Friday, October 31, 2008

On Being Sarah

I figured I'd be the most frightening thing my Democrat friends would encounter today.

But I thought I might be the darling of my more Republican neighborhood.

I like to call this one "Sarah and the coven".

Except for the fact that I needed to remain mute all evening (that is one hard accent to master), I enjoyed walking in Sarah's shoes - only not literally. After dinner at a neighbors, but before trick-or-treating began, I needed to put on my Alaskan boots in order to maintain my caribou Barbie look and actually be able to walk.

And one last time: what's the difference between a homeschool mom and a Pug?

Yup. Lipstick. Oh, and not barking near as much.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween

The heads ended up shrinking to about 1.5 inches tall with a slightly pinkish tint.

The results of our efforts at pumpkin carving this year.

A Handicrafts Holiday

In light of the scary economic times and the general nervousness that people are feeling about their own financial situations, there seems to be a return to the simpler things in life. In keeping with that simplicity, and our discussions of the warm joy of a homemade Christmas, my friend bestowed me with this lovely sampler for my birthday yesterday.
It just about sums things up, doesn't it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Truly Scary

The only thing scarier than these guys is how much I love this song. It's time for me to get some new music people!

Does anyone have any music that has come out in the last five years or so that they actually like?

And I've tried. Lordy, lordy knows I've tried. But after Maria McKee from her Lone Justice days, I just can't bring myself around to enjoying any country music. Sorry, BIL.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pithy Parenting

Your thoughts become your words;
Your words become your actions;
Your actions become your habits;
Your habits become your character;
Your character becomes your destiny.

Tell me something. Is it just me, or is this just great advice to give your teens and tweens? I don't know who said it originally, but I've found it very appropriate for two of my three children during that time period.

The other one got this Eleanor Roosevelt classic:

Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Okay, this is not the work I needed to prepare for next week, but I just had to make certain you took a gander at today's Martha Stewart's Halloween Idea of the Day today. It could be that I am making great strides in eating right and therefore cannot have such treats so it looks more appetizing to me than it really is, or it could be that it just screams YUM!

And then there were....Fifteen!

Izzy the wonder pug alerted us to the turkey circus going on outside this morning before we heard the ruckus ourselves. There, in the street beside our house, we saw the turkey show in the center ring! While a mostly turkey audience looked on, five or six turkeys were fighting for superiority. Then we noticed Tom, in all his fluffed out glory, playing the barker in ring one. As the action died down in the street ring, the turkeys returned to surround Tom as he turned slowly watching his turkey ponies prance around him. Fifteen in all, including Tom.

It was interesting. And confusing.

Which ones are mine?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Time Challenged

I'm not talking about "so many books, so little time" type stuff, here. I'm talking about those who view those little sets of numbers with that funny colon in the middle as a guide to the order of activities in their day rather than the explicit delineators for a specific, weekly, shared activity. Of course it wouldn't bother me much except that I am most often left waiting, thereby waisting* my time. This is my challenge. (*That, and apparently spelling.)

Actual photograph of the interior of some of my friends' heads. And you know who you are!

Is this the curse of homeschoolers everywhere? Or is it just me unable to go with the flow? I'm willing to accept that it's my problem with being too rigid, but then I wonder, how do they get anywhere on time? Surely there are things in life that absolutely require them to be on time. Somehow, miraculously, they get there on time.

Is it possible that my time is just not a priority for them? Hmmm. I'm going to have to think about that one.

As we like to say around here, "I've got issues."


There. I feel a little better now.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Objectivism and Objectivists Round-Up #67

I am continuing to work on an essay entitled "Why I am an Objectivist".

In it, I am not trying to explain Objectivism inasmuch as I am attempting to explain why I identify myself as an Objectivist. Oddly, I am finding that my essay requires much more effort and editing than I originally thought it would. After all, how hard could it be? It's all about me - a subject on which I am a uniquely qualified expert! In its current state, however, my essay lacks precision and the depth necessary to clearly explain the importance of this moral philosophy. In short, it is perfectly reflective of my intellectual short-comings in this area.

There is one thing of which I am certain regarding Objectivism (or any philosophy for that matter): if you are really interested in its ideas, you should read the original sources of the philosophy, in this case, the fiction or non-fiction works of Ayn Rand. While there are many Objectivist writers whose books and essays on Objectivism and its application I enjoy reading and often find inspiring, Ayn Rand is unsurpassed in her clarity, precision, and application of the philosophy she developed.

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
—Ayn Rand
In the meantime, you can peruse this week's collected posts of some of the Objectivist bloggers.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wisdom Supporting Liberty

While I would certainly not agree with his politics, Aime-Jules Dalou created this inspiring bronze entitled "Wisdom Supporting Liberty" displaying an armored Athena holding up an unarmed and exhausted Liberty.

There were 10 casts made, one of which grabbed me at the Clark Art Institute this weekend.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Who's Intercepting My Mail?

It's a damn good thing I haven't yet gone over the edge like Naomi Wolf, or I might get a little paranoid about receiving this:

Instead of this:

Well at least they did heed this:

Because except for being opened and empty, the envelope was in perfect condition.

Shrunken Head Update

I know you're dying to see the progress on our Halloween Shrunken Head project. So without further ado, I give you two of them on Day 1 (as carved).

And here they both are on Day 10, respectively.

Ew. The guy above looks really gross (mold in your mouth will do that), and the guy on the right - YIKES!
I can hardly wait to see what they look like when they develop that pinkish tinge.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Helpful Halloween Hints

Costume of the year: Caribou Barbie (aka: Sarah Palin/Tina Fey)

(Where have I been? I just read the "Caribou Barbie" in a comment on Pharyngula - that's hilarious!)

I've got to get a red Chanel-like suit and and work on the Alaskan (by way of Wisconsin) accent. I've got the glasses and the hair and a push-up bra, so I won't need one other thing.

Oh yeah, except the party to go to. I think my efforts will be wasted on the neighborhood kids.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


This is from my parents' local newspaper police blotter:

All four wheels were stolen from a Honda on ****** St. overnight. The car was left on blocks.

Yes. My poor parents were rudely jolted into action early Friday morning by a call from their concerned neighbor. It appeared that all four tires were stolen off of their new Honda Fit and the car was left on cinder blocks in their driveway, approximately 40 feet from where they slept in their little house on the incredibly safe dead end street where I grew up (I'm still waiting for copies of the photos).

My father is downright apoplectic over it, while my mother seems to be handling it with more humor (which is in turn causing my father to have more apoplexy). I have to admit, it's kind of funny in a National Lampoon's Vacation kind of way, but really, they must feel horribly violated.

How does one properly direct one's anger here?

I wonder if this means they'll be packing up and heading toward me? I think that might be an improper overreaction at this point.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Get Happy

Some how the words don't match the bluesy-snappy thing, but it works nonetheless.

We're singing this in chorus, too!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Too Funny To Not Post

The SNL version of the VP debate. I'm sure that Stephen will have plenty to say about how the Moderator-Queen stared longer at the ridiculous answers given by Sarah-Tina, but it's SNL for cryin' out loud!

In related news, the 30 Rock season starts October 30th!

Virtual Coffee Mug #3

I'm sad because one of my two matching "Life is Good" mugs (featured center above) cracked when I was pouring hot water in it for tea. I love that mug - it's got a good weight and a nice diner-style shape, and now it's only fit to hold the lint roller. Sad. Happily I did get a new witchy one from a friend who only recently found out about my mug-collecting habit. Thanks, Fiddler!

Speaking of tea, we've gone from water and juice, to tea and hot cider. It's been unseasonably cool around here and I refuse to allow the heat to go on until November.

As those of you who may have been checking Martha Stewart's Halloween Idea of the Day may know, she's not keeping up with posting her craft ideas too well. So here is my contribution.

This is the best pug costume ever. I wish I could say it was mine (dog or costume), alas it is not, but my dog does look just like that. This brings me to my next point:

I love that expression. It all comes down to a few seminal movies, doesn't it? Not to be confused with Seminole movies - I don't actually know any of those.

In other good news, the Sox won the ALCD and are up next against the Rays in the ALCS beginning Friday night. I'm guessing that a lot of homeschoolers have a chalk or white board in their dining rooms.
But I bet you don't have this posted on it:
Thanks, stats guy.

And finally, in my internet travels, I have come across three minutes of happiness. (I'm just trying to expand the definition of being rickrolled.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Snow Report

In keeping with Christmas time thinking, here's a snow report, from Mars!

Christmas Time is Here

Okay. Not really, but I've been thinking about it and this beautiful little song.

We're singing this song in chorus this year. I love the memories of watching this on TV when I was young, but even more, it sounds beautiful when we are singing it all together now.

I hope Martha Stewart has some awesome, low-cost things to make for Christmas this year. I'm going to need the help budget- and spirit-wise.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Stemming the Tide of Fear

I sure am glad those congressmen rammed through the expropriation of our funds for the good of the country. Glad their Blue Hippo efforts gave us what we deserved in order to save us from ourselves. They really knew what they were talking about when they decided that taking and redistributing 700 billion of our collective dollars in an emergency measure would help calm the fears about our economy. They really understood how that one day plummet of the stock market meant that we were beginning to panic. Phew! Sure am glad that's over.

Check out today's DJIA. It's not pretty. Right now it's down 768 points. And now we're out that $700 billion to boot.

Go Legislators! Go Legislators! Go! Go! Go Legislators!

I thought they might want some chanting of their own. It seems that feeling like a rock star and/or part of a tribe is more important than understanding how a government of laws, not of men, sets America apart.

Update: So the Dow Jones closed only 369.88 points down - below 10,000 (9955.50).

Dating Conventions

No, I don’t mean bringing flowers or knocking on the door instead of beeping in the driveway; I mean B.C., B.C.E., A.D., and the like. I thought it was interesting that immediately prior to the signatures on the Constitution of the United States, the document contains the following:

Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,

Was this A.L.(Anno Libertas) convention, conventional? How long did it last? Does this mean that our Founding Fathers tried to buck over 1000 years of history? Or was it a sign of how strong their convictions ran regarding the establishment of the greatest nation on earth?

I feel defeated to admit that it seems but a quaint notion now held dear by so few of us.

The Circumvention of the Constitution

Mini-lesson on the malleability of the Constitution (you know, that pesky old document our elected officials are sworn to uphold).

Article I. Section. 7. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Because the House voted down the bailout last Monday, the Senate had no choice but to scavenge a technically live, but substantially defeated House Resolution, gut its insides, replace its language with something more suitable to the immediate purposes of the Senate, leaving behind only the number (in this case H.R. 1424) and originator’s name and then it can effectively originate a resolution in which Revenue is raised.

The fact that this Frankensteinian practice is widely accepted as a “congressional vehicle” disgusts me and just adds insult to the injury caused by our elected officials.

I suppose I should be running out of shock and awe, but this little tidbit of information came as quite an unwelcome surprise to me as I read it (via HBL) yesterday morning.

Friday, October 3, 2008

How They Re-voted - Revolting

This is how each member of the House voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 today. As you'll see, there is no trouble getting through now.

Now that it's a done deal, maybe quick thank you notes to the brave hold-outs are in order. I'll think about it.

"A capitalist economy can't be fixed with socialist ideals."

Head over to and read some of the articles of Jonathan Hoenig. It'll be worth your while.

via HBL.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Jane Taylor (1783-1824)

The Violet

Down in a green and shady bed,
A modest violet grew;
Its stalk was bent, it hung its head
As if to hide from view.

And yet it was a lovely flower,
Its colour bright and fair;
It might have graced a rosy bower,
Instead of hiding there.

Yet thus it was content to bloom,
In modest tints arrayed;
And there diffused a sweet perfume,
Within the silent shade.

Then let me to the valley go
This pretty flower to see;
That I may also learn to grow
In sweet humility.

Do you know Jane Taylor? You should. She was a novelist (compared to Jane Austen) who also happened to write the words to "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star".

And Then There Were Six

Rather than being eaten, it’s possible that at the age of four to five months old, our turkey chicks may actually be living on their own, so we shouldn’t be too sad that another one is missing (one other is just not pictured) today – so I explained to my youngest this morning .

No doubt inspired by my frank discussions with her twenty year-old brother about his uncertain future due to his lack of enthusiasm in college, she suggested that perhaps the turkey “is living in his mother’s basement”.

Maybe I should stop wearing this t-shirt around the house.

Update: my daughter may have been onto something this morning. This afternoon Butterball decided to grace his family (and our back yard) with his presence, so there are still seven of them.

Do You Feel Like I Do?

Lately, when I'm not channeling Peter Frampton, I've been feeling like this grumpy looking fellow (just the curmudgeonly sqwinched up face, not the whole head on a pike thing).

If you'd rather make the shrunken head look out of apples than with your own face, visit Martha Stewart's Halloween Idea of the Day, today.

The Red, White, and Blue Hippo

Over the last few days, I’ve heard a lot of disturbing things come out of the mouths of politicians mostly echoing this sentiment of Nancy Pelosi, “We need to insulate and protect the taxpayers”. I thought this save them from themselves attitude was a rather odd way of describing a $700 billion government spending spree on bad debt being that the government doesn’t actually have any money except that which it can raise from the taxpayers. Now, in case you haven’t guessed, I’m not an economist (although I did get A’s in both macro and micro and finally borrowed the text book toward the end of the second semester – a flimsy claim at knowledge, I know) but it appears the “leadership” in our country may have forgone even attending economics class.

This is what I understand so far: the crisis, or credit crunch, is due to overextension of credit for housing loans, much of which was originated (?) or purchased by the government sponsored enterprises (GSE), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or through other private institutions that were encouraged to extend this credit risk through various regulations and government policies. The mortgage seekers, who, not meeting the market standards of good credit risks, were granted loans through these GSE’s and other less shrewd lenders, began to default on the loans (which means – not pay them back) and the loan owners began to foreclose (which means to take back the right to redeem) on those properties. Now there are a whole bunch of people who can’t afford to pay for their houses (because they never could afford it) and a whole bunch of companies who are going belly-up because their customers defaulted on the bad loans they wrote them due to government interference in the market.

The proposed solution: more government intervention in the form of a massive influx of fiat funds (more on that below in the first referenced WSJ article) for failing GSE’s and unscrupulous companies for which the taxpayers will pay now and in the future.

And they have the audacity to call this a failure of the free-market.

Three weeks ago, it appeared that no one in the government saw this coming. We, the people, seemed outraged at the sudden request of the President to bail out these companies at the price of $700 billion. The House resisted, possibly fearing the unpopularity of the bill and their chances for reelection. With the help of one bad day – not the worst – on Wall St. to point to, the Senate bulldozed it through and the House will likely revisit it tomorrow.

I know that the above is an oversimplification of the situation – it just has to be – but I think it is essentially correct. Please feel free to straighten out any of my incorrect assumptions or facts. I want to know.

In the meantime, please read this excellent article on the roots and solution in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, and today’s eye-opening entry, What They Said About Fan and Fred.

This fiasco is a perfect example of the tendency of those in power to improperly expand the function of government garnering more power for themselves under the distortion of what principle of government exactly? Promoting the general Welfare? Again, you can’t mandate the stupid out of people, but you can certainly subsidize it. This is contrary to promoting the general welfare.

We get the government we deserve. What will it take for us to realize that that crushing sensation is not from our strenuous efforts to achieve our personal values within the individual rights protected by our government, but from the Red, White, and Blue Hippo sitting on our chests claiming to save us from ourselves?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What would you say to the President?

I could only hope to be as straight forward but still respectful as Sylvia Bokor.

Speaking of what's new, check out her new blog, Sylvia Bokor Comments.

What's new?

In a momentous decision, I have linked my blog with my blogger profile. "So what?" you may ask. This is big news for me. Now, wherever I have made a comment in the past, I can be linked to this blog which is quite personal. For someone who has been concerned about the impact of her opinion on the treatment of her children by others and learned to harden the target against some pretty unsavory people, this move in some way represents the letting go of fear.

Don't get me wrong - I respect fear. I think it can be an instructional emotion. But some fears should be overcome. I just hope that this move will not cause my posting to go from rather tame to unforgivably boring. I don't think I could take another Welcome Fall post.

And by the way, Happy October!

I really am a simply happy person. I just don't suffer fools lightly which is why I always look angry and why I find living with teenagers so hard, but that's a story for another time.

Why History?

This is the title of Scott Powell's excellent essay in the Secular Homeschooling Magazine quarterly issue.

As a homeschooling parent whose child is going on her third year of learning history with Mr. Powell, I really can't express enough how well he distills and presents the important facts of history to his students. He is always ready to answer any questions, or consider what and why some things may seem important. Best of all, he inspires them to make connections between the facts of history and their present day lives. As you can imagine, the study of history can present some pretty ugly facts, but he never shies from the truth, or candy-coats things. He approaches it all with a sound pedagogy. He truly is a wonderful teacher.

From the essay:
"The most brilliant people are not those who retain everything, but those who have the instinctive ability to discard anything that isn't relevant."

The subject of history in unique in academic efforts in that when you are able to identify the red herrings, you can better understand not only the problem at hand, but the world around you. That understanding is nothing short of an advantage in achieving and retaining happiness in life.

Visit History At Our House for more information or drop me a note. I'm delighted to share this excellent homeschool resource. By the way, Mr. Powell also teaches adult classes, but I'll let Stephen talk about that one.