Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's Kinda Like...

It's an imposing looking fruit. Not fruit in the sense of strawberry, or apple though. More like fruit in the botanical sense: the part of the plant that encompasses the seeds.

Sometimes melon is part of the name, and that's going to throw you off. It doesn't really taste like one. It goes by other names as well. I like Kiwano. Sounds a bit like a mens' civic organization or something.

It is also in the cucumber family--a bit of trivia that I left out when explaining about it to my kids. I thought there was a greater chance of them trying this odd spiky fruit originally from Africa if they thought it was more of the strawberry or apple type.

The horned melon or kiwano is a strange, odd, alien looking fruit. If a puffer fish was turned into a fruit, it would look like this and its skin would be orange.

It's like a pomegranate in that the fruit is filled with a copious amount of seeds that are covered in a gelatinous coating. Unlike the beautiful ruby red of the pomegranate, the kiwano seeds are covered in an almost glowing green goop.

Surprisingly, neither one of my kids thought that that was gross in any way.

I, on the other hand, was reminded of the BFG's favorite food--the snozzcumber.

It had a light cucumber taste. I didn't like the seeds, and didn't like digging the seeds out. It was very uckyslush.

Snozzcumber through and through.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Oo, La, La!

Every once in a while, I see how my family and I fall into a rut. Either we're doing the same things over and over, or we are creating and then grooving bad habits.

I am an addict.

I LOVE reading, and lately I love reading various sites online. I post every once in a while to Facebook. I leave comments on others' blogs. I read Huffington Post and Daily Kos, and then read the links where the writers got their information. It adds up to a ton of reading, some writing, here, and on the other blogs. In short, it's a huge time stealer.

My kids, meanwhile, are watching fun TV shows, or on the computer as well (playing games), or watching a Netflix pick. They also read and do other things of course, but I was appalled the other day when I realized the total of our screen time around here. It's ridiculous.

It would be one thing if it had no negative impact. Some may argue that it doesn't. I think it does, and my kids know that it does. We are all grumpy when we've been sitting too long or when we've been in front of a screen. We are all happy when we've gotten outside and moved our bodies and talked with one another and done something or created things with our own hands.

So, limits have been set up for everyone. Everyone agreed to the limits. We started with me, because as I said to my kids, I'm the worst offender of all of us. By way of example, I told the kids how often I will get on the computer to read and to check e-mail, and then they followed suit.

What are we replacing all of this screen time with?

FRENCH! We are going to learn French, together the kids and I, and as my son proclaimed this morning, then go to France!

I think that's a fine trade off. And already the kids are more patient with each other, and generally more easy going.

I ordered some materials from Funbooks: some coloring book/dictionaries, a larger 100 word dictionary and a CD/card game set. This is all a nice beginning and we will see how far we can get on our own. Then, we will take a class somewhere.

The kids and I are serious about this and are determined to learn.

For those of you who have successfully learned a foreign language at home, did you use a more comprehensive system like Rosetta Stone or Mango or Muzzy? What worked, what didn't? Are these systems worth the cost?

Oo, la, la!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Communication Breakdown...

It's all how you frame things, isn't it? If you can get things in perspective, shift your view, you can really understand things better, don't you think? Sort of a glass half full vs. glass half empty kind of thing.

Here's a blurb at Huffington Post explaining how the BP CEO, Tony Hayward, explains away the largest oil spill (Can I interrupt here and ask that we refer to this in a more accurate way? It is a gusher--much more than BP first reported. Estimates are now from 56,000 to 70,000 barrels of oil a day, not 5,000 as reported by BP, spewing up from the sea bed--not a "spill". Not a "leak". This is an oil geyser that they don't know how to cap. That amount of oil gushing into the Gulf is akin to an Exxon Valdez spill every five days. Wrap your brains around that...).

Back to Tony--he logically puts the whole geyser/gushing-oil-nonstop thing into perspective by comparing it to the size of the ocean. He says it's "relatively tiny"...

That's Fucking Brilliant!!

...and logical. So, don't worry your pretty little heads. Just get on with your lives. Nothing to see here. Move along. Let's stay positive!!

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