Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Notes on Notes

I blogged over at Simply Put today about my organizational skills, or lack thereof, when it comes to keeping track of new story ideas.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday's Proverb

When the tempest passes, the wicked man is no more; but the just man is established forever. (Proverbs 10:25)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

April Flowers

I just love the flowers of early spring. Especially tulips. Must be the Dutch ancestry in me, but tulips just make my heart sing.
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Not a Morning Person

Pippi is not a morning person.

This morning a little before six I woke to the sound of sobbing. I traced the sounds to her room. "Are you crying? What's wrong?"

"I can't sleep. The birds are chirping!" She said with as much venom as she could muster. "They start at five o'clock and don't stop. And then it just gets lighter and lighter. It's like I'm watching the sunrise."

"But watching the sunrise is a wonderful thing," I tell her, and then get out of there before she can throw something at me.

Seriously though, I did shut her windows in order to muffle the sound and she apparently went back to sleep - because it's after 9 and she hasn't emerged from her room yet.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Getting to Know Your Characters

Just assign your main character an essay to write. That's what I do. I post about it over at Simply Put.

Spring Cleaning

It's Spring Cleaning time in our town. For the next several weeks, rotating through the township, it's time to clean up and get rid of stuff.

It's actually a good incentive. Different weekends are designated as "permit-free" garage sale weekends. Last weekend was our chance. We didn't have a garage sale, but there were sales all over the neighborhood. And it was a beautiful day for it too.

But tonight is the real fun night. You see, the township also declared that on the Thursday following the garage sales as the day you could throw out big stuff without having to pay an extra fee to have a big item collected.

What an incentive to look around and see what big things have been taking up space that really need to go out. We put out some lawn furniture, a kid's picnic table, two air conditioners, a dehumidifier and a computer monitor (we still have a spare- *sigh*).

I've seen furniture, TVs, lots of boards (I think someone dismantled a room or something), all kinds of fun things out at the curbs.

And the scavengers are out. People in pick up trucks and vans cruise slowly down the streets looking to see if there is anything they want. Hey - I'd be thrilled if someone wanted our junk - I just don't want it anymore.

There's still a lot more Spring Cleaning I could (and should) do - but hey at least we got rid of a few things taking up space. It's a start.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday's Proverb

What the wicked man fears will befall him, but the desire of the just will be granted. (Proverbs 10:24)

Sunday, April 19, 2009


There's nothing like spending a beautiful spring day with your only girl cousin. Pippi and the Princess had a wonderful time together.
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Friday, April 17, 2009

Flowers and Fairy Houses

Today we finally had a beautiful day - windows open, kids outside. Gardening, biking and building fairyhouses. All in all a very productive Friday if I do say so myself.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday's Proverb

Crime is the entertainment of the fool; so is wisdom for the man of sense. (Proverbs 10:23)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter

When Pippi was 4 I was going to tell her the story of Easter. She told me she already knew it. And proceeded to tell me this story.
When they laid Him down they wrapped Him up in cloth and then they prayed for Him. Then they made a table for His family and they laid Him on the table. The table was made out of stone. Everybody was sad because they would miss Him. And then on the third day the two Marys (not the ones that were Jesus’s Mommies, only two Marys) then the two Marys said where is Jesus. The Angel said (he was a boy Angel) – the angel said “Don’t worry, He’s outside the cave waiting for you to tell His whole human beings.” So they went to tell His human beings about Him and then they told everybody in the city of Egypt. Then Jesus went to Egypt to see His men. They wrapped Him up in purple robes and everyone laughed. Then He looked and then He went over to the two Marys and everyone was happy.
Have a Happy and Blessed Easter.
(reprinted from 2006)

Easter Crafts

It's Holy Saturday and around here that means coloring Easter eggs.

This year we also tried another craft - sting eggs.

We did the first part yesterday. I don't have any pictures of that because my hands were a sticky mess as I tried to help the kids dip embroidery floss in a corn starch mixture and then wrap them around balloons. We let them dry and today we popped the balloons.

We didn't get quite the effect we were looking for - but we do have something decorative to show for our efforts. We decided that we needed both heavier string and more of it. Maybe next time (if there is a next time).

A Happy and Blessed Easter to all.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

The youth group at our church does a Living Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. We went tonight, as we have the past couple of years. The presentation is well done and powerful.

Two kids we've known for years and years had the parts of Jesus and Mary. It was hard to put aside that it was "Jake" and "Val" up there. I kept thinking about how much they've grown and about times when they were little. And then I realized that this wasn't pulling me out of the passion, but bringing me closer into it.

When Jesus walked that path, some of the people who watched were people who had known him his whole life. People who could say "I remember when he was little." And the pain in their heart was the greater for it.

And I could watch "Jake" and "Val" and the others and think of how great my pain would be for them if they were suffering in the way they were portraying.

And that is how much I should ache for our Lord.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Holy Thursday

For the first time we decided to take the kids to the Holy Thursday Mass. In the past my husband has gone, and I've stayed home with Harry and Pippi. The Mass is long - closing in on two hours and this is the first time we figured they'd be able to handle it.

I'm glad we went, because it really helps to set the mood for Easter to participate in the various Holy Week offerings.

We had been offered (a month ago) the opportunity to present the Chrism Oil at this Mass. We didn't respond quickly enough and they found another family. It was too bad we didn't have that special job to do - but then again...

Harry was really bothered by the incense. He spent most of the time with his coat over his mouth and insisting the smell was making him sick.

It probably wouldn't have been too good if we'd needed to be part of the various processions with Harry gagging his way along because of the incense. I guess it was just fine that we could sit anonymously in our pew.

Have a blessed Triduum.

Talking about Revisions

I'm talking a little about revisions today over at Simply Put, go join the conversation.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Tuesday's Proverb

It is the LORD'S blessing that brings wealth, and no effort can substitute for it. (Proverbs 10:22)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Do You Have A Favorite Element?

My kids apparently do.

At dinner tonight:
Harry: Do you know what element has the atomic number 92?
Me: Um, no. Not really.
Harry: It's Uranium

The conversation went on from there. As Harry and Pippi discussed different elements and which ones were their favorites.

Me: You have favorite elements?
Harry and Pippi: Of course.

Now, Pippi is in sixth grade and is doing a unit on chemistry, but Harry is in third grade. They are not studying chemistry. So I asked "How do you know these things? And why?"

Harry: It's what I do in my spare time.

Okay then. (Turns out his binder has a science divider with the periodic table of the elements on it.)

His great-grandpa with a doctorate in Chemistry would have been so proud.

Oh and for the record their favorite elements are: Pippi: Unununium, Harry: Magnesium

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Librarians Are Important

I wouldn't want to be the person in charge of school budgets when the economy is in the tank. Everyone thinks that anything that might affect their child is something that better not be touched. And I totally understand that if there is no money there is no money.

That said, I really regret that our board of education has decided that a good way to save money is to eliminate the position of librarian in the elementary schools. According to the news reports I've seen, they believe that the lack of librarian can be made up for with school aides, volunteers, and classroom teachers.

I will agree that volunteers are a great asset in a school library. I think our school right now has about four people who volunteer to help out. For a couple of hours at a time. That in no way covers the whole school week. The volunteers can check in books, check out books and shelve books. To some extent volunteers can help a child find a book. But volunteers do not necessarily know what books to recommend or even what books are appropriate for different ages.

I suppose the school aides can do the same thing the volunteers can do - and with the same limitations. They have the advantage of already being paid by the school with an expectation that they will be there for certain hours a day.

Classroom teachers. Personally I think that our society has gotten to the point where they expect way too much from classroom teachers. Not only basic education, but special education and drug awareness, and abuse awareness, and bully awareness and being on the look out for abused children. Anything society wants done regarding children the answer seems to be: the teacher can do it. You know what. No. The teacher can't. Not everything. It's not possible.

Can teachers teach research skills and how to look up books. Of course they can. Will they? If they have time when all the test prep work for the State testing is done. Maybe.

And who is going to order the books? And keep the selection of books up to date? I haven't seen this issue addressed at all.

For some children the only opportunity they have to pick out a book on their own is the school library. Why jeopardize that?

A school librarian is not simply a person in the library with glasses on a chain who reads books to children and teaches them the Dewey Decimal System. A certified school librarian is both a certified teacher and has a degree in library science. There is knowledge that comes with those degrees that a random volunteer has no hope of having.

I realize that hard decisions have to be made regarding budgets, and that these decisions aren't made lightly by the people in charge. But in my opinion doing away with school librarians does a disservice to the students and sends the message that libraries and books and reading aren't important. And that is not the message you want to send young children just learning to read.

Edited to add: From this news report it looks like principals would be in charge of maintaining the library collection.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A Visit With PJ Hoover

PJ (Tricia) Hoover came to visit yesterday. She gave a presentation at the school for an adoring crowd and then repeated some of the presentation in the kitchen so that Harry, who'd missed some of it due to a baseball game, could see it.

It was so wonderful to finally meet someone who I've gotten to know through blogs and e-mails. She was as delightful as I knew she would be, and we would have stayed up talking even later into the night had we been able to keep our eyes open anymore.

I'm so glad she was able to come, my only regret is that the visit didn't last nearly long enough.

I blogged more about her presentation at Simply Put.
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