New Jen's Horde

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Oh man, breathe deep Jen...

I know this is one of God's creatures, but I wish I hadn't found it on my sliding glass door.


Friday, July 29, 2005

Yeah it's sad and all,

but wouldn't it be worse if the bullet had hit someone who wasn't already dead?

A dead woman lying in her casket was hit by a stray bullet during a wake in Rio de Janeiro and mourners fled in panic, police said on Wednesday. "This is just too sad. My God, to get shot after death," Extra tabloid newspaper quoted da Silva's sister, Maria de Lourdes Pereira, as saying.
Like I needed another reason to be freaked out during funerals. Not only do I have to worry that this will be the exact moment that cosmic rays hit the earth and Grandpa will sit up and start to feast on human brains, but now I have to be on the look out for stray bullets, too? Unfair!

Update: Davin was reading over my shoulder, and he said this could have been a good thing. Maybe the cosmic rays came right at that moment, and turned that woman into a zombie, then the bullet killed it and saved the mourners.

I said that would work only if the bullet hit her in the head, but the bullet hit her in the pelvis. No dice.

I think we need to get out more, or maybe just rent more edifying movies...


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Just kill me now!

My nine year old daughter, while trying to be helpful, exclaimed this loudly to her 7 year old sisters while we were all jammed in a stall in a public restroom:
Mommy's bleeding because Daddy didn't give her any sperm this month.
I thought I had explained it all pretty well, but I guess not. In this version Daddy seems awfully selfish, don't you think? Apparently we have more work to do here...


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Powerful Stuff

PostSecret started as an art exhibit in Washington D.C. The artist asked people to write down a secret on a postcard and send it to him anonymously, and he would collect and display them. The secrets had to fit two criteria, they had to be true, and they had to be something you'd never told anyone before.

Some of them are frivolous, like "I ate all the blueberries (and they were delicious.)"

This one "I won't eat dinner at your parents because their house is filthy" just cracks me up, because you KNOW the backstory to this one without having to read another word...

Some just are nasty, "I almost never wash my hands after using the toilet."

Many of them, for instance, "The drink that is slowly killing me is the only thing keeping me from killing myself." or "When I was little I would wish upon a star For my dad to die," just make you want to weep.

The most chilling and intriguing one (to me) simply says, "Everyone who knew me before 9/11 believes I'm dead."


Via Pure Serendipity


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Who's scarier?

DA-Scary Girls and Barracuda

My scary girls, or the barracudas?

Just taking some photos at our Downtown Aquarium...


Monday, July 25, 2005

Under the Sea

While searching for visual aids to go along with a unit study we're doing, I came across this page. It is a compilation of videos made by divers in in the Northeastern Pacific.

Check out this cool jellyfish or watch this squid swimming and changing colors, plus there's a ton more. Cool stuff!


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Pediatric Dehydration, or Why I'm Glad I Live in a First World Country...

I haven't been blogging for a few days, because I haven't been home. On Thursday morning, my three year old son, Tiernan, woke up and was listless and began vomiting. He couldn't keep anything down, even water was coming back up. With four kids, we've seen this before, so we followed the standard protocol of giving a teaspoon of clear fluid every five minutes. This usually gives their system enough liquid to keep going, without causing the stomach to start churning again.

No dice.

He was throwing up all night. By the next morning his eyes were sunken, and he was just laying there, which is really unusual for my chandelier monkey. I called the doctor and went in.

The doctor sent us to the ER, who promptly started giving him a bolus of fluid through an IV. They expected to give him a bag or two of IV fluid and send him home. But, when his bloodwork came back it was apparent his was even more severely dehydrated than we'd thought.

The ER doc explained that Tiernan had reached a point where his electrolytes were so far off, and his kidney function was so impaired they they needed to admit him. He was going to be OK, but not without a lot of fluids, and they wanted to watch him and make sure he was going to tolerate it well. He told me that little kids can very quickly pass this threshhold, and that it's virtually impossible to get them rehydrated without using IV fluids.


How does that happen? In 24 hours, my child went from being totally fine to being a kid who wouldn't survive without medical intervention. If we didn't have access to a hospital, he could die. That line is crossed every day, all the time, I know. But this seemed so mundane, my kids throw up ALL THE TIME.

From quizzing all of the doctors and nurses we came into contact with during our stay, it seems that it was a cross between the hot weather (everyone's running around a little bit on the low side for hydration) and one of a couple of really nasty viral gastroenterological bugs that are going around right now that caused Tiernan to "tank" (the ER doc's terminology) so quickly. One doctor mentioned the Norwalk virus, which recently sickened a campful of Boy Scouts near here as a possible culprit. He said it was possible for an enterprising three year old to catch it just about anywhere. That was why they kept asking me if he'd been drinking from mud puddles, etc. (Tasty!)

As it was, they ran the fluid boluses for about 9 hours(!), then switched to a lower rate on his IV fluid for the rest of the time he was in the hospital. Dehydration causes your heart to race, and they got his heart rate from over 170 to under 120 after 14 hours of fluid. Then it just became a matter of seeing whether his food would stay down and that he didn't develop diarrhea from the virus and the extra fluids before we could go home. They released us in the early afternoon. Tiernan's at about 75%, which is pretty good. If he were at this level of activity all the time we'd probably visit more museums and other quiet places ;-) It looks like he'll continue to do well, but if not we can take him right back and pick up where we left off.

Thanks to Sara for watching our girls while we stayed in the hospital, and for all of the folks at Five in a Row and everyone else for your prayers!


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

He's dead, Jim.

Veteran actor James Doohan, perhaps best known for his role as Montgomery Scott on the original Star Trek series, died today. He was 85.

Here's a neat article about what his life, apparently he had quite a sense of humor about being everyone's favorite Chief Engineer:

In a 1998 interview, Doohan was asked if he ever got tired of hearing the line "Beam me up, Scotty." "I'm not tired of it at all," he replied. "Good gracious, it's been said to me for just about 31 years. It's been said to me at 70 miles an hour across four lanes on the freeway. I hear it from just about everybody. It's been fun."
He'll be missed.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Ant Farms are great!

Ants in my kitchen, not so much...

I sweep, I mop, I put down poison, I cry, nothing stops them.

Did I miss something in the Holy Writings that said a plague of ants would be visited upon the Denver Metro Area shortly before the Second Coming? Should I look for boils, or possibly locusts next?


Monday, July 18, 2005


The Florida teacher accused of having sex numerous times with her 14 year old student will try for a plea of insanity.

According to her attorney, efforts at plea bargaining stalled out because the prosecution wanted her to spend too much time behind bars. He said,
"To place an attractive young woman in that kind of hell hole is like putting a piece of raw meat in with the lions, I'm not sure she would survive."
Did I miss something? Does it say somewhere in the law that "pretty" people shouldn't have to go to prison?


The washing machine repairman is coming today,

oh please let him be able to fix it!

While surfing for some information on the history of laundry or something relevant to put here, I found this interesting fact:
The average American uses more energy running a clothes dryer than the average African uses in a year for all her energy needs.
Wild, huh? Maybe I'll go back to using my solution from when we were waiting on the repairman to fix the dryer, it wasn't too hard to do and probably saved lots of energy...


Sunday, July 17, 2005

Happy Birthday to You!

Today is Audra's birthday, over at Random Ramblings. In some ways she's a lot like I was at 23, only she's got a lot more experience.

Have a great day, Audra!


I thought the point of using a human shield

was so the police wouldn't shoot you? I guess not.

This story is awful, didn't anyone care about this little girl? With a dad like this, she never had a chance.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Can't Blog Today

Got some reading to do...


Friday, July 15, 2005

Haiku in honor of lawn decorations

Streamers in my trees
They even used the good stuff
It's the quilted kind!


I wasn't able to attend our homeschool group's monthly "Teachers' Night Out" gathering last night. Apparently it came to me. What a bunch of nuts!

We were also amused to note that, among other graffiti, my sidewalk proudly proclaims to all passersby that we're "Too Cool 4 School!"
TP-Too Cool 4 School

Thanks ladies, I feel loved :-D


Thursday, July 14, 2005

I have laundry envy!


My washing machine gave up the ghost on Monday, and no one can come to resuscitate it until next Monday. With 4 kids, there is just NO WAY we can go a week without washing clothes, so I took all of the kids down to the closest laundromat before someone called Social Services...

Man, OH MAN, I wish I could buy washers and dryers like the ones they have there! We put 6 loads of laundry (including 3 comforters) into just TWO machines. I was out of there in less than an hour and a half, with all of my laundry washed and folded.

So, if you're looking for that perfect gift for me for my birthday, I'd like a 55 lb. capacity washing machine from Wascomat, and of course a matching high-capacity dryer. Thank you in advance :-)


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Mt. Evans


Mt. Evans is an easy drive from Denver, and inexpensive ($10/car.) It's also the highest paved road in North America, ending above 14,000 ft, so it's worth a trip! This puts you at about the same level as Mt. Everest base camp, where people who hope to summit begin their acclimatization process.

We found these neat trees in the krummholz area.


They're bent over like this because the winds blow so hard there near treeline that branches can't grow evenly.

Here's a shot looking down at treeline.

ME-Looking down at treeline

SNOW! We love high altitude, you can play in the snow in July!

ME-Snow in July

We've never learned the name of this little lake. On one trip, Davin christened it "Lake Waydownthere" and the name stuck!

ME-Lake Waydownthere

Here are the kids in Summit Lake At 12,830 ft about sea level, their verdict was, "Brrrrr!"

ME-Kids in Summit Lake

These are some neat mountain goats we found at the summit.

ME-Goat and baby grazing

How close were they? Close enough that we could get TWO climby-beasties in this shot! I'd be willing to bet Tiernan can climb anywhere these guys can, especially if there are breakable things up there!

ME-Tiernan and goat

And check out Maya, Anya and Sage at the summit! At this point Tiernan had completely had enough and was hanging on my leg crying to go home. The picture turned out remarkably well in spite of that, don't you think?

ME-Girls at summit

At this point we left. The kids were cold and out of breath and we were all tired. Not a bad homeschooling day!


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Potty Twin Powers, Activate!


After reading Katy's lament about potty training her twins, I thought I'd dig up this picture and share it. Hold on, Katy, it's a bumpy ride but it will happen!

This is Sage and Maya in one of their many early attempts at potty training. I not sure what's up with Maya's hat, but I guess it *IS* a "Potty Party"...

They did eventually "get" the whole potty thing, but not until much later and not at the same time. They were six months apart, and their third birthday passed between the time when Sage got out of daytime diapers and when Maya managed the same thing.

Now, if I could just get my son potty trained. I've been changing diapers non-stop since 1995, and I'm beginning to see the light at the end of this tunnel. I can't wait!


Mummification, it's not just for Ancient Egypt any more!


My post about DIY funerals spawned several interesting comments. People had different thoughts and ideas. The Mad Perseid had this to say:

Why can't we just do it the old-fashioned way. I want to be turned into a mummy so I can scare visitors in a couple thousand years or so. Of course, a nice, tasteful sarcofagus will be required.
Well, Mad, you can do that!

Summum, a Utah based company, can take care of all of your mummification needs. It takes about 90 days and will run you nearly $70K (more if you're a "very large adult") but in the end you are ready to travel into eternity in style in your own custom made "mummiform" or sarcophagus.

Now, the scaring visitors in a couple of thousand years part is up to you. I suggest including a curse with your mummy, to freak the bejeebers out of future archaeologists. Something simple, perhaps "If you violate the sanctuary of this tomb, you will be subject to a $70,000 restocking fee."


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Alternatives that could bury the funeral industry (har!)

Wake from printsoldandrare

Since the release of Jessica Mitford's blistering expose on the funeral industry, The American Way of Death in 1963, both laws and practices have slowly been changing in our country.

Now some families are even caring for their loved ones completely on their own at home. As this NPR interview indicates, it can be very comforting for a family member to see to their own in this way.

"This is a continuation of a caring process, of a living being. And a good kid. And it, um, it, it, it didn't feel just like a taking care of death thing. It was a -- it was also a continuation of life."
Not surprisingly, though taking care of your own dead is not illegal, families often experience a great deal of opposition from local funeral directors.

"He told us that it was completely illegal to bury a body without a funeral director. And that we had to have a hearse, and that we had to have somebody view the body to make sure that there was actually a body. And he would be the provider of the burial certificate. And that for that, he would charge us $1,900." It got worse when she called the state board of funeral directors in Massachusetts. The chairman, who owned 14 funeral homes, threatened to report her. But to whom? What Berman was doing was legal. And in the end, the local funeral director backed off.
There are many companies springing up on the internet to help supply the growing desire to handle more of the details of a funeral from home. You can get a casket at Costco (they really DO have everything), or even a build your own.

A company called Casket Furniture (motto: Why buy a casket for just one day?) offers many attractive caskets that double as home furnishings until the bell tolls for you. I'm not sure I like this idea, though. If I die, my family will not only lose a wife and mother, but also their couch.

Mary Roach's book Stiff, The Curious Life of Human Cadavers outlines several alternatives which allow you to skip the burial process altogether if you like, including donation to science, and becoming a traveling art exhibit.

No one really knows when their time will be up, so if you're interested, you might want to check out these alternatives before YOU check out.


Saturday, July 09, 2005

How have I missed this until now?

For the love of all that's creative, get yourself over to immediately!

Just the forums alone are enough to make me wish I could put my family into suspended animation so I could have more time to look at all of the picture intensive projects and tutorials people post.

I think I'll try this upside down tomato planter next year. I kind of like this new kitchen cabinet idea, too.

I think this Sharpie skirt mural is not for me, though. For one thing, I'm really not much of an artist. It's possible I could try some sort of surrealistic art, but melting clocks just emphasize a less-than-shapely behind. I suppose I could use Munch's The Scream which is how I feel about my butt whenever I really stop to think about it much, but that's just such a downer. Anyway, in the homeschool community, wearing a famous reproduction is just running the risk that my arse will be used in some future spur of the moment art lesson, and I value the children too much to let that happen.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Classroom science that looks like magic!

A teacher in Virginia has created a science curriculum based on re-creating the magic from the Harry Potter books using chemistry, aerodymics, magnetism, and other scientific principles.

"Find some books that they like to read," she said. "And say 'Do you think this could actually happen in the real world? Well, here it is."' For a discussion on the flying broomsticks used in the game of Quidditch, Haviland said, "We can even go into Bernoulli's principle and explore how we can take that from flying on a broom to ... how airplanes work ... and why some fly better than others...."

Haviland and her colleague, Plitnik, even have explanations for some of the more far-out occurrences in the Harry Potter books. Levitating a frog, for example. Haviland cites the work of Dutch and British scientists at the University of Nijmegen who were able to make a frog levitate using magnets.
No word on whether the frog will stick to the refrigerator after this experiment, but anything that gets kids reading and doing science is aces in my book!


So THAT'S the secret!

According to a recent study, the trick to really good didgeridoo playing has to do with what's going on inside the player's mouth.

The researchers discovered that the opening of the glottis -- the part of the larynx that contains the vocal cords -- was the key. "We conclude that a major difference between a novice and an experienced player is a learned, but usually subconscious ability to reduce the glottal opening," said Joe Wolfe, who headed the research team, in the science journal Nature.
Our piano teacher collects instruments from all over the world, and so we've actually all gotten to try her didgeridoo. All I could manage was a sound that was somewhere between a colossal fart and a dying water buffalo, plus I very nearly REALLY FARTED in the process. Next time I'll try to exercise proper glottal control, that must be the key...


Thursday, July 07, 2005

BTK Killer blames demon for murders

Isn't that convenient? Heaven forbid anyone should take responsibility for his own actions...

I'm adding to this post from earlier, I just can't get it out of my head.

I'm not saying that there aren't aren't people with legitimate mental illnesses, or even that there aren't real demons. But come on, if you were concerned from childhood that there was a demon inside you FOR REAL, wouldn't you maybe mention it to someone rather that just going ahead and doing something way out there like oh, I don't know...becoming the president of a large church congregation while simultaneously hiding your secret life of torturing and killing people?

I smell a cop out.


Our prayers are with you

Blasts kill at least 37, wound 700


Johnny Depp as Jacko?

Apparently many see shades of creepy Michael Jackson in Depp's portrayal of Willy Wonka.

The longish black hair. The pale skin. The ornate suit jacket. The--how should we say?--less than traditional adult male speaking voice...One problem: "I think the casual viewer is going to see Michael Jackson." So says Patrick Lee, news editor of online's Sci Fi Wire. And chances are the casual viewer wouldn't disagree.
To be fair, Depp says he based his characterization on children's show hosts like Mister Rogers and Captain Kangaroo. Still, somehow I can't picture either of them saying, "Don't touch that squirrel's nuts!" Sigh.


Thanks for your kind words!

My migraine is much better. It took a full day to get over, but the blind and puking part thankfully only lasted a few hours. I am very grateful for modern pharmaceutics and that my husband has a flexible schedule! Thanks for all of the nice comments everyone left, it was nice to come back and see them :-)


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Urg, Migraine

No blogging today.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Things you can't believe you link to...

Actually, I've linked to a knit pattern for a uterus here before.

But, now a go-along craft has been brought to my attention that reminded me of it, and like all things that I don't want stored in my head, I'm putting it here in hopes that I can release it back into the wild. I give you, the home of crocheted well, crotches. You can get them plain or in the form of purses and other assorted bags. You can even get them customized, but if you have her crochet a custom "ya know" for you I don't want any details.

There, I've set the image free.


Monday, July 04, 2005

Yarn addiction ruining your family?

Try frogging sweaters to feed your habit!

"Frogging" is a term that means unraveling. It's because you rip-it, and that sounds like ribbit, get it?

Frogging used sweaters and other knit garments can be a frugal way to get usable yarn, but it can be tough to do. But, if this interests you, fear not! There's a great tutorial by a newlywed named Ashley showing exactly what kind of sweater to look for and how to do it. She even backs it up with a super FAQ in case you have questions or problems.

I love to knit and crochet, and look for any means quiet the monkey on my back.


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Teacher Dress Codes

Judging by some of what is described here, and what I remember from what I was in school (slutty Mrs. M., or stoner Mr. I. I'm looking at you) I'm surprised this wasn't taken care of long ago.

Honestly, dressing casually isn't that big of a deal, even many large corporations don't require suits and ties any more. But, if you have a well-reasoned argument as to why it's beneficial to the students for a teacher to dress like a prostitute or a drug dealer, I'd like to hear it.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Memo to me: Pick up some Miss Manners books

Apparently, etiquette does matter.

Honestly, some of this stuff seems pretty obvious to me even though I'm more "down home" than "upper crust." But, I'm the first to admit that I'd be flustered if I were at a fancy dinner where everyone else knew which fork to use and I didn't. Really though, do people seriously put knives in their mouths? That's bad.

Still, I should probably emphasize this more than I do for the kids, since it seems to be a dying art. They could probably stand some lessons on what to do after your restaurant meal besides "throw the wrappers away, take your shoes off, and go play in the Playland until Mommy and Daddy are done..."


Shasta Groene found alive!

Six weeks after her brother, mother and mother's boyfriend were found beaten to death, and she and another brother were abducted, Shasta was found eating at a Denny's restaurant with a known sex offender.

No word yet on where her brother, Dylan is.

I'm so grateful that she's alive, but I just have a horrible feeling about what's happened to her brother, Dylan, and also how hard it's going to be for her to go back to her normal life. I pray that they get good help for her, and a lot of it...


Friday, July 01, 2005

A "Holla" for Help

Colleen, from The Elaborate Hour, kindly offered assistance in reply to my post, What Exactly IS a Hollaback Girl?

She found this article, which delves deeply into the underlying psychology of this seemingly innocuous ditty. It translates the storyline, lyric for lyric, so we can behold as the carnage unfolds:

Gonna make you fall, gonna sock it to you
That’s right, I’m the last one standing, another one bites the dust

Gwen’s pack of furious cheerleaders leaves the boy a quivering, bloody heap behind the bleachers for the groundskeeper to discover the next day....
Let me hear you say, this shit is bananas

Here, Gwen steps away from this bloody spectacle for a moment to comment on the madness and ugliness of what we’ve just witnessed, and, by extension, the petty rivalries of high school in general. This shit is bananas, Gwen tells us, and we can only agree. And lest we miss the point, she spells it out. And repeats it another three times.
Oh, weep for Gwen.


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