Saturday, July 04, 2015

Happy Fourth!

I don't know that we'll celebrate today.  We partied last weekend with out of town family coming for a visit and this weekend, we may just stay home and do nothing.  I'm okay with it.  I was up half the night worrying about my mom's house not selling and my house is a mess and needs to be cleaned up, so I may spend the day cleaning and working at my job and then go see mom tomorrow and that will be my weekend. I've got mom's house on the agenda for Monday again.  It still needs a lot done to it

This week, I had a doctor's appointment in an old historic building in town with a museum also in the building so I took the kids and they explored the museum while I had my appointment and then we went to Wendy's for free Frostys and then walked through an art gallery.  The art gallery made me feel kind of good about my art, because I think that some of my art is as good as some of the art that was there, not all of it, but some of it.  :-)

Anyway, what we've been doing, looking into college for the girl, watching it rain (every day!), spending a lot of time taking care of the dogs because Piper and Freckles have been fighting and Freckles has been losing every time and so now she has to go out chaperoned, which seems to take up a lot of time.  Youngest son is doing school this summer of his own free will, not wanting to lose track of his German lessons.  We've been getting Gilmore Girls from Netflix and watching it in the evenings while doing art and crocheting.   My husband has gotten better from his Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and is back to work.  So that's life here, July 2015.  :-)

I put my Christmas cactus outside and it's enjoying the rainy season and sprouting these new little red nubs.  Aren't they cute?  

Monday, June 29, 2015

To the lake!

We went to a local lake and the kids got to go pedal boating and kayaking.   So much  fun.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

In Summertime Mode, but ...

We're enjoying the pool, watermelon and chicken salad, seasonal fruit and other things, but we've already had our challenges this summer.  We've still got my mom's house to sell and still there are things that need to be cleaned out.  We go several times a week and work on it.  This causes an influx of junk to our house and I'm not sure if I'm going to keep it, so to make room, we've taken all of our possible yard sale stuff to Goodwill.  During this time, my husband unexpectedly got pretty darn sick and couldn't get out of his easy chair much at all for the last week.  Turns out, according to the testing at the doctor's office, he has Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  I've heard of it, but I've never known anyone who had it.  It turns out that is actually what killed my husband's great grandfather according to his mom.  Thankfully, there's doxycycline now and and so my husband is on the mend.  It's been rough though.

In between things, I've been doing a lot of art, drawing a lot of big old flowers, because it makes me feel better about everything.  :-P

It's almost time for those of us in Kentucky to send our Letter of Intent To Homeschool to the school board!  It's our last one.  :-(

We're looking forward to our oldest son and his girlfriend coming for a good long visit in August!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

My Best Homeschooling Advice.

I'm almost done with homeschooling and I have joined this facebook page for homeschoolers.  Every day, someone comes on there and asks about curriculum, often for preschoolers and kindergartners. Most of the time I give my opinion, knowing that no one will pay attention to it.  Nonetheless, after years of reading and researching and homeschooling for 11 years, here's my advice.  Keep in mind that over the years I have become more radically pro-homeschooling.  It's just been so wonderful for us.

1.  Do it.  Plan to do it this fall and use the summer to get ready.  Homeschooling is good for kids and it's good for families.

2.  Don't over do it.  This is the most important thing and I see the older homeschoolers giving this advice over and over and over again and the younger new homeschoolers ignoring it.  It's flying right on over their heads as they begin to emulate everything that the public schools are doing wrong, overdoing it and making their kids hate school and burning themselves out.  Seriously, do the minimum and then have fun with your kids the rest of the time, reading, playing and cuddling.  This is how kids learn.  Please, if you never listen to anything else I've ever said, go read this blog.
Freedom to Learn.

3.  Have fun!  I'll say it again, read, play, cuddle, go out and do things in the community, volunteer together, get to know extended family members, go to the library every chance you get and check out as many books as you can carry, go to the park.

4.  Support Your Kid's Interests.  We had this speaker come to our homeschool group one time.  She talked about how her daughter's curriculum for several years was tailored around her love of horses, she wrote about horses, planned a business involving horses and did the math for the business and all kinds of things, on her own. The internet is full of stories about homeschoolers who follow their interests into careers.

5.  Don't Rush.  There is some evidence that pushing kids to do things before they are ready is harmful.

6.  Don't Panic.  Your kid is going to be okay.    If you feel you need a checklist, here is one.  The Checklist.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The closest to camping we will get this summer.

The kids and I have been really good this week about getting over to mom's house and cleaning out some of the remaining junk.  We've pretty much cleared the main living areas and have a couple of boxes in the den and a few boxfuls of things in the walk-in closet.  That stuff, of course, will multiply and turn into several car-loads full of stuff when we start to go through it, but we've really been doing pretty good.  We've taken at least 4 loads of stuff in my tiny SUV to Goodwill.   The problem with this is that mom's yard has not been mowed or treated with any kind of pesticides and it is full, apparently, of biting insects.  I have been terribly bitten on each of these trips.  My right forearm alone has about 11 bites, if that tells you anything.  :-(

Then day before yesterday, our central air went out and our house quickly went up to nearly 90 degrees inside.  Our wonderful air conditioning repair man came out almost as soon as he was called yesterday and got it fixed in just a few minutes, so we were only without air overnight one night.
I laid there, dosing on and off, itching, sweating and listening to the frogs and crickets outside and thought up the title to this post.  "That's the closest I will get to camping this year, maybe ever."
And by that, I mean primitive (real) camping.  If my husband wants to invest in an RV with A/C, I'm all over that.  :-)  

Some of us around here are seriously starting to feel that we need a vacation, but mom's house, getting it ready to sell, has to be the priority.  We need to focus on that exclusively until we get it done.  I was dreading selling mom's house at first, but now I really can't wait.   Funny how time changes things.

Dreaming of the beach ... it's been almost 4 years since we've taken a vacation.  

Monday, June 15, 2015

Trying to get something done.

I'm trying to get some things done.  It's my day off and I have decision fatigue and so as not to be paralyzed by the choices, I wrote some things down on little slips of paper and when I finish one thing, I grab another slip of paper and go.  In this way, I've gotten the dishes done, supper made, some elephant ear plants planted, exercised and contacted 2 people about my mom's house.  Still in the pile are visiting mom and going to her house to work some more today.  I may take a nap before I go see mom and I may put it off until tomorrow.  I haven't decided (or picked a paper) for either of those yet.  If I don't go see her, I will work on her house.

It's looking better.  It still has a lot, lot, lot that needs to be done, but I guess eventually, we'll get there.  I am so thankful that my kids will go with me and work pretty much without complaining.  That is a blessing.

We're out of school now and gearing up for summer.  :-)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Happy birthday!

Youngest son turned 17 yesterday.   It seems impossible.  I always say that, but it does.   I ended up having a nonstop long day because I was going to see my mom, but decided to take my aunt to see her too and then we ended up adding in some extra stops.  After I got home, we visited a while and read our book for the nigth and then I went to bed.  I didn't even stay up long enough to get some of the birthday cake.  It was cherry cheese pie and had to be made after I came home with the ingredients and then it had to chill overnight.  I'll have some of that for breakfast.  :-)

As it is a youngest-son's-birthday tradition, I'll share some quotes from him over the years.

My youngest son came up to me a minute ago and said "do you want to see my sticker collection?" I asked where it was, he said (what every homeowner wants to hear) "its on my wall. Do you know why it is on my wall?" I said "no" and he said "because my wall doesn't have hair and I do." I guess he's had some painful experiences peeling off band-aids. ;-) 

Tonight my youngest son was talking about the Barney show again. He was puzzled. He said "The kids on that show are like, 6 years old, but they don't know anything. Barney has to teach them everything."

One time when my youngest was little, he came up to me and said "Barney loves me, but I don't love him. I like his show though."


Yesterday, we were supposed to clean the house. And we did. A little. I told my youngest son he needed to clean and he said "I don't like cleaning." I told him that I don't like it either, but it has to be done. He said "my liking of cleaning is as low as the earth's core.

The other night, youngest son climbed into bed between his Dad and I. After a few minutes, he complained that he was hot. I was barely awake and said "What? You're hot?" He said, "Yeah, you're warm and Daddy's warm and 2 warms make a hot."

After the appointment, we went to the grocery where we saw some gluten free, egg free, dairy free cookie mix.  My youngest said he could imagine the advertisement for those cookies, "Anyone can eat these cookies!  They taste terrible, but anyone can eat them!" 

We still have our let it snow wreath on the front door.  I noticed it last night and was going to take it down but my youngest said, "No, leave it up.  I'm dreaming of a white Easter."

So last night, my daughter is reading the latest Artemis Fowl installment (downloaded from the virtual library onto my tablet, so not actually a book) and the phrase three thousand odd people came up as in 3000-odd people attended the opera.  She didn't say it with exactly the right emphasis and put the emphasis on odd.  It sounded funny.  I laughed and said "They were all odd?"  and my youngest son chimed in "What?  Did a bunch of homeschoolers show up?"

Saturday, June 06, 2015


The afgan is done and the pool is going up!  Yes, it's weird what we get excited about around here, I admit it.


Friday, June 05, 2015

A couple of weeks ago. ..

I was talking to someone I recently  met and mentioned  that  we have a little dog that I was not planning to love, but who won me over.  She  asked what kind of dog she is and I told her what we had been told ...half chihuahua,  half pekingese.   She said "oh she must be pretty!"  Um, well, she's uh, cute...

Thursday, June 04, 2015

This week's version of normal.

I'm just doing the day by day thing, I guess that's wisdom that comes with my advanced age?  Or is it weariness?  I don't know, but whatever it is, I'm doing okay with it, just hanging in here for now.  My method of coping with life involves making a lot of lists and having a lot of notebooks.  I have one notebook for gratitude/prayer and one for creative ideas and one titled "To Do".  The To Do one is funny because I could use my phone or my tablet or my computer or google calendars or a paper calendar and the truth is I use all of those to some extent to keep up with things, but the To Do notebook is the best.  I think that having it on paper helps me (old school, I know) when it gets too messy for me with scribbles all over it, I can turn the page and re-write a new, neater one and the process of writing it again helps me get it in my mind.

This week's looks like this.
All the marking out is due to flexibility (moving things around) and accomplishing a few of them..

Cleaning (Listed as individual tasks so I can at least mark something off.)

Counselor 1:45

Go see Mom



This Week's Goals:
Work on Mom's house.
Practice driving.
Call doctor.
Get grad cards.
plant seeds.
call plumber?

To Buy List:

My youngest son, the only homeschooler, is still doing what he has left of school this year.  He finished World History, finished Geometry and writing and now wants to work on German all summer without interruption and always does his unschooling things.   In the fall, I will need to get him a consumer math curriculum and find someplace for him to take violin lessons.  Before you know it, we'll be done.  :-(

A picture I took of the road while my daughter was driving.  It's actually the road we live on, so we weren't just out in the park or anything.

Some of this week's art journaling.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

My son's visit.

He was home for 2 weeks and now he's on his way back to Mississippi.  He's taking a summer class and he's got a job there, at the school and he can get extra hours in the summer.  While he was here, we enjoyed him but we mostly just hung out.  We didn't do a whole lot.  I had plans to get him to help with the cleaning out of mom's house and painting, taking him out to see my favorite aunt and doing some singing together, but we did none of these things.  The kids inevitably caught a cold and passed it around, plus my mother-in-law's surgery was the day before he got home, so we were involved in going to see her in the hospital part of the time.  Plus, I had a doctor's appointment, and a job interview and other things and life just went on, mostly as usual.  He did get to meet our new dog, Cosmo and did get to see his grandparents and went to the movies with my brother. I can't wait until he comes back in August and brings his girlfriend for a couple of weeks.  :-)  

Some of my art from this week.


A slat came out of my rocker, but it has a warranty and they are sending a new back.  I was kind of hoping for a whole new rocker, but okay.

I like to call this "Piper in the Daisies while we were waiting for the Fed Ex Man,"
Cosmo and Freckles supervising my eating of soup.

The sky and my thumb again.  

Our crazy driveway.  My Facebook friends have all been putting up pictures of trails they've been going on and we thought about posting this one saying "We went to the mailbox..."

Monday, May 25, 2015

Life with my thumb in the pictures.

It was a beautiful day yesterday and I got to spend almost the entire day with my oldest son, so it was very good.  We went to church, then to mom's assisted living facility and then to the grocery.  I didn't have to work which always makes things much better.  The garden at the assisted living is beautiful and productive, already growing lettuce and other greens and strawberries and next month, there will be blackberries and tomatoes.  They also have chickens and gather and use the eggs.  It's pretty cool.  That's my thumb in the strawberry picture.

Our own garden looks pretty wild and unruly, but then we have these guys who like to dig.

I've been playing quite a bit of Words With Friends lately and the other day I got set up on the triple score with a Z in the same position on 2 games I was playing at the same time.  On one of them, I was able to use the Z to spell ZEAL.  With the other one, I had to content myself with just blocking my opponent from using it and not getting on the triple myself.  Oh well.  :-)  

A revisit of my birthday present ---- it's been a big success.  All 3 of the kids and I have enjoyed sitting out there at one time or another.  It's a nice break in the day to go and sit for a few minutes and look at nature.  :-).  We didn't really have a good place to sit outside before.  We have a couple of plastic chairs on the deck, but they aren't particularly comfortable.  The rocker is comfortable and the porch is dry which is important on damp days like today.  Also, there's WIFI out there if the nature is not entertaining enough.  :-P   My oldest son likes to sit out there and Skype with his girlfriend who is in Greece right now.  How cool is that?  It makes us feel like even if we don't have lives, we do know someone who does so we are kind of life adjacent.  Just kidding.  

On the subject of us having a life, we have been going through a stressful period during which I think we kind of had too much life and we were just busy, busy, busy, but not with very good or fun things, but during that time, the youngest and I joined a new homeschool group and we've been having some good times with them and my daughter tried out for a part in The Sound Of Music, but then chickened out of playing Liesel.  Apparently, though, they are still working on casting because they called Saturday and asked my daughter (and me!) if we would play nuns and sing in the chorus.  Fun!  So we are getting ready to begin the rehearsal schedule which will go on once or twice a week for a couple of months.  We're very excited and it's nice to be doing something fun and adventurous, even if we can't travel right now, we are pretend traveling to Austria.  :-) 


Thursday, May 21, 2015

that homeschool mom feeling

I took my youngest son to 2 4H meetings today, one was a trip to an airport and the other was the Conservation/Foresty club that meets at the local library.  While he was in the meeting, I saw out in the main library, which is different as a homeschool mom, because most homeschool groups require that one of the parents actually be there, but still, I spent the day feeling like and being a homeschool mom, which is, among the many roles I play in this life, wife, daughter, caregiver, employee, etc., one of my favorites.  :-)  

My daughter personalized a mug for me for Mother's Day and she tried to copy my art style.  It's pretty isn't it?  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Still around.

I'm still around, though I haven't blogged much lately.  Sorry about that.  :-)   Not much to read here although we've had a lot going on.  We've been dealing with my mother-in-law's health issues.  She's been in the hospital since Thursday and we've been there a lot.  Also, today a friend is in the hospital and I went to see her.  Our son came home yesterday from college and had a kind of a rough time getting home, the usual 9 hour drive taking 14 HOURS because he had a flat, then had a flat spare and then got behind a car accident and had to get off of the interstate and take the back roads.  This is on top of our usual working, homeschooling and taking care of mom stuff that we do, so we've been busy.  We've managed to hang in there and cope but it's left a lot less time for hobbies and for blogging.

That's how it goes sometimes.

I did get some time to spray some art with a fixative on Wednesday.
We have been in the car quite a bit.
We've spent a lot of time in waiting rooms.
But hey, we're still here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Off the topic of homeschooling and onto my job ...

An example of why I despise my job so, so much.I am taking my own time, without pay this morning, to look at my QA reviews and read my emails from my supervisor.  Later today, I will have to take unpaid time and call her for an umpleasant discussion about how, although my accuracy rate remains at 100%, my speed is just not quite fast enough for them.  For this account, there are 27 pages (not exaggerating one bit) of nit-picky notes.  Here's an excerpt.  Can you imagine getting 100% accuracy on this?

o        When she dictates (usually after MEDICATIONS) “all the normal stuff,” you do not need to note this on her files or Mark for Review or QA.  Just be sure any headings dictated are filled in as dictated and any headings not dictated are deleted.
o        Admitting Diagnoses:  If she additionally says “as stated by the admitting physician,” make sure that is transcribed. 
o        She prefers we type q. h.s. instead of “nightly” even though it’s on the Dangerous Abbreviation list. 
o        Course And Treatment heading:  Make sure all verb tenses in this paragraph are past tense
o        Diagnoses/AXIS tables:  She wants AXIS always in all caps, not Axis.  If dictates multiple diagnoses for any AXIS number, make sure EACH diagnosis is on a separate line (do not just separate with commas or semicolons/type on separate lines for each diagnosis). This is the same for EVERY dictator not just her.
o        AXIS V:  Make sure when she dictates numbers type the punctuation exactly as she dictates it….i.e…25/45/60-65 (there is a reason she will say slash/dash etc.) 
o        Prognosis heading:  Do not separate this into two headings/statements etc.  For some physicians, she will just say “Fair or Guarded.”  For some she will say “Fair.  Thought to be dependent upon the patient remaining compliant with medications and treatment recommendations, as they develop” or something similar to this.  Make sure this is all part of the prognosis heading.


But here's the kicker.. 

They give me a template that has the heading:

COURSE IN THE HOSPITAL:  All capped, and bolded and forbid me to change the headings, then send me a note this morning from quality assurance letting me know that they have went through all of the reports I sent in Saturday and changed the case on all of these and have counted it as my error. 
COURSECourse INin THEthe HOSPITALHospital:   

So no 100% on the next paycheck and also, they have lowered my pay rate for this because my accuracy has gone down.  

Of course.

The only things this job has going for it are that it is part time (and for a caregiver, that's important) and that it is at home but I have to, have to, have to find something else or I am going to go crazy.  


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