to search out the latest and greatest in homeschool materials from the vendors. I have found that those who take a humorous look at homeschool and refresh me with a few laughs are worth the admission fee.

One of the keynote speakers this year did a wonderful job of instilling humor, reality and grace into his presentations. Homeschoolers by and large take themselves too seriously. To some degree we should ... we don't want to send stupid children out into the world. We'd only have ourselves to blame. One of my favorite illustrations from this speaker concerned the "Homeschool Uniform:" denim jumper, hair to our waist or in a bun and little white sneakers with bobby socks. I thought, "yeah, that was me." What else do you wear when you're always pregnant, nursing or somewhere inbetween? With 7 children, I've been in a variety of stages of inflated and deflated that the ubiquitous jumper seemed to fit the bill.

All in all, I love homeschool conferences. It gives moms and dads a chance to get away, think only about their children's education and be encouraged that so many more are in the same boat!