Monday, September 23, 2013

Spaghetti Squash

Seeing as one of my older boys does work for a vegetable farmer, we have access to the seconds on everything which is grown there.   I am hoping we can get a lot of spaghetti squash so I can sneak it into everything which has pasta in the ingredients.   Tonight’s meal was something I made up similar to a meal I make in the winter anyway.   It is a sort of taco lasagna.   
I mix and cook the following ingredients.
One pound ground sausage
One pound ground turkey
One large onion
a clove or two of garlic crushed
brown all of these and add, one heaping tablespoon cumin and one of chili powder.   The juice of one lime, one large green or red bell pepper,  leftover corn from corn on the cob, twelve or so tomatillas and 12 of romas seeded and chopped.  One large zucchini chopped well.   Then……the meat from one large or two small spaghetti squash.  Stir well.
I then took several packages of tortillas left in the fridge from previous recipes and lined my sheet cake pan with them.   Put half the meat/vege mix over the tortillas, spread the contents of one large container over top of this, add the other half of the meat/vege mix, top it with a bag of cheddar cheese to your liking and then I take the remains of tortilla chips that the kids have left, crushed them and sprinkled over the top.   
I baked it at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes depending on how hot you prefer your dinner and enjoy.   The kids were very happy to eat dinner and didn’t even notice the spaghetti squash.   Tomorrow I am going to try adding a spaghetti squash to my homemade chicken noodle soup but still add the noodles.   We shall see if the kids notice.
Take note my recipe is for a crowd also known as my family.   Cut the amount in half or freeze half in a pan for another time if your family does not require such a large quantity.   

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

And of course

if you blog on not grousing, then everyone will make you nuts so you are tempted to grouse.   Hee hee.....hee, heh, heh. heh,.........

Don't Stew

I didn't know what else to call this post.   It isn't related to meat.   It is about stewing over past hurts and disappointments.   I read recently, and wish I could remember where, an article about how to avoid letting hurtful words get inside you and fester.   I don't know why the article seemed fresh to me.    I have heard this sort of message plenty of times in conversation, sermons, advice given, but it struck me differently this time around.    The article was completely a reminder to discipline yourself not to give recognition to hurts by repeating them to yourself or to others.  

Examples of this came to mind.   I don't think I go anywhere without hearing women grousing about something.   Famous grousing is over little bitter comments of what their mother-in-law said or mother or neighbor or friend their wedding, while they were expecting their first or second child, at church.    The example helped me ponder what would happen if we could just keep our mouths shut over these little hurts and injustices.   What if.   Well, I think the hurt and injustice would not become cemented in our brains so hard.  We might get along with those people more.   Repeating it just makes it fresh and hurtful all over again and of course we hurt the person who hurt us to begin with.   Why do this?

I think we tell these stories because it is fun and gives us attention and makes us feel better about ourselves.   That is not MY fresh observation (thanks Pastor).   (Thanks Jesus).   Shutting down our urge to grouse is a hard discipline but a worthwhile effort.   It isn't our effort but the work of the Holy Spirit.  

Explaining this further is hard for me to put into words.    Looking backwards, I can think of the many brides who spent years griping about what went wrong at their wedding.   What if..........they just overlooked what happened, if I overlooked what happened that was actually not that big a deal in the great scheme of life, and instead loved our neighbor by forgiving them and shutting up about it.   The hurt would leave the crevices of our mind and maybe we wouldn't have as much fun talking about our neighbor who hurt us.   Would that be so horrible?   50 plus years of grousing can be repeated and to what profit is THAT????   What if someone hurts us this week????   What if we just kept it to ourselves?   What if we didn't confront the person who hurt us (already screwed up with that thought today), then what?   Well, I am not going to try to answer that question but I do know this concept will always be a struggle for us sinners.   Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord that our sin is forgiven.   Thanks be to God that the Holy Spirit gives me a good shake every so often.   Thanks.   I needed that.  

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Only brush the ones you want to keep

Chasing after all the little things and big things the kids need to be actively doing, can certainly be exhausting.   Teeth.   I have a hard enough time chasing after mine let alone the kids.   My hubby is better at chasing after their teeth and he hasn't been here much.   So I decided, after seeing a woman my age with disgustingly, screaming white teeth, to have a 'get your teeth whiter' contest.   I took pictures of their grins and next week we are going to take some new pictures and see if there is a difference.   I have picked up two minute hour glass timers (or whatever you call them) and that has helped some in the past, but the mere fact that they don't understand the twice a day concept makes me a bit tired.  

My mom, a dental hygienist by trade, seemed to have no trouble impressing upon us the importance of brushing but there were only two of us.   Charley and I have been boosting bottoms up on the counter, changing table, etc. for teeth brushing for almost 22 years and still counting.   The little ones get help and the older ones, we at this point, we can only pray they are chasing their teeth.   I have made the drill noise when asked what happens if they don't brush their teeth better............they have blank faces in return.   I hate that noise.  

It seems we escape the drill mainly for not drinking soda or juice etc.   They also have a mother who is incapable of making them cookies so that is a plus for them and my pocket book in dental bills.   Their father hates gum chewing.   He inherited that loathing from his parents who probably were strictly opposed to gum chewing from the lack of money for that luxury.   That too has helped.

I think I will go brush my teeth now.   Our reward for improvement in teeth brushing has been decided upon too by-the-way.   One package of Oreo cookies to be woofed by the kids who have shown improvement.   Perhaps we will have one package of Oreo's a week to make sure they are keeping up.

Friday, August 23, 2013


Acknowledgement is a word I have been pondering.   I think one of the hardest things to do as a human sinful person, is to acknowledge the person you are having conversation with or email with and stop thinking about yourself.   Wow.  I know I struggle with it.   I see others struggling with it.   Why is it so hard to just reply to questions or even get off our rears to go and help someone as an automatic response to a need.   Well, because we are sinful and caught up in ourselves would be the obvious answer.   

My kids hate it when I do not acknowledge them when I am working on the computer.   They do not like it when I am rushing about the house chasing after messes and can't sit down with them and just listen to them.   It is funny that I see glaringly why they might be frustrated with me over that and then on the other hand I see how impatient I am with others for similar reasons.   It is hard to remember that the person who has asked us something or told us something, might want at least a little 'yes, I hear you' or a reply of some sort.   So my pondering has been weakly focusing on acknowledging my 'people' when they need something and stop thinking about my own lazy butts need to chill in a chair or whatever.   

It is simply hard and please forgive my overlooking of all of you whom I may have offended.   Blessings on your day!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Talking and listening

It seems this is the most challenging thing.   I personally feel the stress of a lot of talking coming at me but how to model not feeling a need to fill the air with talk.   Large families with a lot of talking going on inside their walls can be quite exhausting.   I have many short people and tall people too who have something to say to me.   I am glad they do but it is a struggle to keep listening!   No answer is not an option.   I have been chatting with the kids about turning their focus a bit to listening, ignoring siblings who are purposely trying to get their goat, listening to themselves.   I don't think this will solve the problem, but having an awareness and teaching an awareness of how much talk is going on out of their own mouths and not their neighbors, is making a tiny bit of difference.   I will continue to plug along with this thought with the kids and my own mouth.   Being 46 though might result in my forgetting what the goal is as my forgetting things is the standard.
Proceeding in Faith.........

Saturday, July 27, 2013


My eldest was married three weeks ago.    I could blog a lot on that occasion which was every bit the most wonderful occasion and the simplicity that I love which any mom would wish for her daughter.   She and hubby drove away yesterday after picking up her belongings, or as many as she could find in one day, to continue on their journey to New Orleans.   I cried of course.   Hugged her and wouldn't let go.    I didn't want to let her go but she is not meant to be here with me.   I will look forward to her calls and the interchange we can have with good ol' modern technology.  

It was good to witness her husband preparing to return to work and the seriousness of his vocation.   I don 't think the general population understands the life of a professional musician.   I am glad I get a peek at that as it is sort of brain food to me to ponder what all is involved with a symphony members preparations for the joy of those who come to listen.   I admit, I am sort of jealous.   I love playing in the symphony myself but am no where in the league of Son-in-Law.   Hopefully I will get to hear him play someday.

Speaking of vocations, I myself keep up early to have quiet time and also time to get a few things done without running interference.   Sigh.   Maybe I will blog more again????   It is a journey.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Still sleeping

I've decided to try a vitamin pill to see if I just need a boost in vim and vigor.   In between succumbing to the bed magnet, I did manage to whack away some more grass in the field, and find flowers to use at the wedding.   We are keeping that very simple.   In fact everything is pretty simple.   Now I just need to remember to take very good care of said flowers til at least July 6th.   I received instructions and a pep talk from the garden center and hopefully I don't sleep away the time I should be fertilizing and watering.  

Second son planted tomatoes and peppers and went with me to get some soaker hose in hopes of a good year.   He and first son are very enthused to help now that they have been released from SAT preparation bondage.   I am amazed at the willingness to go whack trees and weeds and shrubs out of the woods and walkways.   Their enthusiasm might catch on with me again as I was doing those things before hauling to Massachusetts and back.

My bed.   I love my bed.   It is the best place ever.  Perhaps I can add reading books to the time spent there but I just fall asleep.   It is a very strange thing.   My hubby is dumbfounded by all this sleeping and lounging.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


I have been making an attempt to catch up on some sleep.   Today my pedometer reported 181 steps at 10:30.   That was the total from getting up to make sure short people were occupied and then returned to bed.   There must have been glue in that bed.   There are tasks screaming at me to get done and yet I didn't give a hoot this morning.   For that matter, I didn't give a hoot the morning before.   Hmmm.....I wonder how late I can sleep in tomorrow?  

Whining some more here......I think sleep deprivation and stress have done a number on my tummy too.   Tomorrow we are having some nice chicken and noodle soup.   I will have to parcel some off for later.   If there isn't time to rest, I am going to ignore the stress and rest okay?  

And I am going to be in deep trouble when the short people get a little older and learn to love their bed too.   Twenty-two years of sleep deprivation........I am allowing myself some freedom to be a sloth this week.  Perhaps next week I will feel perkier.   Goodnight.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Our family is loud

You never notice how loud your family is until a quiet family comes to call.  Of course this was a reminder to me of what happens when I don't make any attempt to quiet the fam down.  My eldest daughter dear is the oldest of nine and is marrying the oldest of nine.   I think her hubby-to-be's Papa stressed the need for people to in the family to keep it to a low roar.   It was his family which came to call and I hope they will be okay with returning.  


 - I stubbed my toe.
- I have a teeny tiny scratch which mom can't see, but it hurts.
-I am Howard Cosell of the family and must describe everyone's activities as if we didn't notice them ourselves.
- We can't open the peanut butter jar.
- Everyone wants to the center of attention....duh.
- You have headphones in your ears and can't hear your parents calling you (loud parents).
- You are a short person and you like to scream and run around in circles with the other short people.
- You were an only child and you cannot understand why it is loud and then get louder to be heard.
- The manners pictures books are not sinking in.  
- The Tattle Tail book isn't having any effect either.
- Your parents are too tired to take you to time out in your room for the benefit of everyone else's nerves and improvement of headaches.
- Or.........everyone in the family is a comedian and wants the stage.
- the children of all ages have never been in study hall and don't realize that it might be helpful to keep quiet when other people are trying to study.   If no one realizes this then.........

It is true that the loud happens in a louder fashion when there are guests to tell stories to.   Wow.   It will be okay.  

There are many reasons to be loud but there are also some reasons to work on being quieter.   Can a family of eleven  learn to be quieter???    This is what I am pondering now.   How loud we are......sigh.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Contempt and Compassion

The word contempt seems to pop most into mind in reference to the court system.   If one is in contempt of court they disregard and disrespect the judge, the expected decorum of the court room structure and fly in the face of common courtesy.   Contempt is a state of self absorption or importance.   I have been contemplating this word contempt in how I behave to the world around me.   I think I could describe in general ways contempt creeps into all of us but processing how the contempt of the world around us is real and worth considering *reconsidering*.   Contempt seems our constant struggle of sin against our neighbor.  

In regard to relationships with our spouse, we can all giggle a bit at Paul Simon's lyrics in one of his more recent songswhere the husband says, "What? You don't like the way I chew?"    That line does crack me up but can also sadden me as it speaks a lot of truth of how we relate to those who are closest to us.   I have witnessed and had this sort of attitude myself.   Shameful admittance but goes to show how low we drop in our regard of those around us.   When I sit down to dinner, I no doubt will be thinking mostly of myself, even though I think I am valiantly serving my neighbor.   It is worth it to me to ponder if that is true.   It isn't my righteousness which should motivate me to do so, but my love of neighbor.   Am I being ridiculous in my expectations of my neighbor when I myself am not too patient with other's quirks????   Sigh.   Humbling processing.  

Do family members and others do and say hurtful things???   Sure.   Do I view them with contempt.   Sure I do.   Repenting and processing my response to the world around me is just thought provoking.   How to smile in response to the little irritants which we face.   Thinking the best of our neighbor - sigh.  Remembering that Christ died for them TOO and not just for my sinful, sorry hide.   Hmmm.......this is the most challenging of thoughts but worth it for the sake of my neighbor.  

The flip side of contempt in my mind, is compassion,.   Do I have compassion for the little face which does not like to hear he has been mean or whatever he has been up to.   Do I need to shame him or alert him to the problem.  Contempt is rolling my eyes at the pouting and compassion is shutting my mouth, dealing with the fallout quietly and stick to the facts.    Little person of mine, you have sinned against your neighbor, but thanks be to God Jesus has it covered in the forgiveness of sins.    Wow, is that hard to remember when life is clouding my vision.  

Compassion for my husband, who travels every week, is pretty ADD and is the person inside the Energizer Bunny costume and all where Duracell gets the energy from to put into the batteries which power your flashlights.   How to have compassion for that sort of energy and my lack of it.   This is a huge weakness for me.  He is currently recharging his batteries and pretty quiet.   Easy to have compassion on the comatose.  

I could prattle on about this subject but it seems the bottom line is that it is very comfortable to live in contempt of our neighbor and much more challenging to have compassion.   Again, thanks be to God for God's compassion for us in His Son Christ Jesus, His death on the cross for us and remembering that despite our annoying neighbors and our annoying sinful selves, Christ is still Risen from the dead.   Alleluia!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The New Normal

I think I am learning more and more about taking one hour at a time and not to have huge expectations.    Okay........I probably won't learn it well, and will still be impatient and feeling a bit unglued but I am certainly experiencing a lot of new and different things these days.

The whole year has been a whirlwind so far.   It will be Christmas soon I think.   A few months were spent intensely helping to take care of my in-laws, changing their living arrangements for the better and.....running the road to doctor appointments.   I can honestly say that running the road is not my favorite thing to do and some days I want to go to my room and lock the door.   The rest of my days have been occupied with attempting to pay attention to my children and the husband person, slowly planning a wedding for daughter dear, and helping with syrup and digging in the dirt to improve our yard.   

I am currently traveling home from my cousin's funeral.   Ugh.   It was very hard to see the faces and pain in the eyes of his parents and family.   My aunt suffered a stroke a few years ago and her mind is confused with losing her baby of course.   Ouch.   I knew she would be remembering cousin's childhood as all three of her kids were a handful but endearing in a crazy sort of way.   I think a crazy fun loving view of life was their culture growing up.   The visitation was confusing for her as all she wanted to do was talk to her boy and the rules told her to move to the side and then be more confused by many people who she didn't really know, who knew Chris.    My mommy heart hurt for her.    His dad was his usual self of gentle, quiet reserve and looking bewildered in other ways.   I admired his brain and insight as a kid so it was good to have a chance to talk with him. 

I do hope to be home and stay home as much as possible in the weeks to come.   We do have Anna's Senior recital in a little over a week in Bloomington and then the wedding of course, but I miss being able to stay put at home, wake up to the little people, play in the yard, go to the pool and just be.   The kids need me and I need them.  There are still some doc appointments in my future (yay) but will try to stick like glue to my family.    I need to stare into their eyes while I can and see how they are and what they are about.   

Monday, February 4, 2013

Figuring out elder care

There is patience and then there is figuring out the elder care system.   I am not sure if there is an instruction manual for how to work with the people who care for our family or not.   I think I need to take some classes.  I think I DO need to get some sort of notebook or bring my laptop with to take notes and send the notes to all people concerned.   My conclusion in my own situation is that I need to insist on being notified of all health issues as soon as they occur and then take my in-laws to the doctor for the best care as the doctor has her very best interest in mind and has all the equipment for fast evaluation at his finger tips.  Being notified immediately also will help me with my own scheduling too instead of waiting till a small problem potentially becomes a bigger problem.  

My experience this past weekend was learning that even though there are many elders who do not get attended to by their family, I need to make it clear that we DO attend to our parents health and want to be involved more than the average bear.   It is sad to see the neglect by family members.   I just want to make sure the parents personal physician is the one to work the most with them when it comes to their medical care.  

Sigh.   I think I really need to adjust myself to expecting the unexpected more frequently.  

Thursday, January 31, 2013

From the child's perspective

Being a child is a confusing time  as the child does not know all that we know about the consequences of actions. Even we don't recognize those consequences in the heat of the moment with our own actions . We may feel justified in being angry and acting upon that anger. We say idle things and don't stop and think. Then there are  of course things we say which have no evil intent at all and the receiver doesn't understand where we are coming from and they get hurt, angry etc. That has been my experience anyway. dealing with my kids I think on their station in life.....children. They act like children. They push our buttons. They are not patient in waiting for attention. Yes,  I send kids to their rooms. I even ignore some behavior as I know they are just trying to get my attention. It is hard to explain. What I can explain is that when there are times of calm, I try to engage the child in conversation of how things are going for them. "So.....Ingrid. How is that screaming thing going today?" "So....Stefan, how is that provoking your sibling to anger thing going?" Seriously. When I talk to them in calm times, their consequences make more sense to them as they have had the opportunity to discuss their struggles with sin in a calm, safe environment. I don't dwell on their action as I wouldn't want anyone dwelling on my sin, but we do talk about it throughout the day. The focus then really is on their repentance and taking charge of their actions some themselves. I am not a huge spanking person myself but there is a time and place but it seems to me that spanking should be very infrequent.  That is a whole different topic for another day.  

 If there are fits about food, I have them leave the room to their roomI might take their food into the kitchen and tell them they can eat there when they are in control of themselves. "IF you can pull yourself together darling, the food is here and this is all there is to Your choice dearie. Screaming and fits are not welcome at the dinner table darling. They give me indigestion and a headache."

 I do think children are often times viewed as non people.  Taking time to look into their eyes and ponder what is going on on the other side of their faces helps me to consider their perspective on the world. They only have their experience to deal with thus far in life and they are attempting to make sense of their world and the rest of the world's response to them. It can be a lonely time really I think. Most of society views children as things and not people. This is my soapbox and sadness for children really. It is perhaps just another take on approach of childrearing. We are NOT their friends and I do have to remind them of this from time to time, especially the older ones, and it also turns into an opportunity to review their Catechism.  

Dwelling on their sin.   Well, I have witnessed this to mean that the adult carries on and on about the child's behavior and thus give the impression that the child is not understanding their actions and it is necessary to fill the air with their sin and....go on and on about it.    Going on and on about a child's actions out loud in front of them might be helpful to the frustrated parent but it really is not helpful to the child.   In this case too I try to picture how I feel when someone goes on and on about some offence I have committed.   It doesn't help and in fact alienates.   

Considering the child's perspective has been one of the most helpful thing to me as a parent and a human being.   This applies to all people and not just children.   Perspective helps all relationships.  It takes effort but it is worth it.   

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Well, I guess mom-in-law has a UTI.   I thought I had heard of almost every symptom to everything but this was new to me.   Confusion and loss of appetite.   Who knew?   It looks like they have things under control.   I am tired.   I don't think I know what to write about anymore.   There are a few topics which I have chuckled at on another site but explaining my thoughts on those matters seems sort of challenging.  

Praying for several little ones struggling with various challenges.   Sigh.   Waiting for news on one is hard but I know God knows what is up with her.  

Patience with elders

I received a call this noon that my mother-in-law was having some sort of episode.   She seemed confused and was refusing to eat.   Naturally I went to see what was up and was thinking perhaps she had a stroke.   She clearly wasn't her normal active self when I got there.   I am one to observe what in the world is going on so took several hours of talking with her and the nurses and she seemed to actually perk up and then was willing to eat.  There is a call into the doctor and so we are waiting for guidance.  

The fact that she perked up speaks loudly to the importance of communicating with our elders and assuring them we care.   I am not patting myself on the back, it was just interesting to see the transformation from the quiet scared woman to the more relaxed and willing to work with us woman in the course of a few hours.   I am grateful she will listen to reason with persistence and grateful she does not appear to have had a stroke.   We shall see.

In the meantime I am just tired.   My youngest had strep and bad ear infections this week.   The older ones have been strongly urged to persevere in their schooling and hopefully they did while I was away this afternoon.   I haven't circled the wagons to see if that is true or not.   I did have the smarts to call in reinforcements to help with dinner at church this evening.   Hopefully I can get to church later but in the meantime will probably slug around.   The phone has not rung for the doctor report while I can.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Critical thinking

Overwhelm.   Keep plugging along.   One of my older kids is weak on critical thought.   I suggested to him that he read mystery books and work himself up to more difficult reading.   I started this post before he tried a mystery book and now I can see where the book I chose was too difficult for him.   So basically methodically building up his stamina is yet another item on my tick list to keep chasing after. I can also see that my random self needs to work on preparing some activities ahead of time for kids to work on.   The amount of time wasted being interrupted by kids who need my attention can be down right maddening.   I know I would make a terrible classroom teacher as preparation for cute activities kills me.   But my kids love them just like the rest of the kid world.  I need to do this.  

My other activities for critical thought include cross word puzzles, word searches, riddles, and other strategy games.   My biggest challenge is NOT getting overwhelmed by it all and NOT getting distracted by other temptations.
At least three of my kids need total silence and no bouncing, screaming children about.   I can keep the oldest kids on task for at least several hours working on writing, grammar and instruction.   When we break apart to work on separate levels of math, life breaks down here.   My energy lasts only about one more hour and then it is a push to get anything else accomplished.   I suppose I need to just be happy with whatever extra school work gets done in the afternoon.  

This is all rambling on teaching and endurance with bunches of kids in toe.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

More on simplifying

Can I make life any simpler or do I make it more complicated???????    Nine kids.   God has given nine kiddos to the hubby and I and each one of them would like some of my time usually every day.   Staying home as much as possible is my new reminder for myself.   If I lose focus by having tons of appointments etc., then I can't stay home and focus.   They are mostly all on different levels.   My mind keeps a tick list of their strengths and weakness and I try to help each child  keep their focus on them.   I am surprised my brain doesn't blow up on some days.   

When the older kids were young, I had all of these awesome ideals of my hopes and dreams for homeschooling my kids.   Many times I wanted to throw in the towel.   Throwing in the towel amounted to having several days or weeks of discontent and then figuring out how to get everyone back on task, my mind to quit obsessing and feeling sorry for myself, and.....stay home.  There would have been nothing wrong with throwing in the towel btw, but our options here are pretty limited.   

One child has piano.   Two boys have Boy Scouts.   Several have Catechism classes and I do not compromise on church as there I find peace and hope in Word and Sacrament    This leaves little to no time to socialize or go to do much for fun.   I can either gnash my teeth and lament how I can't have 'fun' or forget that and carry on.     It just isn't fun to come home to chaos.   These are the kids God gave me and the hubby and home and this is what I do.   My advice to self is to run away from this computer as much as possible, get up and do what I am given to do and try not to make my life more complicated.   

We do occasionally do fun things but they are usually with part or all of the family.   We went skiing two weeks ago.  The kids go to friends homes to play and goof off.    I went to a symphony concert with my mom in Chicago last Friday.   We had some friends over at various times over the weekend.  One set we see once a year and the rest were children who......played with the kids.    It seems spacing out fun and having significant chunks of hunker down time is the way for me to actually be half way successful at doing this mom and teaching thing.   Then clinging to Christ and the forgiveness of sins is of course the most helpful......but I have to remember that fact too.....thus church is a priority.   Onward.   

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Visits with in-laws

My in-laws are now good and settled at the assisted care living facility and all of their kids seem pleased with their living situation and how things are going.   I would love to be able to visit them more often and squeeze in some quickies here and there.   They are very delighted to have visitors and the atmosphere is much more pleasant as I am visiting them and not living with them.   There is a difference.

I get a quick picture of the reality of life when it isn't the life I am living now.   All of these older folk and  handicapped folk living their lives and routines and how they are not much different than me.   I have routines and ups and downs and surprises which occur.   I feel like I can talk to my mother-in-law in a comfortable way knowing that we both are challenged by goodies, both forget a lot of stuff, and I can kid her a little about her challenges of stepping away from the deserts and the sweet tea.   It is pleasant.   It is also a nice switch from my own routine as the older people there are much more delighted to see me and have a friendly hello than the people I live with as those people I live with see my face a lot.  

Visiting my own parents happens from time to time too.   My mother and I are going to Chicago on Friday to explore and go to a symphony concert.   I did that with her last year around this time.   It should be fun.   I am curious as to what my reaction will be this year.   Taking in live concerts is dreamy and too few and far between.   I find watching the attendees pretty fascinating too the same way it is fascinating to visit with the residents at my in-laws place.   They all have these lives they are living and it is just a curious thing to watch them and listen to them if we have a chance to talk.

One woman I saw yesterday is the wife of one of Charley's ex co-workers.   She was hospitalized last month with bacterial pneumonia.   Yikes.   The infection started to invade her body as well.   So I listen carefully to her story and give her hugging eyes and understanding and it is a sweet conversation.   Her husband is totally incapacitated and she does everything for  him so it was hard to be sick and wonder how he was doing.   The sweetness of her concern.   Sigh.  

Now back to my regularly scheduled program of trying to get something graded, making sure daughter dear practices, and using house cleaning as another method of exercise.   I have to look it that way as the house makes me nutty.   Back to the laundry........

Sunday, January 13, 2013


My head is wrapping itself more and more around how exactly to teach the kids writing skills.   I peaked at my last post months ago and saw immediately that I failed in proofreading and I am sure there are more mistakes if I looked hard enough.   So now my goal is to have the kids write a response to a question every day, when we can pull this off, and for me to write with them.   It worked beautifully last week and they are eager to write.   They also looked astonished at my responses.   A musician learns much from example as do artists and of course mathematicians.   Even my own lame attempts will give us all something to share together.   The anticipation on their faces of reading and hearing each others writing was sweet.   If I had my way I would work with the kids like this all day.   I wouldn't go to appointments or worry about what was for dinner.   It is awesome to connect with their thinking and think together.   The older students writing requires stating clear reasons and backing up of their thinking in their writing and not making assumptions.   The process is harder.   I hope that we can spend this spring hammering away at this.  Sigh.