New Jen's Horde

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Don't Anybody Panic!

I know this is a bit extreme, and I don't want anyone to worry that we've joined a cult, but we cleaned and vacuumed the upstairs today. This isn't odd in itself, but it hasn't been months, nor are we trying to sell the house. In fact, we just did this recently, and, well duh, it was much easier this time.

This is part of our new "Get it clean, keep it clean" protocol of housecleaning. Radical, I know. But, then those of you who associate with us regularly aren't surprised, as you know we try to stay on the cutting edge of domestic philosophy and technology. This replaces our old system, referred to simply as "Oh crap, we've got out of town guests coming! Can we clean this place enough in the next week that they won't think we live like animals, or should we just burn it down?"

Thanks for all of the well-wishes earlier. Whatever it was seems to be over, and left us all with cleaning fever. OK, it left the adult in charge with cleaning fever, and everyone else around here knows what's good for them...


Gut Bug

'Nuff said, I should be back to normal posting levels later today or tomorrow.

If you need me, I'll be in the bathroom...


Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Pigs' Digs are the Bees Knees!

When we finally came to the agonizing decision (together with our vet) to put our kitties to sleep because the were old and in pain and came to believe our entire home was their litter box, I consoled the children by telling them that we could get any kind of pet that lived in a cage.

While we had to amend that later to add that we will no longer pay money for creatures that other people pay money to get rid of, this has served us well (the mice were grandfathered in, and will not be replaced. BTW-Meika's eye closed up and she is just as fine and agile as always. Amazing, isn't it?)

Our latest adventure has been our guinea pigs. We received them from our piano teacher. And, as the mother guinea pig had been considerate enough to give birth on a piano lesson day, we've known them literally from birth. I campaigned for the children to give them proud, upstanding names, but they chose S'more and Cowlicky. Well, they are cute names for cute little guinea pigs.
S'more and Cowlicky

Almost immediately, my friend Robin clued me in to a better kind of cage for them, made from those modular mesh book shelves and corrugated plastic. The basic instructions can be found here, and then she passed on information on how to spruce it up she'd gotten from another Five in a Row mom. Instead of using paper litter or wood chips, the bottom of the cage is covered with an absorbant material covered with fleece, much like the cloth diapers I used to use on the kids. The liquid waste goes through the fleece so the piggies' feet don't get wet, and the solid matter can easily be removed daily so they're not walking in it all the time. Then, when I'd normally toss the litter, I can just wash the fabrics (again, like diapers) and they have a much cleaner cage at all times.

It's much larger than the cage we purchased for them, and they LOVE it! We love it too, because it's easier to get into to feed them and keep clean, and of course pet them. Here are a couple of photos, so you can see how it ended up. (Don't you love our fake fireplace?)
Guinea Pig Cage Top view

Guinea Pig Cage, side view

They're really responding well to it, and the vet says they're happy and healthy! Thanks Robin, for all of your help :-)



Friday, May 26, 2006

I love timelines!

Have I told you all here how much I love timelines? Well I love them a LOT! We started using one in our homeschool after hearing Steve Lambert of Five in a Row talk them up, and we've never looked back.

This post is based on an article I wrote a a while back for my homeschool group's newsletter. I've maintained and updated it over time, so I thought I'd drag it out into the light again. This is a loooooong post, I think it's a record for me!


How a TIMELINE can be an indispensable tool in your homeschool, no matter what curriculum or method you use!

Dave Barry, one of my favorite humor columnists, wrote an article explaining how they studied history when he was in school. He said that at the beginning of the year the teacher would start with the ancient Sumerians and then progress forward through time, ending some time around WWI when the school year ended. Then, the next year they would start over with the Sumerians again, so they never really learned anything that happened after about 1918!

There are some subjects which are better taught in a linear fashion, starting at point A, then B and only then to C. Math is a good example of this, you can’t really teach long division without an understanding of subtraction or it will be frustrating. To some extent the Language Arts needs to be taught this way as well, if you don’t know your letters you are going to have a pretty rough time writing an essay.

History, however, does not need to be taught in any kind of order. Many traditional curriculums are organized in chronological order, but there’s nothing magical about doing it that way. If you want to be able to study different time periods as interest and opportunity arise you just need to have a way to keep the information organized.

This is where a timeline can come in really handy. With a timeline you can work on any time periods in any order. In one week you can read a book about Laura Ingalls Wilder, study the use of the trebuchet in medieval combat, and take a field trip to a dinosaur dig and still be able to understand them all in their proper historical context. You aren’t subjected to a syndrome Steve Lambert described as “the tyranny of the next.” As in, “No, Johnny, we can’t study the Civil War right now, we’re studying mummies because they’re next…”

Plus, as you start to fill your timeline in, you begin to naturally make connections between events based on their place in time. Or, you can see what how great the differences were in the experiences of people living in the same period. For instance, I had a lot of fun putting together this timeline of different forms of art from around the world, all created near the same time.

There are many different kinds of timelines, from Hyper History, which is a comprehensive collection of just about anything you could want to know, to shorter more concentrated timelines chronicling composers or inventions, etc. But, the kind of time line I feel is the most helpful in this circumstance is one that is blank, allowing you to fill in areas as you study them.

If you have a timeline that you are working on, whenever anything interesting comes up, you can add it to your timeline. It doesn’t matter what order the events happened in; you are able to record them as they become of interest in your homeschool. So, in time, you end up with a timeline that’s filled with events that have meaning to your child.

There are blank timelines available for purchase, either as posters or strips that you affix to the wall yourself. Timelines can run as one long line around a room, staggered up a staircase, or be otherwise organized in a smaller area. Or, if you don’t have much wall space (or you have many kids who’d each like their own copy) you can keep a timeline in a book. Also, keep in mind that any kind of timeline you could buy is most likely also going to be something you could make for yourself. The only rule is that it works for your family! One family’s timeline may not look anything like another’s. For instance, one of the first things we had to add to ours was the invention of the flush toilet, which my children consider to be of utmost importance. You’ll be happy to know that it was after the landing of the Mayflower and before “Moby Dick” was published, and well before Grandma Unternahrer was born!

There are several different ways to note events on a timeline. You can simply write them in, or create photos on your printer and tape them to the timeline. I read an article where one mom bought an outdated set of encyclopedias for pennies and cut pictures out of them to use! Some companies offer pre-printed pictures of people or events, which can help save time and hassle if you’re not in the mood to go adventurously searching the internet for a picture of Pocahontas. It doesn’t have to be pretty and uniform, the notations just have to make sense to you and your kids.

So, hopefully I’ve done a good job explaining this, and you’re all interested and clamoring to learn more! If so, here are some links that might give you some ideas and inspirations.

One family’s timeline, with examples of figures

Article, “How Do I Make a Timeline?

Articles about creating a history notebook here and

Konos produces the timeline we use. It's HUGE, but you can roll it up if you need to. Plus, it's open-ended at the beginning. Sometimes pre-prepared timelines start at around 2000 BC with the 7 Days of Creation mapped out for you.

Online collections of many different images can be found here and here.

The Online Portrait Gallery, a good place to start when you want to add people to your timeline.

Here's a site with many interesting timeline ideas, including a comparison of timeline figures.

A printable blank page, if you're creating your own book.

A collection of links to other timeline resources.

And here's a whole page of reviews of timeline products, in case you're trying to compare what's out there to purchase.

I hope this helps, and you catch Timeline Fever like we have!

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Thursday Thirteen


Thirteen Things about OUR CO-OP

1. Our homeschool group offers a co-op four times a year. It's like an education enrichment potluck. You offer something to the group, and in exchange for your offer, you are eligible to participate in everyone else's offerings.

2. The offerings can be a class that you teach on a subject you're familiar with or interested in, a field trip you set up, a party, a social activity, or even something for the adults to do (for instance, in the past I've held coffee nights for relaxed homeschooling parents, and knitting classes for the adults.)

3. I figured I'd tell you all the things we've signed up to do this session, in addition to the regular homeschooling stuff we do at home and with the group, so you know what we're up to when life gets in the way of my blogging! ;-) Some we've already done, some are upcoming.

4. We had a docent led tour of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, where we learned the inside story about a lot of the zoo animals. You may recall this trip from last week, when I was drinking out of the toilet

5. We caught the show "Cosmic Journey" at the Planetarium at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and then hung out in the museum after with some of the other kids for a while in the Space Odyssey exhibit.

6. We visited the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, to see how the Anasazi lived. The tour guide led us through the dwellings, showed us a film, and the kids got to grind corn and everything! This is one of the classes I set up :-)

7. One mom offered her backyard for the kids to get together for some unstructured time. The kids jumped on the trampoline, gathered around her outdoor firebowl, and just hung out together. There are a couple of "playdate" classes offered this time, which are always fun and a nice break!

Those are the ones we've already done, these are the ones that are still coming up!

8. The kids will go to the Chamberlin Observatory to hear a talk about space and get a chance to look through their 20 inch refracting telescope.

9. There will be a Police K-9 Demonstration, including one officer in a "bite suit" showing the kids how they cue the dogs to attack and to stop.

10. One of our families lives on acreage out on the plains, and they've set up a nature walk through their land to look at the animals and plants that live there, followed by a picnic.

11. Another class that I set up is a chance to roam through the old cemeteries in Central City. They have graves there dating back to the 1800s, and they are in several languages. There is one spot on a hill above town where there are 5 cemeteries in one general area, so we're going to meet there for a picnic first, then each family can wander on their own.

12. One of the moms in our group used to teach wilderness survival, so she's offering a series of classes in camping and outdoor skills. Last time she brought her partner from when she was teaching, and I truly believe you could drop those two off naked in the forest and they'd make it home OK!

13. And tonight, we'll be learning to do Davidic dance, or Jewish dancing. She says we'll be learning "the traditional Line Dance, Hava Nagila, and if we have time Hine MaTov or possibly Peet Chu Li." I'm having a fibro sort of day, so I may be WATCHING Davidic Dance, but that will be informative, too.

TEN THOUSAND THANK YOUS FOR ALL OF THE HELP WITH MR. LINKY THIS MORNING! I was doing something wrong, and you showed remarkable patience, I appreciate it!

For the rest of you, if you don't have Linkies yet, you should get it!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!



Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hillary's Outrage

Hillary rips climbers who left dying man

Mount Everest pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary said Wednesday he was shocked that dozens of climbers left a British mountaineer to die during their own attempts on the world's tallest peak..."There have been a number of occasions when people have been neglected and left to die and I don't regard this as a correct philosophy," he told the Otago Daily Times.

"I think the whole attitude toward climbing Mount Everest has become rather horrifying. The people just want to get to the top," he told the newspaper.

Hillary told New Zealand Press Association he would have abandoned his own pioneering climb to save another's life.

"It was wrong if there was a man suffering altitude problems and was huddled under a rock, just to lift your hat, say 'good morning' and pass on by," he said.
It's not certain what could be done for a person who's gotten into trouble at such an altitude, but then, they did get Beck Weathers down. That's very much the exception, though, and not the rule. Perhaps fellow climbers could only offer comradery, and the comfort of listening to the last words of dying.

It seems there are times when some must be left so the others can get down safely. But, must a companion be left while a climber is on the way up? Is the summit more important than basic humanity?

I appreciate that Sir Edmund expressed outrage at the practice of leaving climbers for dead while continuing a press for the summit. Obviously, not everyone will return from an Everest expedition. But for those who return it seems preferable to be able to say that you acted honorably on the mountain. Tagging the summit holds little glory if your actions are savage and self-indulgent.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Ack! Too Many Field Trips!

Sometimes, educating my children gets in the way of my blogging, and you all have seen it these past few days! I'll get back to you all with a full report (of the interesting stuff) as soon as I can. Hopefully later today or tomorrow...

Until then, check out this beautiful site, Earth As Art.

Welcome to the Earth as Art Gallery! Here you can view our planet through the beautiful images taken by the Landsat-7 satellite - and most recently, the Terra Satellite's Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER). This gallery of images uses the visceral avenue of art to convey the thrilling perspective of the Earth that satellites provide to the viewer.
It's really worth clicking around a while!


Saturday, May 20, 2006


Davin took the kids camping overnight, so if you need me, I'll be hanging out at my house in my jammies watching horror films...


Friday, May 19, 2006

[sarcasm]No, really?[/sarcasm]

Runaway Bride's Wedding Reportedly Off

The runaway bride who generated a media storm with her phony tale of abduction and the fiance who took her back have broken up for good, the man's friends and family told People Magazine.
That actually took longer than I thought.

I'm not trying to be snarky. Ok, just a little. But, seriously, I'm not the only one who expected this to turn out this way, right?


Thursday, May 18, 2006

The "Ketchup" Thirteen


The "Ketchup" Thirteen WITH PICTURES!!!

1. Today I don't have a theme, I'm just catching up on everything that's been going on.

2. I am putting this up a little late because we spent the day at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. "Cheyenne Mountain" is apparently Native American for "Steepest Dang Zoo in the World."

3. Here are my kids "hatching" there.
CMZ- Hatching some kids

4. Check it out, I got permission to show you all Anya's headgear! She's so cool.
Anya Headgear

5. Anya loves chickens, so here's a chicken costume she created and wore the other day. She was very proud of it, and excited to be wearing it.
Chickie side view

6. We spend a lot of time making costumes around here. Maybe they're artistic, maybe they're freakyweird, only time will tell!

7. This is something goofy that Anya and Tiernan made. I give you "The Oatmeal-inator" and "Captain Plastic!"
The Oatmealinator and Captain Plastic

8. Back to today. It was REALLY HOT, and did I mention the zoo had very steep paths? We were all very hot and sweaty by the time we left.

9. We decided to go to a drive thru and get drinks. The first one we passed was a KFC/A&W.

10. I ordered each of the kids a root beer, and then I looked at the menu and saw they had a size "extra large" drink. I thought, ooh, I'm so thirsty an extra large sounds really good! So I ordered an extra large Diet Pepsi, and found out that MAN, when they say extra large, they mean EXTRA LARGE.

11. What a huge drink!

12. Yes, that is a HALF GALLON of Diet Pepsi, and it has a handle like a bucket. It was so huge that it didn't fit in any of the drink holders in the car and I had to improvise. Good thing no one uses the car potty any more, and we keep it clean (albeit dusty)!!!
Drinking out of the toilet

13. So, I ended up drinking out of the toilet today, how are things going for you?

Editing to Add: I carried the drink around for over 4 hours and didn't finish it. I ended up getting rid of it. The cup itself is pretty amazing, I may keep it and use it for something. A lunchpail for Davin perhaps? Any ideas?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Anya got headgear today!

And it doesn't look even a little bit like the jaw trap from the movie Saw!

jawtrap from saw

I'm not sure who Shawnee Smith's orthodontist was here, but I think I'd shop around a little more...

I'll try to snag a picture of Anya wearing said appliance if she'll let me. It's one thing to hang around the house in it, it's another to have your mom blast it all over the world wide web.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My Mother's Day!

Mother's Day on Pikes Peak

We rode the Pikes Peak Cog Railway to the summit of Pikes Peak (14,110 feet), arriving just in time for the blizzard! We were only outside about long enough to take this picture, because there were so many lightning strikes on the summit during the storm that it wasn't safe to be out in the open. The rest of the time we huddled in the doughnut shop/gift store, hoping we'd make it down OK.

It was a real adventure, tons of excitement!

Then, we headed back down the mountain, and into shirtsleeves weather again. I love Colorado!


Monday, May 15, 2006

Ballband Dishcloths

This is what I've been knitting. There are more in the process, but this is what's finished...


This is the dishcloth pattern that came from Mason-Dixon Knitting. Actually, apparently it comes from the ballband of Peaches & Creme yarn, so I've thrown it away probably 6 million times, but without a picture it just looked like a hard and crappy pattern and I had no idea how cool it would turn out.

I can't wait to try the other patterns in this book! There are so many neat ideas here. Gotta run, more to knit...



Sunday, May 14, 2006

I'm a knittin' fool!

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Hope you all are having a great day, I'll be back in later with photos of what I've been doing instead of blogging (or cleaning, or cooking...)



Friday, May 12, 2006

Can't Blog, knitting.

After seeing the fabulous "warshrag" over at Gather Your Ideas, I had to run out at buy the book Mason-Dixon Knitting. (Along with two other knitting books. Davin, you still love me, right?)

So, today will be devoted to substistence-level child rearing, and "warshrag" production. Cover me, I'm going in...

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Thursday Thirteen


A Random Thirteen

1. I thought I'd start with a few heartwarming moments from this week's interactions with the children. I never know what they're going to say or do.

2. When explaining the term "liposuction" to a sibling, Maya said, "It's when you suck out someone's fat cells ON PURPOSE!" As opposed to?

3. Sage found a pair of nylons that I'd scavenged the toe out of to rig the fishtank filter so it wouldn't suck up the babies. I didn't realize how unusual this item of clothing was until we had this exchange when she asked what they were. I said, "Oh, those are pantyhose." And she replied, "What's a pantyho?" Um, I'll tell you when you're older.

4. My daughter Anya marched up to Maya with a piece of paper and told her, "You know, you spelled 'jackass' wrong, it's j-a-C-k, not j-a-K-k..." Nice. A+ for spelling, now both of you go to your rooms.

5. I'm still not sure what she was writing "jackass" about, but since I'd caught Maya cursing like a sailor earlier when I walked in to the room after loading the dishwasher, I'm sure she wasn't referring to the Biblical transportation.

6. I'm not sure where they get this damn language from, but it sure as hell better stop soon!

7. Tiernan has been riding his bike around the house pretending to be a realtor. The scary thing is that he mostly just tells me we need to clean the place up so he can sell it.

8. We've lived here since before he was born, how does he know what it's like to put a house on the market? Maybe he was born to sell homes?

9. Of course, I hope when he's a realtor he doesn't ride around in Superman skivvies with painted fingernails and toenails (he's got 3 older sisters, remember) and draw crosses on his know, for when he's "Hospital Guy."

10. He's also sometimes "Wire Guy" and he fixes electrical appliances. Still naked.

11. Other times he's a cat. But, when he's a cat, he's a girl. And, yes, he's still naked.

12. Although, the kids did spend an inordinate amount of time making clothes out of garbage bags and playing in them in the yard. The rule was that if they saw anyone else out, they had to come in, but I could hear the property values plummet all the same.

13. Maybe that's why Tiernan's being a realtor? He wants to get in on the ground floor as this neighborhood goes "white trash" in a handbasket...

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Way to go!

Steve Vaught, better known as The Fat Man Walking, has completed his goal of walking across America, and is in NYC today!

His thoughts on crossing this threshhold and being bombarded by questions from the media? “Frankly, I'm a little weirded out.” I would imagine!

It's a very interesting story, and one that I've been following on and off over the last year. I'm glad he's made it safely and in good health, and I wish him well in future endeavors.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Ladies, PLEASE!!!

A Public Service Announcement from Jen's Horde.

In what can only be termed an unprecedented day for the horde yesterday, we visited two shopping malls in our area. (I was looking for these, and returned successful from the croc hunt!)

In both malls, since I was foraging with 5 tiny bladders including my own, I had reason to visit many, many bathroom stalls. And I saw one egregious offense over and over.

Ladies, this peeing on the seat has got to stop. Everyone thinks it's disgusting when the guys do it, so why do you think it's OK for you to commit this act? I'm sure you're squatting in an effort to try to avoid catching some horrible disease, but honestly, you're the only ones defiling the seats for future users. Look up any major disease and the information will tell you that you can NOT catch it from a toilet seat.

So, do us all a favor. Sit all the way down, or save it until you get home. No one wants to find a seatful of your nasty urine waiting when they get to the bathroom. Even my four year old son is neater in his toilet habits, and he's brand new at it!

And, I don't even want to start on the number of people who don't wash their hands after, goodness gracious what is this world coming to?


Monday, May 08, 2006

Happy Mother's Day, Old Lady!

I can see how this might be taken wrong by some folks, but I'd be pretty happy getting this as a gift.

South Koreans traditionally used to say it with flowers or money, but now more are showing love and respect to their parents by giving mom and dad coupons for cosmetic surgery.
I don't know what I'd fix first. My butt and boobs have been heading south for a while now, and I see that my chin is starting to follow, maybe one of those?

What would you have done if you got a free pass for some surgery (assuming it was totally safe and you were OK'd by your doc to do it, etc.)


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Oh jeez, someone get me a bucket!

Oh hurl oh hurl oh hurl oh hurl....

As you know from my other post, there's something wrong with Meika's (one of our pet mice) eyes. They just found out from the vet that it's not an infection, it's an injury, and she'll lose the eye. But, don't worry, it will just go away, just dry up and fall out and just be gone one day! Isn't that comforting?

Breathe breathe breathe

I just don't "do" eyes. Give me a good skull injury, or bleeding, but not eyeballs, shudder. Apparently they've given us medication to help her along, and she's otherwise healthy, but OHMYBLOODYHELL she'll be missing an eye! And where will it go?

I have to go, I need to find an eyepatch for her or something. This just isn't going to work out for me...


Cry Little Sister

***I originally posted this on 10/28/04, but since no one was reading my blog then I thought I'd bring out some of the posts from back in the day so they can get a chance at the light, too! Happy weekend!***

Yeah, I think I actually might cry.

This is a recent video remake of the theme song from the defining vampire movie of the '80s, The Lost Boys. It's still kind of a good song, but instead of the flashy Santa Carla boardwalk, with underlying sexual/undead tension thing going on, you get this? (May load slowly.) It's a bunch of thirtysomethings dork-dancing around in the dark, looking so lackluster that you can't help but wonder if the vampiresses make their move just because they have to hurry so they can get their babysitters home by 10?

If our cool 1987 selves could see our 2004 selves, is this what we would look like? Don't answer that...

Plus, I'm very confused because the vampires actually showed up to the "party" on motor scooters, wearing helmets. Now, I'm all for cycle safety, but, aren't vampires immortal? What's the worst thing that could happen if they get into a crash without their helmet on. Nothing, right? So why risk helmet hair when it's not going to do anything useful like protect them from a stake through the heart or garlic or crosses or the rays of the sun or anything? Research, people, is it too much to ask?

It would have made more sense to have them show up in a hybrid Prius (without their seatbelts on, of course), because, since they're immortal, they don't want to be crapping up the earth and leaving themselves nowhere to live for the rest of eternity. We should probably thank them.


Friday, May 05, 2006

Ew, can't look!

Just jumping in quick to say that we have a veterinary emergency here today. One of our pet mice has a very awful looking problem and we need to leave to get her in to the vet. To find out what the problem is (I wish I didn't know, so I'm giving you the option) click on the .*.*. below.

Mice are so hard. She was fine the day before yesterday.

Editing to Add: We can't get her into the vet until tomorrow. Apparently mice are considered "exotics." Yeah. She cost less than $2, to me that doesn't scream exotic. Well, unless you're a skanky dancer I guess. Then you'd probably have some weird-looking infection, too. I don't think that's the mouse's problem though....

One of her eyes looks infected, and is protruding out of its socket. :-(


Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Eternal Don't Bee

No time for the Thursday Thirteen this week! Check here next week, same Bat time, same Bat channel, and it will be here.

We finally got to see the Bodyworlds exhibit that I've been so excited about for months now! It was amazing, just absolutely fabulous. Seriously, get in your car and drive to the nearest town that's hosting this exhibit, you'll be glad you did.

One scary thing, though. They had several sections of the blackened lungs of smokers to view (the best news I can give you is that the lung from the guy who worked in the coal mines was worse, other than that it's all bad) and some tissue from other disease processes, like skin cancer, arthritis, liver cirrhosis etc. And, they had cross-sections of a person who weighed 120 lbs at death and one who weighed 300 lbs at death to compare. Being a fat girl myself, it was interesting, yet sobering to look at how much the extra adipose can affect every organ...not that it's news, you just don't normally get a real-life, inside-out eyefull of it for yourself.

My mother in law decided she wanted to leave the museum, and go home and eat nothing but salads from now on. I agreed, there's nothing worse than thinking about leaving your body to a project like this, and ending up being a DON'T for generations to come...


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Blog Olympics Training Camp News

Well, it was news to me, at least.

If you want to be updated before future training camps, you can go to Barbara's Blog Olympic HQ and ask to be put on her list. She'll email you! Apparently it's the 1st and 15th of each month.

I'm just excited, I knew these were going on for a while, but I kept missing them, I just happened to hit yesterday's on accident :-) So, in case I'm not the last person in cyberspace to find out this cool news, I thought I'd alert anyone else who's interested on how to get on the list!


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

6th BlogOlympic Training Camp!

It's not too late if you hurry!

Rush over to craziequeen's palace and get your game on!

Editing to add: It's over now, and I won GOLD!!!! We've been waving the Jen's Horde Flag (unfurled toilet paper) and playing the Jen's Horde National Anthem ("Hey Dad! WILL YOU WIPE MY BUTT?!?") all afternoon. It's a demonstration of pride the likes of which the Horde has never shown before.


Do you know where Louisiana is?

Apparently, most young Americans don't.

Despite the wall-to-wall coverage of the damage from Hurricane Katrina, nearly one-third of young Americans recently polled couldn't locate Louisiana on a map and nearly half were unable to identify Mississippi.
The rest of the findings are just as bad. Unbelievable!

Guess it's time to move the world map back into the bathroom, where we do all our best learning...


Monday, May 01, 2006

Monday Memories


Monday Memories: Did I ever tell you about MY RECORDER DAYS?

Did you ever have a time in your life when you really were free to do anything you wanted? Not like free to jet to Paris, or buy a new car. I mean free to just be who you are and not care what anyone else thought about it?

I'm pretty fortunate in that I seem to have been born without the "worrying what other people think" gene. Even so, there are a few times in my life when I had just the right combination of time on my hands, and friends who were similarly genetically afflicted, so we could fully develop whatever quirky behaviors we wanted to.

When I was in my sophomore year of college, my friend Melanie had to learn to play the recorder as part of her early education degree. I had sort of learned to play in fifth grade, and as luck would have it our friend Sara had played all her life as her mother was involved in some sort of recorder ensemble.

Recorders are cheap, a decent plastic one is still under $10, so it's the perfect instrument for college kids to get into. We became mad for recorders, and we never went anywhere without them. We started playing medieval trios and any other music we could find, often treating complete strangers to a concert when we'd finally gotten the hang of a piece. We got together to drink wine and play recorders. We played recorders while waiting for classes to start. We would run over to friends' houses to play for them when the mood struck us. You get the picture.

I'm sure we were seen as weird, if not downright annoying to some people. But, we didn't care, and that was the beauty of it. Somehow after having been told our whole lives you have to do this, that or the other to fit in (and never quite making it) we'd reached a point where fitting in didn't even enter the equation.

And, ironically, we were popular in a strange way. Everyone knew us, and people would come up and talk to us. Apparently, the key to fitting in is to not fit in, but to do it in a memorable way? I still don't know.

What I do know what that every day then seemed filled with promise, something new to be accomplished, fun to be had, music to be played. The recorder is really the only instrument I've approached mastery on, and that's because instead of grinding through lessons, I played around with friends until I got it. So, when I got the chance to join the FFMB, and she asked what instrument we all want to play, I started thinking about those fun days again.

So, if you'll excuse me, I've dug out my recorder and I need to brush up on my J'ai du bon tabac, if you please. (audio)

Links to other Monday Memories
If you're playing, please leave me a comment and link yourself up. Don't forget the comment part, though. It's already Monday, don't make things worse...

Click here for the Monday Memories code
Click here for Shelli's blog

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