Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Historic Trees in Your Back Yard!

Thomas and I discovered something very cool today. You can buy seedlings from famous historic trees. There is a nonprofit conservation organization called American Forests, and they produce seedlings you can buy for $39.95.

You can buy a Gettysburg Address Honeylocust, Edgar Allan Poe Hackberry or an Elvis Presley Southern Magnolia. I think we'll pass on a Suicide Live Oak, though. How about a Jimmy Carter Southern Magnolia, George Washington Tulip Poplar or Susan B. Anthony Sycamore?

I think it would be a lot of fun to purchase and grow one of these.

Check them out!

American Forests

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Anyone studying the Civil War, specifically Gettysburg?

We have stumbled upon a fantastic blog that we are reading daily. It's also full of videos of licensed tour guides. It's almost as if we're there! Lots of information, about individuals and battles.

Check it out!

The funny thing is we're not studying the Civil War this year. Well, we are now, but we studied it last year. Thomas found this site on Halloween, as we were watching ghost stories on TV and surfing at the same time. He found a video about ghosts at Gettysburg and did some googling and came upon this site. No ghost stories here--that we've found, just wonderful facts, maps, photos and videos about the war.

I love this blog as much as Thomas does!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Unfaithful Blogger

I have had just a heck of a time when it comes to blogging. I used to love it, post way too often, about all kinds of things. Now? My mind just turns to mush when I think of blogging.

After Dad's death, I guess I just had a major shift. I haven't gone back to where I was before, I've found a new way of living. And that includes not bloging, apparently. I guess my emotions are still somewhat raw and I don't know that I feel like sharing so much.

That, or we're doing middle school, which is a tad more boring. Our lives aren't boring, I just can't connect with my inner creativity and voice. Perhaps I have nothing to say?

I go through this old blog every once in awhile, remembering things I had forgotten. I am glad the words are here, it's my memory. So I'm going to try real hard to blog again. Once a week at least.


Thomas is having a very good school year. Things are going much better for him--and for me, too. He'll be getting braces next month. He's as tall as I am. He's smart, he's clever, he's shy, and he has the most wonderful sense of humor. He can drop a zinger that will have us laughing our heads off. His delivery is amazing.

He's growing up too darned fast.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Countdown to 8th Grade

I am fight, kicking and screaming as I am just not ready to start school. We've had a very busy summer, got a lot of things done, yet I still have a lot of projects to complete. We start September 8th, so I still have a tiny bit of time.

I am looking for volunteer opportunities for Thomas. So far I have not had any luck. In the past, we have volunteered at our local Humane Society. I'm not to keen on going back there. Even though we support them with donations, I personally didn't enjoy sitting on the floor playing with kittens, kittens who would jump out of your hands and be on the very top of the cages--it was nearly impossible to get them down. I also worry about picking up germs and bringing them home to our pets. Thomas is not old enough to volunteer by himself there, so I have to go with him.

I have not found any other volunteer opportunities. We could work at the local seniors' home, but all we would be doing would be passing out afternoon cookies. I suppose that may be okay, but I'd rather do something more. Again, I would have to be with him.

Apparently our town no longer has the Meals on Wheels program. I would have done that in a heartbeat. Our town is full of senior citizens. I would love to find something where Thomas could interact with them. Now that his only grandparent that showed him love and interacted with him is gone, he has a void in his life. No one will ever replace Grandpa Charlie, but maybe we could make a difference in someone's life whose family isn't near. I don't know how to find them.

So I need to get on the phone and start making inquiries.

I plan on taking Thomas to a monthly homeschool swim in a town about 45 minutes from us this year. One local motel will let us pay to swim there, but it is just so gross there that we've only gone once. We could also go to a town 20 minutes from us to swim. I'm thinking a weekly afternoon swim may be a good idea to add to our already too busy schedule.

I have to map out our math, geography and science yet. Everything else is ready to go. So much to do, so little time.

I wish I were a little kid again, as time went soooo slowly and now it goes so fast!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

8th Grade School Plans

I used to really enjoy planning out our year. Now? Not so much.

I've got spelling, writing and punctuation mapped out. We'll do a punctuation book half the year and then our grammar book the other half. I need to get the rest put together today and tomorrow.

Here's the plan for this year:

Spectrum Writing Grade 8
I bought Jensen's and Spectrum, and we'll cruise through the Spectrum workbook. We'll finish it up well before the end of the year, and I haven't decided yet if we'll start Jensen's or if I'll just make up writing assignments. I think for my son, the reluctant writer, Spectrum's will be pretty good. It's light, but I think it will get him going. It's better than jumping in with Jensen's Format Writing for now, as I think that would overwhelm Thomas.

Capitalization and Punctuation
A nice little workbook from Rainbow Resource. Straight and to the point. Will finish up in half a year or less, if he wants to push forward. Short little lessons. Nice review on some things, new material for other things.

Analytical Grammar
We started this last year, and will forge on. We're going to do 17 weeks' worth of lessons. Thomas hates this. I think it's an excellent program, though. We won't get to their punctuation part for a year or so, which is why we're doing a little workbook now, as we're pushing writing this year.

Apples Spelling
So my kid can't spell. We've done spelling every single year. He's finally making spelling connections. I think this year we'll have a breakthrough--I'm getting glimpses of it this summer. This is a Christian book, not secular, but well, since we are Christians, I guess it's not a problem. I always like secular materials better, though.

Glencoe Civics
We've read half of this, but need to finish it. Will listen to books from once we finish our Civics course. I think we'll listen to Hakim's series again.

Glencoe Geography and Trail Guides
Haven't planned this out yet, may just do the textbook. We've done a lot of the Trail Guides, but we can do the upper grade.

Spanish-Rosetta Stone
Started last year, but need to forge on. We did not finish, but that's the beauty of Rosetta Stone, just keep on going.

Science- Glencoe Physcis
My child has surpassed me by a longshot in the science realm. I actually bought a teacher's edition, workbooks, etc. He's going to teach me a thing or two. Bob will be on hand to answer questions.

Are we supposed to do art? Yikes, I forgot to order something. Thomas has his art classes that he takes, so I may buy the Annotated Mona Lisa. Or not. Or something art history related.

Lightning Literature
Bought this last year, couldn't fit it in. Of course Thomas has read half the books and won't be happy about reading them again, but oh well. I think there are some valuable lessons in the program, and some we'll skip.

We're about to finish up Lial's Basic College Math. I bought Spectrum Math for supplementation. My child has developed a severe math phobia--and I mean severe. If I mention the word math, he nearly has a meltdown. So we'll finish BCM and do Spectrum for a review. I had hoped to start algebra this year, but that will not be happening.

I will also be putting some health units together. Thomas wants to be a vegan. Thomas still doesn't like vegetables. So we'll work on this, trying new veggies each week, I'll let him cook, etc.

I'm still toying with joining the homeschool group in the big city. They do a lot of social things, and I think at this age, Thomas would greatly benefit from that. Our local homeschoolers are all nice people, but to them, it's all about co-op. I'm just simply not interested in co-op. (It's an all-day thing where moms teach the classes and all moms must volunteer. If we could pay to send our child to select classes, I would consider it. Maybe. It's just not for us.)

Well, back to planning. My new printer arrived and it is HEAVEN. I am just giddy having laser printouts in color.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Printer Died

Homeschoolers can't survive without a good printer. At least this homeschooling family can't.

In 1995, when I was a court reporter, I spent over $1,000 on a HP LaserJet 4Plus. Lots of money. It printed fast, a whopping 12 pages per minute! lol It was solid, it was good, and it has printed hundreds of thousands of pages.

Monday I sat down to plan school, and when I went to print out my home-made planner pages, I got a service error. I googled the error, and it wasn't pretty. Bob took it apart and there are parts that are fried.

I could have cried. I think I did shed a tear or two. This was one of the last links to my former life, when I worked in the real world, when I actually made money.

I then set out to find a new printer. I had certain wants. I quickly got overwhelmed. In the end, I decided upon (and Bob agreed it was a good choice) a Brother color laser printer.

It arrives Friday, and I cannot wait. It's wireless, too -- how cool is that. May the new printer give me at least half the years and 1/4 of the pages that my old friend did.

Rest in peace, LaserJet 4Plus. Thank you for your service. Welcome, new Brother.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Tooth Fairy and Braces

Thomas is 13 and 10 months. He has two baby teeth left, which he has been desperately trying to pull. He is getting braces. We have the final consult next week. If the teeth are not gone, they'll have to be pulled.

Tonight, one came out. Yay.

I said, "Honey, I have some bad news for you. There is no such thing as the tooth fairy." He rolled his eyes and said, "Moooooooom!" in a 13-year-old-moms-are-so-dumb manner.

I thought it was funny.


Tonight I was in the back yard enjoying the dogs and watching the fireflies. I called Thomas out and asked him to run around like a little kid and catch them. He rolled his eyes, but he did it for me for a couple minutes.

It made me sad. He has grown up so fast. I just can't believe he'll be 14 in a couple months. Where does time go? Where did my sweet baby, cute toddler, sweet little boy go? He's now a teenager. So little time left, I'm going to enjoy every second that the teen-aged boy allows. ;-)


I sat down to plan school a bit tonight. We're heavy on Language Arts this year. Thomas has surpassed me in science. Yet, we are going to work through physical science together, and if need be, will consult Bob. I am just having a rough time making myself get it all mapped out. I'm like a kid, "I don't wanna go back to school!"

We start September 8th, as we follow our local school district's schedule. I have four weeks left.


I gave Thomas a dollar for his tooth. I'm just nice like that. When he gets the last tooth out (if he pulls it, not the dentist!) I'll give him a $20. Just because.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Oh, I'm Baaaad

We had to run to Wal-mart tonight because we were out of milk and cereal. We did our shopping and went to buy the goods. One line was open, so we got in it.

There was one lady in front of us and she was standing there arguing with the teller. I loaded my stuff (way more than milk and cereal, why is that?) to the belt and then tuned in, as the argument continued.

PS Teacher: But these were 9 cents apiece last week.
Clerk: But they're 25 cents now.
PS Teacher: But I work for the school in X town. (A town 20 miles north of us.)
Clerk: They're 25 cents apiece this week,.
PS Teacher: But these are for the school. Because these are for the school, won't you give me credit? These were 9 cents last week.
Clerk: They're 25 cents this week.
PS Teacher: I demand to speak to the manager.

Now by this time, a second clerk had come in to help out poor clerk number one. What was the idiot--er, lady buying? 60 purple file folders.

Idiot: Besides, they're on sale for 9 cents apiece this week at Shopko. Where's the manager?
Clerk: Did you bring Shopko's ad? We can match the price if you have the ad.
Idiot: I didn't bring the ad, but they're on sale for 9 cents apiece this week at Shopko. You can trust me, I teach at X School.

The second clerk runs off to get the manager.

PSTeacher: I just don't understand this, these are for the school and they were on sale last week.

At this point I'm about ready to donate the difference because I wanted to get the hell out of there.

The clerk comes back without the manager.

Clerk 2: The manager said they are 25 cents apiece.
PS Teacher: But I don't understand, they were 9 cents a week last week.

ME (loudly): Well, I guess if you wanted them for 9 cents, you should have come in last week to buy them then.

If looks could kill, I was dead on the spot. She wrote her check, which takes forever at Wal-mart, and walked of super pissed off.

The clerks started laughing when I got up there. Then I said, "Gee, we're homeschoolers, and we use logic. If we want something that is on sale, we buy it when it is on sale. We don't expect favors. However, since we're homeschoolers and I'm buying apples and bananas, could I get a discount for our school lunch program?

They were laughing so hard at me.

I will never understand that "but I'm a teacher" mentality. Give it a rest. Use your brain. If you want something on sale, get yourself in to the store while it is on sale.


(I am in no way anti-public school teachers. Several are in our family. My son had two wonderful PS teachers. I'm just against the self-serving mentality in the name of teaching.)

Monday, August 03, 2009

August Already?!?!!!

Where has the summer gone?

I am mostly recovered from the surgery.

We've been working on a big project: our back yard. We dug up the grass and weeds in the dog run area, which is about 35x25, and laid 4 ton of river rock. It makes doggie doo-doo cleanup so easy! That was a lot of work, and Bob is now replacing the back door.

All our school books have arrived and are sitting on my kitchen counter waiting for me to get the year planned out. Projects need finished, carpet needs cleaned, laundry room needs deep cleaned, the school room needs organized...and on and on and on.

I need to ask Thomas what fun things he wants to do before the summer is over and try to accommodate him--to a degree.

The older I get, the faster time goes.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Today Was Surgery Day

And I lived through it.

At the moment I'm pain free, a little doped up, a lot tired, and snacking on Sierra Mist and crackers.

It's rough having a same-day surgery when they kind of shove you out the door so quickly. I didn't feel like leaving, I was so tired and my tummy was upset. I threw up when I woke up, and an hour later they had me eating crackers and Sprite. Then she said it was time to go.

She helped me get into the car and when I was set, she handed me a barf bag. She told me that I may get sick from the motion since we had an hour drive home.

We drove from the patient pick-up spot to the exit of the parking lot and I was using that bag. Apparently I threw up for about three minutes, according to Bob. That kind of thing never bothers him--but this time it did. He was green and said that he almost lost it. Poor guy! Thomas said it was gross when I asked him after we got home.

But hey, I was fine after that. Slept all the way home, slept a little when we got home, ate a little, then slept a bit more.

Now I hope (and yes, pray) that my periods will be gone or very light. That's usually the case.

I got pictures of my uterus...should I post them for educational value? lol

I plan on posting our 8th grade plans soon. I keep changing my mind on a couple things. Time's a wastin' and I'd best get it done, get books ordered.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Tesla

Since I haven't blogged for so long, many may not know that this gorgeous flower is named Tesla. Bob, the electrical engineer, named him after one of his favorite people: Nikola Tesla.

It's not our dog's birthday, but it is Mr. Tesla's birthday. Has anyone hit Google today? See the top with the electricity? It's a Tesla coil. That would be one very cool homeschool project! Anyway, if you run your mouse over the word Google and click, you'll find lots of links for Nikola Tesla.

Move over, Mr. Edison, make way for Mr. Telsa--the man who got so little credit for all his great work.

Happy Birthday, Nikola Tesla!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

8th Grade Reading List

Our 8th grade reading list:

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
*Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe
Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
*Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
*The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom
*The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck
Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes
Animal Farm, George Orwell
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,Douglas Adams
The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
My Life in Dog Years, Gary Paulsen * and other Gary Paulsen books
Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Ernest J. Gaines
Dracula, Bram Stoker
*A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
Fever 1793, Laurie Anderson
The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton
That Was Then, This is Now S.E. Hinton
Goodnight, Mr. Tom, Michele Magorian
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
Julie of the Wolves, Jean Craighead George
*Where the Lilies Bloom, Vera and Bill Cleaver

*already own

Friday, July 03, 2009

Pepin, Wisconsin

Laura Ingalls Wilder's birthplace.

Not the original cabin, this was built in the 70s. This is the site of her home, though. No longer surrounded by Big Woods, but by corn fields. There are still a lot of woods in the area, though.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Update: Frankie

Emotionally: Lots better. I'm still not fully recovered from everything, but I am so in a better place. I still get weepy when I see old men in jeans with black tennis shoes. I cried the other night at our town parade when the WWII vets were driven by. I miss my Dad. Yet, life goes on and so have I. I trudged along like I was walking knee-deep in water, then got a little closer to the shore, and now I'm okay.

Computer: I am not on the computer every day anymore. I have kicked the habit. That was absolutely liberating. Now I'm looking for a good balance. I miss blogging and I miss my blogging friends. I still won't be on the computer every day, but I will every couple of days!

Health: Not so hot. I decided to take a chance and go to a new doctor. She and another quit the clinic that all other doctors belong to so they could start fresh. She had a great reputation and I finally got brave. Had a physical at the beginning of the month.

It was the appointment from hell--but I loved her. For once, a doctor listened to me! From the inception of this blog, I've been bitchin' about periods, pain, PMS, etc. I was always placated by my old doctor. Last time he said, "Why, I thought they were supposed to get better as you got older."

Not my new doc. She jumped on it. She asked me a series of questions and then right then and there did a cervical biopsy. That hurt like holy hell. I screamed out many times. I have cramped ever since. It was benign, thankfully. She also sent me down the hall where I had an ultrasound. I had a great tech who actually told me what she was seeing. She found three fibroids and an ovarian cyst. The cyst burst the next day and it hurt so bad. The tech said there were probably more fibroids that they couldn't see.

Back for blood work, then back to see the doctor. I was referred to an OBGYN. He visits our town every two weeks. I saw him last week. He was fantastic. He couldn't believe with my history (fibroid when I was 28) that I wasn't checked out years ago.

Anyway, he discussed the options. At that point I wanted to have a hysterectomy and be done with the whole bloody mess. He suggested an ablation instead. That's where they burn the lining of the uterus. So I'm going to do that. It's a same-day surgery with a short recovery. It's being set up right now, I need to check back.

I am scared to death of surgery, but I am so hopeful for relief. The pain has been horrible, which is typical with fibroids.

Projects: Right now I am trying to get finished with scanning the family photos. This is such a slow, tedious project. It is highly emotional. I'm getting there. I hope to be done in three weeks. I hope I'm done before surgery is set. This is my main focus right now.

School: I've got 8th grade planned out, just need to tweak. Will post our list soon, order the final books and map out our school year. Waiting on cash, as aside from our mortgage, we are debt free now. Don't know how the surgery will set us back, but we have good insurance. Hoping it's not too bad.

I am thinking of joining the homeschool group in the big city. The local group is made up of lovely women, but aside from one ice skating party this past year, they only do co-op. I am not interested in co-op. The big city does all kinds of things. Thomas needs to be around more kids than his friends, and I think it would be a great opportunity. If we go to the big city every now and again, that means I get to go to Taco Bell, too. lol Or if I'm feeling rich, maybe the Olive Garden! It's all about food for me! With his new desire to read all the time, access to a bookstore more frequently would be nice, too.

Travel: Have to visit my MIL sometime this summer. Also have our fun little weekend planned. By chance, I found out the riverboat ride I booked us for will be free for me because it's my birthday. I haven't spent a birthday with my husband in years. He won't mind because he won't have to get me a present. lol

That's about it.

All caught up. I will start blogging more. I really needed a break. I'm refreshed now.

Update: Bob and the Dogs

Why not lump a husband in with the dogs? He'd appreciate my humor!

Bob: Nothing new. Same old. Still enjoying his job, although he's very, very busy at work at the moment. He's been my rock through everything. We'll be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary this September. I cannot remember life without him. I know I wouldn't have fared as well without him.

Our precious Apollo and Tesla--they adore him. Apollo is definitely his dog. Tesla is definitely Thomas's. Bob and Thomas play fetch with them several times a day, walk them every morning, take them to the beach--sometimes they take me along, too. ;-) The dogs have done more for our family. Lots of good male bonding going on.

Apollo and Tesla took basic obedience. They're border collies, and smart as a whip. They could already do 90% of what was taught in class, and the other 10% was a piece of cake. However, because they're border collies, they wanted no part of paying attention to us: they were busy trying to herd the other doggies in the class. The entire 10 weeks of class was spent teaching them to focus on us during distraction. Let's just say, we have more work to do. They're fine in public, at the beach, in the neighborhood--put them with other dogs? ha! Instant headache for me!

Bob wants to take them through agility and fly ball. I don't, so that will be a boy thing.

The kitties are doing well, too. One is getting really old, and the other is sickly as usual--but loving and happy. They have finally learned to not hiss around the dogs, and they basically get along pretty well. I don't think the cats like the dogs, though. They didn't mind Jerry Lee at all.

Update: Thomas

Thomas has completed the seventh grade. He has grown up so fast this past year it amazes me. He is one inch shorter than I am. It is very strange standing and being able to look him in the eye. He seems so old now. Not that 13 is old, but he is maturing quickly.

At this very moment, he's away at summer camp. The first day he was gone, I missed him fiercely. Now I'm fine, knowing he's having fun. We had a long weekend before dropping him off. I have a surprise for him when I pick him up this weekend. We are going to be very close to the Mississippi, so good old Bob didn't object to me setting up a short riverboat cruise. Bob is staying home with the dogs, so it will just be Thomas and I. I have a few other surprises up my sleeve, and we'll take 1-2 days to get home. I'm taking my camera and will share pictures.

This past year, Thomas has had a fire in him with science. The kid reads and reads and reads science books. We had to drive to the big city an hour away once a week for obedience classes, and we couldn't keep him stocked with books. His dad has completely taken over on this front, thankfully. Right now he's reading something by Stephen Hawking.

School went fairly well. It was a rough year for us as we recuperated from the black cloud that followed us last year.

We took our standardized test at the end of the year. Normally we do a lot of prep with prep workbooks, but this year we just did the test. Thomas did a fantastic job, once again. Lots of post-high school scores. He's a smart kid. As usual, he scored grade level in spelling.

He still hates math. I am just beside myself when it comes to math. Tears, anger, was on a daily basis. Maybe I'll take him to a hypnotist and have it ingrained in his brain that he loves math. That's about the only thing we haven't tried yet. (I am joking about that, btw.)

Other than that, he's happy and healthy. He's enjoying his summer break and dreading school starting up again. Go figure, he does so well, he enjoys it once we get going, but he actually prefers summer break. lol

They're Back

Said to the tune of the sweet little girl in the movie Poltergeist!

I've done a bit of tweaking to the old blog here. Like the monkeys? We're not monkeying around, though! We've been busy.

Will give a long overdue update tomorrow!

Frankie =)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


It's March, it's spring fever time. We're in middle school, not too exciting to blog about.

I think I'm going to take a blog break for awhile.

I'll be back after awhile, when I feel inspiried to write something, anything.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Even this poor old snowman is sick of winter.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Heat Wave

We've had a mini heat wave in our neck of the woods. It feels lovely! We were out and about Sunday, it was the high 30s, and none of us wore coats.

Our back yard is a soupy, wet mess today. This is how I found my doggie this afternoon.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Don't Cry Over Spilt Milk

Whoever coined that term never had to clean up a brand-new gallon of milk from their refrigerator. Yesterday Bob bought two gallons of milk to last us through the week. One leaked all over the entire fridge. We noticed milk dripping on the floor late last night.

What a mess.

I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. I have a great fear I missed some somewhere and it's going to stink to high heaven.

This morning we found a little milk on the floor, so I need to re-clean the gasket and small area. I need coffee first.


I hope that this is not indicative of how our school week will go!

Looking on the bright side, I guess I can say: I do now have a spotless fridge!

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Summer Fae has tagged me.

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people.
5. Inform the tagees and the person who tagged you

Random Things About Me:

I love coffee and drink it all the time. I make one pot of half-caf in the morning and drink decaf the rest of the day. I use just a pinch of fat-free half and half. I must drink it in one of my latte cups.

My husband is one foot taller than I am. (He's 6'5")

I do several Sudokus every single day.

I have lived longer in my current home than anywhere else in my life. This is my least favorite home, neighborhood, town and state of anywhere I have previously lived. There is nothing to do here. It's too darned cold in the winter and too darned hot and muggy and buggy in the summer.

I love museums. I love bookstores. We have neither where I live!

My secret desire is to own a hot tub.

I tag anyone who wants to play!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wash Day Blues

Guess what my dear, sweet son wore today?

I wish I had snapped a picture of it. He wore his very old jeans that are too short. Shin short. High-waters, as I used to call them. He didn't know what that meant. These jeans were meant to be thrown out because they have holes in them. Fortunately, they were hidden in his closet. We never did get to his room in the big clean-out.


My washer is only putting out ice-cold water. The ice-cold water is coming out in spurts, not normally. So laundry is on hold. Maybe we should go to the laundromat tomorrow with our school books. I bet that would get some looks.

My washer and dryer are about 20 years old, give or take a year. They were awesome machines, but their time has come. I could call a repairman to have the washer looked at. I fear that because of the cost. We had it repaired one or two years ago, and I think the bill was under $200. If I repair it, though, and it goes again, I'd hate to have wasted the money to repair it that I could have used on a new machine. I mean the thing is 20 years old, after all. We occasionally find rust chips in it, too.

So, this week I have been searching reviews for washers. My goodness, buying a washer is more difficult than buying a house or car. Every time I think I've figured out what I want, further searches lead me in the other direction.

The other night I went to Wal-mart, and I walked down the laundry aisle and there was no HE soap to be found. Hey, if I can't buy it at Wal-mart, it ain't gonna happen. (I hate the word ain't.)

That knocked out all the HE machines.

All the reviews and all the websites I visited just boggled my mind. What I did learn was that washers don't last 20 years anymore. Seven to ten years is the life expectancy for a machine purchased in the late 2000s.

After reading about all the mold, mildew and smell problems with front loaders, I marked them off my list. We live in a very humid place, and I battle mold and mildew in my bathrooms. I don't want to battle it in my washer. If we lived in western South Dakota or anywhere else I've ever lived, it wouldn't be a problem. Here, it is a huge problem.

Nonagitator top loaders were my next choice. They got knocked off my list because of repair records. Lots of people regret buying them. Plus, I don't like the fact that they don't spin the dirty water out, rather the dirty water drains through the clothes and out. That means dirt floating in the water can settle back in the clothes.

So, off to find an old-fashioned top loader. Oh, they don't have good records, either. They don't clean well anymore due to water limitations. I really wanted to go green, but it's not looking good for me.

So, what's my solution? A Speed Queen top loader. We'll drive to civilization this weekend and look at them. Bad in that I can't buy one locally. Bad in that if I need it serviced, they'll have to drive to our town.

They have the best warranty in the business, though. It is reported that they will last 15 years. They're well-built, solid machines. They have excellent reviews.

The good thing is that I can manually choose the water level, so I won't use too much. I can run each load through a second spin cycle so I'll have less dryer time. I'm justifying the fact that this uses a bit more water with the fact that I have finally found a dishwasher liquid that actually allows me to load the dishes without pre-washing them. That search took years.

Money, money, money. At least Bob was able to fix our broken garage-door opener today. Now, to get the power steering looked at in the van.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Tonight I am almost giddy. I am so proud our country has finally seen beyond race. I am so proud to be living through this wonderful, historical event.

Mostly, I am so full of hope.

Tomorrow our school day will be spent watching the television. I told Thomas that he can tell his grandchildren about the day, what he was wearing, what he was doing, and the hope that his mother had.

I asked my husband to please pack a lunch and not come home tomorrow. I have never in my life done that. He, the Republican, who did not vote for our new president, is still not overly happy. He has fear. I didn't want him to put a damper on our party day, though. Sorry, Bob--at least he understands.

Tonight I am just so happy, excited and hopeful.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Snow Day

Schools were closed all around us today. Our school was not.

Thomas and I spent a good portion of the morning listening to Don't Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History But Never Learned by Kenneth C. Davis. We are really enjoying this. We did not download this to the Zen, rather we're just listening through our Audible manager. What's really fun is Thomas will ask me a question, we'll stop the audio and discuss. Sometimes I Google something that we're listening to. For instance, today the audiobook was discussing the Freemasons and symbols. (Interesting, as there was just a thread about that at TWTM boards.) I Googled that so Thomas could see the symbols.

We really enjoy doing history this way. We don't test, we don't do much but listen and discuss. I often assign extra reading, but that is changing as Thomas ages. He's too big for "little kid books" and not fast enough of a reader to read a lot of extra "big kid books."

I have him reading all our Cornerstone of Freedom books as we touch each subject area, but he has proclaimed them little kid books. They are. Mom's just holding to that little kid thing. What used to take him an hour, now takes him five minutes. I can't believe he's growing up so fast.

We did our math today. We touched on fractions, yet again, and I acted as a drill sergeant. I'm trying to teach him to not lose focus and to work more quickly. We did two easy worksheets with lots of problems, and as soon as he finished writing the answer, I barked out the next problem. I explained what I was doing and why, to teach him to pace himself. It worked well. I think we'll do an easy worksheet with lots of problems to help him learn to pace every day for awhile, in addition to our regularly schedule program.

The morning was beautiful, with tons of big, white, fluffy flakes floating through the air. After lunch, the wind picked up. As we were working on Analytical Grammar, which we are still really loving, we had periods of white out. It was nice to be sheltered while looking out at the cold, gray, snowy day.

Later in the afternoon I made a big bowl of popcorn and hot chocolate. Not the best combination, but we enjoyed it.

Thomas didn't mind not taking a snow day. We usually follow what the area schools do, but we have too much to do.

Thomas made a cheesy-chicken dish which is in the oven. It's nice to have a hot, comfortable dish on a cold night. It's even better when I don't have to cook it!

It was a good day.

De-lurk Day

Apparently, according to all the blogs I read on a daily basis, it is de-lurk day today.

I don't know if I have ever asked people to de-lurk and say hello before. I will today. I'd love to say hi to some of my lurkers!

Drop me a line!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cleaning Update

Just thought I'd give an update to our cleaning spree. (I know it bores most to tears, but I do go back and read through the blog on occasion, and it's nice to see the reminders.

This past week we started school up again, so the big cleaning came to a halt. I putzed in the kitchen, got the cupboards all organized, but the kitchen remained messy because it was the landing spot for stuff.

Saturday Bob, Thomas and I loaded up our donations for Salvation Army. They filled the van. Off we went, carrying boxes and bags and stuff to them. I asked the nice lady how the new legislation was going to effect them. She said she had just heard about it on Wednesday, and they were going to operate as always until someone told them differently. I was surprised that I had heard about it a couple weeks ago on various homeschool message boards. I was slightly afraid some of our donations would be turned down. They weren't.

We drove home, and loaded 30 grocery bags overflowing with books. We drove to the library and Bob and I each took two bags in. (They were heavy!) The nice librarian thanked us, and we informed her this was the tip of the iceberg. We filled three of their carts, plus overflowed to the floor. We gave them hundreds of books.

I was glad to learn that they actually go through each book and will keep the good ones for their collection. There are some I bet they do keep! I'm sure they'll be thrilled (not!) to find many of their old books, that I had purchased at their sale, made their way back to them.

We drove to the Animal Shelter and donated one last crate we found.

Today we took down the Christmas decorations. I spent about three hours cleaning the living room, and it wasn't even that dirty. I bought myself a new vacuum cleaner, a Kenmore Progressive Upright with Inteli-clean System It is not a bagless. I will never own a bagless vacuum again! I was very tired of dumping the canister all the time, to be honest. The dust made me sneeze. I wanted something less dirty.

This is by far the best vacuum I have ever owned. (Don't laugh, vacuums are a hobby of mine.) There are green, amber and red lights on the vacuum. Green means clean, and amber and red mean dirty. Wow, I vacuumed and vacuumed and vacuumed. Took forever to go from red to green. To look at the carpet, you wouldn't think it was that dirty. Apparently it was, as we have filled the bag twice. I think it just does a really good job at getting deep-down. I moved all the furniture, and that room is clean.

I then re-arranged the furniture. I was so happy with the way I placed things. Thomas came into the room and gave me a WOW! It looked really good.

I then went to do laundry and clean the basement. When I came upstairs, what did I find? My husband had taken it upon himself to put the furniture back the way it had been previous to Christmas. I looked at him in utter disbelief. He likes it better this way. I got snappy with him, when I shouldn't have. But darn it all, it made me mad.

Oh well.

I am still not quite done. I have to go through all the tubs that are now empty and decide what to do with them. I have to re-arrange the laundry room, as we did put some more things in there for storage. (Christmas stuff, mostly, and Bob put it there which means, of course, I didn't like where he put it.)

I'd say another two days tweaking things and I'll call 'er good.

What I have learned with all of this is that this was very good for my soul. I think it was a part of my healing process, a major part. Finally, something I can control: making order out of chaos. Not that it was complete chaos, because it wasn't: I was just ready to purge, quit holding on to stuff, and get things really super clean.

I have to pay bills (wow, I'm really late!) and get the taxes started this week. School is pretty well organized, but I do need to spend an hour or two organizing for the rest of the year.

This weekend I should be ready to hunker down and finish scanning the family photos for my siblings.

November and December of last year I was pretty depressed. It was gettng bad. We did school, but for me, it was just going through the motions. I don't remember a whole lot of what went on, I just kept trying to be optomistic and pretending I was okay even though on the inside I was screaming/crying. I bought myself a light box for the seasonal depression that I get every year. I had that, plus grief-depression. Within a week of sitting under that light box, I felt like a new person. It was amazing how fast it worked. I wasn't completely up to par, but I was so much better! I think that light box, plus Bob's offer to help, was what enabled me to have the energy to do the big clean-out.

So what a great start to the new year. I feel better, even though I'm aware that February, my bad month historically, is coming up on me. My house is clean. My laundry is caught up. School is back in session. Mom's taxi-service is operating again, we're going, we're scheduling get-togethers, and we are (I am) coming back to life.

That's a good thing, because I deserve it!

Thank you, Audrey

Audrey, the super-sleuth, figured it out. How smart of her to go to the Truman Online Library (hey, she is a librarian) and search.

I'm about 98% certain it was Harry S Truman. I've studied his picture, tried to brush the cobwebs out of my brain, and really tried to re-live that day. I think I was stuck on Johnson because he was one of my Dad's favorite presidents.

I'm pretty sure it was April of 1972. Cold wind would have been normal for spring in Cheyenne, and I do remember there was no snow.

Thank you, Audrey!

That all reminded me that I had met a couple other governors in my day. I "met" Governor Herschler, of Wyoming, in the lobby of the Little America Hotel (my favorite hotel, and Thomas's too!) in Cheyenne. By met, we walked past each other and he said hello to me. I was a kid.

As a grown-up, I had the great pleasure to meet Governor George Mickelson of South Dakota. We sat and visited for about fifteen minutes, just the two of us. I really admired and respected him. He was killed in a plane crash in the spring of 1993. The day of his funeral, my husband and I were driving to Denver because my mom was going to have an angioplasty. We listened to his funeral on the radio, and I actually cried.

If I could meet any political figure of today, it would be our future president.

Again, thank you, Audrey, for solving something that had been nagging at me for decades!

Friday, January 09, 2009

I Shook a President's Hand, but Whose Hand Was It?

When I was a young girl growing up in Cheyenne, Wyoming, I remember my mother making me mad. She made me get my coat on and go to the Cheyenne Airport so I could shake Former President So-and-so's hand.

I remember driving out there, parking, and being miserably cold because as usual, the Wyoming wind was whipping. If you've ever been in Cheyenne, or Wyoming for that matter, you know that the wind blows all the time.

I was tired, I was cranky, and I was not in the mood to meet "some old guy." That president stuff was pretty boring to me. My mom was excited about it, and kept trying to impress upon me what a wonderful thing this was, and that some day I would thank her.

Thank you, Mom. You're right, it was a wonderful thing. I just can't remember who it was.

I don't remember a plane landing, but there was excitement in the crowd as the former president approached. Now, I was a shy child, like my sweet son, and my mom kept telling me to get my hand out, as we weren't in the front of the crowd. I would not cooperate.

As the president approached, my normally non-pushy mother picked me up, thrust me forward and demanded I stick my hand out. And I did.

I shook the former president's hand. And I remember him smiling at me. I seem to remember him giving a slight nod to my mother as well.

That was that. Finally, we got out of the cold wind, into the warm car and headed home. I remember my mom being very frustrated with me that I wasn't more enthusiastic. I was just glad to be going home.

I'm sorry, Mom. I was a kid. I didn't know better. I didn't understand the significance of what you were doing for me. All I knew was that it was cold, he was old, and I didn't care. I was seven-ish, what can I say?

I care now.

The thing is, I could never remember who it was. I always thought in the back of my head that it was Lyndon Johnson.

If memory serves me, we moved from Laramie to Cheyenne in...let's see, I started second grade in Cheyenne. I was born in 1965, so I would have started kindergarten the fall of 1970. Laramie: Kindergarten 1970-1971. First grade 1971-1972. Cheyenne: Second grade would have been 1972-1973.

Harry S Truman died December 26, 1972.
Lyndon Baines Johnson died January 22, 1973.

So it was either Harry S Truman or Lyndon Baines Johnson.

This is one of those silly little things that has bothered me for years.

Will I ever know whose hand I shook? My one touch with someone famous, and I don't remember who it was.

Well, Richard Simmons called my house when I was in high school and skinny and loved to exercise. I loved his TV show and General Hospital and he was starting one of his exercise studios in our town, I had called inquiring about classes, and he personally returned the call. It doesn't count, though, because he talked to Mom not me.

Then, of course, there was the time I met Russell Means, who was an extremely kind man, while I worked in South Dakota. That man had a wonderful aura or energy to him.

But the question remains: Which president? Anyone out there know which president visited Cheyenne, Wyoming in the early 70s??

Monday, January 05, 2009

7th Grade Reading - Book List Revisited

Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
The Face on the Milk Carton
Animal Farm
Swiss Family Robinson: Johann Wyss
Shiloh: Phyllis Reynold’s Naylor
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry: Mildred Taylor
The Incredible Journey: Sheila Burnford
Johnny Tremain: Esther Forbes
The Fox and the Hound
Julie of the Wolves: Jean Craighead George
Heidi: Johanna Spyri
Gentle Ben Walt Morey
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
David Copperfield: Charles Dickens
The Diary of Anne Frank
Little Britches
Flowers of Algernon
Summer of my German Soldier
A Wrinkle in Time Thomas liked this book so much, he got the entire series for his birthday and read all of them, too!
Anne of Green Gables
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Hobbit
The Cay
Phantom Tollbooth
Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad
Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes
White Fang
The Outsiders
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Day No Pigs Would Die
The Odyssey
Al Capone Does My Shirts
The Chocolate War
All Creatures Great and Small

Thomas has read so many books this year, he says he can't remember them all by name as there are so many. I make him read every day, and while I know what he's reading while he's reading it, and I usually write it down, I agree, I can't name them either. I know he read Lord of the Flies and he loved it.

I want him to plug away at this list a little bit, because there are some good books on this. I was really sad to see he had read so few on our list! Time to make up for that.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sunday, January 4

Well, I'm not done.

My kitchen is a horrid mess. But gee, the cupboards are clean, nice and neat. Well, all but two that is.

I'm having a wee bit of anxiety right now because we have to start school tomorrow. School? Eeeks, I've almost forgotten how to do school. I have nothing ready. I forget where we are.

While we're doing school tomorrow, I'll be fretting about the state of the kitchen.

It's a vicious cycle.

We didn't even get to Thomas's room. UGH. Christmas decorations are still up.

However, I am still thrilled beyond measure at what we have accomplished.

I think tomorrow will be a slow start. Math, Spanish, art--we have yet to do our gingerbread house, and the Thomas can work on that while I work on the kitchen. Better late than never. Reading, history--I guess it will be a full enough day.

I had so hoped we'd be finished. To be honest, I'm really getting sick of it all. I said the same thing over and over today, "I am not having fun, I am not having fun. UGH." At least there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We're this close.

I might have finished, but my iPod quit working and I wasted two hours fiddling with it. (It works again, thankfully.) Priorities, right?

Just Thinking Out Loud

I shouldn't be posting this, but it's on my mind and has been since the death of a beautiful 16-year old boy.

First off, I am talking about the Travoltas. My heart goes out to the parents and sister because they have experienced every parent's worst nightmare. I feel for them from the bottom of my soul. I really do. I just cannot imagine what they are going through.

But, I have questions. I would bring these up if this were not the child of someone famous, if I had read the story in a newspaper or online.

First off, if your child has Kawasaki Disease or Kawasaki Syndrome, and you blame it on fertilizers and household chemicals, why, oh why, would you live in a home that is on a runway, with a jet parked next to your home? Can you imagine the fumes from that jet? How could they not get into the home? I just find that very questionable.

Secondly, if you have a child with a seizure disorder, as I do, if the medication you have been giving said child quits working, wouldn't you try new meds? Wouldn't you do everything you could to help the seizure disorder? I know I would.

Grand mal seizures are violent things. What happened to that beautiful boy could happen to anyone with epilepsy. It is a huge fear of mine. Oh, does my heart ache for them.

I've been reading reports for at least a year that Jett was autistic. I suspected it when I saw a photo of him tip-toe walking, several photos of him wearing a hood, and videos showing his mannerisms. I wondered, and then I go back to this: What business is it of mine? It's not.

However, what I'm trying to come to terms with is that we have freedom of religion in this country. What if, though, that religion comes in the way of the health and well being of a minor child? Is it the business of anyone but the parents?

Is a religion founded by a science-fiction writer even a religion?

This could have happened whether he was on medication or not. Not every type of seizure disorder is completely controlled with medication. It is a huge risk. Obviously it was a concern to the family as they had two nannies, both of whom, according to reports, were with him round the clock. Plus, they had an alarm that went off when he entered the bathroom. So it's not as if they were neglecting the situation.

My heart is heavy. This has touched me because it hit home. Again, I, too, have a child with epilepsy.

It is none of my business. This family should be left alone to grieve. Yet I can't help but wonder about it all. Looking at photos of John and his son, you can almost feel the love oozing from John toward his son.

My sincere condolences to the family. I just can't imagine.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Saturday, January 3

At 4 pm today, the basement was officially done.


Now I just have the kitchen and Thomas's room to tackle, but did I mention, the basement is done?

We kept finding things to do, and I thought we'd never finish.

We re-arranged the furniture, so Thomas now has a gaming area. It will be a comfortable area for watching movies as well.

For a "dumpy" basement, it's clean and looks nice. It really needs painted, though.

Bob and I had our first argument today. We've been getting along really, really well -- something that, sadly, is atypical when we work together. (We usually bicker a little.) Today, though, we had words over the futon. See, it's over 15 years old and I suspected the mattress was dirty. Bob just wanted to flip the mattress. He went off to clean the shed (wonderful man, that wasn't even on our to-do list) and I got online and priced futon mattresses. I figured it would be cheaper to get rid of the futon and get a new couch rather than replacing the mattress. Bob disagreed vehemently because our futon is very beautiful, solid oak. It was expensive years ago when we bought it, and its held its beauty and structure.

So I threw a little kid fit:

ME: I am NOT keeping the mattress.
BOB: We'll just flip it over.
ME: Gross. I think it's dirty. I have a gut feeling. I want clean.
BOB: You're crazy, it's not dirty.
ME: Stomping my feet, waaaaah, having a two-year-old tantrum: No!


ME: Let's take the cover off the futon and examine the mattress.
BOB: Okay.

Bob took the cover off the mattress. He looked at it, flipped it over, and that ended that. The mattress was thrown into the dumpster. I didn't have to say a word. I think pops had been spilled on it, and baby juice and milk and it was just old.

Bob is going to buy a new mattress. I am going to buy a water-proof mattress cover and a lovely fitted sheet to cover it. That's one thing I love about futons, you can easily change the look with a sheet. Can't do that with a couch.

So, done! Done, done, done with the basement that once was a dungeon.

I had hoped to start the kitchen tonight, BUT I took a nap, then had supper late. I have supper to clean up and it's already after 10. So tomorrow we'll forge ahead. And we've decided to do Thomas's room after all, so he'll start on his room tomorrow.

Hey, did I mention our basement is done?

Bob's more thrilled with the laundry room, a room where I do most of the work, while I'm more thrilled with the family room. Hey, we found out we have a big air hocky table and a train table. Who knew those cool things were under books and clutter?

When I laid down to take my nap this afternoon, I heard a lovely thing: The air hocky table going, and Bob and Thomas playing.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Friday, January 2

It's Friday, I just checked the blog, and we started this spree one week ago today. Wow--it's all a blur, but wow.

Didn't quite get the family room done. We're really close, but we just pooped out. I still haven't done the games. Bob was laughing at me because I've probably spent an entire hour going up to it, looking at it, and walking away. I'll probably just dust most the games off, re-organize them, and call it good. Or else let Bob do it. He's better at getting rid of my stuff than I am.

At one point today while Thomas and I were working, he was asking about iTunes. He wants to put some things on our Zen Vision. I told him he should just get a Shuffle like I have. Then he said it:

"Mom, you always do that. You always want to buy new. Look at what we're doing here, Mom. We're getting rid of things and you just want to fill us up again. This is hard work and I don't want to do it again."

Wow, was that sobering.

Zen it is. He's right. I'll keep myself in check, and if I don't, he certainly will!

Thomas is one who doesn't like to get rid of things. I think we've set a tremendous example for him, because he is a changed boy. He had several toy tubs under his train table. He went through every single one of them and decluttered. He threw pictures he's drawn away. I was floored. He went from three big tubs to one, plus two smaller train containers. He's growing up, and this is the first time in his life that he has willingly gotten rid of things. Wow.

Thomas prepared dinner for us tonight. He made cheesy chicken and noodles. I'm so glad I've taught him to cook. Or maybe it was Bob that taught him to cook. I was tired and that was a huge help.

I don't think we'll get Sunday off like I had hoped. It all depends on how hard we work tomorrow. I just want to be done before Monday.

Just a Little Whining

I just need to whine. I hate doing the family room. Every time I go to the game cupboard I stare at it, move a few games around, then walk away. I don't like to play board games. To me, they're bored games. Yet, we have lot of good games and Thomas likes to play. I asked Bob if he would look them over. Every one of them I'd keep except for his Risk game. I did sneak out the Hungry, Hungry Hippos, though.

I have been going through all the computer disks, games, etc. I have discovered that the antique library filing cabinet that I brought home from Denver is wonderful to have in that the tiny drawers at the top that used to hold index cards work perfectly for CD storage. That's very nice. I was wondering what I would do with those drawers.

I have made a paperwork stack next to the big filing cabinet, because I just don't have the time or patience to file now. I appreciate your comments on how you all file and deal with paperwork, as it's encouraging. I really liked Audrey's comment about throwing out the old bill when the new arrived and there was proof of payment.

I am not having fun today. I am not enjoying this today, I am not feeling free. It's not exciting, it's tedious. I will force myself to continue, because it's the last biggie -- tomorrow will be the kitchen and I'll be done. Oh, if only I could be more decisive today.

I need a blast of energy. I don't know why this room is such a challenge to me, but it is.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Thursday, January 1 (And a question for my readers)

Too pooped to pop!

Perhaps it was our wild partying last night (lying around watching TV trying to stay awake to bring in the new year) or perhaps we were just mentally and physically drained, but...

I finished the laundry room this morning and called 'er good. For today.

Thomas, Bob and I all laid down at 11 to take a nap. We all woke about 1 in the afternoon. We were all too drained to put any more work in today. We vegged. We sat around. We did nothing except watch The Twilight Zone all day. It felt darned good.

However, our day of rest is over and tomorrow we'll be hitting it hard. We have the family room and exercise room to finish. That sounds so funny, the exercise room. Well, it is an exercise room, but it's in the dungeon and it's a small ante-room that you go through to get to the bathroom. We have a treadmill that is leaving, because it's not electric and I hate it to pieces, and have for the 20 years I've owned it. I've always wanted to get rid of it and get a "real" treadmill, but Bob wanted to keep it. It makes me mad because I spent the same on it, a Schwinn, as I would have a cheap electric unit that I would have used. So out it goes. Bob's antique Bowflex stays as well as the punching bag.

One time I was really mad about something and went down and hit that punching bag. It hurt my hand. That made me even madder. Thomas's baseball bat just happened to be sitting there so I picked it up and hit the punching bag with it: wow, was that cathartic. Now I just don't get mad anymore, but Bob likes to work out with the stupid thing.

I also have the kitchen to go through, but will probably do that Saturday. We're hoping to finish up Saturday so we can rest Sunday and I can get school ready to go.

Now here's the question:

How do you all do paperwork? I mean the storage of paperwork? I don't like my system (throwing it in a to-be filed box and never filing) and want to know how normal people do paperwork so that it doesn't take over the house. How long do you keep stuff? Do you keep your water bill? What do you do with all the paper? Any loose papers I've come across that I didn't shred have been put in a box, and that will be an upcoming project. I hate paper and paperwork, and there's just got to be an easy way to deal with it. Fess up.

Happy New Year!

Bridge Contest

Calling all budding engineers, it's time for the 2009 West Point Bridge Design Contest!

Go to the site, download their software, form a team of 1-2 members, and build the least expensive bridge that will support the simulated load test.

How fun!

Who is eligible? (No reason to start a petition, homeschoolers are included!)

1) Students, age 13 through grade 12, who are currently enrolled in middle schools, junior high schools, and high schools in the United States.
(2) Students, age 13 through grade 12, who are legally home schooled in the United States.
(3) All U.S. citizens, age 13 through grade 12, who are attending school outside of the United States or are home-schooled outside of the United States.