Friday, August 21, 2009

That Highway

If I was going on an adventure, I might go down Highway 61. As it is, we might just go to Park Day instead which involves no highway travel... this time.

Enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Just Bought a Bunch of Stuff!

I just bought of bunch of stuff! We are still mostly not buying anything new. But, I've completely rationalized it all to myself that that does not apply to things for the kids' education. We are Unschoolers first, Compactors second, after all.

So, I went to Fun Books and perused the Math section and the Writing section and grabbed a bunch of stuff that the kids will love--I think. That's the idea any way.

I got:
  • Murderous Maths (it's British so it's wonky--"Maths" not "Math"... not to say that all things British are necessarily wonky--sorry my British friends!)
  • A couple of Draw-Write-Now books We'll see if the kids like them or if they're too smarmy. My kids do not suffer smarmy lightly, so I hope these will just be fun and not too pointedly teachy.
  • The Stunning Science of Everything from the Horrible Science series which looks like a nice overview of everything--basic ideas any way.
  • A couple of David Macaulay books because it is so interesting to see his exploded diagrams and cross sections of buildings and machines and underground tunnels. He is a brilliant illustrator and the kids love his books.
That was a very satisfying internet purchase.

Because we're Unschoolers, and the kids are "doing school" all year round, there's really no great impetus for me purchasing all of those things right now except that it's Back-to-School-Time and I got caught up in the fervor. I plan to go get paper supplies too.

Although I won't get any more glue sticks. I don't know why I always get them, the kids have never really used them much and just use Elmer's glue or now a glue gun for projects.

I think I'm a sucker for school supplies... I will try to keep a lid on it this year.

Have you gotten school supplies yet for your schooled or homeschooled kids? Whadya get?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mercury Exposure is Unhealthy? What?!

What?! Mercury exposure is unhealthy? It is a known neurotoxin and it may cause problems in little children and pregnant women? Who knew?

And yet... I think lots of people did know and would question the healthfulness of having amalgam fillings and vaccines filled with it. I know I questioned it and now the FDA is finally doing the same, albeit after much foot dragging.

This, from a recent Newsweek article:

The reason, of course, is that mercury is a known neurotoxin, especially dangerous to developing brains. For decades anti-mercury activists have pushed the industry to develop substitutes (so-called composites, or resins, are now available), and even to persuade people to have their fillings ripped out, but have made very little headway.

Now they have won a big one. In a legal settlement signed last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has changed the information on its Web site about amalgam fillings to say that they “may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetus,” and that pregnant women “should not avoid seeking dental care, but should discuss options with their health practitioner.” Previously, there was no such warning. The FDA also agreed to decide by next year whether mercury fillings need more regulation.

The FDA had been dragging its feet for so long on mercury in dental fillings that even the judge, Ellen Segal Huvelle of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, castigated the agency: “This is your classic failure to act,” she said. (The case is Moms Against Mercury et al. v. Von Eschenbach, Commissioner, et al. The “et al” plaintiffs are other consumer and environmental groups, as well as state officials.)

Where else might exposure to mercury be unhealthy? *cough, flu shots* What about aluminum, another known neurotoxin? *cough, cough, in every single vaccine, cough* Hmmmm...

Monday, August 10, 2009

When You Know You are Right...

Because we sometimes have strong feelings about what we know to be right, I offer this comic relief:

Ha, ha, ha, hee, ho, ha!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Don't Let it Bring You Down

Feeling down? It's only castles burning. Find someone who's turning...

Que Sera, Sera

I didn't like reading The Hobbit. I know that is sacrilege for lots of people. And, how is it even possible?! What's not to like in the twisting, turning plot of tiny Bilbo Baggins and his little Dwarf compatriots as they come under attack from goblins, spiders etc? It's high adventure I tell you--how can I not like it?!

Yeah, except I don't.

I liked reading about Julia Child's time in France in her book coincidentally titled, My Life in France. My mom knew I would like the book she gave me because we had spent many a half hour watching The French Chef together during the 70's. From a very young age I knew how to flute a mushroom (although I can't do it very well), how to take a giant mallet and break up bones (although I haven't done this either... but, I could if I had to--that's how clear Julia's instruction was on her TV show), and had a basic understanding of what wine to pair with a cassoulet or a lobster bisque.

I'm currently reading Bill Bryson's hilarious book, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail. His writing is soooo good. Read this excerpt where his son warned him off of embarrassing him when purchasing backpacking equipment for his upcoming trail hike:

My first inkling of just how daunting an undertaking it was to be came when I went to our local outfitters, the Dartmouth Co-Op, to purchase equipment. My son had just gotten an after-school job there, so I was under strict instructions of good behavior. Specifically, I was not to say or do anything stupid, try on anything that would require me to expose my stomach, say, "Are you shitting me?" when informed of the price of a product, be conspicuously inattentive when a sales assistant was explaining the correct maintenance or aftercare of a product, and above all don anything inappropriate, like a woman's ski hat, in an attempt to amuse.

Oh my God. I can reread that passage over and over again and still have tears streaming out of the corners of my eyes it is that funny to me. Simply hilarious, and I hope I have the good grace to recognize the humor in my own life when my children are teenagers and are filled with not a little contempt for how queer my husband and I are to them. 'Cause it's going to happen on some level somehow. The whole homeschooling we-are-such-an-intimate-family-so-close-knit lifestyle that we have will not preclude our kids from seeing us as fools from time to time, I'm sure of it.

These are the books I read and thoroughly enjoy. I do see, however, how someone could like The Hobbit. I get that. And I think it's great that my own son has recently discovered it and is devouring it as I would have devoured fluted mushrooms with my mother if I could have held the paring knife correctly.

He loves it. He finds it compelling and exciting and thrilling. What more could one want from a book? He really doesn't understand how I could not like it. It's a mystery and will probably contribute to some bit of contempt in his teenage years.

Oh well. Que sera, sera.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


My daughter planted seeds back in the spring. In our living room, we had a table top full of seedlings in egg cartons and black plastic trays. The seedlings were full of hope and energy--so earnest. Snow was still on the ground, but inside our house they were pushing their way up through the loose soil and leaning into the light.

And from these hairy, drooping looking plants came...


Poppies and more poppies!

Aren't they beautiful? Nice job daughter. Thanks for growing these and tending them and planting some of them into pots near your shed/wood shack/playhouse doorway--pretty!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Random Thoughts...

Here are some thoughts I've had over the last week or so. No real link between them all except that some might recognize a bit of absurdity--and who doesn't love the absurd?

  • President Barack Hussein Obama is a United States citizen. No--he really is. Perhaps some of the frenetic, hysterical energy questioning his citizenship is a wee bit misplaced and could serve people in a more positive way. Maybe a protest against mountain top removal, strip mining, injustices around the world. I don't know, get creative.
  • Three single servings of Ben and Jerry's ice cream (two cones and a sundae) at Great America really shouldn't cost $19.78. The ice cream guy's smile, as I looked shocked, told me that he commiserates but what's one to do?
  • I have all of my Mel's Mix material sitting in the garage--just when do I think I will actually put in a garden? Perhaps at the end of the season, just to be contrary...
  • Honey not only helps heal skin lacerations received from a nasty collision with a fire hydrant, but a little dab will heal zits too! Not that my skin is ever anything less than perfect, I'm just saying that I've heard this...
  • I want my dryer fixed so even on rainy days and when it's cold out, I can wash our sheets and towels. I think it's allowed, even on The Compact. Husband, do you hear?!
  • Are we really using more water by hand washing rather than using our dishwasher, which is also broken? This is what I've heard, but I don't quite believe it. Maybe we have to get that fixed too.
  • For our 12th anniversary, my husband and I gave each other a high five. Consummate romantics aren't we? Neither one of us made time to get a card or a gift. It's OK. We love each other and know it.
  • Laura Ling and Euna Lee are free which is amazing! But, what of the women they were trying to investigate? North Korean women are lured out to China for a better life and then are captured by traffickers and used both for sexual exploitation and forced labor. Does this story ever get covered now? You know, I'm really sick of the world mistreating women, kids, minorities, certain ethnic groups and so on.
What's new with you, cyber people? What are some of your random thoughts? Please share if so inclined.

Your cyber pal,

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