Archive for July, 2008

Awful news

July 28, 2008

I first heard about the shooting at the Unitarian Church in Knoxville on a UU home-ed list. The story did actually make it as far as the front page of BBC news at one point. There’s talk of it being a hate crime, due to the liberal leanings of the Church. What’s more gutting to me is the fact that the gunman chose as his most auspicious time for violence the production of Annie put on by the church children. How do they begin to recover from an incident like that? And apparently one homeschooling mother was shot, her two boys sitting on either side of her. I cannot fathom how a person could either be so unmindful as to inflict this sort of trauma on children, or, being mindful, how a person could rationalize their actions.

The CNN article also returned to mind the church shooting that occurred in my own hometown during my absence. As much as I sometimes hate being away from home, particularly during difficult times, it’s comforting to know that there are more than enough binding ties between humans to propel them towards healing and progress.

To quote the church website:

Love is the spirit of this church and service is its law. This is our great convenant: to dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love, and to help one another.

May they swiftly regain their peace.


Don’t piss off a math geek

July 27, 2008

An amusing link from a math home-ed list: click.

Hehehe. Makes me want to pay my gas bill in Esperanto.

A to Z

July 26, 2008

..from Life with Heathens. Something to do whilst I wait to hear more about that horrible dentist of hers!

Accent: When I’m suprised or indignant, I sound way more English than I’m comfortable with. After all, that’s what I pick on James for. My vowels are all screwed up from life in Fife (I can’t say ‘bear’ anymore..comes out something like ‘beee-are’). Other times I feel I overcompensate by drawling like I just stepped out of a Dukes of Hazzard re-run. It aint right.

Breakfast or no breakfast: Yes, breakfast. I’m ashamed to say what it is I tend to eat though.

Chore I don’t care for: Maintenance chores in general (dishes, laundry, other similar drudge). I hate ironing stuff for other people, which makes me bad. Anything likely to poke at my OCD tendencies..

Dog or Cat: Cats. CATS.

Essential Electronics: mobile, computer, tv, digital camera in some form, my DS (rarely played though it may be)

Favorite Cologne: er, at the moment it’s Omnia by Bulgari, but it’s not the right season for it. I’m sort of content with the scent of All Soft shampoo and random Lush items. If I could find the Honeysuckle Bath and Body Works perfume Nyssa got me, I’d wear that..

Gold or Silver: er..I used to be hardcore silver. Now I eschew metal as much as possible in favor of stones and fibre. I like copper.

Handbag I carry most often: at the moment, for pathetic sentimental reasons I suppose, I’ve been lugging around a carrier bag from the Moscow Food Co-op (Moscow being my hometown) made out of recycled bottles. When I get the home ed/dining/craft room sorted, I fully intend to sew ‘the perfect bag.’ I’ve been stealing ideas left and right.

Insomnia: Indeed.

Job Title: The Boss of Everyone. In my mind.

Kids: My usual statement goes, “I have 6 kids. Three of whom are human, two of whom are minors.”

Living Arrangements: Adults have the run of the upstairs. Jamie’s office is up there. Jamie has the run of the upstairs. πŸ˜› The kids now have their own rooms (*cough*SPOILTWEEBUGGERS*cough*). I have..the public rooms! Because people who run the house aren’t meant to have their own rooms! *overly enthusiastic laughter*

Most Admirable Trait: I’m mostly harmless.

Naughtiest Childhood Behavior: eating cat food. And toilet paper (unused I should add!) Well, that’s not naughty so much as freaking weird.

Overnight hospital stays: Just ones related to the kids’ Rh Disease. Oh. And the mental ward. The less said, the better. Unless you just want to know, in which case I can certainly vent at length.

Phobias: my throat closing up, developing sudden and deadly allergies, the kids being in a life-threatening situation with their useless mum, my heart giving out, blood clots, airplanes, fast driving..ok well these are more the fears that fuel my anxieties. Depersonalization disorder gives me some really stupid ones, like looking in mirrors when my brain is in the mood to do some metaphorical cliff-diving. Oh the nights I’ve done a really lame job brushing my teeth because I couldn’t go anywhere near the vanity..

Quote: “Dude!” *sigh* I find myself saying, ‘Be mindful!’ a lot more than I’d like. I also mutter a lot.

Reason to smile: the cat in my lap demanding the attention of my face.

Siblings: Two sisters, three brothers. My two youngest brothers are still minors!

Time I wake up: Given that I’m rarely asleep for more than a few hours at a time, I don’t think it’s fair to say I have a ‘wake-up time.’ That is to say, it’s late enough sometimes for some mean people to be judgemental.

Unusual Talent or Skill: I can make my eyeballs shake back and forth really quickly. I can sing. No really. Don’t judge me by my shitty speaking voice.

Vegetable I Refuse to Eat: cooked mushrooms.

Worst Habit: my atrocious posture. Looking more pissed off than I actually am.

X-rays: Just my teeth. I’d like to have my left thumb x-rayed because it healed so strangely after it got smashed when I was 5 or so.

Yummy Stuff: Good tiramisu. Lemon tart/meringue/whatever. Certain flavors of Tootsie Roll Pops. Otter Pops. Doughnuts. Gnocchi. Cheeseburgers. Rice with vinegar. Root beer. Battered and fried stuff (so long as you can just eat the batter). BBQ chicken. Marachino cherries. Pepperoni pizza that’s been sitting under a warmer longer than is probably healthy. Coffee. Raspberries up to 30 seconds after you’ve picked them.

Zoo Animal I Like Most: Giraffes. Are they happy in zoos? I don’t know. I just adore looking at them, with their big ol’ eyes and stupid wee horns..

Festivals Cometh

July 26, 2008

One of my goals this year was to get involved with the Edinburgh festivals to a much greater degree. It’s just lame to have such a rich resource every single year and not take advantage. This year we’re focusing on the Fringe and the Book Festival.

At the Book Festival the kids will be seeing the author of the Horrid Henry books, most of which Nyssa has read. Should be exciting for her anyway. Joseph will be unimpressed at the wake-up time.. That day should be fairly spectacular for them though as they get to hang around at the festival, have lunch out, go on a storytelling tour with friends, and then have a sleepover with said friends (to let Mum and Dad go to other events that perhaps don’t bear mentioning). James will be going to see Iain Banks, which should be very cool, particularly if he can find a friend to go with. Any takers?

We have several Fringe events scheduled. Joseph has a drama workshop called, ‘Jedi Training Academy.’ Really, could there be anything better? Nyssa will go along and be a good sport (right Nyssa??). Later in the day we will see The History of Scotland in 60 Seconds or Less, James Campbell’s Shut Up Stupid (description: ” at language, idiots, teddies, neuro-linguistic nightmares and blankies. Stupid. Bumface.” Hehe..), and Bale De Rua (“Direct from a sell-out Paris season, the UK premiere of Brazilian dance and percussion spectacular. Featuring an exhilarating blend of capoiera, hip hop and original music, this street ballet will have you dancing in the aisles.” I’m really looking forward to this one.).

Our next Fringe day starts with a drama workshop that Nyssa chose, themed on Roald Dahl. Afterwards we will watch the show performed by the company that put on the workshops called, “Rapunzel–May the Force be With You” which is billed as the fairy tale done Star Wars-style. Cool. Later we’ll try to catch the free show ‘The Comedy Cartoon Story Show,’ put on by a stand-up comic/cartoonist. That should be interesting, at least. I think that afternoon will be our best chance to go see Wall-E.

The next week the kids are both participating in a 5-hour-long (woah) circus skills workshop, put on by Albert and Friends Instant Circus, who are up from London. This event could go many ways, and suffice it to say that I won’t venture far from the venue and will pay close attention to my mobile. πŸ˜› Later in the day we meet up with James who will take Joseph to a stand-up comedy club aimed at being appealing to kids while Nyssa and I see an American high school production of Hair.

I’m quite excited because I get to see Rich Hall and Jimmy Carr. My very very very kind friend is taking the kids for the night so James and I can go out and paint the town. Or conk out at 11. But at least we’ll be conking out in a hotel! August should be all kinds of fun.


July 22, 2008

I really want this. Reallyreallyreallyreally…..

Remember that barn door and it’s goofy ‘MOOOOOO’?? Bliss!

Some of this and that..

July 22, 2008

Hard to believe, but we’ve just about been in the house 2 weeks. The sky high pile of boxes behind me seems to indicate otherwise. Mostly things are fine, just little niggles. Like the gardener who doesn’t clean up his clippings. Or the leak in the downstairs bathroom. Or this:

We were left a gift by the former tenants. The washer wouldn’t drain properly, so I dug around in the pump filter and pulled out about a week’s worth of bus fare, a key, and other assorted goodies. And this was after I had cleaned out rusting metal shards from the rubber whatsit next to the door. If I die of lockjaw, you know who to pin it on. Ugh.

On to nicer things..

Possibly the most ridiculous thing we’ve come up with yet–taking our cat for a walk. Thing is, we feel bad that they look so desperate to explore outside and they’re too crap to be outdoor cats. Surely we can train them to walk on a lead. Surely? Mitu has been the bravest. On his first attempt he did explore the perimeter of the house, and we were encouraged in our lunatic idea. But then the next time he just kept bolting back inside. I think we might need to enlist the help of tuna.

I love catching the kids in ‘ARGH!’ moments. James made Joseph a CD of Star Wars music..but made the first track ‘Zurg’s Planet’ from Toy Story, which Joseph is decidedly *NOT INTO* anymore. Hahahahaha.

When I picked up this log, I was so enchanted with the myriad assorted sizes of Roly Poly bug that lived on it that I went to get the camera. I got back and there weren’t any on it anymore. I think this visitor to our yard might have something to do with it..

You see the landscape whizzing by? We are on a highway. I worry for the mental health of our bus drivers.

Just around the hills from our place is a brilliant organic farm and wee shop called Pillars of Hercules. Now being an area resident I couldn’t wait to start volunteering. This morning was our first go, and aside from Joseph being extremely unimpressed by our 7am wake-up time and his allergies being fairly nasty, it was a lovely morning. These are my two children in the broad bean patch.

I have many beans.

I adore this photo. And so many people will enjoy the beans we picked. πŸ™‚ Afterwards we were asked to pick some blackcurrants. Poor Joseph was so hay fevery that he was holding a kleenex to his nose with one hand and trying to sort berries with the other. I thought that perhaps was a bit too organic (ew..) so retired him for the day. The bell rang shortly thereafter, and we went in for a very nice tea break. Someone made me a cappucino and spoiled the kids with organic sodas and we all had toast with set honey. All the workers sat around a rough-hewn table and it was just very, very pleasant. Hopefully we’ll make it once a week or so.

Organic farm kitty.

That’s my girl, showing off the John Deere. That’s her having-just-said-‘Aww Yeah’ face.

I didn’t take this, found it on a google image search for Strathmiglo. It’s nice to live in a place pretty enough that you’d look for a picture of it to use as your desktop wallpaper.

That 7am wake-up time is catching up with me. *yawn*

Doctor Who rant

July 6, 2008

This is fantastically childish, but I feel the need to vent my frustration over how tonight’s episode of Doctor Who went. Those who haven’t seen Journey’s End yet will probably want to avert their eyes..

Firstly, I was appalled at the treatment of Catherine Tate’s character Donna. That funny, insecure, lovely woman, who for once in the new series is someone who does not fancy the Doctor, saved all of creation. Her reward is to have her mind erased and to go back and live with her pitying family? The sacrifice made without her later awareness of it is just a smack in the face to a viewer like me who really liked this character. I am not impressed Russell T. Davies!!

Secondly, what the hell is all this need to please Rose? She keeps popping up in the series without being invited, like a rash, and won’t go away until finally she’s dumped back in her alternate universe with a Doctor clone who conveniently has a human body and all of the Doctor’s memories. Even then she refuses to be satisfied and looks all pouty in her last (and, may we dare hope, final scene). F*ck her. She is not special, and I’m resentful. Perhaps this is lingering feelings from my being completely in love (platonically, if a bit possessively I assure you) with the Doctor as shown on PBS when I was an adolescent? I don’t know, but I was discussing my discontent with Joseph, a fellow Whovian, and he burst out laughing. He cackled and pointed at me, if you can believe the cheek, and exclaimed, ‘you’re jealous!! I can’t believe it! This is the first time I’ve known you to be jealous!!’ and falls over laughing. Well, I tell you..I folded my arms and fnered.

There was one other thing that irritated me. They showed a brief preview of the Christmas special and, surprise surprise, there will be yet another appearance of the Cybermen. Yawn. This recycling of all the ‘big’ old enemies is getting old. I want more of the mythology of the Doctor, his race, his planet, etc. revealed. I was just sure that in tonight’s episode Gallifrey would be revealed as the last planet. Or that Donna would actually have been a reawakened Time Lady (Romana perhaps?) similar to what happened to the Master. One other thing would make me happy–if they would quit this trend of involving the companions’ families so much in the series. Who. Cares. Seriously.

Most importantly, I feel they need to seriously backpedal with the whole the Doctor being a romantic character..thing. The Doctor is meant to be asexual. I can’t deal with it otherwise. If I see him snog anybody again I’m going to throw an action figure dalek at the TV.

Wow, well that was probably of no interest whatsoever to anyone else, but it was cathartic for me!

Am I British yet?

July 5, 2008

I just bought my first pair of wellies:

Thanks to TK Maxx, now I can go splosh about in the creek, sorry, the ‘burn’ at the bottom of our garden. πŸ˜€

Getting Joseph to stuff his face is problematic. I let the kids pick where to eat the other day and they, after realizing that McDonalds at that point was yob hell, chose The Pancake Place. We like this place because they do proper american-style pancakes with all sorts of toppings. My waistline dislikes this place for the same reason. So, invariably, we get into the place and Joseph picks up a menu and promptly loses his appetite. Nyssa, on the other hand, orders the biggest, most absurdly piled up plate possible, The Alaskan:

She’s certainly enjoying herself. When Joseph got his plate full of pancake, ice cream, and chocolate, his appetite made a miraculous comeback so it wasn’t all a wash.

I feel the need to point something out with regards to my eating habits; well, one habit in particular as it never fails to elicit weird looks:

I refuse to believe that I’m the only person on the planet who pulls the onions out of the onion rings then happily eats up the breading. In my opinion, the onion is there merely to provide form and flavor. Who actually wants to eat the slimy things??

Um. Oh. (Freak.)

This is me after eating too much pancake and onion ring crust. You can also see that my hair is back to its ‘normal’ red state. It’s got some brown highlights in it as well.

On to some various aspects of our new stomping ground.

There are some ridiculously cute strawberry plants growing along our path. The fruits are pathetic little things, measuring about one centimeter, and more likely to be trodden upon than eaten but they’re lovely. Besides, they might attract bunnies!

Isn’t that nice? It’s a properly old building. Well it would be in the States anyway.

This is our new neighborhood cat. He’s so lazy and lovely. If you coo at him enough he’ll get up and sort of languidly wander over for a cuddle.

The kids checking out the community notice board.

The local shop is pleasantly unskeevy. Well, compared to the other franchise possibilities (*cough*Spar*cough*).

The village clock tower.

Everything is in chaos or in boxes, but the kids have been very upbeat about it, for the most part. Granted, living so close to a public transportation and shopping hub was convenient, but it will be nice to live somewhere where there are fewer than 3 car alarms going off per day and not quite so many drunk people shouting outside the windows.