February 27, 2009

Two Thousand Posts and an Anniversary

I noticed as I was logging in this morning, that this will be my 2,000th post on the mu.nu server. It seems hard to believe even after all these years that I've had that much to babble about.

And speaking of all these years, today is the anniversary of the very beginnings of Curmudgeonry. Back in 2002, my husband starting blathering on about wanting to start a blog. I didn't have a clue what he was talking about, but agreed to go along. He started this lovely and interesting mostly foreign policy blog named after the backpage column he wrote for our college news journal, with me and a few other friends along to write about other stuff. Slowly the friends started dropping off and then my husband moved on from his government job to one that required results and billable hours. And then I was the only one left.

Curmudgeonry moved from blogspot, to another server that disappeared suddenly and I lost about two years of posts, and then on to mu.nu. In seven years, I've had four more children, moved twice, changed religions and done about a million other things (as you can read in the archives of this blog).

I am thankful and grateful for those of you who drop by and leave a comment now and then. I enjoy your company more than I could ever express. Although both quantity and quality have dropped off of late in the blathering process, I hope some day to be able to once again string coherent sentences together and when I do, you all will be the first to know.

February 23, 2009

Twenty-five Random Things

Yes, this is making the Facebook rounds. And yep, I'm posting it here, because I'm busy today.

1. I've been to 48 states, and the missing two are not Alaska and Hawaii, but rather Louisiana and Nevada.

2. I've lived in 7 states.

3. I've lived in at least 20 different houses and apartments.

4. During my last pregnancy, my straight hair turned slightly wavy.

5. I have never smoked, nor ever wanted to.

6. I didn't get my driver's license until I was 20 and out of college.

7. I finished high school in three years and college in three years, and I spent three years in grad school.

8. Despite my undergrad and grad degrees in German, I have made no attempt to teach German to any of my children.

9. I do take them to the library frequently though, so I suppose I use one of my degrees.

10. I have a thing for little girls' dresses with watermelons on them and have collected way more of them than my daughters will probably ever want to wear.

11. I also have a thing for boys in striped shirts and overalls, but I don't buy every one I see.

12. When I got my first e-mail address in 1993, I had to go to the computer department and apply for it.

13. I first got my ears pierced when I was 19. I wasn't "allowed" to, but I went out and got it done while in college.

14. I love the smell of pavement after a rain storm.

15. In fourth grade I won a prize for the ending I wrote to a story in a contest they were having. They gave me a book about dinosaurs.

16. In high school I won the runner-up spot in a Goethe Institut sponsored trip to Germany. Instead of a trip, I got a tote bag.

17. I still have the tote bag and use it all the time for grocery shopping and trips to the library.

18. Having lots of children means I have to go through potty-training and phonics lessons over and over again. Sigh.

19. Sometimes I ban my oldest son from talking about Legos any more.

20. I love tea. I like coffee, but I love tea.

21. When I was little we ran into Tattoo (from Fantasy Island) at a men's clothing store in Pasadena. He patted me on the head, but had to reach up to do it.

22. Alison Krauss has eaten dinner at my house.

23. I've had stitches twice and blame my older brother for both incidents, although he still denies culpability.

24. When I was in high school I liked offering friends the use of my HP calculator and laughing at them when they couldn't figure out how to use it.

25. I have a pair of webbed toes on each foot.

February 19, 2009


The baby is napping. The kids are in the backyard riding bikes and playing in the dirt. Now is my chance. I can settle into a nice hot bath and maybe even flip through a magazine.


Oops, I thought that too loudly. The baby's awake. But she's pretty cute and likes the splash in the water. The magazine is out, but since all the other kids are busy, I can still get that bath in.

Water running.

The baby smiles and splashes. I settle in. This warm water is just what I needed.

The bathroom door slams open.

"Mom, is it swimming if you hang on to the side of the pool and wear a vest?"


The door slams shut.

Ahh. Now for a little peace.

The door slams open.

"Mom, do we have to play outside? I'm tired of being outside."

"Yes, you have to stay outside. Now out!"

"But mom..."


Door slams shut.

Door slams open.

"Can I have a snack?"

"May I."

"May I have a snack?"

"May I have a moment's peace?"

Door slams shut.

Baby is tired of the bath and starts fussing to get out. Ah well. The idea was a good one. Perhaps in a few years I'll get that peaceful bath or maybe sooner I'll remember to lock them all outside.

February 18, 2009

The Flu

For the last several years I have made sure that everyone in the family got a flu shot. This year I made sure all the kids got their flu shots, but I never quite got around to getting mine.

Obviously, I chose wrong.

The fevers are gone, but I'm still coughing my head off and I'm very, very tired.

I'm taking it easy and the kids are doing only such schoolwork as requires very little help from me.

February 13, 2009

The Value of Teaching Self-Sufficiency

I admit it. I have some tendencies towards being a control freak, but often as a mom, I've had to put those aside let the kids mess up and teach them how to do things in the process.

The repayment from the temporary mess and annoyance is enormous when mom is sick.

For the last four days, my six year old has been peeling fruit and making PB & J's for everyone's lunch and my nine year old has been doing laundry. Both of them have been plying me with hot tea. All the kids have been making a huge mess, but when my husband comes home and drafts them into service, they have been working hard to help pick it up.

Basically, things are running ok around here and my kids are eating because they learned a few basic skills. When I'm better, I'm going to teach them how to make more foods.

How to Not Homeschool

You too can not homeschool in several simple steps:

  1. Decide on Monday to run errands. Take daughter to eye doctor. Find out she needs bifocals. Spend several hours tracking down frames small enough for a six year old, winding up at the same place you bought frames last time. Then spend time sitting around the county health department to get a tetanus shot. Decide school isn't worth starting when you arrive home at 3 p.m.

  2. Tuesday take the kids to get violins repaired. Realize that violin will not be finished in time for first violin lesson that afternoon. Proceed with allowing teacher to come, but discover that a lesson without an instrument is a frustrating thing. Decide after lesson ends at 2 p.m. that it isn't worth it to start school that day.

  3. Start Tuesday evening with a fever and a cough.

  4. Continue fever and cough all day on Wednesday and Thursday. Spend much time in bed. Let the kids watch videos, play Uno and Pass the Pigs, and run wild outside -- decide school isn't worth it right now. Wish toddler and baby wanted to nap all day.

  5. On Friday hope antibiotics decide to kick in soon. Decide that Spring Break came early this year and that you aren't even going to worry about school until Monday at the earliest.

It might not be the most convenient way to plan a vacation, but if you have a desire to spend a lot of time in bed, it is one way to swing it.

February 11, 2009

More Bliss

Blissdom by secretagentmama
Photo by Secret Agent Mama

I promised more Blissdom details and then I spent Monday at the eye doctor with the six year old (more on that later) and getting a tetanus shot at the health department, Tuesday at the violin shop and then realizing I'd come down with a fever and a nasty cough.

But anyway, here's more as promised.

  • I may spend my days surrounded by very noisy children and even occasionally host a party of sixty homeschoolers, but that's nothing to being surrounded by 250 blogging women who were mostly strangers. It was overwhelming at times and I was glad to know a few people there already.
  • The baby was extremely good both days of the conference. I've often said that she's a stronger believer in attachment parenting than I am and I think that spending almost two whole days in a sling cuddled up to her mama was fine with her -- although when I did put her down she would crawl off and start exploring.
  • The swag bags were pretty awesome and included a coupon for a pair of crocs (something I've wanted to own for gardening for years and never have gotten). Alli and the One2One Network organized an amazing bunch of sponsors.
  • I met more interesting women than I can possibly list (okay, I give up), but I will say I am constantly impressed by the number of really cool blogs that are out there. I know so many people with interesting, if quiet, lives in person, that it is only natural that the fraction of people who choose to share parts of their lives on the internet would make for some interesting reading. It's just too bad I can't possibly keep up with them all.
  • I got to hang out a bit with the Nashville blogging contingent that I already knew Meredith, Michelle, Alli, Malia and probably some other people I'm forgetting and I also got to meet Nashville bloggers I didn't know like Amy, Brigid and Jessie.
  • I went to Blissdom without really preparing well for it or having any idea what I wished to get out of it. In fact, I've been sorely tempted to give up the whole blogging thing of late. I am still not sure what I want from blogging, but I do believe I'm not quite ready to give up on it after all. Having picked up all sorts of interesting thoughts and ideas from the many amazing bloggers I met and listened to, I have some new ideas and possibly a few changes coming down the pike (assuming I can actually find the time and energy to implement them).

If you want more details you can read lots of recaps here or you can just buy a transcript.

February 09, 2009

Blissdom '09

get-your-bliss-on Badges

Friday and Saturday the baby and I had the good fortune to be in attendance at the Blissdom '09 conference. I'd be hard pressed to list all the bloggers I met, nor all the old friends I got to hang out with once again.

I learned all sorts of interesting things, which I may or may not ever get around to implementing, but I'm sure would be incredibly helpful if I made use of them.

I know I have more thoughts to share about it all, but before I get to that, I must get out this morning to get a bridge and strings for a violin, because the two big kids start lessons tomorrow and I need to get a tetanus shot because I stepped on a piece of rusty barbed wire in my backyard yesterday and realized it has been 14 years since my last one. Once those minor tasks and a few zillion others have been completed, I'll get back to you.

In the meantime, if you want to hear more about Blissdom, check out my friend Jo-Lynne's recap compilation.

February 04, 2009

Adding It Up

I've been thinking it for a while, but last week when my first grader bombed her math test I could no longer deny that she just wasn't catching on. I've been moving on to the next lesson when she wasn't really ready to move on. Her big brother moved on in his lessons and I had just been moving her along too (which is ridiculous not only because they are not the same people, but also because they aren't even using the same math book), all the while sensing that this wasn't working so well.

This week, I revised my lesson schedules and across every day of math for my daughter, I've written REVIEW.

Every morning, she counts even numbers and odd numbers. We do flash cards and practice, practice, practice.

In the afternoons, she's playing computer games or doing math drills.

Had she been in school a teacher might have caught on earlier -- or she might have been lost in the crowd and no one would have noticed -- but the nice thing about home schooling is that right now I can revise my schedule and help to get some of the basic facts down before we move on to harder concepts that are based on those simple math facts.

And I'm awfully glad that there are so many things like math games and flashcards already out there on the web, so that I don't have to reinvent all this stuff.

February 02, 2009

One Year Ago

One year ago today, I was wandering around Alexandria, Virginia with the kidlets and an already impressive baby belly, got to meet up with the amazing Robbo, and hopped on a plane to London. When we arrived in London, we were treated to mild weather and daffodils that were starting to bloom.

Today in London? Not so many daffodils, I should think.

I blame Al Gore.