Saturday, October 30, 2010

paper or plastic?*

I am, once again, considering closing one of my credit accounts. I have two credit cards and I don't want either of them, but I'm strangely afraid to not have any credit cards. So, I'm asking for opinions today: should I close the account that has the higher (oh-so-freaking-sky-high) interest rate? Are there any arguments for keeping open credit card accounts? All I keep thinking is, "What if I need that credit card for something?"

As far as I know, my parents haven't had/used credit cards for about fifteen years (I could be wrong), so I know it's possible to get by without. Let me step back a moment, so I don't sound entirely too silly: I know there are many, many people who don't have credit cards. It's just that I don't usually talk to people about their finances. I hope I'm not asking something too uncomfortable here, but I feel like I need some more input before I cancel the account and cut up the card.

I thank you in advance for any input. Grazie, gracias, thanks!


* We tend to use our debit cards more often than we use cash, but "plastic or plastic?" just doesn't quite work. So, for the purposes of this, let us pretend that plastic = credit cards and paper = debit/cash. I thank you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

the next question goes to...

I am watching the Reid-Angle Nevada Senate Debate. We listened to this on KUNR, which means we had audio only, of course. Yes, I already voted, I'm just a nerd.

Oh, politicians, all of you I've heard, I'm begging, "Answer the question, please." There are times I think you have to learn a special kind of speaking rhetoric to be a politician. Politicians must have some kind of internal sensor that sounds the alarm, "Warning! Do not, under any circumstances, answer that question. Divert to approved topic."

Okay, perhaps I'm a bit jaded. (When did that happen? I'm too young to be jaded, no? Maybe I just need to "man up"* and get used to it. Ugh.)


* Oh, geez, "man up." Really? Because only real men can participate in government business? What a strange comment to come from a female candidate. I don't want to hear that from anyone, male or female.


Okay, now I have to stop typing and listening. As I was just explaining to Pic today, I can do one thing well or more than one thing not so well. Let's hear it for monotasking! (Unitasking?)


Both the message and the animation held me enthralled.*

"RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms"

I feel like I've heard this talk before. Otherwise, I'm so wrapped up in absorbing similar information that it's familiar to me. I'll have to look around some of the blogs I read to see if I did, in fact, here this elsewhere.


* Can I be "held entralled"? Is that how that term works? From the OED:

1. trans. To reduce to the condition of a thrall; to hold in thrall; to enslave, bring into bondage. Now rare in lit. sense.
2. fig. To ‘enslave’ mentally or morally. Now chiefly, to captivate, hold spellbound, by pleasing qualities.

Maybe I was held in thrall? But, wow, I don't know that I ever knew the connections with enslavement.

And, why yes, I do obsess much. Language is least for me.


P.S. I've definitely seen Sir Ken Robinson speak before. Now, to figure out who linked to video.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

to live vicariously

I saw this posted on dooce. This video makes me a little nauseated, especially the part with the guy who does some kind of handstand before diving into the pool.


been there, done that...

...still figuring out what comes next.

"So you Want to Get a PhD in the Humanities"

(A friend posted this on Facebook. Sometimes I love Facebook.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

on voting often, voting early...

...or late, if you're voting from the Great Beyond.

I posted the following a couple of years ago. I might just repost it every two years, as I think of it every election season.

[I originally posted this on 15 October 2008.]


On yonder hillside, bleak and barren,
Lies many a friend of William Sharon,
Who in election's hurly-burly,
Voted often, voted early.
But since old Sharon went to glory
The younger Billy bosses Storey,
And at his beck those sons of witches
Rise, to vote without their britches.
To take a hand in the election
And bustle back without detection.
As we recall those mem'ries hoary,
Let's bless the graveyard vote of Storey.

-- Sam Davis, newspaperman (ca 1880s?)

The preceding has been stuck in my head lately. Nice theme for October and election season.

I used to have this copied out and hung on my dorm room wall. This is from Barbara and Myrick Land's A Short History of Reno.

Monday, October 25, 2010

voter prep

I am looking at some candidate websites right now, as I confirm my choices for the various open positions here. I thought I'd share a couple of observations, because, um, I like to procrastinate, and I should be doing other things. (Oh, and I just learned to take screenshots -- I finally just looked up how, duh -- and how can I not put that to use?)

When I was fully entrenched* in academia, I consistently had a difficult time not qualifying my arguments with phrases such as "it seems" or "I think." I was told to just be assertive, put my argument firmly out there (wherever that may be). I don't like using language that asserts I know all the answers, that I've eliminated all other possibilities, that what I'm saying is the ultimate word in a conversation. And, I don't know that was the point of academic writing, but I felt it was part of the point. I wanted to acknowledge, though, that there may be something else "out there" I wasn't aware of, or that someone else might have had a different experience.

Here's what made me think of this when I was looking at the websites:


Reid (from the first example) talks about his first-hand experience. The Angle writer asserts that no one is more committed to education. That just irks me. Because, really? There is no one more committed to education? I have a hard time getting behind this kind of superlative. However, I've often felt on the outside (of something) because this kind of language doesn't sit well with me. I'm sure there are plenty of people who will argue that they want their candidates to be just as assertive as Angle is presented here. Or, perhaps, I should say she's confident.

Of course, I'm nitpicking, not because I want to be petty, but because the language made me think of some of my own issues (and, well, I apparently like to write about myself...a lot).

I'm off to further explore websites. Remember, November 2nd is Election Day. (I'll be voting in three days because Nevada offers early voting.)

[In case you didn't catch it, I included links to the candidates' sites. Check them out before they're gone.]


* Was grad school like war? I'm not making that comparison. I've never been to war, so I wouldn't know what that is like. "Entrenched" is the word that felt best there. When grad school was over, I did feel as if I was slowly climbing out of some deep, dark hole. (Now, if only I weren't in a new hole. Ah, well.)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

a little (un)holyday music

Every year, in this, my favorite month, I'm reminded of elementary school music class with Ms T. I picture our little selves in the classroom with brown industrial carpet. The bass drum has a picture of Garfield on it. Ms T plays us recordings of Banshee squeals (perhaps there was a song that I just don't remember). Ah, Elementary School, you're one of the reasons it was so difficult to decide homeschooling was best for us. So, I'll be Ms T for Pic. Here's some of what I'm sharing with her:

"H-A-double L-O-W-double E-N Spells Halloween" -- I did not like the video (hence my not embedding it), but I had a hard time finding the song otherwise.

"There Was an Old Woman All Skin and Bones" -- The version I sang looks like Martin Sutton's from February 10, 2007 (scroll down to see it). There is a lot of variety to this song.

"Bette Midler - I Put A Spell On You"
This isn't from elementary school music class, but I have been watching this movie yearly since just after elementary school.

Also, a more grown-up version of the "Skin and Bone" song. (The woman is turning tricks? I'm not sure if his lady is the lonely old woman.) [Don Shearer - "Skin and Bone"]


And, Nevada's birthday falls on Halloween. I also learned "Home Means Nevada" in elementary school and I still sing it to myself often. (Should I admit that? Ah, well, too late.)

"home means nevada w/lyrics" -- I included this video because it looks like something Auntie Peecho and I would have done at this age had we access to this kind of technology. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

from the mouth of the babe...

The other day, I actually sat down to watch Disney's Hercules with Pic. There's a scene when Pegasus is trying to squeeze through a small opening and his rear end is prominently displayed on the screen.

"Is Pegasus a boy or a girl, Mamma?" Pic asked.

"What do you think?"

"A girl, I think. I don't see a penis...unless it's really short."

Good thinking.


A couple of nights ago, I was telling Pic that I hope to get old one day. She responded that she'd also like to get old. Then, she told me, "Then, I'll get to be part of the soil. I'm so excited!"

I've been afraid of death since I can remember, but my child, who always amazes me, looks forward to the prospect of decomposing into the soil. It's like she just gets that, yes, death is a natural part of the life cycle. I'm thinking that, when she starts reading Harry Potter on her own, she'll appreciate Dumbledore's take on death. I, on the other hand, will probably end up hanging out with the likes of Nearly Headless Nick.

Friday, October 22, 2010

not perfect, but it's a start

"President Obama: It Gets Better"

I am loving that this is becoming a national discussion. I love that he says we need to change the idea that bullying is just a natural part of growing up. That idea is horrible. Bullying is not okay. It's not character-building, it's devastating, as some of us know, as we have all seen.

it's alive!...


I have dived (oh, please let that be correct...I have doven, um, no) into water so deep and murky that I cannot see the surface. Okay, I'm being entirely too over-dramatic here. I could probably very easily keep my head above water, if only I stopped a moment to stand up and take a breath. However, I feel that I've been on a kind of drone-autopilot setting for the last couple of months. I am not happy with the situation and I'm thinking about ways to make some changes. Suggestions for someone who is entirely over-educated and under-experienced for just about anything are welcome. And, when I call for suggestions, I am looking for ways I can provide a tiny bit financially for our tiny family. I am used to making tiny, pretty-much-inconsequential amounts of money, but I do need to be able to make enough to pay for my vast amounts of highly-relevant-to-all-aspects-of-my-life education. (I kind of kid. I enjoyed my time in higher education. I just wonder, sometimes, if I should have done a lot very differently. Then, I remind myself that isn't even a choice, so I should focus on right now. Yes.)

I plan to be in a much different position next year and for many of the following years. I want to be able to embrace the ideas we've decided are best for our family, instead of freaking out and deciding to take on entirely too much of what I don't want because that is what's familiar to me. Ugh.

On the life learning front, by the end of this month, I will have much to share. October has been, and will continue to be, full of homeschool-group activities. Thanks be for our homeschooling group. We would not have traveled in this direction had we not found and been embraced by the group.

For the next many months, though, I'll be back to my old standby of counting down the days until I'm finished with my current obligations. In high school, my teachers would consult with me about how many days we had remaining of the year. I didn't mind the countdowns then. Now, though, I realize I'm not living life the way I want to be, I'm almost constantly focused on either tiny bits of the present or on our big dreams for the future. I'd like to be back in a place where I'm focusing on the big picture that represents right freaking now.


I would add some music to this post, as I've had a bit of a soundtrack going through my head as I've whined and fretted, but I'm using not-my-computer and I can't get the audio to work, so I can't hear the songs first to confirm they're the ones I want. I'll include the songs later...maybe.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"chase your shadow 'til the sun goes down"

"Sia - Bring Night (from We Are Born)" - no video, just the still there

I just learned, looking up how to post this song, there was a soundtrack to the World Cup. Huh. How did that work? Were the soundtrack songs performed during half-time breaks or something? Anyhow...

love and be loved*

"My Princess Boy"

I love that the mom in this story, Cheryl Kilodavis, ends the segment with talk of acceptance. I'm not a fan of the word tolerance, as in, "We should tolerate others [or, Others]." That word -- tolerance -- always makes me think of something we're disdaining, something we don't want in our presence, but something we're putting up with nonetheless.

I'm still not a huge fan of the terms "princess boy" and "tomboy," but I'm glad to see this discussion made public. I doubt it's easy for these parents and this community to work against what seems right (but what is only "right" because we, as a society, think that boys who dress in dresses are inherently broken or wrong). I am constantly reaffirming for Pic that people dress differently to express themselves differently. I'm pretty sure she's heard countless times, from me, that it's okay if a boy wants to wear a dress, too, because maybe he likes the way it looks on him, just the same as Pic loving the way her dresses look on her. I've always thought it was unfair for boys and men that they aren't "allowed" to wear dresses and make-up and high heels because that somehow makes them less male.


* I somehow forgot to title this, so I threw something on there hours after I hit "publish post." Oops.

Friday, October 15, 2010

star-gazing unschoolers

It's been a bit of tough going as far as scheduling and whatnot here in La Casa B. So, it's days like today that help me get through this. First off, I had an interesting discussion with an acquaintance today. He told me about the pressure he feels to follow the oft-prescribed path and about what he's actually passionate about. I told him we unschool and he didn't look at me as if I am crazy (who knows what he thought).

Later this afternoon and evening? The main event. We have regular park days with our homeschooling group and we met up with them today at a new park. I've been feeling very under the weather, so while Pic played in her first kickball game, I napped on the grass. (I was waiting for someone to ask me to move or something.) After the park, we headed way, way out to one of the group's family's houses (please tell me all of that sentence worked out).

The location was fabulous and the company was too. One of our group members brought his telescope and we were able to see craters on the moon and Uranus and its moons (yes, that sentence is like a middle-school dream). We had dinner and the kids ran around like the rambunctious littles they are. Our host had so thought-fully provided those little glow-sticks for the kids to wear so we wouldn't lose any kids in the dark. We had to cut out a little early because my body was hurting and I was tired. And, we have another big homeschooling outing planned for tomorrow.

Perhaps I'll even remember the camera.

Monday, October 11, 2010

c is for cookie

Pic is right now eating a Halloween sugar cookie, covered in orange sugar crystals. She just came to tell me, "It's a ghost! It's so cute! It wants to get in my tummy."

Oh, child.

musical monday: "time to get your crayons and your pencils"

"Picture Pages"

Sunday, October 10, 2010

'campo chirurgico'

I've mentioned I'm catching up on old episodes of Grey's Anatomy. Just came across this. (Yes, yes, I'm also getting actual work done today, too.)

"Callie and Bailey 6x18 moments"
So funny. (And, with Italian captioning!)

parenting fail: holey, holey teeth

I hate to be told I'm bad at something. I tell myself enough that I'm bad at all kinds of things, so when others jump on that wagon, I tend to get really (quietly) defensive.

For the last couple of weeks, Pic has been telling us that her back, bottom left tooth is hurting. We decided it was finally time to take her to the dentist. (I know, I know. However, Cardo's first visit to the dentist was incredibly late in his life and I have a lifelong history of scary, painful, entirely unpleasant dentist office experiences.)

So, last week was Pic's first dental visit. All went well except the four cavities in the four corners of her mouth, gaping like little Grand Canyons in miniature. The dental hygienist was awesome. She was so patient and cheery and really connected with Pic. I never had a visit like this when I was little. (There had to have been pediatric dentistry back then, no?) Then, the dentist came over. He was more businesslike, which I think is partly due to his job. He came, inspected Pic's mouth and spouted off a bunch of numbers and letters and ominous-sounding terms I don't even remember but which sounded like we'd need to get her a set of tiny dentures or something.

After Dr Dentum* performed his exam, he told informed us of the evils of snacking. Then he listed a huge amount of foods that lead to sugar build-up on teeth. Most of the foods -- Gatorade, soda, Cheetos, chips, ecc, ecc, ecc** -- Pic doesn't eat. He finally got around to candy, though. She does like herself some M&Ms. Also, she and I have majorly (holey) sweet teeth***. Dr Dentum admitted that telling his patients the evils of snacking doesn't cause them to stop snacking, rather he was informing us so we could choose to do something about it. We're choosing to brush our teeth many, many more times a day. He also suggested not bringing forbidden fruit into our home, which would work best for me personally...if I had any willpower whatsoever.

We go back in a couple of weeks for some pretty serious (and pretty friggin' expensive) dental work. I sincerely hope we've learned from this experience. I don't want to go back in six months or a year or two (or ever) and learn that we've failed in the dental hygiene area once more. I also don't want Pic to be in any more pain.


* Not his name.

** ecc is the Italian equivalent of etc. ecc = eccetera. I like to use it in my informal writing.

*** Can we pluralize "sweet tooth"? Hmm.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

"just you wait, henry higgins, just you wait"

"Pygmalion" This is a pretty fun video, although the text goes past pretty quickly.

Friday, October 8, 2010

notes from the cocoon

Argh and ugh and all that jazz. I'm in the middle of constantly rethinking the decisions I made a few short months ago. I'm swamped and exhausted and losing motivation by the day. It's showing in small ways. However, I feel like there are cracks in a wall that's holding back a mountain of dirt and boulders all too willing to bury me. The small ways feel they're about to become much bigger.

In the meantime, to numb my anxiety, I've been escaping to Seattle Grace. I've been watching previous seasons of Grey's Anatomy. I guess I've missed the last two years of this show, although I didn't realize it's been so long since I've seen it. Any thoughts I have on it have most likely been discussed ad nauseam months or even years ago. But...

What the crap is up with season six? Actually, season five was bad enough. I loved George O'Malley, but he kind of started disappearing from the show. (And, then he finished disappearing. Alas.) Why? If anyone is still watching the show: Is it worth it without O'Malley? (Okay, so you have to think it's worth it in the first place, to answer that question, of course.)

And, season six is just sad.

Ah, well. Perhaps this is why I don't watch much tv.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Monday, October 4, 2010

musical monday

"Billie Jean - The University of Michigan GMen"

blog sprint: fire

One Minute Writer for today: Write about a memory you have related to a campfire. (If you don't have any such memories, write about any fire-related memory.)

Staying up to talk. Pouring water on the fire until it seems to be out. Smokey says, “Stir the ashes,” right? We stir the ashes and the fire springs back up. Laughing so hysterically that we’re on the verge of peeing our pants. Wondering how we aren’t making enough noise to wake everyone in the campgrounds. Where are the people who know what they’re doing with the fire, huh?