Sunday, April 29, 2012

Found a nice article on homeschooling here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Scale of the Universe

This is oh so cool.  Check out the size of everything in the universe.  Be sure to slide the scale both ways!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

On My Plate

1. Plan Ben's graduation party
A. Invitations
B. Food
C. Decorations
D. Music
2. Ben's Eagle Scout Project
3. End of year testing for the kids
4. Play practice (I'm directing)
5. Move
A. Set up dates with movers and airlines, pet sitters or kennel, hotel reservations
B. Look at houses in VA (ask about rental restrictions on 160 pound dog)
C. Find homeschooling groups - research piano teachers, guitar teachers, tennis teachers, art classes, Biology class, jumprope teams
D. Start getting rid of stuff
E. Make lists of what to pack
F. Call airlines about shipping dogs (ask about flight restrictions on 160 pound dog), make vet appointments for health checks before flying
G. Make appointment to ship vehicle
6. Ben and Emily going on youth group camping trip
7. Homeschool prom coming up
8. Judging for speech competition
9. Marriage seminar at church
10. Women's seminar at church
11. Military formal ball - make sure dress and uniform are cleaned
12. Anniversary plans
13. CEF ministry for Ben and Emily - applications in, need one more host, more payments due, fundraising letters need to be written and sent
14. Katie accepted to Starbase camp, finish filling out forms, make list of needed supplies
15. Have Ben research colleges in VA, fill out applications
16. Push kids to finish school before packers/movers arrive
17. Teaching second half of Waves/Sounds chapter to middle schoolers tomorrow. Finish researching:
Transverse Wave - a wave that has a direction of propagation that is perpendicular to its direction of oscillation
Longitudinal Wave - a wave that has a direction of propagation that is parallel to its direction of oscillation
Doppler Effect, sonic boom, decibels, hertz, rarefactions, see if I can find a model of the inner ear to show to the students, equation for measuring the speed of sound, equation to calculate distance of a thunderstorm based on temperature, ultrasonic, infrasonic, sonar
18. Do laundry, cook, clean, walk the dogs, and homeschool
19. Eye doctor appointment for me and Emily
20. Have a very quiet nervous breakdown, then get up and keep going

Saturday, April 14, 2012

And So It Starts

Emily and I love organization stores. We love going through the aisles looking at all the cool boxes, binders and hangars. We love buying these things and bringing them home. We love watching them gather dust as we never use them. But mostly we love to just look at the stuff in the stores. Emily says we are geeky like that.

Today we were checking out a new store. Emily, Katie and I were happily going along remarking on the neat-o items. We found some nifty baskets, some cool magnetic calendars, and pig that shot light out of its nostrils when you pushed a button on its back. COOL!

As I pointed out a neat picture hanging thingy to Emily, she was giving me that look. That look that says this is the most boring thing we've ever done and how could I drag her to this stupid store?

I was completely baffled. We had been having a good time until just a minute before but now it looked as if I had done something mortifying and she was humiliated to be in my presence.

"What's wrong," I turned to look directly at her.

"You can't even....," she started and then held her hand up at me in the universal symbol of "if I try to talk I'm going to cry". I waited a minute for her to get herself together and then suddenly she burst out with, "You can't even wait until after my birthday for us to move?!" Then she stomped off to another aisle.

What? Where did that come from? We hadn't even been talking about the move or her birthday or anything!

Katie and I continued walking along and checking things out and after about ten minutes Emily bopped back up to us, "Mama! I found the cutest picture holder!" She took me over to the picture holder that I had shown to her just before she had her snit.

"So what happened back there?"

"I don't know," she told me. "We were looking at the calendar and I was thinking about the dates we could write on it, and of course I was thinking about where my birthday would be on it and then I just.......I don't know."

And this is the start of the emotional upheaval of a move. We go up, we go down, we are high, we are low. We start to pull back from old friends and refuse to make new ones. When I meet new people right now my basic thought process is, "Hi, I don't need to know you." It's a way of buffering all those raw feelings that come when you tear away everyone and everything that is familiar. We also have friends who are suddenly pulling away from us now as well. They are protecting themselves from the hurt we all know is coming. None of us do this on purpose, it's sort of instinct. And it never really helps, but we do it anyway.

Dying Happy

Tonight we went to a fabulous Thai food restaurant on the North Shore called Opal's. It's the same restaurant that was featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives. The episode won't air for a while yet, but we figured once it does it will be impossible to get a seat. So we ran (well, drove really fast) there for dinner and it was just as good as we had been told.

While we were perusing the menu, the chef came out to our table and asked us what sort of food we usually like to eat at Thai restaurants. First up, we told him that Emily doesn't like Thai food and she's allergic to dairy. He asked her a couple of questions such as, "Do you prefer shrimp or chicken? Rice or noodles?" Then he told her, "I'm going to make you something that will change your life tonight."

He asked each of us the same sort of questions and what we normally like in a Thai restaurant. I'm usually a Green Papaya Salad/Chicken Pad Thai kind of gal. He also asked me if I like curry. Kerry is also a Pad Thai guy, but he's medium spice, where I'm mild. Katie normally likes Rice Noodles and Broccoli in Thai style gravy with beef, but the poor thing was rotten with a cold tonight and just wanted some ice cream. Unfortunately, they were out of ice cream and Katie looked like she was going to burst into tears, so he offered her cheesecake instead.

At this point I figured he must think we spoil her rotten as she was getting ice cream for dinner and nearly cried when told she couldn't have it, so I explained that she had a cold and a sore throat. He popped back up shortly with a glass of some sort of liquid that he swore would cure her if she would drink it. She took a few sips, and we ended up promising to go get her ice cream else where if she would drink half of it. I'd have offered her a pony if it would cure her.

Shortly thereafter, he showed up with four fabulous dishes for us. I wish I had taken a picture. The food was fabulous! It was like he designed the dishes personally for our taste buds. Even Emily ate from all the plates (he made all four dishes dairy free so we could share) and said she wanted more! This from the kid who hates Thai food!

Afterwards we walked to the nearest ice cream parlor for dessert. Emily didn't see anything dairy free, so she asked if she could just have a cone with nothing on it. When the server realized she couldn't have dairy, he produced a dairy free tropical fruit sorbet and served that. She said it was okay, but not as good as actual ice cream.

We had to walk down the street with our ice cream, and as we crossed a parking lot, a car swerved close to us. "I thought we were going to die," said Kerry.

Full of good Thai food and happy with my vanilla macadamia nut ice cream cone, I remarked, "Well, if we did, we'd die happy."

"You'd die happy," said Emily. "I'd die vaguely pleased."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Taking a Tumble and Assigning Blame

Kerry was scheduled to run a half-marathon recently. He planned get up around 3:00 AM to head out and knowing we would not be up to tell him goodbye and wish him luck, Emily printed out a Bible verse and wrote him a note and then taped it to the front door where he would see it on his way out.

The handwritten part says, "Run fast, run well, and don't hurt yourself. And if you can, have fun. If you can't, try skipping the rest of the way. If you still can't, do a cartwheel. Except that I don't think you actually can. So don't. Hey, are there going to be prizes? Steal them from the administration tents! And send them to Panda! That'll be fun, right? Oh dear, I seem to be running out of room on this paper... Good luck! Emily"

Well, as luck would have it, Kerry tripped during the race when he took his eyes off the road to call to a friend he saw standing on the sidelines and took quite a spill, and also took quite a chunk out of his hand. He said he lost some man-points too.

He told Emily that he was trying to do a cartwheel like she told him to, so it was her fault.

She responded that the first thing she told him was not to get hurt, plus she did tell him not to really do a cartwheel because she didn't think he could pull it off and she was right. So there.

They've had a running mock-argument for a week about whose fault this is.

I'm just wondering how he's going to get those man-points back.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

No Loud Noises

Katie doesn't like loud noises. She hates the vacuum cleaner, runs out of the stall in restrooms where the toilets flush noisily, and has worn ear plugs to every concert we've ever attended.

I told her it's really odd that a child who is quite loud herself doesn't like for other things to be loud.

"It's because I don't like for anything else to drown me out," she said, grinning.

Email Aggravation AT&T Style

My email account has been hacked. Someone somewhere has discovered my password and is sending out spam from my account. I've run all the virus scans I can find, I've changed my password twice, and every time I think I've solved the problem, it happens again. It happened again yesterday as a matter of fact.

So this morning, I got up and I had an email from AT&T telling me that they think my email account has been compromised and so they had disabled it until I change the password. They included a phone number to call if I had any problems changing my password.

So I went to their website and tried to change my password. I had to answer the security questions I had set up YEARS earlier when I first got the account. It then advised me that it would email me a temporary password to allow me to log in so that I could access my account.

But of course, I couldn't access my account to get the temporary password.

At this point I decided to just use the phone number they had so helpfully provided. Talking to a real person is always preferable to arguing with a computer. I called the number and was told pretty quickly that I needed to call a different number. "But this was the number in the email I was sent telling me that my account has been disabled. This is the number I'm supposed to call for help."

I still had to call a different 800 number. I got through to a real person and explained the situation. She wanted to know my phone number. I gave it to her. She couldn't find it in the computer. I've had this same email address and cell phone number for seven years, with AT&T the entire time. They've never heard of me. I was transferred to the email department.

The email department wanted to know what my zip code was when we lived in Kansas. I scrambled around for a minute, found it, and moved on to the next security question: Who is my favorite singer?

I wracked my brain trying to think of who my favorite singer was seven years ago. Or would it be Kerry's favorite singer seven years ago? Which one of us initially set up the account? The lady started giving me hints, "It starts with a T." "It sounds like it's a group name, not a person's name." I finally figured it out. Then they wanted to know how much our phone bill was when we lived in Kansas. There was no way I could remember that, and I found the question irrelevant, I got angry, and I got transferred to another department.

The dial-up department only kept me for three minutes before transferring me to the Uverse department. They immediately informed me that they couldn't find an account for me. I got out my last bill and read my account number off. Nope, no record of that account number. "I've been paying this bill with this account number for seven years, how can you not have any record of it?" She finally told me she thinks my account number is something else entirely and transferred me to mobile services.

Mobile services told me they'd never heard of me. They could find nothing under my email address or phone number. I gave them the account number the last representative had given me and they told me that my last name had the last three letters dropped off and added a "y". I told them I was looking directly at my phone bill which had my name spelled correctly and had my freakin' account number on it right next to the words "account number". I was transferred to another department.

I forgot to notate which department I was transferred to, but it didn't really matter, as I was transferred over to the land line department after that. But this time, they didn't give me a person, I was connected to a machine which didn't think I was answering its questions. It kept saying I was not responding, and then it disconnected me.

I called one of the 800 numbers I had been given earlier and got a real person again. She promptly told me that they could not change my password. I pointed out to her that they had already changed my password which was why I couldn't get into my email. "But we don't have the ability to change passwords on this type of account," she told me.

"Apparently you do," I responded, "As you already did it and sent me an email telling me you did it." Not one person I spoke with denied the fact that they had disabled my account, but they were all very adamant about their inability to change it back. She gave me a different phone number to call.

I tried that and finally got someone who was able to help me. So after forty-five minutes, seven customer service representatives, two automated machines, and being put on hold at least five times, and disconnected once, the problem is temporarily solved.

Does anyone have the phone number for Verizon?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Christian Dating

The youth group at the chapel on post is currently holding classes on dating for Christian teens. The class basically teaches them what is appropriate to do and not to do, and what the consequences are for breaking the rules (STD's and babies). Having just attended prom, Ben has had opportunity to observe courtship behavior among other teens. One of his biggest complaints about prom (both last year and this year) was that the teens don't really dance, they just grind up against each other. Ben and his girlfriend did the Cha Cha.

The leader of the dating class was explaining to them that some teens will get as close to having sex as they can without actually having sex and still feel that they haven't done anything wrong because they haven't gone "all the way". He mentioned that when he was a teen they did what they called "Christian sex" which was simulating sex but keeping your clothes on.

"Really," said Ben, "These days they just call that dancing."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Prom 2012

Ben has been to prom before, before, and before, and still has another prom to go to in May. Homeschoolers do not lack for chances to go to prom, believe you me. Five proms during high school is plenty.
Ben and his girlfriend were exceptionally good looking if you ask me.
It's not that I'm biased, facts are facts.

They got a limo again this year and shared it with two other couples. Last year, Ben didn't know anyone in the limo. This year he already knew both the other guys. I couldn't help but giggle at the girl in the short dress. Every time we took a picture, she would take hold of her skirt with one hand and start hiking it up a little.

Going to a real high school prom is not the only thing Ben has gotten to experience now. There were two cross-dressing boys attending the prom this year! I'll have to say, people warned me when we started homeschooling that my kids were going to miss out on a lot of experiences and diversity. Well, now they've been exposed, so you can all stop worrying.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives

My friend Casey likes to eat at Opal's Thai Restaurant in Haleiwa. She was in there last week when the owner told her that Diner's, Drive-Ins, and Dives would be featuring Opal's on their show. He invited Casey and her family to be there for the filming. Her husband couldn't make it that day, so she asked me to come along.

There were a number of people who had been invited to come see the fun and the restaurant is really small, so I had a feeling from the beginning that we would never make it inside. Guy Fieri, the host of the show, was inside already, sampling dishes and being filmed.

One of the crew members talked to all of us and explained that they would take us in a few at the time to interview us about the food. They told us we would not actually be able to place orders, they would just put food in front of us. We were all cool with that.

He immediately zeroed in on two young soldiers who were standing near us and decided they would be great to interview on camera. "Excuse me, sir," he started off, then paused, then stammered, "Uh....I mean ma'am. I'm sorry!" With their uniforms and short hair, he had mistaken their gender and we were all quite amused for a minute as he apologized.

We got to watch Guy Fieri as he came out to do the opening shot for the segment. It was quite entertaining to watch as they had to do a couple of practices and then when they got around to actually filming it, people kept wandering into the shot in the background and they would have to start over. It's a lot of work to get ten seconds of usable film!

After an hour and a half, Casey's kids were hungry and we felt it might be quite a while before the whole thing was done, so we decided to bail and go get lunch somewhere else and get the kids out of the sun. So we never made it into an interview and I won't be spotted by a Hollywood producer who sees me in a background shot of a restaurant and leaps up yelling, "She's the one I've been looking for to replace Julia Roberts in my next film!"

It's okay. I'm not bitter.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Wisdom Teeth Woes

Kerry has not regained the feeling in his lips and face after having his wisdom teeth out. He went back to the doctor and was told that it could be that the nerves were bruised, in which case the feeling will slowly return over the next six months. Or the nerves could have been killed, in which case the feeling will never return. There is no way to know which scenario it is, and there is nothing they can do about it. Kerry says they could drive a nail through his lip and he wouldn't feel it.

So we'd appreciate some prayers on his behalf, as he loves his lips (actually, we both do!)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Another Round of Wisdom Teeth

When Ben had all four wisdom teeth out in November, he couldn't understand why we had to take his wisdom teeth out. They weren't bothering him, and he saw no point in going through surgery and all the hassle of recovery and soft foods and no straws. So, I did some research and found out that it's better to have them removed when you are young even if they aren't causing problems, because the roots of the wisdom teeth keep growing and can wrap around your jaw. Removing them later in life can result in breaking the jaw, or even facial paralysis. It is a much riskier and more invasive process.

Kerry had two wisdom teeth removed on Friday. He had the two on the right removed when he was nineteen and for no particular reason, the two on the left have always remained where they are. Because I had done all my research about having wisdom teeth removed when you are, ahem, over twenty-nine, I was very nervous about this procedure. Not only is it scary, Kerry would be awake for the entire thing, where Ben was completely unconscious and had no memory of it. We even got some funny video of Ben while he was still loopy. Kerry wouldn't let me come take any video of him, so I'll just put a video of a random person after having her wisdom teeth out here because it's pretty funny:

Anyway, Kerry not only didn't have the luxury of being unconscious, he was nice and alert while they used a hammer and chisel to get the teeth out. Yes, yes, it was probably some sort of medical hammer and medical chisel, but come on. Imagine someone using a hammer and chisel on your teeth. Kerry said he felt like he had a concussion when it was done. The roots of his teeth had indeed wrapped around his jaw. They looked quite a bit like tusks, they were so long and curved.

I took Kerry to the pharmacy afterward to pick up a bag of drugs and he told me, "The doctor said I have to take seven to ten days of convalescent leave. I laughed and told him I can't do that! I'm going out to the field for a week on Monday!"

However, after a day of massive pain killers which made him nearly comatose, he began to see why he probably wouldn't be able to function in the field while he was taking them.

So he stopped taking the pain medication, and switched to just Motrin. And he went out in the field for a week.

So, sleep safe tonight folks. The US Army will not collapse and fall into anarchy. Kerry is on the job.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Using New Words

Katie and her friend Lindsey were riding in the car with me today. Katie had on some cute sandals and Lindsey said, "Your shoes are pretty, Katie! Where did you get them?"

Katie replied, "At the PX, on the clearance rack!"

Lindsey responded, "I think they're gaudy!"

"Gaudy?" said Katie. "What does that mean?"

"My mom says "gaudy" whenever she sees something that is really sparkly," said Lindsey with great delight.

It took about ten minutes before I could stop laughing long enough to let the girls know that calling something gaudy is not a compliment.

How Do You Waste Your Time?

I had to take Ben to town to pick up his tux for the prom. Before we left, I gave each of the girls a chore to do. I've learned from years of experience that I have to do it this way:

"Katie, I want you to clean off the dining room table while I'm out. Emily, I want you to clean the kitchen counters."

"Yes, ma'am," they chorus back at me.

Then I look each of them in the eye, "Katie, what did I tell you to do while I'm gone?"

"You told me to clean the dining room table."

"Emily, what did I tell you to do while I'm gone?"

"You told me to clean up the kitchen counters."

"Right. Don't either of you tell me that you didn't hear me say it."

I took Ben to pick up his tux. We waited in line with a bunch of very pierced teenagers and my heart swelled with pride that my son remains un-punctured. It's apparently a rarity. Ben told me he'd never felt so conspicuous in his life. Which is kind of funny because you know most of those guys get the piercings so they will be noticed and stared at. But it's the kid with no extra bling who stands out these days.

When we got back home, neither the table nor the kitchen was cleaned. Katie was on the computer and Emily was reading the Kindle. I barked, they jumped, and everything was cleaned lickety-split.

Around bedtime I was looking for my Kindle so I went to retrieve it from Emily. "Where's my Kindle? I want to read for a little while." She looked at me with an expression of exaggerated horror.

"But I'M reading it!"

"You had it the entire time I was out, and apparently wasted all your time I'm on it already."

"I didn't waste ALL my time on the Kindle! I wasted time doing a lot of other things too!"